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Rahz

D&D 5th - Boring monsters?

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On 1/30/2020 at 5:54 PM, PaganMegan said:

For a while the Tome of Beasts from Kobold was outselling the 5e Monster Manual by a lot.

 

People RREEAALLYY liked it. ::):

 

One of those where for about a month after release sales were CLIMBING, word of mouth advertising at its best.

Given that it is twice as thick as the Monster Manual, and roughly the same price....

 

The Auld Grump

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Also keep in mind that groups play differently.  I find myself having to hobble most of the monsters in the MM to avoid TPK.  The group is new and still learning some of the ropes but everything we've hit So far that hasn't been mindless has been pretty challenging.  The abilities  are with the bosses not the mooks but even they have something special.  Take the lowly goblin  it's got a melee attack, ranged attack and a disengage special that lets it dance away from combat, letting then dance away from tanks and chase the squishes all over the board Bennie Hill style.  Kobolds have an ability to gang up and even bandits have a bunch of specials you can mix into the combat.  

 

But keep in mind I found 4e super annoying so I like my combat simpler

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By most accounts, 5e has found a good compromise. ::):

 

There are issues that... annoy me... so it is unlikely that I will ever run it, but it in no way annoys me to the level of 4e D&D or PF2. (Gods above and below, I wanted to like PF2.)

 

The Auld Grump

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5 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

By most accounts, 5e has found a good compromise. ::):

 

There are issues that... annoy me... so it is unlikely that I will ever run it, but it in no way annoys me to the level of 4e D&D or PF2. (Gods above and below, I wanted to like PF2.)

 

The Auld Grump

I’m very curious about your PF2 comments as many of my group have started reading it and they are VERY excited about it.   It is likely that our next game will be run in PF2... 

guess I have some research to do. 

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44 minutes ago, Rahz said:

I’m very curious about your PF2 comments as many of my group have started reading it and they are VERY excited about it.   It is likely that our next game will be run in PF2... 

guess I have some research to do. 

The kindest term I can use is 'It Stinks On Ice'.

 

Character generation takes longer, only to end up with a character that is less competent in every way from PF1.

 

Racial abilities are now handled with feats, and feats are in limited supply, so you end up buying most over time instead of, you know, playing a freakin' dwarf! from the beginning.

 

Instead of points buy, you gather the ability scores via the characters background - meaning that you have a bunch of overly complicated cookie cutters.

 

Character generation is more constrained, in a way that makes 4e seem disturbingly familiar.

 

Combat was likewise a miserable slog.

 

I will say that there were two things I liked, but not enough to use in my PF1 campaigns -

The way magic levels with the PCs rather than a whole bunch of similar spells at each level.

The action economy - simpler than the one in PF1, two actions and a reaction replacing Move, Attack, and Attacks of Opportunity. While I liked it, most of the rest of the group did not.

 

We stopped running the playtest when Megan gave me an ultimatum - if you think I don't like PF 2, you should listen to her - she plum despised it. *EDIT* Left to my own, I would have continued the playtest, hoping to steer it back to something we would actually like to play, but I love Megan more than the game, so... Nope!

 

Mind you - our experience was with the playtest - but that old saying that you only get one chance to make a good first impression - that first impression was a week old fish on a summer day.

 

We will likely never try PF2, because the experience of the playtest was entirely negative.

 

Not fun, with the distinct impression that they were just going through the motions with the playtest - at least until more than half the playtesters left in a single week, largely over Resonance. They took Resonance out, but only after first defending it - with universal reaction being 'No. It sucks' followed by two rather weak attempts to fix a mechanic that nobody wanted.

 

They had already decided what they wanted the game to be - and that game is one that we do not want to play.

 

Given the reaction of several 3rd party publishers - including Frog God - we are by no means alone in this assessment.

 

*EDIT* I can only speak to local sales - but the three words that sum it up, sales wise, from the local Books A Million - Flop, Flopping, Flopped. They actually wound up returning most of the copies of the PF2 Playtest edition, and the final product is not doing well, either - a few months ago it was outsold by Mutant City Blues, which is a great game, but not exactly a best seller.

 

*EDIT 2* Also telling - nearly all the reviews for the game are clustered around August, 2019 - it got buzz as a new release, and then nada.

 

The Auld Grump

Edited by TheAuldGrump
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9 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

 

Thank you for your thoughts.  Will have to have a closer look before I let them drag me off in that direction...

 

Now, back to my original thread... 

 

Played through a few more sessions.  I think I will be adding more Legendary actions and perhaps Lair actions to some of the encounters that I want to be a bit more memorable, even if they are with baseline creatures.  Adding the extra actions here and there to the action has kept the players on their toes without adding too much bookkeeping. 

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Trust me, he is understating how much I HATED the playtest.

 

We had a chance to look at the finished product at the retreat.

 

They kept all the elements I hated most.

 

It is FULL of NOPE!

 

Character generation more than play, but the play was nothing to write home about, either.

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If the PCs are fighting a creature or creatures in their own "home", give it lair actions. That adds another layer to the fight and you can do this with pretty much any level of creature.
I also have Tome of Beasts and Creature Codex. I don't especially enjoy combat so I try and choose an interesting variety of creatures as well as try and balance combat and other types of encounters. In my efforts last session, my group fought a drowned maiden and diseased giant rats in a room filled with 3 feet of water and two pillars. That was fun. The next main area was a room with around a foot of water and then they descended into a submerged chamber with locked chests and cabinets. In the upper room, I had dipsas attack them. Not a single one passed the save to notice they were bitten. Each round I had the dipsas deal their damage and take the hide action. It took forever before one of the players was able to beat the dipsas' stealth with either passive perception or rolling perception. I almost killed a level 8 party with dipsas because none had terribly great perception combined with the fact none of them were rolling well! They were able to rid themselves of the dipsas, collect their treasure and continue to the next area where they found the decayed corpses of a party of adventurers. They are convinced the other group succumbed to dipsas!
So, there are interesting creatures that do different things, you just have to spend some time looking and sometimes modifying a bit to get more exciting encounters.

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