Larian Studios
Posted By: 1varangian "Help" vs. tough enemies - 04/08/22 01:44 PM
So I marched into the Owlbear cave without spell slots. Thought I'd see if I can just cheese it somehow. Party of 3: Oghmar (Dwarf Cleric of Moradin), Shadowheart, Gale.

Fight goes:

Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers, Owlbear dies.

How has this stupidity persisted for 8 patches? I should have lost, but instead it was the Owlbear who never stood a chance. How do mechanics like this not get fixed? It felt just as stupid as it looked.

Nevermind that the brightly lit area of the lair was considered "obscured".
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 04/08/22 02:33 PM
Unfortunately, in the D&D 5e system, there is no penalty for getting downed and healing is much more effective at bringing someone back from 0 to X HP rather than X to Y HP. You see this "whack-a-mole" situation occurring in PnP 5e mainly with Healing Word since it is only a bonus action, but of course is limited by the amount of spell slots to cast Healing Word.

This situation is dumb in PnP 5e, but Larian's decision to allow the "Help" action to restore a downed ally to positive HP makes it so much worse. It means it is impossible for a party to lose against enemy(s) with a number of attacks less than or equal to half the party size. Larian should fix this, by one or both of:
- having the Help action just stabilize a downed enemy upon a successful medicine check
- by giving downed characters successive penalties each time they go down before a long rest. E.g., gain a level of exhaustion each time you're downed. Once you get 6 levels of exhaustion you die; a short rest restores 1 level; a long rest restores all. Or maybe failed death saving throws persist throughout the day. Something.

Note: I'm not totally sure that Help still brings characters to 1hp, since I refuse to use it in my playthroughs. If it actually only stabilizes PCs (and enemies still focus those downed PCs), then it still should at least require a successful medicine check so that it's not guaranteed.
Posted By: Wormerine Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 04/08/22 02:34 PM
I do find lighting to be not very informative. I hope it is work in progress as Larian keeps working on the lighting system, and in final release visual light/dark will correspond to being well lit/obscured.

Yeah, it's one of those mechanics that makes it super difficult to die, unless the enemy can down majority of your party in one swoop in between your turns.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 04/08/22 03:50 PM
I like how there's a bit of a buffer between unconscious and dying, more so than in previous editions of D&D.

That said, bringing back downed PC's is too effective in 5e, and Larian just cranked that cheese to 11 by making it an action available to anyone and introducing thrown healing potions.

I'm all for both fatigue / cumulative penalties for getting downed AND Medicine checks that only stabilize the dying. And removing the ridiculous potion throwing. Downed PC's should stay down and it should be something to avoid at all costs. Powerful magical healing should be required to bring someone back into the fight.
Posted By: AusarViled Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 12:28 AM
its fine as it is. If you want to stabilize instead of revive with "help" leave it exclusivly to tactician mode. Reviving is just a cost sink from that annoying zombie thing. I rather not waste my time, hence help exists. It saves a lot of time
Posted By: JandK Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 12:32 AM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers, Owlbear dies.


Guy goes to the doctor and says, "Doc, every time I punch myself in the face, I get a bruise."

Doctor says, "Why don't you stop punching yourself in the face?"

*

I guess what I'm saying is--and I mean this sincerely--if you don't like the mechanic, why do you keep using it turn after turn?
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 05:48 AM
As can be seen in that list, sometimes using help will result in getting multiple attacks in on the owlbear, because the owlbear misses. So it's objectively more beneficial to keep using help, however tedious it is. The choice is to do a tedious thing that will help you eventually win, or consciously lose out on a source of damage for the rest of the fight without any tangible benefit. If the only benefit to not helping is that you don't have to engage with an annoying mechanic, and not helping could potentially cost you the combat, because now you're down a damage dealer and the owlbear is likely to turn its attention to another target, then the mechanic itself is bad and needs some kind of alteration.
Posted By: JandK Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 06:02 AM
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
If the only benefit to not helping is that you don't have to engage with an annoying mechanic, and not helping could potentially cost you the combat, because now you're down a damage dealer and the owlbear is likely to turn its attention to another target, then the mechanic itself is bad and needs some kind of alteration.

I don't think I understand what you're saying. Is this what you mean?

Example:

"I don't like this mechanic."

--then why do you use the mechanic?

"Because it helps me win."

--but you don't want the mechanic in the game?

"Correct."

--what would happen in that fight if the mechanic weren't in the game?

"I would lose the fight."

--so you would rather lose the fight than have the mechanic in the game?

"That's right."

--then why do you use the mechanic?

"Because it helps me win."
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 06:09 AM
I have mixed feeling about this. The OP did a good job at portraying a situation where this works poorly, however if we want to do it justice - there are a lot of fights where you'd get screwed for pursuing that strategy. A big beast is not always a tough enemy. A sole enemy is not always cheesable. Try this strategy against spectator and you are doomed. Try this against bullete and you are doomed. I bet it might work with grym, not sure though. There are not even that many fights like that, where you are against a single powerful enemy. So we can agree that using help to bring back allies to 1 hp is as you say 'stupid' in this particular scenario. But is it stupid in general? Is it stupid in a githyanki fight? Is it stupid in a duergar fight in the underdark? Is it stupid in the gnoll fight? I doubt it. May be we should address the enemy and its behavior rather than the whole mechanic that works fine everywhere else
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 06:21 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
If the only benefit to not helping is that you don't have to engage with an annoying mechanic, and not helping could potentially cost you the combat, because now you're down a damage dealer and the owlbear is likely to turn its attention to another target, then the mechanic itself is bad and needs some kind of alteration.

I don't think I understand what you're saying. Is this what you mean?

Example:

"I don't like this mechanic."

--then why do you use the mechanic?

"Because it helps me win."

--but you don't want the mechanic in the game?

"Correct."

--what would happen in that fight if the mechanic weren't in the game?

"I would lose the fight."

--so you would rather lose the fight than have the mechanic in the game?

"That's right."

--then why do you use the mechanic?

"Because it helps me win."

Yeah, that's it pretty much. In my experience it's harder to make a choice to let yourself lose. If the option is out of your hands entirely, then you can put it down to either not enough skill on your part, bad luck, etc. But opting to just not use it entirely means that you're actively hurting your own chance to win. You're not losing because you don't have enough skill, you're losing because you didn't want to deal with an annoying mechanic. I don't think most people would consider that a satisfying loss. You don't come away feeling as though you gained more experience or system mastery from it, because you know exactly what you could have done to win, you just didn't want to deal with the tedium. And if the only benefit to making a choice is because you don't want to deal with a mechanic, then the mechanic probably needs a second look.

To go back to your prior example, it's not going to the doctor and complaining about getting bruised every time you punch yourself in the face. It's going to the doctor and complaining that punching yourself in the face is curing your stomach aches.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 06:39 AM
The thing is that owlbear is not by any means a very hard enemy. At least it didn't feel that way to me. It might be that we are leaning in a direction with all this "impossible fight that I need to overcome by tedious cheesing" while it isn't even applicable - for owlbeat fight is nothing but easy. I wonder if we try to create a problem out of nowhere here. Because, again, one example of the OP just happens to prove his point, but is hardly convincing to call the whole mechanic problematic

Upd: by easy I mean that even when giving advice to a struggling player I'd suggest anything rather than the above-mentioned cheese. This fight has sooo many solutions to it, that are not tedious.
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 06:51 AM
Speaking from my own experience, the fight has always been challenging to me. It's been the kind challenging I could figure out, but it's definitely on the hard end of the spectrum for me, with the Githyanki fight being a whole other beast that I've given up even trying anymore.
Posted By: zamo Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 06:56 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
If the only benefit to not helping is that you don't have to engage with an annoying mechanic, and not helping could potentially cost you the combat, because now you're down a damage dealer and the owlbear is likely to turn its attention to another target, then the mechanic itself is bad and needs some kind of alteration.

I don't think I understand what you're saying. Is this what you mean?

Example:

"I don't like this mechanic."

--then why do you use the mechanic?

"Because it helps me win."

--but you don't want the mechanic in the game?

"Correct."

--what would happen in that fight if the mechanic weren't in the game?

"I would lose the fight."

--so you would rather lose the fight than have the mechanic in the game?

"That's right."

--then why do you use the mechanic?

"Because it helps me win."

I see your point but consider this. The special weapon attack that Larian added the game. I don't like the mechanic and I don't use it (mostly because I forget it exists). I don't lose anything by not using it because it is a completely extra mechanic that Larian homebrewed. Regular weapon attacks work just fine without that. So I am not complaining about that feature. It is fine, it exists and it does not bother me.

For that help action, Larian changed the original mechanic. By not using it, you don't have access to original mechanic and Larian's version of it. The complaint here is about the change. I don't have the option to ignore it or use the version I like.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 08:03 AM
Someone getting knocked out and woken up 7 times in the same fight is stupid no matter what. I don't care if it's only cheesable when there's one or two enemies. I don't want to see combat turn into whac-a-mole.

A much better system would be one that had some actual use for the Medicine skill and where having characters knocked out would have meaningful tactical consequences.
Posted By: lamaros Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 09:01 AM
"just pretend you can't do X" is one of the worst responses to people raising legitimate points going around.

Don't like shove? Don't use it? Don't like stealth bonus action? Don't use it! Don't like..

At some point the game should function well when people are playing the... You know... Actual game, not having to make up their own rules for everything to try and make the experience better.

This mechanic is one of them, and something simple like a cumulative count per combat after which a character dies is a pretty simple and reasonable one.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 09:07 AM
Okay, okay, I get it, no need to get so pressing with your wants and wishes laugh
But pleeease, avoid these "something is something, period" rethorics...
What you find stupid, I find hilarious! Some people watch movies and play games from a standpoint of realism and common sense, some play them for sheer entertainment. Why won't we just stop somewhere in between? I will be very sad if help is reworked, because I use a whac-a-mole (thats very funny by the way) strategy in a fight vs cambions on the nautiloid! It is always good fun...
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 09:10 AM
Just one question - how is dying and losing a fight for good a better experience? xD
I think that the whole "problem" we discuss here will be partially solved by the game difficulties in the future. If you want a good 'experience' you can adjust the difficulty to feat your needs, if you want to 'struggle and overcome' then by all means - keep your party members on the brink of death and win against the overwhelming odds! Am I wrong on this one?
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 09:17 AM
Originally Posted by neprostoman
Okay, okay, I get it, no need to get so pressing with your wants and wishes laugh
But pleeease, avoid these "something is something, period" rethorics...
What you find stupid, I find hilarious! Some people watch movies and play games from a standpoint of realism and common sense, some play them for sheer entertainment. Why won't we just stop somewhere in between? I will be very sad if help is reworked, because I use a whac-a-mole (thats very funny by the way) strategy in a fight vs cambions on the nautiloid! It is always good fun...
This is why it would have been necessary to have difficulty modes in EA. While something silly or OP you like pretty much ruins the game for me, I wouldn't want to take away your fun. And it's pointless to discuss features that Larian are planning to sort through different game modes. But we don't know what they are planning. I do know a lot of time would have been saved and a lot of pointless arguing would have been avoided if people could have been playing EA on Normal / Story / Core Rules settings.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 09:23 AM
I am all-in for highly adjustable settings and rules, so everyone can find what fits them best!
Posted By: Wormerine Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 10:36 AM
Originally Posted by neprostoman
The thing is that owlbear is not by any means a very hard enemy. At least it didn't feel that way to me. It might be that we are leaning in a direction with all this "impossible fight that I need to overcome by tedious cheesing" while it isn't even applicable - for owlbeat fight is nothing but easy. I wonder if we try to create a problem out of nowhere here. Because, again, one example of the OP just happens to prove his point, but is hardly convincing to call the whole mechanic problematic.
I did find the scenario that OP described to happen more often then not when I am in loosing situation. Often enough for me to put it into one bag with push/stealth as sloppily designed, abusable mechanic. I did have an encounter in trhe underdark tower, where Laez did all the work while remaining 3 party members kept resurecting each other over and over again. The are exceptions - like gith patrol as they have an ability to down majority of your party before you get to move. But in an even matchup, "help" seems to me to be a major, abusable advantage over the enemies.

I do wonder how problematic the mechanic will remain on higher level - with multi attack being more common resurrecting with 1hp might not be as beneficial as it is now.

Based on the content we have, I would lean toward “help” not resurrecting fallen comrades and forcing players to use healing spells or items if they want to do so. It’s difficult to say how the game will work in the long run, with more attacks and AoE spells to deal with.

All that being said, help is near bottom of my concerns - it’s a sloppy design that pops up fairly rarely in my gameplay.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 10:52 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
why do you keep using it turn after turn?
Wanna advice from someone who was on your path in the past?
Dont go there, you only cause yourself a headache and they never accept it anyway ... they just do it bcs they want to do it ... therefore they need system restrictions, bcs they simply dont want to control themselves.

Its that easy. smile
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 10:57 AM
Later when enemies have more attacks and dish out enough damage to kill and not just down, the problem will be a new one. The nice unconscious buffer 5e has that is meant to save PCs from dying no longer works. Cheap resurrections are pretty lame from a narrative point of view so I really like that the unconscious state exists to protect the PCs from dying all the time.

Another problem is the AI that keeps attacking downed PCs. From a tactical point of view it makes no sense to waste attacks on unconscious targets when there are other enemies still trying to kill you. Unless of course you know reviving them to full combat capacity, albeit at 1hp, is just an easy action available to anyone and no one actually ever stays down. But that's the problem this whole thing started from. And it's much more metagamey than logical.
Posted By: Icelyn Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 11:36 AM
I usually use healing spells or healing potions instead of help.
Posted By: Madscientist Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 12:11 PM
Originally Posted by Icelyn
I usually use healing spells or healing potions instead of help.

Well, spells and potions cost resources while help does not.
Sure it cost you an action, but unless you have a very powerful potion or spell or the enemy is very weak the party member will go down with the next hit anyway.

If you are cynical you could argue that attacking downed party members shows how clever enemies are because they know other party members can bring them up any time infinitely.
The AI has learned that focussed fire on downed party members increases your chances to win.
Or maybe enemies are programmed to attack the party member with least HP and zero is less than any positive value.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 12:30 PM
Originally Posted by Madscientist
If you are cynical you could argue that attacking downed party members shows how clever enemies are because they know other party members can bring them up any time infinitely.

Yeah this is a double, or actually triple failure. First they make a system where the player has an unfair advantage over enemies, being able to bring back downed PC's indefinitely with no resource cost or other penalty attached. Then they fix this unfair advantage they created by making enemies act all suicidal and unfair against the player by doing their best to finish off PC's who are already incapacitated. Then they fix that mess by making cheap resurrections available. Which undermines a setting where death and murder is at the center of the story, making death, including being incinerated in a river of lava, feel like a minor inconvenience. And all of this starts going wrong from the top from a simple "Help" action doing what magical healing does, indefinitely and for free.

Bringing back downed PC's during combat should only be possible with magical healing, and even so they should suffer some sort of fatigue. Perhaps only on Hard or Core Rules difficulty, but still.
Posted By: JandK Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by lamaros
"just pretend you can't do X" is one of the worst responses to people raising legitimate points going around.

Don't like shove? Don't use it? Don't like stealth bonus action? Don't use it! Don't like..

At some point the game should function well when people are playing the... You know... Actual game, not having to make up their own rules for everything to try and make the experience better.

This mechanic is one of them, and something simple like a cumulative count per combat after which a character dies is a pretty simple and reasonable one.

Just looks like an excuse to bitch about something to me.

"Look at this thing I keep doing that I don't want to do."

Okay, whatever.

*

How is it substantially different from: "The game allows six character, but only use four if you only want four."
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 02:54 PM
May be it could be done in a way that on easy difficulty you need to pass a medicine check of 0, on normal a check of 5 and so on hmm
Posted By: Tuco Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Just looks like an excuse to bitch about something to me.
Of course it does, because you are you and self-awareness is not really your big thing.

From when you joined this forum you have done nothing but belittle, dismiss and scoff at people for having unfavorable opinions about aspects of the game, in a fairly misguided attempt to play the role of Larian's police.
How is that not "bitching" in itself is not really clear.

That aside, as some have already pointed to you several times, it shouldn't be the player's task to apply self-restrain from using the most optimal solution to come on top of a fight (i.e. "No, I think I'll let this companion die, otherwise it's too easy to save him").
It should be the job of a designer to notice the holes in the system and patch them out.

In this case, for instance, a simple and effective solution would be to limit how much you can "help" a character getting up (i.e. three times) before the next one becomes an instant kill ("accumulation of injuries").


Quote
How is it substantially different from: "The game allows six character, but only use four if you only want four."

In a million ways.
For one, one is leveraging a mechanical exploit that could be easily solved, the other is deliberately choosing with what (and how many) companion you want to go through your adventure. Maybe even solo.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 03:12 PM
Originally Posted by Icelyn
I usually use healing spells or healing potions instead of help.
This is what I want to see. Required use of resources (consumables or spell slots) to get people back into the fight.

I would like to play against the game, not against myself or the UI via forcing myself to not use options that are shown directly on my screen.

Also, Larian theoretically designs encounters with all the mechanics in mind. Honestly, the contribution of the Help action probably doesn't play that much into encounter difficulty, but it might play a small part. A Larian employee/Swen might playtest a fight, make use of the Help action to cheese it and win, and thus conclude that the fight is fine - tough but doable (or maybe even too easy). I don't want fights to be balanced around mechanics I consider unfun/cheesy/breaking immersion - help, shove instakill, stealth exploits, etc.
Posted By: JandK Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 09:16 PM
Originally Posted by Tuco
Originally Posted by JandK
Just looks like an excuse to bitch about something to me.
Of course it does, because you are you and self-awareness is not really your big thing.

From when you joined this forum you have done nothing but belittle, dismiss and scoff at people for having unfavorable opinions about aspects of the game, in a fairly misguided attempt to play the role of Larian's police.
How is that not "bitching" in itself is not really clear.

That aside, as some have already pointed to you several times, it shouldn't be the player's task to apply self-restrain from using the most optimal solution to come on top of a fight (i.e. "No, I think I'll let this companion die, otherwise it's too easy to save him").
It should be the job of a designer to notice the holes in the system and patch them out.

In this case, for instance, a simple and effective solution would be to limit how much you can "help" a character getting up (i.e. three times) before the next one becomes an instant kill ("accumulation of injuries").


Quote
How is it substantially different from: "The game allows six character, but only use four if you only want four."

In a million ways.
For one, one is leveraging a mechanical exploit that could be easily solved, the other is deliberately choosing with what (and how many) companion you want to go through your adventure. Maybe even solo.


You say it's different in a million ways. I say it's different in one. In that you don't like one option, but you do like the other.

After all, it "shouldn't be the player's task to self-restrain" down to four players instead of six when the "most optimal" approach to combat is using six characters.

As for your insight into self-awareness, I'm afraid I'm not impressed with an argument that says "complaining about complaining is complaining, so hah!" That said, I would ask--again--that you try to have a conversation without slinging personal attacks about people's memory or self-awareness or whatever other insult that translates to "they disagree with you."

Thank you.
Posted By: Wormerine Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 10:30 PM
Dudes and dudetess.

Don't feed the troll.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 10:56 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
You say it's different in a million ways. I say it's different in one. In that you don't like one option, but you do like the other.

After all, it "shouldn't be the player's task to self-restrain" down to four players instead of six when the "most optimal" approach to combat is using six characters.
"The Help action brings downed characters back to 1 hp, but don't use it if you don't want" is different from "The game allows 6 characters, but only use four if you want four" in a lot of ways.

  • The "Help" action being implemented as such prevents playing a certain way (e.g., a way where you can't just easily heal any downed ally, but you can still attempt to stabilize them), whereas an optional variable party size doesn't prevent playing a certain way.
  • There are positives and negatives to 4-vs-6-person parties. A 6 person party offers more flexibility and additional party banter, but requires more work managing them - both UI-wise and possibly getting them all to approve of you. However, the Help Action restoring allies to 1 HP is a strict positive since enemies don't typically get Death STs and would often attacked downed/stabilized allies anyway. Not using it is a strict combat nerf.
  • Ideally, the game can be balanced for all party sizes via scaled exp (or other solution), so a 6-person party wouldn't be the optimal solution. This ties into the above point; the Help Action would still be the optimal choice in many situations.
  • BG3 currently allows for 1-3 player-parties. This is fine, because it is a quantitative change in playstyle AND clearly not the intended experience. Similarly, having an optional 6-person party would be equally as not-intended. Not using the Help action, however, would be going against the intended experience and would be a quantitative change, completely ignoring a mechanic instead of just having less or more of it.


You are correct that, if 6 players is strictly superior option, it shouldn't be the player's task to self-restrain down to 4 players. For this reason, the option to play with 6 should need to be manually turned on in the game settings, and not be available in-game without doing so. Having players opt-in to a broken system is much better than continually forcing players to opt-out of a broken system. It matters what the default is.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 11:24 PM
I think what was meant by the party of 6 is that you can recruit 4 characters and reject other and play only with those 4, OR you could do a little switcheroo here and there to experience all 6 companions. But I might be wrong in my interpretation.
Posted By: Ranxerox Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 05/08/22 11:48 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Someone getting knocked out and woken up 7 times in the same fight is stupid no matter what. I don't care if it's only cheesable when there's one or two enemies. I don't want to see combat turn into whac-a-mole.

A much better system would be one that had some actual use for the Medicine skill and where having characters knocked out would have meaningful tactical consequences.

+1
Posted By: 7d7 Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 07/08/22 10:19 AM
"Help" isn't into dnd. And yes it trivialises the encounter when you can simply healing word as a bonus action with Shadowheart.

Help is however often in tactical RPG and I understand why Larian would want something like this to help the players having a familiar mechanics.

I have would opt to go the middle path and replace help with stabilize (e.g. xcom) another tactical RPG standard that stop player from bleeding out, is more realistic (not everyone is a cleric), and not game breaking.

I would also introduce the throw potion healing mechanics into the tutorial somehow to make them familiar with it.
Posted By: Niara Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 07/08/22 12:12 PM
Originally Posted by 7d7
"Help" isn't into dnd. And yes it trivialises the encounter when you can simply healing word as a bonus action with Shadowheart.

Help is however often in tactical RPG and I understand why Larian would want something like this to help the players having a familiar mechanics.

I have would opt to go the middle path and replace help with stabilize (e.g. xcom) another tactical RPG standard that stop player from bleeding out, is more realistic (not everyone is a cleric), and not game breaking.

I would also introduce the throw potion healing mechanics into the tutorial somehow to make them familiar with it.

Stabilise - that is, you use your action to make sure the dying person is not dying, and won't have to make any more death saving throws (they don't regain consiousness, or any hit points, but they are no longer dying, and are 'sfe' until thehy nca be healed, or until they take damage again)... is literally what the D&D 5e rules have for helping a downed ally when you don't have potions or spells. In 5e there is a medicine check involved, so it's possible to fail to stabilise the party member, and I'd happily accept forgoing that check and making stabilise a simple action that just works, in the video game setting, butt other than that, that's actually the ruleset that Larian decided to ignore and not implement.

Healing word doesn't trivialise encounters because it's a limited resource that you're spending, and every spell slot you spend on healing word is one more that you don't have for stronger healing, buffs, or damage-dealing.
Posted By: The_Red_Queen Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 07/08/22 02:42 PM
Originally Posted by Niara
you use your (help) action to make sure the dying person is not dying, and won't have to make any more death saving throws (they don't regain consiousness, or any hit points) … I'd happily accept forgoing (a medicine) check and making stabilise a simple action that just works, in the video game setting … Healing word doesn't trivialise encounters because it's a limited resource that you're spending.

Agree on all points.
Posted By: Noraver Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 06:31 PM
The best way to go about it, in my opinion:

Normal Difficulty - Help restores 1 HP
Hard Difficulty - Help stabilizes an ally. Medicine Kits can be used in combat to grant 1 HP, or out of combat for a heal
Tactician - Medicine Kits can be used in combat to stabilize an ally in combat, or out of combat for a heal

Seems like a pretty fair way to go about it for each difficulty.
Posted By: fallenj Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 06:34 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
So I marched into the Owlbear cave without spell slots. Thought I'd see if I can just cheese it somehow. Party of 3: Oghmar (Dwarf Cleric of Moradin), Shadowheart, Gale.

Fight goes:

Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers
Owlbear misses both attacks, everyone attacks
Owlbear downs Oghmar, Gale "helps" Oghmar, Shadowheart stabs away with dual Daggers, Owlbear dies.

How has this stupidity persisted for 8 patches? I should have lost, but instead it was the Owlbear who never stood a chance. How do mechanics like this not get fixed? It felt just as stupid as it looked.

Nevermind that the brightly lit area of the lair was considered "obscured".

ROFL seriously why is this a thing still. Wonder if npcs still bombard the caster first round also. good times.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 06:58 PM
Originally Posted by Noraver
Normal Difficulty - Help restores 1 HP
Hard Difficulty - Help stabilizes an ally. Medicine Kits can be used in combat to grant 1 HP, or out of combat for a heal
Tactician - Medicine Kits can be used in combat to stabilize an ally in combat, or out of combat for a heal
Awfull idea ...

I dont quite understand why people are so fixated to this old (and frankly quite outdated) system, where everything need to be "intact part of difficiulty" ...
What if i want to use Medicine Kits, but dont want stronger enemies?

Isnt it much better when you have just difficiulty PROFILES, that can be adjusted with this being just optional setting so you can turn it on or off, regardless of what challenge you want from your combat?
Hint: It is! :P
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 07:16 PM
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Originally Posted by Noraver
Normal Difficulty - Help restores 1 HP
Hard Difficulty - Help stabilizes an ally. Medicine Kits can be used in combat to grant 1 HP, or out of combat for a heal
Tactician - Medicine Kits can be used in combat to stabilize an ally in combat, or out of combat for a heal
Awfull idea ...

I dont quite understand why people are so fixated to this old (and frankly quite outdated) system, where everything need to be "intact part of difficiulty" ...
What if i want to use Medicine Kits, but dont want stronger enemies?

Isnt it much better when you have just difficiulty PROFILES, that can be adjusted with this being just optional setting so you can turn it on or off, regardless of what challenge you want from your combat?
Hint: It is! :P
The best solution is that Larian balances each difficulty level based on a certain set of options, but then the player can individually change all/most settings to match their preferences.

Rag, you'd maybe choose "Normal Difficulty" but then individually change the Help/Medkit option to it's 2nd or 3rd state.
Or even you'd choose "Hard Difficulty," but then change enemy HP to 80% and give all enemies a -1 penalty to their attack rolls and STs, and give allies a +1 to their attack rolls.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 07:32 PM
I'll be happy with a Core Rules difficulty where the game plays exactly like 5e.

I'd like a good tactical challenge but through resource management / rest restrictions and removing easy cheese like "help". NOT through pumped enemy stats. I'm ok with more enemies but not enemies that have 50% more HP and deal 50% more damage or whatever nonsense like that.

Also not a fan of delving through a million toggles of game settings and having to make my own difficulty. "Core Rules" should be simple enough.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 07:39 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
The best solution is that Larian balances each difficulty level based on a certain set of options, but then the player can individually change all/most settings to match their preferences.
Exactly my point! ^_^
Posted By: grysqrl Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 07:43 PM
A general comment about playtesting games:
-It is the job of the designer and/or developer to create a set of rules and then pose a problem to the playtester.
-It is the job of the playtester to try anything and everything allowed within those rules to try to solve the problem and then report on what happened. This helps the designer to understand what is working well and what isn't.
-"I found this thing that you can do (or are incentivized to do, because it's good at solving the problem) and it feels bad" is useful feedback. A good designer should be trying to avoid situations that make their players feel bad.
-Telling people that their feelings are invalid because they can choose to not do that thing isn't helpful. They're doing what they're supposed to be doing and giving feedback on it.

My feelings with regards to exploits:
Combats in this game (from what I've seen) are pretty simple - if you want to progress in the game, you have to win the fight. There is no notion of failing forward; if you lose the fight, you die and have to load an old save. Therefore, winning the fight is paramount and it is expected to do anything that you can within the rules to kill your enemies. If I find a tactic like this that works, but feels like cheating, it makes me think less of the game. It isn't fun to be torn between progressing the story and feeling like you are exploiting an oversight in the rules. If winning at any cost weren't ingrained into the structure of the game, it would feel less necessary to rely on exploits. But stumbling on a tactic that works, even if it feels bad, usually means that I'm not searching for better tactics to use - a local maximum is often good enough. That's not fun. It's easy to say "just don't use that exploit," but I want to feel like I'm struggling to solve the problem, not holding back because an obvious answer feels like cheating.

My feelings on a larger, related issue:
Like many of the other exploits that have been pointed out in the past (e.g. bonus action projectile shove, hide shenanigans, attack advantage from height, etc.), this is an exploit that (nearly) every character can take advantage of. Some of the most powerful things in the game have nothing to do with the choices you've made about your character. Class features are severely diminished in the face of a toolbox of exploits that anyone can use. I want my character to feel powerful. I want to feel like the choices that I've made about how my character grows are important. But time and again it seems like my character is overshadowed by what pieces of fancy gear they have collected and how good I am at flogging the same loopholes in the rules over and over again. It feels really bad and makes me not want to play the game. I really don't care about how pretty the graphics are or how many voiceover options I can choose from if the gameplay feels bad.
Posted By: Tuco Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 08:24 PM
Originally Posted by grysqrl
A general comment about playtesting games:
-It is the job of the designer and/or developer to create a set of rules and then pose a problem to the playtester.
-It is the job of the playtester to try anything and everything allowed within those rules to try to solve the problem and then report on what happened. This helps the designer to understand what is working well and what isn't.
-"I found this thing that you can do (or are incentivized to do, because it's good at solving the problem) and it feels bad" is useful feedback. A good designer should be trying to avoid situations that make their players feel bad.
-Telling people that their feelings are invalid because they can choose to not do that thing isn't helpful. They're doing what they're supposed to be doing and giving feedback on it.

My feelings with regards to exploits:
Combats in this game (from what I've seen) are pretty simple - if you want to progress in the game, you have to win the fight. There is no notion of failing forward; if you lose the fight, you die and have to load an old save. Therefore, winning the fight is paramount and it is expected to do anything that you can within the rules to kill your enemies. If I find a tactic like this that works, but feels like cheating, it makes me think less of the game. It isn't fun to be torn between progressing the story and feeling like you are exploiting an oversight in the rules. If winning at any cost weren't ingrained into the structure of the game, it would feel less necessary to rely on exploits. But stumbling on a tactic that works, even if it feels bad, usually means that I'm not searching for better tactics to use - a local maximum is often good enough. That's not fun. It's easy to say "just don't use that exploit," but I want to feel like I'm struggling to solve the problem, not holding back because an obvious answer feels like cheating.

My feelings on a larger, related issue:
Like many of the other exploits that have been pointed out in the past (e.g. bonus action projectile shove, hide shenanigans, attack advantage from height, etc.), this is an exploit that (nearly) every character can take advantage of. Some of the most powerful things in the game have nothing to do with the choices you've made about your character. Class features are severely diminished in the face of a toolbox of exploits that anyone can use. I want my character to feel powerful. I want to feel like the choices that I've made about how my character grows are important. But time and again it seems like my character is overshadowed by what pieces of fancy gear they have collected and how good I am at flogging the same loopholes in the rules over and over again. It feels really bad and makes me not want to play the game. I really don't care about how pretty the graphics are or how many voiceover options I can choose from if the gameplay feels bad.
Yes. To all of this.

Oh, and welcome back, by the way.
It's been a while but I still have vague memories of your contributes earlier (...) in Early Access.
Posted By: grysqrl Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 08/08/22 08:30 PM
Originally Posted by Tuco
Yes. To all of this.

Oh, and welcome back, by the way.
It's been a while but I still have vague memories of your contributes earlier (...) in Early Access.
Thanks! I haven't played in several patches. I really get the feeling that the game that I want and the game that Larian is looking to make are different things, so I've been doing other stuff rather than get frustrated about what felt like an exercise in futility. I still drop in once in a while just to see what's happening. This just happened to be a moment where I felt like I had some potentially useful words.
Posted By: Niara Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 09/08/22 03:52 AM
Originally Posted by grysqrl
[...]

-"I found this thing that you can do (or are incentivized to do, because it's good at solving the problem) and it feels bad" is useful feedback. A good designer should be trying to avoid situations that make their players feel bad.
-Telling people that their feelings are invalid because they can choose to not do that thing isn't helpful.

[...]

If I find a tactic like this that works, but feels like cheating, it makes me think less of the game. It isn't fun to be torn between progressing the story and feeling like you are exploiting an oversight in the rules. [...] That's not fun. It's easy to say "just don't use that exploit," but I want to feel like I'm struggling to solve the problem, not holding back because an obvious answer feels like cheating.

[...]

This is an exploit that (nearly) every character can take advantage of. Some of the most powerful things in the game have nothing to do with the choices you've made about your character. Class features are severely diminished in the face of a toolbox of exploits that anyone can use. [...] Time and again it seems like my character is overshadowed by [...] how good I am at flogging the same loopholes in the rules over and over again. It feels really bad and makes me not want to play the game. I really don't care about how pretty the graphics are or how many voiceover options I can choose from if the gameplay feels bad.

Very strongly seconded to all of your post, Sqrl (good to see you again, by the way!), but in particular these parts. Thank you for neatly conveying the feelings that many folk here have attempted to communicate.
Posted By: 7d7 Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 09/08/22 03:58 AM
+1
Posted By: Flooter Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 09/08/22 10:50 AM
Originally Posted by grysqrl
[...]
Glad Tuco quoted this post in another thread! I agree with all of it.
Posted By: fallenj Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 09/08/22 07:45 PM
Glanced over the comments and only seen med kits talked about, isn't there suppose to be a skill check to get someone up in 5e?

Edit* Ya, its:
Medicine. A Wisdom (Medicine) check lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.

skill is in the game, just not used, feel like I've said this before.
Posted By: Niara Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 02:08 AM
Off base (going by core rules), anyone can make a medicine check to stabilise a dying creature (dc 10 usually, unless there are other complications); this doesn't get them up - they'll still be unconscious for a few hours, unless they receive other healing, but it does protect them from having to make any more death saves, unless they take damage and begin dying again.

A healer's kit has a number of uses (10) before it is used up, and can be used by anyone to automatically stabilise a dying creature without needing to make the medicine check. Someone with the Healer feat can also uses a charge of a kit to restore hit points - not many, but some. This means that someone with the Healer feat and a kit can use their action, and a charge of the kit, too bring a downed character back up into combat, in a inch... but it requires both of those things; a feat investment, and a kit with charges available. Though this is functionally similar to using a healing potion, kits have 10 charges, for a fraction of the cost, and can generally be purchased very easily compared to healing potions (usually).


In a video game translation, this could be smoothed out and made more player-friendly; [[This is Just One Possibility - It Could Be Done Many Ways]] One way we COULD do this would be to have the help action automatically stabilise, while someone with the Healer feat restores a die of hit points whenever they help a downed creature. Like that, you *could* get to the ridiculous conscious-popping circle spam invulnerability situation, but everyone would need to invest a feat in doing so; some players might swear by it as a safety net, others would not feel compelled to use it at all, and view the investment cost as too high to justify, and others may take the feat on one character, as a character/insurance choice... and if the people taking it or leaving it is a varied spread, then balance has done its job.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 05:10 AM
The Healer feat sounds good but healing potions are everywhere in BG3. I'm finding new potions faster than I can use them with the main source of healing being Short Rests. If actual 5e rules were being used, we would be using potions to revive PCs.

Then we have the ridiculous potion throwing homebrew. Which table ever used such an asinine house rule? As long as you can throw potions at people to heal or revive them, such feats would be even more redundant. You can even throw potions from another character's inventory. They've made it so convenient the player doesn't have to think who carries what and you don't even need to get close to the downed character anymore. And even if you did Larian are spamming the game with movement / haste / teleport items.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 05:42 AM
Doesn't the Healer feat follow the same logic that forces you to do X to achieve Y which is not anyhow different from having to Help downed characters to achieve victory? Instead of developing your character in any different way you'd be inclined to pick healer just because it allows you to cheese fights.

I like the original Idea of 1varangian with plain medicine checks better tbh.
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 06:05 AM
Well at least by making it require a feat, player would have to give something up rather than every character having access to it.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 06:16 AM
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Yeah, that's it pretty much. In my experience it's harder to make a choice to let yourself lose. If the option is out of your hands entirely, then you can put it down to either not enough skill on your part, bad luck, etc. But opting to just not use it entirely means that you're actively hurting your own chance to win. You're not losing because you don't have enough skill, you're losing because you didn't want to deal with an annoying mechanic. I don't think most people would consider that a satisfying loss. You don't come away feeling as though you gained more experience or system mastery from it, because you know exactly what you could have done to win, you just didn't want to deal with the tedium. And if the only benefit to making a choice is because you don't want to deal with a mechanic, then the mechanic probably needs a second look

Imagine you are talking about Healer feat here and tell me how it is in any way different. May be I don't get something, I don't know. Seems the same to me. Like if you agree with a thing that is the same in its essence with the one you've just disagreed.
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 06:28 AM
Well firstly, there is I think the very real chance that players won't unerstand the full scope of what the ability could do for them as a feat. Second, there's no guarantee that come the final game, healer will be objectively the best feat to choose. There are likely to be other feats that could be better for other builds, or that you just like more. Players also aren't likely, in my opinion, to take the feat for every character anyway, so odds are they end up leaving the healer character behind now and then, so it's not going to come up as often as it otherwise could with every character having access to it. Basically, making it a feat turns it into an actual choice where players have to weigh up gameplay costs. With the current implementation, the only choice is whether the player finds it too annoying to use or not.

Having said that, my final point in the quote still stands; if the only reason people end up not choosing the healer feat is because they find it tedious, then the feat itself still needs to be looked at and tweaked.
Posted By: Niara Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 08:33 AM
Originally Posted by neprostoman
Doesn't the Healer feat follow the same logic that forces you to do X to achieve Y which is not anyhow different from having to Help downed characters to achieve victory?

Simple answer to your question: No. It does not.

In one case, it's a mechanic that every character, regardless of character class or proficiencies, and regardless of personal choices, simply has and can use at any time without any kind of resource limitation or value decision-point cost.

The other is none of those things.

==

The value of a feat like Healer is heavily dependant upon a world where the resource availability supports it; in most average D&D settings, healing potions are not easy to come by in any great quantity - strong ones are rare, and even the weakest grade is heavily limited in availability. In most cases you can't just walk to the corner store and buy a brace of 20 healing potions per character, and the ones that you can buy are generally quite expensive - prohibitively so for low level adventurers. Healing kits, on the other hand, are cheap and readily available in even small townships because everywhere where there are people, there's a need for healers and doctors (divine healing, if it's available is usually pretty expensive too).

In Larian's current game space, one of thrown dimensional-pocket potion healing with healing potions that rain from the sky in volumes enough to drown an incautious halfling, there isn't really a feasible way that the healer's kit, or the healer feat, could be made that would let it hold its own but wouldn't be ridiculous... because the things it's sitting alongside ARE ridiculous... so any work in this regard comes with the caveat that the current situation has to change first.
Posted By: neprostoman Re: "Help" vs. tough enemies - 10/08/22 09:16 AM
It seems like I mixed 2 threads in my head so i deleted the last post crazy. I think I tend to agree with you on the help thing after all.
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