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D&D 5E What Single Thing Would You Eliminate

Well then at some point, what's the point of having choices be anything other than cosmetic? If everything did 1d6, you wouldn't have to worry about the issue at all. Yet that would pretty much suck because people like choices to matter.
I think it would be possible to provide equivalent options for every weapon (and similar situations be handled in like fashion). For example (not suggesting this should be the rule, just an example): Every weapon gets a situation where you get advantage when wielding it. Maybe that requires some specific feat or whatever, but it is consistent across all weapons, and each situation is designed to be pretty close to equally likely (probably all of them are uncommon corner case situations, maybe daggers work really well when you are grappled, tridents might be really good against huge opponents, etc.).

Beyond that, it is a bit annoying to see specific 'paths' created which only allow for one weapon use tradition. Why does every Gish HAVE to be a sword user? Can't the rules just say 'weapon' and let the players and the GM work out what is cool to them? That would eliminate a LOT of this stuff. I mean, granted, sometimes there's a more substantial basis for it, and then my first point applies, there should be an equivalent for other weapons!
 

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Reflavoring is always the easy option but the trident never feels right because it and a few others don't fit into the unofficial formula on weapons:

Weapon deals d6.
Die size increases if:
-Heavy
-2-handed
-Versatile (being wielded in two hands)
-Martial
Die size decreases if:
-Light
-Ammunition without Loading
-Reach
-Finesse and Throwing weapons don't exceed d6 and cannot be used 2-handed-

Now of course some things stand out, so if you want to be optimal you choose:
-Handaxe if you want to dual-wield light weapons (and don't need finesse).
-Rapier if you want to not dual-wield finesse weapons.
-Greatsword/Maul if you want to use a heavy 2-handed melee weapon.

But it also means if you can wield martial weapons you would be equal taking a spear to a trident, despite it being martial instead of simple. The obvious fix is to make it simple. The fix that would also make it work is upping the damage die to d8/d10 versatile but making it a d6 thrown (unnecessarily complicated). I suppose you could also make it the only d8 throwing weapon making it the superior ranged choice for Strength characters (like the Rapier is the superior melee choice for Dexterity characters) but that throws things off.
Naturally, the most reasonable thing is probably getting rid of the trident and making a trident a type of spear. Nothing is lost and one disparity is fixed.
The root of the problem is that these games are pretty abstract. What is a trident? It is a FISH SPEAR, and why does it have 3 tines? Because it is hard to aim at fish and hit them, so 3 tines has 3 times the chance of spearing a fish! In a melee, it really doesn't have an advantage, it is simply a bit more cumbersome version of a spear, which has only a very marginally higher chance of hitting something, maybe. Certainly it isn't worth a +1, and certainly being stuck by 2-3 tines is not really worth some extra damage. On top of that, the slight cumbersomeness cannot really be accounted for in D&D's abstract system. So, realistically the best option would be to simply call it a spear and be done with it.

In fact, in my own game, loosely based on 4e, this is pretty much what I did. There are only about 8 weapons. EVERYTHING is simply, mechanically, one of those 8 weapons. Now you are quite free to call your spear a 'trident' and nobody can get huffy about it. No more hair-splitting on different weapons, no more mysteriously I'm a guru with a hand axe but I cannot even pick up a slightly bigger battleaxe and hit the side of a barn, etc. What a savings of headache. In the lists of treasure and equipment there are a vast array of different types of weapons, etc. Yet nobody ever has a problem with them, mechanically. Nothing new need ever be added in that regard.

Less is More.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I recall the designers saying that the only reason the trident is in the game is because it is an iconic weapon for certain creatures so they had to add it. It doesn't have to be the best option, it just had to be an option.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
"Deliberately using a subpar option" does not mean the same thing as "being penalized," but now I'm repeating myself.


I understand that the trident isn't a spear. It's not a dagger either, nor is it a crossbow. It's more like a rapier than a longsword is, somehow, but it's definitely not a halberd....

If the trident is a sticking point for you (rimshot), just tell the DM that you have a lance (or whatever) instead. Write down all of the stats and features for a lance (d12 piercing, reach, costs 10gp, etc) but for the name, write TRIDENT on your character sheet instead. It's just a name.
Yeah, I've never cared much about it one way or another. I could see having a long spear that is versatile d8/d10 but can't be thrown as an alternative.

It's only an issue because tridents are listed as martial weapons for no real reason. If someone wanted say their spear was specialized to catch fish with three tines but didn't have access to martial weapons I wouldn't bat an eye.
 




Stormonu

Legend
Not sure if it was already mentioned, but my vote would be to get rid of Healing Word. Terrible spell.

And by "terrible" I mean: So good it makes the game less fun.
From the DM's side, I can see it being abusive, but from the player side it has some great advantages. Rather than get rid of it, I think it should have some limitation - as long as it prevents yo-yoing, I think the spell would be okay. Maybe put a stipulation on (all) healing spells that they have no effect on characters who are not first stabilized. Gives a lot of oomph to Spare the Dying (or having a medicine kit), makes healing a target before they drop to 0 much more enticing and puts a delay on bringing a downed character back too quickly, but not utterly preventing it.
 



TheSword

Legend
If tridents were better or the same as longswords then there PCs would pop up carrying them everywhere. That would break verisimilitude for a lot of people. The fact is that tridents are better underwater than a longsword because of piercing. Which is why I would expect to see them replace longswords in an underwater setting.
 


Reynard

Legend
If tridents were better or the same as longswords then there PCs would pop up carrying them everywhere. That would break verisimilitude for a lot of people. The fact is that tridents are better underwater than a longsword because of piercing. Which is why I would expect to see them replace longswords in an underwater setting.
People who spend their time fighting a nd killing monsters and other "people" would probably be inclined to use the best tool for the job at hand. But D&D is all about cool iconic images and power fantasy, so practical considerations are often thrown out. So I think the game either needs to get a little more granular with weapons so there are real choices to be made (aka bring back weapons types vs armor types and similar stats) or completely divorce damage from the actual weapon and just have it based on class and level (fighters get the best damage and versatility and it tiers down from there).
 


TheSword

Legend
People who spend their time fighting a nd killing monsters and other "people" would probably be inclined to use the best tool for the job at hand. But D&D is all about cool iconic images and power fantasy, so practical considerations are often thrown out. So I think the game either needs to get a little more granular with weapons so there are real choices to be made (aka bring back weapons types vs armor types and similar stats) or completely divorce damage from the actual weapon and just have it based on class and level (fighters get the best damage and versatility and it tiers down from there).
You don’t think that’s an extreme reaction for a corner case?
 

Reynard

Legend
You don’t think that’s an extreme reaction for a corner case?
The trident is a corner case but the problem is persistent throughout the design. There's an inherent tension between Rule of Cool and "Realism" (probably better described as "simulationism") that has always existed in D&D, but has gotten more stark in 5E because it is intended to be easy to grok and fast in play. Those are worthy design goals, but you make sacrifices to achieve them.
 

From the DM's side, I can see it being abusive, but from the player side it has some great advantages. Rather than get rid of it, I think it should have some limitation - as long as it prevents yo-yoing, I think the spell would be okay. Maybe put a stipulation on (all) healing spells that they have no effect on characters who are not first stabilized. Gives a lot of oomph to Spare the Dying (or having a medicine kit), makes healing a target before they drop to 0 much more enticing and puts a delay on bringing a downed character back too quickly, but not utterly preventing it.
What is the underlying issue here that you are having? Instead of band-aide patching a spell or two, what motivates the notion that there is a 'problem' here. Is there some particular narrative which cannot be realized due to the way these mechanics work?
 

The trident is a corner case but the problem is persistent throughout the design. There's an inherent tension between Rule of Cool and "Realism" (probably better described as "simulationism") that has always existed in D&D, but has gotten more stark in 5E because it is intended to be easy to grok and fast in play. Those are worthy design goals, but you make sacrifices to achieve them.
Yeah, this is the real underlying reason why 4e is so well-liked (particularly in retrospect) in a large segment of the community. Because the FIRST THING that happened when it was designed is someone said "this is a game" and all the weird 'but it has to be realistic' crippling thinking went out the window. What you need in an RPG is 'story thinking', what will make a game that plays a good fun story, both in outcome and process. One aspect of that is that we can understand what is going on and the fiction has some 'bite' to it. So we do want a sort of map of expectations, which are ultimately derived from actual human experience in the real world, to exist between the fiction and the way the game process interacts with it and how that whole interplay works.

What we don't want is "that isn't realistic, so you can't do it." That's what mother nature tells me in the real world, which is exactly why I play RPGs. There was more to it than just this aspect, but you often see this part raise its ugly head when people talk about weapons or something like that. In terms of the 'trident vs sword', I guess you could argue that the rules should favor swords, but you can equally well argue that should be up to the players. It is of course logically impossible for a single game to cater to both wishes...
 

Stormonu

Legend
What is the underlying issue here that you are having? Instead of band-aide patching a spell or two, what motivates the notion that there is a 'problem' here. Is there some particular narrative which cannot be realized due to the way these mechanics work?
I think the primary issue people have with this spell is they don’t like the Bonus Action to bring someone back into the fight so easily and quickly. I think most DMs from older editions of the game prefer that when someone in the combat is dropped to 0 (on either side), they are out of participation for the rest of the combat, and that quickly patching them back up to get back into the fight creates a dissonance in storytelling they don’t like. It is part and parcel to the “1+ hit point and your fine, 0 hit points or less and your (unconscious and) dying” binary state of D&D. Healing Word comes across like mage handing smelling salts under PC noses to get them back in the fight.

I confess to having some sympathy to this viewpoint.
 

Reynard

Legend
Yeah, this is the real underlying reason why 4e is so well-liked (particularly in retrospect) in a large segment of the community. Because the FIRST THING that happened when it was designed is someone said "this is a game" and all the weird 'but it has to be realistic' crippling thinking went out the window. What you need in an RPG is 'story thinking', what will make a game that plays a good fun story, both in outcome and process. One aspect of that is that we can understand what is going on and the fiction has some 'bite' to it. So we do want a sort of map of expectations, which are ultimately derived from actual human experience in the real world, to exist between the fiction and the way the game process interacts with it and how that whole interplay works.

What we don't want is "that isn't realistic, so you can't do it." That's what mother nature tells me in the real world, which is exactly why I play RPGs. There was more to it than just this aspect, but you often see this part raise its ugly head when people talk about weapons or something like that. In terms of the 'trident vs sword', I guess you could argue that the rules should favor swords, but you can equally well argue that should be up to the players. It is of course logically impossible for a single game to cater to both wishes...
Emphasis mine.

Well, I don't know if that's what we NEED, but I think it is one way to approach RPG play. Another way is through a lens of simulation, which is totally valid and can be fun, but I do agree that they tend to be --- if not mutually exclusive, at least difficult to marry.
 

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