Things Pathfinder does better than 5th ed


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

5E Rogues can do everything PF Rogues want to do: Snipe from hiding, move in and out of combat, get Dex to attacks and damage right out of the gate, sneak attack from far away, and consistent sneak attack damage.

We went from PF to 5E and the player that always plays rogues went from struggling to have fun to having a ton of fun.

But PF lets a rogue sneak attack multiple times per round (2 weapon fighting, iterative attacks, Rapid Shot, etc.).


Petty Alchemy wrote:
You don't need Identify to identify magic items, you can figure 'em out by spending a short rest in contact with the magic item.

This may be a houserule then. The campaign is heavily based off the Icewind Dale cRPG, so there's cursed items mixed in quite a bit (we've already found a Ring of Stupidity that my Rogue and his Bard accomplice are already trying to figure out how to use as either a quick scam or save to use as a way to remove a future Wizard rival).

So it's sort of 5e with a vague 2e aesthetic.

It's still fun. It'd be more annoying if he didn't mix in really good items. We just leveled to 5th and I already have a Luckstone.

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It's on DMG p136 but so is a variant for more difficult identification. Even Identify fails to detect curses on items though (DMG p139).


Sub-Creator wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Player Protection from a Bad GM. RAW can be used to protect players, especially when Rule Zero is used to punish players.

I've played both, though a lot more PF than 5e, which we've only tested in a single adventure. I do hope to possibly run a 5e campaign or two down the road, transplanting them into Golarion.

However, I did wish to note that RAW, when adhered to correctly, just as often works against the player's creativity as it can be used to protect the players. Feat requirements to do some of the most trivial things in combat or outside of it can do more to restrict player desires than anything. We've found this to happen a lot in our PF games, where a player wants his character to do this or that, and I have to ask them if they have this or that feat which permits their being able to do what they want. Obviously, people can forego feat requirements if they choose, but now you're also foregoing RAW, which can set ugly precedents for down the road, too.

I guess all I'm saying is that the whole "RAW adherence" thing has its benefits and drawbacks for players. Which it might be depends entirely on how creative your players and GM really are. I'd argue the more creative a play style a group has, the less RAW adherence will benefit them.

I'm in complete agreement with you. I find 5e to be much more free and allow for a lot more creativity. However, imagine a DM running 5e who played by strict RAW - since souch is left for a ruling by a GM, you'd be extremely limited in what you could do. At least with PF, you have a rule to back you up.

Here's a recent example from someone I know:

Quote:
I quit my first 5E group because the DM was a jerk. In one session he spent 10 minutes arguing with a player on her ability to fix the mast of the ship we were on. She had to go into exacting detail of what to do. He finally relented, but it was still a craw with him the following week. He said, I quote, "I'm a DM who believes players should never get what they want."

In 5e, there are no specific rules which would allow that. Now, one could easily argue that the sailor background, or appropriate skill or tool proficiencies would be able to handle it without having to go into specifics. But that DM wouldn't let the player do it.

At least in PF, you can have specific descriptions of skills tone able to accomplish the task. And you also typically know what the DC will be ahead of time.

Another example was back when I played PF regularly. A DM gave out a lot of coins, believing the player's would never be able to carry it all back. One player did some quick math to show that the weight of the coin was under the weight allowance of his horse. The "old school" DM was so mad about that, that he declared he wanted to kill the horse just out of principal. He ended up relenting, because the rules clearly showed how much a coin weighs, how much a horse can carry, and simple arithmetic solved the rest. Those rules don't really exist in 5e.

5e is great. It is by far my favorite edition. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its own weaknesses, or that other games do some things better.


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The Sword wrote:
"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

After 4th edition i swore id never give that company another dime, to date i havent.


If you want to give out worthless coins, bury the dungeons in silver and copper pieces. No sensible adventurers will waste much time dragging all of them back.


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A DM Douche in PF is as bad as a DM Douche 5e. If they're trying to screw with you it will happen. There is still a whole lot of discretion and judgement built into Pathfinder. After all what is the DC/Cost to fix a compenent piece of a greater whole?

There is a definite lack of examples for DC setting in 5e. Even in the modules. Even finding things like breaking down a door or picking a lock isn't obvious.

I think players can still craft items in 5e. No feats are required but the player has to find a formula or research one and gather ingredients just like in AD&D.

Just out of interest do people use 10 coins per lb or 100 coins per lb for coinage weight?


Ryan Freire wrote:
The Sword wrote:
"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
After 4th edition i swore id never give that company another dime, to date i havent.

You should, there are a lot of new designers doing some really interesting stuff. Curse of Strahd is a great adventure full of great locations and interesting NPCs. Out of the Abyss is shaping up to be a lot of fun too. Give them a look even if you don't bother with 5e.


As I recall the 3rd Edition books stated that it was 50 coins to the pound, which was no doubt based on Gygax's ancient statement that three coins weighed about an ounce.


Arakhor wrote:
As I recall the 3rd Edition books stated that it was 50 coins to the pound, which was no doubt based on Gygax's ancient statement that three coins weighed about an ounce.

I have no source but it's 50 to the pound in both my campaign and my cousins. Mine is 5e. My cousin's is about half homebrew and half 3.PF (if that matters).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Or easy math.


5e PHB pg143 wrote:

COINAGE...

A standard coin weighs about a third of an ounce, so fifty coins weigh a pound.

It's in the PHB.


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bookrat wrote:
Sub-Creator wrote:
I guess all I'm saying is that the whole "RAW adherence" thing has its benefits and drawbacks for players. Which it might be depends entirely on how creative your players and GM really are. I'd argue the more creative a play style a group has, the less RAW adherence will benefit them.

I'm in complete agreement with you. I find 5e to be much more free and allow for a lot more creativity. However, imagine a DM running 5e who played by strict RAW - since souch is left for a ruling by a GM, you'd be extremely limited in what you could do. At least with PF, you have a rule to back you up.

Here's a recent example from someone I know:

Quote:
I quit my first 5E group because the DM was a jerk. In one session he spent 10 minutes arguing with a player on her ability to fix the mast of the ship we were on. She had to go into exacting detail of what to do. He finally relented, but it was still a craw with him the following week. He said, I quote, "I'm a DM who believes players should never get what they want.

A DM who's only in it for his or her own edification at the expense of the players can't be reasoned with regardless of the edition or the rules. Said individual will seek to screw with the players regardless of rules adherence. Sure, this rule enables you to do such-and-such a thing, but then this kind of DM will arbitrarily punish you for having the ability to do something he or she didn't want you to do anyhow.

There is no "rules protection" against that in any edition I've ever played in.


As a rule, I always try to say yes to my players. It may be "yes and..." or "yes but..." but it will be a yes as often as possible.

Nothing is game breaking about it if I then also give the villains the same. ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

That or "Sure you can try that..."

My group only plays once a month or so, so I've decided to pretty much say yes to stuff. It's not like I can say "No, but maybe we can do that in the next campaign" because the next campaign will be in 2 or 3 years.


Pathfinder has a better animal companion system than 5e. It is nice customizing your pet and seeing it grow like a secondary character. In 5e, you just choose an animal from the monster manual.

Wildshape is also better in Pathfinder. The 5e version is oddly balanced, leading to strange spikes and dips in the power of the druid class at particular levels.

Oh, and summoning is better in Pathfinder. It is nice being able to summon tyrannosauruses and the like at higher levels. In 5e, you just summon larger and larger quantities of weak animals. This is silly and makes a mess of combat.

So Pathfinder is better at everything to do with animals.

I also prefer the negative hitpoint system from Pathfinder to the death save system from 5e. In 5e, it feels like you have a big safe cushion at the bottom of your hit point pool and you can bounce on it safely whenever you want.


So for me 4th edition was a total waste of time and money. WoTC grabbed what they could and then said sorry when it fell flat, mostly I know some people liked it. Pathfinder said lets give you the game you loved playing and stayed true to 3.x system. So the better question is why switch back? If you are saying that 5e is compatible to pathfinder why buy all the books again?


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Lost Ohioian wrote:
So for me 4th edition was a total waste of time and money. WoTC grabbed what they could and then said sorry when it fell flat, mostly I know some people liked it. Pathfinder said lets give you the game you loved playing and stayed true to 3.x system. So the better question is why switch back? If you are saying that 5e is compatible to pathfinder why buy all the books again?

I own nothing D&D 4E but have read through some of it. I played it at an FLGS when it first came out. I had a good time but never played it again for lack of players and DM.

I run a 5E campaign now because simple combat isn't a 1-hour bore. Higher level combat (in 3.PF) was worse until the PCs got the the power level where combat became "rocket tag". Feat trees and some of the other minutia were a load of "meh" for me as well.

For D&D 5E anything crunchy you like about D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder can be modeled with minimal accommodation. Except for the 5E rule books I've ran my campaign off of other TTRPG products and homebrew. It really is an adaptable system.

People complain that in another few years there will be D&D 6E but I don't see how. They've got lots of room to explore with movies, MMORG adaptations, and working with 3PP for things like Adventures in Middle-Earth by Cubicle 7.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

@Animal stuff: Because of bounded accuracy, summoning a pack of wolves still works at higher levels (except against foes with resistance). A lot more than it would in Pathfinder.
In 3.x I've seen threads about how the Animal Companion is stronger than the fighter. I think Pathfinder got better about it, but I remember 3.5's Fleshraker. 5e dialed back the AC too much initially, and I think the latest ranger rework in UA does it better. It's hard to hit that point where you don't break the action economy by giving one character twice as many actions as others.
Wildshape: Yeah, Circle of the Moon causes weird power spikes, especially at lvl2.

@4e: I liked that edition a lot, though my groups tended to be happier with 3.x and nowadays 5e. The tactical combat was very enjoyable, having a variety of options rather than standing still and spamming full attacks. Lotta sliding/pushing/pulling creatures around the place.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've only seen one 5E druid in action, and it was in a one-shot, but it seemed OK. My next PC will probably be a Circle of the Moon druid that focuses on battlefield control spells and wildshaping for combat--obviously not at the same time! Either that, or a drow F-you College of Lore bard that would emphasize debuffing and countering enemy actions.

PF summoning is better than 5th Edition D&D. In our 5E RotRL campaign, the ranger got a Horn of Valhalla, so we got to see the occasional massive summoning shenanigans. I think it was only used 3 or 4 times because it is such a hassle to run 20 summoned creatures. My cleric had Conjure Celestial or whatever, and I only cast it once, maybe. I think I summoned a couatl with butterfly wings (my dwarf worships Desna). I know I statted it out just in case I summoned it, but I might not have had to do so.

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Nothing to stop you from concentrating on a control spell while wildshaped, so long as you cast it beforehand.

I've used Conjure Animals, which I think may be the lowest level summon spell, but the Giant Constrictor offers some excellent battlefield control in its own right.


Conjuring a stampede of Elk is a very solid use of a spell at all levels. They get a big bonus to damage on their first hit. But I like summoning being less of a thing, it has always been an overpowered slog.

3.pf animal companions are hilariously broken. I get that people like it, but animal companions and familiars are some of the strongest abilities in the game for a reason. Seriously, I turned my camel with human intelligence into a dragon - it goes beyond being nearly as capable as a fighter. 5e went too far the other way, admitted it, and is now re-balancing animal companions with a very solid revised ranger UA with intention to publish it eventually.

As far as wildshape/polymorph goes, I like becoming the listed creature and since the biggest benefit is the HP benefit it makes Druids a tank-y extra body with a lot of utility. The only thing I question is regaining uses on a short rest.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?


ryric wrote:
Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?

You mean, besides multiclassing with Ranger?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Tectorman wrote:
ryric wrote:
Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?
You mean, besides multiclassing with Ranger?

Well, yeah, I know that a ranger can get one.


For now druids need to make due with daily castings of Animal Friendship until they get high enough level to cast Awaken. It would be nice to see a Circle of the Beast at some point.

Grand Lodge

The Sword wrote:

In the words of Arthur King of the Britains

People talk about gold and 5th ed a lot. Having played AD&D before I never saw ththe lack of magic mart a problem. In fact it, I'd largely cut it out of Pathfinder, allowing item purchase in game as part of quest lines. That hasn't changed with 5th ed.

Also to put it another way. What you a person in this world do with huge amounts of gold? Enjoy it probably.

I am waiting for Matt Colville's Stronghold Rules. It should give some good ways to spend your gold! ^_^

Grand Lodge

Ryan Freire wrote:
The Sword wrote:
"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
After 4th edition i swore id never give that company another dime, to date i havent.

I thought that too, but I am happy to admit that I was wrong. I am very happy with 5e, and I attribute that to WotC following Paizo's example and listening to the community in developing the system.


I switched to 5e after playing Pathfinder for three years for the same reason many of you choose PF over 5e. Options.

There are just too many of them for my tastes.

One of my players put it this way: "I always hated picking feats. I would spend a long time poring over the options and then just give up in frustration and choose one on whim."

For players who want to get to the game as quickly as possible, 5e is clearly superior. It's much harder to make a completely flawed character concept. For those who want to be highly rewarded for system mastery and who want mechanics that reflect flavor choices, Pathfinder is the way to go.

No way is wrong but they reflect different play styles.

Sovereign Court

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You can just BUY a trained animal. You know, with all that extra gold. Just no mystical links or whatever.


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ryric wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
ryric wrote:
Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?
You mean, besides multiclassing with Ranger?
Well, yeah, I know that a ranger can get one.

They took the druid in a more 2e design, where it's focused on wild shape and spells. Back in 2e, the druid didn't get an animal companion - that was the realm of the rangers.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I like Pathfinder Cyclops better. That special Flash of Insight ability is fun and neat. I was hoping the 5E Cyclops would have something special like that, but it's just bad at throwing. The 5E Fomorian has a bunch of abilities I was hoping the Cyclops would have.

Now I'm getting into REALLY nitpicky bits of PF being better than 5E...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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bookrat wrote:
ryric wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
ryric wrote:
Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?
You mean, besides multiclassing with Ranger?
Well, yeah, I know that a ranger can get one.
They took the druid in a more 2e design, where it's focused on wild shape and spells. Back in 2e, the druid didn't get an animal companion - that was the realm of the rangers.

Er, no. In 1e and 2e animal companions were the product of a 1st level spell, animal friendship, not a class feature. In both editions that spell was available to both rangers and druids, but rangers didn't get it until 8th level.

Familiars were also a product of a spell back in the day.

Some people played druids who didn't use animal friendship, but that was basically intentionally nerfing your own character.


ryric wrote:
bookrat wrote:
ryric wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
ryric wrote:
Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?
You mean, besides multiclassing with Ranger?
Well, yeah, I know that a ranger can get one.
They took the druid in a more 2e design, where it's focused on wild shape and spells. Back in 2e, the druid didn't get an animal companion - that was the realm of the rangers.

Er, no. In 1e and 2e animal companions were the product of a 1st level spell, animal friendship, not a class feature. In both editions that spell was available to both rangers and druids, but rangers didn't get it until 8th level.

Familiars were also a product of a spell back in the day.

Some people played druids who didn't use animal friendship, but that was basically intentionally nerfing your own character.

I think he was referring to the ranger's followers, which was a class feature of the fighter overall class (fighter, paladin, ranger), but the ranger's followers included animals and fey creatures (centaurs, etc).

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Adjule wrote:
ryric wrote:
bookrat wrote:
ryric wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
ryric wrote:
Is it possible to play a druid with an AC yet in 5e?
You mean, besides multiclassing with Ranger?
Well, yeah, I know that a ranger can get one.
They took the druid in a more 2e design, where it's focused on wild shape and spells. Back in 2e, the druid didn't get an animal companion - that was the realm of the rangers.

Er, no. In 1e and 2e animal companions were the product of a 1st level spell, animal friendship, not a class feature. In both editions that spell was available to both rangers and druids, but rangers didn't get it until 8th level.

Familiars were also a product of a spell back in the day.

Some people played druids who didn't use animal friendship, but that was basically intentionally nerfing your own character.

I think he was referring to the ranger's followers, which was a class feature of the fighter overall class (fighter, paladin, ranger), but the ranger's followers included animals and fey creatures (centaurs, etc).

Hmm, that could be. Good catch. Druids could still have an animal at level 1 though.


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Adjule wrote:
I think he was referring to the ranger's followers, which was a class feature of the fighter overall class (fighter, paladin, ranger), but the ranger's followers included animals and fey creatures (centaurs, etc).

That's exactly it. Rangers had it embedded in their class features. Druids did not.

Heck, using the ranger handbook, you could even get an entire herd as a follower. The ranger handbook was also where the extended rules for training animal followers were published.


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ryric wrote:

Er, no. In 1e and 2e animal companions were the product of a 1st level spell, animal friendship, not a class feature. In both editions that spell was available to both rangers and druids, but rangers didn't get it until 8th level.

Familiars were also a product of a spell back in the day.

Some people played druids who didn't use animal friendship, but that was basically intentionally nerfing your own character.

So this is a fair point. I followed up to see the rules (at least for 2e, because I don't have the 1e books anymore).

In 2e, a druid could indeed cast animal friendship. However, that alone wasn't enough to give you a companion to fight at your side. It requires several checks and three months of training, with some more checks. And even then, only if you choose to train it specifically in combat. You're only allowed to train it in so many tasks.

A 1st level druid may be able start the game with one with DM approval, but beyond first level, it takes some time investment. I've been in games where the three month requirement for training could pass by with a few dice rolls, and I've been in games where three months game time was equivalent to a half year or more of real time. It's a gamble depending on the game. I would call this "DM dependent."

As for 5e, well, that spell exists in 5e, too. But like a lot of the spells in 5e, it was nerfed a bit. It's no longer permanent (now 24 hours, so it's a daily cast). And there are no stipulations that you can train it or even use it in combat. It just won't attack you and you get advantage on social skills. But even with that, I haven't played with a GM yet that didn't let the animal help out in combat - either directly fighting or at least using the help action (and this is for Adventurers League, so I have a different gm every time). I would call this "DM dependent."

Essentially, the claim that 2e druids had an animal companion via the animal friendship spell also remains true for 5e - they can just cast the animal friendship spell every day. And then consult the DM on how to train it and whether it can be used in combat. What they don't have is a 3e version of the animal companion. In 2e, that was the realm of rangers (at least as far as class features go), and this is true again in 5e - rangers get the animal companion.

Amusing Thought:
This analysis made me realise that 3e effectively took away the animal companion from the ranger and tacked it on to a full caster who could wild shape, making an already powerful class even stronger, and a decent class weaker.


Pathfinder does Mass Combat better than 5e.

Holy s##% it does it better.

Friday's session was a sort of siege of goblins (and hobgoblins and bugbears and a pair of ogres). There were a lot of them.

Whole session spent fighting them. 6 hours largely spent on this one combat. There's only so much witty banter you can toss before you fall into a rhythm of "Finish my turn as quickly as possible so we can finish this"

Pathfinder it might have taken 1-2, maybe less. Even discounting the actual troop combat rules in UCampaign (which I practically pleaded with the GM to tell me he'd made an approximation of) I feel like a similar level 5 party of Rogue (or equivalent sneaky class that doesn't suck in PF), Fighter, Bard, and Druid would have either made shorter work of this goblin horde or at least have been allowed the sweet release of TPK so it would all be over.

As-is we basically demolished the goblins, the only person who even got scratched was the Fighter (and one of the random NPC guards died) due to a combo of the Bard's Stinking Cloud at the gate, the Druid's Moonbeam, the Fighter's ability to actually make multiple attacks, and my Rogue one-shotting most cannon fodder enemies with a "jack in the box" technique involving a high tower, cover, stealth, and a bow.

But it took so. Damn. Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. I nearly cried every time I rolled much less than max damage because it meant a hobgoblin would now need two turns to kill instead of just 1.

I feel like the encounter would have been way faster if our Warlock hadn't dropped out after the first session, but the world may never know.

I KNOW the encounter would have been faster if Stinking Cloud worked the way it did in PF (basically just taking everybody that walked into the cloud and failed their save out of the fight for the duration instead of giving them new saves every round).


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Would it have been an appropriate challenge in PF? (That's a genuine query, not some kind of objection).

If nobody is at any risk and you're just wading through monsters for six hours it sounds like a poorly crafted encounter to me.


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5e Mass Combat rules were published in an early UA, though I suppose that's neither here nor there to you at this late date.

I must agree with Steve about the encounter crafting.

Sovereign Court

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Also, if the goblins weren't able to hit, there was a variant in the DMG that allows for creatures to be lumped into "mobs" with a better to hit, to both cut down on math, and to make the fight deadlier. If the monsters could only hit with a 20, then you assume that they are grouped together into "mobs" of 20 and that one of them just hits (which is, I imagine, statistically sound). No criticals, but the hits come more reliably, I imagine.

So basically you have a medium sized swarm of monsters that hits more reliably. I'd even allow for excess damage to apply to the mob as a whole, though that is not RAW.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Would it have been an appropriate challenge in PF? (That's a genuine query, not some kind of objection).

If nobody is at any risk and you're just wading through monsters for six hours it sounds like a poorly crafted encounter to me.

It might have been, but probably not. NPC help was pretty scarce, but the main thing was we were generally able to keep it to where the goblins couldn't ACT, not so much that they couldn't hit us with attack rolls. We were behind a barred gate with a Stinking Cloud on top of it and a Moonbeam roaming the field, which could have been reasonably mimicked by a Stinking Cloud and a Flaming Sphere or some such.

As a Rogue I would have been doing much less damage since sniping appears to actually work in this one (shoot-hide-repeat).

By the time they actually managed to breach the gate (a few Wargs hopping over it doesn't count) we'd whittled them down quite a bit. The GM was merciful and established that once we'd slaughtered the leader and all the bugbears, the remaining goblins and hobbos would flee with a successful intimidate check (I slowly floated their leader's severed head out of the Stinking Cloud with Mage Hand, backed by the Bard's intimidate and the Fighter charging out and screaming at them). That last bit was the most fun part.

But in PF I think it would have gone a lot faster, one way or another. The Fighter could have been consistently one-shotting them with Power Attack and such if nothing else.

It was not a great encounter design though, no. I suggested multiple times he just combine them into Troops (or the 5e equivalent is Mobs apparently?), pool their health and give them a mass attack of some kind, but I don't think I was heard (my mic kept shutting off, which added to my frustration this session).

As with any game the most fun parts were before and after the combat, but n this case it was the whole session on one, fairly static encounter. We had another long encounter last session but that was also interspersed with exploring a cave and was actually dangerous (we had to flee at one point and get to a more defensible position).


That is classic bad DMing, they didn't even use the tools available in the system including the encounter design guidelines. I'm guessing the DM also didn't use "Cleaving through Creatures" or "Morale" in the DMG either.

Because I would say 5e has more and better tools for mass combat abstraction than PF, but if the DM doesn't use them... well you can lead a horse to water and such.


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I'm certainly finding it difficult to adapt my encounter design to 5E. Both face to face and PBP games I've run have had their share of woeful encounter design. It seems quite different from previous editions, to me, and I can't yet identify exactly how it's different.

In my opinion, the DMG encounter guidelines are the worst element on 5E. Following those (which I did for my first campaign) yielded consistent walk overs for the party, even for supposedly "deadly" challenges. I think it's an area where the desire for simplicity has failed to diver a good subsystem, personally.


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Sundakan, you might want to mention the cleave optional rules to your DM if you're going to face lots of low level moods as a matter of course. I ran a mini adventure based around heroes wading through armies and the cleave rules sped things up, plus meant the PCs didn't feel they'd "wasted" criticals and other such high damage events.


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I would argue the MM is much worse than the DMG, I have had to tweak stat blocks quite a bit. I could choose a stat block at random and it doesn't follow the DMG. It really points to how rushed the final tweaks were on the books. I use the UA for skirmishes, and always think about what the day will look like between long rests. I also have played with my group long enough to know their tactics, which is always the most important component to encounter design. Outside 4e, I can't think of a D&D edition with good encounter building rules.

Some key tips for 5e not listed well:


  • Misc MM NPCs need racial bonuses or other MM entries applied to them to work right.
  • Feats bork the encounter math entirely. Give NPCs 1 feat for every 4 CR.
  • Resistances are a huge part of the CR calculation. Consider doubling HP of a creature of its resistance is easily bypassed for important encounters - alternatively increase AC, DCs, and attack bonuses by 1 as well as giving them the Brute creature ability.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is bork good or bad?

5th Edition monster stats are so simple, that they're really easy to tweak. And I like how 5E emphasizes customization. I know I felt a little reluctant to make adjustments to PF monsters because then they wouldn't be "official," even though I only GM/DM homebrew stuff. Mostly because of rules lawyers and the fact that PF rewards system mastery so much, it's almost expected for players to use metagame knowledge to overcome challenges, so if I messed with them too much, it felt like I was cheating.


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hiiamtom wrote:

I would argue the MM is much worse than the DMG, I have had to tweak stat blocks quite a bit. I could choose a stat block at random and it doesn't follow the DMG. It really points to how rushed the final tweaks were on the books. I use the UA for skirmishes, and always think about what the day will look like between long rests. I also have played with my group long enough to know their tactics, which is always the most important component to encounter design. Outside 4e, I can't think of a D&D edition with good encounter building rules.

Some key tips for 5e not listed well:


  • Misc MM NPCs need racial bonuses or other MM entries applied to them to work right.
  • Feats bork the encounter math entirely. Give NPCs 1 feat for every 4 CR.
  • Resistances are a huge part of the CR calculation. Consider doubling HP of a creature of its resistance is easily bypassed for important encounters - alternatively increase AC, DCs, and attack bonuses by 1 as well as giving them the Brute creature ability.

I take your point. I guess I think of the MM stats as kind of "how things are" and the DMG guidelines to be "how to use that information". As such, I expect the DMG encounter guidelines for a deadly encounter to work with the stats for monsters and the experience point values they've been assigned.

I can see the converse argument just as well. My main beef then is that they don't work well together.


I'll absolutely agree with that, but that's a problem in every edition of D&D - especially at launch. Volo's monsters are much more dangerous or have more tools (from what I have used, which has been gnolls).


More of a "break even" point than anything but holy s~+* is combat as a Rogue boring. I can deal stellar damage but everybody else in the party can do other things. The Fighter can trip or make people afraid, the Bard can cast spells, the Druid can cast spells and gets funky abilities like Swallow Whole, but me? I run up to people, shank them, and run back.

Maybe when I get 2nd level spells I'll have occasionally something more to do in combat (since Sleep is already useless by now, at 5th).

The Rogue seems to be the Fighter of 5e as far as combat goes. Good damage. Mind numbingly boring.

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