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Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

There, I said it.

There is very little or no player agency or meaningful choices for D&D combat. You roll a d20 and try to get some number by Mod stacking and trying to use your "Special Abilities" to crank up the end result as high as possible. No where is there a decision. All you do is move and then try to hit something as hard as you can and hope you roll well enough. You can wait several minutes for your turn to come up only to roll a single dice and blow it. Boring.

Defending is even worse. When people attack you, you don't do anything but pray your AC is high enough and they roll bad. Magic and other "non-attacks" are simply a roll to avoid and pray. There is no difference between an armored tank and a highly nimble character. A miss is a miss.

This is particularly annoying since D&D is designed to be a "tactical" game where combat is primary and all other interactions are secondary! In other systems I have seen options to try to straight up dodge, parry, roll with it, or try to deflect with armor. These would require some opposed rolling or/and use of dice pools. You know, decision making. Here there is nothing.

Your thoughts?




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Made in us
Mutated Chosen Chaos Marine






I disagree.

As always, having a good DM can make all the difference.

For example, in a recent game I managed to land three critical hits in a row, with the same action. I ended up confirming one of the hits, and asked the DM if I could take a bonus action to use intimidate on three other creatures that were within 5 feet of me.

He said yes, and I manged to force all three of them to retreat in fear, having just seen their comrade beheaded in one fell swoop.

Dodge, Hold action, etc are all useful as well. When I play my rouge, I often hold action so that I can get a good shot off on my opponents turn.

What I like most about combat in 5e is how simple and fluid it is, more than any other edition of the game, I have spent less time arguing with my dm or the players over what can and cannot happen. Our combats take a lot less time and do not bog down the game like they used to in 3rd and 4th.
   
Made in us
Xeno-Hating Inquisitorial Excruciator




MI

Using the Greyhawk initiative system (https://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UAGreyhawkInitiative.pdf) can make the decision making part of combat more interesting, as you have a trade-off between the different actions and how much initiative you have to roll for each. Another thing I have done to spice up D&D combat in the past is to pull from Exalted and implement a "stunt" system. Giving players +1-3 on the roll depending on the awesomeness of their stunt can incentivize them to give more interesting descriptions of the actions they are taking at least, and you can turn around and use it with the enemies and allow the players to award the stunt based on how cool they thought it was (obviously this requires players that will not take advantage of giving low stunts to save themselves). This can also be used with defense, allowing stunts to add 1-3 to a target's AC if they stunt how they defend.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2019/10/31 18:38:23


 
   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

I think the problem needs to be tackled from two directions. First, you need to provide a dynamic environment for a fight. A fight taking place in a small room is not gonna be that interesting, but put a pit in there and it is suddenly a lot more interesting and different choices can be made. An ambush in a corridor is a lot more exciting than just meeting foes head on in the same corridor.
If you just add one terrain element or dynamic element to each encounter you will find players will be much more engaged with the environment. If you use minis, putting some small props like barrels and random clutter in rooms often sparks imaginations.

The second problem is the monster design. The monsters have been drastically simplified to make them easier to run. Demons for example are mostly just big bags of hit points with strong attacks. For each Demon type therefore I give them an extra ability that keys off the theme of corruption or contagion that happens automatically without the need for an action. With a lot of big monsters you need to give them extra legendary actions to compete with the PC action economy.

   
Made in us
Xeno-Hating Inquisitorial Excruciator




MI

Da Boss's points are very valid. Interesting environments and adding interesting quirks to existing monsters can go a long way towards making combat less bland.
   
Made in us
Soul Token




West Yorkshire, England

 Easy E wrote:
There, I said it.

There is very little or no player agency or meaningful choices for D&D combat. You roll a d20 and try to get some number by Mod stacking and trying to use your "Special Abilities" to crank up the end result as high as possible. No where is there a decision. All you do is move and then try to hit something as hard as you can and hope you roll well enough. You can wait several minutes for your turn to come up only to roll a single dice and blow it. Boring.

Defending is even worse. When people attack you, you don't do anything but pray your AC is high enough and they roll bad. Magic and other "non-attacks" are simply a roll to avoid and pray. There is no difference between an armored tank and a highly nimble character. A miss is a miss.

This is particularly annoying since D&D is designed to be a "tactical" game where combat is primary and all other interactions are secondary! In other systems I have seen options to try to straight up dodge, parry, roll with it, or try to deflect with armor. These would require some opposed rolling or/and use of dice pools. You know, decision making. Here there is nothing.

Your thoughts?


It kind of depends on if you're the player or GM in this scenario, but here's what I suggest:

--Throw in a bit of description. Yes, the attack might be functionally the same, but describing a miss as scraping off armour or being narrowly dodged can add a bit of engagement to a battle.

--Speed up actions. Make sure players know their abilities and aren't umming and ahhhing for five minutes each for every attack trying to remember the attack bonus that they last used five minutes ago. Bringing in an actual eggtimer might be a bit mean, but it is an option.

--Mix up the battlefield. A narrow bridge, a burning building, a sinking ship, etc. NPC's who need protecting, a thief running off with something important, etc. Give the PC's objectives beyond "make all the HP bars zero".

--Have monsters use tactics or figure out how they can best use their abilities and then engineer the battlefield to favour them (even unintelligent predators will seek hunting grounds where they have an edge). For example, goblins aren't very scary. Goblin archers that shoot at enemies tangled up with their ogre ally and then relocate out of sight with their Cunning Action are. Have an enemy wizard or druid throw up a magic barrier to split up the PC's. Have enemies use actions like Dodge or Assist to stall for time or help out their boss. D&D tends to be very cautious with how tough monsters are for their CR, it's okay to make them a bit scarier.

I disagree on dice pools or opposed rolling being more tactical--they don't change the likelihood of whiffing, but do usually cause it to take longer to get there. And even more complex systems often don't offer more actual depth--3e D&D had a lot of combat options other than "I hit him", but most of them were wastes of time unless you were highly specced in a particular option and even then were probably worse than just hitting them.

In the end, you might simply want a different system, and that might be a better option than trying to add too many house rules. If your group is reluctant to change from D&D, offer to run a short-term game with an option to continue if everyone likes the idea.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/31 18:34:41


"The 75mm gun is firing. The 37mm gun is firing, but is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning is jammed. I am saying "Driver, advance." and the driver, who can't hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away, someone hands me a cheese sandwich." 
   
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 Togusa wrote:
I disagree.

As always, having a good DM can make all the difference.

For example, in a recent game I managed to land three critical hits in a row, with the same action. I ended up confirming one of the hits, and asked the DM if I could take a bonus action to use intimidate on three other creatures that were within 5 feet of me.

He said yes, and I manged to force all three of them to retreat in fear, having just seen their comrade beheaded in one fell swoop.

Dodge, Hold action, etc are all useful as well. When I play my rouge, I often hold action so that I can get a good shot off on my opponents turn.

What I like most about combat in 5e is how simple and fluid it is, more than any other edition of the game, I have spent less time arguing with my dm or the players over what can and cannot happen. Our combats take a lot less time and do not bog down the game like they used to in 3rd and 4th.


I disagree with the idea that the work load of making combat fun rests in the hands of the DM to add flavor text to make the dull as dirt actions wear the mask of being interesting.

The fact that DnD combat relies on a specialized DC (AC or whatever) is the core reason this whole thing is dull.

You make no decision in how your character reacts to an attack. The enemy rolls and they hit or they don't. Maybe they have a reaction? And if they do they use it. You shouldn't need a DM to spice it up. It should be engaging on it's own.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

It is not about how I describe my actions, the mechanics themselves are boring and provide no interesting mechanisms for me to explore as a player. A swing of a sword is a swing of a sword.

There are always some combat gimmicks for DMs like the location, terrain, enemy approaches, etc. but ultimately combat comes down to do I roll good or not on a d20. Does the DM roll good or not on a D20? I think an RPG should have more depth for a player than a Frostgrave battle.

I can talk about how I side step the blow, adjust my footing to the tiger strike stance, recognize that the Orc is using a variaent of the Orkhan sword technique and thus slightly adjust my grip to the Iyaka school of fencing technique, and counter with a precise thrust towards where they have lowered their guard to attack.... but ultimately it is all just personal flair. I still roll a single d20 and hope I score a high number.

There are no rules that I recall for called shots to particular targets, no disarming, no parrying, no side stepping/dodging, no riposte, no feinting, no shield smashing, no grappling, nothing much at all. I can try to do all those things, but it is usually a less efficient form of fighting than a normal attack and I am normally handicapping myself for a sense of drama or combat flair. There is no reason to do much rather than say "I attack" and roll to hit.

B.O.R.I.N.G.

Now, as a GM, I agree I have more options to make combats more exciting. Some simple tricks like interesting terrain, alternate objectives than just killing, varying attack vectors, descriptive flair, striking at the parties weaknesses, monster selection, etc. As a player, it is a bit harder in D&D to make things interesting and not just default to the standard every battle.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/31 19:25:22


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MI

Yeah, player options tend to be underwhelming in D&D without some house-ruling, and I can definitely see where you are coming from. I have found ways to make it better by adding in things like stunt bonuses, called shot rules, and even hit location mechanics inspired by Deadlands, but house rules are not always an option if you are just a player. Also, not everyone likes or wants to house rule a system (I actually enjoy it, and have a player that will not play any system other than D&D so have some incentive to stick with the system) so the best option in that case is usually to look for another system that does provide more of what you are looking for.
   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

Hmmm. I don't really agree with what you are saying from the Player POV. Let's look at the classes:
Barbarian - probably the most similar to what you are describing, but I still have choices like do I frenzy or not, do I rage or not, do I reckless attack or not that involve resource management.
Bard - I can swing my sword or shoot my bow, but I also have access to a wide variety of cantrips and spells that can be used in creative ways, and I can add to others rolls.
Cleric - Again, I can attack but I also have spells and special domain abilities.
Druid - I can attack, shapeshift and cast spells. The range of dynamic actions a circle of the moon druid can take is huge.
Fighter - Initially seems like it is going to be the swing the sword and hit stuff guy. And can be, if you play a Champion. But both Eldritch Knight and Battlemaster give you either spells or special moves that let you do a lot more in battle than just swing your sword.
Monk - A variety of special actions and abilities make this class the most dynamic fighting class
Paladin - You have Smites, spells and auras as well as special class abilities keyed from your aura, some allowing you to react to attacks. Paladin also gets fighting styles like a Fighter, so can react to attacks on nearby allies with certain styles etc.
Ranger - Probably the worst core class, beastmaster does not work as written and the "slayer" archetype is pretty boring. I will give you this one, though you still have access to spells for battlefield control and so on.
Rogue - extra actions for moving, interacting with objects or hiding make this a really fun and dynamic class, and if you specialise in Arcane Trickster you also get spells.
Sorceror - A spellcaster who can alter their spells on the fly from a pool of points. This class gives you a wealth of options more than attack in battle. Reactive defensive spells like Shield also exist for this class.
Warlock - A bit of a swing and a miss class, this is the closest to a "I hit it with my sword" class in the magic users. Eldritch blast as the core of the class is a weird choice. Still, invocations and access (though weirdly limited) to spells does make this class more interesting than "I blast it" in theory, but in practice, it does often boil down to that.
Wizard - Access to the biggest selection of spells in the game gives this class a wide variety of options.

I dunno what party you are playing with or what level you are playing at if you are saying there are no interesting mechanisms for players to expore. For swordfighting I would broadly agree, but no class is limited to just sword fighting outside of Barbarian, which is basically the class you play if you want to switch off your brain and smash stuff.

   
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Mutated Chosen Chaos Marine






 Lance845 wrote:
 Togusa wrote:
I disagree.

As always, having a good DM can make all the difference.

For example, in a recent game I managed to land three critical hits in a row, with the same action. I ended up confirming one of the hits, and asked the DM if I could take a bonus action to use intimidate on three other creatures that were within 5 feet of me.

He said yes, and I manged to force all three of them to retreat in fear, having just seen their comrade beheaded in one fell swoop.

Dodge, Hold action, etc are all useful as well. When I play my rouge, I often hold action so that I can get a good shot off on my opponents turn.

What I like most about combat in 5e is how simple and fluid it is, more than any other edition of the game, I have spent less time arguing with my dm or the players over what can and cannot happen. Our combats take a lot less time and do not bog down the game like they used to in 3rd and 4th.


I disagree with the idea that the work load of making combat fun rests in the hands of the DM to add flavor text to make the dull as dirt actions wear the mask of being interesting.

The fact that DnD combat relies on a specialized DC (AC or whatever) is the core reason this whole thing is dull.

You make no decision in how your character reacts to an attack. The enemy rolls and they hit or they don't. Maybe they have a reaction? And if they do they use it. You shouldn't need a DM to spice it up. It should be engaging on it's own.


In the past, combat has often been little more than a time waster. 5e simplifies it enough so that combat encounters rarely go beyond 10 rounds, unless you really jam up the field with bodies. I prefer this, as it allows for a lot more time to be spent role playing, rather than worrying about which one of 2 dozen different actions or reactions I should take at the specific time in order to "boost" the epicness of the encounter. The DM is there to run the game and tell you a story, in my opinion, not to just sit back and play referee. Having a good DM who can role with the punches and tell an engaging encounter or tale, in my experience, usually negates the problem.

I suppose if one isn't happy with 5e, they could always try one of the other systems out there. Pathfinder 2 and Exalted come to mind.

But another one that I recently got to try out is called "Dungeon World" and it has an incredibly fun and simple to use system.

https://dungeon-world.com/

Check it out here, especially if you like to have more control over your own actions in combat.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Easy E wrote:
It is not about how I describe my actions, the mechanics themselves are boring and provide no interesting mechanisms for me to explore as a player. A swing of a sword is a swing of a sword.

There are always some combat gimmicks for DMs like the location, terrain, enemy approaches, etc. but ultimately combat comes down to do I roll good or not on a d20. Does the DM roll good or not on a D20? I think an RPG should have more depth for a player than a Frostgrave battle.

I can talk about how I side step the blow, adjust my footing to the tiger strike stance, recognize that the Orc is using a variaent of the Orkhan sword technique and thus slightly adjust my grip to the Iyaka school of fencing technique, and counter with a precise thrust towards where they have lowered their guard to attack.... but ultimately it is all just personal flair. I still roll a single d20 and hope I score a high number.

There are no rules that I recall for called shots to particular targets, no disarming, no parrying, no side stepping/dodging, no riposte, no feinting, no shield smashing, no grappling, nothing much at all. I can try to do all those things, but it is usually a less efficient form of fighting than a normal attack and I am normally handicapping myself for a sense of drama or combat flair. There is no reason to do much rather than say "I attack" and roll to hit.

B.O.R.I.N.G.

Now, as a GM, I agree I have more options to make combats more exciting. Some simple tricks like interesting terrain, alternate objectives than just killing, varying attack vectors, descriptive flair, striking at the parties weaknesses, monster selection, etc. As a player, it is a bit harder in D&D to make things interesting and not just default to the standard every battle.


Fighters have access to most of those that you list, especially shield smashes, riposte, and parrying. Disarming the opponent is also something you can easily do, by telling your DM you want to do so and having him decide the DC for such an action. Grappling is something everyone can do in D&D regardless of the class. It sounds to me like you've had an awful experience with a pretty gakky DM. All of these things are able to be done, and I say this as someone who is currently playing in 5 5e campaigns across 5 different classes at varying character levels. I never just "roll" to hit and move on.

I have a great story about our party making a fuel air bomb that nearly killed us all in the middle of the combat, which resulted into 144 points of damage onto a very tough hydra! It's all in how you describe your interactions to the DM.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/31 19:49:26


 
   
Made in gb
Soul Token




West Yorkshire, England

 Easy E wrote:

There are no rules that I recall for called shots to particular targets, no disarming, no parrying, no side stepping/dodging, no riposte, no feinting, no shield smashing, no grappling, nothing much at all. I can try to do all those things, but it is usually a less efficient form of fighting than a normal attack and I am normally handicapping myself for a sense of drama or combat flair. There is no reason to do much rather than say "I attack" and roll to hit.


You may want to check pages 192 to 198 because a lot of the things you're saying don't have rules....do. Like, they're right there on the page, and a bunch more of them are there in the form of feats or class features. If you personally are unhappy with those rules, that's fine, but let's not be telling untruths, okay?

And I'll repeat what I said--there are games that have the complexity you seem to want (Pathfinder 2e seems to be one of them). Try floating one of them to your group--"hey, want to try something different for a few sessions?" and see what they think of it.

"The 75mm gun is firing. The 37mm gun is firing, but is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning is jammed. I am saying "Driver, advance." and the driver, who can't hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away, someone hands me a cheese sandwich." 
   
Made in us
Mutated Chosen Chaos Marine






 Elemental wrote:
 Easy E wrote:

There are no rules that I recall for called shots to particular targets, no disarming, no parrying, no side stepping/dodging, no riposte, no feinting, no shield smashing, no grappling, nothing much at all. I can try to do all those things, but it is usually a less efficient form of fighting than a normal attack and I am normally handicapping myself for a sense of drama or combat flair. There is no reason to do much rather than say "I attack" and roll to hit.


You may want to check pages 192 to 198 because a lot of the things you're saying don't have rules....do. Like, they're right there on the page, and a bunch more of them are there in the form of feats or class features. If you personally are unhappy with those rules, that's fine, but let's not be telling untruths, okay?

And I'll repeat what I said--there are games that have the complexity you seem to want (Pathfinder 2e seems to be one of them). Try floating one of them to your group--"hey, want to try something different for a few sessions?" and see what they think of it.


I really think he might like Dungeon World. It seems to provide the depth he's looking for.
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

 Elemental wrote:
 Easy E wrote:

There are no rules that I recall for called shots to particular targets, no disarming, no parrying, no side stepping/dodging, no riposte, no feinting, no shield smashing, no grappling, nothing much at all. I can try to do all those things, but it is usually a less efficient form of fighting than a normal attack and I am normally handicapping myself for a sense of drama or combat flair. There is no reason to do much rather than say "I attack" and roll to hit.


You may want to check pages 192 to 198 because a lot of the things you're saying don't have rules....do. Like, they're right there on the page, and a bunch more of them are there in the form of feats or class features. If you personally are unhappy with those rules, that's fine, but let's not be telling untruths, okay?

And I'll repeat what I said--there are games that have the complexity you seem to want (Pathfinder 2e seems to be one of them). Try floating one of them to your group--"hey, want to try something different for a few sessions?" and see what they think of it.


Except for the part where I said they tend to be sub-optimal and less effective than just.... I attack. Class features..... so.... only a certain class can do it..... However, I will grant that I may need to explore these closer. Normally, when I try to use them, it makes things harder and not easier in the combat.

Perhaps as I play more I will be able to get more out of it. As many of you say, it maybe partly my group, my current DM, ME, or some combination. I have experience with a few different systems beyond good old 5E D&D (AD&D 2nd, D&D 3 and 3.5, Marvel Super Heroes, Red Box D&D, Star Wars 2nd, Legend of the 5 Rings 3rd and 4th, Shadowrun 2nd and 3rd, Rifts, Robotech, etc.) and I just found combat uninteresting. Last time we played we were 5th level and I was a Samurai build, archetype, class, whatever you want to call it. My decisions revolved around using fighting spirit or not to gain advantage and where to move. Previously, I played a Goblin Barbarian in a goblin themed campaign starting at level 2. As a poster said my decisions revolved around raging or not raging. I typically like to play fighter types but I am starting to re-think this in D&D as being too boring.

[Edit] I recall a game (the system escapes me) where when I got attacked I was asked if I was going to try to dodge it, parry, or just absorb it on my armor. Then, I had to use choose how much dice from a defense pool I was going to use to help avoid the attack. Then, when it was my turn to attack, the dice I used to defend I did not have access to anymore until the end of the combat turn and I got to choose what to do with those dice such as called shot to a specific part of the target, hold for later, take a defensive stance to refill my pools, or just a general attack. Not a ton of fighting options but a lot of defensive options. Plus, the system was relatively decent lethality and as I took damaged stuff got harder to do. I had to think if it made sense to run, hold my dice pools to defend, put them all into an attack, etc. [/Edit]

Mostly, I raised this point for discussion purposes.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/10/31 21:00:35


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I find my enjoyment of 5e combat comes down to group and DM a lot. Some encounters are dull slogs because its just hitting things till they die. Some are exiting because you really might die, so its a desperate bid not to and you start thinking creatively (especially for spellcasters). Sometimes the area has cool things going on for a player looking to spice things up to take advantage of.

   
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 LordofHats wrote:
I find my enjoyment of 5e combat comes down to group and DM a lot. Some encounters are dull slogs because its just hitting things till they die. Some are exiting because you really might die, so its a desperate bid not to and you start thinking creatively (especially for spellcasters). Sometimes the area has cool things going on for a player looking to spice things up to take advantage of.


My DM loves to answer us with "You can certainly try" and I love it when that phrase is uttered. It typically leads to a good night to be had by all.

A fun story to relate.

Recently my group acquired a mid-sized airship. We weren't quite sure what to do with it, other than the basic transportation of goods and so on. But two weeks ago we visited the Capitol city and discovered that the Dwarves there use the Huge stone constructs to haul ore from the mines to fuel the forges of the Baron's armies. After quite a bit of negotiation, our Bard managed to buy two of them for us.

Both of our Dwarves set out with the task of attaching cannons and repeating crossbows to them and now....

We have TitanFall robots we can air drop into battle for support against the nastiest and most dangerous monsters. We've been getting a lot of monster hunting contracts lately, and while there are a lot of behind the scenes things going on with the game, it's nice to know we can finally take on younger dragons and not just insta die!
   
Made in gb
Soul Token




West Yorkshire, England

 Easy E wrote:
Except for the part where I said they tend to be sub-optimal and less effective than just.... I attack.


And in the sentence before that, you said they didn't exist. Words mean things.

Here's my stance--I've very much moved away from complex combat systems, for two reasons.

First, half the time something breaks and there's a clear Best option and a lost of wasted wordcount on stuff you could use but won't if you understand the system. If anyone remembers second edition Exalted, there was a complex and layered combat system with precise timing steps and keywords....that was then made irrelevant because of the way "perfect defence" powers and stunts interacted, meaning you could be indefinitely immune to 99% of the setting straight out of character creation (and you kind of had to be, because lethality was also broken).

Second...I played 3rd edition D&D. I was in, and ran, arena games and I've seen most of the "builds" under the sun. And learning and mastering the system to break the game was quite fun. But it was also a heck of a lot of work spent grappling with the mechanics, and that became less fun as a pursuit in itself. I think the tipping point was a couple of years ago when I was in a Pathfinder game, and saw how bad the gap was between optimised and non-optimised characters, and how that affected how much fun the players could have as my Summoner and another player's Fighter / Monk / Duelist / Fist of the North Star / Sailor Senshi / Mecha Pilot multiclass just rolled over everything.

For me, the charm of having loads of mechanical choices has very much worn off and that's why I appreciate the approach of the current edition of D&D where it feels like the system gets out of the way and lets me play. And I'm okay with that being at the expense of choice on the micro level, because I can be more engaged with my character when I don't have to put an optimisation filter over my build and actions.

That's just my take on it.

"The 75mm gun is firing. The 37mm gun is firing, but is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning is jammed. I am saying "Driver, advance." and the driver, who can't hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away, someone hands me a cheese sandwich." 
   
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Dominating Dominatrix






Simple and engaging are not mutually exclusive.

You can have simple mechanics with engaging outcomes.

Dnd has been more or less complex over the editions but always less engaging because of the limits of its mechanics. The core mechanic that DnD runs on, The Difficulty Check, is a binary pass/fail mechanic with only a single action taken by any one person to decide any given situation. It wasn't until 4th that the idea of needing multiple successes to pass a situation came into play (but even then its just multiple checks). This is your target number, you hit it or you don't and the more bonuses you get to hit it more often the better.

Which sounds all good and fine when you are like "I want to pick this lock", but sucks when the troll is trying to eat you and you stand there and wait to be told what your character does depending on if the troll hit your target number or not.

The simplification of secondary and tertiary effects from 3rd to 5th that impact that singular simple roll does make the combat quicker but it doesn't make it any more engaging. And arguably the complexity of before wasn't any more engaging, it was just a list of boxes to check before you rolled the die. (am I flanking? Is this my favored enemy? Am I holding my favored weapon?).

In the RP aspects of DnD you are constantly asked, directly or indirectly, "What do you do?" "The Pirate king has welcomed you into his court to parley, what do you do?" But in combat you are told what happens. "The troll swings his massive arm like a club, coming at you with the mass of a tree! ... He misses, you dodged the blow hitting the ground just in time!"

YOU don't have agency there. YOU don't get to make a choice or exercise any mechanics. DnD never asks what the DC has to say about anything and it also never cares about degrees of success (except for critical successes and failures).

Mechanically DnD sucks. And it doesn't have to get complicated to make it good. It just needs to get engaging.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2019/11/01 03:44:24



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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MN

Oddly, I agree with both Elemental and Lance.

I have also played complex systems that were just broken and optimized players were so good that no one else had to bother coming to the table. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Lance, sums up exactly why the mechanics in D&D are so boring to me. No choices. What do I want to do about the fact someone is attacking me? Fight back? Parry? Dodge?

Honestly, I think their are a lot of ways to do this.

1. Dice pools
2. Opposed rolls
3. Target numbers based on difficulty

So, here is how D&D could work differently. Ditch Armor Class (or whatever it is now) completely. Instead, armor could be target number modifiers for certain actions.

In an attack, the attacker rolls a d20 and adds mods to get a final number. What do you want to do character?

I will just take the hit on my armor and roll with it:
- Roll a d20 and add armor bonus looking to get above what the attacker rolled.

I will dodge out of the way:
- Roll a d20 and add Dex bonus. Did you beat the attacker?

I will parry it:
- Roll a d20 and add your strength bonus. Did you beat the attacker's roll?

If failed, and you are hit then armor could also serve to reduce damage to a minimum of 1 HP or something.

You can only dodge or roll with missile attacks. If you are surprised, you can only roll with it. Now surprise and type of attack matters a bit too. Large and long reach weapons would provide attack bonus modifiers. Armor that is heavy makes dodging harder, lighter weapons could make parry easier, Etc, etc, etc to add whatever Mod stacking you wish.

Simple, easy, and gives the player some choice when they are attacked. Now there is a difference between an armored tank, a skilled swordsman, or a dodgy character too.





Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Elemental wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
Except for the part where I said they tend to be sub-optimal and less effective than just.... I attack.


And in the sentence before that, you said they didn't exist. Words mean things.



Fair enough. You got me!

However, I think my overall point about boring combat still stands.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/01 14:06:07


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 Easy E wrote:
Oddly, I agree with both Elemental and Lance.

I have also played complex systems that were just broken and optimized players were so good that no one else had to bother coming to the table. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Lance, sums up exactly why the mechanics in D&D are so boring to me. No choices. What do I want to do about the fact someone is attacking me? Fight back? Parry? Dodge?

Honestly, I think their are a lot of ways to do this.

1. Dice pools
2. Opposed rolls
3. Target numbers based on difficulty

So, here is how D&D could work differently. Ditch Armor Class (or whatever it is now) completely. Instead, armor could be target number modifiers for certain actions.

In an attack, the attacker rolls a d20 and adds mods to get a final number. What do you want to do character?

I will just take the hit on my armor and roll with it:
- Roll a d20 and add armor bonus looking to get above what the attacker rolled.

I will dodge out of the way:
- Roll a d20 and add Dex bonus. Did you beat the attacker?

I will parry it:
- Roll a d20 and add your strength bonus. Did you beat the attacker's roll?

If failed, and you are hit then armor could also serve to reduce damage to a minimum of 1 HP or something.

You can only dodge or roll with missile attacks. If you are surprised, you can only roll with it. Now surprise and type of attack matters a bit too. Large and long reach weapons would provide attack bonus modifiers. Armor that is heavy makes dodging harder, lighter weapons could make parry easier, Etc, etc, etc to add whatever Mod stacking you wish.

Simple, easy, and gives the player some choice when they are attacked. Now there is a difference between an armored tank, a skilled swordsman, or a dodgy character too.





Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Elemental wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
Except for the part where I said they tend to be sub-optimal and less effective than just.... I attack.


And in the sentence before that, you said they didn't exist. Words mean things.



Fair enough. You got me!

However, I think my overall point about boring combat still stands.


The problem with that system though, is that you've now introduced a minimum of four choices players will need to make after each successful attack. Which will significantly slow down the game and extend the time it takes for combat to complete. Especially new players, who already have enough trouble getting used to the system as it is will struggle with this, as they try to decided which option is most "optimal." One thing I've noticed is that when players ask for and receive more choices in most games, they still only gravitate to the one or two optimal choices and ignore the other two out of a sense to try and fudge the best result. This is one of the reasons I significantly backed down my playing time in 40K.
   
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MN

Yes, no doubt it will "slow" things down BUT also make combat worth something. D&D combat all ready takes forever AND is boring! At least we can make it take forever and NOT be boring.

Players spend 2 hours in combat and make about 5 dice rolls (10 if they have advantage!). The player actually needs to do something every time they are attacked as opposed to now. Current D&D all they do is remove hit points from their sheet.

Look at 40K's cumbersome hit, wound, save mechanic. The save mechanic is designed to give the other player something to do instead of leave the room. If you just sat there for the opponents entire turn 40K would also be pretty boring. D&D asks you to do that, to just sit there the entire time the DM is rolling like crazy and dishing out damage. You do nothing.

If speed is the primary concern, we could make combat really fast by just having the DM say that combat is over and the players won, or the DM rolls a dice and the player's roll a dice and pool their mods and the winner is declared and the combat resolved. The DM could narrate the battle. Very fast.... and very unengaging.

D&D combat is boring because there are very few choices, and a lot of downtime before you get to make any choices. Think about your last session, how much was combat where you sat around and waited for your turn? Last time for me it was about 50 minutes of a 1 hour combat.




Edit: Again, I am mostly talking to simply have a discussion. I understand the best course of action is probably a different system, but most of my current group has only ever played D&D 3, 3.5 and 5. They honestly do not want to get away from what they are used to, it is far too comfortable.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/01 17:09:44


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 Easy E wrote:

In an attack, the attacker rolls a d20 and adds mods to get a final number. What do you want to do character?

I will just take the hit on my armor and roll with it:
- Roll a d20 and add armor bonus looking to get above what the attacker rolled.

I will dodge out of the way:
- Roll a d20 and add Dex bonus. Did you beat the attacker?

I will parry it:
- Roll a d20 and add your strength bonus. Did you beat the attacker's roll?


This looks good on paper, but in practice....I check my character sheet and see which of those three numbers is highest after modifications. Then I default to that action every single time I get attacked because why wouldn't I? Adding options is half of the story, you also need to give players reasons to alternate between those options or it's just extra mechanical cruft.

 Easy E wrote:

D&D combat is boring because there are very few choices, and a lot of downtime before you get to make any choices. Think about your last session, how much was combat where you sat around and waited for your turn? Last time for me it was about 50 minutes of a 1 hour combat.


Hmm, how big is your gaming group? Because 50 minutes between actions is extreme and suggests to me that either you've got a very big group, some inexperienced players who need walking through the basic mechanics, or players are umming and aahing a lot about getting their turns tactically perfect.

My last session was a game of Savage Worlds, and each round with a 3-player group was 10-15 minutes. And if anything, that's a slightly more complex system than D&D.

"The 75mm gun is firing. The 37mm gun is firing, but is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning is jammed. I am saying "Driver, advance." and the driver, who can't hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away, someone hands me a cheese sandwich." 
   
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MN

6 people with a variety of skills/knowledge and plenty of distracting chatter. The distracting chatter is half the fun.


Good point about situations where people need to choose other options and reasons why otherwise they will always choose the best and hence remove the purpose of having options in the first place. For example, missile weapons can only be dodged or rolled with. Surprise limits you to rolling with it only. etc.


Hence why I also like dice pools, so if one runs out you are forced to use the sub-optimal That is way outside the scope of D&D though.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2019/11/01 21:45:47


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 Easy E wrote:
Yes, no doubt it will "slow" things down BUT also make combat worth something. D&D combat all ready takes forever AND is boring! At least we can make it take forever and NOT be boring.

Players spend 2 hours in combat and make about 5 dice rolls (10 if they have advantage!). The player actually needs to do something every time they are attacked as opposed to now. Current D&D all they do is remove hit points from their sheet.

Look at 40K's cumbersome hit, wound, save mechanic. The save mechanic is designed to give the other player something to do instead of leave the room. If you just sat there for the opponents entire turn 40K would also be pretty boring. D&D asks you to do that, to just sit there the entire time the DM is rolling like crazy and dishing out damage. You do nothing.

If speed is the primary concern, we could make combat really fast by just having the DM say that combat is over and the players won, or the DM rolls a dice and the player's roll a dice and pool their mods and the winner is declared and the combat resolved. The DM could narrate the battle. Very fast.... and very unengaging.

D&D combat is boring because there are very few choices, and a lot of downtime before you get to make any choices. Think about your last session, how much was combat where you sat around and waited for your turn? Last time for me it was about 50 minutes of a 1 hour combat.




Edit: Again, I am mostly talking to simply have a discussion. I understand the best course of action is probably a different system, but most of my current group has only ever played D&D 3, 3.5 and 5. They honestly do not want to get away from what they are used to, it is far too comfortable.


I get it, but man, most of my combats take 30 Min tops. 2 Hours??
   
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This looks good on paper, but in practice....I check my character sheet and see which of those three numbers is highest after modifications. Then I default to that action every single time I get attacked because why wouldn't I? Adding options is half of the story, you also need to give players reasons to alternate between those options or it's just extra mechanical cruft.


It's also worth pointing out that the Players aren't the only ones making these extra rolls. The GM is too, and that's going to turn larger engagements into a slog.

It's more fitting for a wargame than an RPG. I think DnD already has plenty of choice... if you're a caster. I don't think combat mechanics are really an issue in DnD so much as combat options and that's less mechanical and more implementation. Barbarians rage. Monks Ki. Fighters surge. Rogues sneak. And that's all any of them do. All the fun and creative combat (and non combat) mechanical choices are loaded in the spellcasting classes such that I look at the dirth of interesting options in the melee classes and find them dull. Fireball might be OP, but at least a Sorcerer has the option of getting gaks and/or giggles out of invisibility shenanigans, or mass confusion, or even suggestion if your super creative. Barbarians, Monks, Fighters, and Rogues are mostly just one trick ponies with subclasses that give them an new one trick to abuse.

I also second the "2 hours?!!!" confusion. How big are your combats that they're taking 2 hours? I've run combats with upwards of 20 characters taking turns and I've never seen combat go that long.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/01 22:35:37


   
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Nuremberg

I disagree with that characterisation of D&D 5e. That was true in 3e, but being a Fighter or a Rogue or a Monk is a lot more varied than that these days. Barbarian is a very simple class, and I think that is fine, because sometimes players wanna smash stuff.

Battlemaster, Way of Shadows Monk or Arcane Trickster all have a lot more going for them than just sneaking or stabbing.
Champion, Thief and Way of the Fisty Fist (forget what it is called) are more vanilla, but sometimes people want to play the vanilla version. Way of the Elements and Eldritch Knight are pretty full of options, though they do it by becoming casters like Arcane Trickster, and Assassn is a pretty straightforward type of class but there is a bit more to playing one than "sneak, stab".

Edit: As to long turns, I have this problem with my group as well. I am going to institute a timer for turns because a couple of players really take the piss with how long they take. Mostly it is indecision and being bad at learning the rules, but a lot of it is that they do not think about their turn until it rolls around.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/02 14:16:46


   
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West Yorkshire, England

 Easy E wrote:
6 people with a variety of skills/knowledge and plenty of distracting chatter. The distracting chatter is half the fun.


OK, but you can't turn around and say "Combat in the game is really long, because people spend so much time not playing the game."

"The 75mm gun is firing. The 37mm gun is firing, but is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning is jammed. I am saying "Driver, advance." and the driver, who can't hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away, someone hands me a cheese sandwich." 
   
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MN

 Elemental wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
6 people with a variety of skills/knowledge and plenty of distracting chatter. The distracting chatter is half the fun.


OK, but you can't turn around and say "Combat in the game is really long, because people spend so much time not playing the game."


I said it was boring because there were not enough choices for players and engagement when it was not there turn. Hence downtime. If I was engaged to do something more often, then it would be better and I wouldn't feel like it was two hours to fight. However, a person could also argue that D&D has a big lethality issue too.

40K would be much faster if we just got rid of the save roll, but you have it so your opponent has some agency in his model's dying. D&D doesn't do that. When you are attacked you have no agency, you just scratch hit points off. Then, when it is your turn you do not have many good options other than "I hit him with a my stick." IF combat were more interesting and engaging I wouldn't care if it took two hours. IF I got to do some things that were fun or had some agency when I was being attacked combat wouldn't feel like two hours.

Other people seem to feel other ways and prefer speed over agency or choices. Hence the discussion.



As a side note: I think a lot of the side conversation and other slowness in my group may be because the combat is not that engaging so that we all get distracted making bad jokes, telling stories, etc. We don't seem to do that when we are doing story and character driven stuff?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/11/04 20:57:31


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I can sort of see the point you're trying to make, OP. I've played numerous 5e games, DMing most of them, and have found that out of the box the ruleset is super easy and straightforward (which is a good thing!). However, it does get dull over time when it's the same type of fighting.

It does fall on the DM to make things interesting, for sure. It's his job for the game, not just putting some tokens on the map and saying "These are zombies, go".

That being said, it's also up to the players to be creative, as some others have mentioned. In my current weekly game, I am a Wisdom based "shamanistic" barbarian, but because of magical items and my choice of battleaxe and shield and to wear armor, I'm the tank of the party. I can zip through enemies (spirit of the Eagle) and position myself to protect my teammates or to distract bad guys. I also frequently ask the DM if I can intimidate or goad the baddie into attacking me. Meanwhile, the ranged fighter picks off the easy targets or AoEs with his magical bow abilities. The Cleric/Monk is both a decent ranged DPS, but also maintains various different spells for certain situations while also trying to keep everyone alive. The Druid has a wealth of magical options and is also a healer. The combat has never once been boring.

At the end of the day, maybe it's not even the system though. Maybe you would just prefer a more in-depth game to play with more strategy or something. I can relate. I tried turning 5e into a "Critical mode" level game and it got silly, so maybe try branching out.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/08 17:11:50


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 Easy E wrote:


So, here is how D&D could work differently. Ditch Armor Class (or whatever it is now) completely. Instead, armor could be target number modifiers for certain actions.

In an attack, the attacker rolls a d20 and adds mods to get a final number. What do you want to do character?

I will just take the hit on my armor and roll with it:
- Roll a d20 and add armor bonus looking to get above what the attacker rolled.

I will dodge out of the way:
- Roll a d20 and add Dex bonus. Did you beat the attacker?

I will parry it:
- Roll a d20 and add your strength bonus. Did you beat the attacker's roll?

If failed, and you are hit then armor could also serve to reduce damage to a minimum of 1 HP or something.

You can only dodge or roll with missile attacks. If you are surprised, you can only roll with it. Now surprise and type of attack matters a bit too. Large and long reach weapons would provide attack bonus modifiers. Armor that is heavy makes dodging harder, lighter weapons could make parry easier, Etc, etc, etc to add whatever Mod stacking you wish.

Simple, easy, and gives the player some choice when they are attacked. Now there is a difference between an armored tank, a skilled swordsman, or a dodgy character too.


Yeah, that isn't any more interesting. That's just rolling more dice for the same result. You're basically wasting double the time for each attack just rolling dice for the sake of rolling dice.
A random target number isn't more interesting than a static one... its been tried (Palladium in general and Rifts in particular, and in D&D in various alternate rules in Unearth Arcana for 3e, and elsewhere), and armor as DR is awful. (especially in D&D like games, as damage, HP and DR don't scale together in a sane manner)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/11/08 19:16:55


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