A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    I see where youíre coming from. For me that opens out onto a larger discussion about to what extent D&D actually is a war game, which is complicated and I wonít go into itÖ but Iíll mention that Iíve largely stopped playing D&D and almost entirely stopped GMing itÖ because I wanted to play an RPG and not a war game.
    I've been in many groups (some D&D, others not) where we explicitly avoided metagaming on the premise that it was cheating and incompatible with roleplaying. Į\_(ツ)_/Į It just requires that everyone is on board that the goal is to roleplay, not win combat
    That's something everyone has to sign on during session zero, but it's totally doable.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    So, on the "if you are too tanky, the enemy will target someone else and there's no net benefit for the party" train of thought....
    Then the best tank would be someone naked and without any clear resistance. Opponents will always want to focus them, sparing everyone else.
    Downside: it costs a resurrection per fight

    I would say that if you make yourself immune to stuff there's always value for the party, even if it results in your teammates being targeted.
    First, it still protects you from area effects where everyone is targeted. Second, after your weaker teammate has succumbed, you are next in line, and you avoid losing a second party member.
    Third, one day your weaker teammate will alwo get resistances, and then the whole party will be more durable.

    Of course the proper way to tank is to be hard, AND to have abilities that make it difficult for your enemies ti ignore you. But that would be another topic entirely.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    So, on the "if you are too tanky, the enemy will target someone else and there's no net benefit for the party" train of thought....
    Then the best tank would be someone naked and without any clear resistance. Opponents will always want to focus them, sparing everyone else.
    Downside: it costs a resurrection per fight
    1) If the game has some level of ability for the tank to prevent others from engaging the squishier members, the value is maintained.
    2) This was A Thing in 4e. The optimal defense value for a tank was basically "just squishy enough that attacking the tank was better value than attacking something else and taking the punishment for ignoring the tank". That's also why tanks in 4e needed to have moderate damage capability - a tank that also didn't have the ability to punish monsters for ignoring them would... be ignored.

    In a situation where the tank has no ability to stop arbitrary targeting, the value of being too "tanky" is vastly decreased. For exactly the reason of "if you're too tanky, the enemy will target someone else".

    For "tanking" to be a worthwhile strategy in a game, you need survivability and the ability to draw fire. If the ability is not absolute, then the ability to draw fire is likely punishment-based, and so needs to be balanced against survivability.

    That was a lot of concepts all muddled together.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Jun 2015

    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    1) If the game has some level of ability for the tank to prevent others from engaging the squishier members, the value is maintained.
    2) This was A Thing in 4e. The optimal defense value for a tank was basically "just squishy enough that attacking the tank was better value than attacking something else and taking the punishment for ignoring the tank". That's also why tanks in 4e needed to have moderate damage capability - a tank that also didn't have the ability to punish monsters for ignoring them would... be ignored.

    In a situation where the tank has no ability to stop arbitrary targeting, the value of being too "tanky" is vastly decreased. For exactly the reason of "if you're too tanky, the enemy will target someone else".

    For "tanking" to be a worthwhile strategy in a game, you need survivability and the ability to draw fire. If the ability is not absolute, then the ability to draw fire is likely punishment-based, and so needs to be balanced against survivability.

    That was a lot of concepts all muddled together.
    Unless your tank just only ever fights while standing in doorways.

    In seriousness, this is part of why I like game systems with a very bold, broad-strokes approach to character abilities. If thereís a tanky class and it just has an ability that lets you goad an enemy so they get a penalty if they attack anyone else, and that class also has good defensive capabilities, thatís enough for me. And that can be the gameís sole ďtankĒ option and Iím satisfied that my optimal level of customisability has been reached there. A system that has a plethora of ways to achieve that dynamic is probably a system that emphasises crunchy tactical character-building over emergent storytelling in a way that I find a bit unappealing.

    That said, Iím typing this just before I head out to session zero of a Pathfinder 2 campaign, and Iím actually looking forward to navigating the labyrinthine character creation process, so maybe my preferences arenít as strong as I present them!

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    I mean, this is a sound argument for more bounded limits on defenses. Total immunity (and AC to high as to effectively be total immunity) gets the boot in favor of improved forms of immunity.
    Sorry, can you step me very slowly through that, as though a logic / geometry professor who hated you were grading your work? I'm not following how you got there.

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    So, on the "if you are too tanky, the enemy will target someone else and there's no net benefit for the party" train of thought....
    Then the best tank would be someone naked and without any clear resistance. Opponents will always want to focus them, sparing everyone else.
    Downside: it costs a resurrection per fight

    I would say that if you make yourself immune to stuff there's always value for the party, even if it results in your teammates being targeted.
    First, it still protects you from area effects where everyone is targeted. Second, after your weaker teammate has succumbed, you are next in line, and you avoid losing a second party member.
    Third, one day your weaker teammate will alwo get resistances, and then the whole party will be more durable.

    Of course the proper way to tank is to be hard, AND to have abilities that make it difficult for your enemies ti ignore you. But that would be another topic entirely.
    Although I agree with most of this, I'll point out that the naked troll is such a tank that generally *doesn't* require Resurrection.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Enemies should player according to their intelligence, the knowledge they have, and the general knowledge available.

    If wizards are common, it's not unreasonable for most people to know that wizards have some kind of magical shield thing that makes arrows miss. Of course, the response they have shouldn't be based on whether that particular wizard has the spell, as they have no way to know that.

    Targeting solid defenses is going to be case by case. There's really three situations for smart critters.

    1) the enemies have no info. Target whatever makes tactical sense without that info.
    2) The enemies have generic info. Probably avoid targeting the strong defenses, unless it's tactically worth it. Do this whether or not they actually have those defenses. Generic info is stuff like "he's got big armor, he's probably hard to hit and take down physically, but should be weaker to mind stuff unless he does that weird holy stuff" kind of thing. Or, "wizards can block arrows". So, yes, a wizard without Shield can benefit if it's generally believed that wizards have the Shield spell.
    3) The enemies have specific info. As above, but actually tailor it to the PC's actual defenses.

    I'm startled at the idea that monsters are played with omniscience or that a GM would design encounters to avoid the PC's immunities. Of course you want to include encounters which hit their weaknesses, but making that an "always thing" seems really weird to me. How common is it?
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  7. - Top - End - #67
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Jun 2015

    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    I'm startled at the idea that monsters are played with omniscience or that a GM would design encounters to avoid the PC's immunities. Of course you want to include encounters which hit their weaknesses, but making that an "always thing" seems really weird to me. How common is it?
    I donít think itís common but there are probably groups who really lean in to D&D as a war game, where there is a ďmetaĒ and knowing about it and playing accordingly is part of the game. I wouldnít take that approach myself, but I do have some sympathy for it because I honestly think thereís something about the design of this kind of RPG thatís likeÖ the game wants to be played that way. Iím less into d&d than I used to be for this exact reason.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Oct 2007

    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    IIRC, 4E kind of takes that approach. Not that you'd know all the stats in advance, but that if an enemy has an ability like:
    Spiky Ice: burst 3, anyone moving through the zone takes 1d6 per square and is slowed until the end of their turn, lasts for one minute or until melted (10 fire damage).

    Then when it uses that ability, you tell the players what it does. As opposed to "The ground become frozen with spikes of ice sticking up," and then only revealing the effects when somebody triggers it.

    And I can see the reasoning, although it is a trade off. While info-gathering and concealment can be part of the tactical game, there usually isn't enough time to do so during the fight. So quite often, uncertain factors just get ignored in favor of using generally-good abilities. While revealing that all at the start reduces the surprise factor, it makes it more likely that people will engage with the specific situation rather than just avoid it and hope for the best.

    I think the value of concealed information is more when you have either a recurring foe, or a series of foes who all use the same type of ability. For example, if you're on a quest to stop the Jack Frost Cult from summoning their icy ruler, and you're going to be up against dozens of foes who have spiky ice abilities, then discovering how those abilities work over time is interesting. But if it's only a single battle against a lone ice wizard, PCs are likely going to gank first and ask questions never.

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Oct 2013

    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    And I can see the reasoning, although it is a trade off. While info-gathering and concealment can be part of the tactical game, there usually isn't enough time to do so during the fight. So quite often, uncertain factors just get ignored in favor of using generally-good abilities. While revealing that all at the start reduces the surprise factor, it makes it more likely that people will engage with the specific situation rather than just avoid it and hope for the best.
    You actually bring up a great point. Niche abilities are sometimes even wasted when the specific situation they are designed to solve shows up because other blanket general skills are safer when the outcome is uncertain.

    Take 5e's "Protection from Poison" for example. It is a great spell to have if you fight through a lair of poisonous spiders. But there your DM goes and makes stuff "interesting", the dolt. Suddenly the first three spiders are poisonous, the bigger "bruisers" just have a nasty bite attack and can teleport on short range, and the dungeon boss is a fire-based mechanical demon spider.

    Suddenly, generalist spells like "Enhance Ability: Bear's Endurance" or "Lesser Restoration" once again trump the specific spell of "Protection from Poison". Plus, a meta-gaming "monster manual fan" (vs. chad story enjoyer ) has a certain leg up here, as he would know spiders come on more shapes than "big" and "poisonous" in this game.

    Of course this turns the topic on its head, because players are allowed to prepare for certain fights and some classes exceedingly NEED TO in order to maintain their power during such fights. But PCs are specialists who fight against generalist monsters. Maybe that is the actual point I am trying to make.

    If you know Tucker's kobolds, you know how flipping dangerous specialist monsters can be (for the uninitiated, basically a horrible gauntlet of ambushes created from ambush and trap experts, who suck at open combat and thus have a piss poor creature rating), but I feel even without specifically preparing for player characters, sometimes specialist enemies are key to intense fights.

    Many iconic D&D monsters (barring dragons) are specialists. Liches are arcane spellcasters and necromancers. Beholders are vision based enemies with dangerous anti-magic capability. Illithids attack the mind. Orcs and goblins revel in horde battles (goblins in Pathfinder are actually most dangerous if they use the help action on each other, making sure one of them hits every turn), werewolves are bruisers that heal from anything unless specifically prepared for.

    No one remembers the fight where they fought twenty generic dretch mobs or orcs and goblins who do not coordinate. People remember liches, and dragons and illithids.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Mendicant's Avatar

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    Default Re: How often do you target "good saves" or "immunities" on players

    Regularly. It's not always "organic" either; sometimes I put in enemies I know are going to fall flat on their face specifically because a gimme fight is fun. I also like making very difficult encounters that almost require a player or two to abuse a schtick or immunity just to get everyone to the other side in one piece.

    In general I try to aim for a plausible world with scenarios and tactics that arise from the kinds of roleplaying decisions most people in this thread are talking about, but there's no escaping the knowledge I have of the PCs capabilities entirely. Rather than trying to wrestle with metagaming all the time, it can be fun to lean into it a bit.

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