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D&D 5E Why my friends hate talking to me about 5e.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Sadly, someone will inevitably compare it to an MMO.
Yeah, and everytime a character is not pictured in the very original ''earthen tones'' color palette or the Fighter can do one cool trick they'll call it ''anime'' and ''weeboo''.

But I think those someone always forget that we are in 2022 and MMO are legit games (for those who like them) and not an insult or anything less serious than things like giant space hamster! I mean, I wish D&D made as much money as the guys from League of Legends or WoW with the same number of players. That would be a win.

But in this here case, when I spoke of 4e design, I was thinking more in the terms of party roles and in-combat recovery and not of the powers for every class.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Well let's not forget that WotC wanted to make a ton of money on bringing in people new to the game. And the best way to do that is to not make it overly punishing, to drive away people who rage quit due to dying a lot in the early levels.

No longer is this a game where you are expected to bring a stack of character sheets with you, and that's the way WotC wants it.

That the system's death and healing rules reinforce this at a basic level will eventually drive some people away from it, towards games that are more lethal and risky than 5e, and unless there's a big push from 5e players for that kind of game, the "big fun" edition of D&D is here to stay.

Or, if you're a budding amateur game designer, I guess you could massively hack the game, but I doubt a couple of simple houserules would be enough.

The way I see it, 5e is a game that expects everyone to reach high levels and "win". So there isn't really a difficulty curve that separates the casuals from the hardcore players. You play long enough, you're probably going to hit level 20, have some big endgame adventure, then go back and do it all over again.

Well, except for saving throws. That's a "fun" thing to see, when someone realizes to their horror that they are designed to have three-four bad saving throws, and they're asked to make a DC 19-21 Charisma save or something. But I don't see that as a difficulty curve; it sort of sneaks up on you. You're doing fine, rarely having to make many saves, and then one day you run into a powerful enemy and you get mind controlled, banished from this plane of existence, or foiled by a high-level illusion and then realize there's not much you can do about it (except pray you survive til your next ASI and take Resilient, unless you can't...).
I don't remember playing ad&d2e or 3.5 with a "stack of character sheets. It wasn't all DCC funnel type play back then. There are tons & tons of minor & major magic items to improve survival & dialup the badass dial for a PC even before starting to homebrew custom ones. The risks that d&d once had provided room for all those toys to show up at a rate that continually improved.
Monty Haul Campaigns

At the other extreme, the problems of too much treasure are not so easily solved. Here players may enjoy the game—and why not? Their characters are doing quite well. They have sufficient money and magic to best any situation the DM can devise.

However, the DM seldom has the same enjoyment. He is faced with the task of topping the last lucrative adventure. He
must make each adventure a greater challenge than the last. While this is true for all DMs, it is grossly exaggerated for the
DM who has given out too much: How do you top the adventure where the fighter got the Hammer of Thor or some equally valuable item?

Invariably, the players reach a point where they, too, become frustrated. Everything is the same—”Oh, we did this before,” or “Ho-hum. Another Sword of Instant Monster Destruction.” Soon there are no challenges left, because the characters have earned everything in the book!

Fixing such a situation is far from easy. The first thing to do is to stop giving out so much treasure in future adventures. Even this isn’t as simple as it sounds, since players have already had their expectations built up. Imagine playing for months or years in a world where you routinely find 5 magical items and tens of thousands of gold pieces each adventure and then, one day, finding only two or three magical items and a thousand gold pieces! Still, painful as it may be for players, cutting back on future treasure hauls is a must.

The second part of the fix is far more difficult—remove from the campaign some of what has already been given. Most players won’t voluntarily surrender their goods and equipment just because the DM made a mistake. The DM must be inventive, resorting to new and bizarre taxes, accidents, theft, and anything else he can think of. Use a given method only once and be sure to allow the characters a fair chance. Nothing will upset and anger players more than having their characters jerked about like a dog on a chain.
There was a loophole with that bolded bit. An item that used charges without recovering them as was the norm was a self correcting problem. The self correcting problem even explains the presence of super powerful magic items with multiple options that might use more than one charge

Doesn't this directly run afoul of the conception that Fighters are supposed to be all about fighting, and dealing with other things is for other classes?

That is, this seems to be predicated on the idea that nobody--Fighters included--is supposed to fight. Fighting is a fail-state. It seems highly counter-intuitive to create a class where its focus is on the fail-state of play.
No it does not. The system having rules that create room for the existence of monsters that are dangerous in ways that require the players to consider them a serious threat at any level does nothing of the sort. D&d is a team game and those monsters reinforce that aspect. What they do to fighters is require a fighter to consider the threat those monsters pose to everyone & act as part of a team rather than carelessly soloing near a bunch of players they treat like sidekicks expected to fend for themselves while doing the same with no concern for each other's contributions.

In some encounters that teamwork will mean that the fighter needs to get in the way of the troll that wants to go flatten squishy allies rather than ignoring the comparably low cr troll to go flatten the bbeg... The fighter is "all about fighting" while keeping said troll from flattening a squishier party member there because everyone realizes the bbeg is the secondary threat in the fight for now.

In other encounters in other encounters it means that the fighter needs the support of their allies to run up to & fight the dragon at great risk because it's greater risk for anyone else to do so. The fighter is "all about fighting" by taking a risk nobody else can while everyone else is all about something else by supporting said fighter with something else.

In still other encounters it means that the fighter is thrilled to have a party member use some ability to keep the troll out of reach while the fighter gives a bunch of dangerous (to other pcs) trash monsters an excuse to gather up for an aoe. The fighter is "all about fighting" there by making sure someone on the team can aoe down a bunch of trash right now rather than letting all that trash meaningfully endanger squishier types.

In fact it only "runs afoul of the conception that Fighters are supposed to be all about fighting" if you define "fighting" as being able to treat every fight like this guy.
 

Yeah, I don't know, the tools we have at our disposal are not perfect, but I'd really prefer for it to be possible for characters to be injured in a manner that they're not perfectly fine the next day! My current solution is to use gritty rests and healing kit dependency, which is still hella cinematically fast healing, but significantly better for my disbelief suspenders. (And for the pacing I'm going for.)
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Yeah, and everytime a character is not pictured in the very original ''earthen tones'' color palette or the Fighter can do one cool trick they'll call it ''anime'' and ''weeboo''.

But I think those someone always forget that we are in 2022 and MMO are legit games (for those who like them) and not an insult or anything less serious than things like giant space hamster! I mean, I wish D&D made as much money as the guys from League of Legends or WoW with the same number of players. That would be a win.

But in this here case, when I spoke of 4e design, I was thinking more in the terms of party roles and in-combat recovery and not of the powers for every class.
I was referring to the healing dynamic, since that's how many MMO's play, where you need a constant influx of powerful healing spells to survive.

But yes, the "it feels like an MMO" battle cry is rather associated with edition wars, and I should feel terrible for evoking it.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
It's really simple. Don't have adventures every day. Every time an adventure ends, tell the players they have a couple weeks of downtime to rest and recuperate from their traumatic experience. No change to rules mechanics required.

Yay, verisimilitude is saved!
 


DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I wonder sometime if a designer could try a D&D where the HP pool is smaller, damage higher but healing magic is more powerful and useful in and out of combat (maybe caped by a Healing Surge numbers or whatnot). A system where HP is really only your stamina reserve to defend yourself and once you hit 0 hp, it is because you've taken a gut shot and you are bleeding out, and then Health recovery magic of higher level is needed.
This was something I wanted to explore a while ago.

The idea was PCs typically had a much smaller pool of HP (starting "normal" but maxing out around 3-5 HD, maybe a bit more), but recovered all HP after each encounter.

Then someone said it was basically 4E with auto healing surges, so I dropped it.

It's really simple. Don't have adventures every day. Every time an adventure ends, tell the players they have a couple weeks of downtime to rest and recuperate from their traumatic experience. No change to rules mechanics required.
Are you suggesting no healing during the adventure (as in spending HD) or just you don't recover HD once spent during the adventure?

Or maybe I'm off the mark on your comment...?
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
This was something I wanted to explore a while ago.

The idea was PCs typically had a much smaller pool of HP (starting "normal" but maxing out around 3-5 HD, maybe a bit more), but recovered all HP after each encounter.

Then someone said it was basically 4E with auto healing surges, so I dropped it.


Are you suggesting no healing during the adventure (as in spending HD) or just you don't recover HD once spent during the adventure?

Or maybe I'm off the mark on your comment...?
No I'm saying we just assume that players deal with all the repercussions of their adventuring lifestyle off camera. That way no one is "perfectly fine" after an adventure, they are all assumed to recuperate for a week or two afterwards.

Then they can be fine for the next adventure.
 

No I'm saying we just assume that players deal with all the repercussions of their adventuring lifestyle off camera. That way no one is "perfectly fine" after an adventure, they are all assumed to recuperate for a week or two afterwards.

Then they can be fine for the next adventure.
If it works for you. I would prefer the rules to actually attempt to represent and inform the fictional reality instead of being disconnected from it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
But healing isn't the only thing Clerics are designed for.

That's my point. Healing is one tool in the Cleric's toolbox. That toolbox is full (IMO, overstuffed) with other cool and useful things the Cleric can do. Even for Clerics who specifically choose to hyperspecialize in healing or damage, they'll always have the expansive Cleric spell list, and even Life Clerics get spells that aren't strictly about restoring HP (bless, lesser restoration, guardian of faith, raise dead) as always-prepped spells. Admittedly, some of those are still healing-adjacent (lesser restoration in particular), but overall there's stuff you can do that doesn't require the party to specifically fail first.

Fighter, explicitly by design, doesn't do that. Like, the developers were straight-up explicit to us that that's what the Fighter is designed for. It is not designed for doing anything other than fighting. Subclasses naturally make this more complicated, but even the Eldritch Knight, the Fighter specifically about nicking spells from the Wizard, has dramatically curtailed access to any spells that aren't specifically abjuration or evocation...aka the two spell schools most specifically about fighting (defense and explosions.) To be specific, you can learn a grand total of 4 non-cantrip spells that aren't abjuration or evocation.
I mean, if the argument is “fighters should have more they can do outside combat,” I’m not disagreeing. But just because combat is something to be avoided if possible doesn’t mean fighters aren’t useful to have in the party. If the cleric analogy didn’t track for you, consider proficiencies (particularly skill proficiencies). They’re only useful when you’re rolling a check, which is another soft fail-state; when possible, you want to succeed without having to make a check, but skills are still useful to have, because no matter how skillfully you play, you will end up making checks sometimes; probably a lot of them. And when you do, you’ll be glad you have skills to help make them easier to succeed at. Likewise, while combat may be best avoided, it will happen sometimes; probably a lot. And when it does, you’ll be glad you have a fighter to help make sure you survive it.
 

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