to hit issues in playtests

after reading through a bunch of the playtest reports I have noticed that most of the DM's have said that they are having problems with monsters hitting the players.

Which prompted me to wonder is it that they have too tough a time hitting the players or is it that players can hit monsters too easily? could we just do away with the base +2 to hit that all classes start with? or do we need to boost the monsters?

I ask because I have a group of six players that will be starting a test session this weekend.
DMG pg 263 "No matter what a rule's source, a rule serves you, not the other way around."
Drycanth, there is a problem with to-hit numbers against certain pc builds (dwarven fighters and sorcerers) and from optimized (20 in controlling stat, especially for fighters) for many people's liking. As a player, we don't like missing. But an optimized fighter at first level doesn't miss zombies. Some people don't like that feel. Others are pleased that players do get to hit somewhere around 60-75% of the time (depending on what assumptions you make, re pc to hit and monster AC). 

Since pc (and monster) damage is high, I don't have too much of an issue with it. I think you may be over-reacting to the issue. I suggest you play it out and seewhat you think of it. But know that level 1 hit points don't survive too many hits. And decide if you want 5 minute workdays. I find that monster to hits are maybe a point low, maybe fine. But I think pc traits should be limited to 18 to start. Just my opinion, but it reduces the extremes just a little and helps the math work out better.
I think pc traits should be limited to 18 to start. Just my opinion, but it reduces the extremes just a little and helps the math work out better.

You know, I hadn't really considered this before, but I am actually really liking this idea.  18 as the Stat Cap at level 1, with 20 being reachable through level bonuses, magic, or spell buffs.

It would flatten out some differences between really lucky rolls and more average sets for Random Generation characters... and it might just allow those Array or Point Buy builds to be a little different... giving people something else to think about instead of just min-max.

Consider me sold on your idea, Slag

Thanks, Shaderaven! I always appreciate you posts, so it means a lot.

Yeah, it also reduces the pressure to be human, since you will only be trying to keep up with 18's, so a 16 isn't all that bad. (right now, you really feel it if you are rocking a 16 primary and someone else has a 20.

And I also think the 20 should be reachable with trait increases -- good callout. 
Two problems I had in my session:


  • The only way for my players not to hit Zombies was to roll a "1 or 2"

  • The only way Kobolds could hit the Cleric was to roll "18, 19, or 20". Though to hit the Mage they just needed to get "10"


This is all at lvl 1 mind you.

Edit: Changed Most to Kobolds. Had a group up against my players.
Ant Farm
It's a great idea, Slag.  I should be thanking you. ;)

Two problems I had in my session:


  • The only way for my players not to hit Zombies was to roll a "1 or 2"

  • The only way most monsters could hit the Cleric was to roll "18, 19, or 20". Though to hit the Mage they just needed to get "10"


This is all at lvl 1 mind you.
Hrm... how the heck is a +2 attack from a Zombie needing an 18 to hit?  How did you Cleric get to AC 20?

On the bright side, zombies are pretty slow and unless you really are putting your players at a disadvantage, going out of your way to kill the mage, the wizard should be able to avoid being in melee with them pretty easily... at least in my DMing opinion.


Two problems I had in my session:


  • The only way for my players not to hit Zombies was to roll a "1 or 2"

  • The only way KOBOLDS could hit the Cleric was to roll "18, 19, or 20". Though to hit the Mage they just needed to get "10"


This is all at lvl 1 mind you.
Hrm... how the heck is a +2 attack from a Zombie needing an 18 to hit?  How did you Cleric get to AC 20?

On the bright side, zombies are pretty slow and unless you really are putting your players at a disadvantage, going out of your way to kill the mage, the wizard should be able to avoid being in melee with them pretty easily... at least in my DMing opinion.


Changed to Kobolds, I was a bit unspecific with the monster. Kobolds are meant to be weak but they couldn't hit anything when I used them.

Cleric has chainmail, war domain. Wizard has negatives because of dex, though I might have to double check now. Also the Wizard player is not at all traditional by any stretch of the imagination. She has a +2 in most of her stats so she uses a long sword just as much as Magic Missile, even though she doesn't have training in it.

Its a fun game to run actually. Only two of the players are playing optimized characters.
Ant Farm
Changed to Kobolds, I was a bit unspecific with the monster. Kobolds are meant to be weak but they couldn't hit anything when I used them.

Cleric has chainmail, war domain. Wizard has negatives because of dex, though I might have to double check now. Also the Wizard player is not at all traditional by any stretch of the imagination. She has a +2 in most of her stats so she uses a long sword just as much as Magic Missile, even though she doesn't have training in it.

Its a fun game to run actually. Only two of the players are playing optimized characters.

Ah.. nod nod.. love those off-beat, play for role not roll, groups.  Sounds like fun.

My only advice, and it certainly doesn't work for all DMs, is to not punish the mage for playing a suboptimally designed character.  As easy as it is to find reasons to kill the wizard, it's just as easy to come up with RP reasons not to have everything try to do her in.  

She'll be rewarded for roleplaying something different without instantly being a death penalty.  Sure, she'll still be at risk (and probably find herself dying occasionally - but I find that most characters do, except maybe the current Protector Fighters going survival), but that might be part of the fun, too.  Cheating death and all that.

Anyway... good to hear that enjoyment is being had by all! 
She has more health than the fighter, 14hp, fighter has 13.
Ant Farm
I thought the monsters' to-hit numbers were spot-on; it was the to-hit bonuses of the characters that were much too high.  Lowering them by two across the board brings things more into line with my expectations for to-hit chances.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

She has more health than the fighter, 14hp, fighter has 13.

-blink-

Well in that case, she should be getting hit here and there! :D  Why else go through all the trouble of doing that body building as a youth ;)

It would be nice, though, to see good ol' Mage Armor come back to get Wizards a little closer to the other classes on the AC scale.  It would dramatically improve the chances of survival for low HP mage along the way, too.
Drycanth, there is a problem with to-hit numbers against certain pc builds (dwarven fighters and sorcerers) and from optimized (20 in controlling stat, especially for fighters) for many people's liking. As a player, we don't like missing. But an optimized fighter at first level doesn't miss zombies. Some people don't like that feel. Others are pleased that players do get to hit somewhere around 60-75% of the time (depending on what assumptions you make, re pc to hit and monster AC). 



I would just add the warpriest to the list of OP "defenders".

I think the problem comes from PCs combos/builds and low NPCs/Monster to-hit rather than abusive optimized stats.

A pair of heavy armor + shield users with the defender specialty make it  very difficult for the current monsters to hit. This not due to stat abuse, because no matter what your stats are, you can start with 17 AC just by wearing a chainmail and carrying a shield and still impose disavantage on an attack roll .

 If you add spells (like mirror image, shield, aid, prayer),  "conditions" (intoxicated) and powers (dragon scales, protect) on top of that, your monsters will probably not deal a lot of dmg in an encounter.




Since pc (and monster) damage is high, I don't have too much of an issue with it. I think you may be over-reacting to the issue. I suggest you play it out and seewhat you think of it. But know that level 1 hit points don't survive too many hits. And decide if you want 5 minute workdays. I find that monster to hits are maybe a point low, maybe fine. But I think pc traits should be limited to 18 to start. Just my opinion, but it reduces the extremes just a little and helps the math work out better.



I don't think monster dmg  is high, it would be high if they could hit more often. The current mix of attack bonus/dmg give most monsters a rather low dpr (damage per round) actually.

Again PC starting stats are not the main issue here, it can not modify their AC to OP levels (16 AC in light armor with 20 dex). Sure it grants them better attack bonus, which turns into damage and gives the an edge.

This is the second packet balance issue: with lower HP than in the first packet of rules current PC can't get hit as often, so monsters dpr (which is the mix between to-hit and dmg) had to be lowered. However the devs didn't take OP combos and high AC (heavy armor AC is now higher than in the first packet) into account.


Actually, Kurgag, I agree with You that al issues are not resolved by lowering PC stat caps. I just think that it helps with a number of issues. The one it doesn't help with, which we may disagree on, is the gulf between monster to hit bonuses and player AC. It can't be fixed by simply increasing monster to hit bonuses because the range of pc ac's is just too great. (roughly from 10 to 20 at first level).

I do agree that pc abilities that give disadvantage can be OP, given the low to hit chances against well armored pc's (AC 17 is a pretty tough nut to crack with disadvantage and 20 is a bit ridiculous).

Add to it effects that reduce damage taken and the monsters don't stand much of a chance. But even this is only an issue due to the hp range of pc's (roughly 4-23 at first level). This makes it very difficult to create an effective band for monster dmages.

Sure, there are still TPK's, but no where near as common as they were when pc's had more HP's. and i think a big part of that is the lower monster hit chances, but even more the special player effects giving disadvantage. Some things are out of whack.

But to get back to the point of the post, there is no simple fix. We are in a playtest with incomplete, scotch-taped rules.  Some things don't work that well yet. But a lot of very cool concepts have been introduced and there is great promise in the game. Better to work on mild fixes to keep the game playable. Use more monsters, give some extra to hit bonuses, combine ranged attacks with melee attacks so the protectors use their reactions and then waltz past them to attack the poor wizard (it's always the wizard! No wonder they turn evil at higher levels).

Just ask any first level wizard without survivor if monster damage is high. Most every hit drops them to the deck! But ask a first level fighter/protector/guardian/survivor and he will have a very different answer. The wizard is tough to miss and hard to keep on his feet after a hit. The fighter hardly breaks a sweat.

Just ask any first level wizard without survivor if monster damage is high. Most every hit drops them to the deck! But ask a first level fighter/protector/guardian/survivor and he will have a very different answer. The wizard is tough to miss and hard to keep on his feet after a hit. The fighter hardly breaks a sweat.



This doesn't bothers me, first level wizards will always be fragile, the contrary would actually be surprising.

But to get back to the point of the post, there is no simple fix. We are in a playtest with incomplete, scotch-taped rules. 



I'm not criticizing the devs for the current balance of the game. I think they are well aware of it, as they have mentionned in a previous interview: there are issues with monsters/PCs dmg/hp/heal. I think and hope this will be tuned up in future packets. I was just pointing the reasons why we had these to-hit problems among which optimized stats are secondary.

Again, the current problems come from the increase of heavy armor AC, the decrease of HP and the implementation of specialties and new classes features in this new packet. What is funny is that the increase of heavy armor AC "solved" the problem many players had (I know some still do) with the armor chart, and the lower HP solved some heal and rest issues.

So I couldn't agree more when you say there is no easy fix: to-hit bonus, AC, damage, HP and heal all those game mechanics are linked. I understand that if you decide to increase one of these, let's say monster to-hit bonus, it will probably be easier to threaten heavy armored PCs but low level wizards may find it really unfair.

However I believe that monsters and NPCs should be threatening for PCs party (all the more if you use bounded accuracy), 4th edition first Monster Manual is a good example of what should be avoided. The book was beautiful and very easy to use but past a certain level, monsters didn't represent any threat for PC, their damage was just too low. This was fixed with the release of the others MM and D&D essentials, but it was late.


Strong monsters are better than weak ones, it's easier to control the damage of the first than to  manage large groups of the later behind your DM screen.
 
Wizards is claiming that with bounded accuracy you can use orcs against a lvl 10 party. I worry at that point youll need a 20 too hit anyone in the party(ACs are going to be higher with magic armor by that time most likely).

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

Wizards is claiming that with bounded accuracy you can use orcs against a lvl 10 party. I worry at that point youll need a 20 too hit anyone in the party(ACs are going to be higher with magic armor by that time most likely).



Supposedly they are not going to make as many magical items as in 4e so the magical armor will probably not go up so high. Though I like the idea that you can put orcs against a lvl 10 party, because that means on of my players is not too far behind just because she is a lvl behind.
Ant Farm
Whatever the cause the numbers are badly out of kilter with each other. Long experiance as palyer and GM accross multiple editions and games shows consistantly that RPG systems start to fail badly once you get an armour difference of 5 points (25%) hit chance. They also fail once the difference between the highest and lowest HP characters becomes more than 50% and when the difference between the ability to hit becomes more than 5 points (25%)

As it stands the current playtest definately fails the first point badly, can easliy fail the second depending on starting stats and feat choices and is damn close to failing the third point. Overall they need to narrow the range of PC stats for a "Standard" PC and they probably need to do this in the next packet as we are already seeing a drop off in testing.
I think some of the problems can be mitigated if they halve PC attack bonuses from stats and increase the PC proficiency bonus by 1.  For monsters they could do something similar but I think they would be better off using full stat bonus plus +1 to +3 depending on whether the monster is a mindless brute, standard, or highly trained.  Fire giants might be among the toughest with +9 attack bonuses?
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