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D&D 5E What Single Thing Would You Eliminate

Remember those weapon abilities from 3rd Edition? I really miss those.

Defensive: weapons with this property have wide flat surfaces that can be used as a rudimentary shield. While wielding a weapon with this property, you may use your Bonus action to interpose the weapon between you and your opponent, gaining a +1 bonus to AC until the beginning of your next turn. (Example: greataxe)
5e's answer to this is the Dual Wielder feat (and perhaps the Defensive Duelist feat and/or the Defense Fighting Style)

Disarming: weapons with this property have hooks or spikes that can be used to catch or snag an opponent's weapon or shield. While wielding a weapon with this property, you have Advantage on all ability checks and opposed rolls made to disarm your opponent. (Example: trident)
Disarm is a special attack in 5e (DMG p271)

Staggering: weapons with this property are designed to use their mass to unbalance foes. While wielding a weapon with this property, you have Advantage on all ability checks and opposed rolls made to push or move your opponent. (Example: greatclub)

Tripping: weapons with this property have features that can be used to snag a creature's limbs. While wielding a weapon with this property, you have Advantage on all ability checks and opposed rolls made to knock your opponent prone. (Example: whip)
Shove is a special attack that can do either of these (PHB p195)

And so on.

So, these abilities are now detached from specific weapons and, in the case of the latter 3, one might argue are more flexible and available in 5e than 3e.
 

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Lord Twig

Adventurer
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.
Actually I don't want people to sit out for the rest of the combat, that isn't fun. But I do want there to be some challenge and urgency to bringing a fallen character back up. If you have to move into touch range and use a regular action to cast Cure Wounds there is measurable cost that is actually felt to save a friend from death. After that the saved character should be truly grateful that he was saved because the other character actually sacrificed something to save them. Healing Word means the cleric can continue making his attack, doesn't even have to move from where he is and the person is back up. At that point it is just a "Thanks!" and "No big deal!" because it wasn't a big deal.

Also the whack-a-mole is a little less of a problem if the healer is using an action and has to be next to the person to bring them back up.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
5e's answer to this is the Dual Wielder feat (and perhaps the Defensive Duelist feat and/or the Defense Fighting Style)

Disarm is a special attack in 5e (DMG p271)

Shove is a special attack that can do either of these (PHB p195)

So, these abilities are now detached from specific weapons and, in the case of the latter 3, one might argue are more flexible and available in 5e than 3e.
Yeah, I know where to find these abilities, and how they were replaced in 5th Edition. What I was trying to say was, I miss having them attached to specific weapons. It wasn't about flexibility or availability; I liked how it made weapons feel unique. But it's not a deal-breaker for me--I'm content to follow the 5E way of doing things--it's just a matter of preference is all.

One might argue that they are more flexible and available in 5e than 3e, but it's not really an argument for me.
 

TheSword

Legend
The problem with this approach-- and I will never get tired of saying this-- is that the people who most want a reasonable sense of realism in D&D are the people with the least reasonable grasp of reality outside of it: the people whose sense of realism is based primarily on older forms of D&D with no understanding of the sacrifices older D&D made to reality for the sake of gameplay and genre conventions.

People who balk at a Monk surviving a 10d6 fall, but not a Fighter surviving a 12d8 breath weapon. People who replace Armor Class with Damage Reduction with no allowance for stilettos and warhammers. People who think it's unrealistic for a 7th level Fighter to reduce the -8 Armor Check Penalty for half plate armor, or a 6th level Ranger to fire three arrows in six seconds. People who think a smoothbore matchlock musket is a better weapon than the English longbow, that needs to cost a fortune and require specialized training to be balanced.

@TheSword makes a good point about consistency and predictability... but these things are not exclusively the product of "grounded realism" that doesn't take actual military history or athletic achievements into account.
Not everyone’s view of reality is based on earlier editions though. Some people have remained consistent no matter what edition they play.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sure but it’s a piercing weapon which underwater is really helpfully. Not to mention the fact that the weight and cost, not to mention the artwork suggests it’s made of metal. Unlike a wooden spear, which also wouldn’t last very long underwater.

Why do weapons have to be all things to all people, all the time. Why can’t the trident be niche.
I don't at all mind it being niche in principle; though IME underwater is more "extreme corner case" than "niche": in over 35 years of DMing I can count on one hand the number of underwater combats I've run. Off the top of my head I can't in fact remember any.

Being niche is no reason to underpower it, however.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I’d go so far as to say a unrealistic setting with gonzo stuff means that characters can’t reasonably predict what opponents can do. Which removes a massive element of strategy from the game.
Which is the very thing that makes it interesting when a party does temporarily find itself in an completely unpredictable or gonzo setting: that underlying predictability they're used to is stripped away and they have to come up with new or different means of dealing with that.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The problem with this approach-- and I will never get tired of saying this-- is that the people who most want a reasonable sense of realism in D&D are the people with the least reasonable grasp of reality outside of it: the people whose sense of realism is based primarily on older forms of D&D with no understanding of the sacrifices older D&D made to reality for the sake of gameplay and genre conventions.
Or who are willing to live with those sacrifices in order to make the game playable, while perhaps mitigating said sacrifices where possible via kitbash and houserule.
People who balk at a Monk surviving a 10d6 fall, but not a Fighter surviving a 12d8 breath weapon. People who replace Armor Class with Damage Reduction with no allowance for stilettos and warhammers. People who think it's unrealistic for a 7th level Fighter to reduce the -8 Armor Check Penalty for half plate armor, or a 6th level Ranger to fire three arrows in six seconds. People who think a smoothbore matchlock musket is a better weapon than the English longbow, that needs to cost a fortune and require specialized training to be balanced.
A Monk surviving a 10d6 fall makes in-game sense as if it's a Monk of any worth it'll probably have means of mitigating that fall and thus the damage. Any other class, without magical help? Not so much... :)

A better comparison would be a Fighter surviving both.

As for the rest, other than an extremely rare property of some magic armours I don't use DR. Armor Check Penalty must be from an ediition or splatbook I'm not familiar with. Three arrows in six seconds? Not gonna happen unless you're somehow trying to fire them all at once. No gunpowder in my games thus a smoothbore matchlock musket ain't gonna be much use other than as a rather second-rate clubbing weapon; though even if I had pre-19th-century muskets I'd still have the longbow be the better and more reliable option.
@TheSword makes a good point about consistency and predictability... but these things are not exclusively the product of "grounded realism" that doesn't take actual military history or athletic achievements into account.
Thing is, grounded realism extends way beyond this into much more basic things that we most of the time just take for granted. We generally assume gravity and magnetism work the way we're used to; ditto the relationship between elements and materials (e.g. water puts fires out while oil makes 'em burn hotter) and that the same materials are generally used for the same things they are in the real world (houses are built of stone or wood, clay can be made into ceramics for pots and urns, weapon blades are metal, etc.).

Most of us also assume - until and unless specifically told otherwise - some real-world basis for how things like geology, tides, weather etc. work, and how they shape the physical world the characters inhabit.

These are the basic sort of things that make a game world consistent and - for us limited-to-the-real-world players - relatable.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Actually I don't want people to sit out for the rest of the combat, that isn't fun. But I do want there to be some challenge and urgency to bringing a fallen character back up. If you have to move into touch range and use a regular action to cast Cure Wounds there is measurable cost that is actually felt to save a friend from death.
Never mind that the healer is - or certainly should be - open to attack during this if the combat is still going on within reach, and might lose the spell to no effect.
 

Reynard

Legend
Never mind that the healer is - or certainly should be - open to attack during this if the combat is still going on within reach, and might lose the spell to no effect.
I don't think there is a way to cause a caster to lose a spell in 5E because of the way readied actions work.

Really, a group of smart enemies encountering the party should gang up on any obvious cleric or other healer first and foremost, then move on to the controllers. Let the tank tank nothing until they are ready to gang up on him. But this leads to "D&D combat as war" which is seen as fair or even fun by many players.
 

rmcoen

Explorer
Yeah, players make many more saves than that Orc that’s dead in two rounds does. So it hugely disadvantages players. Doesn’t feel much fun to me.
Well so far - the players just reached 5th level - the players have had to make a couple poison saves against giant spiders, some STR saves against being knocked prone (dire wolves), one disease save (gas spore), and a series of paralysis saves (carrion crawler). They have fought one caster enemy, a deathlock, so a few had to save against hunger of hadar for 2d6 damage. On the other hand, two of the five PCs use cantrips with saves as their primary attack. So right now we're looking at maybe 20-30 player saves across the whole campaign, vs. something like 8ish saves for monsters every encounter. They have enjoyed the occasional "auto-12" on toll the dead when the monster Nat 1s.

Although, as I type this, I realize that the reason this works at my table is probably based a second house rule! We did away with Inspiration (actually, revamped it to be very story- and player-based, and no one has triggered it yet), and replaced it with Luck Points. Generally you get 1 per session (our sessions are generally 3-4 hours), and you can "store" up to 3. [There's more to it than that.] You can spend a Luck Point to reroll "after seeing the die, before knowing the result", or you can spend a Luck Point to change a "missed by 1" to a success, or "made it exactly" to a failure. So when a PC rolls a Nat 1 on a save (or suffers a Critical Hit), they spend a Luck Point...
 

I don't think there is a way to cause a caster to lose a spell in 5E because of the way readied actions work.
[B
Really, a group of smart enemies encountering the party should gang up on any obvious cleric or other healer first and foremost, then move on to the controllers/b]. Let the tank tank nothing until they are ready to gang up on him. But this leads to "D&D combat as war" which is seen as fair or even fun by many players.
That gets into why removing almost all of the conditions that trigger an AoO practically eliminates the so much of the support for tactical combat. With a robust system of AoOs the tanks you mentioned can significantly hamper or dramatically injure opponents who want to go splatter the healers and controllers as you note but without robust AoOs opponents can literally just run a circle around them to go smash the healers and controllers without any risk unless doing so requires actually stepping sway.
 

Reynard

Legend
That gets into why removing almost all of the conditions that trigger an AoO practically eliminates the so much of the support for tactical combat. With a robust system of AoOs the tanks you mentioned can significantly hamper or dramatically injure opponents who want to go splatter the healers and controllers as you note but without robust AoOs opponents can literally just run a circle around them to go smash the healers and controllers without any risk unless doing so requires actually stepping sway.
Sometimes I really want to let loose against the PCs but it can be disruptive to an ongoing campaign. I am toying with having the PCs discover and investigate the site of a battle between the BBEG and some group of powerful good guys, and actually have the players play out that battle as sort of a flashback. This way I can give them information about the BBEG's capabilities while also scaring them with just how ruthless and powerful the BBEG is.
 

rmcoen

Explorer
Sometimes I really want to let loose against the PCs but it can be disruptive to an ongoing campaign. I am toying with having the PCs discover and investigate the site of a battle between the BBEG and some group of powerful good guys, and actually have the players play out that battle as sort of a flashback. This way I can give them information about the BBEG's capabilities while also scaring them with just how ruthless and powerful the BBEG is.
I did something like that once... the PCs (5th level) were exploring some ruins they found in the wilderness, and decided to take a long rest in a tower. They "woke up" instead in custom-made PCs of their choice (with some thematic limitations), 10th level, and played a two-session mini-adventure which ended with their deaths at the hands of the BBEG (specifically, in that tower)! Then the PCs truly awoke, a strange blue mist fading from the area... It worked great for showcasing the BBEG's power, gave them a little "inside information" about the locale and their foe, and then.... they fled! :)
 

TheSword

Legend
Well so far - the players just reached 5th level - the players have had to make a couple poison saves against giant spiders, some STR saves against being knocked prone (dire wolves), one disease save (gas spore), and a series of paralysis saves (carrion crawler). They have fought one caster enemy, a deathlock, so a few had to save against hunger of hadar for 2d6 damage. On the other hand, two of the five PCs use cantrips with saves as their primary attack. So right now we're looking at maybe 20-30 player saves across the whole campaign, vs. something like 8ish saves for monsters every encounter. They have enjoyed the occasional "auto-12" on toll the dead when the monster Nat 1s.

Although, as I type this, I realize that the reason this works at my table is probably based a second house rule! We did away with Inspiration (actually, revamped it to be very story- and player-based, and no one has triggered it yet), and replaced it with Luck Points. Generally you get 1 per session (our sessions are generally 3-4 hours), and you can "store" up to 3. [There's more to it than that.] You can spend a Luck Point to reroll "after seeing the die, before knowing the result", or you can spend a Luck Point to change a "missed by 1" to a success, or "made it exactly" to a failure. So when a PC rolls a Nat 1 on a save (or suffers a Critical Hit), they spend a Luck Point...
That would make a massive difference.

Worth noting that it doesn’t matter how many saves the monsters make as a collective... they are expected to die. Whereas PCs only need to fail once or twice and that’s a big deal.

Sounds like you have the safety bet though with luck points.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
As for the rest, other than an extremely rare property of some magic armours I don't use DR.

It's one of the most common house rules touted by "realists". There was even an implementation in the 3.5 version of Unearthed Arcana.

Armor Check Penalty must be from an ediition or splatbook I'm not familiar with.

Third Edition?


Three arrows in six seconds? Not gonna happen unless you're somehow trying to fire them all at once.

Case in point, then. What level do you think this guy is?

What level of Fighter do you suggest that a player character has to be, to be a better-- or at least faster-- archer than a guy with a YouTube channel?

Thing is, grounded realism extends way beyond this into much more basic things that we most of the time just take for granted. We generally assume gravity and magnetism work the way we're used to; ditto the relationship between elements and materials (e.g. water puts fires out while oil makes 'em burn hotter) and that the same materials are generally used for the same things they are in the real world (houses are built of stone or wood, clay can be made into ceramics for pots and urns, weapon blades are metal, etc.).

Most of us also assume - until and unless specifically told otherwise - some real-world basis for how things like geology, tides, weather etc. work, and how they shape the physical world the characters inhabit.

These are the basic sort of things that make a game world consistent and - for us limited-to-the-real-world players - relatable.

See, and this is why magic doesn't work in D&D, why all of the magical elements and the "heroic" elements don't hang together-- because D&D worlds are not magical worlds, they are mundane worlds with a thin layer of magic spread on top. People then expect that magic to conform to the same physical laws that, by definition, it is breaking and are stymied when it doesn't and can't.

I'm not advocating for some kind of Eberronian magitech or some Final Fantasy business... but, fundamentally, magic cannot be consistent and make logical sense in a reality that stipulates the existence of nonmagical processes. An actual magical setting isn't nearly as unrelatable as you're suggesting, because most of the sciencelords demanding that magical law at least imitate physical law aren't really that good at science in the first place-- just ask them about their dice.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Really, a group of smart enemies encountering the party should gang up on any obvious cleric or other healer first and foremost, then move on to the controllers. Let the tank tank nothing until they are ready to gang up on him. But this leads to "D&D combat as war" which is seen as fair or even fun by many players.
I tend to find that in most Combat-as-War games (defined as the expectation that players use pre-initiative strategy to engineer encounters to be lopsided in their favor) tanking works better than it does in Combat-as-Sport games (defined as the expectation that characters use post-initiative tactics to win encounters as they are presented by the DM). This is because in a CaW game, the outcome is often decided before initiative is even rolled, so there is less cost in RPing target choices during the actual battle based on a character's immediate circumstances (i.e. not ignoring the opponent in your face with a sword), rather than strictly optimizing target selection based on the game mechanics.

In a CaS game, however, since the difficulty of the encounters is determined by the DM and largely static, there is usually more pressure to resolve the fight "optimally" either to ensure victory (for a DM-planned climactic encounter) or to minimize resource expenditure (for a DM-planned resource-draining encounter).

For the same reason, I tend to see retreats and outright routs much more often in CaW games, whereas CaS tends to lead to more fights to the finish as the encounter difficulty was calibrated by the CaS DM on that basis. (The "sport" analogy here is particularly apt, as the expectation in most sports is that the losing team still continues to play to the end of the game, rather than fleeing the stadium when things look grim. War, by contrast, has no such expectations.)
 



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