5E Why does 5E SUCK?

Why does the DM's imagination trump everyone else's? Aren't we all playing a game together?
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.

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?
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 the DM isn't as imaginative as the rest of the players...his imagination still trumps everything else? Really??
Yes, really. In that case, of course, one of the more imaginative players might just offer to take over the DM role, himself.

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).
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.

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
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.

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.

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
(the fun of expression and discovery vs. the fun of creation and presentation).

So I don't thikn 5e's CR guidelines are "less than dependable."
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.

A hard DC is hard compared with all the challenges in D&D, not just at the level you encounter it.
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.

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.
Yeah, I'm always sure to kill off the character of any player who starts bitching about that kind of thing.

Yeah, it does, by saying that the DC of the lock shouldn't necessarily depend on the level the party encounters it at.
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.

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 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.

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.
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.


In 5e, there is no such thing as a check out of your league. Just a check of varying difficulty for your league.
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.
 

Erechel

Visitor
I don't fear any control. @Hemlock states the Czege principle upthread, and I generally subscribe to it. I want the GM to have control over the framing of scenes and presentation of challenges. I want the players to have control over deploying their resources to overcome (via their PCs) those challenges. The GM's role at this point should include adjudication, but I think there is a clear difference - even if sometimes it's degree rather than kind - between adjudicating the fiction and deciding whether or not an action declaration succeeds or fails.

Setting thresholds, for instance, is tantamount to deciding that a certain PC just can't succeed at a certain action declaration. That's something that I prefer to be approaches with caution and transparency. When done ad hoc in a bonus-based, target-number resolution system, I find it tends to lead to railroading.

This runs together GM control over framing and GM control over resolution. I want these kept separate.

(Also, in a skill challenge, the players decide what skills or abilities to use: PHB p 179; DMG pp 73, 75.)
Here it is your equivalent.

DMG p. 121 said:
"In most cases, a trap's description is clear enough that you can adjudicate whether a character's actions locate or foil the trap. As with many situations, you shouldn't allow die rolling to override clever play and good planning. Use your common sense, drawing on the trap's description to determine what happens. No trap's design can anticipate every possible action that the characters might attempt.
You should allow a character to discover a trap without making an ability check if an action would clearly reveal the trap's presence. For example, if a character lifts a rug that conceals a pressure plate, the character has found the trigger and no check is required."
You see? It's easy to extrapolate the above to the whole game.

5e does not have comparable guidelines for level appropriate DCs. And 5e PCs are more asymmetric than 4e ones. So at one and the same time pressure on the GM to manage pacing in a way that will avoid intra-party imbalance is increased, while the system support for doing so is reduced.
Pemerton, you are a pretty reasonable guy. As I said earlier, there is a bunch of predefined guidelines, obstacles and such. They are not defined by level (with the possible exception of traps, which are classified by the deadliness and tier of play) but they have a predefined difficulty for you to take as an example (traps, dungeon and wilderness dangers). And again, if you don't want to place your own obstacles, you always can go through an official (or unofficial) module. As I said earlier, there are guidelines, not specific, hardcoded rules. And the GM agency -not fiat- is there to decide when and how. If the players (in the same way of the skill challenges can do) decide to creatively use another solution to the problem, I don't see any problem to do it. One character maybe wants to smash down the door on brute strenght, while other may want to open it with thieve's tools to be more stealthy. Maybe the same character, on different occasions.

I would say that the traps DCs are a useful guideline to setting DCs without taking out DM agency. A guideline, not a law in stone.

Whether or not 5e DCs are "fixed to the world" seems to be a matter of contention. @Imaro and @Celtavian don't agree, as best I can tell from their posts.
By "fixed to the world" I'm meaning in the opposite direction of "fixed by levels", not in opposition of DM Agency. In the words of DMG:

Dungeon Master's Guide said:
IT'S YOUR WORLD
In creating your campaign world, it helps to start with the core assumptions and consider how your setting might change them. The subsequent sections of this chapter address each element and give details on how to flesh out your world with gods, factions, and so forth.
The assumptions sketched out above aren't carved in stone. They inspire exciting D&D worlds full of adventure, but they're not the only set of assumptions that can do so. You can build an interesting campaign concept by altering one or more of those core assumptions, just as well-established D&D worlds have done. Ask yourself, "What if the standard assumptions weren't true in my world?"
This is true about how to handle difficulties as well. They are assumptions about how people handles things. In my own homebrew world, there is no direct influence of "gods", although many people believe in them. But there are spirits everywhere (if you search among custom backgrounds, you will see the Animist Shaman that acknowledges this), both good and bad, and a succesfull DC 20 Religion check, after a long ritual, allows the players to "see" them. Also, you can exorcise a weak demon/spirit possession with a DC 25 Religion check. Strong demons are near impossible to exorcise (DC 30), and a Demon Lord is uncannily difficult to banish, but there is a chance (DC 35). But, if you make logical assumptions, careful thinking, and waste some resources (maybe some spells, maybe money, or magical items -very scarce and valuable in my world) you can decrease the difficulty of this. The monk and the paladin of the group have also a little decrease in the difficulty, due to their backgrounds and skill selection.

This information is shared among my players. They expect to do that, and they expect certain constants and improvise viable ways to decrease difficulty (in one session, they sang and danced Cuban Pete trying to keep a powerful demon at bay from posses a powerful warrior). I brought this here because I try to make a point: This difficulties are fixed to the world, but the world is in the table's hands.
 
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tyrlaan

Visitor
I think this is one of the philosophical differences. If a game wants you to succeed, it's not offering a very meaningful choice - either way, you're probably going to succeed. Either way, you win. Either way, the good guys emerge victorious. The fight vs. the bridge doesn't actually affect your chances of the mission succeeding or failing much.

5e throws back to pre-4e game-centered philosophy in that in general it is perfectly okay with you failing disastrously, if that's how it plays out. Now, when the fight is at 1st level against a young green dragon and the bridge is rickety but at least manageable, things like reconnaissance and scouting and in-character research and questions pay off: they let you know the situation before you blunder into it, because if you blunder into a bad situation, you will eat it, and there will be consequences. It's not just choosing the color of the explosions in your ending, it's choosing if you get the good ending, or the bad one.

Overcoming hard obstacles is part of the fun of play. Creating story out of dramatic decision points is part of the fun of play. There is a reason that "kill your darlings" is absolutely critical writing advice, and that stories where victory is assured are often dull. Games where you don't actually beat difficult challenges can also be underwhelming (imagine Super Meat Boy on "Easy mode.")
I don't think "wanting you to succeed" is quite the hyperbole you paint it to be, but more to the point - I've run encounters in 4e that were designed very much in the sense of it being "okay with you failing disastrously". I do not profess to be some 4e GM master. I do however ask how is this a feature of non-4e games, especially considering I've witnessed myself do this in 4e?

Overcoming obstacles and dramatic tension are presumably two of the keystones behind why many of us play RPGs, and I very much agree with what you say in the final paragraph of yours I quoted. I'm just not sold on how 5e somehow delivers this in a way that other editions haven't. To be frank, I think the art of delivering meaty obstacles and drama are completely tried to the ability of the GM and in no way tied to the ruleset (Hm, maybe that's not completely accurate - perhaps mechanics like the Doom Pool in MHRPG actually DO help deliver meaty obstacles and drama).

Anyway, if you GM 4e and slavishly abide by scaling DCs/numbers, yeah you risk coming up short in the drama and obstacles category. But if you GM 5e and your arbitrary number choices aren't right, you risk the same. So 4e needs a good GM to apply common sense for a greater story and so does 5e.


The system easily facilitates anything. It encourages you to hand-wave things that are unimportant. No more taking 20 or 10 or requiring any check. If the players have time and can get through the door, they do. If the players are under some kind of time constraint, the DM can fashion that dramatic tension in whatever fashion they deem interesting. Most DMs will fashion such tasks to make it fun for the player only throwing such obstacles at players prepared for such tasks or that might find them interesting. In 5E if the players come up with a good idea for breaching the door or whatever activity and he can find no reason not to allow it to work, the DM allows it to work. No time wasted rolling. No series of bad rolls requiring roll after roll after roll while the DM figures out while the players have failed as often as they have. It all focuses on the narrative purpose of the activity and the result of failure, which the DM should have determined before play for the key points when he will require skill rolls or non-combat rolls. He doesn't require rolls all the time any longer. Every door does not require a break DC. If the Big Bad Fighter or Barbarian is raging through a dungeon with doors he can break down, the 5E DM doesn't waste his time requiring rolls that might allow a wizard to break the door down with a lucky roll. The 5E DM uses his time to describe how the raging barbarian is bashing down doors like they are made of paper. If he does have a door in mind that only the big strong character can break down, he constructs the DC system to allow only this to occur with a high percentage rather than some lucky single roll like 3E did.
Completely cannot understand what 5e does for me to allow this to happen in any way easier than it could in any other edition. I can hand wave and state "it works" in any game.
 
Completely cannot understand what 5e does for me to allow this to happen in any way easier than it could in any other edition. I can hand wave and state "it works" in any game.
There's also the community to consider. In 3.x, for instance, as in any RPG, you, as GM, could change any rule you wanted, it even came right out and said so in 'Rule 0.' Yet, in spite of that, the community was very focused on RAW, and that carried through to the attitudes of many players. So you could hand-wave in 3.5, but some of your players might rebel if you did.

5e also admits that the DM can change things, but it doesn't just do it once and forget about it, the concept is part of the core resolution mechanics, and the player is constantly directed to 'ask the DM.' It creates an expectation that the DM will decide how stuff happens. So the DM hand-waving the rules to decide how stuff happens isn't a stretch.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think your characterization of 5e's DC's is off. If a low level PC encounters a significantly high DC, there are a few things to note:
  • There's still a chance, thanks to Bounded Accuracy and mechanics like advantage. There are vanishingly few DC's that are actually impossible. That's heroic and legendary - that's Bilbo Baggins sneaking into a dragon's lair.
  • The sense of accomplishment in overcoming the challenge is huge because the challenge doesn't calibrate itself to your capability. The lock doesn't care if you're a level 1 rogue or a level 20 rogue, so if you're a level 1 rogue and it's a very hard DC and you get it anyway - that's a huge win, a reward for clever play, and a lucky roll.
  • A "managable" DC in that same situation would be a speedbump - roll until someone gets lucky enough to beat it.
  • There are a few assumptions built into this.

    One is that retries are permitted. 4e is a bit ambiguous on this, but there was a Save My Game column some years ago now advocating "Let it Ride" for 4e, and that is pretty clearly how a skill challenge works, because every retry costs you a failure, and three failures bring the challenge to an end.

    Another is that the player is somehow unaware that the ingame situation is a fiction constructed by a referee. Because if the player is aware of that, the player is equally aware that whether or not there are sufficient mechanical and/or in-fiction resources available to overcome the DC is something that has also been determined by the referee - especially if [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION]'s philosophy of super-strong GM force is being applied.

    Another is that the choice to tackle a challenge, even one which the PC can overcome without needing a lucky roll, carries no interest or cost in itself. That is often true in traditional dungeon-crawling play, but often isn't true in the sort of high adventure, high bathos drama towards which many games are oriented (and which 4e tends to support fairly well).

    For instance, if opening the lock is easy, but opening the lock will free your father's killer, then the agony of choice isn't in trying to roll a 20 on the die; it's in deciding whether or not to open the lock at all.

    5e throws back to pre-4e game-centered philosophy in that in general it is perfectly okay with you failing disastrously, if that's how it plays out.
    The flipside to this, presumably, is that 5e throws back to the pre-4e game-centred philosophy of disposable characters?

    Or perhaps there is a more neutral way of describing the difference in approach between the two games?

    Getting the die to a higher number with limited resources - that is challenge. Bring me your blesses, your ability score bumps, your Help actions yearning to breathe free. That's the challenge.

    But of course, it's an opt in challenge - you could just not bypass the lock. That's fine, too.
    Why not just let them figure out if they can bypass it? Maybe rather than pick the lock, someone brought a vial of acid, or the fighter has a crowbar and doesn't know the meaning of the word "closed door." Or there's a back entrance that they just haven't found yet. Or whatever.
    This fails to describe any difference between 4e and 5e, given that in 4e, just as much as 5e, marshalling resources to boost success chance - both in PC build and in action resolution - is a pretty important part of the minutiae of play.

    As is "bypassing" the lock, whether by using acid (a move in the fiction that opens up Dungeoneering rather than Thievery check in the challenge) or a crowbar (a move in the fiction that opens up a a STR or Athletics check rather than Thievery), or taking the back door.

    If a game wants you to succeed, it's not offering a very meaningful choice - either way, you're probably going to succeed. Either way, you win.
    Here we again see that assumption about stakes and costs.

    If the thrill of the game is whether you cross the bridge or die trying, that suggests one approach DCs. If the thrill of the game is located elsewhere - for instance, in story development or story consequences - then traditional low-level dungeon crawling DCs, with a high chance of TPK in every encounter, aren't very advisable.

    Also, philosophically, "tossing the players a bone" is tantamount to "removing consequences," and thus sets up the failure as potentially unsatisfying gameplay (as I experienced just the other week with a newbie DM in 5e!).

    <snip>

    It is fine if the mission fails. But it is almost always bad adventure design to let one roll come between success and failure, regardless of the odds on that roll. A lock with an outrageously high DC is not something that is gating off necessary content for your play experience.
    There seems to me to be a degree of tension between these two passages. If you're not "gating off" content, how are you nevertheless not "removing consequences"? What form does "consequences" take, if not the generation of fictional content that (ipso facto) precludes conflicting content?

    4e PC's have unique combat powers to deal with fights and don't have a lot of unique exploration powers to deal with rickety bridges.
    Speak for yourself, and your PCs!

    The PCs in my game have had a pretty broad range of powers for dealing with rickety bridges for pretty much the whole game, and especially from upper heroic!

    there is a HUGE psychological difference between a DC and a saving throw.
    Like [MENTION=82106]AbdulAlhazred[/MENTION], I don't see this at all. Traps that in 3E would be Reflex saves against a DC are, in HARP, Acrobatics checks against a DC. In 5e, some spells requires saves and others (Illusions and Web, from memory) require ability checks. These are differences that carry mechanical baggage with them, but not in my view any sort of dramatic baggage.

    I am saying that the presumption that a DC should be within a narrow 40-60% or so band of success is a presumption that can lead to bland, predictable gameplay. A presumption that a DC is high if it makes sense to be high regardless of the PC's level is a presumption that can lead to some interesting problem-solving moments.
    This looks like either projection (of your own unsatisfactory RPG experiences onto others) or theorycrafting. Look at the actual skill challenge posts that abound on these boards and you'll see that many of use are not experience "bland, predictable gameplay"!

    Here are a few favourites from my own game.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
Be fair. The Fighter should have to roll unusually high to do those things. Not that there's any skill involved in casting spells, but the poor casters will no doubt feel very hard done by if their strengths can be easily duplicated by someone who doesn't even have to roll a high score.
:p I was thinking 17 Arcana checks in rapid succession, any of which land on an even number and a Wild Surge happens; roll 1d6 to find out what irrevocable, terrible thing happens that you would never, ever, ever (did I mention ever?) risk happening to you so why did we even make up this table that will never get used in the first place?

AFAIK, fighters in 5E can only do the items in bold. They can't do Wall of Stone, Teleportation (except Arcane Charge), or Gate things in.
1 - I was thinking of the pure martial archetypes Champion and Battlemaster.

2 - If we do include Ritual Caster investment and/or EK magic, I'm still not seeing these capabilities on either the Ritual list or the EK spell list. Help me out?

You can run a game of D&D where rule resolution and content creation are separate responsibilities. The DM will always and must always be responsible for content creation, because as the Czege Principle states, "when one person is the author of both the character's adversity and its resolution, play isn't fun."[1]
Tiny little tangential aside. While I do subscribe to Czege's Principle across the majority breadth of an RPGing experience, I don't agree with it as a logically unassailable, ever-present axiom. I'm a big believer (especially as prologue) of he player authored kicker in Sorcerer and Dogs. Laws' DMG 2 in 4e brought this indie technique into the fold for that edition's Story Now (!) generating noncombat conflict resolution portfolio. I find it works extremely well when skillfully applied, situationally, and with limited use.

The trick is the resolution mechanics need to be robust enough such that if we're looking to find out if you break that bad habit (and I'm playing that bad habit at your behest), you can play you and I can play your bad habit and we can push hard against each other and find out what happens by way of the resolution mechanics mediating our dispute.

Done well that is a hell of a lot of fun and legitimately creates emergent content/establishes backstory regardless of who authored/introduced the adversity.

If the resolution mechanics are not robust or they're subordinated by force, then what is the point? But that stands regardless of whether I, as GM, introduced the adversity or the player did.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
Just wanted to quote both of these right quick as I'm trying to get up to speed on responses. Both of these address issues that I wanted to address. These are responses to thread participants as a whole, not to pemerton.

This runs together GM control over framing and GM control over resolution. I want these kept separate.

(Also, in a skill challenge, the players decide what skills or abilities to use: PHB p 179; DMG pp 73, 75.)
GM Force is different than GM fiat is different than GM scene framing authority.

Force is a very specific phenomenon. It is the phenomenon that I invoked quite a bit in the "Best of 4e" thread as 5e being very vulnerable to the phenomenon due to its construct and its ethos. It is the phenomenon that you're seeing [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] not just saying 5e is vulnerable to, but advocating the technique as the best/required way to run 5e.

Force is a technique that subordinates player agency or player authorship rights over their thematic, strategic, or tactical decision-making and/or the authentic/legitimate output of the resolution mechanics when they are consulted "to find out what happens." Suspension, abridgment or fudging of the action resolution mechanics or their results is the classic example of Force. Done by the GM it is GM Force. Done covertly (without knowledge or consent by the players) it is called Illusionism. Done prolifically and outside of the established social contract, it is called Railroading. Players consenting to such a scenario is called Participationism.

It is the reason that you're seeing [MENTION=6779717]Eric V[/MENTION] protesting and crying foul.

There are a few assumptions built into this.

One is that retries are permitted. 4e is a bit ambiguous on this, but there was a Save My Game column some years ago now advocating "Let it Ride" for 4e, and that is pretty clearly how a skill challenge works, because every retry costs you a failure, and three failures bring the challenge to an end.
Also true and addressing one of the aspects of KM's posts that I have a problem with. The only thing I'll add here is that I don't think 4e is ambiguous on it at all.

1) Mutliple of those Save My Game articles and Skill Challenge articles advocated for:

a) Let It Ride with the situation dynamically changing after each resolution
b) Success with Complications
c) Failing Forward

2) The advice in the DMGs, especially DMG 2, were stoutly in the corner of the situation changing dynamically post-resolution. People brought (utterly incoherent) process-sim carry-over for Extended Contests from 3.x and kludged it into 4e Skill Challenges. Hence why you have seen me routinely cite the "I DIPLOMANCE THE KING HARDER/MOAR" phenomenon when GMs respond to a failed parley (diplomacy check) with the king and his court with "...the king isn't convinced..." You can't have dynamic, closed-scene conflict resolution if the play procedures mandate that each micro-outcome and the authorship of each instance (or lackthereof) of subsequent content generation must be constrained by process simulating, causal logic and binary success/failure of the immediately preceding resolution.

If failed Diplomacy can only and ever mean "your target is unmoved/unconvinced/unfriendly", then expect social conflict to be boring/stagnant and expect the next action declaration to reflect that (eg MOAR/HARDER). 4e's Skill Challenge mechanics, and no good social conflict resolution, advocates for an unchanging situation post-resolution. This goes just the same for climbing mountains, crossing rope bridges, riding horseback, sign cutting and tracking, sneaking through barracks, and pulling out your roguish "Tricks of the Trade."
 
You were the one who claimed all you had to do was remove a range of numbers... go back and re-read the post I replied too.

So you'd (still) scale them by level...how... and how is that the same as 5e? No I said if one wanted to simplify it the book suggests using easy/moderate/hard and he game shouldn't break from doing so... what I didn't claim was that it was the same. I'm sure there are differences in play with different ranges being used.
What do you mean 'how'? You just use the current PC level DCs. RC even suggests this for a few specific types of skill checks, probably on the assumption that it mirrors roughly the sorts of situations you'll be in, but it WILL work fine. So a barred door is a DC 26 IIRC, but for a level 10 PC it will be a level 36 DC, etc. A simple lock might be an easy level 1 DC8, for the level 10 guy its 18, still very easy. I mean clearly this isn't as straightforward, but you're bending the system to operate in a way it isn't meant to.

Why would the system not work 'as intended' with only certain DCs? You can't even tell me how it was intended to work, its up to each DM!

No I haven't I said there were loose guidelines... I know what hard is for any relative or concrete definition of hard in my 5e game it is a DC of 20-25. What is hard in your 4e game played the same way?
No, it isn't. DC 20 is hard for level 1 PCs (19 is 4e's level 1 hard DC). For level 10 PCs 20 isn't so hard. They have almost surely about a +4 to their checks in 5e vs level 1. So probably on the order of +8 or +9, and for a character with Expertise or somesuch it would be higher. Heck, our thief had +14 to Acrobatics at level 1! OTOH in 4e Hard is always Hard. I can say "well, its a hard check from way back at level 1" but at level 10 that's a Moderate DC, reflecting that getting a 20 isn't so tough anymore.

It is just a more descriptive system FOR THE TABLE. Its purpose is to be fast and easy to use in play on the fly. The DM only needs to keep in mind three numbers. They're a different three numbers at each level, but he can keep DMing with the same mental toolset at all levels.
 

Erechel

Visitor
I don't think "wanting you to succeed" is quite the hyperbole you paint it to be, but more to the point - I've run encounters in 4e that were designed very much in the sense of it being "okay with you failing disastrously". I do not profess to be some 4e GM master. I do however ask how is this a feature of non-4e games, especially considering I've witnessed myself do this in 4e?

Overcoming obstacles and dramatic tension are presumably two of the keystones behind why many of us play RPGs, and I very much agree with what you say in the final paragraph of yours I quoted. I'm just not sold on how 5e somehow delivers this in a way that other editions haven't. To be frank, I think the art of delivering meaty obstacles and drama are completely tried to the ability of the GM and in no way tied to the ruleset (Hm, maybe that's not completely accurate - perhaps mechanics like the Doom Pool in MHRPG actually DO help deliver meaty obstacles and drama).

Anyway, if you GM 4e and slavishly abide by scaling DCs/numbers, yeah you risk coming up short in the drama and obstacles category. But if you GM 5e and your arbitrary number choices aren't right, you risk the same. So 4e needs a good GM to apply common sense for a greater story and so does 5e.
This is a response on @AbdulAlhazred post about how the DCs "should" guarantee success at about a 60% of the time. In fact, it's a description about 4ed made by a 4ed fan, against 5ed, which is supposedly a deadlier game (or at least a frustrating one). Many people (myself being one, but specially @Celtavian) insisted in your point exactly: there are many of the same assumptions. 5ed isn't worst because somehow delivers dangers in a way that no other game has. The examples given were Skill/Ability Checks against Skill Challenges, with somehow people whom presumably don't understand Skill Checks believe that they are less roleplaying (!) than Skill Challenges, when clearly there is no such difference except on the "in-world" difficulty against "by-level" difficulty. I've always handled Skill Checks in a very similar way to Skill Challenges: there are problems to solve, and there are several possible ways to overcome them, with or without synergy among different skills, abilities and roleplaying, depending on the players' choices. And there are more ways to reward careful play, like Advantage and Inspiration (which, awarded by the DM, is left to the players to decide when and where to use it, and so breaking the "DM tyranny").

The point being made is: many of the "5 Edition SUCKS because can't do X" are utterly false. I particularly like 5th edition because of Bounded Accuracy, which keep skill and stat choices meaningful; because how handles the interaction between Backgrounds, Classes and Races; because the empowerment of the Fighter without needing a weird system of vancian martiality (which is also there in a subclass); because keeps threats relevant en-masse at upper levels and don't scalate things in a Final Fantasy way where a high level character enters an area and suddenly all enemies are unable to even hurt them; because handles Multiclassing in a non-cheesy way; because I like subsystems to make the differences between the classes mechanically, but without the broken, messed out way of 3rd/ 2nd editions, and because the overall game is easy, simple enough encouraging careful roleplaying over dice-rolling without taking away rulesets.

Several critics made are, for me, gross simplifications (like the godlike, unfettered DM power) or blatantly false assumptions (as the luck overdependancy). I see several positions (not all of them) as heavily biased and unable to reason, no matter how many arguments are displayed. I can understand many reasons behind the bias (EG, the anger of leaving behind your entire edition due market reasons; the hatedom of your edition and the sense that this lead to an opposite direction of the new edition; and also emotional attachment), and I can understand a couple of reasonable "It's not my cup of tea" -as the linear and not exponential power growth of Bounded Accuracy-, but please try to read each other possitions in a meaningful way, open minded. Or at least, recognize some bias, and a certain amount of what has been always critiziced as bad for the same people who is doing it now: flame. This post is flame.
 
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Manbearcat

Adventurer
Either one is a pretty sure bet when the chance for success only differs by a few almost cosmetic percentage points. And the fight actually is given favor in this situation since 4e PC's have unique combat powers to deal with fights and don't have a lot of unique exploration powers to deal with rickety bridges.
KM, I see you make statements like this about 4e...knowing that you played it...and I'm absolutely floored. I mean I'm on the ground.

The last 4e game I ran was a late heroic, single player game which featured the following Fighter:

[sblock]====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Saeri Woodwalker, level 8
Wood Elf, Fighter (Slayer)
Slayer Weapon Specialization Option: Sweeping Sword
Moonstruck Hunter (+2 to Perception)
Theme: Ghost of the Past

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 14, DEX 19, INT 14, WIS 16, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 12, CON 13, DEX 15, INT 14, WIS 13, CHA 10

AC: 24 Fort: 19 Ref: 19 Will: 18
HP: 71 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 17

TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +10, Endurance +11, Heal +12, History +11, Nature +14

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +11, Arcana +8, Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Dungeoneering +9, Insight +9, Intimidate +6, Perception +15, Religion +8, Stealth +12, Streetwise +6, Thievery +10

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Ghost of the Past Utility: Guidance of the Past
Elf Racial Power: Elven Accuracy
Multiple Class Attack: Power Strike
Fighter Utility: Mobile Blade
Fighter Utility: Battle Wrath
Fighter Utility: Duelist's Assault
Fighter Utility 2: Who's Next?
Heal Utility 2: Iron Resurgence
Athletics Utility 6: Mighty Sprint

FEATS
Level 1: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 2: Learned Spellcaster
Level 2: Ritual Caster
Level 4: Master at Arms
Level 6: Jack of All Trades
Level 8: Skill Power

ITEMS
Magic Greatsword +2 x1
Drakescale Armor of Eyes +2 x1
Essence of the Scout +1 x1
Bracers of Mighty Striking (heroic tier) x1
Acrobat Boots x1
Torog's Inescapable Suffering (heroic tier)
Longbow
Thieves' Tools
Adventurer's Kit

RITUAL BOOK
Bloom
Traveler's Camouflage
Pass Without Trace
Tree Stride
Earthen Ramparts[/SBLOCK]

She possessed:

1) Extreme proficiency in exploration skills (and other skills)

1) 5 Nature (Exploration) Rituals) that worked both in noncombat action scenes (SCs) and as transition scene mechanics.

2) 1 Encounter Power reroll for any skill

3) 1 Encounter Power reroll for History

4) 1 Encounter Power that put her Athletics check auto-passing the medium DC and challenging the Hard DC

5) 1 Daily Power to put her Stealth check auto-passing the medium DC and challenging the Hard DC

This is a Fighter...at the lowly levels of late Heroic...with an utter arsenal of exploration abilities...who still kicks maximum ass and is ridiculously survivable. This doesn't even mention her Bear Animal Companion Character.

And rickety bridges? Errr...DMG 2 and the stunting mechanics in general?

[sblock]Rope Bridge.PNG[/sblock]

Scratching my head how it was that we played the same game. My 4e games (all of them) contained more wilderness vs the good guys conflicts than any of my other games (which includes over 5000 - yes five thousand - hours GMing AD&D 1e and 2e...which dwarfs all the rest of my D&D GMing, 3.x + 4e + RC, together).

I think this is one of the philosophical differences. If a game wants you to succeed, it's not offering a very meaningful choice - either way, you're probably going to succeed. Either way, you win. Either way, the good guys emerge victorious. The fight vs. the bridge doesn't actually affect your chances of the mission succeeding or failing much.

5e throws back to pre-4e game-centered philosophy in that in general it is perfectly okay with you failing disastrously, if that's how it plays out. Now, when the fight is at 1st level against a young green dragon and the bridge is rickety but at least manageable, things like reconnaissance and scouting and in-character research and questions pay off: they let you know the situation before you blunder into it, because if you blunder into a bad situation, you will eat it, and there will be consequences. It's not just choosing the color of the explosions in your ending, it's choosing if you get the good ending, or the bad one.

Of course, you can have calibrated DC's as well (it's not hard to look at the proficiency bonus and say, "okay, this +10 is what my medium DC for a proficient character is, maybe +1-5 if I want to include the ability bonus"), so it doesn't exclude that more stable choice, either.

Overcoming hard obstacles is part of the fun of play. Creating story out of dramatic decision points is part of the fun of play. There is a reason that "kill your darlings" is absolutely critical writing advice, and that stories where victory is assured are often dull. Games where you don't actually beat difficult challenges can also be underwhelming (imagine Super Meat Boy on "Easy mode.")

Which isn't to say that there's One True Way, merely that the 5e default isn't game-destroying. It just encourages DMs to think about what the challenge should be over the course of an entire campaign, not necessarily what is challenging to their particular parties in the moment, because things like bounded accuracy ensure that if the players want to, or if they get lucky, they can hit things that you might have thought difficult.
Hard to respond to this without getting further clarification. Is the thesis here "4e is D&D bowling with gutter guards?" Or "there is no hard failure with burdensome/unwelcome/punitive consequences/fallout in 4e (in one or both of SCs or combat)" Accordingly, "there is no overcoming hard obstacles, there is no dramatic decision-points, because victory is assured (or near it)?"
 

Erechel

Visitor
What do you mean 'how'? You just use the current PC level DCs. RC even suggests this for a few specific types
No, it isn't. DC 20 is hard for level 1 PCs (19 is 4e's level 1 hard DC). For level 10 PCs 20 isn't so hard. They have almost surely about a +4 to their checks in 5e vs level 1. So probably on the order of +8 or +9, and for a character with Expertise or somesuch it would be higher. Heck, our thief had +14 to Acrobatics at level 1! OTOH in 4e Hard is always Hard. I can say "well, its a hard check from way back at level 1" but at level 10 that's a Moderate DC, reflecting that getting a 20 isn't so tough anymore.
But that is a false assumption. Hard means "world" hard. Look at this way: power, training and expertise are the way to do hard things. But still, to the other characters (whom probably don't have Proficiency or Expertise) is still hard. The Expert guy at level 10 can accomplish more often very hard tasks, and can attempt with some success Nearly Impossible tasks, and at the end of his career, Hard tasks are a cake to the experienced rogue, and he is accustomed to the impossible enough to have a fair chance of succeed (+17, 13 or more to make Near Impossible things). But the magician still has to use the Knock spell to open the easiest locks (unless background, etc.).
 

tyrlaan

Visitor
This is a response on [MENTION=82106]AbdulAlhazred[/MENTION] post about how the DCs "should" guarantee success at about a 60% of the time. In fact, it's a description about 4ed made by a 4ed fan, against 5ed, which is supposedly a deadlier game (or at least a frustrating one). Many people (myself being one, but specially [MENTION=5834]Celtavian[/MENTION]) insisted in your pont exactly: there is many of the same assumptions. 5ed isn't worst because somehow delivers dangers in a way that no other game has. The examples given were Skill/Ability Checks against Skill Challenges, with somehow people whom presumably don't understand Skill Checks believe that they are less roleplaying (!) than Skill Challenges, when clearly there is no such difference except on the "in-world" difficulty against "by-level" difficulty. I've always handled Skill Checks in a very similar way to Skill Challenges: there is problems to solve, and there are several possible ways to overcome them, with or without synergy among different skills, abilities and roleplaying, depending on the players' choices. And there is more ways to reward careful play, like Advantage and Inspiration (which, awarded by the DM, is left to the players to decide when and where to use it, and so breaking the "DM tyranny").
That's a big plate of assumptions that's a bit more than I normally like to eat at a meal.
  • Who argued that 5e delivers dangers in a way that no other game has? Oddly enough, my argument is that, despite folks claiming it does deliver dangers in a new way (or "new retro" or just "not 4e", pick your phraseology), it most assuredly does not. Figuring out how to deliver danger is always in the hands of the GM and 5e does not change this. Now, people are arguing they have issue with adjudicating DCs in 5e, but that's a very, very different claim than it delivers dangers in a different way
  • Assuming the problem is one of understanding when the thread has been going strong for 75+ pages with very long and detailed replies is probably a bad assumption to hold. Instead perhaps assume that people know what they are talking about and just see things differently than you
  • Why the 4e/5e commentary again? I don't see how it's relevant to make a point other than to discredit the person you disagree with... which isn't making a point

The point being made is: many of the "5 Edition SUCKS because can't do X" are utterly false. I particularly like 5th edition because of Bounded Accuracy, which keep skill and stat choices meaningful; because how handles the interaction between Backgrounds, Classes and Races; because the empowerment of the Fighter without needing a weird system of vancian martiality (which is also there in a subclass); because keeps threats relevant en-masse at upper levels and don't scalate things in a Final Fantasy way where a high level character enters an area and suddenly all enemies are unable to even hurt them; because handles Multiclassing in a non-cheesy way; because I like subsystems to make the differences between the classes mechanically, but without the broken, messed out way of 3rd/ 2nd editions, and because the overall game is easy, simple enough encouraging careful roleplaying over dice-rolling without taking away rulesets.

Several critics made are, for me, gross simplifications (like the godlike, unfettered DM power) or blatantly false assumptions (as the luck overdependancy). I see several positions (not all of them) as heavily biased and unable to reason, no matter how many arguments are displayed. I can understand many reasons behind the bias (EG, the anger of leaving behind your entire edition due market reasons; the hatedom of your edition and the sense that this lead to an opposite direction of the new edition; and also emotional attachment), and I can understand a couple of reasonable "It's not my cup of tea" -as the linear and not exponential power growth of Bounded Accuracy-, but please try to read each other possitions in a meaningful way, open minded. Or at least, recognize some bias, and a certain amount of what has been always critiziced as bad for the same people who is making it now: flame. This post is flame.
I'll keep this brief because I think you're being pretty inflammatory here.

You like 5e. That's very cool for you. You know what? Just because someone has explained they don't like something about 5e here in this thread doesn't mean they don't like 5e too. RPGs cover a lot of ground, which means they have a lot of room for people to like some aspects and dislike others.

  • Disliking a part of a game doesn't mean you dislike the whole game.
  • Disliking a part or the entirety of a game doesn't mean other people have to dislike it too.
  • Disliking a part or the entirety of a game does not mean the root cause of the dislike is a bias to another game.
  • Liking a game or part of the game doesn't mean disliking the same thing is incorrect, blatantly false, or based on gross simplifications.
Please take this into consideration in future replies.
 
1 - I was thinking of the pure martial archetypes Champion and Battlemaster.

2 - If we do include Ritual Caster investment and/or EK magic, I'm still not seeing these capabilities on either the Ritual list or the EK spell list. Help me out?
This is in reference to the bolded items in #749, right?

Turn into another person: EK can cast Disguise Self at 3rd level or Alter Self at 8th, if he picks it. (He can Polymorph at 20th level but that doesn't help with becoming people.) These are the exact same spells a wizard would use to become another person, so if he invests in this capability he's as good as the wizard at this specific thing. In practice I've seen EKs take combat spells instead like Blur, but opportunity cost exists for everyone: I haven't seen many wizards learning Alter Self either.

Fly: EK can fly at 14th level, again if and only if he chooses it as his non-abj/evoc spell pick.

See into the future: any fighter can spend his bonus feats on Ritual Magic (cleric) and get access to Augury, Divination, and Commune, which are the closest 5E gets to letting you "see into the future." (Well, Portent, the Diviner 2 ability, is kind of that too, but in a different way.)

I'm always surprised at how little my players invest in intelligence gathering. IMO spells like Augury and Divination are pure awesomesauce for preventing nasty surprises. "Augury of the Fates, tell me true: if I open this spooky coffin here, will I then rejoice or rue?" "Divination: are Rakshasa really vulnerable to weapons coated with salt?" "Divination: will the ancient worm Falgoth be able to sense me if I sneak in this entrance under Pass Without Trace?" This can't tell you anything that the DM doesn't know, but the DM usually knows quite a lot that would benefit the PCs.
 
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Erechel

Visitor
That's a big plate of assumptions that's a bit more than I normally like to eat at a meal.
  • Who argued that 5e delivers dangers in a way that no other game has? Oddly enough, my argument is that, despite folks claiming it does deliver dangers in a new way (or "new retro" or just "not 4e", pick your phraseology), it most assuredly does not. Figuring out how to deliver danger is always in the hands of the GM and 5e does not change this. Now, people are arguing they have issue with adjudicating DCs in 5e, but that's a very, very different claim than it delivers dangers in a different way
  • Assuming the problem is one of understanding when the thread has been going strong for 75+ pages with very long and detailed replies is probably a bad assumption to hold. Instead perhaps assume that people know what they are talking about and just see things differently than you
  • Why the 4e/5e commentary again? I don't see how it's relevant to make a point other than to discredit the person you disagree with... which isn't making a point



I'll keep this brief because I think you're being pretty inflammatory here.


@tyrlaan, first of all, I apologize to you if you find what I said aggresive. I can see why you consider me to be rude. For one part, I should give you an explanation: my English is horrible. I'm from Argentina, and while I can communicate and try to be as grammaticaly correct as possible, there are several things (specially politeness) that escape me -. "Gross" may be one -it's not as politically incorrect in Spanish, and I may have mistaken the word. Even we, Argentinians, are considered rude among our own linguistic community. If I offend you, it wasn't my intention at all. Maybe I can say "oversimplification": and there is such thing here.

Two, I explicitly claim that several, not all criticisms were oversimplifications and biased. You, @pemerton, @DaveDash and @TonyVargas are not, at least as I see. But even the name of the thread, as I stated before, is flame war (and I'm not the only one who see it that way). As false I see things like the comment about the more "narrative" approach of 4th Edition. The comparison among 4th edition and 5th edition was not introduced by me: @AbdulAlhazred make this constantly. Explicitly. All the time. And I'm in several ways reacting against this. And disqualifying the 5th edition in the way.

You like 5e. That's very cool for you. You know what? Just because someone has explained they don't like something about 5e here in this thread doesn't mean they don't like 5e too. RPGs cover a lot of ground, which means they have a lot of room for people to like some aspects and dislike others.

  • Disliking a part of a game doesn't mean you dislike the whole game.
  • Disliking a part or the entirety of a game doesn't mean other people have to dislike it too.
  • Disliking a part or the entirety of a game does not mean the root cause of the dislike is a bias to another game.
  • Liking a game or part of the game doesn't mean disliking the same thing is incorrect, blatantly false, or based on gross simplifications.
Please take this into consideration in future replies.
I don't believe 5th edition as impervious to all criticism. I acknowledge that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but one thing is to say "I believe that 5th edition could do this that way -power growth, for example-" or "5th fails to X -EG keep the game heroic/simple-" -and that criticism could be true or false, and I don't see calling something false as accusatory-, and another "5th edition SUCKS", which, by the way, is how the post is tituled. Even if I'm sometimes unintentionally rude, can interpret this as rudeness.
 
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Manbearcat

Adventurer
[MENTION=6787650]Hemlock[/MENTION], good stuff! Again, my mind was focused like a laserbeam on the Battlemaster and the Champion and any purely martial builds possible for them. Then my thinking extended to Ritual Caster (Wizard) because I was comparing them to the Wizard (and the Wizard definitely has the best Ritual list).

However, an EK who took Ritual Caster (Cleric or Druid) and went the unorthodox, utility route for non-abj/evoc spell could certainly cover about half of those items I mentioned (that you then bolded). Were I to run 5e for one of my players who loves gishes (for the jedi factor), my guess is he would go just that route. Again, good stuff!
 
If I could change anything about 5th edition, it would making sure all weapon styles are worthwhile (and maintain their damage level relative to each other) with or without feats enabled, wizards could use a bit more oopmh, but be more fragile. War clerics should get a fighting style and extra attacks in exchange for reduced spell selection. I would have liked also prohibited schools come back, and a more sensible weapon and item table. There are only three times in a person's career where they can spend money for something that benefits their stats : level 1, when they can afford 500-750gp armor, and when they buy 6000gp armor.

Only having three times to "return to town and upgrade your gear" is a very poor way to design a game. There should be something to spend gold on in the PHB, not just stuff stored in the DMG. There is no reason they could not have added a few adamantium swords in the PHB that gave like +1 to damage only or something. The game is poorer for this oversight. A cheap bronze sword that you can afford at level 1 might only allow a +1 proficiency bonus max to hit to be used, for instance. Then you buy an iron and a steel version, and suddenly all that gold has something worthwhile to be spent on instead of saving it up for retirement.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
Curiously, the "5e doesn't have a thriving economy (mundane/magical) that players can spend money on" refrain is one that I don't think has much teeth. It seems to me that a table-driven economy for hirelings would be tremendously easy to establish using:

1) The Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic as a boon scheduled at an Extended Rest Recharge for n $ or a Short Rest Recharge for n * 3 (or something) $

2) A fictional trigger that the player(s) can use to invoke the Advantage/Disadvantage boon

You could have Guides whose Advantage boon is triggered when you're blazing a trail on a perilous journey or sponsored expedition, Huntsmen whose Advantage boon is triggered when you're tracking something in a wilderness setting, or Bodyguards whose Disadvantage boon as an immediate action is triggered when you're attacked in melee, or Heralds whose Advantage boon is triggered when your reputation, titles, or legacy would come into play in a social conflict. Etc, etc, etc.

This seems to be trivially easy and intuitive to implement and shouldn't be too terribly invasive, especially with a system that plays fast and loose with the rules, expects each table to own/hack their own game, and whose encounter budgeting is squirelly (and top down predicated on the adventuring day rather than bottom up) with severely diverging PC resource scheduling.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
KM, I see you make statements like this about 4e...knowing that you played it...and I'm absolutely floored. I mean I'm on the ground.
...
Scratching my head how it was that we played the same game. My 4e games (all of them) contained more wilderness vs the good guys conflicts than any of my other games (which includes over 5000 - yes five thousand - hours GMing AD&D 1e and 2e...which dwarfs all the rest of my D&D GMing, 3.x + 4e + RC, together).
Yeah - dramatically different experience over here. Any utility power that gave you some advantage on a skill check was seen as kind of a waste of a slot by all the tables I played at. The logic tended to run that skill checks were mostly relevant in skill challenges, and there, you could normally sub in a skill check you were proficient at for overcoming any challenge if you made a good enough case for it (and it was not a hard case to make in many situations), making the choice of proficiency mostly cosmetic (though there was some difference between an exploration skill and a social skill, even this eroded with time - "use Athletics to talk about fights with the warrior at the table" and "use Diplomacy to make the NPC's do it for you" were all things that saw actual exposure). I wouldn't dispute that the characters had proficiency in these skills, but I never saw a character voluntarily take skill-enhancing powers when there were perfectly good healing/defensive/movement powers available for that same slot. Proficiency was enough - often MORE than enough - to do everything exploration and interaction requested of us.

Which is just to say that my 4e experience was pretty biased toward fights. More moving parts, more powers, more interesting things going on, more choices, more variety, more fights. Given the misguided complaints about 4e being nothing more than a minis skirmish game, I don't think I was the only one who saw that happening.

Your posted character sheet, as a Slayer, is also light on the attack powers, of which a comparable non-Essentials character, at level 6, would have six if I'm remembering my maths right. Compared to three utility powers.

Hard to respond to this without getting further clarification. Is the thesis here "4e is D&D bowling with gutter guards?" Or "there is no hard failure with burdensome/unwelcome/punitive consequences/fallout in 4e (in one or both of SCs or combat)" Accordingly, "there is no overcoming hard obstacles, there is no dramatic decision-points, because victory is assured (or near it)?"
Nothing so categorical. More that in practice, level-relative DC's can create a feeling of impotence in a player when they know that their achievements and experience don't actually affect the chance of victory very much, and world-relative DC's can by the same token create a feeling of mastery and achievement in a player when they know that they're taking on much harder challenges than they "should."

Which is just to say that a DC table that doesn't take levels into account isn't inherently flawed or backwards or useless or that it must lead to bad play where the PC's can't pass by some DC that is too hard for them or any of the other things AA seemed to presume must happen because 5e doesn't set DC's relative to level, and that setting DC's relative to level isn't clearly a better or more advanced or improved option. The reverse is also true of course: setting DC's relative to level doesn't necessarily mean you feel cheated when you achieve them. But it can.

I know I've felt more than once that 4e is largely a "level-less" game for all its 30 levels (of which I played about 18). And 5e, over the course of 7, is already showing me that setting the DC's relative to the world is a part of the edition's strong antidote to that. In 4e, I always felt at about the same level of badass ("fairly"). In 5e, I've felt the growth that comes from a tier-shift in a way 4e never achieved (going from "not very badass" to "a little badass!"), and in a way is a little more subtle and interesting than bigger numbers.
 
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Bluenose

Adventurer
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.
That's true of any single roll. Very few adventures depend on a single roll. If you can keep re-trying, success is eventually certain in the DC is within range. If failing any one of several rolls means you can't finish, failure becomes the expected state far sooner than people realise. Probability doesn't play favourites the way GMs do, and it isn't something most people grasp instinctively.
 

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