## Problems of dice distribution probability

For those that are not mathematically inclined let me explain a few things about dice and probability. I'm going to start out pretty simple and go into more detail as I go along so if you know about probability and math you may want to skip the first few paragraphs.

You have a % chance to roll each number on a dice. Assuming a evenly weighted dice you have an equal chance to roll each side. So to determine the % chance of rolling a single number on a dice you take the single number (in this case 1 number is being rolled) and divide it by the number of sides of the dice in question. So for each dice you have:

Dice     Percent Chance
Size      of rolling any single number
4          25%
6          16.6%
8          12.5%
10        10%
12        8.3%
20        5%

Now the question that is important to D&D and how we play it is not the average chance of rolling a specific number or higher (well it is important). The important question that many people over look is how many times do you have to roll a dice to get an even average of numbers.

Say we have a 1d4 and we want to know how many times we need to roll it to get a 2.5 (the average roll).

Well each time you roll it, it has 4 outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4.

So lets say you roll that dice 20 times and get: 3, 4, 3, 3, 4, 1, 1, 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 1.
For an average of 3.05. Not quite enough right?

Well then lets try 30 rolls: 2, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, 4, 3, 4, 1, 3, 2, 3, 4, 2, 4, 4, 2, 2, 2, 1, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4, 1, 1, 1.
For an average of 2.43333. Well that's pretty close. So you might be able to say you need 30+ rolls to get an average distribution of a 1d4.

It gets worse. On a d6 its much higher. Like 60+. By the time you get to a d20 its insanely high.

What does this have to do with D&D. Well when monsters have the chance to hit for enough damage to kill a character and they only have to roll 2 dice to do it (d20 attack and 1d8 damage) you start seeing a huge random distribution pattern. Basically it relies more on the luck of the dice than any actual skill from the player.

How do you stabilize this down to a more manageable number? You include more dice. The more rolls you include in the equation, the more stable the outcome. So if it is wildly swingy at 2 dice, how swingy is it at say 6 dice (or three attacks)? Well I haven't done the calculations but it cuts it down from thousands to hundreds at the very least. Now people like cyber-dave can probably explain the actual math behind this stuff. I haven't really looked into the specifics, but that's why I like 4E. You can't die from a single swing of an at-level creature so there is more stability in the game. It relies more on your choices than a binary roll of 2 dice.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Joined Dec 1969
I would say that a freeform format is the next best thing to knowing my percent chance.  Maybe they could create a freeform module.

I think an odd/even mechanic could work if you want to get chances to 50%.

Dunno how to implement those, tho.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

How do you stabilize this down to a more manageable number?

You don't.  Swinginess is fun and good for the game.  If you want the average, stop rolling dice and just say 2.5 when the game calls for a 4 sided.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

No they don't.  Those people who are like you and desire math perfection are few and far between.  Most of us have much more fun the way the die rolls are and they need to tailor the game to the majority.  If there's an easy module for you guys, great!  I hope you get it.  If not, then you should be out of luck.
a simple solution for you could be rolling 3d6 instead of 1d20. It actually give a very high probability of rolling somewhere between 7 and 14. This would reduce randomness a lot. This would make your skill play a much higher role in your rolls. Imagine you want to hit a 15. You will hit most of the time, if your skill bonus is +8. If you are at +5, you will hit only half of the time.

The question is: do you want your skill to play that much of a role in determining your chances. I have played some indi roleplaying games who omit the d20 in favour of 2d10 and 3d6 and for me the game becomes less fun, and more of a mathematical exercise. And it really does reward min-maxing.

I am really surprised, you are in favour of rolling more thn one dice after trying to convince how bad advantage and disadvantage screws the math.

A different solution to get more average results is always rolling 2d20.

normal: take the average

or:
normal: roll 3 dice and take the middle one.
Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag.

This is a simple solution: adjust starting HP.

Double starting HP, or even triple it.  Or use 4E starting HP.  Or combine 4E style and Next mechanics: 1st level characters get the max of the die plus Constitution score plus a roll of the die (or average).  So a Fighter with a Constitution of 14 would have: 10 (max on d10) + 14 (Con score) + 6 (average on d10) = 30 HP.  A Wizard with a 12 Con would have: 6 + 12 + 4 = 22 HP.
Emerikol
Joined Dec 1969
Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag.

This is a simple solution: adjust starting HP.

Double starting HP, or even triple it.  Or use 4E starting HP.  Or combine 4E style and Next mechanics: 1st level characters get the max of the die plus Constitution score plus a roll of the die (or average).  So a Fighter with a Constitution of 14 would have: 10 (max on d10) + 14 (Con score) + 6 (average on d10) = 30 HP.  A Wizard with a 12 Con would have: 6 + 12 + 4 = 22 HP.

This seems like a reasonable option.  You might add some hit points to the monsters to balance things out but for those that want it that way it would be possible.

Another option would be to start with 3rd or 4th level hit points already rolled and then don't gain any hit points until you pass the level you started at (in this case 3rd or 4th).   All your other stuff would stay at the level your character is really at.

Rastapopoulos
Joined Jan 2013
1555 Posts

1- Swinginess is good.

2- Combat should be dangerous. Players should feel the thrill of the risk their characters are taking.

3- Some attacks should be very dangerous, especially against some types of character. A giant wielding an enormous axe that isn't capable of possibly killing even a Wizard (supposed to be squishy, not counting possible magical defenses) with one blow would make the game feel rather weird and silly.

4- If the random parts of the game gets too "average" and predictable, combat becomes only a slow grinding of math. In other words, it becomes like 4th ed combat, which means: utterly boring!

Rhenny
Joined Dec 2011
3587 Posts

1- Swinginess is good.

2- Combat should be dangerous. Players should feel the thrill of the risk their characters are taking.

3- Some attacks should be very dangerous, especially against some types of character. A giant wielding an enormous axe that isn't capable of possibly killing even a Wizard (supposed to be squishy, not counting possible magical defenses) with one blow would make the game feel rather weird and silly.

4- If the random parts of the game gets too "average" and predictable, combat becomes only a slow grinding of math. In other words, it becomes like 4th ed combat, which means: utterly boring!

I agree. I'd also be careful giving away too many hit points at lower levels. A ton of people who play the game actually like the feeling of vulnerability of level 1 and 2. I'd much rather have some type of feat or option that just gives extra hp (or doubles hp, etc.) to starting players if the group decides to play a more heroic feel. I like how the core can appeal to those who like to be vulnerable (levels 1 & 2), and those who want to begin more established (level 3).

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

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

1- Swinginess is good.

2- Combat should be dangerous. Players should feel the thrill of the risk their characters are taking.

3- Some attacks should be very dangerous, especially against some types of character. A giant wielding an enormous axe that isn't capable of possibly killing even a Wizard (supposed to be squishy, not counting possible magical defenses) with one blow would make the game feel rather weird and silly.

4- If the random parts of the game gets too "average" and predictable, combat becomes only a slow grinding of math. In other words, it becomes like 4th ed combat, which means: utterly boring!

I agree. I'd also be careful giving away too many hit points at lower levels. A ton of people who play the game actually like the feeling of vulnerability of level 1 and 2. I'd much rather have some type of feat or option that just gives extra hp (or doubles hp, etc.) to starting players if the group decides to play a more heroic feel. I like how the core can appeal to those who like to be vulnerable (levels 1 & 2), and those who want to begin more established (level 3).

I disagree in part. I especially feel that swingyness is actually bad because it robs players of any opportunity to participate on occaisson (to be clear, I disagree strongly with points 1 and 4, 3 is subject to arguement but I felt that the math of 4th ed is what actually allowed for an exciting thrilling game as opposed to the boring sameness of waiting for fireball then martial clean).

Where I agree is in point 2. Combat should be dangerous but it should be measurable, the arguement concerning a giant's axe is actually nonsensical in a game with non-physical hit points. There is no 'thrill  of the risk the character is taking' there is only "wow, this is exciting and we are working for it' or 'this sucks, that was so random it didn't matter what we did one way or the other' [for the record, I am aware that people experience things differently but people maintaining that there is only one way for things to work, doesn't].
mellored
Joined Jul 2008
24754 Posts
This is why i support 70% base to-hit chance and more hit points.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Psikerlord
Joined Mar 2007
2625 Posts

1- Swinginess is good.

2- Combat should be dangerous. Players should feel the thrill of the risk their characters are taking.

3- Some attacks should be very dangerous, especially against some types of character. A giant wielding an enormous axe that isn't capable of possibly killing even a Wizard (supposed to be squishy, not counting possible magical defenses) with one blow would make the game feel rather weird and silly.

4- If the random parts of the game gets too "average" and predictable, combat becomes only a slow grinding of math. In other words, it becomes like 4th ed combat, which means: utterly boring!

Completely agree and cant think of a more boring game than one in which the outcome is very predictable
anjelika
Joined Dec 1969
It seems like a good line between 'solid, dependable math' and 'variablility of random swinginess' -could- be found in the use of scaling damage dice.  Base hp would have to be modified to include this at lower levels, but afterwards having a situation where, if the base dice is rolled at its highest value it is rerolled and added to (example: roll a 4 on d4, roll another d4 and add it!) could introduce more swinginess into a somewhat stable math system.  It could even be limited by limiting the number of potential rerolls based on die size (as smaller die sizes have a higher % chance of escalating), so perhaps a d4 can only be rerolled once, whereas a d8 could potentially be rerolled three times (or whatever value; this is strictly 'off the top of my head' stuff).  Compare to 'Fury of the Emperor' in Dark Heresy, for those familiar.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Slyck314
Joined Dec 1969
In Legends of Angelere, a Fate system game, instead of using five Fudge dice they chose 2d6-7 just so that it would be swingier and have more "Heroic" extremes. The variance of the curve affects the feel of the game, adjust to your own liking.
Noon
Joined Dec 2003
2531 Posts
It's like listening to someone give an analysis of a brand of beer and what's not good about it, but as they go into more and more detail it eventually becomes clear that they don't like alcohol.

There's never going to be a point where your happy with any gamble element.

While there's any gamble element, yet you wont just say 'get rid of the gamble', trying to please you is a lost cause.

That's it.

Well when monsters have the chance to hit for enough damage to kill a character

Here your dread of random results turns what is simply a PC falling unconcious is rebranded into 'killing' a character.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

Only got words in my copy.

Xeviat-DM
Joined Jan 2002
1830 Posts
Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

Lokaire, it seems we're in the minority on these boards. I liked 4E's starting HP far more than 3E's starting HP. Interestingly enough, the Fighter's HP in 4E is a simple alt of where it was in 3E, and where it is in 5E. Fighters had Con+15 at first level, then 6 each level. "Average" HP in 3E, and the way it's handled in 5E, is 6 per level, with first level of 10.

All the 4E Fighter gained was Con HP at first, and an additional hit die (10 + 5) that was rounded down instead of up. The Cleric worked the same (d8, "average" 5; in 4E, it was 12+Con then 5 each level, first level is 8+5+Con), the rogue was bumped up to the Cleric's HD, and the Wizard was bumped up to the rogue (d6, "average" 4; 4E was 10+Con then 4 each level, first level is 6+4+Con). 4E simply did not have con mod to hp, though each con modifier increased a character's daily HP by 25%.

Interestingly enough, this suggests that maybe 4E's 1st level characters are 2nd level characters in 3E and 5E; 1 maxed HD, then 1 rolled HD. The added Con to HP is the only gain above that; for a d8 character, +1 hp per level is rather close to +25% HP, and HP are a daily resource now.

Interesting how those things shape out. I'll be adding Con score to HP in Next, if I end up playing Next at all; I might just go back to tweeking 4E if things keep shaping up the way they are; I hate being an edition detractor.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

Lokaire, it seems we're in the minority on these boards. I liked 4E's starting HP far more than 3E's starting HP. Interestingly enough, the Fighter's HP in 4E is a simple alt of where it was in 3E, and where it is in 5E. Fighters had Con+15 at first level, then 6 each level. "Average" HP in 3E, and the way it's handled in 5E, is 6 per level, with first level of 10.

All the 4E Fighter gained was Con HP at first, and an additional hit die (10 + 5) that was rounded down instead of up. The Cleric worked the same (d8, "average" 5; in 4E, it was 12+Con then 5 each level, first level is 8+5+Con), the rogue was bumped up to the Cleric's HD, and the Wizard was bumped up to the rogue (d6, "average" 4; 4E was 10+Con then 4 each level, first level is 6+4+Con). 4E simply did not have con mod to hp, though each con modifier increased a character's daily HP by 25%.

Interestingly enough, this suggests that maybe 4E's 1st level characters are 2nd level characters in 3E and 5E; 1 maxed HD, then 1 rolled HD. The added Con to HP is the only gain above that; for a d8 character, +1 hp per level is rather close to +25% HP, and HP are a daily resource now.

Interesting how those things shape out. I'll be adding Con score to HP in Next, if I end up playing Next at all; I might just go back to tweeking 4E if things keep shaping up the way they are; I hate being an edition detractor.

Not to nitpick...  But traditionally, you took half of the max HP rounded down and added one per level.  This, in effect, was just rounding up...  But, 3e did pay lip-service to the round down rule.
lokiare
Joined Dec 1969
It seems like a good line between 'solid, dependable math' and 'variablility of random swinginess' -could- be found in the use of scaling damage dice.  Base hp would have to be modified to include this at lower levels, but afterwards having a situation where, if the base dice is rolled at its highest value it is rerolled and added to (example: roll a 4 on d4, roll another d4 and add it!) could introduce more swinginess into a somewhat stable math system.  It could even be limited by limiting the number of potential rerolls based on die size (as smaller die sizes have a higher % chance of escalating), so perhaps a d4 can only be rerolled once, whereas a d8 could potentially be rerolled three times (or whatever value; this is strictly 'off the top of my head' stuff).  Compare to 'Fury of the Emperor' in Dark Heresy, for those familiar.

+1. For me this could completely replace critical hits. Since you could get 60 points by rolling max on a d12 5 times. Good idea!
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
lokiare
Joined Dec 1969
It's like listening to someone give an analysis of a brand of beer and what's not good about it, but as they go into more and more detail it eventually becomes clear that they don't like alcohol.

There's never going to be a point where your happy with any gamble element.

While there's any gamble element, yet you wont just say 'get rid of the gamble', trying to please you is a lost cause.

That's it.

Well when monsters have the chance to hit for enough damage to kill a character

Here your dread of random results turns what is simply a PC falling unconcious is rebranded into 'killing' a character.

Sure you could read it like that, or you can, you know, read the actual words I typed, and instead get the message I posted.

I said reduce the random variability for those that want it, not eliminate it.

One easy way is to add Constitution to starting hit points so a battle is determined by at least 3 rolls, not 1 (initiative)...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Ramzour
Joined Jun 2011
3643 Posts
In all my years and editions of gaming (including Next), I've never had a TPK. Sure, characters have gone down to 0 hp...but the heroes prevailed in the end. I don't think the swingy nature of combat is a problem. The game isn't fun if there is no chance in losing. It's the DM's job to craft an exciting and dangerous game, while still making sure the players are triumphant in the end. (An exception of course for suicidal PCs)

D&D --any edition-- is not a game of DM vs Party. If the Party TPKs...then the game is over and, really, everyone loses. In the unfortunate event that the players are dropping like flies due to unlucky dice rolls, the DM should intervene. This can be anywhere from divine intervention to something more plausible. Maybe another roaming band of monsters come by and sides with the Party. Maybe the enemies decide to knock the players unconscious and kidnap them instead of murdering them....and what an awesome twist that adventure would take! Use your imagination!

The game doesn't stand on numbers. The dice and the numbers are there as an efficient conflict resolution mechanic. But the foundation of the game is actually IMAGINATION. If your group has no imagination and decides that the results on the dice are 100% unarguable, then go play a video game. Video games are all numbers.

Look, if you raise the starting HP by any of the methods described above (which is a fine module), you might be harder to kill, but a determined DM will still be able to kill you.

All that said....it's fine to point out where the game math needs tweaking. The devs have consistantly said that tweaking the math is the easiest thing to do. They said the main point of the playtest was to see if the mechanics of the system works in general. They can always adjust monster HP or to-hit or damage up or down.

tl;dr
The deadly randomness of combat is not a real problem. Also, it's the DM's responsibility to make a fun game for everyone and not assassinate the players.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

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Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

Trance-Zg
Joined May 2012
570 Posts
IMO we should put base DC at 20 instead of 10 and always roll 2d20 as default roll.

advantage would be 3d20 take 2 highest, disadvantage 3d20 take 2 lowest.

then we can introduce improved advantage/disadvantage with 4d20 and taking 2 highest/lowest.
Noon
Joined Dec 2003
2531 Posts
It's like listening to someone give an analysis of a brand of beer and what's not good about it, but as they go into more and more detail it eventually becomes clear that they don't like alcohol.

There's never going to be a point where your happy with any gamble element.

While there's any gamble element, yet you wont just say 'get rid of the gamble', trying to please you is a lost cause.

That's it.

Well when monsters have the chance to hit for enough damage to kill a character

Here your dread of random results turns what is simply a PC falling unconcious is rebranded into 'killing' a character.

Sure you could read it like that, or you can, you know, read the actual words I typed, and instead get the message I posted.

I said reduce the random variability for those that want it, not eliminate it.

One easy way is to add Constitution to starting hit points so a battle is determined by at least 3 rolls, not 1 (initiative)...

The actual words you typed called falling unconcious 'being killed'.

There is no point making it take three rolls - if you are killed knocked unconcious after three rolls, how is that different from being knocked unconcious in one roll? It's still unconcious, either way.

Your problem isn't with random variability - it's the 'being killed' part. Are you going to be any more happy with 'being killed' after three rolls? Or will it be just as unpleasant as on one roll, and you're just trying to delay the inevitable?

It's gunna suck on the third roll as much as on the first. You'll tell me 'But I'm trying to have less suck in the game!" and I'll say hey, you know, you can read the actual words I typed and get the message I posted - you are never going to be happy just trying to delay the inevitable suckitude. You'll spread it out to three attacks, then four, then five...but it'll lurk there and then randomly come up during play. And it'll still suck as much as when it happens on just one attack.

It's like a BS sandwich - adding more bread doesn't really make any difference. If the filling is just BS for you, it's still a BS sandwich no matter how much bread you use.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

Only got words in my copy.

Noon
Joined Dec 2003
2531 Posts
In all my years and editions of gaming (including Next), I've never had a TPK. Sure, characters have gone down to 0 hp...but the heroes prevailed in the end. I don't think the swingy nature of combat is a problem. The game isn't fun if there is no chance in losing. It's the DM's job to craft an exciting and dangerous game, while still making sure the players are triumphant in the end. (An exception of course for suicidal PCs)

D&D --any edition-- is not a game of DM vs Party. If the Party TPKs...then the game is over and, really, everyone loses. In the unfortunate event that the players are dropping like flies due to unlucky dice rolls, the DM should intervene. This can be anywhere from divine intervention to something more plausible. Maybe another roaming band of monsters come by and sides with the Party. Maybe the enemies decide to knock the players unconscious and kidnap them instead of murdering them....and what an awesome twist that adventure would take! Use your imagination!

The game doesn't stand on numbers. The dice and the numbers are there as an efficient conflict resolution mechanic. But the foundation of the game is actually IMAGINATION. If your group has no imagination and decides that the results on the dice are 100% unarguable, then go play a video game. Video games are all numbers.

Look, if you raise the starting HP by any of the methods described above (which is a fine module), you might be harder to kill, but a determined DM will still be able to kill you.

All that said....it's fine to point out where the game math needs tweaking. The devs have consistantly said that tweaking the math is the easiest thing to do. They said the main point of the playtest was to see if the mechanics of the system works in general. They can always adjust monster HP or to-hit or damage up or down.

tl;dr
The deadly randomness of combat is not a real problem. Also, it's the DM's responsibility to make a fun game for everyone and not assassinate the players.

The contradictions - like a million colliding suns...

The majesty of being able to actually get contradicting sentences to actually abut each other is remarkable though.
The game isn't fun if there is no chance in losing. It's the DM's job to craft an exciting and dangerous game, while still making sure the players are triumphant in the end.

It's like years of gaming magazine's bad DM'ing advice condensed into a glorious head on collision that makes 1984 style double-think look bland in comparison.

What was it - years of the books both telling you to do one thing (roll dice to determine the characters lives) and yet also at the very same time telling you to not let the dice determine the characters lives and you decide that? Then telling you to roll dice, then telling you to ignore them - over and over?

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

Only got words in my copy.

It seems like a good line between 'solid, dependable math' and 'variablility of random swinginess' -could- be found in the use of scaling damage dice.  Base hp would have to be modified to include this at lower levels, but afterwards having a situation where, if the base dice is rolled at its highest value it is rerolled and added to (example: roll a 4 on d4, roll another d4 and add it!) could introduce more swinginess into a somewhat stable math system.  It could even be limited by limiting the number of potential rerolls based on die size (as smaller die sizes have a higher % chance of escalating), so perhaps a d4 can only be rerolled once, whereas a d8 could potentially be rerolled three times (or whatever value; this is strictly 'off the top of my head' stuff).  Compare to 'Fury of the Emperor' in Dark Heresy, for those familiar.

+1. For me this could completely replace critical hits. Since you could get 60 points by rolling max on a d12 5 times. Good idea!

A friend of mine who made his own system (still swingy) did this for damage in his game.  However, he went the other way as well.  If you roll a 1 for damage on the damage die, it results in 1 point of damage, no matter what modifiers you have.
Ramzour
Joined Jun 2011
3643 Posts

The contradictions - like a million colliding suns...

The majesty of being able to actually get contradicting sentences to actually abut each other is remarkable though.
The game isn't fun if there is no chance in losing. It's the DM's job to craft an exciting and dangerous game, while still making sure the players are triumphant in the end.

It's like years of gaming magazine's bad DM'ing advice condensed into a glorious head on collision that makes 1984 style double-think look bland in comparison.

What was it - years of the books both telling you to do one thing (roll dice to determine the characters lives) and yet also at the very same time telling you to not let the dice determine the characters lives and you decide that? Then telling you to roll dice, then telling you to ignore them - over and over?

Wow, what an incredibly rude comment to my post. I can't say I'm surprised...the level of inconciderate rudeness on this forum is over 9000.

Anyway, perhaps I worded those sentences awkwardly. I'll assume you didn't read the rest of my post because you were too eager to criticize someone else on the internet. I'll ignore the rest of your absolutely childish and moronic comments and try to rephrase myself:

1) Despite people's claims that combat is too dangerous and swingy, I have never been in a game that was ruined by this alleged problem. Sure, occaisionally a player falls to 0hp, but the party as a whole always prevails in the end.

2) Even if the party prevails in the end, though, there are consequences to losing a player or two along the way. At best, the party must expend simple resources to revive a fallen player using potions or spells. At worst, the party must drag their fallen comrade back to town for a good old-fashion ressurection...at the cost of a steep donation to the temple of course. Or maybe something in the middle happens. The Evil Villain gets away. The party only saves half of the NPCs. Regardless of the circumstances, there are always negative consequences for players "dying" in combat. These consequences aren't game breaking. You win some, you lose some. Adventuring is a risky business. But even down a few thousand gold, the game goes on.

3) However, if we remove the possibility (or massively reduce the possibility) of a player death, then the game becomes unlosable. There are no longer consequences to their actions. Monsters won't represent a challenge anymore. The game becomes too easy.

4) The game stops being fun when either: (a) the party can't win, or (b) the party can't lose. The OP was indicating that the swingyness of combat makes it TOO dangerous, i.e. option A. I'm saying that I've never seen this problem occur. And if we change the rules to make combat less dangerous, we'll end up with option B...which isn't fun. Combat is fine as it is. A little danger is a good thing.

5) But game mechanics, numbers, and dice rolls aside, the DM has a responsbility to run a game that balances between Dangerous and Easymode. This means not being a slave to the dice or the mechanics. That means the DM nudges the game in the right direction so that the players have fun. If the dice are really against the players in one session, then the DM should intervene to smooth it out. Likewise, if the players are steamrolling the adventure, the DM needs to bump up the difficulty. This is really easy to do during a game, if you have a little imagination.

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Caeric
Joined Dec 1969
The dice act as a stand-in for the sheer complexity of everything that can affect the outcome of opposed actions. When the fighter swings his sword at an orc, it is not just the strength of his arm and his trained skill (and the magic of the blade) that affects the outcome -- wind speed, fatigue (in arm and in hand), strike angle (the blade could hit a rivet in the orc's armour, abating the force), footing, and speed come to mind. There's probably a ton of other factors that come into play. But instead? We roll a d20.

I also dislike how much of the mechanics lay success or failure in the hands of fate. I don't see to the same extent as Lokiare, but I'd definitely like to see a version of the system based on d10s instead of d20s. Or d8s? Or maybe d6s?
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
Sesdun
Joined Dec 1969
Changing the random distribution of the dice does not make the end result more or less determined by chance, it just makes it more predictable.

it still does not matter -what- the players do, just how balanced the encounter is.

If you want combat to be less random, then more significant offensive and defensive choices with significant benefits/drawbacks are needed.

For instance, 'you can fall prone and avoid the attack completely, but then you will be prone for the whole next round'...

I'd rather see combat options and low HP than slow predictable grinds (or fast predictable grinds..)
Its not that we want to eliminate the chance of death, quite the contrary, 4e was quite deadly if you ran it right, the difference was, 4e eliminated (or lessened anyway) the chance of completely random death, and death without any chance to act in your Player's behalf.

Older editions, if the Monsters won initiative, you might find your investing in more character sheets often. Yes, the DM can fudge the dice or change the challenge to keep people alive, but many people find this method unsatisfying. They want death to their characters to be a REAL threat, but they also want to feel they have had a hand in trying to keep their characters alive.

An ambush in 1e, 2e, or 3e (and countless other games) where the Monsters attack first, from hiding, can easily end in a TPK, especially at lv 1-3. What a wonderful experience for a group of players to sit down with their brand new characters, hear a rousing description of a forest path, then the DM describes how a group of lowly kobolds with crossbows just masacred the entire group, Round 2: Roll up new characters.

In 4e, the same ambush happens, with maybe a lucky set of rolls, one or more characters might be dropped, especially if ganged up on, but the whole party generally won't be, and usually nobody will be out before their initiative round...result: Characters hear the descriptive text, the kobolds attack, they take their lumps, then turn around and have their round at the kobolds, it goes back and forth for 2 or 3 rounds, and maybe the kobolds still TPK the PCs, maybe the PCs TPK the Kobolds, and maybe there are losses on both sides and then 1 side or the other retreats...but the thing is, there is actual interaction involved. The players feel they get to do something before they die, and the game doesn't devolve into either the DM describing one deathtrap after another, or the DM fudging the dice and situation all the time to save the characters (always captured, or dream sequences, or reinforcements/NPCs to the rescue all  the time)

Sorry, those games weren't satisfying back in the day. I've loved D&D since I first descovered it, don't get me wrong, but these were Universal Complaints back in the day too...DMs did, as was suggested, fudge dice rolls to save parties, or bring in savior NPCs, or have the party captured instead of killed, but that was not a satisfying thing. It was slightly better when the Party had initiative, but if the monsters never get a blow in either, the PCs felt like they couldn't lose, and the DM had to start throwing in death traps and pitfalls to handle it, or tougher and tougher creatures, and use things like ambushes to guarantee the monsters got initiative sometimes, and then your back around to the PCs dying before acting. (especially problematic in 1e/2e when it was group initiative oftentimes)

Increasing HPs does seem to be the best solution to the issue though, not rolling more dice in a round, but rather having enough hitpoints to survive a good couple hits...sure it might lengthen combat, but that's a good price to pay in order to make the game less Rocket-tag and more interaction.

Either add the full Con score at 1st level as suggested by many, or do it my way, and grant 2 full HD + Con Mod @ 1st level, and then add another HD every even level...so there are more Front-loaded HPs, but progression slows down, so your not getting into the 300+ hps of other editions at higher levels.

given all PCs have Con of 14:

Wizard (using d6, not d4) Lv 1: 2hd, and hps=14, Lv 2: 3hd and hps= 17-22, Lv 3: still 3 HD and 17-22, Lv 4: +1hd+con mod, so 20-30hps, etc...
Fighter (d10) Lv 1: 2hd, and hps=22, Lv 2: 3hd and hps= 25-34, Lv 3: still 3 HD and 25-34, Lv 4: +1hd+con Mod, so 28-46hps, etc...

Wizard at Lv 20 (still with con of 14 for argument sake) has 12hd+22(con mod) with a range of 44-94hps (avg: 69)
Fighter at Lv 20 (still with con of 14) has 12hd+22(con mod) with a range of 52-142hps  (avg: 97)

Hitpoints are frontloaded for initial survivability against random chance and poor initiative, but the overall numbers don't grow so high as to make people roll their eyes.

Current system, at 20th level, the Wizard has 20HD+Con Mod (40 for a 14), with a range of 65-160 (avg:  113)
Current system, at 20th level, the Fighter has 20HD+Con MOd, with a range of 69-240 (avg:  155)
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How do you stabilize this down to a more manageable number?

You don't.  Swinginess is fun and good for the game.  If you want the average, stop rolling dice and just say 2.5 when the game calls for a 4 sided.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

No they don't.  Those people who are like you and desire math perfection are few and far between.  Most of us have much more fun the way the die rolls are and they need to tailor the game to the majority.  If there's an easy module for you guys, great!  I hope you get it.  If not, then you should be out of luck.

What a terrible mindset.

When did you become a "your subset of the player base doesn't matter, go away" troll?
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
Ramzour
Joined Jun 2011
3643 Posts
An ambush in 1e, 2e, or 3e (and countless other games) where the Monsters attack first, from hiding, can easily end in a TPK, especially at lv 1-3. What a wonderful experience for a group of players to sit down with their brand new characters, hear a rousing description of a forest path, then the DM describes how a group of lowly kobolds with crossbows just masacred the entire group, Round 2: Roll up new characters.

Sorry, those games weren't satisfying back in the day. I've loved D&D since I first descovered it, don't get me wrong, but these were Universal Complaints back in the day too...DMs did, as was suggested, fudge dice rolls to save parties, or bring in savior NPCs, or have the party captured instead of killed, but that was not a satisfying thing. It was slightly better when the Party had initiative, but if the monsters never get a blow in either, the PCs felt like they couldn't lose, and the DM had to start throwing in death traps and pitfalls to handle it, or tougher and tougher creatures, and use things like ambushes to guarantee the monsters got initiative sometimes, and then your back around to the PCs dying before acting. (especially problematic in 1e/2e when it was group initiative oftentimes)

It's the DM's responsibility to know what an appropriate encounter is for the party. Yes, the game's mechanics should provide a reasonable matchup via the Encounter tables, but it will never be perfect. Experienced DMs should know better and can create balanced encounters.

Newbie DMs will have to learn...perhaps relying on the fudge-factor until they get the hang of it. In fact, it might be beneficial to explicitly state that sort of thing in the DMG. DMing is a skill. Good mechanics can only take the game so far; the DM has to take it the rest of the way.

Wizard at Lv 20 (still with con of 14 for argument sake) has 12hd+22(con mod) with a range of 44-94hps (avg: 69)
Fighter at Lv 20 (still with con of 14) has 12hd+22(con mod) with a range of 52-142hps  (avg: 97)

Current system, at 20th level, the Wizard has 20HD+Con Mod (40 for a 14), with a range of 65-160 (avg:  113)
Current system, at 20th level, the Fighter has 20HD+Con MOd, with a range of 69-240 (avg:  155)

Both your system and the current system have the Wizard at 70% of the Fighter, HP-wise...but the maximum falls off pretty fast. If your goal is to frontload HP, then instead of re-working the entire HP system, why don't you just frontload HP.

Put in a rule that says: "Optional Starting HP: For games that want higher survivability for Level 1 players, you can increase the starting HP by XYZ. For even more survivability, you can also increase the HP gained at levels 2 and 3 by XYZ."

Problem solved. It's modular, easy to implement, and doesn't require a whole new set of tables and formulae to understand.

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I want some swinginess in combat, because it makes things exciting. I want people to cheer when they got a critical hit. I want them to curse the dice when they've missed for two rounds in a row. I want those rolls to matter. What I don't want is for PCs to make 4 attacks a round, hit with an average number of them and do some relatively average number of damage. Yeah maybe one round they get lucky and do slightly more damage or slightly less, but by and large most rounds they really aren't seeing anything to get excited about.

Nothing is more boring to me than seeing a PC roll 20d6 for damage and end up with some number very close to 70 every time. Why did I bother rolling all those dice if I was just going to get a near average result almost every time?

Now that doesn't mean people should automatically die in one shot or anything like that. The game doesn't have to be ultra lethal, but it should be set up in such a way that the dice aren't rendered redundant.
I think a better solution might be to decrease the damage band, while providing something interesting other than damage on crits.

my own system, I went with percentile dice, and d10 rank dice, and it's really fun. It's unpredictable enough for excitement, more interesting (imo) than flat bonuses to a single die roll, and provides advancement of surety without forcing a huge band of number scaling.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.

How do you stabilize this down to a more manageable number?

You don't.  Swinginess is fun and good for the game.  If you want the average, stop rolling dice and just say 2.5 when the game calls for a 4 sided.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

No they don't.  Those people who are like you and desire math perfection are few and far between.  Most of us have much more fun the way the die rolls are and they need to tailor the game to the majority.  If there's an easy module for you guys, great!  I hope you get it.  If not, then you should be out of luck.

What a terrible mindset.

When did you become a "your subset of the player base doesn't matter, go away" person?

Edited because name calling shouldn't be tollerated.

Now on to your misunderstanding of what I said.  Nothing in what I said above told him or his subset that they don't matter or to go away.  I said that the game shouldn't be TAILORED to a minority.  I then went on (and I'll bold it for you since you somehow missed it in a one paragraph post) that he should not have to go away and he does matter.  I'll even say it again all by itself below.

I hope he gets his module.

How do you stabilize this down to a more manageable number?

You don't.  Swinginess is fun and good for the game.  If you want the average, stop rolling dice and just say 2.5 when the game calls for a 4 sided.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

No they don't.  Those people who are like you and desire math perfection are few and far between.  Most of us have much more fun the way the die rolls are and they need to tailor the game to the majority.  If there's an easy module for you guys, great!  I hope you get it.  If not, then you should be out of luck.

What a terrible mindset.

When did you become a "your subset of the player base doesn't matter, go away" person?

Edited because name calling shouldn't be tollerated.

Now on to your misunderstanding of what I said.  Nothing in what I said above told him or his subset that they don't matter or to go away.  I said that the game shouldn't be TAILORED to a minority.  I then went on (and I'll bold it for you since you somehow missed it in a one paragraph post) that he should not have to go away and he does matter.  I'll even say it again all by itself below.

I hope he gets his module.

And what if, contrary to your belief, he's not in the minority, you are?

I don't want Rocket tag, I want survivability.

In earlier editions, a fully balanced and equitable encounter could still end with the PCs TPK'd, its not a matter of balance, its a matter of too low hitpoint thresholds compared with the swingyness of the dice.

I'm okay with the dice remaining relevant and swingy, just up the hitpoints at the front end to compensate for that. The alternate idea of just granting a HP kicker at lower levels is a perfectly fine solution too, I'm not saying my solution is the only solution, I like mine and find it simple and elegant, but others might find it a bit cumbersome I guess. As was stated though, my method keeps up the relative HP values of the Fighter compared to the Wizard (wiz is at about 70% overall) but keeps the ending values lower and under control, while giving the tough starting levels a little more oomph.

Shoot, once the PCs are taking on Cosmic level threats, I think that's when the chance of dying should be amplified, once their characters are established and they've had a good run, made a name for themselves, and are uppity enough to take on Gods and Tarrasques and Elder Dragons...

The point is, some DMs don't want to fudge, they roll things like to-hit and damage rolls right in front of the other players so they can't obfuscate later the results. Some players appreciate that level of DM integrity, even realizing that by the rules of D&D time immemorable, the DM is perfectly in his or her rights to fudge or arbitrarily declare the results of any contest in the game.

This is all many of us (and I mean MANY, not a small minority from what I've seen) are asking for
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How do you stabilize this down to a more manageable number?

You don't.  Swinginess is fun and good for the game.  If you want the average, stop rolling dice and just say 2.5 when the game calls for a 4 sided.

Some people like the casino like gambling of the super dangerous 2 dice rolls. That's fine, but WotC needs to tailor the game to include options for those of us that don't like rocket tag...

No they don't.  Those people who are like you and desire math perfection are few and far between.  Most of us have much more fun the way the die rolls are and they need to tailor the game to the majority.  If there's an easy module for you guys, great!  I hope you get it.  If not, then you should be out of luck.

What a terrible mindset.

When did you become a "your subset of the player base doesn't matter, go away" troll?

Edited because name calling shouldn't be tollerated.

Now on to your misunderstanding of what I said.  Nothing in what I said above told him or his subset that they don't matter or to go away.  I said that the game shouldn't be TAILORED to a minority.  I then went on (and I'll bold it for you since you somehow missed it in a one paragraph post) that he should not have to go away and he does matter.  I'll even say it again all by itself below.

I hope he gets his module.

Don't back away from your own statements now.

You think we should only get a module if it's easy to make. That means, whether you like what it means or not, that we're not important. By definition, if someone should only be done if it's easy, that thing isn't important.

You also accuse people of wanting math "perfection", when no one has ever called for that. He also didn't say the game should be tailored to a minority (and you don't know if it is a minority, you're just making assumptions), he said that the game should be tailored to provide us options to play our DnD. Those aren't the same thing, even if we are a minority.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.

And what if, contrary to your belief, he's not in the minority, you are?

Then we're on bizarro world and not Earth.

I don't want Rocket tag, I want survivability.

3e had incredible survivability and 4e had incredible I come back from the dead easier than you can get 2 pair at poker, which amounts to survivability.

In earlier editions, a fully balanced and equitable encounter could still end with the PCs TPK'd, its not a matter of balance,

You could also walk outside and get hit by a falling star.  Long odds are long.  A TPK from a balanced encounter is rare.

I'm okay with the dice remaining relevant and swingy, just up the hitpoints at the front end to compensate for that. The alternate idea of just granting a HP kicker at lower levels is a perfectly fine solution too, I'm not saying my solution is the only solution, I like mine and find it simple and elegant, but others might find it a bit cumbersome I guess. As was stated though, my method keeps up the relative HP values of the Fighter compared to the Wizard (wiz is at about 70% overall) but keeps the ending values lower and under control, while giving the tough starting levels a little more oomph.

A party should not be immune from dying to a balanced encounter.  It should be rare, but it should be possible.

Shoot, once the PCs are taking on Cosmic level threats, I think that's when the chance of dying should be amplified, once their characters are established and they've had a good run, made a name for themselves, and are uppity enough to take on Gods and Tarrasques and Elder Dragons...

Those should be harder fights, yes.

This is all many of us (and I mean MANY, not a small minority from what I've seen) are asking for

And I have no problem with a module to give you what you want.

Don't back away from your own statements now.

I didn't.  There was nothing to back away from.

You think we should only get a module if it's easy to make. That means, whether you like what it means or not, that we're not important. By definition, if someone should only be done if it's easy, that thing isn't important.

No.  It means that it isn't as important as some other things.  It doesn't mean that it isn't important.

And if you call me names again, I'm going to report it.  I won't tolerate that sort of behavior aimed at me.  If you can't act like an adult in a conversation, don't get involved in the conversation.

I'm okay with the dice remaining relevant and swingy, just up the hitpoints at the front end to compensate for that. The alternate idea of just granting a HP kicker at lower levels is a perfectly fine solution too, I'm not saying my solution is the only solution, I like mine and find it simple and elegant, but others might find it a bit cumbersome I guess. As was stated though, my method keeps up the relative HP values of the Fighter compared to the Wizard (wiz is at about 70% overall) but keeps the ending values lower and under control, while giving the tough starting levels a little more oomph.

Why not just start at level 3?

you keep throwing that back in the mix...I have never started my campaigns past 1st level, I don't see why I should have to start now.

I want the characters to start at the beginning of their adventuring career, not midway through the milking season at the farm (Apprentice Tier).

Why don't you go play optional Tutorial levels if that's what you want, they throw around the Tradition and Nostalgia words all the time in this Betatest Forum to support things, well, 0-level support is tradition too. Every edition from 1e onward has had an optional MODULAR 0-level side set of rules come out. Why make this, something that obviously SCREAMS optional (hint: Tutorials are usually optional in games) should be the poster-child for what should be a Module, while the normal rank and file get to start at Lv 1, but with Heroic seeming characters...if you want Rocket-Tag, either use the optional Dial to dial down hitpoints at 1st, or start your Characters in the optional Apprentice Tier Module.

My main reasoning still stands firm too, compromise would say take the middle between extremes. then allow dialing up or down as needed, that would be giving more HPs than older editions, but less HPs than 4e, there have been several suggestions that fit this middle ground. Older editions had Wizards starting with as few as 1hp, and in some cases, a maximum of 6 (1d4 + Con Mod) and 4e had Wizards starting with 20 minimum (standard array smallest Con of 10, plus 10) and a Maximum of 28 (Standard array max of 16, then +2 stat mod possible) so starting somewhere between those two figures seems reasonable as a compromise for the base....I said bump Wizards to d6 hitdice, and give them 2 maxed at 1st, plus con mod, that's 11 (with a con of 8 giving -1) upto 16 hps to start (con of 18 giving +4) plus it also makes the HD mechanic a little better for healing (still nothing like surges, what its trying to replace) by giving 2 HD to start out with. The Fighter would start with 19 (with a con of 8, giving -1) to 24 (con of 18), when in older editions, the fighter could also have as low as 1hp (rolled a 1 on a d10) to a max of 14hps (10 on the d10, plus 4 for con) and in 4e, the fighter started with: 25-33 (Con+15)

I see this as reasonable compromise. Not an unreasonable ask, I'm not asking for 4e HPs (I'd be okay with them) I'm asking for a base in between older editions and 4e's totals, however you get them, add con score to HD roll, start with 2 HD plus mod, Add a Kicker to HPs @ lower levels, whatever method is used
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Ramzour
Joined Jun 2011
3643 Posts
What's so devastating about starting a campaign with the number "3" in the box for Level instead of the number "1"?

Confession Time: Sometimes I write Knife on my character sheets instead of Dagger.

I mean, why create a whole extra module, reverse engineering Level 1 characters into Level 0, when you can just start at Level 1 (and be relatively weak) then move your way up?

Level 1 is Level 1. Characters are supposed to be weak. If you don't want to play a weak character, then start at a higher level. Or....if you still want to play Level 1, but with more survivability, just have an optional module that increases the starting HP. That seems like the simplest solution to me.

I don't want some complicated twice HD initially then one HD every other level mumbo-jumbo.

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What's so devastating about starting a campaign with the number "3" in the box for Level instead of the number "1"?

Because level 3 then becomes the new floor.  Why not just make the third level "Level 1" when the game publishes and adjust levels 2-20 accordingly?

And to other commenters in this thread, if you always ensure your players prevail, then how can they ever lose?  What's the point of rolling dice at all in that case.  I tend to be a bit on the lethal side and TPKs are not uncommon.  My players adjust by using strategy and feat/power selection to mitigate the swing of die rolls and now a character death is usually the result of tactical error or really bad luck.  When I play a character I expect the same.

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What's so devastating about starting a campaign with the number "3" in the box for Level instead of the number "1"?

Because level 3 then becomes the new floor.  Why not just make the third level "Level 1" when the game publishes and adjust levels 2-20 accordingly?

And to other commenters in this thread, if you always ensure your players prevail, then how can they ever lose?  What's the point of rolling dice at all in that case.  I tend to be a bit on the lethal side and TPKs are not uncommon.  My players adjust by using strategy and feat/power selection to mitigate the swing of die rolls and now a character death is usually the result of tactical error or really bad luck.  When I play a character I expect the same.

This so much this!
Starting at Lv 1 is more welcoming to new players, and starting without Rocket-tag is also more welcoming to new players, and new players are vital to keep the game alive as well. If for no other reason than that, Lv 1 shouldn't be messed with. Level 0 is a long standing compromise for those who want D&D:The Plowboy experience. Sure, older editions had less HPs and more lethality by chance at Lv 1-3, however, this is also to be the Compromise edition, and that would be putting the HP total somewhere between older editions, and 4e's levels. I'm not saying, if my method is 'mumbo-jumbo-too complicated' for you that its the one you have to use, use a HP kicker, just add a set number to every total, like 10, at 1st level, or add full Con score instead of Con Mod at 1st level, and get rid of con mod as you advance, that's acceptable too, the point is, the default should be the mid-line between the extremes, not squarely along the side of the extremes, but hey, we'll recommend you start at 3rd if you like...that's lip service, we always had the option of starting at 3rd, and to many of us, that was never really an option, and it still isn't. We want a default option, to start at level 1, but with survivable characters!
Want continued support for 4e, check this out, 4e Lives and Breaths

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