Damage is too high: A DM's report

I could have told you it on paper, but the damage of the Fighter and Barbarian is too high; especially coupled with the Barbarian's super accurate rage. It made combats unfun for my players. The cleric hardly did anything, though he was useful to keep someone up with a heal. The rogue and the monk didn't deal very much damage (the monk did very reliable damage, but it was hard to see them past the barbarian and fighter's spikes).

The barbarian, on the other hand, could walk through groups of enemies. The fighter killed most things it attacked in one hit. Worse still, the fighter didn't even use their maneuvers because it seemed to the player to be more efficient to simply kill faster than to do fancy tricks.

I want to like next. I like the character building aspects, especially the Specialty and Background systems. But 4 of my 5 players tonight are asking me to run 4E again, and this is a group that's been through 3E (and half have been through 2E).

I really hope the numbers change. I hope the maneuver system is expanded upon. I hope players have choices every round, and don't have an optimal path laid out for them. 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

I think the game would be a lot better if they just threw out the extra damage and only used those dice to fuel maneuvers (and Rogue's sneak attack and such).
I think the game would be a lot better if they just threw out the extra damage and only used those dice to fuel maneuvers (and Rogue's sneak attack and such).



I'd like this idea as well, but they would definitely need to expand the maneuver lists for the martial classes.  Maybe bring back Power Attack as a new maneuver that could serve as a spike to single target damage, but to a much lesser degree than what MDD offer now.

I think the game would be a lot better if they just threw out the extra damage and only used those dice to fuel maneuvers (and Rogue's sneak attack and such).



I'd like this idea as well, but they would definitely need to expand the maneuver lists for the martial classes.  Maybe bring back Power Attack as a new maneuver that could serve as a spike to single target damage, but to a much lesser degree than what MDD offer now.




I assume the current maneuver list is the tip of the iceberg, just a list for the early playtest. Maneuvers could go a lot further if they choose to go that direction instead of just piles of extra damage.
I could have told you it on paper, but the damage of the Fighter and Barbarian is too high; especially coupled with the Barbarian's super accurate rage. It made combats unfun for my players. The cleric hardly did anything, though he was useful to keep someone up with a heal. The rogue and the monk didn't deal very much damage (the monk did very reliable damage, but it was hard to see them past the barbarian and fighter's spikes).

The barbarian, on the other hand, could walk through groups of enemies. The fighter killed most things it attacked in one hit. Worse still, the fighter didn't even use their maneuvers because it seemed to the player to be more efficient to simply kill faster than to do fancy tricks.

I want to like next. I like the character building aspects, especially the Specialty and Background systems. But 4 of my 5 players tonight are asking me to run 4E again, and this is a group that's been through 3E (and half have been through 2E).

I really hope the numbers change. I hope the maneuver system is expanded upon. I hope players have choices every round, and don't have an optimal path laid out for them. 



There are a lot of us that feel this way. I've written several posts about it myself, adding to this idea that Parry for fighters also makes it even less fun when you feel like you don't take much damage either. So, not only are you dealing tons of damage, you can walk through an encounter with barely a scratch unless the dice are much more friendly to the monsters than to the fighters.

Thankfully, it seems that Mike Mearls has acknowledged this, at least to some extent, and from what I understand there are some plans to deal with MDDs so they aren't so overly powerful.

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brian ®

Guitars & Gaming

I mean, I recognize that martial damage needs to scale as they gain levels, lest enemy HP outstrip them. Casters have 2d8 at-wills, so warriors need to be near that range with their basics too, perhaps a little higher since casters have their big spells. But, having enough damage to drop yourself in one hit at 1st level might be a bit much; it's "real", but it doesn't make a good game.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Cantrips scale at levels 7, 11, and 16, with Wizards reaching 4d10 and Clerics reaching 8d6. Fighters should scale similarly, but they should do more damage than cantrips on average. ALso, the numbers there seem really arbitrary; why not just 5, 10 and 15?
I believe that cantrip damage needs scaled down from where it is, and then martial damage be a bit below that.
The cantrips should be a fallback or a tool casters can use when theyre out of spells or are in minor/easy encounters they dont want to waste slots on but not be a dead turn.
Im in the belief that casters should deal (if atleast slightly) more damage than martial classes.
Im in the belief that casters should deal (if atleast slightly) more damage than martial classes.



Only if the martial classes have something above them. Fighters could deal less damage; they have defense on their side. Cleric and Rogue defenses are pretty much even, same as monk.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

If you look at it from a flavor / lore standpoint, the art of "casting" is a complex disciplined art that takes years of practice to begin to master. any bloke can pick up a sword and swing it until he passes out.

playing a caster takes fore-thought and planning and should have some reward. you can end up in a situation with the wrong damage spell and put yourself into a serious bind. a fighter bashes things until it dies or he dies...

this is coming from a primarily martial player.
Warriors spend years to master their art too. I'm fine with casters allowing for more benefit from metagame concepts, because forward thinkingness is part of being a caster, but I don't want there to be a false dychotomy between mastering one art or the other.

Plus, with the way all casters are spontaneous after preparing, there's little way someone could lock themselves into only one kind of damage. 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

In my group, (two level four, two level 3, two level 2,) the party killed the level 14 Dracolich in 1-1/2 rounds. The dragon breathed once, and didn't get a turn the second round. (Because it was dead.)

The martial static bonus to hit and damage plus damage dice makes everyone else feel weak. 

Also, both monks in my party have AC 19. The fighter has AC 16 And a movement penalty.

At lower levels, enemies rarely hit,  it at least they did damage when they did. At these levels, enemies still never hit, but when they do, the damage just gets shrugged off.

Also, as a DM, when are we getting more monsters?  A bunch of demons are supposed to summon dretches, but those aren't statTed anywhere. 
GREAT WARRIORS take years to master their craft. Almost all wizards spend years just learning the basics. There is a good reason that "The Mage" is always the most feared opponent/most important target in all the books you read.

Not every class needs to deal equal damage at all levels. There are going to be points in the game when certain classes excell over others. EVERYTHING DOESNT HAVE TO BE EQUAL IN EVERY SITUATION. There should be a class that deals the most physical damage. There should be a class that is tough as nails to kill. There should be a class that is built primarily to support the rest of their party. They all shouldnt be jacks of all trades AND masters of everything! Once this becomes true, then this game is truely gone. It wont be the same game that has four different editions of fans trying to come together and make a great game.
GREAT WARRIORS take years to master their craft. Almost all wizards spend years just learning the basics. There is a good reason that "The Mage" is always the most feared opponent/most important target in all the books you read.



You need to read more.

Not every class needs to deal equal damage at all levels. There are going to be points in the game when certain classes excell over others. EVERYTHING DOESNT HAVE TO BE EQUAL IN EVERY SITUATION. There should be a class that deals the most physical damage. There should be a class that is tough as nails to kill. There should be a class that is built primarily to support the rest of their party. They all shouldnt be jacks of all trades AND masters of everything! Once this becomes true, then this game is truely gone. It wont be the same game that has four different editions of fans trying to come together and make a great game.



You are wrong.

Sarcasm aside, I disagree with you severely although some of your statements are true, if not regarded as absolutes and toned down a bit. 
But Jonathan its all absolutes. I see you are trying to be diplomatic but I cant agree to anything he says. That this game is "truely gone" and wont bring all fans together if it strives for balance is a very odd statement to me.

Also in the books I read and movies I watch spells either takes so long to cast that the hero/villain can be interupted at a climactic moment. Or that spells fire lightning/ray like effects that meet mid air with other spells and are thus prevented from destroying everything. This does not hold true for D&D where 99% of spells are uninterupted. This is because the climaxes that work for books/films are not the same as those of board/rpg/computer games.
So the reason mages are so powerful in your books is that they tend to only ever succesfully cast one or two spells...and there is your balance. If you want that kind of spell system I suggest you look elsewhere than D&D where magic is instant, rarely interupted, fairly balanced and mages cast 10+ spells per session and has done for the last four editions.
I have suggested in the past that they should convert some of these damage bonuses to extra attacks. With something like damage reduction or a high armor class, the total damage output stands a reasonable chance of going down with multiple attacks, but the damage POTENTIAL derived from strength and enchantment bonuses goes up. It all works out pretty good.

The damage values you see for fighters and barbarians ... you know, the dice + strength + enchantment + bonus dice + bonus damage -
that damage belongs to things like ballistas, catapults, and massive armor piercing super attacks from other war machines, high level spells, and battle heavy gods and demigods.

It does not belong on the character sheet of most mid-high level warriors unless they themselves have become Epic war machines unto themselves (what I would normally expect at around 18th-25th+ level).

Options are Liberating

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