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I thought I'd open this post so Dungeon Masters can share what steps they took to enhance their players' experience with the playtest material.  This is a post for House Rules that proved useful, material from previous editions you may have introduced, or even intelligent adjucating that allowed your players to think more freely.  (Or any other relevant information).

I'd like to start with the Opportunity Attack issue.  Pretty fast, we discovered we absolutely hated the lack of opportunity attacks, so we tacked on 3.5 or 4e's AoO mechanic.  (One per round, or 1 per each other creature's turn, either worked).  This made a point of frontline/backline tactical mechanics.

We also created an encounter-based spell slot for each of the casters.  They could choose a single first-level spell to prepare into a 'once per encounter' spell slot.  This was for a bit more stretch and relaxation in the 15-minute workday.

I'd love other input from any other DMs who've done similar things for their players.     
I haven't had the time to get the group together to playtest yet, but what I've been working on is to flesh out the adventure.  Made a handrawn map of the valley for the players, fleshed out the cave inhabitants' backstory and motivations, and made a simple random encounter chart.
@Zhandra - taking your idea, our Wizard encounter-slotted Sleep, which made it infinitely more useful despite being limited to 10 hit points.  Worked great!

@OleOneEye - Did you create any monsters for the encounter chart, or use the adventure/bestiary for most of the monsters?  I ask, because I'm curious if anyone else is looking through the monsters for commonalities for monster creation basics.  So far, it seems incredibly simple to design monsters, especially not needing to make up powers for them anymore when you start from scratch. 
just the bestiary
There is much better map of the caverns of chaos floating around, its nice clear and in colour.

I encouraged more adaptability with the spell use so Ray Of Frost could be used to target the Ogres weapon but it counted as disadvantage attack (not sure though as it might be better with a called shot -4 like in the old 2E games). The result being the ogres club needed to be unstuck with a strength check or the ogre attacks with something else (in the game the ogre attacked with something else).

Definitely looking to bring in some spells that can be memorised as Encounter spell, not many spells and the lower level ones like level 1 or 2.

I'm also inclined to input a lighter level of advantage\disadvantage, so flanking get +2. Back attacks get advantage so facing makes a difference, this works well in TOTM so if the fighter is facing off with the fighter, the rogue then tumbles past the enemy and into his rear to strike for advantage and get a backstab in.

Give creatures style attacks, like the ogre or giant effectively pushing or sliding the player with it's attack and even a knock prone(with a failed balance save by the player).

Modifiers to reactions depending on Race and Background. So a Dwarf gets a +2 to reactions with dwarves, +1 with gnomes and a -2 to elves (obviously this one defines that the dwarves and elves don't get on as per Lord Of The Rings).
If a character is a Knight or noble background then they get a +2 reaction with nobles, likewise a farmer would get on well with small towns peasant's. A zealot might get bonus's to reactions with his own faith but minus with other faiths and maybe disadvantage with an opposing faith (so a god of war gets +2 reaction bonus with his own faith but a -1 to most faiths but a -2 against pacifist faiths).

However at present I'm merely playtesting as is with lots of improvisation being encouraged.
I like the "style attacks" idea, @therion666.  This should go in the DMs guide.

The only change I've made so far that I've stuck with is Critical Miss.  If I understand the rules, it just means they miss no matter what.  That's fine, but I've given it a bigger disadvantage given they miss enough already and CM therefore is meaningless.   In my game it's a wild swing / throw / whatever, so badly delivered that they need a round to recover from the giddiness / spinning / trip or whatever the CM has occasioned. 
@therion666

We used a very rough guideline of called shots from Pathfinder, augmenting the penalties to within reason, and one of the very first playtests had our Wizard using a called shot to target a creature's hands instead of feet.  Since it reduces all mobility when it hits feet, we let it prevent the creature from taking an action that round, if it involved its arms.  The attack roll for the wizard was at -2, I believe.

We also put in facing (so thus our flanking works slightly differently than normal).  Back gives advantage (much like you), but you cannot gain flanking on a creature if you're in his facing.  Since he's not dividing his attention to the others, only to his front, then those in front receive no benefit of 'distraction.'  Just what we like to run with, of course.

We actually have a Reaction Score we use in every edition;  Its 10 + your charisma score + miscellaneous modifiers as you've described.  It doesn't have many mechanics to it, but we use it for DMs to better articulate a comparison between people during a first impression situation.

The style attacks are absolutely nice.  We included a similar mechanic in just our critical hits.  We roll damage instead of maximum on a critical hit, but add an effect (since none of us like not rolling damage, ever lol).  Slashing weapons inflict bleed (1 for light, 2 for one-handed, 3 for two-handed), Piercing weapons cause pain (next attack has disadvantage), and bludgeoning weapons require the defender to make a Balance check or fall prone.  (Balance being applied with strength, Dexterity, or Con).

Thanks for the post; I love seeing others like-minded to our playstyle out there!

@JKLawrence

We actually use percentile on a natural 1.  First, it always provokes an opportunity attack.  Secondly, after that is resolved, the player rolls 1d100.  If its over 50, they drop the held item or some other calamity, if its under 50, there is no further penalty.  Just a simplified failure chart from 2e, honestly lol.             
They didn't havee opportunity attacks in the original AD&D did they?  That's all I know.  I've looked up the explanation on the D&D Wiki but I don't understand it, so I think I'll let that one go for now, though it does sound relevant in principle.  As for roll for calamity, that does sound good to me.  You can then choose a calamity appropriate to the setting, or a set of calamities that scale to the roll in some way (to be determined by the DM, not the book, I hope).

On one of the threads someone has suggested that this is just the core of the rules, and all the immensely complicated stuff is indeed coming.  I sort of hope not.  Or maybe it should come as an optional rules set for people who like it really complicated.  I do, in some ways - but not to play without a computer.  Baldur's Gate is a great game, and the computer deals with all the complexity for you so you can just enjoy the game itself.  There's only value in the complexity if you never have it explicitly rolled out between you and the play of the game.  If we end up with piles of required rules for all sorts of things, it will slow down the game for people like me who can't memorise it all, and would have to look it up.
I hope if anything that they offer the complication rules as examples of the suggested improvisations available but that they are suggestions and not cast in stone, that way helping to prevent solid rules from allowing DM perception or that prefer too many complications.
Maybe the complication could be a module for the system?

There were no attacks of opportunity until 3rd ed. One option that i've seen in a D20 variant is a feat will allow attacks of opportunities or even it could be a fighter capability or fighter feat (Combat Awareness or something).
@JKLawrence

Sorry, my lack of separation of principles.  The critical failure chart is from AD&D, not the opportunity attacks.  In our 2e group, we 'invented' our own 'opportunity attacks' that were called 'advantage attacks.'  We didn't have nearly as defined rules as 3.x brought forth, and it mostly just aplied to concentration things (like spell casting) and rarely related to movement.

Anyway, sorry for the confusion mate.  My 2e reference was just the 'calamity' chart, which had 100+ different things that could happen on a critical miss, depending on weapon type, size, target of the attack, etc etc etc.  I think this was optional content, of course (not PHB/DMG).   
@Zhandra  Well, you've lost me completely now.  But no worries!  I'm enjoying reading all the 2e / 3.x / 4e stuff - look what I missed! Wink

@therion666 you'll have noticed by now that I like the idea of extra rules being that - extras - and doing them as a module for the system also sounds plausible.
@therion666 you'll have noticed by now that I like the idea of extra rules being that - extras - and doing them as a module for the system also sounds plausible.

Same here, I enjoy coming up with rules on the fly that open out the players option to do more entertaining things but I've not been happy with how caged some DM's can feel as there is a rule for every action and to dare not follow the rules was sacrilidge.
Hopefully if it's introduced as optional maybe people will think outside of the bubble and run the system with their own tweaks and slant at least for home campaigns.
In a game of Warhammer 3rd Ed my character attacked a Zombie by grabbing him and using him as a body shield to run through 5 more zombies by using their zombie mate as a literal body shield.
@Zhandra  Well, you've lost me completely now.  But no worries!  I'm enjoying reading all the 2e / 3.x / 4e stuff - look what I missed! Wink

@therion666 you'll have noticed by now that I like the idea of extra rules being that - extras - and doing them as a module for the system also sounds plausible.



I'm glad lol.  Ya know, I'm going to re-read all the combat options books from my 2e collection again tonight to make sure i'm not remembering our DMing making all that stuff up years ago.  You've made me question my aging sanity, thanks XD

Kidding of course.

@general

I absolutely agree with this concept as well.  A beautiful, basic bare-bones with tones of optional overlays.  Always easier to add than take away.     
@therion666 you'll have noticed by now that I like the idea of extra rules being that - extras - and doing them as a module for the system also sounds plausible.

Same here, I enjoy coming up with rules on the fly that open out the players option to do more entertaining things but I've not been happy with how caged some DM's can feel as there is a rule for every action and to dare not follow the rules was sacrilidge.
Hopefully if it's introduced as optional maybe people will think outside of the bubble and run the system with their own tweaks and slant at least for home campaigns.
In a game of Warhammer 3rd Ed my character attacked a Zombie by grabbing him and using him as a body shield to run through 5 more zombies by using their zombie mate as a literal body shield.



I totally agree.  As a DM, I like to be surprised by what the players do.  I need a system that encourages them to surprise me.  Otherwise, I get bored.  

Additionally, I also hate feeling that the rules could restrain my rulings.  I liked playing 4e, but in one of our early games, the players wanted to poke their heads out from behind a wall (move 1 or 2 squares), fire at the foes and move back behind cover.  This seems like a realistic and sound tactic.  According to the rules though, only the players with that power (hit and run or something like that) could do it.  To get around it, my players let one PC go out fire at the foes, then another PC used his turn to go out, grab the other PC and drag him back.  Riduculous.  I ended up giving everyone the ability to move 2, attack, move 2.  I'm so glad that split movement is part of 5e.

 

A Brave Knight of WTF

I've DM'ed three times now; twice Caves of Chaos and the other a homemade module.  I haven't found a need to tinker with the rules at all.  Our wizard has been as useful as everyone else in the party.  As far as opportunity attacks go, our group hasn't needed them.  Maybe it's because they're mostly experienced players, but the strategy has been top-notch using these simplified rules.  Just my 2 copper.
I've DM'ed three times now; twice Caves of Chaos and the other a homemade module.  I haven't found a need to tinker with the rules at all.  Our wizard has been as useful as everyone else in the party.  As far as opportunity attacks go, our group hasn't needed them.  Maybe it's because they're mostly experienced players, but the strategy has been top-notch using these simplified rules.  Just my 2 copper.



I agree with you on the AoO.  

Not having them forces players to use terrain (choke points), seek cover, guard each other's backs, block the hall, turn over a table to prevent foes from running around them, move to intercept or attack the foe that is wailing on the wizard, use ray of frost to immobilize when you think the foe is going to try to eat you for lunch, ready actions to attack foes that try to run by, run away when your life is in danger, position the defender so that he can block attacks that would hurt a squishy or injured party member,  etc.

The key to playing without AoO is to remember that both sides are bound by the same rules, and you have to assume that monsters and adventurers have enough battle training that they can move around in combat without taking attacks.  

I would not put it past WoTC to add a feat/ability for some monsters and melee types (fighters, rangers, etc.) that will give them an AoO, but this does not have to be in the core or at lower levels.

Cheers. 

A Brave Knight of WTF

I've DM'ed three times now; twice Caves of Chaos and the other a homemade module.  I haven't found a need to tinker with the rules at all.  Our wizard has been as useful as everyone else in the party.  As far as opportunity attacks go, our group hasn't needed them.  Maybe it's because they're mostly experienced players, but the strategy has been top-notch using these simplified rules.  Just my 2 copper.



I agree with you on the AoO.  

Not having them forces players to use terrain (choke points), seek cover, guard each other's backs, block the hall, turn over a table to prevent foes from running around them, move to intercept or attack the foe that is wailing on the wizard, use ray of frost to immobilize when you think the foe is going to try to eat you for lunch, ready actions to attack foes that try to run by, run away when your life is in danger, position the defender so that he can block attacks that would hurt a squishy or injured party member,  etc.

The key to playing without AoO is to remember that both sides are bound by the same rules, and you have to assume that monsters and adventurers have enough battle training that they can move around in combat without taking attacks.  

I would not put it past WoTC to add a feat/ability for some monsters and melee types (fighters, rangers, etc.) that will give them an AoO, but this does not have to be in the core or at lower levels.

Cheers. 



This is spot-on!

Happy playtesting.
To the topic at hand

The following things have been added to our bag of tricks


  • Charging - The attacker uses both his move and his action.  Grants advantage to his attack, but also gives advantage to all attacks against him for the turn.

  • Outnumbered - A target is outnumbered by 3:1 or more (so basically flanking +1) makes their attacks at disadvantage.

  • Flanking - Flanking an opponent gives you advantage.



We've played twice so far and as old school gamers are trying to make any decisions based on two criteria



  1. Does it still feel like D&D

  2. Does it make sense with both maps and TOTM


To the topic at hand

The following things have been added to our bag of tricks


  • Charging - The attacker uses both his move and his action.  Grants advantage to his attack, but also gives advantage to all attacks against him for the turn.

  • Outnumbered - A target is outnumbered by 3:1 or more (so basically flanking +1) makes their attacks at disadvantage.

  • Flanking - Flanking an opponent gives you advantage.



We've played twice so far and as old school gamers are trying to make any decisions based on two criteria



  1. Does it still feel like D&D

  2. Does it make sense with both maps and TOTM





Sound advice and good ideas for the game.

A Brave Knight of WTF

If taking away counts as a "House Rule", then my taking away the Advantage/Disadvantage system for the 3rd Playtest worked out very well. The game ran much more quickly and smoothly!
You Learn Something New Every Day!
I've DM'ed three times now; twice Caves of Chaos and the other a homemade module.  I haven't found a need to tinker with the rules at all.  Our wizard has been as useful as everyone else in the party.  As far as opportunity attacks go, our group hasn't needed them.  Maybe it's because they're mostly experienced players, but the strategy has been top-notch using these simplified rules.  Just my 2 copper.



As the players are experienced (using choke points, setting up impassible terrains, using manuevers to push, manipulate, and control), so too is the DM (me) being equally creative.

If my Bugbear wants to get at the Wizard and can't just 'walk' there, he's going to push his way through, or at least attempt to do so.  In more open chambers/terrain, standing between two barrels doesn't block creatures from getting through.  Just climb over the barrels.  For lighter creatures, they can jump and clear someone's head much the same as a player, if not take a couple hops up a wall and land behind them.

The opportunity attacks were added for just this reason - unless my creature is mindless, I don't play it that way.  Granted, AoOs come up a lot less often in this mechanical system of options, but where there's a will there's a way, and I don't want to gimp my frontline the opportunity to prevent simply 'slipping' by without them getting a chance to alter this approach.

Its all about how articulately the DM controls the creatures and the types of creatures being addressed.  A fine example of this was a Kobold literally running up the Dwarf (who's height allowed plenty of gap between his head and the ceiling) and just jumping over him to charge the Wizard who made shiny bright sparkles in the air to kill his allies.  (Opposed Dexterity checks (measuring swiftness and agility over reaction speed)).

The fact the Dwarf could do nothing about this, is too illogical for our games.  However, I can understand the system doesn't 'require' this and thus its not in the core mechanics.  I even more appreciate varied opinions on the topic.       
 Its all about how articulately the DM controls the creatures and the types of creatures being addressed.  A fine example of this was a Kobold literally running up the Dwarf (who's height allowed plenty of gap between his head and the ceiling) and just jumping over him to charge the Wizard who made shiny bright sparkles in the air to kill his allies.  (Opposed Dexterity checks (measuring swiftness and agility over reaction speed)).

The fact the Dwarf could do nothing about this, is too illogical for our games.  However, I can understand the system doesn't 'require' this and thus its not in the core mechanics.  I even more appreciate varied opinions on the topic.       

As an aside, shouln't a Kobold running up the front of a dwarf (or even, say juking and dashing past him through his space) perhaps have involved either at least two checks on the part of the Kobold; say a climb or jump check with a reasonably difficult DC (15-17) to get into position or an opposed Bluff check to throw the dwarf off and then an opposed Dex check to which (unless the result of the first check was overwhelmingly in the Kobold's favor) the Kobold should get Disadvantage?  This is not to say that the deranged little bloke's maneuver could not have worked; simply that he was logically much more likely to have wound up on his scaly little bum in front of the dwarf than behind him brandishing its spear at the elf wizard.

Assuming that the Kobold's efforts were proven suitably heroic to overcome the dwarf's position in this way, I think the Playtest rules still provide adequate punishment  for it without the need for an AOO:  The Kobold suffers Disadvantage on his next attack and grants Advantage to attacks against it until its next turn.  This is an utter death sentence for the Kobold, who cannot hope to survive even the feeble melee abilities of the wizard under these circumstances.  Do you chafe at the PC's having to "waste" a round's worth of action in snuffing out the suicidal Kobold?  That seems pretty balanced in this situation.  Now, if the Kobold were replaced by a ninja-like drow assassin: I think the same principles may hold true, but the maneuver would sound a lot more threatening... and appropriate!
My players didn't need AoO.

They utilized doorways to protect the wizard and cleric of Pelor with the cleric of Moradin's defender ability.

The rogue used held actions to target creatures running to alert others.

The wizard locked down the ogre for several rounds while the melee dwarves darted in and out of his reach making attacks and only facing his thrown spear until the wizard missed a few ray of frost shots. The cleric of Pelor used spiritual hammer to suplement radiant lance, the slayer got dropped but a healing word and a potion got him up for the last round.

They put all but 6 of the goblins in the common room out and cut off access to the other corridors while they dispatched the six using held actions by the rogue and defender to target both those fleeing and those attempting to wake the sleepers.

I ran it as is and only had to make 2-3 calls that weren't directly covered by the rules.

The group hid the halfling in an empty keg and rolled him over a squad of goblins to create confusion and put a hidden rogue in the backfield.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

@ Ramlyns

Since there are no opportunity attacks, I see zero point in requiring the bluff to divert the Dwarf's attention.  The Dwarf could be scowling, hacking, slashing, and swinging directly at the kobold; this changes nothing mechanically.  So his attention being right on the idjit foils nothing in the attempt.

Secondly, with this system, there's also zero point in the multiple checks when all the checks represent abstract representation, as by design.  The Kobold used Dexterity, modified by (though it had none) skill bonuses is either jump, climb, or tumble (to represent all three of the mechanics included here).  Only one skill bonus applied, clearly.

Finally, I gave the Dwarf Advantage on the opposed roll, as opposed to the Kobold having disadvantage.  Reasoning:  Firstly, the Dwarf has an awful dexterity, so I thought I'd let him feel more heroic by getting to roll twice despite a low score.  Second, it was at first the attempt to represent opportunity attacks against 'through' movement (limiting the mechanical application of opportunity attacks.)

The underlying principle is, Kobolds have always represented this darting, annoying, agile pest that while not the brightest, could hop in and about dangerous situations with the scurrying capacity to somehow always survive.  This was represented in 4e with a minor action shift.  In 3.5, an entire portion of the dragon races handbook was devoted to this industrious, agile little folk.  In 2e, they were pretty bland like they were represented here, but my Dungeon Master back then always created interesting traits of all the creatures, outside of mechanics.  If it had been a human instead of Dwarf, woulda gone right through his legs.

I mean, a 'square' on a battle grid represents 5 feet, and no one takes up that much room - the abstract nature of this alone allows no need to reject players when they wish to 'tumble' or 'hero' their way through an enemy trying the same tactics (clogging a doorway, phalanx-positions, etc).  Heroes don't win by just their brains, so we don't make them heroes because they 'can' attempt something and monsters 'can't'.  They are heroes through perseverence, teamwork, and coopoeration.

@Valdark

As to the doorway clogging, the above statement applies.  While highly hard of a check, the ramifications of attempting to simply dart through/around/under any defender are none.  So the check has very tiny chance of success - why does this deter any creature from trying?  Failure = you wasted an action.  Success = you do as you're told and eliminate the 'dangerous' one.

Perhaps, from the attempter's standpoint, the loss of an action is determent enough, but not really - not when you're a swarm-tactic-minded creature following the orders of 'Get the shiny.'  However, from the defender's standpoint, he didn't have enough control over the situation to properly feel like a 'defender.'  Shield of Faith was cast on our wizard at this particular point right at the get-go of battle when they accidentally summoned this swarm, so protection from damage wasn't the issue.

It boiled down to:  The Cleric-M didn't feel like his positioning in this system was useful, due to not being able to stop the attacker due to a low dexterity.  We tried his check again using Wisdom instead (which can measure instinct, intuition, and also reaction speed), and he succeeded (which represented effectively an opportunity attack to throw the creature to the ground).

After all the situations occured however (between wider hallways, random encounters, and the carefully laid ambushes), all the positioning in the world only limited exposure, not prevented it.  Most of my group is 20+ years of experience strong, so the creativity and defensive structuring will never be the issue.  The options were:  Play monsters stupid that my players never feel threatened unless my 'Hulk Smash' does ridiculous damage and it all turns into a war-game of Hit Points being the only relative feature, or we use opportunity systems.

Now, in regards to it all, we've also been researching into a completely different opportunity system.

1.) An opportunity attack only occurs if a creature tries to ignore you.
Example 1.) A caster casting shocking grasp on -you- does not provoke from you, only someone he's adjacent to that isn't the target.
Example 2.) An enemy moving past you to target someone else with an attack but not target you, provokes an opportunity attack.
Example 3.)  Any attempt to move through your space (whatever method) provokes an opportunity attack.  This one was a toss-up for many discussions between the defender gaining advantage to represent this, or the aggressor having disadvantage, and then one of the players attempting to tumble through a creature's space and absolutely hated the mechanic (and I agreed whole-heartedly from the monsters' standpoint).
Simply moving away doesn't provoke, so withdrawing or running away is very valid - hack the damned dwarf's knees then take off running little kobold!

We also added a penalty mechanic allowing a truly skilled person to take disadvantage on an attempted manuever to avoid opportunity attacks.  That is, if the rogue wants to run and slide between the ogre's legs without provoking an opportunity attack, he tries it with disadvantage.  Success, negates the opportunity attack.

Final point (God this took ages to type) remains the same - I understand this is not a 'must-have' for everyone, nor do I imply any group is inferior for needing opportunity attacks or that any DM is inferior for not making a group need opportunity attacks; my players expect battlefield control within even our free-form DnD experiences and I expect smart monsters, provided they can at least rub two braincells together and get a spark.  Moreover, my players expect me to challenge their sharp wit with sharp wit of my own.  If all they had to do was stand in a doorway to prevent monsters from hitting the Wizards, they'd check me into a mental institute and find another DM.
@ Ramlyns

Since there are no opportunity attacks, I see zero point in requiring the bluff to divert the Dwarf's attention.  The Dwarf could be scowling, hacking, slashing, and swinging directly at the kobold; this changes nothing mechanically.  So his attention being right on the idjit foils nothing in the attempt.

Secondly, with this system, there's also zero point in the multiple checks when all the checks represent abstract representation, as by design.  The Kobold used Dexterity, modified by (though it had none) skill bonuses is either jump, climb, or tumble (to represent all three of the mechanics included here).  Only one skill bonus applied, clearly.

Finally, I gave the Dwarf Advantage on the opposed roll, as opposed to the Kobold having disadvantage.  Reasoning:  Firstly, the Dwarf has an awful dexterity, so I thought I'd let him feel more heroic by getting to roll twice despite a low score.  Second, it was at first the attempt to represent opportunity attacks against 'through' movement (limiting the mechanical application of opportunity attacks.)

The underlying principle is, Kobolds have always represented this darting, annoying, agile pest that while not the brightest, could hop in and about dangerous situations with the scurrying capacity to somehow always survive.  This was represented in 4e with a minor action shift.  In 3.5, an entire portion of the dragon races handbook was devoted to this industrious, agile little folk.  In 2e, they were pretty bland like they were represented here, but my Dungeon Master back then always created interesting traits of all the creatures, outside of mechanics.  If it had been a human instead of Dwarf, woulda gone right through his legs.

I mean, a 'square' on a battle grid represents 5 feet, and no one takes up that much room - the abstract nature of this alone allows no need to reject players when they wish to 'tumble' or 'hero' their way through an enemy trying the same tactics (clogging a doorway, phalanx-positions, etc).  Heroes don't win by just their brains, so we don't make them heroes because they 'can' attempt something and monsters 'can't'.  They are heroes through perseverence, teamwork, and coopoeration.

@Valdark

As to the doorway clogging, the above statement applies.  While highly hard of a check, the ramifications of attempting to simply dart through/around/under any defender are none.  So the check has very tiny chance of success - why does this deter any creature from trying?  Failure = you wasted an action.  Success = you do as you're told and eliminate the 'dangerous' one.

Perhaps, from the attempter's standpoint, the loss of an action is determent enough, but not really - not when you're a swarm-tactic-minded creature following the orders of 'Get the shiny.'  However, from the defender's standpoint, he didn't have enough control over the situation to properly feel like a 'defender.'  Shield of Faith was cast on our wizard at this particular point right at the get-go of battle when they accidentally summoned this swarm, so protection from damage wasn't the issue.

It boiled down to:  The Cleric-M didn't feel like his positioning in this system was useful, due to not being able to stop the attacker due to a low dexterity.  We tried his check again using Wisdom instead (which can measure instinct, intuition, and also reaction speed), and he succeeded (which represented effectively an opportunity attack to throw the creature to the ground).

After all the situations occured however (between wider hallways, random encounters, and the carefully laid ambushes), all the positioning in the world only limited exposure, not prevented it.  Most of my group is 20+ years of experience strong, so the creativity and defensive structuring will never be the issue.  The options were:  Play monsters stupid that my players never feel threatened unless my 'Hulk Smash' does ridiculous damage and it all turns into a war-game of Hit Points being the only relative feature, or we use opportunity systems.

Now, in regards to it all, we've also been researching into a completely different opportunity system.

1.) An opportunity attack only occurs if a creature tries to ignore you.
Example 1.) A caster casting shocking grasp on -you- does not provoke from you, only someone he's adjacent to that isn't the target.
Example 2.) An enemy moving past you to target someone else with an attack but not target you, provokes an opportunity attack.
Example 3.)  Any attempt to move through your space (whatever method) provokes an opportunity attack.  This one was a toss-up for many discussions between the defender gaining advantage to represent this, or the aggressor having disadvantage, and then one of the players attempting to tumble through a creature's space and absolutely hated the mechanic (and I agreed whole-heartedly from the monsters' standpoint).
Simply moving away doesn't provoke, so withdrawing or running away is very valid - hack the damned dwarf's knees then take off running little kobold!

We also added a penalty mechanic allowing a truly skilled person to take disadvantage on an attempted manuever to avoid opportunity attacks.  That is, if the rogue wants to run and slide between the ogre's legs without provoking an opportunity attack, he tries it with disadvantage.  Success, negates the opportunity attack.

Final point (God this took ages to type) remains the same - I understand this is not a 'must-have' for everyone, nor do I imply any group is inferior for needing opportunity attacks or that any DM is inferior for not making a group need opportunity attacks; my players expect battlefield control within even our free-form DnD experiences and I expect smart monsters, provided they can at least rub two braincells together and get a spark.  Moreover, my players expect me to challenge their sharp wit with sharp wit of my own.  If all they had to do was stand in a doorway to prevent monsters from hitting the Wizards, they'd check me into a mental institute and find another DM.


You are assuming a house rule which allows movement through an enemy square.

Not currently in place as a rule so it isn't currently relevant to the 5e system as it stands.

Also if my defender truly is that concerned with this approach he can simply ready an action to thwap the idiodic kobold.  In addition to the action loss of the kobold he has placed himself in the way of Moradin's mighty hammer and deserves a stern talking to.

If you want to include flipping kobolds as part of your low level campaigns that isn't a tactics issue that is a playstyle issue.  It has nothing to do with the mechanics as presented.

Wider hallways are a problem but what is keeping your wizard from using his move to maintain distance?

If you want a shield wall you need to build a shield wall, if you have done so and don't want anything inside of it then you wait until something tries before you attack.

It is far less complicated than you are attempting to make it.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Really?  Complicated?  Hell, in all honesty, I find a lack of non-turn actions boring.  Its the biggest reason we, too, included opportunity attacks.

Readying an action does work, but see my above boredom comment.  Why should someone wanting to play an actual defender in a bulwark-like fashion, have to sacrifice to play that role?  Makes zero sense. He's already sacrificing his own health for the sake of others, as well as limiting his own combat options by needing to remain near-stationary to be tactical.  *shrug*

And yes, moving through squares is currently introduced in the rules segment.

The only limits to the actions you can take are your imagination and your ability scores.


Sums it up as 'in the core mechanic' just fine.

If you want to include flipping kobolds as part of your low level campaigns that isn't a tactics issue that is a playstyle issue.  It has nothing to do with the mechanics as presented.



You're absolutely right, and if that didn't exist, I'd hate the playstyle.  Idiotic 'run at the party like a 1990s hack and slash videogame' fights are as boring as it gets.

@Zhandra

I'll take your perfectly complex playstyle any day of the week, do you play online perhaps?  *hopeful grin*
You are assuming a house rule which allows movement through an enemy square.


Not without proper skill checks, no.  Its just akin to the tumble mechanic of 3.x.  You have to work to get through. 

Not currently in place as a rule so it isn't currently relevant to the 5e system as it stands.


Sure it is; Xaelvaen pointed that out. 

Also if my defender truly is that concerned with this approach he can simply ready an action to thwap the idiodic kobold.  In addition to the action loss of the kobold he has placed himself in the way of Moradin's mighty hammer and deserves a stern talking to.


Already addressed this; yeah, there's some penalty to the aggressor of losing an action.  But no immediate ramifcations that would create a realistic fear to prevent such actions from being attempted. 

If you want to include flipping kobolds as part of your low level campaigns that isn't a tactics issue that is a playstyle issue.  It has nothing to do with the mechanics as presented.


I never once indicated anything was wrong with the system, just that we desired more, so we added it.  It wasn't a debate saying I'm right and you're wrong, again as already addressed.  And its far from a playstyle 'issue' its a playstyle preference.  We don't like not being penalized for doing stupidly challenging things or a sense of danger.  I'll take this playstyle over anything else, any day.

Wider hallways are a problem but what is keeping your wizard from using his move to maintain distance?

  Spell ranges to be effective; not overly an issue, but if just 'move 30 feet, cast a spell' works over and over again, that becomes kiting; the most boring mechanic ever invented.  Thus, the double-move or charge mechanic to close (once you're past the meat wall.)

If you want a shield wall you need to build a shield wall, if you have done so and don't want anything inside of it then you wait until something tries before you attack.


Goes back to as Xaelvaen eloquently put it, why penalize a defender?  If anything, they should be rewarded for the sacrifices already made.  To counter future counter-points, readying an action doesn't always feel like a penalty, but if on that particular round no one attempts to bypass the barrier, you've wasted the action and been penalized.

It is far less complicated than you are attempting to make it.


Well of course it can be less complicated, Valdark.  I never implied opportunity attacks were necessary to make 5e a great core system.  I'm perfectly fine with this being a tactical option included as an 'overlay,'  the post was merely about what we liked.  I felt some of your comments were personal attacks, where as I made no such derogatory comments.  Perhaps I'm reading more into some of your comments?  If so, I apologize, but there's no need to attack differences of opinions - yours is just as valuable as mine, and vise versa.

@Xaelvaen
Yes, we do some online gaming - alas, can't with the playtest material (CoC for the playtest and all).  Thanks for your kind words =)   

And in the section concerning space it states that creature with a space of 5ft owns that space and if anything wants through that space it has to let them.

This isn't a hack and slash video game.

You can choose other tactics to protect your wizard.

This one is just particularly effective.

You want to use an improvised action to pass him? Fine, the kobold passes and has spent his action.

Now the defender gets his before it can attack the wizard even without holding his action.

And holding the action isn't a penalty it is player choice.

If he used his attack anyway then obviously the kobold wasn't his primary concern.

With AoO all you have to do is have more kobolds make the attempt on the same round and you have completely negated the use of the AoO except to give that defender an extra action for standing in the doorway.

Sounds to me like you want to reward hack and slash play.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

PCs/feats/spells changes:


- Rogue: lowered his INT to 12, increased his WIS to 10


- Rogue: Knack works on attacks


- Wizard: Ray of frost gives the restrained condition to the target, however the target can attempt to free himself if he hasn't acted yet this turn.


- Cleric: Healing word heals only 1d4 hp


 


Basic Rules changes:


- Intoxicated only reduces dmg by 1d4 


- Shooting while in melee disadvantage applies to ranged spells that need a ranged attack (searing light, ray of frost, arc lightning, radiant lance)


- Improvised combat maneuvers: roll to hit then roll a contest (str for grappling, dex for trip) instead of rolling dmg.


- Long rest only heals up to half HP, still replenishes full hit dices.


- healing while current HP are below 0 doesn't bring you back to 0 but "eats" negative HP. Example: -7 HP Char receives a 6 HP heal, he's now at -1 HP.


- Fumbles: 1 is always a miss/fail with bad consequences (DM's call).


 


Cave of chaos changes:


- Copied Initiative values of the monsters from the bestiary


- corrected the attack and AC values of monster to match the bestiary (Orc leader for instance) 


- adapted the magic items loot to my PC party. 


 


DM's work:

-  drew a readable map. :s


- Found motivations, strengths, weaknesses for the various monster/NPC factions, and defined the power struggle among them. (rivalry between the two orc clans, hobgoblins stealing from goblins while pretending to be allies, war between the medusa queen and the adepts of evil chaos, etc...) Defined a schedule for monster/NPC activities during day and night, prepared encounter charts according to that.


- added a troll ally to the orc faction.


- Removed the bugbear lair, transforming bugbears into a random encounter in the nearby woods (hunters roaming in the dark woods attacking PC while they rest)


- Removed the gnoll and the kobold lairs.


- Added traps (net and pit) in the goblin lair.


- Added the prison from the bugbear lair to the orc lair.


- Freed the Medusa and made her the queen of a big magical labyrinth (Fusion of the shunned cavern and the Minotaur lair) that can be entered from area 51.


- created a small  fortified inn 2 days from the cavern where PCs can trade, rest, meet important NPCs.







These aren't personal attacks I am just confused by the need for AoO when all they do is reward people with actions for not using the tactics of positioning correctly.

And using the tumble rule is a poor choice for the case to have AoO since tumble was used to prevent them.

So the kobold who succeeded his check in 3e would have made it through anyway.

The difference is that if he failed he would have been hit on the way through.

If failure means staying in front on this turn then your defender is actually better off than before because if his attack doesn't kill the creature then he has still been prevented from reaching the target where the AoO system would have let him pass an attack the wizard if he survived.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

First and foremost, I completely agree with your first statement, Valdark.

These aren't personal attacks I am just confused by the need for AoO when all they do is reward people with actions for not using the tactics of positioning correctly.


However, we don't -have- any players who don't use tactics of positioning correctly.  We've been playing together, literally, for 22 years this November.  (yeah, I'm enough of a dork to have a DnD anniversary).  Even those 22 years ago, we felt the need for battlefield control because positioning wasn't always going to be enough.  We're not trying to reward the hack and slasher, but we have none, so I'm very aware our vantage point is skewed.

In example, the Cleric-M doesn't just sit there and ready an action to swing at someone attempting to go through him, but nor does the complaint stem from wanting to hack and slash and still be a defender.  Most of his actions are spent keeping people away from the squish.  (His most common attack was either a trip manuever so the rogue could sneak attack and waylay the little bugger, or a push effect to send them away from the front line).  We're not talking about a mechanic to facilitate the ability to slash away and be super dps as a tank; we're talking practically zero dps.

I do admit, Valdark, you've inspired me with some interesting twists on the old staple to make it flow more articulately in combat.  Lemme get your opinion on the following:

1.) Same example as above; a wirey, dodgey little kobold attempts to get past this front wall of Dwarven Steel to attack the shiny in the back.  The kobold makes a dexterity check (he's wirey) and the Dwarf decides to counter with a realistic stat of his choosing, that represents reaction/station.  He could choose strength to represent his physical prowess being difficult to climb (although I'm disdained to like this one), dexterity to measure physical reaction, wisdom for mental reaction speed - perhaps even charisma to make the kobold fear the Dwarf?

2.) Upon success, based upon the characteristic used in defense, there could be a penalty for attempting such a bold manuever, representing the opportunity attack without the abundant chance for hack and slash damage.  Example:  The Dwarf chooses Wisdom and reacts to the kobolds attempts wisely, thus the kobold's attempt is foiled.  In addition, the Dwarf could choose to perhaps knock the kobold prone, grant disadvantage on its next turn, something along these lines.  No extra checks are needed, and the player will still feel as though an opportunity attack took place.

3.) I feel this would create real ramifications for the aggessor, being aware of obvious penalties for failure.  I feel it would placate a player who wishes to not have to ready an action every single round to represent his own ability to not only prevent, but counter.  Finally, I think it'll be a ton of additional flavour with the same amount of rolls in the game (thus not increasing combat speed).

I'd honestly like your opinion on this idea, Valdark.
@Kurgag

A few questions mate:

1.) Healing Words - why the reduction in potency?  There's a lot of discussion about healing severely lacking in combat.  Did it feel like too much at any point?

2.) I do like your disadvantage to ranged while in melee opposed to the old opportunity attack institutions, even applying to ranged spell attacks.

3.) With your improvised manuevers, do you feel armor needs to help resist these things?  Or are you making an attack mechanic that ignores armor to establish your first roll?

4.) Fumbles - we use a similar method, with slight luck on the players' parts (d100).

5.) If you've gotten to it, how did the Troll Fight roll?           

1.) Healing Words - why the reduction in potency?  There's a lot of discussion about healing severely lacking in combat.  Did it feel like too much at any point?



I've read several players/dm reporting there was an issue with healing. If PC rush into the caves without thinking it might be very true indeed. I made very clear to my players that the opposition was fierce, that they were outnumbered and should be very careful since the start of the adventure (NPC advice). So they started by scouting and watching the area, noticing that goblins and orcs were enemies, they decided to turn monsters against each others. They didn't engage into a fight against 40+ monsters, and even if I designed the encounters to be deadly (imagine a net trap restraining the PCs while a goblin patrol shoot at them...) they have manage to survive and heal enough for the moment. I wanted to nerf healing words so that cure light wounds remains an interesting choice.


2.) I do like your disadvantage to ranged while in melee opposed to the old opportunity attack institutions, even applying to ranged spell attacks.



Thanks, we tried this and it works well for the moment, I see it more like a clarification than a true  change


3.) With your improvised manuevers, do you feel armor needs to help resist these things?  Or are you making an attack mechanic that ignores armor to establish your first roll?



No I take armor into account mainly because it's easier (don't have to calculate anything). In the other hand, grapping or tripping a guy in heavy armor and shield can be tricky. I don't think that dnd has to be ultra realistic, this game is not designed for simulation in the first place and I am not a fan of BMO mechanics. 


4.) Fumbles - we use a similar method, with slight luck on the players' parts (d100).



Fumble are always an opportunity for more fun, we shouldn't skip it.


5.) If you've gotten to it, how did the Troll Fight roll?           





It was harder than the ogre fight mainly because I used a pool of dirty water were the troll could retreat when burned. The cleric of moradin almost died and the rest of the party was very low HP, so they decided to flee to the fortified inn to rest for a few days.
I thought I'd open this post so Dungeon Masters can share what steps they took to enhance their players' experience with the playtest material.  This is a post for House Rules that proved useful, material from previous editions you may have introduced, or even intelligent adjucating that allowed your players to think more freely.  (Or any other relevant information).


Good idea.

I take it you also houseruled the use of a grid then?

We finally stated using a grid also, although we didn't use OAs as we see them as the main reason combats are so damn slow in 3.x and 4e.  It cleared things up immensely to be able to see relative positions for all the characters and terrain.  We also gave advantage for flanking because we really didn't like the halfling hiding behind the dwarf every other round.  Not only did we find it hard to believe, it's something that only halfling rogues would be able to pull off.  We found that it actually speeded combat since we didn't spend so much time asking questions about where everything was or who was within reach of whom.

@Zhandra - taking your idea, our Wizard encounter-slotted Sleep, which made it infinitely more useful despite being limited to 10 hit points.  Worked great!

@OleOneEye - Did you create any monsters for the encounter chart, or use the adventure/bestiary for most of the monsters?  I ask, because I'm curious if anyone else is looking through the monsters for commonalities for monster creation basics.  So far, it seems incredibly simple to design monsters, especially not needing to make up powers for them anymore when you start from scratch. 


That's because the monsters were hastily thrown together for the playtest packet.  They and magic items have seen the least amount of polish.
To the OP:

I brought back 'Marks' for the Fighter, at his request, but we used Disadvantage instead of a -2 as the marked condition mechanic.  Made it feel more 5E to us.

We didn't use AoO, but we did a lot of challenges when it came to adjudicating things like movement past the front line, etc.  We didn't do Dex vs. Dex, but we did do monsters high ability vs. Fighter(Cleric, etc) highest physical ability.  (We also house ruled that all parties involved in a challenge have to roll their d20s at the same time.  It gives challenges more punch - at least at our table).

I didn't think a Dwarf Fighter would go to DEX to stop a Kobold, but rather a blunt smack to the head with his axe handle or a clothesline or something like that so Kobold (DEX) vs. Dwarf (STR) seemed to make the most sense to us and appeased the whole "I rush past and attack the Wizard..." garbage.

I kind of felt that WoTC wanted all of the AoO, pushes, pulls, slides, and heavy tactical combat maneuvering to be dealt with in the form of challenges in this edition.  The more I've playtested it, the more that seems to be the adjudication that makes the most sense.  I don't make it take an action on the part of the person challenged either.  The challenger uses an action to challenge, but the challengee shouldn't have to lose an action to resist the challenge.

This may be a houserule, but RAW were very vague on this particular issue.

Once we started using the challenge mechanic, a lot of the other "problems" seemed to dissolve from this edition.  There are other problems, of course, but we really only had to adopt this new mechanic to alleviate our initial dislikes. 
@tuffn00gies

Oh yeah, we always use a digital battlemap (not online, just to avoid the playtest assault hammer) with grids just for relevance.  Keeps things neat.  We used 1:2:1 formatting for diagonals of course.  However, we're about to start playtesting a measuring-grid sort of tactical application so 25 feet is 25 feet, exactly.  Hopefully this'll bring me back to what it was like to play 2e back in the day when we had a ping-pong table covered in hex maps for dungeons.

Granted, OAs are absolutely a big slowing reason, but at the same time we're all pretty active around the table - actions on other turns has kind of become a selling point to play the game after 20 years.  But!  As stated above, I'm working on ways to take the extra time infractions out of the opportunity situation.

@Kurgag

My players were pretty tactical about how to engage the masses, but we still ended up liking the heal at 1d6 - to each their own however!  Nice planning on the Troll Fight - do you think it would've been much more 'walk in the park' like without it?

As to the including of armor for 'touch' like mechanics, thats one we're still working on vigorously.  The most success so far has come in the line of creating a touch AC (just 10 + dex modifier), then tacking on armor as usual.  A spell that is 'touch' oriented that beats the touch AC, but not the armor, is insulated, dealing half damage.  Obviously the casters like this as, when they would normally miss due to high armor they deal half.  Haven't had a ton of time for testing though.

@2LSan

Well, our first run was a more controlled version of defensive rolls.  Not taking into account 'opportunity defenses' like swinging your weapon to prevent a creature from bypassing you, the dexterity (or wisdom) just represented how fast you could react, since speed truly was a factor in that instance.

But as listed above, I like the approach you took as well with simply representing this opportunity action with the opposed roll itself and applying penalties for failure akin to being hit, but without the hack and slash orientation.  (Disadvantage, prone, etc).

So far, I really like this approach.  In example, the Dwarf could use his strength in the challenge to prevent the Kobold, representing his melee might; as opposed to the Kobold taking damage like an opportunity attack, he fell back prone after the Dwarf tossed him away.  Since the rolls are going to be there anyway, its definitely faster.

The problem we're still seeking a mechanical fix for, without resorting to opportunity attacks, would be the absolute lack of battlefield controlled movement.  We're really not fond of a creature just being able to walk away whenever it pleases to attack someone else.  So, we're trying to implement a challenge-based system to include that.  The only current alternative is readying an action to 'grab, trip, etc' an enemy leaving your threat, but then two or even three targets can't be affected anymore.

This breeds an absolute problem in every one of our playstyles.  Bottom line, we just don't like free combat movement without ramifications.

Outside of that, we actually ignore the 'rolls can only come with actions' junk.  If my fighter wants to yell an explitive taunt at the Ogre, he can be swinging his axe at the same time.  So the same is true of movement-oriented checks.  My rogue wants to run up a wall and backflip a chasing orc, its not going to take his action for the acrobatic-like dexterity check.

We also brought back marks and just applied a lesser penalty, but made it so you didn't have to spend an action (since its not magical, its just closer to Intimidation; even gave a bonus to the check based on Intimidation).  On that principle, we tried to avoid granting disadvantage, as much as our Cleric-M and Fighter wanted it to be disadvantage lol.  

I guess that's the benefits of this system, we get to just keep on playing like we always have until something better comes along =)
Zandra,

I thanks for considering my feedback openly.

I understand the hole that AoO seem to leave but after DMing 3e for so long I finally saw the major drawbacks and had largely ignored them in my games over the last 2-3 years as they only slowed play and prevented players from having tactical retreat options once caught in melee.

I usually will house rule in a prone when failing something as complicated as climbing over a battle ready dwarf.

Allowing Str to oppose can be described as the dwarf raising his shield high enough that the acrobat cannot get over without forcing it down.

Charisma works if you are letting your characters use it vs monsters but can be really frustrating for your players when reversed as they may see this as granting spell like fear restrictions.

I prefer to avoid that messy concern and leave Cha out of it, but I can see reactionary intimidate options on the player side only.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

BecZause the ray of frost 0 move range attack Combo party each turn wasn't to powerful
Because the ray of frost 0 move range attack Combo party each turn wasn't to powerful
Zandra, I thanks for considering my feedback openly. I understand the hole that AoO seem to leave but after DMing 3e for so long I finally saw the major drawbacks and had largely ignored them in my games over the last 2-3 years as they only slowed play and prevented players from having tactical retreat options once caught in melee. I usually will house rule in a prone when failing something as complicated as climbing over a battle ready dwarf. Allowing Str to oppose can be described as the dwarf raising his shield high enough that the acrobat cannot get over without forcing it down. Charisma works if you are letting your characters use it vs monsters but can be really frustrating for your players when reversed as they may see this as granting spell like fear restrictions. I prefer to avoid that messy concern and leave Cha out of it, but I can see reactionary intimidate options on the player side only.



Well, I've helped the issue a -lot- with our playtest.  On Mondays and Tuesdays, we pretty much just play DnD all day long, heh.

First, I made threatened areas still threatening, but do not allow opportunity attacks.  What this essentially means is:
1.) A spellcaster attempting to cast a spell in melee must make a concentration check (DC 11 + Spell Level), or the spell fails (but does NOT use the spell slot).
2.) Firing while threatened does not require such a check (since bow users already have to make an attack roll, we tried to limit rolls here), this threatened represents the disadvantage granted by the rules, so no change here.
3.) Any action that could conceivably require one to let their guard down, also requires concentration.  Unlike 3e, that silly drinking a potion provoking crap is gone.  (Hated that for 10+ years now...) Examples of this may include trying to solve a puzzle while your allies are trying to keep the monsters off of you (classic 'protect the brain' mode).
4.) Added a Talent (since we are progressing far past level 3 and making it up as we go) that would allow you take spend your Reaction to grant disadvantage to any creature attempting one of these checks within your threatened area.  A creature that already has disadvantage takes your weapon damage on a failure.  Example, Wizard wants to cast shocking grasp on a single target, but is surrounded by several.  DM says "its so hectic in there!  Concentration check, and you have disadvantage from the flurry of blades around you."  The Fighter took this talent, and so assigns the Wizard disadvantage - but the wizard already has it.  So, if the Wizard rolls that dreaded fail-boat, the fighter just rolls his 1d12 +X and the Wizard takes it.

Preliminary testing was pretty nice.  Equally, keep in mind, we added a talent for the Wizard to make it so that they had advantage while casting in melee, making it so they could withstand this a little easier.  My group, which, for 20 years has been so addicted to the melee scaring the Hades out of casters and pummling them to death, were remarkably surprised how little they missed all those extra attacks with this change.

Still working out details, but its actually pretty nice.

Just thought I'd share.

As to the Charisma comment we view monsters using it as more of 'arrogance.'  If a monster thinks its big, strong, and scary, then it can use strength or con, but if it really has a nice charisma, its own self-bravado leads the way, so my party doesn't feel 'charmed' and such by it.