Avoid Hit Point and Damage Inflation in D&DNext

I'm thinking about damage and hit point inflation, and I have some half-baked ideas that I'd like some reaction to.
 
It seems that PCs are feeling better as WoTC sorts out player options, feats, abilities, etc, but damage and hit points for both monsters and PCs seem off-kilter. This is especially true for the most durable PCs like Fighters and Barbarians (especially if they have the durable feat), but to some extent as every PC gains in level, to me it seems as though they get too ”beefy” (especially when they have other feats that let them avoid taking damage).
 
Even with bounded accuracy (or maybe because of it) I'm worried that damage inflation (and hit point inflation) will still be a problem in the game, and like prior editions, the higher level campaigns with higher level encounters will take longer and longer to run if the DM wants to challenge the party.
 
Way back when I played 1e and 2e on a regular basis, my friends and I messed around with the rules and created our own game because we were really concerned about the way PCs just became way to beefy as they leveled up (mostly the fighers since it was never an issue for a wizard or rogue). We decided to flatten out hit point growth, and by doing so, it kept both hit points and damage expressions lower even with higher levels, and it seemed to make the game play more consistently from levels 1-15 (we never really played over 15th level except for one shots every once in a while). Heck, even with the earlier D&D rules, HP growth was held down after levels 9, 10, 11 depending on class, to keep the higher end from ballooning out of control.
 
I kind of think D&DNext should consider this option to control inflation for both hit points and damage. 150 hit point 15th level Barbarians, or 135 hit point fighters (or even 90 hit point rogues and wizards) just seem too dang brutish. 
 
Would frontloading hit points for PCs (at least a little bit), while flattening hit point growth, help to keep higher levels in check so that damage and hit points do not have to inflate so much? What are your thoughts?

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Yes, I believe that the 4E system of HP growth would do well to prevent crazy inflation at later levels.

The metagame is not the game.

Some amount of inflation is ok. 20d10+100 (assuming 20 con) is ok depnding on the amount of damage powerful creatures deal. I think it is more of a probem with monsters who can end up with cbuckets of hit points and 4th ed more or less achieved that via healing surges for PCs which more or less triples and quadrupled their hit points.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I think a little higher start w/ a flatter growth'd be good. I imagine WotC'll be tinkering w/ the math for a while.
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I think the current hit point growth system is flawless and do not want to go back to the 4th edition system. Damage inflation is a serious issue, though.
I've been throwing out an idea about lowering HP/damage for a while now, essentially following a model similar to the D&D board games. Determine the average number of "hits" it would take to drop a creature/player, and have that be their "hit points". The main gain is it makes all the numbers significantly smaller. Level 1 characters might have 2HP, with an extra HP at 16+ Con. This is for ALL classes. Fighters get features like Parry, which essentially would reduce damage by 1 HP/MDD as a reaction. Classes might gain more HP at +1HP/X levels, fighters might be every 4, where wizards might be every 8, etc. No one should end up with more than ~8 HP, which would translate into ~8 average "hits", which IMO is a fair amount of damage.

There is a HUGE advantage to make such low numbers for core: switching out to other HP/damage systems becomes a whole lot cleaner, IMO. Core wouldn't have weapons doing different damage, it could just normalize damage as follows:

Weapon Category
Finesse/1-handed: 1 damage, 2 on a crit
Heavy/two-handed: 2 damage, 3 on a crit

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I think the current hit point growth system is flawless and do not want to go back to the 4th edition system. Damage inflation is a serious issue, though.



I agree on both counts.

If you don't want to play a campaign with fast hp inflation, then be stingy with the xp rewards- hp typically increase due to increase in level.  It's not rocket surgery.  DM gives out tons of XP and ends up with a party of level 20 characters.  If he complains because a few of them have triple digit hp he has only himself to blame.

(...)  It's not rocket surgery. (...)


Man, I would love to see rocket surgery performed ! 
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Level 1 characters might have 2HP, with an extra HP at 16+ Con. This is for ALL classes. Fighters get features like Parry, which essentially would reduce damage by 1 HP/MDD as a reaction. Classes might gain more HP at +1HP/X levels, fighters might be every 4, where wizards might be every 8, etc. No one should end up with more than ~8 HP, which would translate into ~8 average "hits", which IMO is a fair amount of damage.

The problem with that system is that it doesn't introduce enough granularity. It's easier to conceptualize, if a dagger does less damage than a longsword (and a goblin's dagger does less damage than an orc's dagger).

I could see a system where a d4 weapon became 1 damage, a d6 or d8 weapon became 2 damage, and a d10 or d12 weapon became 3 damage, but even that is kind of a stretch. If you ever want to include an element where stronger characters deal more damage, then suddenly strength 16 (or whatever) becomes a huge breaking point between competent and incompetent. Going from 2 damage to 3 damage is a lot more drastic than going from (1d8+2) to (1d8+3).

The metagame is not the game.

The problem with that system is that it doesn't introduce enough granularity.

But it really does, IMO. HP/damage/healing are all intertwined, and it would be best IMO to start with a very streamlined core, and then apply the modules for more granularity. If fighters take 2 average hits to drop, then does it matter if they have 10 HP at 1st level when monsters average 5 damage, or 100 and the monsters average 50? If HP scales at the same rate as damage, then the number of hits to drop are constant. Increasing a player's HP becomes an illusion like the 4e 1/2 level scaling. If HP grow faster than damage, then increase the HP every few levels as I suggested. Perhaps raise the base HP a little to better handle situations of facing off numerous lower level foes. But the entire point of my suggestion is to find the lowest level of granularity possible, and then let modules add granularity as desired.

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If fighters take 2 average hits to drop, then does it matter if they have 10 HP at 1st level when monsters average 5 damage, or 100 and the monsters average 50?

I was talking about granularity of damage. Saying that a level 1 monster does average 5 damage, and then working that into the core assumption about how many hits a fighter (or cleric) can take, prevents us from modeling any enemy attack that does 2 or 3 or 7 damage, or anyone with 13 or 7 or 11 HP.

It's kind of like the so-called "illusion" of 1/2 level scaling - it seems like removing automatic scaling would make the game simpler at no loss, but it really hinders any sort of encounter where you are more than four levels above (or below!) your enemies. Damage-only scaling only goes so far.

But the entire point of my suggestion is to find the lowest level of granularity possible, and then let modules add granularity as desired.

Yeah, I'm not entirely certain that granularity works that way. You could start with (1d4+1)/(1d6-1) damage enemies and (1d10+2)/(1d12+1) damage enemies, and then convert those to the "average hit" system, but you just can't convert them the other way. Simple transformations can only remove information from a system.

The metagame is not the game.

Some amount of inflation is ok. 20d10+100 (assuming 20 con) is ok depnding on the amount of damage powerful creatures deal. I think it is more of a probem with monsters who can end up with cbuckets of hit points and 4th ed more or less achieved that via healing surges for PCs which more or less triples and quadrupled their hit points.


Potions and cheap cure light wands meant there was effectively ZERO limit on number on hit points in 3rd edition? No?
Surges allows for 2 separate limits on durability, one daily and a smaller another per fight thinking they have 3 to 4 times the hit points? doesnt give the correct picture because access to that extended durability was limited... it means you can be defeated in a given fight and that defeat doesnt necessarily extend to the entire day.
 

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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Some amount of inflation is ok. 20d10+100 (assuming 20 con) is ok depnding on the amount of damage powerful creatures deal. I think it is more of a probem with monsters who can end up with cbuckets of hit points and 4th ed more or less achieved that via healing surges for PCs which more or less triples and quadrupled their hit points.


Potions and cheap cure light wands meant there was effectively ZERO limit on number on hit points in 3rd edition? No?
Surges allows for 2 separate limits on durability, one daily and a smaller another per fight thinking they have 3 to 4 times the hit points? doesnt give the correct picture because access to that extended durability was limited... it means you can be defeated in a given fight and that defeat doesnt necessarily extend to the entire day.
 




uggh.... wand of cure moderate wounds....  just uggh... ugh ugh ugh.

What an obnoxious item...  Assumed magic items and overly easy access to magic item creation do such terrible things.

I was in a pathfinder game where we had no traditional classes and no healer.... that is some kinda awesome.  Made me remember what tension was.  Who is afraid of an encounter preemptively when they spend 32 wand charges after every fight?  When you are half dead and crawling through the sewers with no help and no healing, THAT is D&D.  That is the good stuff. If there is one decision in D&DN that I like (and at this point I am pretty sure it is just the one) it is the elimination of that horrible system of magic item overload.
I agree with the OP that HP inflation is to be avoided as number 1 priority. Long fights = no time for RPing = glorified boardgame = fail.

I would rather have too high damage than too high HP.

Speaking of tension, it is also far too difficult for a PC to die, and far far too easy to raise them in the current iteration. This needs to go back to 2e style for my liking: death being moderately possible (if i recall correctly, once you hit -3 HP you were dead, and you lost 1 HP every round you were not bandaged by someone else), and raising was very hard: you lose Con, cost a bunch of gold and you owed a favour to the church/whatever. Fights were much more enjoyable with the threat of death present.
(if i recall correctly, once you hit -3 HP you were dead, and you lost 1 HP every round you were not bandaged by someone else)

The rule in AD&D 2E was that, when your HP reach zero, you die. It was pretty brutal. (There was an optional rule that let you survive down to -10, losing 1 per round until healed.)


The metagame is not the game.

oh yeah sorry you're right ... i remember the -10 thing now, that's what we used. And dudes died! It was brutal. But cool.
The wierd part is when you hear Gygax introduced house rules that started characters at level 3 in their original D&D games and Arnesons original design suggested 4HD for begining player characters. 

3 or 4 times the starting hit points ... sound like anything familiar?
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The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Some amount of inflation is ok. 20d10+100 (assuming 20 con) is ok depnding on the amount of damage powerful creatures deal. I think it is more of a probem with monsters who can end up with cbuckets of hit points and 4th ed more or less achieved that via healing surges for PCs which more or less triples and quadrupled their hit points.


Potions and cheap cure light wands meant there was effectively ZERO limit on number on hit points in 3rd edition? No?
Surges allows for 2 separate limits on durability, one daily and a smaller another per fight thinking they have 3 to 4 times the hit points? doesnt give the correct picture because access to that extended durability was limited... it means you can be defeated in a given fight and that defeat doesnt necessarily extend to the entire day.
 




 Who said anyhting about 3rd ed. I want to see CLW DIAF. Back to 2nd ed healing IMHO. No wands, no healing surges, man it  up, train in treat injury /heal or find a magical source. Garthanos starting at level 3 or more hit points at level one is fine, adding healing surges or at least the quantity 4th ed done not so much. 4th ed more or less tried to stretch out the sweet spot of level 3-7 or so over 30 levels or 3-13ish in AD&D. Not a bad goal by itself, implementation  hmmmnnn. D&DN is trying the same thing but being boring while doing it.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

People love to moan about HP growth, but really I haven't seen any substantially better solution than just rolling the dice and adding con. Stopping HP growth at levels 9, 10 or 11 based on class was a great idea that should have stuck around, IMO.


I have mixed feelings about the 4e HP growth rules. I get why they did it and it works fine, but I like rolling. I also haven't seen anything better to do with con yet.

It is a great idea to base hit points and damage on the number of hits it takes to fell a beast.

D&D is a dice rolling game so we aren't going to go for static damage.

We could do this.
If the sword is the weapon example,
1d4 daggers and off-hand swords
1d6 thrown blades
1d8 large swords as main weapon
1d10 long handle blades as a main+off-hand attack
1d12 two-handed as a main+off-hand attack

Main attack damage could be 1d12+5 for max strength mod+5 for level or proficiencies+5 for magic=27hp damage
off-hand would be 1d4+no bonuses
=31
A 25th lvl fighter with a 25 str could drop a 25th lvl fighter with 155 HP in 5 rounds. That is an average of 6.2 HP gain every level.
So if we give the fighter a. Starting con score+12+ 12*24 = 325 max avg 162Hp at 25th.

So we should drop con mod when gaining HP every level.

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My math is cryptic.
In summary,
Award high hit points at starting 1st level
HP=con score + 12, 10, 8 or 6 based on class.
Every level-up award 1d12 or 6hp for fighting only classes.
Restrict all damage to a max of 1d12+15 in assorted mods. Restrict off-hand damage to 1d4

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2d4, 2d6 and 3d4 should also be used for damage

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Forgive me for posting several times.

If the maximum hit point gain is 1d12, and the maximum possible damage is 1d12+15, you can resolve combat quicker.

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Some amount of inflation is ok. 20d10+100 (assuming 20 con) is ok depnding on the amount of damage powerful creatures deal. I think it is more of a probem with monsters who can end up with cbuckets of hit points and 4th ed more or less achieved that via healing surges for PCs which more or less triples and quadrupled their hit points.


Potions and cheap cure light wands meant there was effectively ZERO limit on number on hit points in 3rd edition? No?
Surges allows for 2 separate limits on durability, one daily and a smaller another per fight thinking they have 3 to 4 times the hit points? doesnt give the correct picture because access to that extended durability was limited... it means you can be defeated in a given fight and that defeat doesnt necessarily extend to the entire day.
 




 Who said anyhting about 3rd ed. I want to see CLW DIAF. Back to 2nd ed healing IMHO. No wands, no healing surges, man it  up, train in treat injury /heal or find a magical source. Garthanos starting at level 3 or more hit points at level one is fine, adding healing surges or at least the quantity 4th ed done not so much.  



Healing surges seem configured on the N significant encounters per day model..  which is really one of those game table specific assumptions... but it also I am sure was seen as a compromise... you had people used to as many potions/wands as they could gather and another group who were bound to only the healing a very obligatory cleric could provide.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Another solution would be not to give Hit Dice every time you level or just lower Hit Dice all-together. I wouldn't mind HP growth to stall at level 10 though.

Still Damage doesn't need to be so high at levels 1-5, There shouldn't be Martial Damage Dice (Weapon Damage Dice) until later levels... this just forces the DM to throw 3 Hit Dice monsters at level 1 PCs so they can even stand a chance to take a hit.
Even with bounded accuracy (or maybe because of it) I'm worried that damage inflation (and hit point inflation) will still be a problem in the game, and like prior editions, the higher level campaigns with higher level encounters will take longer and longer to run if the DM wants to challenge the party.

Higher level encounters problably /should/ take longer to run, so they feel 'higher level,' they should also be less common, because there just shouldn't be that many Balrogs jumping you as you walk down the road (like bandits used to when you were 1st level).  That is, you should be spending the same, or maybe a lower proportion of your play time on combat, but each combat should be bigger, more important, more complex and more interesting.

 
But, bounded accuracy is a big part of the issue for 5e.  Characters still need to progress, and with attack rolls and saves no longer being a significant part of that progression, hps and damage shoulder the whole burden.  They'll have to get quite 'inflated' at high level.

Would frontloading hit points for PCs (at least a little bit), while flattening hit point growth, help to keep higher levels in check so that damage and hit points do not have to inflate so much? What are your thoughts?

Yes.  If you about doubled or trippled initial hps, and kept per-level hit point growth modest, you could reduce the issue.  

For instance, in classic D&D, hps aproximately doubled from 1st to 2nd.  In 3e and 5e, it's more like x1.5 (a maximized die followed by a rolled or average die).  In 4e, it was about 1.2 (less than a surge).  In all cases, it went down from there.  The reason was that 1st level hps went up.  In 4e, per-level hps, due to dropping the CON mod, actually went down for most characters.  

But, if you're doing that, you'd also have to 'unbound' accuracy to some degree. 

 

 

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It is intersting that you mentione wands of CLWs. I do not liek them as such but one positive effect they did have was they removed the need for a dedicated healer/leader.

 Healing surges really ust turned everyone into a self propelled rechargeable wand of CLWs. Each wand had on average around 225 hps in them hwich is roughly equivilent to 2 4th ed characters (defender+1 more anyway).

 Throw in the inflated hit points and theres your reaosn combat in 4th ed took so long. To really challenge the PCs the DM ahd to grind through 2.5 CLW every day roughly unless he designed a very tough encounter to prevent things like that. Last time we played 3rd ed CLW were banned as I ran it as a low magic world and threw the WBL guidelines in the bin where they belong. 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

It is intersting that you mentione wands of CLWs. I do not liek them as such but one positive effect they did have was they removed the need for a dedicated healer/leader.

Sort of.  They removed between-combat healing as a burden on daily healing resources, once the gp cost became trivial (which was pretty quickly).  Because Clerics could convert spells to healing, in essence, that meant healing resources were converted to spells, making Clerics much more powerful.  So, 'you don't need a Cleric,' but suddenly the cleric is a bit more awesomer. ;)  

It didn't alleviate the need for in-combat healing, though, and a Cleric using a high level or top level cure spells was still 'needed' there.  Again, the flip side was that combats could be very short if top level spells were used for SoDs.  


Healing surges really ust turned everyone into a self propelled rechargeable wand of CLWs. Each wand had on average around 225 hps in them hwich is roughly equivilent to 2 4th ed characters (defender+1 more anyway).

Healing Surges handled between-combat healing without a cleric, so they did accomplish something CLWs did.  They did it differently, though, because surges were still a daily resource, not a trivial gp resource.  Where CLWs opened up daily resources for the Cleric to use & abuse, Healing Surges re-distribute daily resources to all classes that were almost exclusively used for healing.  Thus, healing was sufficient to keep a party going, without having to have a dedicated healer class, and, more importantly for class balance, without giving that class a tremendous number of powerful spells on the assumption most would be used for healing.

 

 

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I bound the hell out of hp

Players get con +2-6 depending on class after that its
Wizards for the low
2 1 
3 0
4 1
5 0
6 1
7 0
8 1
9 0
10 1
11 0
12 0
13 1
14 0
15 0
16 1
17 0
18 0
19 1
20 0

Barbarians for high




2 2 
3 2
4 1
5 2
6 2
7 1
8 2
9 2
10 1
11 2
12 2
13 1
14 2
15 2
16 1
17 2
18 2
19 1
20 2

For those of us who learned to add triple and far realm forbid quadruple digit numbers hit points and damage inflation are not a bad thing. Dice rolling is part of the fun and damage and hit points of 1 - 3 appears lame and does remove granularity.

Plus, if a fighter goes down in 2 hits, which imo is a bit ridiculous, swarms of minion style foes will quickly tpk parties unless their chance to hit is abysmal. And that's a poor way to model damage mitigation. 
I remember high levels in 3.5 (level 17 to 23, including a bit of epic)
We stopped playing because at one point it felt silly to bring out the calculator THAT often.
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For those of us who learned to add triple and far realm forbid quadruple digit numbers hit points and damage inflation are not a bad thing. Dice rolling is part of the fun and damage and hit points of 1 - 3 appears lame and does remove granularity.


Plus, if a fighter goes down in 2 hits, which imo is a bit ridiculous, swarms of minion style foes will quickly tpk parties unless their chance to hit is abysmal. And that's a poor way to model damage mitigation. 



Wow. Assume the goal isnt to avoid tripple digit math or make fighters fall in two hits.

But, bounded accuracy is a big part of the issue for 5e.  Characters still need to progress, and with attack rolls and saves no longer being a significant part of that progression, hps and damage shoulder the whole burden.  They'll have to get quite 'inflated' at high level.

This is exactly my issue with BA. The really frustrating thing about this system is it doesn't take very much unbinding to make the progression visible across all core combat stats and still preserve much of their goal with the idea.

I've been working with a +10 attack bonus over 20 levels and options to get your AC to 25 and it's made mid-high level play a lot better. Monster math mirrors this as well but it's allowed me to reduce HP/damage growth, keep monster stats on the same basic curves as players, and it's preserved the notion that a mob of soldiers can take down a hill giant with heavy losses.


It just works better.

But, bounded accuracy is a big part of the issue for 5e.  Characters still need to progress, and with attack rolls and saves no longer being a significant part of that progression, hps and damage shoulder the whole burden.  They'll have to get quite 'inflated' at high level.

Bounded Accuracy is not designed to limit the PCs. They do have a steady attack progression, with the Weapon Attack and Spellcasting Bonus modifiers.

I agree that there also needs to be a steady save progression as well; although, the Ability Score increases can be applied to have this effect.
The' problem' in the earlier edition wasn't hit pont inflation. It was that hit points and damage did not scale at the same pace.  Your hit points might go up ten or twenty fold, while your damage only doubled or trebled.  This, of course, isn't what actually caused the long combat - that was the number of different actions, interrupts, etc. that players accumuilated as they went up in level as well.

But it was still a quirk of the design and one that the new edition is so far not guilty of.


The OP is worried that hit point and damage inflation will cause longer combats, but clearly higher damage will never lead to longer combats.  Furthermore, they seem to think that bounded accuracy may bring this into being but bounded accuracy is what prevents it.

The switch to bounded accuracy (and unbounded damage) means that attacks do more and more damage (scaling at a much faster pace than in any prior edition).  At present - despite some high hit point values - I worry that no monster last long enough, not that it will turn into a 'grind'. 

The switch to bounded accuracy is what prevents 'the grind' when you fight a higher level opponent.  In 4E the hit points and defenses scaled faseter than the damage.  When you fought someone higher level than yourself you found it difficult to hit it and thus it took forever to kill and - although it hit a lot - it didn't do that muich more damage than a more level appropriate creature and it was possible to keep up with its damage though healing.  With bounded accuracy you are going to hit more often and it is going to do tons of damage to the party.  One way or another the fight will be over much faster - either by the party dying because they took on more than they could handle or the monster dying because the players were able to hit it.

THe bottom line:  Hit point inflation is not the real cause of the grind in 4E; Defenses and Hit Points scaling up faster than damage was; Bounded accuracy avoids this problem because the defenses remain in reach and the damage scales up at a much much higher pace).


Rather than bounded accuracy turning hit hit point creatures into long ginds, bounded accuracy is what (hopefully) will prevent such long fights.

My concern is actually the opposite.  I'm having trouble imagining fights lasting long enough to feel significant.  


But until we see the new fighter damage it's all a bit moot.

Carl
I remember high levels in 3.5 (level 17 to 23, including a bit of epic)
We stopped playing because at one point it felt silly to bring out the calculator THAT often.



Pretty much, and that's just the problem with 3.5/4E (and 2E to an extent)... its not that we don't want to play high-epic levels... its just that the numbers get too bloated and the game falls apart.

So a system like Legacy is nice to encourage high level play... but what we need are bounds on damage and hit points to keep the game playable and enjoyable.


There is also the sense of (dare I say) realism that is at stake... when your character begins to feel like a demi-god simply because he's experienced, it changes the feel of the game to much. I know that some players are into that, but its not my style and their should be a module to seperate the two styles.

To me, an ogre or troll should always be a threat... if your PC is slaying a troll in a single average strike, it just no longer makes any sense.


The switch to bounded accuracy (and unbounded damage) means that attacks do more and more damage (scaling at a much faster pace than in any prior edition).  At present - despite some high hit point values - I worry that no monster last long enough, not that it will turn into a 'grind'. 

The switch to bounded accuracy is what prevents 'the grind' when you fight a higher level opponent.  In 4E the hit points and defenses scaled faseter than the damage.  When you fought someone higher level than yourself you found it difficult to hit it and thus it took forever to kill and - although it hit a lot - it didn't do that muich more damage than a more level appropriate creature and it was possible to keep up with its damage though healing.  With bounded accuracy you are going to hit more often and it is going to do tons of damage to the party.  One way or another the fight will be over much faster - either by the party dying because they took on more than they could handle or the monster dying because the players were able to hit it.

THe bottom line:  Hit point inflation is not the real cause of the grind in 4E; Defenses and Hit Points scaling up faster than damage was; Bounded accuracy avoids this problem because the defenses remain in reach and the damage scales up at a much much higher pace).


Rather than bounded accuracy turning hit hit point creatures into long ginds, bounded accuracy is what (hopefully) will prevent such long fights.

My concern is actually the opposite.  I'm having trouble imagining fights lasting long enough to feel significant.  




Yes, Carl.   I see this as well.  Part of what I allude to (not as successfully as I thought) in the original post is that the only way for a DM to challenge a party will be to either ramp up the damage on the monsters or bloat the hit points.   If a big bad monster at 15th level has only 12 AC because it has leathery hide to be a challenge at all to PCs,  it will have to have a ton of multiple attacks and a decent chance that it will be able to take out 1 or 2 PCs in a round or two because it isn't going to last much longer unless it has over 200 - 300 hit points.   This is where I could see hit point and damage inflating.  It may be necessary for both hit points and damage to inflate...either that or many monsters will need to be given special abilities that make them more dangerous rather than relying on just damage and hit points.   For example, area attacks, stuns, paralysis, turn to stone, webs/restrain, etc.   If higher level monsters have more opportunities to control the battlefield using abilities, perhaps they will become more challenging without just hp and damage inflation.    If the hit points are not inflated, the abilities the monsters use and the conditions they apply may be what slows down combat too.   WotC will have to find a balance point.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

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The switch to bounded accuracy (and unbounded damage) means that attacks do more and more damage (scaling at a much faster pace than in any prior edition).  At present - despite some high hit point values - I worry that no monster last long enough, not that it will turn into a 'grind'. 

The switch to bounded accuracy is what prevents 'the grind' when you fight a higher level opponent.  In 4E the hit points and defenses scaled faseter than the damage.  When you fought someone higher level than yourself you found it difficult to hit it and thus it took forever to kill and - although it hit a lot - it didn't do that muich more damage than a more level appropriate creature and it was possible to keep up with its damage though healing.  With bounded accuracy you are going to hit more often and it is going to do tons of damage to the party.  One way or another the fight will be over much faster - either by the party dying because they took on more than they could handle or the monster dying because the players were able to hit it.

THe bottom line:  Hit point inflation is not the real cause of the grind in 4E; Defenses and Hit Points scaling up faster than damage was; Bounded accuracy avoids this problem because the defenses remain in reach and the damage scales up at a much much higher pace).


Rather than bounded accuracy turning hit hit point creatures into long ginds, bounded accuracy is what (hopefully) will prevent such long fights.

My concern is actually the opposite.  I'm having trouble imagining fights lasting long enough to feel significant.  




Yes, Carl.   I see this as well.  Part of what I allude to (not as successfully as I thought) in the original post is that the only way for a DM to challenge a party will be to either ramp up the damage on the monsters or bloat the hit points.   If a big bad monster at 15th level has only 12 AC because it has leathery hide to be a challenge at all to PCs,  it will have to have a ton of multiple attacks and a decent chance that it will be able to take out 1 or 2 PCs in a round or two because it isn't going to last much longer unless it has over 200 - 300 hit points.   This is where I could see hit point and damage inflating.  It may be necessary for both hit points and damage to inflate...either that or many monsters will need to be given special abilities that make them more dangerous rather than relying on just damage and hit points.   For example, area attacks, stuns, paralysis, turn to stone, webs/restrain, etc.   If higher level monsters have more opportunities to control the battlefield using abilities, perhaps they will become more challenging without just hp and damage inflation.



This I agree with.

I've been arguing for quite some time that a) PC damage needs to come down (it sounds like it is) and b) monster defenses need to go up (I'm still hoping).   The bottom line is that their damage output per round needs to be decreased.

The reason for the high hit points isn't hit point inflation for the sake of inflation.  It is that the PCs hit too often and do way too much damage when they hit.  In terms of 'average PC damage per round' the monsters hit points are actually too low.  But those values are so high that 'too low' is still a huge number.

Once they fix PC damage (coming soon to a packet near you!) and (hopefully) fix PC attacks we can look at lowering some of the hit point values as well.

Until then that is the only way to make them remotely durable in a fight (and I actually think they need to go up to compensate for the current PC damage output).

I've been going over the entire dataset for the monsters (thanks again to surf13 for the entering all the data in a spreadsheet: community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...

I've come up with tweaks to the numbers that I think solve some of the problems.  I like their idea of having the creature's actual skin, etc. determine AC.  I don't like their application as - in many cases - they treat all 'skin types' as equal to bare human skin (i.e. AC 10). 

They need to revisit the idea but with the concept (but not the abstract mechanic - and especially not with its broken and anti-bounded accuracy ability to stack with actual armor) of natural armor class from 3.x.  A creature with heavy matted fur (carniverous ape, dire wolf, manticore) is not going to have only AC 10 (modified by dexterity) - that fur protects them.  A creature with scales (kobold, troglodyte, giant snake) is not going to have only AC 10 (modified by dexterity) - those scales protect them.      Etc. 

The high hit points are not a 'problem' in the same way they were in earlier editions where they contributed to grind.  But they are a symptom of (and perhaps to some degree the 'solution' to) a problem and that problem is excessive PC damage output.  

Carl
I preface this by saying i havent played a 5e game yet.

But just looking at the MDD, and the HP of monsters in the bestiary, it looks like MDD is too high.

I think I would also like to see a wider "bounded accuracy" band. I suspect the game could use another 5-8 points in the spread no problem at all, relieving the need to progress by damage/hp only.
hit points in 2nd editon never got very high with rolling every level and not getting hit dice past 10th just a few bonus hp and maybe a con bonus. so if a 10th level fighter has a con that gives 2 hp per level and rolled max every level he would have 120 if he rolled perfect. so at best and on average im thinking 65 to 75 is that alot of hps not really when enemies at that level of play can cast 5th level spells that do min half of that easy

THe bottom line:  Hit point inflation is not the real cause of the grind in 4E; Defenses and Hit Points scaling up faster than damage was; Bounded accuracy avoids this problem because the defenses remain in reach and the damage scales up at a much much higher pace).

"The Grind" is hardly real, at all.  4e combats are more detailed and take longer to resolve, and they have to take more than a round or two for tactical depth to develop.  It's only "grind" if you're down to at wills and the battles gone 'static.'  Ironically, that happens more at lower levels, when PCs have the fewest options.  

But, yes, overleveled, flawed elites were the culprits in the early modules, because, as you say, their defenses were too high.  That was bad encounter design, for one thing.   MM2, I think it was, finally cleaned up that problem with elites and solos (having too-high defenses), and MM3 finally got them right on the offense side (higher damage formula, more actions & action preservation).  "The Grind" was prettymuch a dead issue as of two or three years ago, and had always been overblown.

My concern is actually the opposite.  I'm having trouble imagining fights lasting long enough to feel significant.  

That's the experience I've had at the 5e Encounters playtest.  Fights last a few rounds, if that, and, worse, PCs often drop in the first round - without ever acting if they didn't do well enough on initiative.  'Wave' battles and other difficulties that keep some of the monsters out of the PC's clutches have helped, but its an odd thing to need to do at 1st level...


 

 

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