13 votes

As a DM, I kinda hate Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

I hate that enemies have so low armor class. In earlier editions, you had to be tactical, use flanking manoeuvres and charge attacks, prepare the right support spells, maybe even pick the Weapon Specialization feat for your favourite weapon. In 5e, no need; just stand wherever, roll an attack, you'll probably hit. In addition to removing much of the tactics from the game, this makes it basically impossible for enemy spellcasters to use duration spells. Good luck succeeding on 4 concentration checks per turn.

I hate that enemies' proficiency bonus is based on their challenge rating. No high-attack low-damage monsters here. Don't worry; the tank in your party will never need healing, any level-appropriate monster needs to roll ridiculously high on the dice to hit them! Everyone else just stay in the back and lob your bloody cantrips, and the battle will be over in 3 turns.

I hate that attack cantrips do as much damage as a weapon attack (or more). Why even have weapons at all, when your cantrips do more damage than a longsword, with better range than a crossbow.

I hate that cantrips scale with character level. No need to learn anything new for the rest of the game, your trusty Eldritch Blast will be your most powerful attack throughout. Especially when you get access to Greater Invisibility and don't need to rely on your bloody familiar for advantage on attack rolls.

I hate that familiars can do help actions in combat. Advantage every turn! And since they're no longer a class feature but a spell, they're also available to fighters and rogues, no multi-classing necessary. And unlike in earlier editions there are no real consequences of losing your familiar. All you lose is 10 gp worth of incense to get them back, a pittance at higher levels.

I hate that a long rest fully restores hit points. No need to ever stay in one place for longer than 8 hours, no need to conserve spell slots to do end-of-the-day healing, heck; no need for a healer at all really! And it gets worse when they reach 3rd level and get access to Leomund's Tiny Hut, and don't even need to find a safe spot to camp.

I hate that wild shape is basically useless in combat, due to challenge rating restrictions and the lousy selection of beasts in the Monster Manual.

I hate that the only logical combat use of Polymorph is turning into a dinosaur. Prepare for the inevitable discussion around the table: Can my character turn into a tyrannosaurus rex, even if they've never seen one? No? But, uuuuuh, they saw a picture of one in a book at the library!

I hate that you can use Counterspell to counterspell someone else's attempt at counterspelling your own spell.

I hate that any character can use any skill. No need for a rogue, just hand those Thieves' Tools to the character with the highest Dexterity, they'll get that door open.

The worst thing is that this game went through lots and lots of play-testing before it was released. The developers must have known about all of these issues and chosen not to change them, meaning that none of these are bugs; they're all features! This is how the developers intended the game to be!

Did I forget any of your peeves about the game? Add them in the comments. Alternatively, comment with what you love about 5e, let's add some positivity to this rant.

38 comments

  1. [18]
    eledrave
    Link
    I played 30ish years ago, 2 and 3 (3 was AD&D, right?) I was a lot younger and geekier. A couple of years ago I picked up v4 to play with my kids and it was hard to get back into. They were...

    I played 30ish years ago, 2 and 3 (3 was AD&D, right?) I was a lot younger and geekier. A couple of years ago I picked up v4 to play with my kids and it was hard to get back into. They were already only mildly interested and it seemed overthought and inaccessible. It didn't last.

    I recently started 5e as a player with a group and it was extremely easy to get started. It isn't perfect, but I feel like it is far more accessible, which I imagine is what they were going for.

    I'm guessing it lacks something for the old school player who really gets all the nuance. But I also think a DM who is creative can overcome those shortcomings. I look at it as less of a structured game and more a storytelling experience with randomness thrown in (better version of Choose Your Own Adventure books.)

    5 votes
    1. [12]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      As an outside observer who doesn't play, but has lots of friends who do, this makes sense. It seems to me that the popularity of D&D over the last decade has hinged much more on its capacity for...

      I look at it as less of a structured game and more a storytelling experience with randomness thrown in (better version of Choose Your Own Adventure books.)

      As an outside observer who doesn't play, but has lots of friends who do, this makes sense. It seems to me that the popularity of D&D over the last decade has hinged much more on its capacity for storytelling than for tactical turn-based combat. The former works better as a tabletop, where players (and DMs) have much more freedom to craft unique characters and narratives. The latter works better in a video game, where the computer takes out a lot of the tedium, allowing for even more complex systems.

      6 votes
      1. [8]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        I think in basically every D&D campaign I've been on the DMs told us to not worry too much about counting money or keeping track of how much things weigh. Issues were kept abstract, like "your...

        I think in basically every D&D campaign I've been on the DMs told us to not worry too much about counting money or keeping track of how much things weigh. Issues were kept abstract, like "your pack is getting pretty heavy" rather than appealing to numerical weights. And, for the most part, you were just socially discouraged from doing things that didn't make sense. Rules-lawyering is anti-fun for most people, so opportunities to do so are just kind of avoided.

        Granted, this means you have to put a lot more faith in your DM to actually care about concocting a fun story for you to play in. It seems to be almost a meme that DMs should have adversarial relationships with their players, but I'd rather just not play that campaign. . .

        3 votes
        1. [7]
          TheRtRevKaiser
          Link Parent
          I have played with a very old-school DM who ran a homebrewed hodgepodge of Basic and AD&D, and that was the only time I ever felt like tracking supplies and ammunition was interesting. We only...

          I have played with a very old-school DM who ran a homebrewed hodgepodge of Basic and AD&D, and that was the only time I ever felt like tracking supplies and ammunition was interesting. We only played a couple of sessions, but it a low level dungeon crawl where it really felt like we had to be smart and conserve our resources or we weren't going to make it out alive.

          I think that those resources can make for a really cool experience, but it's definitely a sub-genre of D&D and not the whole genre. I've been in just as many campaigns, and DMed several, where tracking spell components or arrows would have added nothing to the experience because that wasn't the type or narrative we were making. I like that the tool is there in the toolbox, but I think most DMs understand that things like encumbrance or tracking supplies, etc is just that, one tool in the larger toolbox.

          1 vote
          1. [6]
            NaraVara
            Link Parent
            From what I've heard D&D is sort of descended from tabletop wargaming, and it makes sense in that context to worry a lot about supply lines and stuff. If that's where you want the campaign to go...

            I think that those resources can make for a really cool experience, but it's definitely a sub-genre of D&D and not the whole genre.

            From what I've heard D&D is sort of descended from tabletop wargaming, and it makes sense in that context to worry a lot about supply lines and stuff. If that's where you want the campaign to go it makes a lot of sense to use that as a vehicle for introducing suspense.

            2 votes
            1. [5]
              TheRtRevKaiser
              Link Parent
              Yeah early d&d was heavily based on games like Chainmail. Also, if you look at the type of fiction that inspired early d&d (AD&D's Appendix N) it's much less the Heroic/Epic fantasy that most...

              Yeah early d&d was heavily based on games like Chainmail. Also, if you look at the type of fiction that inspired early d&d (AD&D's Appendix N) it's much less the Heroic/Epic fantasy that most players are trying to emulate, and there's a lot of stuff along the lines of Conan and Fritz Lieber's low fantasy stories, where the character is just trying to survive in a hostile world.

              1 vote
              1. [4]
                NaraVara
                Link Parent
                That sounds a lot more interesting TBH. Though I can see how people who first got into it as teenagers would have had it take a sharp turn into something more "Prince of Persia" and less "Oregon...

                That sounds a lot more interesting TBH. Though I can see how people who first got into it as teenagers would have had it take a sharp turn into something more "Prince of Persia" and less "Oregon Trail."

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  TheRtRevKaiser
                  Link Parent
                  There's been a big resurgence of this style of RPG in the last decade or so. Usually those types of game label themselves OSR (Old-School Renaissance) and have less crunchy rulesets that are more...

                  There's been a big resurgence of this style of RPG in the last decade or so. Usually those types of game label themselves OSR (Old-School Renaissance) and have less crunchy rulesets that are more focused on fast, high-lethality, lower level dungeon/hex crawls. It's an interesting style of play, to me, and I've definitely been tempted to try and run a Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel, but me and the guys I play with definitely grew up with more of a high/epic/heroic fantasy background so it would be tough to get out of that head-space where you're thinking of your character as a highly competent adventurer, and instead play like a greenhorn who was literally a farmer last week.

                  On a bit of a side note, I think as much as anything it's the aesthetic of those OSR games that really makes me want to play them. That goofy 60s/70s style fantasy art that looks like it would be at home in somebody's homemade zine, or airbrushed on the side of a van, just really tickles my brain in a way that the super-produced cover art that modern RPGs use doesn't. I mean, look at that link for the DCC product page. That stuff is gnarly.

                  Edit: I just noticed I start a lot of my comments with "Yeah".

                  1. [2]
                    NaraVara
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    I'm with you on that. More than any particular aesthetic style, I kind of miss the time when it seemed like there was a larger diversity of styles. I recently got back into Magic The Gathering and...

                    On a bit of a side note, I think as much as anything it's the aesthetic of those OSR games that really makes me want to play them.

                    I'm with you on that. More than any particular aesthetic style, I kind of miss the time when it seemed like there was a larger diversity of styles. I recently got back into Magic The Gathering and am really struck by how polished and consistent the art style is. I'm impressed by it as a project manager, but I also kind of miss the days where you'd have some H.R. Geiger looking stuff on one card and some kind of surrealist nonsense in another card within the same set.

                    1. TheRtRevKaiser
                      Link Parent
                      Yeah some of the early cards in MtG were wild

                      Yeah some of the early cards in MtG were wild

      2. [3]
        arghdos
        Link Parent
        The thing is, there are way better choices for storytelling games than 5e e.g., pretty much all of the PBTA universe. I find 5e to be a weird in-between from really hardcore tactical stuff and...

        The thing is, there are way better choices for storytelling games than 5e e.g., pretty much all of the PBTA universe. I find 5e to be a weird in-between from really hardcore tactical stuff and story-telling games, hence I understand the OP’s frustration.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          That's exactly why 5e can be a great storytelling game. Because it's very light in mechanics for roleplaying, and very easy to get into in general, you can get a bunch of people who want to do a...

          That's exactly why 5e can be a great storytelling game. Because it's very light in mechanics for roleplaying, and very easy to get into in general, you can get a bunch of people who want to do a bunch of roleplaying, and they can actually get to the roleplaying part rather than be bogged down in details in 4e or spent time learning a system. Roleplaying already has mechanics - the social ones we all live with.

          1 vote
          1. arghdos
            Link Parent
            While I agree compared to 4e, 5e is much easier to get into, I have had much much much better success getting new players into something like DungeonWorld instead of 5e. Plus there, the game...

            While I agree compared to 4e, 5e is much easier to get into, I have had much much much better success getting new players into something like DungeonWorld instead of 5e. Plus there, the game places emphasis is actually on storytelling by design, rather than being somewhere in the middle like 5e is.

            2 votes
    2. [2]
      burkaman
      Link Parent
      I've never played 4e, but I think it was generally agreed by everyone to be pretty bad. Not good for beginners, and not good for hardcore experienced players. Generally the "debate" is between 5e...

      I've never played 4e, but I think it was generally agreed by everyone to be pretty bad. Not good for beginners, and not good for hardcore experienced players. Generally the "debate" is between 5e and 3.5e, which I would compare to Skyrim vs. Morrowind. I think they're both good, and it just depends what kind of game you want to play. I agree with your take on 5, and I think 3.5 is definitely harder and more strategic, but not so punishing that it's not fun for beginners.

      2 votes
      1. TheRtRevKaiser
        Link Parent
        Hard disagree on this. I've played, to varying degrees, pretty much all of the editions of D&D and 4e is easily my favorite. The classes were better balanced and all sat on a very well designed...

        Hard disagree on this. I've played, to varying degrees, pretty much all of the editions of D&D and 4e is easily my favorite. The classes were better balanced and all sat on a very well designed framework so that they all worked in basically the same way, but played very different at the table.

        There were some issues with monster math, which was vastly improved from Monster Manual 2 and onward, and toward the EoL of the system it was getting a little bloated, but building and playing characters in 4e was easily the best and most fun experience of any of the editions that I've played, and the DM tools were also fantastic.

        I do agree that 4e was poorly received, but that has more to do with WotC making too many departures from the "Sacred Cows" of the brand than any real problems with the system, in my opinion.

        2 votes
    3. [3]
      KapteinB
      Link Parent
      I believe 2nd edition is the one generally referred to as AD&D. 3rd edition was my personal first. I've also played 5e as a player, and it was a lot less frustrating than as a DM. My main gripe...

      I believe 2nd edition is the one generally referred to as AD&D. 3rd edition was my personal first.

      I've also played 5e as a player, and it was a lot less frustrating than as a DM. My main gripe then was that thanks to the min-maxer player in the party, every combat encounter was trivial, and my own (not min-maxed) character was inconsequential. So combat was rather boring as a player as well, and like you I ended up treating it more as a storytelling experience.

      1. [2]
        Grawlix
        Link Parent
        Not quite! There's a first and second edition of AD&D, but there were other D&D products. Third edition continued the numbering system of the Advanced line, but dropped the word "Advanced" because...

        I believe 2nd edition is the one generally referred to as AD&D.

        Not quite! There's a first and second edition of AD&D, but there were other D&D products. Third edition continued the numbering system of the Advanced line, but dropped the word "Advanced" because there were no longer multiple versions of the game at once.

        Longer version, if you'll excuse my excitement to retell the story:

        There's Original D&D (sometimes referred to as the "white box" or 0e), which was a box set with three pamphlets, and a bunch of expansions.

        Then there was the Holmes Basic Set (or "blue box), designed as a compiled intro to the full game.

        THEN, legal shenanigans. Gygax created D&D with Dave Arneson, and so Arneson would be owed royalties. To prevent this, they split the product line between Basic and Advanced. The argument went that the Basic version is the one Arneson helped design, whereas Advanced was a totally new product made without him. If there was a single product line, or a game simply called "Dungeons & Dragons" without any other modifier, Arneson's lawyers could more easily say, "this is clearly the game he helped design, so pay him." Both games were kept in print, with several versions of Basic and two editions of Advanced.

        Then, TSR went under and was acquired by Wizards of the Coast. They only create a single version of the D&D rules at a time, and from the numbering, you can tell they're continuing the Advanced line—but, since they finally paid out Dave Arneson, they own the game outright and can drop the word "Advanced."

        The funny thing about this is that the two versions of the game, despite sounding like an introduction and a full version, were two separate product lines. So you had things like the D&D Expert Set, which was built off of the Basic Set, but was unrelated to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Likewise, there's a product called First Quest, which is labeled "The Introduction to Role-Playing Games," and is meant to introduce people to AD&D, but is distinctly NOT the Basic Set. Weird, isn't it? :P

        And as a side note, the two games diverged pretty significantly in style of play. Basic was more streamlined and flexible, whereas Advanced was more rigid, expansive, and codified (for reasons I could get into, but I'm already getting long-winded). And there are still folks who like the old style of play, with a pretty significant preference for Basic. In fact, people are still publishing new, unofficial versions of the rules, and a TON of supplements for it, in something called the OSR (Old School Renaissance/Revival/Rules/RwhateverYouWantThatStartsWithR). And it's not just people grumbling about how things are different from what they liked as a kid (...or at least, not all that :P). I also started with 3e, I'm in a 5e campaign that I enjoy now (albeit with some gripes), but Basic is a really neat, distinct kind of game. Not better or worse, but different. Worth checking out, IMO. :)

        8 votes
        1. KapteinB
          Link Parent
          Huh, I had no idea!

          THEN, legal shenanigans. Gygax created D&D with Dave Arneson, and so Arneson would be owed royalties. To prevent this, they split the product line between Basic and Advanced. The argument went that the Basic version is the one Arneson helped design, whereas Advanced was a totally new product made without him. If there was a single product line, or a game simply called "Dungeons & Dragons" without any other modifier, Arneson's lawyers could more easily say, "this is clearly the game he helped design, so pay him." Both games were kept in print, with several versions of Basic and two editions of Advanced.

          Huh, I had no idea!

          2 votes
  2. [10]
    Amarok
    Link
    I've been playing D&D since the original red box landed in my lap when I was five. I hate the vancian spellcasting. Spell slots are still the most clumsy way to handle a magic system that's ever...

    I've been playing D&D since the original red box landed in my lap when I was five.

    I hate the vancian spellcasting. Spell slots are still the most clumsy way to handle a magic system that's ever been published, and I'm constantly amazed it's survived this long from edition to edition. Worse, people even defend it like it's a worthy tradition. I move my players over to spell points every time, speeds things up immensely.

    Spellcasting without a time-based mechanic is doing it wrong, period. I noticed Pathfinder 2E has moved in this direction with multiple actions dedicated to a single spellcast producing stronger and/or more effects for the cost of the single spell. I did like with 5e did cantrips and rituals, though. Those were wonderful changes.

    5e was an attempt to reclaim AD&D's soul and it largely succeeded in taking the game back to its roots, away from the endless number crunching that plagued v3 and the video-game aspects of v4. It's more accessible, sure, but it's also more bland and generic. I feel you on that one.

    I was surprised the monster manuals went downhill with 5e, 4e had the best stat blocks and monster presentation they've done since the original AD&D binders. It was the only thing I really liked about 4e.

    Popping right back up after 'dying' is also annoying as hell. I solved that problem by giving anyone who goes down another level of exhaustion every time they get back up again. It's a handy stand-in for wounds that works great with 5e's mechanics.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      I kind of wish magic, in general, could be nerfed throughout D&D. It makes RPing a medieval world seem a bit ridiculous when you have people who could, in theory, operate a steam engine by...

      Spell slots are still the most clumsy way to handle a magic system that's ever been published, and I'm constantly amazed it's survived this long from edition to edition. Worse, people even defend it like it's a worthy tradition. I move my players over to spell points every time, speeds things up immensely.

      I kind of wish magic, in general, could be nerfed throughout D&D. It makes RPing a medieval world seem a bit ridiculous when you have people who could, in theory, operate a steam engine by snapping their fingers to a beat.

      Wizards are supposed to be smart, so having to make cool spell effects by being clever about combining small things to make a big thing seems much more on-brand. For example, casting a "fireball" is lame and boring. Having your partner cast "grease" and then using prestidigitation to ignite it. . . that's way more dynamic. You have to have multiple things go well, and the better or worse each component goes the bigger or small the ultimate effect ends up being. That creates a more dynamic process for doing things with magic than just announcing "I'm doing a magic! roll"

      Granted, part of the fun is supposed to be that you can play a really smart character without actually having to be all that smart, in the same way you can play an elite warrior monk despite being tragically out of shape. So maybe it wouldn't work so well.

      All that said. I think spell slots suddenly make a lot more sense if you make yourself a deck of cards for each spell you know and just draw yourself a hand for however many slots you have. I played a campaign where the wizard did that for fun, under the pretense that his character has some kind of selective amnesia.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        If a player wanted to go that route I'd totally accommodate it, that sounds like a fun quirk. I love it. I've always wondered why the game didn't come with the spells and monsters as cards. It...

        If a player wanted to go that route I'd totally accommodate it, that sounds like a fun quirk. I love it.

        I've always wondered why the game didn't come with the spells and monsters as cards. It saves you flipping through a book or looking something up on the tablet/phone. Seems like Wizards understands the value of collectible cards better than most, I'm kinda surprised they didn't go that route.

        I think there's an opportunity to make metamagic a lot more fun here too. Apply as many as you like, it's only going to cost you actions. A more basic spell template (say, Burst, Ray, etc) which is then modified by metamagics to increase range, area, duration, power, save difficulty - and also, metas to select the energy type, exempt allies from the effect, apply secondary effects, etc. You could have that one Burst spell take a thousand different forms at the table including duplicating the generic Fireball (or make it a frostball, negative energy blast, etc).

        I always thought meta spells like permanency and contingency made a lot more sense as metamagics rather than being their own spells, too.

        A bit off color for me that Wizards can't use metamagic in 5e. Seems like there should have been wizard archetypes to go that route.

        2 votes
        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Oooh I really like this idea. That would be a really cool way to approximate skills and strengths among wizards. Like as far a skill set goes, I can imagine people's skills diverge more along...

          I always thought meta spells like permanency and contingency made a lot more sense as metamagics rather than being their own spells, too.

          Oooh I really like this idea. That would be a really cool way to approximate skills and strengths among wizards.

          Like as far a skill set goes, I can imagine people's skills diverge more along dimensions like precision versus power versus speed. D&D treats spells as kind of just a set of recipes you have memorized and your "skill" as a wizard just comes down to how many recipes you've collected. But in a more magic oriented world I can imagine skill rolls changing based on how you want to apply an effect. You want to light a candle on the sly, you need finesse and precision; you want a BIG fireball, you need explosive power. They're both about generating fire, but it's a question of how. A finesse wizard might focus on rays and bolts of flame and be disadvantaged at big AoE spells, while a power wizard can blow up a building but struggle to rein it in if he's in close quarters.

          Or, how long you can make an effect last will depend on your fastidiousness and concentration, etc. If you're bad at contingency the rules might end up applying more vague fuzzy logic or more precise triggers the same way a good programmer is less likely to produce unintended effects. This ends up using the magic system as a way to express a character's personality!

          2 votes
    2. [6]
      weystrom
      Link Parent
      What's the difference between spell points and spell slots though? It's just a number, isn't it?

      What's the difference between spell points and spell slots though? It's just a number, isn't it?

      1. [5]
        Amarok
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I find players have an easier time tracking a single number rather than nine numbers that seem never to go above three. There's a lot less time wasted with players choosing which spell to use or...

        I find players have an easier time tracking a single number rather than nine numbers that seem never to go above three. There's a lot less time wasted with players choosing which spell to use or save (since now it's just a point pool). Deciding what level to cast at and applying megamagic costs is simpler this way as well. It's just faster, every time, every game. Regaining a couple of spell points after a short/long rest is easier than crunching through recovery of specific spells or slots. Then there are magic items that can store spell points, and I often have some magic items use spell points for their effects instead of charges when in the hands of a caster.

        I throw out the attunement limits and the limit on only casting one 6/7/8/9th level spell a day and the limit on spells learned per level. All of those are asinine restrictions meant to gimp casters so they don't overshadow and outclass the melee. It doesn't even work, casters still massively overshadow non-casters, they always have, and they always will. The solution to that problem is making everyone a caster, even the barbarian, but D&D hasn't figured that out yet.

        I make up the difference between learned and spontaneous casters with the difficulty and cost of learning/researching based on class. I like to treat spells more like loot. My players can research spells for hefty time/gold costs, if they are lucky they can buy/trade/quest for them, and the best spells are rare loot not everyone knows or is willing to share. Try giving your players spells that aren't in the 5E books sometime, they get positively giddy.

        I'm more comfortable limiting the rate of spell learning rather than setting arbitrary caps on classes to patch a gimp system. It makes spellbooks a lot more precious to their owners, I'm not above having them get destroyed or stolen on occasion.

        I'd rather dump the points mechanic altogether, but it goes too far away from 5E at that point and would require reworking not just the casting mechanics but also the spell effects/descriptions.

        I'd really like a system with multiple effects and uses for each spell, more like fast/normal/ritual casting, that scales with the number of actions/rounds spent, the number of casters joining in helping cast it, and the level of those casters. By the time you're slinging 9th level spells, 1st level spells should operate like cantrips and be borderline free casts unless you're upscaling them extensively.

        I'm hoping they'll experiment more with this in the next iteration. Cantrips and rituals are a welcome step in the right direction for me, even if they do have some balance issues. I just bump the power of the real spells up a couple dice to compensate for the cantrips scaling.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          KapteinB
          Link Parent
          Did you play 4e? They more or less did this, by giving every class "powers" (daily/encounter/at-will). From what little I've played of 4e, it seemed they'd mostly solved the issue of balance...

          The solution to that problem is making everyone a caster, even the barbarian, but D&D hasn't figured that out yet.

          Did you play 4e? They more or less did this, by giving every class "powers" (daily/encounter/at-will). From what little I've played of 4e, it seemed they'd mostly solved the issue of balance between casters and non-casters, but at the cost of introducing several other issues.

          Your spell points system sound intriguing. I read about something similar in the 3e book Unearthed Arcana way back, but I never got a chance to play with it.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            5E officially supports spell points, it's a fully fleshed alternative mechanic on 289 of the DMG. I was quite happy to see that inclusion. Only Warlocks rub against it the wrong way since they...

            5E officially supports spell points, it's a fully fleshed alternative mechanic on 289 of the DMG. I was quite happy to see that inclusion. Only Warlocks rub against it the wrong way since they recover all spells after a short rest. I let them recover about half their pool instead.

            4e got muddled with the at will/per day mechanics, it wasn't very elegant. I had a lot of confused players who couldn't quite get it all straight at the table.

            The best version of a magic system I've personally ever seen was how Earthdawn handled magic, since it was completely a function of time to cast and two skills. There was no concept of a limit of any kind, no more than there being a limit on the number of times a warrior can swing his sword. ED had its own issues, though, it was hardly crunch-free, and even in that system, Rogues still sucked.

            2 votes
            1. KapteinB
              Link Parent
              Oh, neat! Yeah, odd that it doesn't mention the Warlock issue.

              5E officially supports spell points, it's a fully fleshed alternative mechanic on 289 of the DMG. I was quite happy to see that inclusion. Only Warlocks rub against it the wrong way since they recover all spells after a short rest. I let them recover about half their pool instead.

              Oh, neat! Yeah, odd that it doesn't mention the Warlock issue.

              1 vote
            2. TheRtRevKaiser
              Link Parent
              This is baffling to me. I don't see how the At Will/Encounter/Daily mechanic is any more confusing than spell slots or spell points. I always feel like people didn't approach 4e with an open mind...

              4e got muddled with the at will/per day mechanics, it wasn't very elegant. I had a lot of confused players who couldn't quite get it all straight at the table.

              This is baffling to me. I don't see how the At Will/Encounter/Daily mechanic is any more confusing than spell slots or spell points. I always feel like people didn't approach 4e with an open mind and confused themselves by carrying over mechanics from older editions. I found 4e to be clearer, easier to understand and easier to play than any other edition of the game I've encountered, and I've played at least some of almost all of the editions (with the exception of AD&D 2e). 3.5/Pathfinder was much more difficult to grok for me than 4e, which I felt like had a very clear mechanical framework and very well developed keyword mechanics. There were a couple of pain points for my group, but I haven't found any game with much complexity that didn't have some amount of rules confusion at some point. It probably helped that all of the players in my group played a lot of MtG, and I 4e shared some basic concepts with MtG as well as earlier version of d&d.

              Sorry if my post comes across as dismissing your opinion, but there was a lot of stupid edition warring back when I was playing 4e heavily, to the point where if you tried to ask a rules question or find 4e material online, you had to wade through a lot of angry 3.5/Pathfinder fanboys spewing out their unasked for "4e sucks/is an MMO" opinions all over the place, and I still feel a little miffed by how quickly and completely WotC ended their support for 4e. There's probably some rose-tinted glasses in my fondness for 4e, because the group I was DMing for played our longest, most complete campaign in that edition, and it was a time before we all had kids and moved to separate places so it has a special significance for me. We've played a couple of longish 5e campaigns since then, over roll20, and they were a lot of fun but never quite recaptured the feeling of that 4e campaign.

  3. [4]
    stu2b50
    Link
    I don't understand your complaints about the monster stat blocks. So? You're the DM! AC too low for this party? ...just up the AC. There's literally no reason you actually have to stick with the...

    I don't understand your complaints about the monster stat blocks. So? You're the DM! AC too low for this party? ...just up the AC. There's literally no reason you actually have to stick with the statblocks provided, even on premade campaigns. That's the point.

    Or like

    I hate that enemies' proficiency bonus is based on their challenge rating. No high-attack low-damage monsters here.

    So just change it? I guess you can argue that those statblocks shouldn't be bad inherently, but I'd argue part of the point is that every party is different, and that a bunch of players who have no idea what they're doing would appreciate lower ACs.

    I hate that attack cantrips do as much damage as a weapon attack (or more). Why even have weapons at all, when your cantrips do more damage than a longsword, with better range than a crossbow.

    I mean it's really just Eldritch Blast. It's basically a warlock class feature. Why have weapons at all? Because not everyone is a warlock lol? Technically, the stupid hexblade-2 dips are minimax optimal anyway, so that's why you want weapons.

    For non-warlocks, without the invocation even EB falls far behind actual proficient martial weapons because you only get the +cha to every ray with that invocation. At max level, it's 50% weaker without the invocation.

    I hate that familiars can do help actions in combat. Advantage every turn!

    Or you could actually try t o explain what "help" is doing. Maybe your wizard's bird flew in the face of the fighter that's he's attacking. Well, that fighter is going to make the bird fucking explode the next turn.

    Even invisible familiars, like pact of the chain ones, doesn't mean you invulnerable.

    I hate that the only logical combat use of Polymorph is turning into a dinosaur.

    No, it's still a save-or-suck. Polymorph an enemy into a rabbit and it won't do anything while all of its friends die. Basically banishment for in-plane creatures. If you still want to kill it, dimension door it into the depths of the ocean or something.

    I hate that you can use Counterspell to counterspell someone else's attempt at counterspelling your own spell.

    Idk, that's the best part. Then you get into mindgames about what level to counterspell the counterspell, so that the other enemy spellcaster won't counterspell your counterspell.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      Amarok
      Link Parent
      Heh. Nothing like Flock of Familiars or summoning a phalanx of invisible Pixies to 'help' every single player, every single round. Frankly, in 5e, there's no good reason not to have advantage on...

      Even invisible familiars, like pact of the chain ones, doesn't mean you invulnerable.

      Heh. Nothing like Flock of Familiars or summoning a phalanx of invisible Pixies to 'help' every single player, every single round. Frankly, in 5e, there's no good reason not to have advantage on every single attack roll or ability check. They make it soooo damn easy - too easy. Casters can all get familiars and summoning spells, most classes can get into a companion one way or another.

      Sure, the bad guys can attack the familiars or summoned critters and usually one shot them (or AoE them all down). That's wonderful, they get to waste an action dealing with speed bumps instead of the players and die that much faster since they are now effectively 'slowed' dealing with the infinitely renewable supply of speed bumps.

      Tipping the scale of action economy is a near-universal exploit, it can break any gaming system. At least in 5e it doesn't slow things to a crawl trying to resolve the actions of summoned critters every round. I still have nightmares about Pathfinder Summoners. Awesome class, but that implementation just obliterates combat, there are more critters to resolve actions for than players and bad guys combined at that point.

      It is a bit silly the way they handle the idea of 'help' in 5e, but it's usually just as bad in any other system. Either it's OP or it's too gimped to be useful. I remember 7th Sea fondly for this, as they divided bad guys into actual bad guys and generic henchmen that could be dispatched just for the action cost, even without rolling sometimes. Nice idea for speeding things up at the table.

      I miss the AD&D familiars. When those died there was a chance they'd take their master with them every time. At least that made risking their lives into a less cavalier affair. The familiar enhancer spells/potions were a lot more rewarding than having a generic hawk or pseudodragon, too. Customization is fun.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Normally wasting your entire action to give someone advantage is awful, it only gets ridiculous when you have a bunch of allies that don't do anything on their action normally. You can remedy this...

        Normally wasting your entire action to give someone advantage is awful, it only gets ridiculous when you have a bunch of allies that don't do anything on their action normally.

        You can remedy this just by forcing players that when they do a help action, actually make them describe how they're helping. In situations where it's not reasonable to help, then you can't help.

        Or you could just houserule nerf it if it's seriously a problem. Or just add some enemies who spend their turn killing all the familiars.

        Like I've never actually had a campaign where a bunch of familiars using help every action was actually an issue.

        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          RAW any of your summons/mounts/familiars can always use the help action - it's not like they have anything else useful to do in combat. Once my players find out about this, getting that help...

          RAW any of your summons/mounts/familiars can always use the help action - it's not like they have anything else useful to do in combat. Once my players find out about this, getting that help action is far more important than bless, haste, or other buff spells.

          The simplest way to manage it is to rule that your critters can only help you, rather than anyone. It's still a bit of an exploit, though. Arcane Tricksters with a familiar make Assassins look useless, given what the Assassin has to do for that advantage vs the Trickster's always-on sneak attack mode.

  4. Omnicrola
    Link
    I'm the type of person who would have totally played DnD as a kid, if it wasn't you know, a gateway to satan worship. So I've only played as an adult, starting with 5e about 6-7 years ago. Since...

    I'm the type of person who would have totally played DnD as a kid, if it wasn't you know, a gateway to satan worship.

    So I've only played as an adult, starting with 5e about 6-7 years ago. Since then I've also played some other systems with different groups of people. I find I have a much more fun time in the systems that are less "crunchy", and the focus is on collaborative storytelling and less on the detailed minutia of the second-to-second combat mechanics. It's exhausting to realize that after 3-4 hours of IRL time, you've actually only spent a few minutes in your campaign's time because combat is so detailed.

    So while as an engineer I can appreciate the attention to detail the combat in DnD has, even 5e is a bit much and I think the earlier editions would probably be even more annoying to me without having coupled them with the sense of wonder and discovery that come from having playing them as a kid/teenager.

    3 votes
  5. [3]
    weystrom
    (edited )
    Link
    You're the DM, you have an ability to tweak almost everything you've described, within reason. Low enemy AC? Tune the encounters, change the stats on the fly. Don't like the familiars using help...

    You're the DM, you have an ability to tweak almost everything you've described, within reason.

    Low enemy AC? Tune the encounters, change the stats on the fly. Don't like the familiars using help action every turn? Don't allow it!

    We've just started playing 5e with my friends, and it was very easy to pick up. Almost no busywork, just the core mechanics. But if you would like to go deeper and into more hardcore rules, I don't see a reason not to introduce them. It's your campaign after all. House rules are a thing.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      scissortail
      Link Parent
      Hell, I'd say screw 'within reason'--take it apart and rebuild it into something you like, if it suits your fancy.

      Hell, I'd say screw 'within reason'--take it apart and rebuild it into something you like, if it suits your fancy.

      2 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        And get the players in on it. The munchkins can't help themselves, so you may as well put them to good use. My group has learned to love experimentation, that's why our next game is going to be 5E...

        And get the players in on it. The munchkins can't help themselves, so you may as well put them to good use. My group has learned to love experimentation, that's why our next game is going to be 5E at 51 character levels. They are still at 'effective' level 20, though - that's where hit points and feats stop, etc. It's just the class abilities and spellcasting. Then we use the epic handbook during the game to go 21-30, and they'll have to pick just one class to epic-size. Toss in prestige evolutions as another xp sink.

        5E seems pretty balanced at high levels, so we're going to bust it in half for fun and find out where it breaks. This is the kind of crazy shit you do when the entire group has been playing these games for decades.

        3 votes
  6. twisterghost
    Link
    5e, tactically, is a mixed bag. I do love how easy it is to get going, but as a DM, I spend a lot of time trying to find ways to increase the challenge besides just increasing HP and armor. Using...

    5e, tactically, is a mixed bag. I do love how easy it is to get going, but as a DM, I spend a lot of time trying to find ways to increase the challenge besides just increasing HP and armor. Using compromising scenarios, complex setups and boss fights with legendary actions helps. Also just putting people through a grinder. 5e has a lot of "super strong up front but no lasting power" setups. Put level 5 PCs through two big, difficult fights and they're tapped. Then if they're in a dungeon and can't long rest safely, the fear really sets in.

    PCs get really strong really fast and it's hard to keep a narrative which is gripping enough to want to keep playing but paced well enough to make sense. I usually run nearly-totally-homebrew setups for better or worse. I pull data from some monsters, tweak them, and either make new ones from that or just use existing ones with the tweaked numbers, but in terms of adventure, it helps to just amp stuff up.

    I guess my take mostly comes down to that it seems like 5e puts the onus on the DM to take the system to the right places rather than the system doing it for you. And that's not good or bad, though possibly a bit lazy on the devs part.

    All of your points are super valid though. 70% of the PHB is worthless in practicality. When I do play as a PC, I try to make purposefully weird combinations just to squeeze in reason to use less "good" stuff. It kinda works, sometimes. Mostly doesnt. But its fun.

    2 votes
  7. flip
    Link
    I just converted to 5e from 2nd Edition AD&D (we started in 1992), taking advantage of quarantine. Did a couple of dungeon crawls to get the mechanics right, but the AC thing was immediately an...

    I just converted to 5e from 2nd Edition AD&D (we started in 1992), taking advantage of quarantine. Did a couple of dungeon crawls to get the mechanics right, but the AC thing was immediately an issue. Same with attack bonuses and all.

    You know what I did? I simply upped everything. The NPC's have the same level of special abilities, attack bonuses, etc. Monsters are getting proficiency bonuses just like players as well. Rules were meant to be tweaked.

    Last 2 sessions (another one in 90 minutes, yay!), TPK was avoided just because I want the campaign to continue. But if the players Leroy Jenkins things again, it will end tonight.

    If you want it to be more tactical, just make it impossible to succeed without brains. You are the DM, you rule unopposed. Go nuts.

    2 votes