Redcoat
Posts: 68
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Re: 5e Character Balance and Journey (new dm)

Wed 22 Nov 2023, 03:49

Hey there Camcorder and other new LM's, I've been thinking about your post and I have some ideas for you.
My philosophy for running a game is that I ultimately have control over what happens, and if I or the players don't like what is happening I have total freedom to do something about it.
If the fight is too easy, then more opponents can always show up, but that is not usually the problem.
It takes some practice to get a good sense of what they can handle. It is ok to err on the side of having an opponent who may be too tough but have a safety net ready or fudge some dice if they can't handle it. You make adjustments next time and soon they don't need the safety net anymore.
Alternatively, you can deliberately create a situation that they can't win, let them come close to losing, but have an ally ready to save the day. It becomes part of the story and leads them to the next phase of the adventure.
I am not going to let the players get killed. I might let them come close... but if things are going badly, Tom Bombadil isn't far off, or whoever is in the neighborhood. I have control over who gets attacked and I can spread the love around if need be. And if you want to fudge the dice because it will make the story more interesting then go ahead and fudge the dice. I think a good outcome is that half of the party are getting close to being knocked out but they win.
If their party does not have a scholar with healing skills then you can run one as an NPC. I always run an NPC as a support player and I get in on the action with them. The NPC can take one for the team or patch them up after the fight.
Another option if they are losing a fight is to have them get taken prisoner, and work out a scenario to let them escape.
The session doesn't need to revolve around a boss battle or a big fight. It's fun to throw in some action and the boss is there to cap things off but the session is about letting the players work through the problem they are facing and letting them be heroes.
 
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JLandan
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 20 Jul 2023, 00:48
Location: Los Angeles area

Re: 5e Character Balance and Journey (new dm)

Thu 23 Nov 2023, 00:23

Even with an "Easy" combat scenario, if you don't fudge the dice (I don't), even a fairly weak enemy can take a level 1 player-hero from FULL HP to ZERO with a single hit. It happened to a 5 player company I was taking through their initial trial of LOTR 5e recently. We were about 5 hours in and everyone was about ready to end the session anyway, but it kind of put a downer on what had been a great session. It was the player's first time with any RPG game and she had actually done very well with her decision making. The worst part is with the 5e edition's almost total lack of any way to raise hit points by a meaningful amount at level 1 after a journey to a wilderness location, the risk of continuing to explore the ruins would be pretty high after that happened (even though the CORE book says the site is suitable for a Level 1 company). I think I would start the next session (if there is one) by promoting them all to Level 2 right off the bat.
Did no one suggest a short rest and spending hit dice to heal, or even a long rest after such an arduous journey before going into the ruins?
 
Standforth
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 04:06

Re: 5e Character Balance and Journey (new dm)

Thu 23 Nov 2023, 04:33

LOTR 5e doesn't allow a long rest unless at a refuge, essentially impossible right after a journey to a wilderness area. Other than that, I would have hinted at a short rest but the group was ready to call it a night. The company did well in the fight, the hit that knocked out the one hero was the ONLY hit they took during the fight, it was just a max damage roll to a low HP level 1 hero.
 
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JLandan
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 20 Jul 2023, 00:48
Location: Los Angeles area

Re: 5e Character Balance and Journey (new dm)

Fri 24 Nov 2023, 21:33

House rule for my table: Once they are out of the journey phase and into the adventuring phase, the rule of no long rests no longer applies. They may camp a distance away from the ruins and take a long rest, and enter the ruins the next day. Its common practice to stop short and rest before a battle.
 
Standforth
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 04:06

Re: 5e Character Balance and Journey (new dm)

Sat 25 Nov 2023, 18:19

Yes there is one sentence on p22 of the CORE book with some flexibility, "At the Loremaster’s discretion, a deserted but well-sheltered place in the wilds could also be suitable for a long rest". JLanden,I think your perspective is the best way to handle it now that I've run a few sessions.

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