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Inspired by a discussion we were having across several different threads and that started "spilling" a bit everywhere, I decided that this topic in particular should probably get its own thread.


The title should be pretty much self-explanatory, really, but just to elaborate a bit, here's a bunch of previous posts (not just mine) that already touched on the point.

Originally Posted by Tuco
What puzzles me about the phase spiders is that there ARE spiders who are canonically supposed to have ranged attacks in D&D, so it's not really clear why Larian felt the urge to use one that it's notorious for being a "melee only" beast and gift to it an arbitrary ranged aoe venom spit.

This complete disregard for implementing the "appropriate canonical movesets" for their bestiary is part of what often makes me feel that Larian goes through the handling the D&D license as a painful constriction rather than a pleasure or privilege.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
And, it isn't like they don't have enemies doing things like Ethereal Jaunt with Invisibility Potions and jazz, so implementing it correctly wouldn't be hard. I don't get it. If you think the battle is too easy, throw a few more spiders in the battle, don't mess with a monster's stats. I mean, messing with the stats makes a monster no longer the monster. Like you said, the phase spider then becomes like a whole different type of spider.


Originally Posted by 1varangian
I hate how Phase Spiders are now elusive spitters. I hate the sea of exploding poison in those caves even more.

Ethereal predators who would surprise you at melee range would be much more tactically interesting, distinctive and scary. But do we have ranged enemies and AoE surface spam oh boy. Protection fighting style would have a great use against proper Phase Spiders. You'd have to place your mages next to your Fighters in a tight formation which in turn would open the party up for AoE's.

It's like Larian has a one track mind for tactical combat where it's just about high ground and teleport/mobility on wide open battlefields. And surfaces. And if D&D has a monster that would provide more tactical depth, they assimilate it into a teleporting and/or surface spamming creature.


Originally Posted by GM4Him
Ok. This is driving me crazy. Use true D&D stats and stop nerfing enemies. I mean, BG3 is balanced fairly well right now but only because monsters aren't really genuine. A Mud Mephit should have more health and it gets only a 25% chance of multiplying and it should be hidden as mud to begin with. A Phase Spider should use Ethereal Jaunt to phase out of and into the material plane as a Bonus action, not teleport and spit but melee range. Intellect devourers should use Intellect Devour, one of their main attacks, and they and imps shoyld be resistant to different attacks.

Larian is taking some aspects of these monsters but not all. Why? Instead, why not allow bigger party size, less enemies and maybe even enemies that fit the encounter more. Im trying to play out these scenarios via Tabletop, and they are BRUTAL. 2 Mud Mephits and 2 Wood Woads is too much even for 4 Level 4 characters.


One thing of the game that is occasionally starting to grind on my nerves is how Larian is almost regularly disregarding the canonical stats/abilities for most of the monsters they are using.

Some get buffed with powers they shouldn't have, some get nerfed significantly, lose special powers, don't show any sign of their typical resistances or immunities, etc.
This is happening over and over across the entire portion of the game available so far.

Phase spiders that are gifted aranged AOE venom spit when they should just attack in melee (which is two times as bizarre, given that D&D DOES offer spiders that canonically have ranged attacks), Minotaurs that don't "charge" in a straight line but do the whole hulk jumping and ground stomping instead, mud mephits and wood woads as pointed by GM4Him have been gimped to the point of being husks of what they were supposed to be, etc.

Is there any reason for it? Does the core design of the game benefits in any way of this complete disinterest in sticking with the source material? I honestly don't get it.

It feels almost like people at Larian, after going through the negotiations to get the official D&D license, one morning woke up decided that they felt only contempt and disdain for it.
"Who cares about this worthless trash, we'll do our own bestiary, with blackjack and hookers" or something of that sort.

Last edited by Tuco; 29/07/21 12:38 AM.

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I have to agree.

I don't mind game designers creating something unique or special or interesting and different - in fact they should do that, every now and then, for their game deigning show pieces. However, and this has consistently been Larian's problem... if they try to make everything special and different and new and unique, then ultimately nothing really is and it all just feels like a messy, thoughtless aberration.

The bread and butter of what you encounter should really be sticking to the book, to help make the unique and special things feel like they have more impact. There are monsters that suit what you want to do, no matter what you want to do.

Seconding that they should really use the enemies that fit for the scenarios they want to make, and make them line up with core book as accurately as they can - and actually *try*, rather than just doing as they've done before by saying "we're sticking to 5e as faithfully as we can" and then completely butchering it in completely unnecessary and unhelpful ways...

The majority of the changes from the recent patch have been very positive, and are all steps in a good direction, I never want to undersell that! But it hasn't yet done enough to curb the feeling like the designers simply don't like, don't care for, and don't have any respect for Dungeons and Dragons, at all, and it's not a good feeling, really.

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Not a shocker, they changed all aspects of the game to there hearts content. I don't see why monsters would be any different. Just look at ranger class, the d&d staple for that class is non existent, been in every edition, favored enemy. What you get? You get arcane spells that's over used in races and classes. Wizards? oh they cast arcane and divine no deity required. I'd bet rogue sneak attack is still just one die roll multipled and divided, you just cant see it anymore.

Ya alright, +1

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to be fair the phase spiders & mud mephits are probably the most annoying fight in all of EA regardless - having said that having monsters use their attacks & special abilities as per the monster manual does make sense but its not the end of the world at least for me personally.

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Given how they've been handling combat mechanics, now if they're trying to alter monsters to fit an encounter idea they have, rather than come up with an encounter to fit monster abilities, that wouldn't surprise me. One of the design philosophies in DOS2 is that enemies need either 1) a teleport/"jump" ability that let them close gap and get to high ground, or 2) a ranged attack so they can still attack you if they can't get to you. Sword/shield fighters have Captain America's Shield Throw skill + Phoenix Dive, dogs have jump skill, other dogs have a device that shoots bolts attached to their body, void monsters can spit and fly (which is basically jump), etc.

Having said that, since it's the EA, maybe they're just picking a few of the most well-known, easy-to-implement monsters out of the rule books to use as placeholder, rather than digging and finding other weird monsters to implement (or maybe they just don't know a whole lot of other monsters other than the most popular ones). Either way, "canonical monsters" with proper stats/abilities will most likely be something for way later, if they care about it at all.


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They have been blinded by their own clever and honestly amazing area design with a lot of verticality. That's why everything teleports and jumps and that's why Phase Spiders have been "adapted" to their multi-level cave environment. But that's where it goes wrong. It's time to kill your darlings, Larian. Or at least take the verticality glasses off to see the real big picture.

Phase Spiders would be more lethal and tactically interesting if they behaved like they should and used their powerful bite (1d10+2 + 4d8 poison). Add Spitting Spiders separately as an extra flavor to that cave if you want annoying spiders that need to be hunted down or killed with ranged weapons.

If everything teleports and jumps and all battlefields are about getting the high ground, you lose tactical depth. It gets old. I want to be able to park my Fighter next to a Minotaur and properly THREATEN it so the Fighter can do their job and protect the party. Minotaurs and Hook Horrors jumping around is really annoying. It makes you feel like you have no control whatsoever over the battlefield. Tactics mean you have to have some control.

The Gnoll Hunter multiattack is just asinine. The crazy burst damage underlines the worst aspects of RNG at low levels. I thought Elven Archers were legendary, but I guess it was Gnolls all along since they fire arrows three times faster than my dedicated Wood Elf archer.

Giving Goblins less AC and more HP has been brought up many times, how that small change destroys Sacred Flame and every other spell or attack that targets saves instead of AC. Giving a random Githyanki Gish crazy ability score spread where everything is 14+ also screws up balance with attacks that target saves.

Overall, it seems that 5e is a very balanced and well tested system that just makes sense. I haven't played it but I have read the rules now because of BG3. And Larian took a sledge hammer and are just rampaging all over it, messing things up and fixing things that weren't broken in the name of "video game" which really means "we want everything to play like DOS". Nevermind that there are many D&D CRPG's that play very well and didn't need these video game tropes.

Last edited by 1varangian; 29/07/21 09:50 AM.
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5E *is* a well balanced and well tested system, which is why deviating from it so dramatically is puzzling - why take something that is known to be balanced (on average - there are always exploits/over-powered builds) and arbitraily change it? I have played D&D from AD&D up to 3.5E, PF, skipped 4E (blech) and returned to D&D with 5E. Initally I disliked it, but it has grown on me. There are legit ways of making 5E encounters more challenging within the game system - you really don't need to break the monster manual to do this. Monsters are even arranged by CR - so you can easily figure out what is appropriate for the party. And they have access to all of this. And as pointed out earlier, many monster aleady have powerful abilties - you can always find sometime that suits the scene. The odd homebrew addition is fine of course.

One positive: goblins have been slightly weakened - although they still have too many incendiaries - and minotaurs have lost some of their power, including (as far as I could tell) their AoE jump that knocks people prone (well, they landed but nobody in my party was knocked down). So those are hopeful signs.

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Good use of development time indeed, taking a balanced ruleset and monsters, changing them, and then attempting to rebalance the new modified rules and monsters. I wonder if there are any steps that could have been skipped.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
If everything teleports and jumps and all battlefields are about getting the high ground, you lose tactical depth. It gets old. I want to be able to park my Fighter next to a Minotaur and properly THREATEN it so the Fighter can do their job and protect the party. Minotaurs and Hook Horrors jumping around is really annoying. It makes you feel like you have no control whatsoever over the battlefield. Tactics mean you have to have some control.
Yeah, as much as Larian wants positioning "to be a thing" it is also something that everyone gets to ignore with more or less ability to teleport all the time.

Be it true to the source material or not, I found phase spiders to be really not very fun to fight - and not very spidery.

EDIT: Spellcheck

Last edited by Wormerine; 29/07/21 03:59 PM.
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Yeah it's the spitting and pools of poison that's not spidery. It's more about a compulsive obsession to make surfaces with any excuse. That's not what poisonous creatures do. They bite.

And of course all webs and poison pools explode spectacularly.

Larian's blind obsession with these mechanics is doing more harm than good. They should learn to moderate.

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I don't particularly care about this. It makes for an interesting and unique encounter. Also, the implications are that the phase spider matriarch is a high elf worshipper of Lloth that transformed herself into a unique monster, so plenty of explanation there.

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Originally Posted by Thrythlind
I don't particularly care about this. It makes for an interesting and unique encounter. Also, the implications are that the phase spider matriarch is a high elf worshipper of Lloth that transformed herself into a unique monster, so plenty of explanation there.
Well, I do, I'd like to get the impression I'm actually playing in the Forgotten Realms, rather than on some memetic "Poorly disguised Rivellon".
I also wasn't complaining about the Matriarch to begin with, given that I implicitly considered her as an aberration/one-time special occurrence.

There's a reason if I specifically mentioned the ordinary phase spiders and not her.
Because the recurring ordinariness of the "special exceptions" is precisely what becomes grating fairly quickly here.

Incidentally, canonical fidelity aside, I also think that the fight against the spiders/ettercaps would actually be A LOT more fun with:
- proper phase spiders attacking in melee. If difficulty would need to be tuned, increasing or decreasing their numbers would do the job.
- Ready actions for your party to reach to the surprise.
- A proper reaction system for, well, some extra reaction, really.
- less fucking surfaces all over the place? Pretty please?

Last edited by Tuco; 29/07/21 02:18 PM.

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+1 to staying true to the canonical monsters. They have plenty of interesting mechanics on their own, no need to cram them full with overpowered AOE they shouldn't have and other unnecessary abilities.

edit: and can I just say that getting poisoned from posion that is ON THE GROUND makes no fucking sense.

Last edited by Sigi98; 29/07/21 03:18 PM.
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Originally Posted by Thrythlind
I don't particularly care about this. It makes for an interesting and unique encounter. Also, the implications are that the phase spider matriarch is a high elf worshipper of Lloth that transformed herself into a unique monster, so plenty of explanation there.


The Spider Matriarch is one thing. She was a mage who could potentially still cast magic. So, her using Ethereal Jaunt and Misty Step to port across greater distances makes more sense. She could even be explained as using Poison Spray or something of that nature to blast adventurers with poison. I'm fine with her being buffed and powerful.

What I don't like is the Phase Spider minions doing the same thing. That makes Phase Spiders not Phase Spiders. That makes them strange variants also, and that's just weird and unnecessary and it takes away from them being what they truly are. They should be melee brawlers, not ranged teleport mages flying around the level killing people from above.

The point of this entire thread is that when Larian does all these variations to these monsters, they take away from what these monsters truly are. A Phase Spider is no longer a Phase Spider if it is porting hundreds of feet every round from one platform to another as if they are super-powered mages with lots of spell slots casting Misty Step at 3 times the spell's normal abilities to teleport someone. Phase Spiders, by their created nature in D&D, are melee combat assassins. They use Bonus action to vanish from the board so players can't hit them. Then they creep up on them and port back into reality to strike. Remain there for a round and disappear again. They are ninja assassins, not ranged combat poison-spitters.

Likewise, Intellect Devourers are not actually brutes for Mind Flayers. They are also ninja assassins who are supposed to attack lone enemies. They are meant to pop out of nowhere and attack single travelers. Their entire purpose is to devour the person's brain and steal their bodies and act like the person. They take on all of that person's intelligence and memories and everything. They pretend to be that person and then lure other victims into traps with other Intellect Devourers. What Larian has turned them into is some sort of grunt melee attack force for Mind Flayers who simply run up to PCs and swipe them with claws. They don't devour minds and they don't steal their bodies and turn them against their allies.

Now, that said, it would be a sucky game indeed if an intellect devourer ate your MC's brain and then took him/her over. To explain them not doing this part, the tadpole would maybe prevent them. So that makes sense. BUT, the point is, then don't use Intellect Devourers for these encounters. Instead, if you really want to throw a CR 2 enemy at your party of 1 MC and maybe Shadowheart, throw a Grick at them. HP 27, AC 14, Resistant to Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing, has multiattack and tentacles and a beak, so it deals some serious damage with +4 to Hit. Almost the same as Intellect Devourer stats but without the Devour Intellect ability and Body Thief. Thus, you still have relatively the same encounter but with a monster that has appropriate 5e stats. You aren't robbing the monster of what makes it what it is.

Or! Better yet, a better fight for a level 2 pair, 1 MC and Shadowheart, would be 2 or 3 Kuo-Toas. They are more grunt Mind Flayer minions. They have AC 13, HP 18, aren't resistant to anything, and they only get 1 attack each round. Besides that, they are sensitive to Sunlight, so they would get disadvantage on attack rolls. Making 2 or 3 Kuo-Toas a more fair fight for a level 1 or 2 pair of heroes at such an early stage in the game.

And THAT is the main point. Throw something more reasonable against the player than 3 Intellect Devourers against 2 characters right away on the beach. The issue we are having is that instead of Larian throwing 2-3 Kuo-Toas, or something similar, at the PC and 1 party member, they are throwing 3 Intellect Devourers and then severely nerfing the monsters so they aren't actually genuine Intellect Devourers. D&D has SO many monsters that Larian could use. Why nerf a monster to make it fit when you could just put a different monster in there and have it work far better for the scenario?

Even if you are using Intellect Devourers as a placeholder for Kuo-Toas, or whatever, at least let us, the players, know that you are doing so for EA. You know, a simple message like, "Hey folks. Just so you know, don't get too bent out of shape that we're using Intellect Devourers in this scene. In the end, we plan on using Kuo-Toas instead. We just don't have models and stats built in yet for them. So sit tight. This is only temporary. We'll be giving you more appropriate monsters later. Promise."

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Originally Posted by Sigi98
edit: and can I just say that getting poisoned from posion that is ON THE GROUND makes no fucking sense.

Oh yeah, there's that, too.


On a side note, I tried to start a similar topic on the "Suggestions and feedback" board on Steam and so far most of the reactions seem to default to "FOOL, THE DM MANUAL SAYS THE DUNGEON MASTER CAN HOMEBREW THINGS HOWEVER THE HELL HE WANTS" which if I have to be perfectly honest sounds like a fucking stupid cop-out of an excuse to me, not to mention fundamental misunderstanding of why that note is even there and how your personal session with friends at the library or pub is not the same as having a triple A game specifically tailored around an official license, but to each one its own.
Still, the gist of it is that bar a couple of replies it doesn't look like people are feeling the issue very much.

I won't even bother trying to gauge opinions on the BG3 subreddit, frankly. I can already see the average reaction being an even more over-defensive version of the discussion on Steam.

Last edited by Tuco; 29/07/21 04:02 PM.

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+1, I'm down for a "Core" implementation of the Monster statistics. I think more than anything, this is a symptom of not having all of the 5E combat system properly implemented for BG3.

Example - the MM Phase Spider is essentially the tutorial monster for Readied Actions - without this system in place, their Ethereal Jaunt is MUCH harder to counter. Probably why Larian decided to implement Phase Spiders in the same way Owlcast did with Kingmaker (making phasing a teleport). I think most of us are the same page in terms of hoping that Larian will just implement all the combat systems fully.


However, I'm also down for them buffing by adding abilities to monsters for difficulties higher than Core. I think there should be a Core difficulty where Monsters are implemented accurately, but would love to see additional abilities added to enemies in higher difficulties (this is much better than simply bloating Damage/AC/HP IMO).

In general, the Monsters in the MM are balanced towards a no-magicial-gear party, and are underpowered even then. You can in theory increase encounter difficulty by bloating stats or adding numbers, but this usually just leads to tedium as oppose to challenge since the player's strategies are not challenged with proper counterplay or variables (which incidentally was my biggest problem with Solasta's endgame). You're still using a failing strategy, and just hoping bigger numbers can lead to more challenge.


I know what you're going for using the term "canonical", but as tabletop player, it's just funny to see it used this way (as in, having a true-to-book stat block be the defining factor of an canonical implementation). In most general tables (including Wizard's own Adventurer's League), flagging to your DM that a monster they're running is not using "canonical" stats/abilities would get you branded as a cheater and might even get you kicked out of the table. This isn't just a DM is always right thing either - there's a whole culture/philosophy around not-metagaming in table-top. I.e. the players are NOT supposed to know the monster statistics and abilities (outside of what their character discovers). Sometimes to the detriment to the fun of the game IMO.

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Regarding what GM4HIM said:

Totally agree with you.

But I am somehow pessimistic and I don't think there are any elaborate reasons why Larian used the Intellect Devourers and not Kuo-Toas.

In my opinion they were just like: "monsters that look like small dogs but are brains! That's so awesome and crazy and cool! Let's make them the first enemies players encounter! That will show everybody how much boom our game has!"

It would also fit the narrative style of the whole tutorial.

And regarding the poison pools: yep, that's just plain stupid.

Edit:
Huge fan of the game being as close to 5e as possible, and then start iteration from there, if demanded by players.

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Originally Posted by Tuco
Originally Posted by Sigi98
edit: and can I just say that getting poisoned from posion that is ON THE GROUND makes no fucking sense.

Oh yeah, there's that, too.


On a side note, I tried to start a similar topic on the "Suggestions and feedback" board on Steam and so far most of the reactions seem to default to "FOOL, THE DM MANUAL SAYS THE DUNGEON MASTER CAN HOMEBREW THINGS HOWEVER THE HELL HE WANTS" which if I have to be perfectly honest sounds like a fucking stupid cop-out of an excuse to me, not to mention fundamental misunderstanding of why that note is even there and how your personal session with friends at the library or pub is not the same as having a triple A game specifically tailored around an official license, but to each one its own.
Still, the gist of it is that bar a couple of replies it doesn't look like people are feeling the issue very much.

I won't even bother trying to gauge opinions on the BG3 subreddit, frankly. I can already see the average reaction being an even more over-defensive version of the discussion on Steam.

I hardly post on Steam now. When I first started, I posted there all the time and nearly lost my sanity. They were SO rude and obnoxious. Think people here are bad? Suggest on Steam.

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Originally Posted by Tuco
On a side note, I tried to start a similar topic on the "Suggestions and feedback" board on Steam and so far most of the reactions seem to default to "FOOL, THE DM MANUAL SAYS THE DUNGEON MASTER CAN HOMEBREW THINGS HOWEVER THE HELL HE WANTS" which if I have to be perfectly honest sounds like a fucking stupid cop-out of an excuse to me, not to mention fundamental misunderstanding of why that note is even there and how your personal session with friends at the library or pub is not the same as having a triple A game specifically tailored around an official license, but to each one its own.
Still, the gist of it is that bar a couple of replies it doesn't look like people are feeling the issue very much.

The funny thing is, if the game would have been as close to 5e as possible from the beginning of the EA, these people most probably would like the game anyway.

I imagine there would be then the same arguments against changes aka homebrews with the words "it's in the PHB, stupid".

As long as the game has cinematics, dragons and the odd explosion, all is well for them.

Sorry, if that sounds depressing.

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Originally Posted by daMichi
The funny thing is, if the game would have been as close to 5e as possible from the beginning of the EA, these people most probably would like the game anyway.

I imagine there would be then the same arguments against changes aka homebrews with the words "it's in the PHB, stupid".

As long as the game has cinematics, dragons and the odd explosion, all is well for them.

Sorry, if that sounds depressing.
In this specific case (especially with that couple of users I already spotted in the past) it's not really a matter of defending their own preference, for them.
It's more about defending what Larian does no matter what.

It's like in this last patch: it introduced a bunch of changes people have been asked for a while. When these were recurring "demands" from the community, these same users defended the status quo rabidly claiming that it was for the better, to "let Larian do their own thing", etc.

Patch 5 rolled out, everyone and their granma seemed to agree these changes were for the better and that the game has a better overall feeling now in combat... And guess what? Suddenly these very same people who defended how the game worked before are happy about the changes as well. Because of course, now they are Larian-sanctioned ones.

Man, at times I can't even decide if being a sycophant must be mentally exhausting or the most laid back job ever, given you are delegating any critical thinking to a third party.


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