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My Players: Has 5E Been Too Easy?

When thinking about how the Silver Coast game has gone so far, I have been struck with the relative lack of danger your characters seem to have been in. Some of this has been smart play: when confronted with things that seem dangerous, you've mostly avoided it, and you've tricked your way out of some pretty sticky spots. But a lot of it seems to be that the monsters in 5E are just plain less dangerous than their CR equivalents in 3.x/PF (the room full of ghouls you just plowed right through was considered a "deadly" encounter going by the math), and with the super-fast 5E progression you have quickly out-leveled most of the encounters as written.

On the other hand, I can only think of one really nail-biting moment, and that was when sirfox got sucker-punched by the owlbear. Other than that, you've mostly gone through the opposition like a hot knife through soft butter. In the case of the cultists in the most recent session, without them even so much as getting off a shot (although there is a plot-related reason for that particular instance).

So I'm curious, my players: how do you feel about it? Do you want tougher foes? Are you happy with how things have gone so far? Enquiring DMs want to know!

-TG

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
hantamouse
May. 25th, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC)
Yea, the cultists were way too easy, but as I remember, that room full of ghouls we plowed through was incidental to the flameskull which came close to killing us.

We made choices to avoid harder combats, and we walked away from some Lesser-Spellforged treasure, all for our own in-game strategic reasons.

You've offered tougher foes. That's all you can do, and it seems the proper non-railroady way to do it.
the_gneech
May. 26th, 2015 04:27 pm (UTC)
Flameskulls are an interesting study in player psychology: they're totally glass cannons, who get off one nasty punch at the start with a fireball and are fairly weak once that's gone. So from a player perspective, they're scary because you spend the rest of the fight watching your hit points, even though if they don't kill you with the first shot you'll probably take 'em out easily after that.

Laurie described the relative ease of many of your fights as "an accident of the dice," which is certainly a factor. 5E, at least at low level, definitely seems to be "who rolls highest initiative, wins." According to at least one blog I've read recently, mid-level and up becomes all about the reactions, so that'll be interesting to watch come into play as well:

http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2015/05/on-defining-characteristic-of-5th.html

-The Gneech
sirfox
May. 27th, 2015 05:14 am (UTC)
i found backdrops for the cave of toxic fungi.

http://imgur.com/gallery/Dii3H


In my mind we've been not so much running away from some of the tougher fights as queuing them up. we'll be going back to deal with the spellforge things, sooner if we find or forge a work order. Meantime we have a monster protecting our treasure for us. Besides that we've got a castle of baddies we've already mapped out and escaped from, and among other things, a dragon. I'd like to tackle both of those sometime soon.

The last two group encounters we had were over rather quickly, I wouldn't have minded if they'd had some mid-level underling(s) in charge of them to make it more of a challenge, take more than one or two hits, throw heals/buffs/countertanking etc.

as players, we're good at the strategies of "let's kill this room full of [goblins/cultists/fishmen/cultist-fishmen/etc...]" Some unknown quantity of "don't know how that thing works, but we know it's dangerous" like the flameskull changes the feel a lot, and certainly adds a challenge. Not as much of a fan of the kind of challenge that can wipe a party, but that's a positioning and luck of the dice thing.

I see no reason to need to stick to arbitrary encounter levels if they don't apply or serve the story or gaming experience.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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