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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    BardGirl

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    There's also the issue that, while you can always add more options, DMs have to manage all of this for multiple monsters. For me at least, managing 6-8 monsters for a normal encounter (1.5-2x PCs) leaves me short of mental resources to actually use the spell-casters (for example) effectively and still have quick combat.

    If every monster had a bunch of conditional abilities like in 4e, I'm afraid my brain would rebel and I'd end up not using them.
    Yeah, widgets and dials are seasoning to my monsters, not my bread & meat. For that I have setting and encounter context. More fiddling than necessary for my play.

    Meeting aliens as smart as humans -- all demihumans and humanoids, and many, many monsters -- shouldn't be a humdrum experience. I don't need bells and whistles to fidget to show that. I need good description and out-of-the-box thinking.

    I'm afraid I won't be able to positively contribute to this "clash between editions" topic because I find the premise of this argument flawed and uninteresting. Best of luck everybody! Hope you find your (wheels of) fun!
    Last edited by opaopajr; 2017-12-31 at 09:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Because spells aren't inherently fun or interesting.
    Got proof?

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Removing spellcasting abilities from monsters is a sign that 5e designers realized that, a) either the monster doesn't get to use them anyway, as it has only a limited number of actions and combat doesn't last that long, so there's no point in having ton of abilities and b) the spells are either weaker than its iconic powers, so they won't get used, or the spells are more effective, which may lead to 3.5e problem of say, dragons feeling and behaving less like dragons should (i.e. flying, fire-breathing physical threat) and more like just another spellcaster who's, by coincidence, shaped like a dragon. Everyone and their grandmother using standardised spells is also boring.

    Monsters like chimera, manticore and similar are actually better in 5e than in 3e, though not thanks to being designed differently (they, on basic level, *are* bags of HP with gimmick in both editions) but due to the core mechanics of game being better. Being able to split attacks and move and simpler and better grapple and shove rules make a difference. In 3.5e, hit and run tactics were nearly impossible without investing in 3+ feat long chains, it wasn't possible for a flying monster to fly in, grab a victim and fly away in a single turn (and the grapple rules themselves were a nightmare) and while there were more options "on paper" (grapple, bull rush, trip, disarm, sunder, feint, overrun, propably some others I can't remember), trying to use any of them was a stupid idea at best unless you were specialised in that maneuver through the use of aforementioned feat chains.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Oh, come on, it's not just that. 5e gives you less stuff to do RAW with your monsters and that's objective fact. Any DM can make any monster interesting. It doesn't mean the system can't help them.
    "Doing more stuff" doesn't mean "more interesting".

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Look at the 3e Ice Devil and the 5e Ice Devil statblocks. The 3e version has at will persistent image, greater teleport, wall of ice, Cone of Cold and Ice Storm. That's on top of being able to summon other devils, Slow effects of attacks, a fear aura and regeneration that can be bypassed by good aligned weapons.

    The 5e Ice Devil has uh..claws that do normal damage and a tail that poisons you. Oh and Devil's Sight! Woo! Are you scared now?
    I don't see how that make the 5e version less interesting. The 3e version needed all those stuff to be a threat, because of the power level of the PCs... well, of the casters. The 5e Ice Devil doesn't have that issue.

    It's like saying "Superman is more interesting than the Hulk, because Superman has more powers."

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Sure, the DM can make any combat cool. But acting like 5e monsters are just as interesting as previous edition monsters mechanically is objectively wrong and I can't believe how obtuse so many of you are being to the OP's point.
    HOW are they more interesting? Having a bunch of abilities doesn't make a monster inherently more interesting.


    Quote Originally Posted by ross View Post
    Got proof?
    Take a goblin. Remove their shortbow, and give them the capacity to use Firebolt.

    Does that make the goblin more interesting?
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-12-31 at 10:21 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    "Doing more stuff" doesn't mean "more interesting".
    On a mechanical level, it really does.

    Otherwise you might as well just be palette-swapping everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Oh, come on, it's not just that. 5e gives you less stuff to do RAW with your monsters and that's objective fact. Any DM can make any monster interesting. It doesn't mean the system can't help them.
    ...
    Sure, the DM can make any combat cool. But acting like 5e monsters are just as interesting as previous edition monsters mechanically is objectively wrong and I can't believe how obtuse so many of you are being to the OP's point.
    You're equating stuff to do with interesting here, and that's not objective. There's a point past which this stuff to do is distracting clutter. The obvious case here is simply scaling up - trying to run D&D combat as written for a battlefield with thousands of entities is a disaster, and mass combat rules inevitably involve giving you less stuff to do RAW and making it more interesting.

    The problem here is that the amount of stuff to do is a bit more complicated than what's on monster statblocks. The use of spacial factors at all, where you track position adds a fair amount of stuff to do with the monsters in terms of meaningfully distinct options. The use of interesting terrain adds more. The use of larger groups adds more. All of these interact with each other.

    Of course, the monster statblock is an obvious case where one can add more stuff to do. Going back to those interactions suggests that the way you design each of them should be based in the others. As an example of these systems, take Fire Emblem (especially early FE) and XCom (the newer ones). Both are grid based combat systems with some use of height, and they're pretty similar with the exception of two major factors. FE gradually builds up to using armies of 20+ people involved in one large fight against 100+ enemies. Fighting 60 enemies with a dozen units is common in the game. XCom runs smaller, with 4-6 units involved in smaller individual fights that might reach 20 opponents if you're really unlucky or playing poorly. The other big difference is that the individual troops in FE are simple statblocks with only a few stats. The individual troops in Xcom are more complicated, as are the individual enemies. This same pattern can be extended to any number of microtactics games where the grid stays, the terrain stays, and there's exactly one player troop; none of these are ubiquitous enough to necessarily have their names recognized. ToME is probably the best example there.

    The design principles here show up a lot in RPGs. There's enough games with a comparable level of general mechanics and comparable focus on combat to get a similar overall intended weight. My examples are hardly comprehensive, but if we assume the existence of a precise positioning system (grid, measuring tape and mat, whatever) and use them as examples we get three variables - combatant complexity, terrain complexity, and combat size. There's a balance to be struck between them, and we consistently see different RPGs strike different balances.

    In the context of using an existing RPG one of these values is generally a lot more locked than the others. Combatant complexity is what it is, and while there are examples of deliberately varying it (goblins and kobolds, meant to be fought in large groups are generally much simpler than something like a balor) there are trends across systems. The other two can then be varied to fit.

    Coming back to 5e specifically, compared to 3e it has simpler monsters. The system thus helps you in a set of cases with more complex terrain and more combatants in the fight than with 3e. Bringing in 4e we see explicit design in combatant complexity for group size, with the general concept of minions, typical monsters, solos, etc. This isn't a case where 3e is better.

    This is a case where 3e seems better, because the intuitive use case of just sticking a monster against a party in a flat featureless room is better supported. 5e works better than 3e given larger fights with more combatants. Where the system does come in is how this sort of more detailed analysis is the sort of thing that would make sense in, say a guide for dungeon masters. Yet as in so many other cases, the DMG is pretty useless here.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    5e turns are shorter, but creatures last for more turns.

    So if you have have PCs beating down a big fat HP bag... It'll be boring.

    But this also means that the oni will actually get to use some of those spells. If a bunch of troglodytes ambush your party from the rear, you're suddenly in a heap of trouble. If the dread necromancer has a bunch of zombies and casts stinking cloud over the combat area, your whole party will have to get creative to actually make progress.

    5e has worse monsters, but much better encounters.

    And actually, certain legendary monsters are much more fun now. Legendary actions and lair actions make a monster *scary*. Yes, as buttons go they aren't as impressive as stuff you'd see in 3e, but given the low number of buttons overall, they end up being pretty potent.
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2017-12-31 at 12:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    5e has worse monsters, but much better encounters.
    This I agree with. I mean my main system of choice has been 5e since the playtest and I haven't looked back once.

    I just think there was a middle ground between 3.5 and stripping monsters of all their special abilities, resistances and vulnerabilities. Even the iconic things that make demons demons?

    Like the Ice Devil example above..they couldn't keep one or two iconic things? Innate Cone of Cold? Demon summoning? Nothing? I get keeping it simple, but does it need to be that simple? Claw/tail multiattack? It's a giant scorpion with more HP.

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    5e monsters are a bit on the simplistic side but making them complicated will slow down combat or you will simply forget to use their abilities.

    I'm all for DMs adding little twists of course. He or she will be excited to use the custom ability or tactic and it won't likely be forgotten. Don't forget to give bonus xp for your juiced up baddy.
    Last edited by Vorpalchicken; 2017-12-31 at 01:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoELQ7px9ws

    I found his video to be extraordinarily helpful in making 5e combat more fun.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Sure, the DM can make any combat cool. But acting like 5e monsters are just as interesting as previous edition monsters mechanically is objectively wrong and I can't believe how obtuse so many of you are being to the OP's point.
    I hate to cheerlead, but this is true. The monsters were simplified. the kinds of abilities they have, and the varieties of challenges that they bring to the table have all been reduced - outside of hit points.

    I'm looking at a lot of house-ruling monsters as my table increases in level just to make things more interesting.
    Last edited by Beelzebubba; 2017-12-31 at 02:31 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    This I agree with. I mean my main system of choice has been 5e since the playtest and I haven't looked back once.

    I just think there was a middle ground between 3.5 and stripping monsters of all their special abilities, resistances and vulnerabilities. Even the iconic things that make demons demons?

    Like the Ice Devil example above..they couldn't keep one or two iconic things? Innate Cone of Cold? Demon summoning? Nothing? I get keeping it simple, but does it need to be that simple? Claw/tail multiattack? It's a giant scorpion with more HP.
    You know, demon summoning is pretty good example of bad monster ability, and it demonstrates the difference in design philosophy between 3.5 and 5e. It is somewhat iconic, that's true... but it's use can make battle harder or easier without any imput on the GM's side.

    Take, for example, the succubus. She can try to summon vrock: CR 9 demon compared to her own CR 7. But she's got only 30% chance of success. The difference in design philosophy is that it's not the GM who decides what creatures take part in the encounter, but a random roll of the dice. Succeed, and the fight just got much harder (especially if you use the succubus as a boss for lower-level party). There's no reward for facing the harder battle either, because summoned monsters disappear with all their stuff when "killed", and don't give any XP. Fail, and the battle got easier, because the demon wasted her action doing nothing (actually, it's worse than wasting an action, because it's resolved like Summon Monster spell, and those take whole round to cast, so no movement, just standing there for a whole round, looking stupid when nothing answers at the beginning of the next turn). But while I decide if the succubus tries to do the summoning, random roll of the dice decides which scenario will come to pass.

    In 5e, it's the GM who designs the encounter. If I decide the planned battle with a succubus requires some more creatures on the enemy side, I'll choose what other demons fiends (succubi are no longer demons in 5e) I want included up front, depending on how hard do I want to make the encounter for my group, and their exact types. One succubus may have bearded devil bodyguard and few imps who helped her in her nefarious deeds, another may have vrock who owes he some favor. I don't have to include the fiends at the beginning of a fight: the succubus may call for help, and reinforcements arrive in a puff of sulphurous smoke, just like with the summoning ability... but she doesn't need to have that ability in her stat block to do that. The encounter is balanced for my party and to serve my needs, but the players don't know that, the result in the battle is the same.

    There's also the "problem" with the lack of bounded accuracy in 3.5: CR 20 balor may summon 4d10 dretches. For party capable of facing a balor in 3.5, 4d10 dretches are, at best, a roadblock who's only contribution to the fight is that the space they occupy, or a great way to slow down the combat when the GM has to deal with up to 40 extra creatures (and let's not go into the possibility of PC's having a horde of summoned monsters of their own). Or he can summon another balor, which can actually contribute in a fight... but why does the balor need a specific ability to do so? Wouldn't it be better if the GM designed the encounter with 2 balors in the first place (especially considering that balor has no chance to fail the summoning)?

    So while the ability may look like it gives more options on paper, in practice, there's not much of a reason to actually include it.

    That said, I agree with you that some creatures could be given more interesting abilities. The ice devil is a good example (though my choice would be Wall of Ice, as that could lead to more interesting encounters, and the devil would still use its melee attacks in combat against the suddenly divided enemies, Cone of Cold is boring).

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    The 5e Ice Devil has uh..claws that do normal damage and a tail that poisons you. Oh and Devil's Sight! Woo! Are you scared now?
    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post

    Like the Ice Devil example above..they couldn't keep one or two iconic things? Innate Cone of Cold? Demon summoning? Nothing? I get keeping it simple, but does it need to be that simple? Claw/tail multiattack? It's a giant scorpion with more HP.
    The capacity to summon Devils is in the MM as an option, and the Ice Devil has a Wall of Ice power, which is actually pretty neat and does give additional tactical options. Which I'm told is what makes monsters "not boring".

    They also don't have a poison tail, they have a tail that causes cold damages as well as bludgeoning ones. Their other attacks also have this cold effect.

    And that's not taking into account their optional magical spear, which DOES have a slowing effect.

    But I suppose it's in reality just a giant scorpion with more HPs and I'm imagining things, because how could 5e Devils possible be enjoyable?

    More seriously, mephnick, I sincerely hope you didn't read the MM entry/didn't remember it and weren't trying to mislead people/ignore the facts to make your opinion seems more legitimate.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-12-31 at 03:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    1. Minions are already in 5e with bounded accuracy. Mooks can hurt you at basically any level.

    2. 3e/PF monsters have tons of SLAs, spells, and abilities. 5e monsters can be lacking....

    3. ...but that depends on how the DM writes the skill rules and how monsters can use skills. 5e monsters can technically do anything because skill checks can do anything at any DC. Or they can do nothing.

    5e doesn't help the DM all that much. It only tries to get out of the way because it treats the rules as a barrier to immersion not a means for immersion.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    You know, demon summoning is pretty good example of bad monster ability, and it demonstrates the difference in design philosophy between 3.5 and 5e. It is somewhat iconic, that's true... but it's use can make battle harder or easier without any imput on the GM's side.

    Take, for example, the succubus. She can try to summon vrock: CR 9 demon compared to her own CR 7. But she's got only 30% chance of success. The difference in design philosophy is that it's not the GM who decides what creatures take part in the encounter, but a random roll of the dice. Succeed, and the fight just got much harder (especially if you use the succubus as a boss for lower-level party). There's no reward for facing the harder battle either, because summoned monsters disappear with all their stuff when "killed", and don't give any XP. Fail, and the battle got easier.......

    In 5e, it's the GM who designs the encounter.
    Oh it's definitely a play style difference, likely a generational difference. I have no problems with random rolls deciding outcomes or making encounters unbeatable. My own 5e encounter tables contain unwinnable encounters. But yeah, I can see it not being for everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post

    More seriously, mephnick, I sincerely hope you didn't read the MM entry/didn't remember it and weren't trying to mislead people/ignore the facts to make your opinion seems more legitimate.
    Ok, so I realize the second time I opened the book I was actually reading the Bone Devil statblock..that's embarrassing. But I stand by my point!

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Just to clear things up for people who may not have heard of the minion "rules"... generally you include minions when you want the players to feel like they've advanced so far that they can take down these previously challenging foes in one hit. Besides having 1 hp, minions also have a form of evasion, so that on a successful save against something that would normally do half damage, they instead take no damage. Finally you either make them immune to the sleep spell or for the purposes of the spell treat them as having standard amounts of hp.
    The Colville video that MadBear linked lays this out and I highly recommend watching it as well.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    2. 3e/PF monsters have tons of SLAs, spells, and abilities.
    SLAs, spells, and abilities don't mean interesting fights, especially if they don't get used. Most of them had SLAs and spells because that was the only way to counter spell-casters. It's a different philosophy entirely. In the absence of SoD/SoL effects (a very good thing to have gotten rid of, IMO), you don't need the dozens of counters and counter-counters.

    I will admit that one thing that 4e did better with their monster manuals was the descriptions of common tactics/common encounter groups. This lets people like me, who aren't the most tactically oriented, use the monster stat-blocks to better effect.

    I greatly prefer the simplified stat-blocks themselves. I can generally use the stat block for numbers only and do the rest of the top of my head. I don't have to look for multiple inter-locking abilities, especially between different stat blocks. It frees up tons of mental overhead on the DM's part.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    Just to clear things up for people who may not have heard of the minion "rules"... generally you include minions when you want the players to feel like they've advanced so far that they can take down these previously challenging foes in one hit.
    Wouldn't a better way of doing that be to actually present the players with a group of enemies that was previously challenging but that they can now take down easily? I don't like Minions because it's a piece of "conservation of Ninjitsu" gameism that actually encourages players to think in terms of encounter design rather then playing their character intelligently.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Ok, so I realize the second time I opened the book I was actually reading the Bone Devil statblock..that's embarrassing. But I stand by my point!
    In 3.5, the Bone Devil had a poison tail, natural attacks (in multiattack if possible), a Fear aura, teleportation, fly as a spell, dimensional anchor, invisibility, major image and, for some reason, wall of ice. All powers they needed to be a threat to a 3.5 party.

    In 5e, the Bone Devil has a poison tail, natural attacks (in multiattack if possible), fly thanks to their wings, and access to their magical polearms. Adding invisibilty and major image would make them much stronger, as would teleportation, I'm not sure any devil has dimensional anchor, and Wall of Ice would just be "why give them the Ice Devil" power?

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    In 3.5, the Bone Devil had a poison tail, natural attacks (in multiattack if possible), a Fear aura, teleportation, fly as a spell, dimensional anchor, invisibility, major image and, for some reason, wall of ice. All powers they needed to be a threat to a 3.5 party.

    In 5e, the Bone Devil has a poison tail, natural attacks (in multiattack if possible), fly thanks to their wings, and access to their magical polearms. Adding invisibilty and major image would make them much stronger, as would teleportation, I'm not sure any devil has dimensional anchor, and Wall of Ice would just be "why give them the Ice Devil" power?
    Is dimensional anchor even a thing in 5e? I've never seen it if it is. Forbiddance prohibits teleport/planar travel into an area, but doesn't seem to prohibit exit. And it takes 10 minutes and a 1000 gp component to cast.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    So, there is a lot to tackle here.

    First off, my standard counter to prove 5e has some interesting monsters is goblins. The addition of the bonus action to disengage or hide naturally makes goblins a skirmishing force. Even in a white room it opens up their possibilities because it gives them the ability to bypass the front line or focus attacks on an individual frontliner and then scurry away and spread out so that the enemy is less likely to hit all of them. It's very basic, but it gives a lot of possible depth to the encounter.

    To follow this up, someone mentioned this before but it bears repeating, the ability to move, attack, then move again is a huge boon to increasing combat dynamism. I loved the suggestion of fly-by grapples and I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner. Add into this that many things are abilities people can just do. Grappling, shoving, dual-weilding, dodging, dashing, disengaging, the help action, all of it is completely possible for all creatures.

    Then there are some fun optional rules to employ. Sure, give em spells and such, but what about the rule for climbing onto a creature? Get some tiny enemies literally swarming over a player, clambering up their back and onto their arms.

    And that is all just single creature stuff. Terrain is always a wildcard, as is just pairing up different monsters. Goblin snipers with a handful of hobgoblin warriors is an insane encounter. Orc warchiefs change how orcs fight, same with gnolls and pack lords. There is a lot of potential. Whether or not 3.5 had more potential is irrevelant to the fact that 5e does have plenty of potential for interesting combat and tactical choices.

    One thing that stood out to me during this discussion though was ice devils and the thought of giving them at-will cone of cold.

    Don't do this without some serious contemplation. Sure, they had it in 3.5, but that cone did an average of
    45 damage and ice devils in 3.5 only resisted 10 points of cold damage. Also, without concentration and with ability score improvements being seperate from feats, and the increased number of powerful magic gear a player could equip, a group fighting a trio of ice devils would fare far better under that assault than the devils (from what i understand of 3.5 characters their defenses and hp numbers tend to be slightly higher than 5e characters)

    Now in 5e, ice devils are immune to cold damage. Cone of cold is slightly weaker (average is 36 at base level) but now it is a far more devastating tactic, because the devils face no risk. And the ability to cast then move which you couldn't do in 3.5 makes it a potentially deadly kiting manuever.

    Also, this is anecdotal, but the most deadly fights I've run in 5e have involved save for half spells. You'd be looking at (in a single round) three ice devils laying out 24d8 damage, an average of 108 damage. That is immense and its guarenteed at least 54, 27 if people have resistance, but getting the entire party cold resistance is a lot harder these days. And con saves aren't typically the strongest saves of the group.

    It radically increases the difficulty of the fight. If you're good with that, or expecting that, then go forth, but after experiencing how a party can be wiped by flame skulls, I'm very cautious about throwing around a lot of aoe spells.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    Wouldn't a better way of doing that be to actually present the players with a group of enemies that was previously challenging but that they can now take down easily? I don't like Minions because it's a piece of "conservation of Ninjitsu" gameism that actually encourages players to think in terms of encounter design rather then playing their character intelligently.
    I find the addition of minions to be superior to your suggestion, because it cuts down quite a bit on unnecessary bookkeeping. Why take the time to track exactly how many hp's the minion orc has, when it's just a minion. I've found it also allows players to feel more heroic, because when the fighter hits 3 times, he knocks down 3 enemies, no questions asked. That ranger with horde breaker, who's twf, all of a sudden gets to feel like he's the one who can just wipe tons of bad guys off the map.

    I've never seen players see minions and think in terms of "encounter design" rather then play their characters intelligently. Instead, they play their characters intelligently, and it makes for a more interesting encounter. Because, if all of a sudden, there's 5 gnolls entering the room, every turn, then the party is going to need to dedicate some of their resources to stemming the flow, while the main boss battle is happening. Without minion rules, it gets annoying to track (oh, you did 18 damage to which gnoll again? ok let me mark that. wait, was he the one who Tim hit? etc. etc.)

    Minions aren't the answer to every situation or every battle. But there are many epic battles where throwing in minions makes sense.

    Then again, I don't subscribe to the idea that what the PC's can do must fit and match what the NPC's and monsters can do. I like the idea of an evil necromancer having abilities and resources that no wizard PC could match. I hated that from 3.x where you were encouraged to add PC class levels to NPC's in order to make them work at higher levels.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebubba View Post
    Forget those - AD&D Demons had more at-will spell capabilities that were way, way more varied, powerful, and devious.
    Sure, AD&D is also a great source of ideas!

    Quote Originally Posted by Afrodactyl View Post
    Basically, the monsters in this edition are like the champion fighter.

    It's only boring if the person running it is boring.

    If your monsters are boring your players, I'd suggest you might be a boring DM.
    Could it be that some people prefer the Battlemaster and would like more monsters to be like that? I like the Champion, myself. But I also like mechanically interesting monsters.

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Oh, come on, it's not just that. 5e gives you less stuff to do RAW with your monsters and that's objective fact. Any DM can make any monster interesting. It doesn't mean the system can't help them.

    Look at the 3e Ice Devil and the 5e Ice Devil statblocks. The 3e version has at will persistent image, greater teleport, wall of ice, Cone of Cold and Ice Storm. That's on top of being able to summon other devils, Slow effects of attacks, a fear aura and regeneration that can be bypassed by good aligned weapons.

    The 5e Ice Devil has uh..claws that do normal damage and a tail that poisons you. Oh and Devil's Sight! Woo! Are you scared now?

    Sure, the DM can make any combat cool. But acting like 5e monsters are just as interesting as previous edition monsters mechanically is objectively wrong and I can't believe how obtuse so many of you are being to the OP's point.
    The ice devil's wall of ice was a actually good example of an interesting power that is present in 5e, even if you looked at the wrong entry in MM.

    My question is - are there other good examples of powers that are really absent in 5e?

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    Removing spellcasting abilities from monsters is a sign that 5e designers realized that, a) either the monster doesn't get to use them anyway, as it has only a limited number of actions and combat doesn't last that long, so there's no point in having ton of abilities and b) the spells are either weaker than its iconic powers, so they won't get used, or the spells are more effective, which may lead to 3.5e problem of say, dragons feeling and behaving less like dragons should (i.e. flying, fire-breathing physical threat) and more like just another spellcaster who's, by coincidence, shaped like a dragon. Everyone and their grandmother using standardised spells is also boring.

    Monsters like chimera, manticore and similar are actually better in 5e than in 3e, though not thanks to being designed differently (they, on basic level, *are* bags of HP with gimmick in both editions) but due to the core mechanics of game being better. Being able to split attacks and move and simpler and better grapple and shove rules make a difference. In 3.5e, hit and run tactics were nearly impossible without investing in 3+ feat long chains, it wasn't possible for a flying monster to fly in, grab a victim and fly away in a single turn (and the grapple rules themselves were a nightmare) and while there were more options "on paper" (grapple, bull rush, trip, disarm, sunder, feint, overrun, propably some others I can't remember), trying to use any of them was a stupid idea at best unless you were specialised in that maneuver through the use of aforementioned feat chains.
    This is a very good point - I wish I had more time to elaborate.

    But basically in 4e, IIRC, you could only disarm or trip a foe if you had an specific power, so monsters in 4e NEED their powers... not the case in 5e, as a genral rule.

    I wrote extensively about a similar topic here:

    http://methodsetmadness.blogspot.com...4e-versus.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Waazraath View Post
    No, at the first question. Not unless the DM doesn't do his or her job. Which also makes the "no" on the second part ('prove it') inevitable.

    To be honest, I don't like the way this thread is named. It's a very negative frame of a core DnD 5e combat mechanic. The OP invites edition wars ("this was waaaay beter in X.X!!")

    To make combat interesting, 2 things are needed imo:
    - interesting mechanics
    - interesting narrative.

    If you have a good storyteller as a DM, the narrative alone should be enough to make a combat that is mechanical not complex, interesting.

    But lets focus on the mechanics. "Boring bags of hitpoints" suggest a simple hit, damage, hit damage etc. sequence. But it isn't that simple. On the most basic level, without special abilities, creatures can gang up, surprise, dodge, hit & run, grapple, shove. With only these tools, a DM should be able to keep encounters interesting. Especially because the DM also controles the environment in which the encounter takes place: chasm's, bridges, traps, lava pits, etc. etc.

    Of course, plenty of creatures have special abilities as well, for variation.

    No, not as much as in earlier editions. I loved 3.x, with all the crazy abilities creatures (and players) had. But it had 2 huge drawbacks. First the complexity for the DM, it took way more time to familiarize with the monsters. But more importantly: at higher levels, all those special abilities had there own special counters. This a) was annoying for the casual players who didn't want to invest that much time in learning all that stuff and b) contributed to the overpoweredness of casters, since most counters were spells.

    To summarize: the lack of all those special abilities isn't a bug, it's a feature. Complexity go tuned down. But no, not to the point where it's 'boring', if you use a little bit of creativity. Then again, there are always players who want stuff as complex as possible. Maybe for them, 5e just isn't the game.
    This is NOT intended as edition wars or flame war.

    5e is my favorite edition and I love making monsters for it. I'm looking for interesting mechanics.

    You make a good point about complexity, specially at higher levels. And I agree that "just give spells to monsters" is probably a bad solution to this problem.
    Last edited by Eric Diaz; 2017-12-31 at 05:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by MadBear View Post
    I find the addition of minions to be superior to your suggestion, because it cuts down quite a bit on unnecessary bookkeeping. Why take the time to track exactly how many hp's the minion orc has, when it's just a minion.
    I track how many HP the Orc has, because that's how strong the Orc is. He or she is an entity in the world independent of the fact that they happen to be in a fight with the PCs. It's about presenting a consistent world to my players, they have a good idea of how strong a single Orc is, and from that make a judgement call on how well they can handle twenty Orcs.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadBear View Post
    I've found it also allows players to feel more heroic, because when the fighter hits 3 times, he knocks down 3 enemies, no questions asked. That ranger with horde breaker, who's twf, all of a sudden gets to feel like he's the one who can just wipe tons of bad guys off the map.
    I'd rather make my players feel heroic by having them overcome real challenges and lay waste to formations of actual mooks. Not give them a cheap ego boost from wiping out 100 goblin shaped dummies that actually only present the challenge of a quarter of that in terms of real enemies. It's a cheap trick. The players aren't wiping out waves of Goblins because they're super powerful or are tactically intelligent. They're wiping out waves of Goblins because these are fiat Goblins that exist to get murdered in droves.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadBear View Post
    I've never seen players see minions and think in terms of "encounter design" rather then play their characters intelligently. Instead, they play their characters intelligently, and it makes for a more interesting encounter. Because, if all of a sudden, there's 5 gnolls entering the room, every turn, then the party is going to need to dedicate some of their resources to stemming the flow, while the main boss battle is happening. Without minion rules, it gets annoying to track (oh, you did 18 damage to which gnoll again? ok let me mark that. wait, was he the one who Tim hit? etc. etc.).
    Maybe I could have explained this more clearly. The problem is that if you're using minions and five Gnolls are entering the room every turn your players aren't going "oh crap we need to stop this before it cascades, even Gnolls are a huge threat in great numbers ", your players are going "we should stop the spawner because that's how we beat the boss, the minions are annoying". They're not Gnolls anymore, they're "minions" the game concept. And now your players are thinking in MMO terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadBear View Post
    Minions aren't the answer to every situation or every battle. But there are many epic battles where throwing in minions makes sense.
    No sorry, I just reject that kind of thinking outright. I don't care about "epic" battles, I'm not an author, I'm not a director. I'm a DM, and as a DM and a player, one of the critical rules for me is consistency. And for me that means that every enemy, every NPC, every encounter follows the internal logic of the world. Hobgoblins aren't suddenly made out of tissue because it would be "really epic" for the party to mow down a bunch of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadBear View Post
    Then again, I don't subscribe to the idea that what the PC's can do must fit and match what the NPC's and monsters can do. I like the idea of an evil necromancer having abilities and resources that no wizard PC could match. I hated that from 3.x where you were encouraged to add PC class levels to NPC's in order to make them work at higher levels.
    That's a totally different thing. It's not a stretch on verisimilitude to say that Xandarious the Foul, Necromancer of the Bonepeak has access to Necromantic rituals the players don't and that's why he has a massive undead army amassed in only a few weeks. It is a stretch on verisimilitude to suddenly have an entire group of enemies with known capabilities suddenly be rendered feeble just because the encounter would be cooler with more enemies.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    I track how many HP the Orc has, because that's how strong the Orc is. He or she is an entity in the world independent of the fact that they happen to be in a fight with the PCs. It's about presenting a consistent world to my players, they have a good idea of how strong a single Orc is, and from that make a judgement call on how well they can handle twenty Orcs.



    I'd rather make my players feel heroic by having them overcome real challenges and lay waste to formations of actual mooks. Not give them a cheap ego boost from wiping out 100 goblin shaped dummies that actually only present the challenge of a quarter of that in terms of real enemies. It's a cheap trick. The players aren't wiping out waves of Goblins because they're super powerful or are tactically intelligent. They're wiping out waves of Goblins because these are fiat Goblins that exist to get murdered in droves.



    Maybe I could have explained this more clearly. The problem is that if you're using minions and five Gnolls are entering the room every turn your players aren't going "oh crap we need to stop this before it cascades, even Gnolls are a huge threat in great numbers ", your players are going "we should stop the spawner because that's how we beat the boss, the minions are annoying". They're not Gnolls anymore, they're "minions" the game concept. And now your players are thinking in MMO terms.



    No sorry, I just reject that kind of thinking outright. I don't care about "epic" battles, I'm not an author, I'm not a director. I'm a DM, and as a DM and a player, one of the critical rules for me is consistency. And for me that means that every enemy, every NPC, every encounter follows the internal logic of the world. Hobgoblins aren't suddenly made out of tissue because it would be "really epic" for the party to mow down a bunch of them.



    That's a totally different thing. It's not a stretch on verisimilitude to say that Xandarious the Foul, Necromancer of the Bonepeak has access to Necromantic rituals the players don't and that's why he has a massive undead army amassed in only a few weeks. It is a stretch on verisimilitude to suddenly have an entire group of enemies with known capabilities suddenly be rendered feeble just because the encounter would be cooler with more enemies.

    Basically, we just fundamentally disagree, and the condescending tone of your reply makes it clear that it's not worth my time going in to further detail then that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by MadBear View Post
    Basically, we just fundamentally disagree, and the condescending tone of your reply makes it clear that it's not worth my time going in to further detail then that.
    If you can't defend your stance in the face of even mild criticism, that says much about its merits.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    I agree with War_Lord about minions.

    It's not too bad when they're just Goblins (since most attacks will one-shot them anyway). However, when you have one Ogre with ~300hp and then an equally large Ogre Minion with just 1hp, it starts to break verisimilitude a bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    I agree with War_Lord about minions.

    It's not too bad when they're just Goblins (since most attacks will one-shot them anyway). However, when you have one Ogre with ~300hp and then an equally large Ogre Minion with just 1hp, it starts to break verisimilitude a bit.
    Yeah, that's my thing, if you want a bunch of goons to get slaughtered, well that's what your Goblin, Manes and Lemures etc are for. Ogres have their own role, and I see no good coming of having my players left guessing if the Ogre in the next room is an Ogre or an Ogre shaped Balloon Golem.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaosmancer View Post
    Snip
    It's not just goblins... all the "basic humanoid" foes are better in 5e, because they actually feel different from each other. In 3e, every humanoid race was basically same... sure, some had different stat bonuses, but that was about it. Orc had better Str, hobgoblin had better Dex, goblin was small... but ultimately, there wasn't much of a difference.

    In 5e? Goblins with their pseudo-cunning action are best suited for hit-and-run tactics, both in melee and at range, though they lack speed to pursue fleeing enemy. Kobolds have double incentive to avoid fighting in daylight (both darkvision and sunlight sensitivity) and they are better for swarming the opposition instead of skirmishing... and they need to, as they are the weakest opponent individually. Hobgoblins want to stick together, and combined arms approach works for them, and they can dish great damage, even though their stats are nothing to write about otherwise. In fact, their increased damage means they can operate in teams where one member uses Help to give another advantage to land that extra damage attack, or holds the opponent down. Orcs are naturally aggressive, they are build to close distance fast, and they are tougher than hobgoblins... and don't need teamwork. It is also hard to impossible to escape from them. Troglodytes should avoid fighting in daylight even more than kobolds, with no pack tactics to counter the sunlight sensitivity disadvantage, but instead of ganging up on one foe, they want to spread out their stench among the whole enemy team. And they are good for initial ambush, though it is unlikely they would be able to re-stealth in combat. Bugbears, as the "peak" humanoids, are tough and hard-hitting opponents, individually or in group, similar to orcs, but unlike orcs, they will want to ambush their victims instead of charging screaming. Gnolls may seem similar to orcs, but they are rewarded for targetting and taking down the weakest opponents.

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    Default Re: Are 5e monsters boring bags of HPs? PROVE IT!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    Just to clear things up for people who may not have heard of the minion "rules"... generally you include minions when you want the players to feel like they've advanced so far that they can take down these previously challenging foes in one hit.
    But they're not taking down their previously challenging foes in one hit. They're taking down severely nerfed foes who would die just as well if slapped by a Commoner.

    Why not make them actually face those foes, rather than balloon animal versions of them?

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