I've seen this talked about as tangents on threads, but not as a topic unto itself.

It seems that there is no real sense of risk built into the game. Players either over-power the baddies handily OR they get hit and the damage nearly wipes them out. 

There's a lot of talk at how unbalanced this is, and it is. But my issue is that there's no real risk of character death. Not that I want a TPK each session, but I would like to be able to hit the PCs and expect that I can hurt them without killing them. 

My players are getting a bit brave -- too brave, really -- because there is no sense of risk in the game.

Just my two cents and I really hope the next packet addresses this issue. 
I agree that with the math the way it is now, this is the case. I created a topic about risk vs. reward a few weeks ago addressing this very issue.

The positive side is that Mearls has indicated that some of this (specifically martial damage dice) is being adjusted, so I'm hopeful that the risk vs. reward balance will become more satisfying and not so watered down.


brian ®

Guitars & Gaming

Ive given up on the current edition of next for this very reason. Will of course be right back when next packet is introduced :p
Just dont feel there is any sense in testing a combat system that has reduced any encounter to the following formula:
Round 1 players batter monsters and monsters do minimal effects to players
Round 2 players kill off remaining monsters.
Which means I have to have save or die monsters to add any threat/risk to my players.

Weve summed up next at the momemt as: weve had some fun games in next...despite of the system.
Damage is waaaay out of control in Next.  It is better at higher levels when you can abuse the action economy and throw lots of weak creatures at the group.  They get killed in one hit, but you can actually deal a reasonable amount of damage to the party without the threat of death looming large.

Overall... combat is too swingy and pretty lame right now.  If the players get a few bad rolls they can die... if they don't, combat ends in a snap.  Big baddies are a joke, especially if the players get the initiative.

Which means I have to have save or die monsters to add any threat/risk to my players.

That does not add "risk" or "threat", at least not MEANINGFUL risk or threat. Save or die monsters simply kill at random for no reason. That's not a risk, because you don't get to choose to risk anything, it is forced on you. And it's not a threat, because it is so instantanious that there is no build-up, you just die.

Risk and threat in the game should be achieved not by random insta-gib monsters, but by opponents actually giving the players time to decide what to do, give them time to take risks or choose not to, and enough time to actually feel threatened by the foe. This involves both opponents and players lasting longer than a round or two.
Yes I agree, save or die is awful and I try to keep it away from our games using 10' poles! Sadly its the only thing (except for huge numbers) that a Solo can do to be dangerous. I really wish they would stuff this design theory about short meaningles combats where the elemental plane of fire doesnt shine. Give us 5th generation monsters not half baked 1e clones. 1e monsters worked when facing 1e chars, but the players have moved on. 
I 100% agree that saving versus death is horrible. I hated it in 2e and I would hate it in Next.

I might be asking for too much from this system, but I do like the fast combat system -- I just wish that, even in a fast combat system, the monsters felt more threatening. The problem is that my monsters aren't getting a hit off at all -- or, if they do, it's a light tap easily cured with a short rest, so I can't even expect that multiple encounters will accumulate a risk to the players.

I've been using goblins and hobgoblins. They have a +5 to hit, which feels artificial to begin with, but it's the only way they can get close to the players AC. Maybe tha'ts the real issue here. Players AC levels are just too high. Bring those down and I think things will get riskier. No need to change hit points or anything else -- just make the players a bit easier to hit.

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