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

My worry with a rule like this is that it actually doesn't fix 1) at all. It's actually trivially easy to kill characters in 5e just like it is in any edition of D&D - you just increase the threat of the encounters you're throwing at the PCs to the point where it overwhelms them. Problem solved - PCs are dead.
I have never in any edition of D&D found it 'too hard to kill a PC'
The actual problem doesn't seem to be that you can't kill characters, it's that it's hard under the baseline rules to have a challenge that might kill 1-2 PCs without it resulting in a TPK.
THAT sounds more like it... once that snow ball starts it's hard to stop it
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
So my roommate, one of the people I game with the most, sends me this TikTok link from work. I started typing out a comment, then I realized, eh, maybe not. So I said "I had a whole spiel about this, but nobody wants to hear it, lol."


"He replies with, I think this is a really good idea, what's wrong with it?"

So I told him. It basically comes down to three factors.

Exhaustion is a terrifying bad status ailment in 5e. It's very hard to get rid of a single level of exhaustion, and, as anyone who has ever griped about a certain Barbarian subclass knows, while one level isn't the worst, those penalties start to set in quick, which can make a character useless before long. Not to mention eventually dying anyways. Oh and you can't just toss off a lesser restoration and cure a level of fatigue, like in other versions of the game.

Then you have the fact that in-combat healing is deliberately not great in 5e, by design. I had a thread griping about this a few months back. The response I got was "lol, out of combat healing is too good, in-combat healing is fine". So even if a Cleric did nothing else but throw out his best Cure Wounds each turn on the Fighter getting the tar beat out of him by monsters to prevent him from taking Exhaustion, they would have a very hard time keeping up, and quickly run out of spell slots. And be unable to cast anything else they might want to.

And finally, with players running around with levels of exhaustion, you're not going to get many encounters done, I would think. So the "6-8 encounters to run the party of resources" gets thrown right out the window, as everyone is going to use all their resources as fast as they can, knowing they weren't going to do more than 3-4 encounters that day anyways.

After laying down all these points, the response?

"James why do you have to ruin everything?" 🤷‍♂️

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That bolded bit is the problem. 5e enshrines yoyo healing & left out the tools that would be needed to trivially houserule any alternatives without huge system wide rebuilds. No matter what you change with death saves you still have the missing abilities. If you add those abilities you still have a system built with everything else assuming yoyo healing will be the norm so it doesn't matter how (in)accurate attackers are until you start changing things.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Yeah, it’s not hard to kill PCs in 5E if the DM is really into that.

In my latest campaign, I’m trying out that if the PC goes down and is then returned to 1 hp or more, they gain 1 level of exhaustion. Not replacing Death saves though. So long as I don’t make each combat dangerous enough that PCs are likely to be going down during the fight, I think it’ll work out. Should make the PCs worrisome when someone gets low, but not kill the entire pace of the adventure because PCs are running around with multiple levels of exhaustion. If they are, they’re getting their butts kicked and I (or they, if they keep pushing on regardless) need to reconsider how dangerous the encounters are.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
My friends don't talk to me about 5e that much because they know my common saying.

"It's rarely that simple. If it were that simple, someone would have thought of it and did it. The reason why most simple ideas aren't done is because they either cause more problems or implementation isn't actually simple at all".

Most online simple fixes you see are only good for groups very much like the authors because they don't care about these particular "unforseen unfortunate consequences" of their houserule.
 
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Yeah, it’s not hard to kill PCs in 5E if the DM is really into that.

In my latest campaign, I’m trying out that if the PC goes down and is then returned to 1 hp or more, they gain 1 level of exhaustion. Not replacing Death saves though. So long as I don’t make each combat dangerous enough that PCs are likely to be going down during the fight, I think it’ll work out. Should make the PCs worrisome when someone gets low, but not kill the entire pace of the adventure because PCs are running around with multiple levels of exhaustion. If they are, they’re getting their butts kicked and I (or they, if they keep pushing on regardless) need to reconsider how dangerous the encounters are.
That probably is more sensible version of the suggested rule. I have to admit that an exhaustion level per failed death save is rather hard core.
 

G

Guest 7034872

Guest
In my latest campaign, I’m trying out that if the PC goes down and is then returned to 1 hp or more, they gain 1 level of exhaustion. Not replacing Death saves though. So long as I don’t make each combat dangerous enough that PCs are likely to be going down during the fight, I think it’ll work out. Should make the PCs worrisome when someone gets low, but not kill the entire pace of the adventure because PCs are running around with multiple levels of exhaustion. If they are, they’re getting their butts kicked and I (or they, if they keep pushing on regardless) need to reconsider how dangerous the encounters are.
That's a really cool idea. Mind if I steal it and try it out?
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Yet in the Wounds/Vitality thread. @DEFCON 1 makes a very similar proposal. It is pretty hardcore but some people like hardcore. Go for it if that is what you want.
However, I think the game is lethal enough and make more lethal fairly easily. The biggest problem is that once you get past 7th or 8th level the tools given to predict the difficulty of a combat underestimate the toughness of opponents and the degree of underestimation increases as they level up.
I lack sufficient experience with high level play to make definitive statements but I suspect that party composition variance is greater than the encounter guidelines.
The other problem is a general lack of advice or material in high level play and the difficulty in acquiring that experience with high level play.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
I mean, it says a lot about a rules system when the players are more afraid of exhaustion than they are about dropping to 0 hit points. Or to put it differently, it's really messed up that the players are more worried about getting tired than they are about getting stabbed.

Yes yes, death spiral and et cetera, I've read and understood that whole thesis in multiple threads.

But what if that's the whole point? What if this oh-so-terrible 'death spiral' is a feature, and not a bug? Personally, I don't think the characters are supposed to comfortably live in a collapsing ruin, spider-infested forest, or partially-submerged dungeon for days or weeks at a time...and it's weird that they can. And I think it's weird that characters' bodies and abilities all automatically return to factory settings after an 8-hour nap, as if getting beaten nearly to death had never happened...because I'm still limping around with an ice-pack because of a pulled muscle. From last weekend. Maybe immersion and realism are more important for some players than they are for others.

I'm not saying I'm switching to these homebrew exhaustion rules anytime soon. All I'm saying is, I can see why people like it. I can see how it might fix some issues that some folks might be having with the rules for death and dying.
 
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