There are games in which the players are co-equal and the DM is just another player. 5e is not one of them. 5e actively followed a design goal of DM Empowerment, and delivered on it. Thus, yes, the DM's imagination trumps that of each of his players individually, or all of them, collectively. D&D has mostly gone that way. In 3.5/Pathfinder, you might be able to assert yourself a great deal as a player, and 'rules lawyer' the DM into seeing things your way, thanks to the reverence fans of that ed/system have for 'the RAW,' but 3.5, itself, actually codifies the DM's prerogative as 'Rule 0' - the community just tends to ignore it.Why does the DM's imagination trump everyone else's? Aren't we all playing a game together?
In that example, the DM undercuts himself by explaining his reasoning, but, in general, yes, that's the idea. The system failed (snapped under the strain of your system mastery), but the DM corrected that failure.What if I use a spell/ability creatively and it, by the rules, takes out the BBEG in one round, only for the DM to say, "That's anti-climatic, BBEG stays up." It's 'better' because he says so?
Yes, really. In that case, of course, one of the more imaginative players might just offer to take over the DM role, himself.What if the DM isn't as imaginative as the rest of the players...his imagination still trumps everything else? Really??
The only thing that would be 'inherently flawed' would be if the DC somehow didn't work. If 'easy' DCs turned out to be impossible, and 'hard' ones turned out to be a cakewalk. Given something as simple as d20+mods vs a DC, I don't see how that could easily happen.I don't dispute that, I just note that just because a low-level party comes up against a high DC in 5e doesn't mean that something's broken, so thus having the assumption that the DC is not tailored to the party isn't inherently flawed (as AA was indicating).
Unfortunately, 'failure' in D&D combats is prettymuch the TPK. That's a pretty extreme failure, and it's not like there's a grand tradition of saving to disk in D&D, either.It's totally in-fantasy-genre to always succeed, but not it's not typically a very good gameplay element. Games are interactive, and part of that interactivity is shown by the ability to fail
Instead, the sense of jeopardy or challenge can be provided not by actual total failure once in a while, but in making a combat feel close or an enemy clearly threatening, much of the time. The typical dynamic in a fantasy confrontation, for instance, is for the villain/monster to come on strong, nearly mop the floor with the hero, then the hero comes back and snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. It's dramatic even though you know the script. D&D uses the rather oddball D&D-originated trope of the Cleric (in-combat healer) to get there, but it does get there.
(the fun of expression and discovery vs. the fun of creation and presentation).Early days of tabletop RPGs or modern days of videogame RPGs. I see it as really kind of a playstle thing.
The D&D I like to play is more Western in style than tightly controlled, but neither is better than the other, they just work different fun muscles
An encounter that fits 'easy' guidelines can be anything but, a 'deadly' encounter can be a rollover. They really haven't gotten the kinks ironed out yet. It's hard to say it's even as dependable a guide as CR was in 3e.So I don't thikn 5e's CR guidelines are "less than dependable."
That's in in-fiction concept of 'hard.' If it doesn't do a good job of predicting how it'll challenge your PCs, it's not very dependable for you, as a DM.A hard DC is hard compared with all the challenges in D&D, not just at the level you encounter it.
Yeah, I'm always sure to kill off the character of any player who starts bitching about that kind of thing.When that isn't on the table, dangling from a rope 500' above the ground is almost dull. Because, really, you're not going to let me splat. If I say "I let go," there's going to be some flying bird that swoops around at the last minute and breaks my fall. If I then stab that bird, well, I landed safely in the treetops, maybe took some damage. I've got no real agency, I'm just here to roll dice and advance the plot.
Still nonsense. The DC of a lock that stands between the party and some objective of theirs is decided by the DM - not by the level of the party, not by some static chart of lock DCs somewhere. Neither a guideline that gives DCs that should challenge a party of a given level to a given degree, nor a guideline that lists DCs for different kinds of locks, keeps the DM from giving that lock whatever DC he wants: the former (if dependable) gives him an idea of how challenging a given DC will be, useful for a 'tailored' style game, the latter gives him a touchstone for in-world consistency, useful for a 'status quo' style. A particularly complete game will give you both.Yeah, it does, by saying that the DC of the lock shouldn't necessarily depend on the level the party encounters it at.
False. There was no such philosophy. There were just guidelines showing about what DCs would challenge a party of a given level. Locks didn't morph to become more difficult as higher-level characters approached them. The DM just had a tool for designing 'tailored' challenges. That still might mean that the party encountered a lock they couldn't pick, it just meant that the DM had a pretty good idea, when he set the DC, that such would be the case. You could also turn those guidelines around to design a status-quo scenario. For instance, you could decide that a rakshasa laired in a certain building, and, being a little paranoid and very wealthy, had locks, traps and other security that were up to it's standards (level). If the PC thief tried to crack that joint at level 6, he'd be hosed.4e's "DC is dynamic with your level" philosophy would mean that the party doesn't encounter locks that they don't have a fair chance to pick,
False, there is no such philosophy. The party will encounter locks that they can open or not as the DM sees fit. If he's using a 'tailored' approach, they'll often require a roll, if 'status quo' they'll be opened without one when the PCs are slumming, impossible to open when they overreach, and allow a roll when they blunder into something closer to their paygrade.but 5e's "DC is static with regards to your level and varies with the world" philosophy means that the party will encounter locks that are easy, locks that are difficult, and a range in between, depending on what their goals are and how they approach the adventure.
Not true. A nearly impossible DC 30 is entirely out of your league if the total bonus you can manage is less than +10, for instance, and not really solidly in your league until you have a pretty fair chance - which'd likely mean very high level with max stat & expertise.In 5e, there is no such thing as a check out of your league. Just a check of varying difficulty for your league.