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There is a distinct difference between wjatwvery, dm included, can do.. Which is literally anything they want... At their table. And what the rules of the game are. Arguing that anyone can do anything is meaningless. Because at that point fething d20 and the unisystem dont even exist.

When someone is discussing the mechanics of d20 they are discussing the rules as written in the actual rule book. The phb. The implicit fact that the dm can just do what they want is irrelevant.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
 
   
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 Lance845 wrote:
When someone is discussing the mechanics of d20 they are discussing the rules as written in the actual rule book
And the DMG, which has rules that aren't in the PHB. And the MM, which has rules that aren't in the PHB. And the supplements, which have rules that aren't in the PHB. In fact, most arguments these days about rules in DnD aren't even over the portion of the rules in the PHB, they're over the various rules included in the Unearthed Arcana articles.

DnD hasn't been "one book has all the rules" for at least forty years, and this is still the case no matter how much you attempt to be whiny and pedantic about it.

You've long since lost track of your own arguments and are arguing complete and utter nonsense now.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/04/29 16:50:50


The people in the past who convinced themselves to do unspeakable things were no less human than you or I. They made their decisions; the only thing that prevents history from repeating itself is making different ones.
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 Lance845 wrote:
There is a distinct difference between wjatwvery, dm included, can do.. Which is literally anything they want... At their table. And what the rules of the game are. Arguing that anyone can do anything is meaningless. Because at that point fething d20 and the unisystem dont even exist.

When someone is discussing the mechanics of d20 they are discussing the rules as written in the actual rule book. The phb. The implicit fact that the dm can just do what they want is irrelevant.


It's weird, the rules in my PHB say that I can do an "improvised action" - what book do you figure I'd have to turn to in order to get some guidance on what that action entails? It sounds like what I want to do at this point falls under the heading of "improvise".

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
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MN

Let's not be all pissy everyone. We can all have parts of systems we like better and worse, and prefer different things in games and the things emphasized in other games.

I think the core issue is that we all like different things and some games deliver on those things better than others.

No need to make an Us vs. Them argument at all.

I have learned a lot about D&D mechanics thanks to this thread, even though I am not a huge fan of them compared to some other systems. However, like many here I have been RPGing for a couple decades and know pretty well what I want from the experience. If I am not getting it, then I need to figure out how I am going to get it with the help of my GM/Players. I need to be the change I want to see in the RPG group I am playing with, and not be a dick about it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/04/29 16:57:18


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 Easy E wrote:
However, like many here I have been RPGing for a couple decades and know pretty well what I want from the experience. If I am not getting it, then I need to figure out how I am going to get it with the help of my GM/Players.
Basically this is what I've been arguing. If DnD isn't the right game for your group, just don't use it, or houserule it until it becomes the game your group wants.

There's plenty of other games out there. Personally, I've lately been itching for some Shadowrun, preferably 4th or 5th edition.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/04/29 16:58:54


The people in the past who convinced themselves to do unspeakable things were no less human than you or I. They made their decisions; the only thing that prevents history from repeating itself is making different ones.
-- Adam Serwer
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 Easy E wrote:
Let's not be all pissy everyone. We can all have parts of systems we like better and worse, and prefer different things in games and the things emphasized in other games.

I think the core issue is that we all like different things and some games deliver on those things better than others.

No need to make an Us vs. Them argument at all.

I have learned a lot about D&D mechanics thanks to this thread, even though I am not a huge fan of them compared to some other systems. However, like many here I have been RPGing for a couple decades and know pretty well what I want from the experience. If I am not getting it, then I need to figure out how I am going to get it with the help of my GM/Players. I need to be the change I want to see in the RPG group I am playing with, and not be a dick about it.



Yeah, and that's absolutely fine. For me, the main point of frequenting this thread has actually been to learn a little more about the mechanics of the game, as I haven't played for long. It's just frustrating to me to see intensely disingenuous arguments getting trotted out to make claims.

If the PHB is the only core rulebook of DnD, it's got some serious flaws beyond not having fixed rules in its core list of combat maneuvers for kicking someone in the nuts - there's not even a single example of a monster stat block! How are you supposed to know how to make one up?

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
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Dominating Dominatrix






the_scotsman wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
Let's not be all pissy everyone. We can all have parts of systems we like better and worse, and prefer different things in games and the things emphasized in other games.

I think the core issue is that we all like different things and some games deliver on those things better than others.

No need to make an Us vs. Them argument at all.

I have learned a lot about D&D mechanics thanks to this thread, even though I am not a huge fan of them compared to some other systems. However, like many here I have been RPGing for a couple decades and know pretty well what I want from the experience. If I am not getting it, then I need to figure out how I am going to get it with the help of my GM/Players. I need to be the change I want to see in the RPG group I am playing with, and not be a dick about it.



Yeah, and that's absolutely fine. For me, the main point of frequenting this thread has actually been to learn a little more about the mechanics of the game, as I haven't played for long. It's just frustrating to me to see intensely disingenuous arguments getting trotted out to make claims.

If the PHB is the only core rulebook of DnD, it's got some serious flaws beyond not having fixed rules in its core list of combat maneuvers for kicking someone in the nuts - there's not even a single example of a monster stat block! How are you supposed to know how to make one up?


Absolute worst case. The dm makes a character. There the mods for half ork. Theres the armor. Theres the weapons. Make hima fighter. The dm has a half ork bouncer whos guarding a shady black market warehouse.

Again, you dont need a stat block. Its in the phb. Do you have 5 players and you want a even fight? 5 npcs of the same level.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
 
   
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i wanted to post this here - was writing a post on another thread and realized it was more relavent to this thread

i got annoyed at the process...
player declares action to attack
player rolls to hit once
player rolls for damage
player looks at DM who is trying to add something without providing random bonusses on the fly

It felt like as the DM i didn't need to be there for the combat with that process

i ended up splitting the players dice-rolling process with description eg...

player: i run at the nearest enemy and hit them with my sword
Me: 'PC' steels himself and breaks into a sprint toward the line of enemies; as he draws near he raises his sword above his head...
Me to player: roll to hit please.. ....DC 13 (or whatever it is)
player: thats a 12, plus 1 - i got 13 exactly!
me: ... 'PC' swings his sword down across the lead enemy who takes a step back - the tip of your sword arcing past his face...
me to player: roll for damage please..
player: okay, thats 10 damage altogether (enemy has 10 hit points remaining)
me: ... the tip of your sword slices through his armour as it scores down the chest of your opponent, slowing it but not stopping, before your blade carries on down into the top of the mans thigh - he collapses to the ground in agony, letting go of his weapons and instead clutching the gaping wound on his thigh - this man will surely bleed out..
me: 'other PC', you observe 'PC' set off toward the enemy, sword held aloft and screaming - it is your time to act...
other player: i fire an arrow at the next closest enemy to the one 'PC' is running toward
me: staying still, you watch and judge which enemy 'PC' is running toward and take aim at one you can see just past 'PC' to his side (same side as 'other PC' is on from 'PC')
me to 'other player': roll to hit please... DC 13 again
other player: i got 15 plus 2 for a 17 total!
Me: your arrow flies true, streaking under 'PC's raised sword arm, striking the enemy to the side...
me to 'other player': roll for the damage if you please?...
other player: ah, whiffed it - thats 3 damage
me: your arrow thunks into the midriff of your target, clearly entering his body because he immediately stiffens in reflex to the pain...

i think that the dice roll will provide you with your storytelling if you let it, but the usual way of trying to 'speed up' combat by players rolling all the dice they use each turn before you describe it stops you being able to create any suspense.
If you let the players roll to hit and damage at the same time they already know how your description is going to end up.
The only intrest the DM can provide is coming from any saving throws or tricky stuff like 'in the moment bonuses' or delaying enemy actions and having them use reactions, but I think that is a DM fail because that just relies on the enemies rolling high on the initiative order or dying quick as the players effectively get a free turn at the start of combat.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-px27tzAtVwZpZ4ljopV2w "ashtrays and teacups do not count as cover"
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 SirDonlad wrote:
i wanted to post this here - was writing a post on another thread and realized it was more relavent to this thread

i got annoyed at the process...
player declares action to attack
player rolls to hit once
player rolls for damage
player looks at DM who is trying to add something without providing random bonusses on the fly

It felt like as the DM i didn't need to be there for the combat with that process

i ended up splitting the players dice-rolling process with description eg...

player: i run at the nearest enemy and hit them with my sword
Me: 'PC' steels himself and breaks into a sprint toward the line of enemies; as he draws near he raises his sword above his head...
Me to player: roll to hit please.. ....DC 13 (or whatever it is)
player: thats a 12, plus 1 - i got 13 exactly!
me: ... 'PC' swings his sword down across the lead enemy who takes a step back - the tip of your sword arcing past his face...
me to player: roll for damage please..
player: okay, thats 10 damage altogether (enemy has 10 hit points remaining)
me: ... the tip of your sword slices through his armour as it scores down the chest of your opponent, slowing it but not stopping, before your blade carries on down into the top of the mans thigh - he collapses to the ground in agony, letting go of his weapons and instead clutching the gaping wound on his thigh - this man will surely bleed out..
me: 'other PC', you observe 'PC' set off toward the enemy, sword held aloft and screaming - it is your time to act...
other player: i fire an arrow at the next closest enemy to the one 'PC' is running toward
me: staying still, you watch and judge which enemy 'PC' is running toward and take aim at one you can see just past 'PC' to his side (same side as 'other PC' is on from 'PC')
me to 'other player': roll to hit please... DC 13 again
other player: i got 15 plus 2 for a 17 total!
Me: your arrow flies true, streaking under 'PC's raised sword arm, striking the enemy to the side...
me to 'other player': roll for the damage if you please?...
other player: ah, whiffed it - thats 3 damage
me: your arrow thunks into the midriff of your target, clearly entering his body because he immediately stiffens in reflex to the pain...

i think that the dice roll will provide you with your storytelling if you let it, but the usual way of trying to 'speed up' combat by players rolling all the dice they use each turn before you describe it stops you being able to create any suspense.
If you let the players roll to hit and damage at the same time they already know how your description is going to end up.
The only intrest the DM can provide is coming from any saving throws or tricky stuff like 'in the moment bonuses' or delaying enemy actions and having them use reactions, but I think that is a DM fail because that just relies on the enemies rolling high on the initiative order or dying quick as the players effectively get a free turn at the start of combat.


I think that comes down to DM style. Personally speaking, I try to encourage players to describe their own actions, and I try to avoid directly taking control of any actions my players take unless it's something that they, as a player, don't know, like a check for the character to know something or recognize something the player might not.

And even then, it's sometimes funnier to ask players to make something up for a thing, especially if I don't have a particular plan. Some of the most memorable NPCs in my games have been created spontaneously by players rolling to already know somebody I had thrown in as a random NPC.

"I'm from here, do I know that guy?" "Sure, roll the dice" "I got a high number!" "Great, who is it?"

That almost always ends somewhere funny in my experience. And you can write it down and keep track of all your PCs' second cousins and local sports star idols!

All my favorite systems involve pretty continuous player/GM negotiation and back-and-forth. It's one reason why I tend to love games based on the Powered by the Apocalypse system, where by far the likeliest outcome to any action is a "Partial Success" where you get what you want, but...

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
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the_scotsman wrote:
I think that comes down to DM style. Personally speaking, I try to encourage players to describe their own actions, and I try to avoid directly taking control of any actions my players take unless it's something that they, as a player, don't know, like a check for the character to know something or recognize something the player might not.

And even then, it's sometimes funnier to ask players to make something up for a thing, especially if I don't have a particular plan. Some of the most memorable NPCs in my games have been created spontaneously by players rolling to already know somebody I had thrown in as a random NPC.

"I'm from here, do I know that guy?" "Sure, roll the dice" "I got a high number!" "Great, who is it?"

That almost always ends somewhere funny in my experience. And you can write it down and keep track of all your PCs' second cousins and local sports star idols!

All my favorite systems involve pretty continuous player/GM negotiation and back-and-forth. It's one reason why I tend to love games based on the Powered by the Apocalypse system, where by far the likeliest outcome to any action is a "Partial Success" where you get what you want, but...


If the players want to perform a specific action and describe how that's going to start off then i'm cool with it, but my own failure when i was a player was getting all specific about where i was going to try and hit (if you know about anatomy or medicine it very quickly becomes 'every shot is a kill shot') so nearly every shot or swing was described as hitting somewhere else anyway as the damage i could do was nowhere close to the max hit points of the creature/opponent and that got boring real quick.
It's like stating you're going for a beheadding move on an enemy who still has 100 hit points - you'll be putting a huge DC on it to account for the rarity of being able to pull that off and what do you say when they don't get it? i would end up having a two threshold description; one for if they get the crit 20 and another for actually hitting them but that just gives the player a meta-induced-vorpalsword for free - granted, some reward for getting into the spirit of the game is acceptable but that's just too good.
edit: maybe thats the time where i have to realize that trying that would be seriously detrimental and the success of the roll determines how well they get away with trying it anyway.

That 's a cracking idea about the NPC's - i'm going to steal that, thankyouverymuch!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/04/29 21:13:20


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the_scotsman wrote:
think that comes down to DM style. Personally speaking, I try to encourage players to describe their own actions, and I try to avoid directly taking control of any actions my players take unless it's something that they, as a player, don't know, like a check for the character to know something or recognize something the player might not.


DM style can be interesting. I watch a fair amount of Critical Role, less for the game, and more for the entertainment from the actors. But while Mercer often lets the group have their heads and go off in whatever random direction their little hearts desires, he does have one quirk that really gets to me, particularly in the second campaign. For whatever reason, he's a big fan of dream sequences, which isn't a problem, up until he starts describing how the PC thinks and feels about the situation. That's a huge party foul in my book- the DM doesn't get a say in how my character feels or responds emotionally (bar actual mind control nonsense).


As far as D&D combat goes, Critical Role also shows off some of the most boring fights imaginable, and they often drag on for two or three hours just for a single fight, often against a single creature. That's... really mind numbing. It doesn't help that Matt loves flying creatures and the party goes out of its way not to have tools for flyers, so half the party just sort of mucks about, helpless. At 200+ ~4 hour episodes, I'd have expected them to pick up on the value of either flight magic or ranged weapons, but no.

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 Melissia wrote:

There's plenty of other games out there. Personally, I've lately been itching for some Shadowrun, preferably 4th or 5th edition.


I've recently tried my hand at running 5th Edition, after playing in 2 campaigns. It's... difficult. At best. On a good day, I will only have to look up one or two things to answer a player's question about a rule. On a bad day, it's a lot more than that. The 5th Edition Shadowrun rulebook is written wrong. Not written badly; it's written WRONG. The index does not direct you to the proper page (as an example, look up "called shot" in the index and tell me how many pages you flip to before you actually find the rules). Sidebars with examples of rules in action are located nowhere near the rule they are demonstrating. Players are punished for creating their own characters, rather than using the pregens (I mathed out character creation for previous editions, and it is shameful how weak PCs start out as compared to 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th eds). Character creation rules are written in Ancient Greek (I've played every edition of Shadowrun, and I still had a hard time deciphering 5ths character creation rules, despite them being 85% the same as 1st thru 3rd).

None of which is helped by having a table of players that haven't played a Shadowrun game before.

Don't get me wrong: 5th Edition Shadowrun is fun, once you figure out the rules. But that rule book needs to be brought before the Hague on a charge of Crimes Against Humanity.

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Voss wrote:
the_scotsman wrote:
think that comes down to DM style. Personally speaking, I try to encourage players to describe their own actions, and I try to avoid directly taking control of any actions my players take unless it's something that they, as a player, don't know, like a check for the character to know something or recognize something the player might not.


DM style can be interesting. I watch a fair amount of Critical Role, less for the game, and more for the entertainment from the actors. But while Mercer often lets the group have their heads and go off in whatever random direction their little hearts desires, he does have one quirk that really gets to me, particularly in the second campaign. For whatever reason, he's a big fan of dream sequences, which isn't a problem, up until he starts describing how the PC thinks and feels about the situation. That's a huge party foul in my book- the DM doesn't get a say in how my character feels or responds emotionally (bar actual mind control nonsense).


As far as D&D combat goes, Critical Role also shows off some of the most boring fights imaginable, and they often drag on for two or three hours just for a single fight, often against a single creature. That's... really mind numbing. It doesn't help that Matt loves flying creatures and the party goes out of its way not to have tools for flyers, so half the party just sort of mucks about, helpless. At 200+ ~4 hour episodes, I'd have expected them to pick up on the value of either flight magic or ranged weapons, but no.


I have found D&D is for Nerds to be the best dnd podcast. It's funny as all hell, some of the best dming and rping around (once you get past the first season where several players were new to the game), and they keep the action going the vast majority of the time. Adam might be one of the best DMs I have ever seen once a few bits clicked into place and I realized what over all narrative he was telling over several different games. Really impressive stuff.


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squidhills wrote:
Don't get me wrong: 5th Edition Shadowrun is fun, once you figure out the rules. But that rule book needs to be brought before the Hague on a charge of Crimes Against Humanity.
The tragedy of this is that 6th edition is actually worse.

But yeah, I like 5th edition's chargen, but I hate everything after that. Thinking if we do end up playing it'll be 4th edition.

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The downfall of "narrate every roll" is that D&D combat is structured around several rounds worth of PCs and hostiles taking their turns doing actions, most of which ultimately just result in chunks of HP being stripped from a target. Most players and GMs exhaust their creativity and patience well before finishing the combat. Most combats will inevitably devolve into "my turn, roll roll roll, subtract some points, who's next."

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Depends on what kind of enemies and encounters you're giving them, really. But yeah, DnD is not much of a "one hit kills" type game most of the time-- with the exception of 4th edition Minions.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/04/29 22:01:06


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My secret fortress at the base of the volcano!

the_scotsman wrote:

Boy, for complaining that DnD's stat modifier and variable DC system is annoying to calculate, having to do that calculation on every roll seems...way more obnoxious to me. Rolls in CU follow the formula Attribute+Skill+D10 roll result then you compare the result to the "success level table" which starts at 9, and then you get 1 success for every 2 above 9 until 4 successes, then it's every 3. And in combat, it seems like most rolls are contested, so both players will need to figure out which stats are relevant, roll d10, add to the total, and compare to the table.

The reason I prefer DnD for this is that most of the clunkiest math is static, so you can do it on your character sheet, and just always have it in front of you.



Just wanted to point out that all of this "clunky" math is also static in CU. There is, in fact, a spot on the character sheet for you to write down all the different combat maneuvers you can do, as well as your modifier to the D10 roll. Your attack rolls in melee are always going to be DEX + Getting Medieval + D10. So if your DEX is 3 and your Getting Medieval is 4, you write: "Melee attack = 7 + D10" on your sheet.

Kind of like how you write (Proficiency Bonus) + STR + D20 on your character sheet in D&D.

All of the combat maneuvers are handled the same way. Sure, it's awkward to read the rule book when it says (and I'm paraphrasing here, as I don't have the book in front of me... left it at a friend's house just before plague lockdown) Decapitation = Attribute + Skill (-5) Damage = STR + weapon (subtype) x5.

But a character sheet wouldn't say that. It would say: Decapitation = 2+D10, Damage = 60.

Nobody ever does all the math in an RPG on the fly. Everybody writes it down on their character sheet. You only have to alter the numbers when a relevant skill or attribute increases.

Kind of like how you have to alter your numbers when your proficiency bonus or your attribute bonus goes up in D&D.

A lot of games have what looks like clunky-ass math at first, but most of them can be expressed as static numbers on a character sheet, so this isn't unique to CU or D&D. Though I will say that 3.5's rules for combat maneuvers were so bad, the math seemed to change every time I read them.

As for your question about the wisdom of having decapitation attacks or other instant-kills in a game with hit points, CU has an answer to that, which isn't obvious from just reading the combat maneuver calculations. In the full rules on decapitations, stake-to-the-heart, and other insta-kills, you have to first land the hit, which is always made at a penalty. See my above math for decapitation being at a -5 penalty. I think it's higher in reality, but I don't have the books handy. Then, you check the damage you inflicted. If your total is not more than the target's current HP, you fail to decapitate them, and only do minimum damage (which is less than you would do on a normal hit). So not only is it harder to land a hit, you still have to inflict enough damage for it to stick, otherwise the hit is reduced in effectiveness by a lot. The idea is that you soften the enemy up with a few normal hits to lower his current HP, then you go in for the killing blow. Stake-to-the-heart is handled the same way, though the specific numbers are different. This mimics combat from the BtVS and Angel shows, as people very rarely open a combat by staking a vamp. They usually punch and/or kick them a few times first, then go for the stake.

Thematically, a lot of the insta-kill moves in CU are vital to the games being played. A game about fighting vampires that doesn't let you stake them in the heart for an instant-win? That's a bad vampire game. A game that has some vampires in it, but isn't based mostly around fighting vampires and that won't let you stake a vamp for an instant-win? Not automatically a bad game. I get why D&D doesn't let you stake their vampires in the heart; D&D has always sucked at called shots, and the game provides multiple ways to kill a vampire beyond sunlight and wooden stakes, so it isn't needed. Though, I do think D&D could use a decapitation mechanic apart from vorpal swords. I don't know how 5th Ed handles hydras and ettins (because we never ran into any) but in 3.5 there were unique decapitation rules for the hydra, which only applied to the hydra, as though any other monster was immune to decapitation (except via vorpal sword). And ettins were cited as dying if one of their two heads were to be cut off, despite vorpal swords being the only way to achieve this, and ettins being many, many CR below a character who would be likely to have a vorpal weapon. Any character high enough level to own a vorpal sword would be powerful enough to solo an ettin and kill it without triggering the vorpal function.

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squidhills wrote:
I don't know how 5th Ed handles hydras
Did you try, you know... looking?
Multiple Heads. The hydra has five heads. While it has more than one head, the hydra has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, and knocked unconscious.
Whenever the hydra takes 25 or more damage in a single turn, one of its heads dies. If all its heads die, the hydra dies.

At the end of its turn, it grows two heads for each of its heads that died since its last turn, unless it has taken fire damage since its last turn. The hydra regains 10 hit points for each head regrown in this way.
And speaking of staking vampires?
Vampire Weaknesses. The vampire has the following flaws:
Forbiddance. The vampire can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

Harmed by Running Water. The vampire takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.

Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire's heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed.

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
Both of these are from a quick google search for "dnd 5e [monster name]" and are in the MM. Sure, you're not going to just easily and randomly jam a stake through an awake and aware vampire's heart with these rules (and even in the games you're talking about, it should never be easy to stake a vampire), but that's where either cleverness or talking with the DM about a special action to attempt it lies.

It's almost like, in spite of Lance's previous arguments, the Monster Manual (where both of these entries came from) is a core book and includes important mechanics for dealing with monsters that have unique weaknesses and giving DMs ideas on how to give unique weaknesses to their own custom-made monsters.

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2020/04/30 12:13:23


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Well, this thread inspired me to figure out how to do called shots in my dnd game (Since, "can we attack him in the hand?" has happened before)

I've decided my call is this:

-Any attack just looking to take out an enemy by hitting it in vital areas is what you are doing when you're attacking the enemy's hit points. That's a normal attack, you're trying to stab it in the organs or slash it in the blood bits.

-Any attack looking to attack the mobility of a creature by hurting its legs, tentacles, etc, deals 1/2 damage and reduces land and swimming speed by 10ft or flying speed by 1/2 of its original total.

Any attack looking to remove a dangerous extremity is made at +5AC, deals no Hit Point damage, but permanently removes the target's ability to attack with that extremity.

-Any attack that seeks to stun, a creature will deal 1/2 damage and remove its ability to attack (or remove its ability to use its most dangerous attack in the case of a multiattack monster)

-Any attack that seeks to destroy sensory apparatus is made at +5AC, deals no Hit Point damage, but inflicts blindness.

I will say, though, I think there's a lot to be said for a system that starts simple, but gives you plenty of tools to make it more complex, rather than a system that presents an overwhelming amount of information right off the bat that you then have to simplify and make sense of. "here's 30 different things you can do in combat, hidden somewhere in this list is 'Attack with a melee weapon', also in this list are all the things you roll when someone is trying to hit you, we didn't separate those for you, we also combined some options together and gave you the choice of different stats to use but there ARE five different kinds of kick, so make sure you study up on that thanks." or in Call of Cthulu terms,

"I want to attack the monster"

"Ok, roll your guns stat"

"Let's see, egyptology, accounting, psychoanalysis, interpretive dance, string theory....guns, there we go, I've got a twelve."

I do think it is an honest strength of DnD that a character with 30 different possible combat actions at high levels can coexist reasonably with a character who just moves and attacks. The fact that two of my players could sit comfy for 3-4 sessions just attacking things when it came to combat let them get acclimated to roleplaying, how combat worked, and eventually they started asking to do more complicated things on their turns.

I guess that is just me preferring systems to be as stripped-down and vague as possible to allow for the minimum of "read the character sheet, do exactly what it says." Heck, in my favorite superhero game, nearly all the classes have absolutely nothing to do with what kind of powers your character has, and just relate to their core motivations and the general trope that they fill within the story.

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

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 Melissia wrote:
The combat system from the very start has always been nothing more than a means to resolve conflicts without having players risk getting in to god-modes and "I can't fail at anything!" attitudes. It's there to assist roleplaying by adding random chance to it, the random chance being modified by your various character features.
Here we have an accurate understanding of combat in D&D.

At least up until the late 90s! Then things took a turn, towards miniatures skirmish gaming. And that I think is where it became possible to say “oh, well this is boring and there are no choices.” The game started presenting itself more and more as something other than a theater of the mind experience where the main aspect of play was imagining yourself as a character in a fantasy setting.

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 Manchu wrote:
 Melissia wrote:
The combat system from the very start has always been nothing more than a means to resolve conflicts without having players risk getting in to god-modes and "I can't fail at anything!" attitudes. It's there to assist roleplaying by adding random chance to it, the random chance being modified by your various character features.
Here we have an accurate understanding of combat in D&D.

At least up until the late 90s! Then things took a turn, towards miniatures skirmish gaming. And that I think is where it became possible to say “oh, well this is boring and there are no choices.” The game started presenting itself more and more as something other than a theater of the mind experience where the main aspect of play was imagining yourself as a character in a fantasy setting.


Completely agree.

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I kinda disagree a little bit with that, but I can see why one would think that after seeing, for example, 4th edition. TotM is still quite important for third and fifth, though.

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It’s important (well, crucial) for all of them when it comes to actual roleplay. The issue I think is that roleplay started to take a backseat because it’s easier to sell books full of rules for combat, along with minis and tiles and so forth.

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Dungeons and Dragons grew out of miniature wargames. The use of miniatures and dungeon tiles and all that goes as far back as the hobby itself. There is nothing particularly new about dungeons and dragons being focused on combat, having rules focused on combat, using miniatures or being heavily focused on tactical play. That is as old school as it gets when it comes to dungeons and dragons.

Old does not mean better, of course. But I find the argument that all the push toward tactical play and splatbooks started in the 90s to be incorrect.

   
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I’m afraid it’s a bit more complicated than that.

D&D was not, as often assumed, at all the natural progression of Chainmail (which by the way, was a historical mass battles game with mere supplements for fantasy and single combat). The big breakthrough of inventing roleplaying games was realizing that players could take on the role of a character in an imagined setting; something that actually grew out of playing Diplomacy rather than wargames or miniatures games. When D&D was first published in 1974 it was played strictly as a “paper and pencil game” (to use Gygax’s phrase) “without benefit of any visual aids,” specifically miniatures. In his own group, Gygax stopped using miniatures when he ceased playing Chainmail and started playing D&D. Put it another way, D&D began when Gygax put the miniatures away.

Players generally started using miniatures with D&D a couple of years later. Gygax described how this came about: “Miniature figure manufacturers began to provide more and more models aimed at the D&D market — characters, monsters, weapons, dungeon furnishings, etc. Availability sparked interest, and the obvious benefits of using figures became apparent: Distances could be pinned down, opponents were obvious, and a certain extra excitement was generated by use of painted castings of what players ‘saw.’” But even by the time of that writing (1978), Gygax felt the need to explain why area of effect ranges could not be used with outdoor ground scale; namely because the people playing D&D didn’t know a thing about miniatures gaming! As he said, “even the most obvious precepts of table top play are arcane to them.” People may have been buying up and painting cool figures and monsters but they had only a crude grasp of how to use them, which of course was not accounted for by the actual rules of D&D, either, as Gygax notes in taking responsibility for the situation.

And so it went up through the 1990s, when gateway products like the board game Dragon Strike introduced kids (such as yours truly) to D&D through miniatures moving around on a gridded map, a la GW board games from the 1980s. (I’m intentionally omitting Battlesystems, because it was sold as a miniatures game based on D&D stats rather than a way to play D&D as a miniatures game.) By the mid 1990s, in the waning days of TSR, another development had been bubbling up: selling a bunch of stuff to players rather than Dungeon Masters. This started at the end of the 80s with The Complete [insert class name] here books but had moved on to more tangible goodies like decks of reference cards, player screens, and ultimately the Player Packs which were plastic carrying cases that came with all kinds of stuff including pewter miniatures! Player Packs, like Dragon Strike, were also a kind of introductory product. The stage was set for WotC’s strategy: sell as much or more product to players as/than DMs!

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 Melissia wrote:
squidhills wrote:
I don't know how 5th Ed handles hydras
Did you try, you know... looking?


Sorry, let me rephrase myself. "I don't know how 5th Edition handles hydras and I don't care, because my table no longer plays 5th Edition."

Feel free to copypaste that into my previous post.

And thanks for the info on hydras and vamps in 5th Ed; all it does is re-inforce what I was saying: Hydras, and hydras alone, have a decapitation mechanic that doesn't involve vorpal weapons. The rest of the MM does not, despite many monsters possessing both neck(s) and head(s). And good for 5th Ed for adding a stake to the heart mechanic for vamps. They didn't have one in 3.5. But you need to re-read my post. I wasn't complaining about a lack of heart-staking combat maneuvers in D&D. I said it wasn't needed, as D&D provides other methods of killing vampires. I was complaining about the lack of non-vorpal decapitation mechanics, solely due to the fact that one monster has unique rules for it, when logically, any monster with the requisite anatomy would be susceptible to the old chop-chop.

Of course, if 3.5 did implement something like a wide-reaching decapitation combat maneuver, I can only assume the rules for it would be labyrinthine and confusingly worded.

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squidhills wrote:
And thanks for the info on hydras and vamps in 5th Ed; all it does is re-inforce what I was saying: Hydras, and hydras alone, have a decapitation mechanic that doesn't involve vorpal weapons.
Actually, hydras are not the only one that has a mechanic like that, such as Strahd Zombies, though THEIR heads continues to attack after being removed. I could keep going, but it'd be pointless because the various monster entries are for the DM's sake, not the player's sake, and the DM is literally told to make whatever changes they need to make the campaign they want to run work.

Even still, you misunderstand me-- I know what you're talking about for a "decapitation attack", I've played that style of game before. However, having played all five editions I have to say that frankly 3rd edition was BETTER for removing a lot of the instant death mechanics found in older DnD editions. "Save or die" was far, FAR too common in 1st and 2nd editions, on both sides. It wasn't uncommon in 1st and 2nd edition to just have a stack of character sheets you bring to the table, knowing you'd die at least once each session and wanting to be prepared to jump in with a new character if you did, and at lower levels there was no way to get those characters back (and at higher levels oftentimes you'd be stuck doing nothing anyway until they had the resources to resurrect).

For all the talk about older editions being more centered on theatre of the mind, there was a LOT of bad mechanics about them that stopped or reduced the ability of the players to roleplay. Called shots are certainly an interesting mechanic and you could make something up with a houserule if you wanted, but I'd avoid a "DECAPITATING STRIKE INSTANT WIN!" button at all costs-- in my experience, those kinds of things are either powergamed heavily or utterly useless, and no room in between. And before you get snarky about my use of the word "you" there thinking I'm implying you personally would play DnD again any time soon, I meant the generic "you, the reader".

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Didn't know about Strahd zombies (because there aren't any in Dungeon of the Mad Mage or Dragonheist and those are the two adventures my group did) having decap mechanics, all I know is those guys didn't have that in 3.5 (Ravenloft MM just gives them regen and says they must be completely destroyed by disintegrate or an explodey turn undead). It sounds like 5th added a lot of unique kill mechanics to the MM that weren't there in previous editions. If that's the case, I actually like that. On paper, it makes combats more than just "reduce HP to 0 to win". Unfortunately, none of the monsters we encountered in our time playing 5th used those mechanics (or the GM didn't see fit to inform us about it when we made the requisite knowledge checks) so every fight was "reduce HP to 0 to win" only less interesting than it would've been in another system.

And I agree "save or die" is usually ass. It's the worst part of 1st and 2nd Edition. It's a relic from a time when the game was very much "players vs GM" and counting discarded character sheets was how a GM won. There is a lot less save or die in 3rd Edition, at least at the lower levels. Vorpal weapons can trigger save or die, but they don't show up till higher levels (due to item cost) when most PCs can pass the (laughable) DC 15 Fort save fairly reliably. Even if they die, at the level vorpal weapons should be showing up at, the party should have ways to mitigate death (raise dead, resurrection, breath of life, etc).

But if you implement decapitation rules intelligently, it doesn't have to be an instant-win button. Read my explanation for CU's decapitation system again. They make landing a decap hit difficult (a -5 in CU would be equivalent to a -10 in D&D... not something anyone under level 10 should even attempt if they want to have a realistic chance of hitting) and then you have to inflict 100% of the target's current HP total, or you fail to kill them and only do minimum damage. The Death domain for clerics in 3.5 has something similar with the death touch domain power, and I've never seen anyone use it because it has such a low % chance of killing the target, it's just easier to do normal damage. CU's decap maneuver isn't an instant-win button, because anyone who goes around spamming that is never going to actually kill anything (they'd never hit, and even if they hit, they'd never do enough damage to kill because you need to soften a target up first with normal attacks) and a similarly designed rule for D&D would work the same way. You wouldn't want to use it at low level, because you'd never hit, and at higher level you'd still need to beat on the boss monster for a while before the decap damage would be fatal. As for monsters using it on PCs, the same holds true. Goblins would never land a hit using it, and the boss would still have to beat on the players for a bit before it would be a viable attack. Even then, with how 5th handles damage, it would just reduce you to 0 Hp and trigger death saves. With how 3.5 and Pathfinder handle damage below 0 HP, it could very well kill a character, but it wouldn't be a likely attack to have to deal with until you are high enough level to mitigate it through resurrection magic.

It's less of a 2d edition "save or die" and more of a 3rd edition "Hail Mary pass"... you know those save or suck spells the wizard never uses because the monsters always have stupid high saves? But if just one of those spells sticks to the target, the battle can swing in the players' favor? It'd be like that.

If the rules were well-written. Which, as I said last post, I'm not sure 3.5 could manage (Pathfinder would do it better, but with the burst damage spam that high-level Pathfinder turns into, it would be kind of superfluous). You're free to disagree about the merits, of course. And I fully understand not liking save or die nor wanting it in the game (though as long as we have vorpal weapons and the disintegrate spell, we still have it) but from a purely math-hammer angle, it could be made to work.

 Melissia wrote:
And before you get snarky about my use of the word "you" there thinking I'm implying you personally would play DnD again any time soon, I meant the generic "you, the reader".


Y'know, I've noticed both of us getting snarky and passive-agressive at each other in this thread and I don't like it. I respect you and I enjoy reading your posts. I don't want to end up on your ignore list, nor do I want you to end up on mine. I'd like for us to argue the point without arguing with each other. I'll start making an effort to double-check my posts for tone to try to keep this from happening again.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/05/02 20:55:10


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I mean, that just describes DnD 3.5th's Power Attack.

The people in the past who convinced themselves to do unspeakable things were no less human than you or I. They made their decisions; the only thing that prevents history from repeating itself is making different ones.
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 Melissia wrote:
I mean, that just describes DnD 3.5th's Power Attack.


Power Attack doesn't do nearly the kind of damage I'm talking about though. For a rough approximation of what CU's decapitation does, picture an attack made at -10, that inflicts an automatic critical hit with a +1 increase to the critical multiplier (so x2 becomes x 3, etc). If the total damage rolled does not meet or exceed the target's current HP, the attack does minimal base damage (not multiplied as if a crit). That's a crude sketch of how CU's decapitation would translate into D&D. Power attack is just a -1/+1 attack/damage modifier (or -1/+2 in Pathfinder) which, even at a -10/+10 isn't going to do the kind of damage you can pull from a critical hit (especially with STR bonuses added in).

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