D&D 5E "When DMing I Avoid Making the PCs have 'pointless' combats." (a poll)

True or False: "When DMing I Avoid Making the PCs have 'pointless' combats."

  • True.

    Votes: 85 56.7%
  • False.

    Votes: 65 43.3%

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I don't really see this as a "massive extreme" or "pointless." Pointless relative to what? It's an event in the game. The rules cover how to handle this as @Charlaquin has already stated, so we'll just have to see how this adds to the story we're creating by playing.

As it happens, the current game I'm running does have a random encounter that might go this way - a single eagle which flies away if it notices anyone approach within 30 feet. That's it, that's the encounter. Do they loose an arrow at it? Sneak up on it and try to stuff it in a sack? Communicate with it from a distance? Give it a wave and pass on by? What does what they do tell us about the nature of the characters and their priorities?
What is the XP value of that eagle?
 

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JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
I don't really see this as a "massive extreme" or "pointless." Pointless relative to what? It's an event in the game. The rules cover how to handle this as @Charlaquin has already stated, so we'll just have to see how this adds to the story we're creating by playing.

As it happens, the current game I'm running does have a random encounter that might go this way - a single eagle which flies away if it notices anyone approach within 30 feet. That's it, that's the encounter. Do they loose an arrow at it? Sneak up on it and try to stuff it in a sack? Communicate with it from a distance? Give it a wave and pass on by? What does what they do tell us about the nature of the characters and their priorities?
You are, like many others in the thread, are conflating combat and encounter. They are different. Combat in 5e is a subset of the rules where time slows to a crawl and all in it begin acting in sequential order using discrete options based on their character build.

Just asking someone to make a hit roll as if it were a skill check is NOT a combat.

My point is 5 20th level PCs vs 1 common songbird is a pointless combat. It may or may not be a pointless encounter.

I can't really say it any other way.
 

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
Is it? I feel like in this situation, either it doesn’t matter whether the robin does or not, in which case DM could just rule that the rogue succeeds in killing the robin without needing to roll, or it does matter, in which case an opposed Dex check to see if the rogue can pull it off before the robin flies away would be appropriate, followed by an attack roll to see if the rogue can hit the robin with the attack before it flies away. Which happens to coincide with the combat rules. Either way, I don’t think a pointless combat has occurred. If a combat occurred, the point was to determine if the meaningful consequence for failure occurred. If there was no meaningful consequence for failure, there was no need for a roll, therefore no combat.
You just defined a pointless combat. One in which there is no meaningful penalty for failure, no drain of resources, and no need to resort to round by round play when a skill check would be better suited.

I used a songbird as my example but you can scale up the target quite a bit before it triggers a non-pointless combat threshold.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
You are, like many others in the thread, are conflating combat and encounter. They are different. Combat in 5e is a subset of the rules where time slows to a crawl and all in it begin acting in sequential order using discrete options based on their character build.

Just asking someone to make a hit roll as if it were a skill check is NOT a combat.

My point is 5 20th level PCs vs 1 common songbird is a pointless combat. It may or may not be a pointless encounter.

I can't really say it any other way.
What is the practical difference between a combat of 5 20th level PCs vs one common songbird and asking someone to make a hit roll as if it were a skill check? The fact that they roll initiative first to see who gets to make the attack roll?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
You just defined a pointless combat.
Well, I voted that I don’t try to avoid pointless combats, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
One in which there is no meaningful penalty for failure, no drain of resources, and no need to resort to round by round play when a skill check would be better suited.
I did say if there’s no meaningful for failure, there’s no need for a roll. The rogue can just succeed at killing the robin in that case.
I used a songbird as my example but you can scale up the target quite a bit before it triggers a non-pointless combat threshold.
It still doesn’t seem to me like your hypothetical demonstrates an instance of a pointless combat. Either there is no consequence for failure, in which case there is no combat because the action can be resolved without needing to call for any rolls, as per the how to play rules; or, there is a consequence for failure, in which case the combat is not pointless. The point is to see if that consequence occurs.
 

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