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5E What to do about Hypnotic Pattern?

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
The groups I DM for always have someone with hypnotic pattern, as soon as they're high enough level to take the spell. This is because one particular player has learned how good it is and therefore always takes it. Always. No exceptions. And if that PC runs out of spell slots to cast it, they'll rest instead of fighting without it.

I've spread out the baddies so that they can't all be caught with one spell.

I've given the baddies magic resistance.

I've had the baddies use their turns to wake each other up.

None of them seem to prevent the fights from becoming predictable, at least where hypnotic pattern is concerned. I really hate that bit at the end when the whole party is whaling on the one poor leftover who was looking at the pretty lights while his buddies got slaughtered.

Does anyone have suggestions for any other way to deal with the spell?
 

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Conjures Hypnotic Pattern from the days of old.
"Creates a pattern in front of the Illusionist that will hold any it catches motionless, staring at it. It catches 4d6 1st level types, 3d6 2nd level types, 2d6 3rd or 4th level types, 1d6 5th or 6th level types. The effect lasts as long as the Illusionist concentrates, plus 1d6+3 turns afterwards."

Looks like it had a CR limit once upon a time.
 

And if that PC runs out of spell slots to cast it, they'll rest instead of fighting without it.
This is your real issue. While currently the problem is Hypnotic Pattern, the same issue could easily be Fireball or any other spell/ability. You should look into the 5MWD issue for solutions.

As for Hypnotic Pattern, it's a very strong spell, but it's not the end all, be all. Unless very high level, statistically a few targets should save. Creatures immune to Charm are immune. Allies in the area are affected. As for once the rest of the enemies are defeated I just skip to the end of combat, unless an affected target is particularly powerful, since it'll only end with the party taken maybe 1-2 more hits per charmed creature on average.
 



Mort

Hero
Supporter
Hypnotic pattern imposes the charmed condition, so start throwing in a greater % of monsters immune to charm.

Golems, other constructs (Mordenkainen's tomb of Foes has some fun ones), many undead (banshees and bodaks are fun).

If you have D&D beyond, filter by monsters immune to charm and go nuts.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
This is your real issue. While currently the problem is Hypnotic Pattern, the same issue could easily be Fireball or any other spell/ability. You should look into the 5MWD issue for solutions.
Yeah, I know. And I've got some techniques for dealing with that. My main point about mentioning the rests was just that every. single. fight this group engages in is likely to feature hypnotic pattern.

How often do the PCs go up against enemy spellcasters with counterspell?
Not that many, I admit--partly because I hate running them.
 



MiraMels

Explorer
Folk have already mentioned fielding baddies that are immune to charm.

I'd also recommend fielding baddies that don't use sight to perceive the world (you have to see the pattern to be affected by it), or structuring combat environments such that not every baddie fits in a 30 foot cube, or simply by running fights with more numerous, weaker baddies.
 


Stalker0

Legend
The spell has the concentration descriptor - so it's concentration dependant.

As for how, well, even though it says "The pattern appears for a moment and vanishes." it's a minute duration so the caster has to concentrate maintain the effect.

yep, archers are your best bet. If the pattern gets the melee guys have the archers pelt the caster to try and break it, thats probably your best bet
 

every. single. fight this group engages in is likely to feature hypnotic pattern.
Groups tend to focus on things they find particularly powerful. In my first game we had a half-elf red dragon sorceress. Once she got to 5th level, fireball began its long and glorious career. Starting about 9th level, at least 1 fireball appeared every encounter; often it was two. She tried to diversify, but found that upcasting fireball was generally better than most other choices (this was pre-XGtE). The only time I got a break from fireball was when they went into a volcano to face off against fire giants and a red dragon, and even then it made an occasional appearance (she could ignore Resistance, but not Immunity). This continued until level 18, when the campaign came to a close. As a DM you just kind of get used to it, because the focus may change to something else over time. My group is currently focused on Suggestion, Spirit Guardians, and Sickening Radiance.
 

ninjayeti

Adventurer
"The spell ends for the affected creature if it takes any damage or if someone else uses an action to shake the creature out of its stupor." Reasonably intelligent enemies should always do this. If the bad guys are all acting on the same initiative count then the one guy who saves (or is outside the AoE) shakes guy #2, who then uses his action to shake guy#3, etc.

My bard uses this spell all the time. But unless I am using it on completely unintelligent enemies (or everyone fails their save) the effect rarely lasts more than one round. Action economy being what it is, shutting down the bad guys for one round is usually worth the spell slot, but the spell is hardly game-breaking.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
It's probably his favorite spell. I'd ask him and the other members first if they feel the fights have gotten too predictable.

If so, you could always introduce enemies in waves after the first Hypnotic Pattern goes off.

You said you spread your enemies out, but have you surrounded them?

I'd be wary of nerfing something that someone at the table seems to like, even if its for the sake of "balance."
 

Dausuul

Legend
In addition to everything above, don't forget the spell depends on vision. Enemies like grimlocks that rely on blindsight are immune.

But I might consider a nerf to the spell. Hypnotic pattern is just insanely overpowered for its level. I believe it's banned in AL, which says something.
 

Mort

Hero
Supporter
In addition to everything above, don't forget the spell depends on vision. Enemies like grimlocks that rely on blindsight are immune.

But I might consider a nerf to the spell. Hypnotic pattern is just insanely overpowered for its level. I believe it's banned in AL, which says something.

Really? It was in heavy use last year at Gen Con (at the AL adventures)?

But yes, it definitely allows parties to hit above their pay grade.
 

Adamant

Explorer
AL doesn't actually ban spells, the only ones they've done anything about were simulacrum and wish. Even then they just banned sim chains and limited wish to not lasting more than one session if you go outside the list.
 



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