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5E What to do about Hypnotic Pattern?

We had a Bard with this spell, who also had an Instrument of the Bards.

Now that's a nasty combo. Thanks to the Instrument, the monsters get disadvantage to the Save.

Even then it didnt break anything because the DM polices the adventuring day.
 

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We had a Bard with this spell, who also had an Instrument of the Bards.

Now that's a nasty combo. Thanks to the Instrument, the monsters get disadvantage to the Save.

Even then it didnt break anything because the DM polices the adventuring day.

I think you need to aim for a fair balance between allowing the magic item to feel awesome and posing a challengr once in between. I personally don't like to police the adventuring day and rather try to convey that I don't care one way or the other if the encounters are balanced within that adventuring day. So the uncertainety makes the players police themselves because they only want to go all in if necessary.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I don't get this mentality. The PCs are meant to succeed and to use their abilities. CELEBRATE IT. Don't shame it. Don't try to beat it down - only counteract it if an NPC/monster has reason to know of it and counteract it. If they use it in 90% of their battles - great! Does Spider-man need to be stopped from wall crawling or using his webs? If they want to mix things up, they can. They're the heroes.

You're not trying to beat them. You don't need them fearing death in every combat. Some combats should have no fear of death - but fear that something else will go wrong, like a prisoner being killed, an enemy raising an alarm, a ritual being completed, people you're protecting being attacked, etc...

So my answer: Just play the game and celebrate their success. Every time I've seen a DM really embrace this mentality, the quality of their games (and the enjoyment of their players) has skyrocketed.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
It’s ironic, Fire ball is dealing 8d6 damage for an average of 28 damage and 14 on a passed save. Then there is fire resistance etc.

A level 5 ranger is attacking 4 times a round, every round. Fireball is circumstantial good, but I don’t think it dominates... other than through ease and satisfaction of blasting things.
 

I personally don't like to police the adventuring day and rather try to convey that I don't care one way or the other if the encounters are balanced within that adventuring day. So the uncertainety makes the players police themselves because they only want to go all in if necessary.

Dude, in your post above you stated:

1) You've implemented unique resting rules, making resting harder and taking longer
2) You've created uncertainty as to the power of encounters in your game, to encourage the players to manage resources themselves

So you ARE policing the adventuring day.
 

It’s ironic, Fire ball is dealing 8d6 damage for an average of 28 damage and 14 on a passed save. Then there is fire resistance etc.

A level 5 ranger is attacking 4 times a round, every round. Fireball is circumstantial good, but I don’t think it dominates... other than through ease and satisfaction of blasting things.

Like the complaint was that casters at 20th level get 4-5 high level (6th-9th) slots.

Meanwhile fighters at 20th level are spamming near 100 damage per round, at will, with 2 action surges and a bazillion superiority dice to spam every single short rest to easily reach 200+.
 

Dude, in your post above you stated:

1) You've implemented unique resting rules, making resting harder and taking longer
2) You've created uncertainty as to the power of encounters in your game, to encourage the players to manage resources themselves

So you ARE policing the adventuring day.

Oh. I think about something different when you speak about policing the adventuring day. I just chose different healing methods which are static once applied. It is not more policing the adventuring day than using the standard heaing method.
Policing the adventuring day as I understand is forcing the players to go on when you as a DM don't feel that players should do a long rest. Throwing monsters at them when you think that they just should not rest. Which I don't do. I just roll for random monsters which might shorten your rest and force you to go on. A big difference in my opinion.

Oh and I am NOT your dude.
 

Oh. I think about something different when you speak about policing the adventuring day.

No, policing the adventuring day is ANY action taken by the DM to deal with the 5MWD.

It includes tweaking the resting rules or using rest variants. Rulings. Random monsters. Not-so-random monsters. Doom clocks. Failing forward. Taking to the players and reaching social consensus not to try and game the rest system. Even heavy handed 'you rest and nothing happens' or 'nope'.

Managing your players use of resources to make their decisions to use [action surge, spells, smites, rages, sup dice etc etc] meaningful.
 

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.

Exactly. Fireball is a favorite spell because it is powerful. If one guy likes Hypnotic Pattern because it is powerful, that is normal. Actually, I appreciate the diversity away from Fireball.
 

No, policing the adventuring day is ANY action taken by the DM to deal with the 5MWD.

It includes tweaking the resting rules or using rest variants. Rulings. Random monsters. Not-so-random monsters. Doom clocks. Failing forward. Taking to the players and reaching social consensus not to try and game the rest system. Even heavy handed 'you rest and nothing happens' or 'nope'.

Managing your players use of resources to make their decisions to use [action surge, spells, smites, rages, sup dice etc etc] meaningful.

So we were just speaking of different things then. Depends on how you define "policing".
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Exactly. Fireball is a favorite spell because it is powerful. If one guy likes Hypnotic Pattern because it is powerful, that is normal. Actually, I appreciate the diversity away from Fireball.
I actual think fireball is popular because it’s flashy, simple and does what it says on the tin. In 5e with hp being what they are there are definitely more powerful spells that don’t get such a look in. Let’s be honest, blowing things up is fun though!
 

If some tactic seems unfair, use it against the players.

If the players feel it is unfair against them, they are more willing to modify it to balance it.
 

Arvok

Explorer
I don't get this mentality. The PCs are meant to succeed and to use their abilities. CELEBRATE IT. Don't shame it. Don't try to beat it down - only counteract it if an NPC/monster has reason to know of it and counteract it. If they use it in 90% of their battles - great! Does Spider-man need to be stopped from wall crawling or using his webs? If they want to mix things up, they can. They're the heroes.

You're not trying to beat them. You don't need them fearing death in every combat. Some combats should have no fear of death - but fear that something else will go wrong, like a prisoner being killed, an enemy raising an alarm, a ritual being completed, people you're protecting being attacked, etc...

So my answer: Just play the game and celebrate their success. Every time I've seen a DM really embrace this mentality, the quality of their games (and the enjoyment of their players) has skyrocketed.
The only thing I would add is that you should enjoy their failures also (and I think you alluded to this). I'm not talking PC death or TPK (though those can lead to epic RP moments), just that when the players fall flat on their faces is when they can really shine. Success isn't defined by how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
If some tactic seems unfair, use it against the players.

If the players feel it is unfair against them, they are more willing to modify it to balance it.
The only challenge to this approach is that higher saves and methods of resisting such things, and generally smaller parties of adventurers than the enemies their facing means HP will affect an of rushing horde of Orcs more than a typical party of four.
 

The only challenge to this approach is that higher saves and methods of resisting such things, and generally smaller parties of adventurers than the enemies their facing means HP will affect an of rushing horde of Orcs more than a typical party of four.
The challenge can be a "nemesis" party of four, who also have high saves, and can use the spell against the party.

For a horde of Orcs, to control some of them by means of Hypnotic Pattern, seems to be the spell working as intended.
 




FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I actual think fireball is popular because it’s flashy, simple and does what it says on the tin. In 5e with hp being what they are there are definitely more powerful spells that don’t get such a look in. Let’s be honest, blowing things up is fun though!

fireball is one of the best non-concentration spells out there. It does as much single target damage as the best single target damage spells up through level 10.

it also doesn’t take hitting many enemies before you are doing significantly more damage and impact on fireball turns than anything but the most DPR focused GWM and SS builds.

concentration spells like hypnotic pattern can be better but they also take your concentration.

Having a long duration prebuff like polymorph going and then casting fireball at the start of an encounter is a strong alternative tactic to hypnotic pattern.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Why don't the casters counterspell it?

Possibly because counterspell has a shorter range than hypnotic pattern. Also, you gotta be able to see the caster to counterspell, which one can arrange to make not-doable. Also, the casters might be written to prefer to use their reaction for something like shield. Also, the casters might not have counterspell prepared or in any way available.
 

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