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D&D General Why Exploration Is the Worst Pillar

TheSword

Legend
I can play the 15 ft pole and dismantling every door starting at the hinges game, but if the entire goal is just to make us lose hp, just tell us how much we lost and let's move on to something more interesting.
I’ve never understood the dismantle hinges solution. Most doors open into rooms not out of them. In which case hinges should almost always be on the room side of the door and not the entry. Sure every so often a jacqayed dungeon will mean you can come the other way through but I would imagine this is anything but common - particularly if a door is locked.

Plus, I hope you’re holding that 15 foot pole in your hand - treating doorways and corridors less than 10 ft x 10 ft as difficult ground 😉
 
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Fanaelialae

Legend
"You took a background thinking you could live off the land? Hah, you fool, didn't you realize that not spending money on rations and mounts and hirelings and wagons means that you've decided you want to be ambushed every single time by monsters who immediately get a surprise attack!"

Yeah, no punishments going on here. Just the DM deciding after character creation that a player choosing to use their background ability to bypass a need for food is a choice that leads to monster attacks. Just like when the Acolyte uses their ability to find shelter it turns out that the church can't possibly spare anything, unless they are willing to fight these monsters for them...
That's complete nonsense.

If we establish that every X period of time we roll for wandering monsters, and foraging takes X amount of time, then there's no punishment if the DM rolls for a wandering monster. Taking the time to forage in exchange for a wandering monster check is a tradeoff, a risk vs reward choice. There's nothing about the background that says that nothing bad can possibly happen while foraging (if it did, you should just choose to never stop foraging, and nothing bad will ever happen, EVER).

Sure, if the DM specifically throws monsters at the foraging PC to punish them for foraging, that's bad. However, I doubt anyone has ever done that.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
Gray area - too many cases where the wording (or interpretation) is "line of sight" where what they really mean is "unobstructed line of effect". You have line of sight through a glass window, but do not if in magical darkness. You don't have line of effect through a glass window but you do have line of effect through magical darkness (in an open area).

Also, to me that "summon within 60' " is just lazy wording; the Servant can go up to 60' away from you, sure, but I've always had it that anything summoned (or created, in this case) appears a few feet in front of the caster, who can then send it off to do whatever.


Again, you can feel it is lazy wording, but that doesn't change the rules. Specifically "The servant springs into existence in an unoccupied space on the ground within range." The range of the spell being 60 ft.

If you want to homebrew and nerf it, that's your right as a DM, but the rules are pretty clear.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
That's why I enforce 10 minutes exploration turns and always check for wandering monsters as needed. B/X style.

The game tends to work better If you actually handle it as a game rather than just storytelling.

I'll keep saying it as often as I need to. Fighting a monster isn't an exploration challenge. If your solution to the players using exploration spells to overcome exploration challenges is to force them into the combat pillar, then the Exploration pillar is obviously lacking.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
By RAW, Athletics is about things like jumping, climbing, and swimming. Bashing down a door is just throwing your weight around.

Wonder about all those athletes who do things other than jumping, climbing or swimming. Things like oh, I don't know, a shoulder charge against a 300 lb lineman.

I wonder if athletes do things like athletics....
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I’ve never understood the dismantle hinges solution. Most doors open into rooms not out of them. In which case hinges should almost always be on the room side of the door and not the entry. Sure every so often a jacqayed dungeon will mean you can come the other way through but I would imagine this is anything but common - particularly if a door is locked.

Plus, I hope you’re holding that 15 foot pole in your hand - treating doorways and corridors less than 10 ft x 10 ft as difficult ground 😉
And, if you do want to remove the hinges, do you have the right tools for the job? How long will it take? How much noise will it make?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I’m sorry Ovinomancer you are demonstrating a lack of experience here.
No, I'm not, because I have quite a lot of experience. I grew up in the woods, I've been hiking quite a lot in my youth, I've been hopeless lost in the wilderness, and I've had military SERE training (and not that basic training intro stuff). So, no.
A dead end can be a river that you though you could ford but turns out you can’t. Or it could be a slope that you thought you could navigate that you can’t with the equipment you have, or a bridge that’s not where the map suggests it should be. I’m speaking from experience here. I knew my exact location in relation to my map in all three cases. All three cases involved back tracking and plotting another route.

Lost is when you don’t know where you are, or don’t know which direction to travel that’s it. It’s no more complicated than that.

Not getting lost doesn’t bestow you with supernatural knowledge and foresight of things you couldn’t know until you get there.
I'm not sure this is true. If I cannot be lost, at all, then there's this weird place that I always know the way. And it is supernatural, because never being lost outside of magic is pretty wild in concept. So, if I always know where I am, and I also always know my way, then it stands to reason that I won't find these impassable objects, because that would not be the way. That is a thing that happens to people that think they know the way, plan a way, but don't actually, supernaturally, know know the way.

I think that, as a GM, if I'm throwing up unexpected impassable obstacles just because it thwarts the ranger, there's a different problem going on that needs looking at.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Then you're not looking well enough. What's your passive Perception again?

I've looked off and on for years, on multiple sites and read dozens of articles and watched about 4 or 5 different video essays.

But sure, I just haven't looked hard enough, that must be it. Not that there is a fundamental problem in how traps are interacted with. What was that thing they said... something like if knowing how the trap works and where it is means it isn't a challenge, it wasn't a challenge in the first place, just a gotcha. Don't remember which resource it was that said that, but it fits with my experience.

You don't roll. If it was a situation you couldn't fail, you succeed without a roll.

I know, and yet time and time and time and time and time again, we end up in this situation where despite being unable to fail the roll, we have to make it anyways. Mostly because the DM either didn't think of a DC beforehand, or because they ignore the rules and say that 1's fail, so there is always a "chance" you can fail no matter what... then they forget that the rogue can't even roll a 1 after a certain point in time, so we are just rolling meaningless rolls.

And, it still doesn't anwser the original question, what is the point of putting in a trap that the party is going to automatically bypass without rolling? What have you accomplished?



Uh, yes. You do that so they can use their feature. Do you never use undead below CR 1 in an undead campaign just because the cleric has Turn Undead? You're essentially nullifying that feature and they might as well not have it anymore.

Turn Undead isn't a passive, always on feature. But yes, if any undead lower than CR 1 disintegrated whenever they got within 30 ft of the cleric, then I would probably be very tempted to stop sending undead at the cleric, since they are just wasting time.

The ambush imparts the surprised condition just before combat is rolled. It occurs too late for the cleric to verbally react and discuss with others.

So, the cleric spots and ambush from any distance (because there is no distance limit on sight) and they can't talk to the party because they couldn't see the ambush before the surprise round happened... So there is no point in the Alert feat if you have a high enough passive perception, because the result is the same. All it does is prevent surprise, it doesn't actually allow you to spot the ambush before it happens. Ambush still happens, you just can't justify the cleric being surprised.

I'm pretty sure none of this is in the rules, and it seems that the entire point of it is to just force ambushes to happen anyways, no matter what the passive perception is.

When you perceive something, you'll notice the object but you won't know more until you investigate. The players can make assumptions and avoid everything but that's dangerous in-and-of-itself.

All it takes is for them to say "I want to take a closer look" or "I want to turn away," then they deal with those consequences.

Right, doesn't matter what the passive perception is, they have to then go and roll to be allowed to see the trap. Thus forcing the trap to still be relevant, despite being spotted.

Might as well just remove passive perception from the game.

I believe the crutch of the miscommunication is that your DMs appear to improvise the game on a session-to-session basis. I do not.

I've already completely created the adventure by time the players sit at the table for session 0. The maps, the lore, the dungeons, and the wilderness are done and I run them as written. I improvise the interactions but once a trap is set with a DC and an effect, its there and I'm not changing it. If the players somehow pass it with ease, cool. They should feel proud of themselves.

I'm not one to enjoy curated games because my choices begin to matter less and I'll end up with some bitter mindset about the game.

I can't say I'm surprised by that, you definetly seemed like the type to plan out every aspect of the game and try to deviate as little as possible from your plan.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I’m sorry Ovinomancer you are demonstrating a lack of experience here. A dead end can be a river that you though you could ford but turns out you can’t. Or it could be a slope that you thought you could navigate that you can’t with the equipment you have, or a bridge that’s not where the map suggests it should be. I’m speaking from experience here. I knew my exact location in relation to my map in all three cases. All three cases involved back tracking and plotting another route.

Lost is when you don’t know where you are, or don’t know which direction to travel that’s it. It’s no more complicated than that.

Not getting lost doesn’t bestow you with supernatural knowledge and foresight of things you couldn’t know until you get there.

Going to jump in here. So, I run into a dead-end... I turn around and take a new route.

Unless you are forcing a ticking clock, or having us stop and fight 8 encounters for every day of travel, plus more for "wandering monsters" then... what are the consequences of a dead-end?

And, let's take another question. You know you want to go to the Tower of Evil in the Dark Woods. But you don't know where in the Dark Woods it is? Then... the party just wanders randomly until they find it right? What else are they supposed to do? I can't roll anything to find it, this is a massive forest that covers miles. Do I take the left trail ro the right trail? Doesn't matter, I have no idea so I might as well flip a coin for all the difference it makes


So, again... what are the consequences and challenges of finding something that you have no idea where it is at?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
It can do it everything a human servant can do… except demonstrate independent thought or initiative… it’s mindless.

If you’ve never been inside the kitchen and don’t know for sure the dishes are there no, I wouldn’t let it.

You do you though hon!
I’ve given my explanation about spells not being able to work through total cover. Good luck convincing your DM 🤷🏻‍♂️

I look forward to the next time someone in your party tries to use wall of force for battlefield control and gets a nasty surprise from your DM 🤣

We have literally had this conversation before. Like the DM trying to prevent us from using Misty Step through a Wall of Force. He didn't like that a 2nd level spell beat a 5th level spell, but the rules don't say that a Wall of Force stops teleportation. And since you can see through it...

And I don't need it to demonstrate independent thought, or initiative. I need it to mindlessly follow instructions. Something it is literally designed to do.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You said combat doesn't have a ticking clock. It does. Everything is measured in turns with discrete actions and, if you aren't successful, then the monsters eventually take away your hit points and you die.

That isn't a ticking clock. By a ticking clock you are talking about time. Yes, the turns are measured in discrete actions, but you can't say whether the fight is over in 4 turns, 9 turns, or 27 turns.

With no definitive end point, there is no ticking clock.

A wandering monster is a wandering monster - what happens when it shows up depends. But wandering monster or random encounter checks are absolutely a ticking clock in that they occur at regular intervals determined by the DM. They create a sense of urgency, as the DMG states. Typically, my dungeons have these at every 10, 30, or 60 minute interval, plus every time the PCs make noise.

And a monster isn't an exploration challenge. It is either a social challenge or a combat challenge. No matter what intervals you set to spawn them, the exploration isn't over and the players don't lose if a monster shows up. And no matter how much urgency being constantly attacked causes, it is still never an exploration challenge. It is a combat challenge.

A pane of glass is total cover because it is a physical obstacle that is between the caster and where the unseen servant would otherwise appear. Someone quoted the appropriate rules clarifications upthread.

No, because line of effect isn't a thing in 5e. I've looked.

If you're allowing it to be cast through glass and counting it as a creature, again, we're back to a DM handwaving all the difficulty away by making unseen servant more effective than seems to be intended. Hardly the fault of the rules or exploration pillar here.

Or they are interpreting the rules as written... and it turns out there are no rules written for magical traps that detect creatures, or specifically defining what a creature is.

Let's not. Discussing examples with you has not been very productive.

Well, you didn't seem to understand the question, so I felt like an example would help.

Again, it's not clear why you're trying to saying this about combat and exploration. But you can very easily have a ticking clock in your games. If you choose not to, that's on you. Your exploration challenges may be less difficult as a result.

Because fighting a monster is a combat pillar challenge, not an exploration challenge. I keep repeating it, so I don't know why you keep saying it isn't clear.

Fighting a monster, is a combat challenge. Not an Exploration Challenge.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
That's complete nonsense.

If we establish that every X period of time we roll for wandering monsters, and foraging takes X amount of time, then there's no punishment if the DM rolls for a wandering monster. Taking the time to forage in exchange for a wandering monster check is a tradeoff, a risk vs reward choice. There's nothing about the background that says that nothing bad can possibly happen while foraging (if it did, you should just choose to never stop foraging, and nothing bad will ever happen, EVER).

And did you establish the rules for foraging and wandering monsters before they took their background? Why would they bother taking it if it means more fights instead of just spending more money so that they don't have to deal with it.

Sure, if the DM specifically throws monsters at the foraging PC to punish them for foraging, that's bad. However, I doubt anyone has ever done that.

I don't doubt it. In fact, the sure number of times on these forums anything that has involved any time at all has been met with "but wandering monsters" I'd say it is likely to have happened.
 

Ristamar

Adventurer
Line of Effect isn't a thing. So, what exactly would be preventing it? There are no rules that state what happens when you try and cast a spell through a clear and transparent surface. I've checked, multiple times.

Targets​

A typical spell requires you to pick one or more targets to be affected by the spell's magic. A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).

Unless a spell has a perceptible effect, a creature might not know it was targeted by a spell at all. An effect like crackling lightning is obvious, but a more subtle effect, such as an attempt to read a creature's thoughts, typically goes unnoticed, unless a spell says otherwise.

A Clear Path to the Target​

To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover.

If you place an area of effect at a point that you can't see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction.

The rules don't explicitly call it "line of effect", but it's explained in the same terms. Transparency would only factor into the degree of obscurity (or lack thereof), not cover.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Following @Chaosmancer ’s assertion that unseen servants are creatures…

OH MY deep breath

I NEVER MADE THAT ASSERTION. I SAID A DM COULD MAKE THAT CALL!

Have I said it big and loud enough now that people can stop telling me what I said? I never said it was, I said that a DM could rule that way. Just because I acknowledge DMs can make a ruling doesn't mean that I am making the assertion that that is the one true way.

… I’m gonna have invisible stalkers be unseen servants that got so sick of their masters asking them to push every brick in the dungeon that they turn murderous and attempt to kill the summoner!

Ha ha, you so funny.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The rules don't explicitly call it "line of effect", but it's explained in the same terms. Transparency would only factor into the degree of obscurity (or lack thereof), not cover.

And what am I targeting by "The servant springs into existence in an unoccupied space on the ground within range"

The closest you can get is that I'm targeting a space... but the servant is appearing, that isn't "targeting" really. I mean, you don't even need to see the space.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
That isn't a ticking clock. By a ticking clock you are talking about time. Yes, the turns are measured in discrete actions, but you can't say whether the fight is over in 4 turns, 9 turns, or 27 turns.

With no definitive end point, there is no ticking clock.
If you can't see how combat is a countdown, a clock ticking to someone's doom - the PCs' or the monsters' - I don't think there's ever going to be any agreement about what time pressure is in D&D. It's the most clear example there can be in my view.

And a monster isn't an exploration challenge. It is either a social challenge or a combat challenge. No matter what intervals you set to spawn them, the exploration isn't over and the players don't lose if a monster shows up. And no matter how much urgency being constantly attacked causes, it is still never an exploration challenge. It is a combat challenge.
As I've explained many times already and won't do again, the threat of wandering monsters creates urgency and makes exploration challenges more difficult by making decisions harder. It doesn't matter if at some point there is a combat before, during, or after the exploration challenge. This is irrelevant.

No, because line of effect isn't a thing in 5e. I've looked.
It's in the Spellcasting chapter. You can't cast through total cover and a closed window is total cover. This is further clarified by the game designers. Google it.

Or they are interpreting the rules as written... and it turns out there are no rules written for magical traps that detect creatures, or specifically defining what a creature is.
If the DM is interpreting it as "rules as written," (which is practically pointless in a game context, only in discussing what the words on the page are), any interpretation that makes challenges easier is still on the DM who is the one doing the interpreting! If you're pointing at the rules, three fingers are pointing back at you.

Well, you didn't seem to understand the question, so I felt like an example would help.
Examples never help in these discussions because the goal isn't actually to create understanding. It's to defend a position in a discussion where neither side has an incentive to change their mind.

Because fighting a monster is a combat pillar challenge, not an exploration challenge. I keep repeating it, so I don't know why you keep saying it isn't clear.

Fighting a monster, is a combat challenge. Not an Exploration Challenge.
Yes, you keep saying this as if it matters. But it doesn't. What I don't understand is why you keep saying it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
"You took a background thinking you could live off the land? Hah, you fool, didn't you realize that not spending money on rations and mounts and hirelings and wagons means that you've decided you want to be ambushed every single time by monsters who immediately get a surprise attack!"

Yeah, no punishments going on here. Just the DM deciding after character creation that a player choosing to use their background ability to bypass a need for food is a choice that leads to monster attacks. Just like when the Acolyte uses their ability to find shelter it turns out that the church can't possibly spare anything, unless they are willing to fight these monsters for them...
No benefit without penalty.

Simple design philosophy. Works well. Keeps the game playable.
 


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