D&D 5th edition vs Pathfinder


4th Edition

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Irranshalee wrote:

I would want characters to be superhuman at 10th level and most folk 1st-3rd levels. It cannot happen as the rules are written. The breakdown of game play at higher level is hard for me to swallow. The whole thought of 9th level bakers just slays me. I have been tweaking the PF system down for years now

5th ed disconnects hit dice and levels for NPCs. Your typical knight NPC doesn't have all the abilities of a 9th-level fighter; it has one or two of its abilities at most, the ability to bare weapons and armors, and 9 levels worth of HPs (can't remember how many HD it has, this is a fictive number). Commoner is a "creature" in the Monstrous Manual, not a class. And if you're not happy with its 1HD, it would be really easy to create Baguette the baker's guild-master with 3HD...

Irranshalee wrote:
I am actually designing my campaign for the PCs to retire by 10th-12th level. That is why 5e has caught my attention. It seems to me that PCs could conceivably raise to level 20 and not have as much of an impact as 20th level Pathfinder PCs. By going to level 20, the players will have more time to enjoy their characters (development of characters, especially the emotional/mental aspect of it growing with each new adventure is alluring to us).

5e extends the sweet spot a bit further. Character come into their own around 3rd level and remain "manageable" until they get their higher abilities around level 16th-17th. Bounded accuracy insures that DCs that are challenging to high level characters are not far off from the ones that challenge low-level PCs. Same goes for monsters, what can hurt a low level PC can usually hurt a high-level one only, the high level character has lots of HPs to go through easy encounters.

There is still a paradigm shift at higher levels, mainly due to high level spells, but it comes a few level further than PF in my experience (well, from that one 5e campaign I played level 10th to 20th).

Irranshalee wrote:

In summary (...) Is there a system out there that is similar to my description? The loss of a d20 and player progression through levels are not deal breakers. I just want something not-so-over-the-top. The work needed to keep things in my preference range is overwhelming at times.

PS I absolutely loathe the Christmas tree effect.

I think most systems can support your style of play, to a certain extent, but it depends on settings. PF can support 1st level bakers and you could go with a black marker and scratch everything that pertains to 12th level or above (or 10th, or 8th, or 6th), and the game would run just fine. You just need to find (or invent) a setting that supports that.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks, Laurefindel. I am waiting on my MM and DMG to take a look at the entire rules. The PHB seemed simple enough. I do dread redoing all of the work I have already done for PF though. I have a homemade campaign with several homebrewed races and deities that will need major tweaks to be useable at 5e. I also have my first module nearly complete. It is 28 pages long. After the fluff is finished it will probably hit 35. It is only to take a group of 4 PCs to 2nd level. We will see what happens. Thanks for all of the comments so far. Please feel free to continue to contribute. It does so very much help me.

As a side note and if I ever switch over to 5e, permanently or temporarily, I am still stuck with Paizo for my miniatures. Spectacular work every time. Please do not weaken the product when the time comes, just increase the price. We will pay it.

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Yeah, levels 1-3 are basically an "apprentice level," there is a bit of a boost in power level at 5th level for everyone, and stays fun. My current game is level 10, and we've been dealing (and surviving!) with a CR 20 ancient white dragon.

It's very streamlined, so it doesn't bog down like high level PF play can. At least so far.

Also, the Xmas tree effect is reduced a lot. "The Big Six" are relatively rare, so now they're special. Most magic items seem to do neat and interesting things, and not just add a boring bonus.


Definitely give 5E a try. I can't say it will perfectly meet your needs, but it supports a good number of them (particularly the removal of the Christmas tree effect.)

I pared my RotRL PCs down from over a dozen items each to a handful of flavorful items, even tweaking/customizing some items to make them more interesting.

And even though I'm switching systems for my game, I'm definitely continuing to support Pathfinder/Paizo. I bought Pathfinder Unchained. Once we finish Rise of the Runelords, I'm really interested in giving Giantslayer a look (though I may do one of the other APs first, because of the amount of giants in RotRL, I don't want it to feel repetitive) I bought Princes of the Apocalypse (the 5E WotC AP) because a lot of people were raving about it, but it just didn't grab me the way RotRL did (and Redlarch has nowhere near the charm of Sandpoint).


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Yes OP, you should definitely give 5E a shot. The issues you brought up (Christmas tree, superhuman 6th level characters, etc) are specifically addressed by 5E.

As to the customization concerns addressed by others, it's amazing how many so called options (feats, prcs, etc) do nothing more than amend restrictions that just don't exist in 5E. Dex your high stat? In PFRPG you need a feat to use Dex for melee weapons. No need for that in 5E, it's standard. No need for feat taxes, level dipping, or obscure PRCs to cast spells in armor, move in between attacks, crit without confirm rolls, fight with 2 weapons at once, pare down attacks of opportunity, non-magic healing, etc, etc.

For fun, I've been doing prep on a "P6" campaign (E6 with PFRPG) from the ground up and I took a spin through the Mythic book with an eye towards using some of that stuff. I was surprised how many "mythical" abilities do little more than invalidate restrictive rules that simply don't exist in 5E. While I love tinkering with my P6 setting, I find i get more mileage out of removing restrictive rules than I do by adding a bunch of new options designed to side step them.


Kalshane wrote:

Definitely give 5E a try. I can't say it will perfectly meet your needs, but it supports a good number of them (particularly the removal of the Christmas tree effect.)

I pared my RotRL PCs down from over a dozen items each to a handful of flavorful items, even tweaking/customizing some items to make them more interesting.

And even though I'm switching systems for my game, I'm definitely continuing to support Pathfinder/Paizo. I bought Pathfinder Unchained. Once we finish Rise of the Runelords, I'm really interested in giving Giantslayer a look (though I may do one of the other APs first, because of the amount of giants in RotRL, I don't want it to feel repetitive) I bought Princes of the Apocalypse (the 5E WotC AP) because a lot of people were raving about it, but it just didn't grab me the way RotRL did (and Redlarch has nowhere near the charm of Sandpoint).

Ditto here, Kalshane. I'm still a Paizo fan even though 5E is my rule set of choice at the moment. The adventures and supplemental materials are top notch, and Golarion is one of my favorite campaign settings. I'm running RotRL (halfway through book 5 now) and eyeing stuff in my closet like Serpent Skull, Mummy's Mask, and Skull and Shackles, and those are just heads above the adventures I've gotten specifically for 5E so far. It doesn't hurt that converting an entire AP book to 5E only takes a couple of hours. I blasted through part 1 of Serpent Skull the other day just to see what I'd be in for and it was literally 3 handwritten pages and maybe 2 hours to do it. Remember, if it's not in the 5E monster manual already, page 274 of the DMG is your best friend ;)

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I like how modular 5th Edition is. It's designed to be expanded upon, with new archetypes built into the base classes.


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SmiloDan wrote:
I like how modular 5th Edition is. It's designed to be expanded upon, with new archetypes built into the base classes.

But when will they appear? That's one of the big things that prevented my gaming group from considering a switch, the apparent lack of support outside of modules.


Irranshalee wrote:


I am a big believer in Justin Alexander's writing on 3.5. By about level 6, player characters are essentially superheroes, Wolverine, Magneto, etc. They are far beyond the common person. In fact, most of my planet is covered with 1st and 2nd level folk.

I would prefer these numbers to be inflated, at least for the speed of character progression in PF. In PF, I would want characters to be superhuman at 10th level and most folk 1st-3rd levels. It cannot happen as the rules are written. The breakdown of game play at higher level is hard for me to swallow. The whole thought of 9th level bakers just slays me. I have been tweaking the PF system down for years now.

5e can handle most of the stuff you are wanting, but this little part of your post...5e doesn't do that.

The difference between the ability of a 1st level character and a 10th level character to hit is around a +3.

They might have another attack...but it probably won't do as much damage as a PF character either.

Spells also are not quite the powerhouse they are in PF.

In PF you don't have to have 9th level bakers...just like in 5e you can have 9th level bakers if you want (actually, your character could have that as a background perhaps!).

But overall, you aren't going to have superheroes in 5e...they sort of did away with that paradigm.

Otherwise, 5e is good to go for you from what you posted.

Or if you meant that you wanted 1st level bakers that could gang up and slay 10th level characters...I guess that's a MUCH higher possibility in 5e.

It does extend out the playing level in 5e. What used to be something like playing levels 1-9 are probably what I'd equate playing levels 1-20 in 5e are like. So it's more like always playing in that low level to mid level tier without the hassle of the high level tiers.

5e also doesn't require the Christmas tree in order to match up to CR...which could be a plus for you. (PF doesn't require the Christmas tree either, but it make a LOT more work for the GM in trying to figure out correct CRs without it). In fact, if you DO have a Christmas tree effect in 5e, it may throw off the CR's in a crazy manner.


Grey Lensman wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
I like how modular 5th Edition is. It's designed to be expanded upon, with new archetypes built into the base classes.
But when will they appear?

The first Monday of every month, in the Unearthed Acana column. Classes, subclasses, etc, for your open play testing enjoyment. Also in the free supplements for said adventures. I'm guessing we'll see a supplemental book or two (on top of the class stuff being play tested you just know there's a monster book in the pipeline) no later than GenCon 2016.


SmiloDan wrote:
I like how modular 5th Edition is. It's designed to be expanded upon, with new archetypes built into the base classes.

Yes, the modular aspect of 5e is very homebrew friendly.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

But overall, you aren't going to have superheroes in 5e

My 10th level players took on an Ancient. White. Dragon.

CR20.

Twice.

They held off an army of ogres 300-style. Took on a fortress full of trolls. Whupped a Glabrezu and five Vrocks, AND their 15th level mystic theurge leader. On top of that, they take good financial care of the maids, gardeners, and cooks who keep their estate in Magnimar running in top shape while the party is off saving the Golarion from the awakening threats of Lost Thassilon.

They're plenty super imo.

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We're Big Damn Heroes. Well, except for my dwarf, who is a Medium Damn Hero. ;-)


SmiloDan wrote:

We're Big Damn Heroes. Well, except for my dwarf, who is a Medium Damn Hero. ;-)

Like the humble tortoise, he is slow but nearly impossible to harm.

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And only died once. Temporarily. :-D


Irranshalee wrote:
Let me describe my sort of campaign and see if you have any ideas of what I should play or test out. I am not opposed to combining systems. I am decent at introducing house rules that are within reason...

5e will work very well for you, but you might also want to consider just doing E8. I am currently running Pathfinder E8 (I guess we call that P8?) and it's going wonderfully. It pretty much solves all the problems you've described as well.


TheRavyn wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

But overall, you aren't going to have superheroes in 5e

My 10th level players took on an Ancient. White. Dragon.

CR20.

Twice.

They held off an army of ogres 300-style. Took on a fortress full of trolls. Whupped a Glabrezu and five Vrocks, AND their 15th level mystic theurge leader. On top of that, they take good financial care of the maids, gardeners, and cooks who keep their estate in Magnimar running in top shape while the party is off saving the Golarion from the awakening threats of Lost Thassilon.

They're plenty super imo.

My militia of 120 1st level archers slew an Ancient White Dragon too...not so certain it's THAT impressive...

As opposed to PF...how many 1st levels do you think that Ancient White Dragon would take out?

In 5e that dragon has an AC of 20, 333 HP, and can take out a bunch of them with one blast (rechargeable on a 5 or 6) and otherwise takes out 3 per round.

The Archers need a 16 or better to hit (saying they get a +1 to hit stat mod), which means 1/5 of them will hit on the first round.
24 hit for an average of 5 damage on the first round. They do 120 damage to that beast in one round (if they could keep that up, it's a 3 round kill).

(actually that math is if they have a +3 to hit getting a 17 or better to hit, with a 16 or better to hit it's 1/4 will hit which actually means 30 hit for around 150 damage per round. Still 3 round kill, but the there's a lot less of them that have to survive for that to happen).

You don't see that in PF...

Ironically, the White Dragon is a Challege of 20, which if you are going by the book means it's a tad odd that 10th level 5e characters would take it on their own without a Christmas tree effect or something else going for them.

Compared to an Ancient White in PF which has an AC of 37...only a natural 20 will get a 1st level character to hit it, even if they have a max bonus of +5 for DEX and weapon focus and a +1 for BAB for a total of +7 to hit...they still can't hit it that well.

They'll get 5 hits max typically, for 25 points of damage against it's 283 HP. Percentage wise, if none of them die and they do that, it takes them 12 rounds to kill it.

Which dragon sounds more epic to kill? Which one requires more superhero like things compared to the everyday 1st level character.

If we get into abilities, PF whites also have more abilities at their disposal (including spells).

Finally, I believe in PF it's only a CR 15 as opposed to CR 20 that it is in 5e...though the danger ratio in PF of a CR 15 is far higher than that of a CR 20 in 5e for a 1st level character.

5e isn't all that super-power to me.

But I suppose if you like killing things any group of 1st level militia from the closest city could kill without every worrying about hiring a bunch of adventurers or mercs...and consider that super powered...

Well...more power to you...

But not quite as much as a 10th level Druid or Wizard from PF...

:P


On the otherhand, it sounds like the OP wants a game which plays more like the lower to mid level tiers but extends it out over 20 levels...in which case 5e probably is a better choice overall than PF for that type of play.

It sounds as if they don't actually want the super duper powered character can be all powerful type schematic that PF games sometimes become at high level (especially with casters), in which case 5e is FAR more appropriate if you want to play all the way to 20th level.


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Those mathematical analyses are quite flawed, in my opinion. There's no way 120 militia can kill a dragon - how is it supposed to work? It's not going to sit still while they all move into position.

5E is a fundamentally different game - lining up numbers across the two systems and assuming that shows anything neglects a lot of significant differences


Steve Geddes wrote:

Those mathematical analyses are quite flawed, in my opinion. There's no way 120 militia can kill a dragon - how is it supposed to work? It's not going to sit still while they all move into position.

5E is a fundamentally different game - lining up numbers across the two systems and assuming that shows anything neglects a lot of significant differences

Actually, it's been done. However, it takes a tad longer than 3 rounds as half have problems after the first round (Fear effect, but saves are also easier in 5e in some ways), and these are ALL archers. I didn't want to go into a detailed synopsis of the combat that others have done elsewhere (Actually I think they pitted them against a Red Dragon instead of a White).

The point is, the city (not a village, it would have to be at least a city) militia could deal with that threat in 5e...where in PF...they'd all die before it happened...which is a MAJOR power difference between the two.

It's not a BAD thing, as the goals of each game is different. In 5e I believe they explicitly stated that they wanted to extend what they thought was the sweet spot of gaming over the entire game (much like they did with 4e, but only in 10 level tiers instead of the entire gambit of levels).

So, instead of having that sweet spot from level 3 to level 9, they made the entirety of level 1-20 play like that original levels of 3-9 (actually it's more like levels 3-20 in 5e, as they want 1 and 2 to be more of an introductory level that you get past really quickly).

This is one reason why you only get that +6 difference in proficiency bonus (which, probably on purpose, equates to that same BAB difference a Warrior would get between levels 3 and 9 in older D20 games), and everything is catered in that direction in regards to combat and skills.

Unlike PF, they are purposefully trying to extend that supposed sweet spot out which they feel a majority of gamers like to play.

It's distinctly NOT a super powered game for that reason as well. They feel those levels offer the greatest sense of risk vs. the reward and that's why players love to play those levels.

A LOT of people DO like those levels (even in PFS, you are somewhat limited in the levels you play to a degree), and it probably isn't wrong that a majority typically play between those levels of 3-9.

But I think that design goal also makes it so that if you want to play something a little more super powered (as people seem to put it), you aren't going to have that opportunity as much in 5e...

Which is really what the dragon example I presented was showing.

5e is more about the adventure and path of it than how powerful you become and the glories of high level domination of the world.


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Yeah, I've read them. They generally start with round one - a dragon surrounded (somehow) by a couple of hundred militia at short range. I know lots of people enjoy those kinds of analyses, I just don't find them very instructive as to how the game plays (which is what I care about).

In game - there's no way a hundred militia can kill a dragon. They'd always prefer to hire four heroes than traipse off, hoping to surround the dragon unnoticed, and then engage in a fight where more than half of them will die before they might have a chance to kill it.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah, I've read them. They generally start with round one - a dragon surrounded (somehow) by a couple of hundred militia at short range. I know lots of people enjoy those kinds of analyses, I just don't find them very instructive as to how the game plays (which is what I care about).

In game - there's no way a hundred militia can kill a dragon. They'd always prefer to hire four heroes than traipse off, hoping to surround the dragon unnoticed, and then engage in a fight where more than half of them will die before they might have a chance to kill it.

I think it is worth pointing out that the fact that the army of any sizable urban centre can stop a dragon does not mean that they don't prefer to send in 'experts'.

After all with a reasonably smart dragon fifty through to maybe a couple of hundred soldiers die plus possible collateral damage. Far better to send the experts to deal with a dragon then face that.

Truth is I don't really think you and GreyWolfLord are disagreeing - except maybe in regards to the Epicness of hero's in 5E versus PF.

In this I agree with GreyWolfLord. In PF PCs are far superior to other men by 5th level and by 10th they are pretty much Demi-Gods, admittedly in a world full of other Demi-Gods and creatures that can poise a threat to Demi-Gods.

5E hews closer to a baseline where the PCs are really just more like Hero's and do not, at least nearly so quickly, reach the point where no number of lesser beings poise a threat. That army that can stop a Dragon can stop the 10th level PCs as well. In PF only the other Demi-Gods residing in the city can stop the PCs not the army.

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My Hill Dwarf Life Cleric 10 and his friends fought that CR 20 dragon.

It always ambushed us, and it flew away whenever it was seriously hurt. Its breath weapon would take some of us down to single hit points from full. It was nasty!

And we're not Xmas Treed up. (Well, now we will be--we have a dragon's hoard now!)

My guy has a helmet that can petrify 1/day, the wizard has a staff that lets him use the 2nd level evoker ability, I think both archers have +1 bows and a few specialty arrows, the barbarian has some +1 weapons, the party shares a belt of levitation and various potions.


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Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Yeah, I've read them. They generally start with round one - a dragon surrounded (somehow) by a couple of hundred militia at short range. I know lots of people enjoy those kinds of analyses, I just don't find them very instructive as to how the game plays (which is what I care about).

In game - there's no way a hundred militia can kill a dragon. They'd always prefer to hire four heroes than traipse off, hoping to surround the dragon unnoticed, and then engage in a fight where more than half of them will die before they might have a chance to kill it.

I think it is worth pointing out that the fact that the army of any sizable urban centre can stop a dragon does not mean that they don't prefer to send in 'experts'.

After all with a reasonably smart dragon fifty through to maybe a couple of hundred soldiers die plus possible collateral damage. Far better to send the experts to deal with a dragon then face that.

Truth is I don't really think you and GreyWolfLord are disagreeing - except maybe in regards to the Epicness of hero's in 5E versus PF.

In this I agree with GreyWolfLord. In PF PCs are far superior to other men by 5th level and by 10th they are pretty much Demi-Gods, admittedly in a world full of other Demi-Gods and creatures that can poise a threat to Demi-Gods.

5E hews closer to a baseline where the PCs are really just more like Hero's and do not, at least nearly so quickly, reach the point where no number of lesser beings poise a threat. That army that can stop a Dragon can stop the 10th level PCs as well. In PF only the other Demi-Gods residing in the city can stop the PCs not the army.

I don't disagree with you, nor with his main point that 5E characters are less powerful than PF characters (I'd quibble slightly, in that I think 5E characters start out more powerful than early PF characters, but they are quickly overtaken). However, I do disagree with this part of his post:

"...things any group of 1st level militia from the closest city could kill without every worrying about hiring a bunch of adventurers or mercs..."

I've heard that characterisation before based on those number crunching exercises and I think it's overstating the case. (I also think they've deliberately toned down the power of dragons in 5E to make them more common - an aesthetic choice I disagree with, but more to the point a choice which makes comparisons across systems a little misleading, in my view).


GreyWolfLord wrote:
TheRavyn wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

But overall, you aren't going to have superheroes in 5e

My 10th level players took on an Ancient. White. Dragon.

CR20.

Twice.

They held off an army of ogres 300-style. Took on a fortress full of trolls. Whupped a Glabrezu and five Vrocks, AND their 15th level mystic theurge leader. On top of that, they take good financial care of the maids, gardeners, and cooks who keep their estate in Magnimar running in top shape while the party is off saving the Golarion from the awakening threats of Lost Thassilon.

They're plenty super imo.

My militia of 120 1st level archers slew an Ancient White Dragon too...not so certain it's THAT impressive...

As opposed to PF...how many 1st levels do you think that Ancient White Dragon would take out?

In 5e that dragon has an AC of 20, 333 HP, and can take out a bunch of them with one blast (rechargeable on a 5 or 6) and otherwise takes out 3 per round.

The Archers need a 16 or better to hit (saying they get a +1 to hit stat mod), which means 1/5 of them will hit on the first round.
24 hit for an average of 5 damage on the first round. They do 120 damage to that beast in one round (if they could keep that up, it's a 3 round kill).

(actually that math is if they have a +3 to hit getting a 17 or better to hit, with a 16 or better to hit it's 1/4 will hit which actually means 30 hit for around 150 damage per round. Still 3 round kill, but the there's a lot less of them that have to survive for that to happen).

You don't see that in PF...

Ironically, the White Dragon is a Challege of 20, which if you are going by the book means it's a tad odd that 10th level 5e characters would take it on their own without a Christmas tree effect or something else going for them.

Compared to an Ancient White in PF which has an AC of 37...only a natural 20 will get a 1st level character to hit it, even if they have a max bonus of +5 for DEX and weapon focus and a +1 for BAB for a total of +7 to...

So following your logic - a nice lady is trapped under a car, 120 militia men arrive and (math math math math) lift the car off the lady and poof! Superman is no longer a super hero. Brilliant!


Well, Superman would be more PF.

I'd say it would be more like why do we need someone like Colossus or Cyclops or Angel (before his healing factor) or Iceman. Send in 20 men and in theory...we should be able to do more than they would be able to do (except that in the comic for some reason, they are able to last through things that should kill them anyways seeing how limited their powers are...for example, one smash by Hulk should kill any one of those...well...MAYBE Colossus would still be alive but the others should be squashed like a pancake).


TheRavyn wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:

But overall, you aren't going to have superheroes in 5e

My 10th level players took on an Ancient. White. Dragon.

CR20.

Twice.

I can sort of see that potentially happening, but I don't see the math there working out more than fluke chance.

The party is 7th level, while the abjurer sounds to be super tanking, I'm making the assumption that most of the party is not. I'll guess on average they are about 76 hit points each.

The dragon is going to pass every single saving throw throughout the fight because a combination of high saves and ability to declare it saves even on a failed saving throw three times.

The breath weapon is a 90-foot cone that will hit the entire party more or less. I'll presume everyone has resistance against cold from protection from energy or something similar, but that DC 22 Constituation saving through is going to see a decent number of failures. Taking just average damage for everything 36 damage to those that failed and just 18 to those that succeeded. Dwarven cleric is the one powering protection from energy, so I'll assume he saves against breath and then to maintain the spell after taking damage.

After that, party acts and can recover and deal out damage and I know party's can deal out damage like nobodies business. I think I'm being generous when I say the party deals 150 damage in between minor health maintainance. During that though Dragon gets tail attack (at +14, it probably hits) for 17 damage and either two more of those or a wing attack to try to deal 15 damage with a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw. It doesn't need to withdraw yet, so it just deals 51 points damage among the party.

Back to dragon's turn, we got people in melee, so multiattack, Frightful Presence kicks in. The DC 16 saving throw to this is lower, but I still see half the party frightened by this. The AC 20 isn't incredibly high, but the frightened condition would make it incredible hard for them to hit. It also gets a bite and two claws, they all have +14, but I'll assume one misses so the barrage only deals 38 damage.

Back to party, they might be deal enough damage to force it to back off, it would likely be less than the previous round, but still significant. Dragon uses a tail attack and wing attacks to deal some damage to the party as it takes to the air again. If it recharges the breath weapon it's next turn, it can use it, otherwise it withdraws if necessary. At this point though I would guess the dragon is staring at a half dead party.

I can easily imagining the party surviving this experience, but doing it twice and seemingly with not entirely good luck seems more out of the norm than an example of typical 5th edition play.

I am really curious how these played out in your games.

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Our 10th level party is a half-orc barbarian (berserker), my hill dwarf Life cleric tank, human ranger (hunter) archer, wood (?) elf rogue (arcane trickster) archer, human wizard (diviner) blaster. Our human fighter (eldritch knight) two-weapon wielder was on vacation.

The first encounter with the dragon, it totally ambushed us. I cast Bless and a ton of healing. We chased it off, short rested, and tracked it to its lair.

Protection from Energy only targets a single creature, and requires Concentration, so it can't be spammed. For the 2nd encounter, my cleric cast it on the barbarian since he's the major damage dealer and the others have other magical and non-magical defenses. After the first round of combat, I dropped Protection from Energy and put up a 3rd level Bless to give everyone in the party +1d4 to attack rolls and saving throws. Then did a ton of healing.

We were able to chase it off again, then looted the hoard, which contained 20-something empty potion bottles... :-P

The 3rd time we encounter the dragon, we'll be all Christmas Treed up!

I know my dwarf cleric failed against the initial breath weapon attack during both encounters. Even with the Resilient feat (Constitution) and a cloak that gives him +1 on Constitution saves. Although for the 2nd save, I may have accidentally rolled at Dexterity save (-1 because 8 Dex; I used the standard array of 14 8 13 10 15 12 for my Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha for a total now of 14 8 16 10 18 12. I also take average hit points each level, so I have 83 hit points and AC 20 with full plate and shield.)


For some reason I mentally added the waterbreathing text to protection from energy. Still I assumed everyone with resistance since that breath weapon mostly because I felt a failed save without resistance (which I have to assume would happen with a 22 DC) would just knock out characters of 10th level (or bring them close enough that legendary actions would allow an easy knock out).

I'm curious how you kept up with the six attacks in a round option or breath weapon along with three attacks.

I can picture situations where it could happen, but all of them involve the party dealing absurd amounts of damage right off the bat and ending the combat within two or three rounds while someone is still doing healing mid-combat to make someone need another dragon blow or two to fall down.

The most reliable/powerful combat healing I would expect to see that level (beyond bring back someone from the dead) would be for about 30 healing for an action. I can picture it sort of if the dragon attacks the barbarian exclusively because his resistance to damage. He gets hit by the multiattack, but he is immune to being frightened which lets him keep getting hits in. With resistance, if the dragon multiattacks, then only gets one tail attack off, I can see you even doing more healing than the dragon damages in a full round.

How did the party deal with the legendary actions?

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The party was pretty lucky with terrain. After the initial breath weapon, we were able to spread out. The archers and wizard were able to keep back, so the barbarian and my cleric could tank. My Life cleric has a few fun healing boosts: + 2 + spell level on healing spells AND I gain 2 + spell level hit points whenever I heal someone else.

My Mass Cure Wounds does 3d8+11 points of damage, my Mass Healing Word does 1d4+9 or 2d4+10 points of damage.

So we just soaked up the damage from the Legendary actions. The rogue's Uncanny Dodge ability is pretty amazing!

The archers may have had some special arrows, too. The rogue may have critted on a sneak attack, too.

The wizard has a staff that gives him the Evoker ability to ignore allies in AoE spells, like Fireball. VERY handy. So is the diviner's Portent ability. He can use it to boost an ally's d20 roll or botch an enemy's d20 roll.

The berserker barbarian has a magical greatclub of spell storing that he keeps Haste in, so when he Frenzies, he can attack 4 times a round. And he has the Savage Attack feat, so once per round he can re-roll a low damage roll.


I was imagining the dragon would have terrain advantage with it's exceptional speed and ablility to fly if necessary following it's legendary wing attack.

That is a decent amount of healing, especially the healing word. But unless he is dividing his attacks among the party evenly, he should be outdamaging that since you can't cast both mass healing word and mass cure light wounds in the same turn to my knowledge.

Uncanny dodge is very nice and even more so in this situation. Archers do a lot of damage from my experience and crits are frequent especially at this level among all the characters attack rolls. I wouldn't be terribly surprised to hear there was a crit per round from the party.

The wizard staff I'm not interested in in this case just because it sounded like a single dragon against the party to make it pretty easy to exclude party members in this situation barring odd positioning. Fireball sounds like the lowest damaging thing in the party since the dragon would save against it. I wouldn't be surprised if it dealt as much as one of the barbarians blows. He might have cast something else though that just required an attack though. I can easily see the potential for portent both offensively and defensively.

The berzerker does make that a lot of sense, that sounds like enough damage to render most things non-threats very quickly, especially in this combat.

I do have to admit I'm biased against this since I would rather not see consistently beating a CR 20 dragon with a 10th level party as the norm. I can see it though that there is enough damage to make the dragon be only able to take a couple rounds of combat before needing to flee immediately.

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We just drove off the dragon. It ran first because we were to slow to do so.

The environment was a very big tunnel for fight 1, a shaft with a ledge around it for fight 2, and there was a weird weak ice area leading into the shaft that dropped 2 or 3 of us into a weird area. My cleric just dropped there on purpose since he wears full plate and has Dex 8. :-P

We only make about 7 to 9 attack rolls a round (2 from ranger, 1 from rogue, 4 from barbarian (if frenzied AND Hasted), rarely one from my cleric, less rarely a Chromatic Orb from the wizard), so we only get a crit once per 3 rounds.

The barbarian crits are pretty brutal, though. The multiplier is increased by 1 for being a half-orc and 1 for being a barbarian, so he does x4 damage. He might take 3 levels of fighter (Champion) to get Improved Critical.


SmiloDan wrote:
We just drove off the dragon. It ran first because we were to slow to do so.

I am calling making the dragon retreat as beating it. It is pretty clearly you won and the descriptions sound like your party won with relative ease (in that one probably would be less likely to chase down a dragon that had a significant chance of killing the party.

SmiloDan wrote:
We only make about 7 to 9 attack rolls a round (2 from ranger, 1 from rogue, 4 from barbarian (if frenzied AND Hasted), rarely one from my cleric, less rarely a Chromatic Orb from the wizard), so we only get a crit once per 3 rounds.

I meant more in both of these combats I wouldn't be surprised to hear there was a crit per round, not that the total average would be 1 crit/round.

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We were all just 1 hit away from dying. My cleric was at single digits. They were really tough fights. Really tough. Actually kind of stressful and exhausting.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Ironically, the White Dragon is a Challege of 20, which if you are going by the book means it's a tad odd that 10th level 5e characters would take it on their own without a Christmas tree effect or something else going for them.

Is it even possible to achieve the Christmas Tree effect in 5E? Yes, we have magic weapons (one of which is possessed by the absent EK) and my ranger's arrow of dragon slaying, but nothing like what the typical PF party would have.

SmiloDan wrote:

We just drove off the dragon. It ran first because we were to slow to do so.

The environment was a very big tunnel for fight 1, a shaft with a ledge around it for fight 2, and there was a weird weak ice area leading into the shaft that dropped 2 or 3 of us into a weird area. My cleric just dropped there on purpose since he wears full plate and has Dex 8. :-P

I wouldn't say we were lucky with terrain, since he surprised us twice and he set up the third battle pretty well to his advantage.

POSSIBLE RISE OF THE RUNELORDS SPOILERS AHEAD

I think you're misremembering. The first fight was outdoors, among the "cast a spell of the appropriate school to get a key" statues. He got the drop on us (quite literally, IIRC). We drove him away and he escaped into the cave above to drink our treasure.

We followed into the tunnel, and there we fought earth elementals, not the dragon.

We then descended the shaft to the hoard room, and you cast locate creature to find out which direction he went in the cave complex. We followed him to the correct cave, and he got the drop on us again (stupid spell gives direction only, not distance). He did what I think was a strategic (as opposed to panicked, like the first time) retreat while we long rested inside a leomund's tiny hut.

When we emerged, we found the weak ice ramp you mentioned that wasn't there before while he breathed on us from the pedestal/stalagmite thing. We drove him off again, up the shaft and presumably outside, while we looted his hoard.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I played the game and I like the system, my biggest issue is the company. WOTC/Hasbro are never going to support the game like Paizo supports Pathfinder. Just this week WOTC was discussing their "transmedia" strategy...basically put out a bunch of other products video games, toys and such to drive people to table top game. Sounds like they are really going to milk the name until it is dry.

I always felt that Paizo put a lot more sweat, blood and tears in Pathfinder. But I agree with the amount of character options out there being difficult to get your hands around but the base rules of the game have not changed much.


I do hear a lot of 'a few dozen ordinary archers (or skeleton archers belonging to a necromantic PC) can defeat anything' stories about 5E.

Is there no equivalent to DR 10/Magic, which would allow Smaug to fly menacingly over the town without worrying about the militia?
Should it be house-ruled in?


Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:

I played the game and I like the system, my biggest issue is the company. WOTC/Hasbro are never going to support the game like Paizo supports Pathfinder. Just this week WOTC was discussing their "transmedia" strategy...basically put out a bunch of other products video games, toys and such to drive people to table top game. Sounds like they are really going to milk the name until it is dry.

I always felt that Paizo put a lot more sweat, blood and tears in Pathfinder. But I agree with the amount of character options out there being difficult to get your hands around but the base rules of the game have not changed much.

From day one, the stated objective of 5E was to derail from the splat train, and focus on the core game. Lessons learned from the past: AD&D had 2 iterations in 20 years (1E, 2E) D20 had 4 iterations in 8 years (3, 3.5, 4E, PFRPG). The splat model is good for collectors, but the real money is in the estimated 2 million casual players who almost never set foot in a game store or post on sites like this or ENWorld. Eventually, the splat based model causes an iteration to collapse under its own weight - 4E had so many books on shelves casual gamers literally didn't know where to start, and by all accounts a good portion of those casual gamer sales just disappeared.

Licensing and diversified media for the D&D brand is a way to keep the RPG division in business without burying the core game under a confusing pile of splats. I think PFRPG services the collector-minded subset of tabletop gamers just fine - if you want a monthly stream of new stuff, it's definitely the game to play. For me, I have years of gaming still in store for me based on just the core 3 5E books and all the easily converted adventures I already have from other systems (pathfinder APs included).

"Milking the name until it is dry" is an odd way to look at it, imo at least.

Liberty's Edge

An understated part of the flat math in 5e isn't just low level monsters are useful at more than a single level, but low level PCs are also useful. It's far, far easier to have a mixed level group and still have someone contribute.
That paired with magic items not being assumed fixes the issues of replacement characters and the high level new player. You need not just stumble across a character of the party's level carrying gear equivalent to you.

And it's nice having a wider range of usefulness for monsters. More than just +/- 3 levels.

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Matthew Downie wrote:

I do hear a lot of 'a few dozen ordinary archers (or skeleton archers belonging to a necromantic PC) can defeat anything' stories about 5E.

Is there no equivalent to DR 10/Magic, which would allow Smaug to fly menacingly over the town without worrying about the militia?
Should it be house-ruled in?

In 5E, resistance to any given damage type just means you take half damage from that damage type. So the closest to DR 10/Magic would be the idea of being "resistant" to nonmagical weapon damage.

So if Smaug flies over the town, then the militia who weren't instantly incinerated by his breath weapon get to each fire one arrow, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of those arrows hit, each one dealing what would have been about 3-10 damage, which is instead 1-5 damage. To a creature with probably hundreds of HP. And with several fewer archers every round.

Total invincibility to NPC attacks is not needed to get that type of scene.


SmiloDan wrote:
We were all just 1 hit away from dying. My cleric was at single digits. They were really tough fights. Really tough. Actually kind of stressful and exhausting.

It's really hard to comment too much on this dragon fight without giving too much away, knowing two of the campaign's players are in this thread lol.

Suffice to say, the dragon serves a couple of specific purposes in the adventure, and neither of them is "murder the party and end the campaign". Could I have set it up so the party had no chance of winning? Of course, it's a frickin Ancient dragon and I know the party's strengths and weaknesses very well. That said, I also tend to let the dice fall where they may; if the party had played below their ability too much, or been too miserly with resources, it could have been a tpk.

Things like inspiration rolls, the Diviners portent ability, a handy dragon slaying arrow, and the barbarian and rogues ability to to resist a ton of damage definitely give them an edge in fights like this.

ETA: I admit I was surprised when the party deliberately went after the dragon a second time. Definitely one those WTF! moments that keep DMing interesting lol.

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Jiggy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

I do hear a lot of 'a few dozen ordinary archers (or skeleton archers belonging to a necromantic PC) can defeat anything' stories about 5E.

Is there no equivalent to DR 10/Magic, which would allow Smaug to fly menacingly over the town without worrying about the militia?
Should it be house-ruled in?

In 5E, resistance to any given damage type just means you take half damage from that damage type. So the closest to DR 10/Magic would be the idea of being "resistant" to nonmagical weapon damage.

So if Smaug flies over the town, then the militia who weren't instantly incinerated by his breath weapon get to each fire one arrow, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of those arrows hit, each one dealing what would have been about 3-10 damage, which is instead 1-5 damage. To a creature with probably hundreds of HP. And with several fewer archers every round.

Total invincibility to NPC attacks is not needed to get that type of scene.

There are a few (very few) creatures that are immune to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing weapons. They're very niche and are meant to challenge PCs in different ways, or specifically designed for high level play where it can be assumed PCs have ready access to the magic weapon spell or actual magic weapons. I also think they're rare because it's (usually) not fun to fight against something that is immune to being fought. Once in a while, it can be a very fun challenge where the PCs have to outwit or outmaneuver an invulnerable opponent, but doing that all the time can be a grind.

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TheRavyn wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
We were all just 1 hit away from dying. My cleric was at single digits. They were really tough fights. Really tough. Actually kind of stressful and exhausting.

It's really hard to comment too much on this dragon fight without giving too much away, knowing two of the campaign's players are in this thread lol.

Suffice to say, the dragon serves a couple of specific purposes in the adventure, and neither of them is "murder the party and end the campaign". Could I have set it up so the party had no chance of winning? Of course, it's a frickin Ancient dragon and I know the party's strengths and weaknesses very well. That said, I also tend to let the dice fall where they may; if the party had played below their ability too much, or been too miserly with resources, it could have been a tpk.

Things like inspiration rolls, the Diviners portent ability, a handy dragon slaying arrow, and the barbarian and rogues ability to to resist a ton of damage definitely give them an edge in fights like this.

ETA: I admit I was surprised when the party deliberately went after the dragon a second time. Definitely one those WTF! moments that keep DMing interesting lol.

Yeah, it was definitely a challenge! My cleric had actually died earlier in that session (an evil scorpion-dog or something coup de graced me!!!--that's so eeeeevil!!! Hahaha), but luckily the local church of Desna had a scroll of Raise Dead, I'm a cleric of Desna, and I had been nice to the church in the past, so I was able to be raised. I also made them a replacement scroll.

We're still relatively new to 5th Edition (we have 1 1/2 campaigns going on) so dying isn't that big a deal, since there are tons of new character concepts to try out. I'd probably play a druid, paladin, bard, or battlemaster fighter or fighter/rogue. Maybe my mountain dwarf abjurer tank idea. But losing a healing specialist in a relatively large party (usually 6 PCs) would be really debilitating.


ZMOG, Dan*, pick up the psionics UA; the Mystic class needs to be playtested by lost-in-the-crowd-casualty-replacement PCs! :)

*Or "Smilo," whichever you prefer.

Edit: Also, the Mystic class advancement only goes up to level 5 thus far, and if all the campaigns you play have surpassed that level, that's just on circumstance, MANG.

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Comparing Pathfinder and 5th Edition is apples to oranges. Both of them try to accomplish different things in different ways.


SmiloDan wrote:
There are a few (very few) creatures that are immune to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing weapons. They're very niche and are meant to challenge PCs in different ways, or specifically designed for high level play where it can be assumed PCs have ready access to the magic weapon spell or actual magic weapons. I also think they're rare because it's (usually) not fun to fight against something that is immune to being fought. Once in a while, it can be a very fun challenge where the PCs have to outwit or outmaneuver an invulnerable opponent, but doing that all the time can be a grind.

That's another 5E difference from Pathfinder, I guess? DR 15/Magic is barely relevant to a typical level 3+ Pathfinder character.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, there's not much gear-assumption in 5E's math or structure (which I personally like, as I was very tired of Pathfinder's "christmas tree effect" and "treadmill").

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Hitdice wrote:

ZMOG, Dan*, pick up the psionics UA; the Mystic class needs to be playtested by lost-in-the-crowd-casualty-replacement PCs! :)

*Or "Smilo," whichever you prefer.

Edit: Also, the Mystic class advancement only goes up to level 5 thus far, and if all the campaigns you play have surpassed that level, that's just on circumstance, MANG.

One of our players really likes psionics. But I don't want to die, I want to play more games!!!! :-D

The Psionics UA looks really good. I wish it went up to 10th or 15th level.


SmiloDan wrote:
Hitdice wrote:

ZMOG, Dan*, pick up the psionics UA; the Mystic class needs to be playtested by lost-in-the-crowd-casualty-replacement PCs! :)

*Or "Smilo," whichever you prefer.

Edit: Also, the Mystic class advancement only goes up to level 5 thus far, and if all the campaigns you play have surpassed that level, that's just on circumstance, MANG.

One of our players really likes psionics. But I don't want to die, I want to play more games!!!! :-D

The Psionics UA looks really good. I wish it went up to 10th or 15th level.

I sure do. I was thinking about multiclassing into Mystic (Immortal) at 13th, DM willing, of course. :)

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Yeah, I was thinking of trying a wood elf Mystic (Immortal) 5/Fighter (battlemaster) 5. Or Mystic/Monk. A Mystic (Order of the Awakened Mind 1/Rogue 9 could sneak attack with Mind Thrust for 3d8+5d6 damage against AC = to the target's Intelligence score. That's just nasty.

EDIT: Just realized Mind Thrusting might not be a legal method of sneak attack....

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