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Originally Posted by Stabbey
Originally Posted by etonbears
Have any previous DnD video games stuck completely to the rules? I'm not aware of any. I'm not sure how many DnD TT player groups stick to the rules either.


Strawman argument. There are many other changes to the 5e rules Larian has made which don't have people complaining about them, like Speak with Animals lasting until next long rest or until losing concentration. I don't think anyone is complaining about the special weapon attacks Larian has made as well. It is clearly not the case that people are complaining merely because BG 3 is not being a precise exact duplicate of the 5e rules.

You are completely ignoring the detailed discussion about exactly why these specific rule changes affect the balance. Do you have any defense for why 56+ sources of advantage/disadvantage with a cost or drawback should be thrown out the window for free advantage with no cost from backstab and height?


Why is this 56 number propped up like it's some talisman of defense to change the game as it is?

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Since there seem to be quite a few worthwhile minds in this thread, I have a question. Since there is not an overall difficulty slider to 5e as there will be in BG3, how would you suggest making encounters easier and harder? I realize there are CR’s associated with monsters, but I do not think rescripting and swapping out enemies for every single fight is something that is likely to happen and would honestly be like playing 4(or however many difficulties there will be) completely separate games instead of just more difficult.

Obviously limiting rests will be an easy one, but assuming we’re playing normal mode, most encounters can currently be solo’d with very little rests anyways. Would it just be a static advantage to all dice rolls for easy and a static disadvantage for hard+?

I feel like we’re complaining about something that is artificially put there to make the game easier at normal and not a glaring oversight by Larian.

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Originally Posted by macadami
Since there is not an overall difficulty slider to 5e as there will be in BG3, how would you suggest making encounters easier and harder?


*Points to the difficulty settings in BG 1 & BG 2*

Use those. I mean this is supposed to be the third game in a trilogy, don't need to reinvent that wheel.

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Originally Posted by SacredWitness
Originally Posted by Stabbey
Originally Posted by etonbears
Have any previous DnD video games stuck completely to the rules? I'm not aware of any. I'm not sure how many DnD TT player groups stick to the rules either.


Strawman argument. There are many other changes to the 5e rules Larian has made which don't have people complaining about them, like Speak with Animals lasting until next long rest or until losing concentration. I don't think anyone is complaining about the special weapon attacks Larian has made as well. It is clearly not the case that people are complaining merely because BG 3 is not being a precise exact duplicate of the 5e rules.

You are completely ignoring the detailed discussion about exactly why these specific rule changes affect the balance. Do you have any defense for why 56+ sources of advantage/disadvantage with a cost or drawback should be thrown out the window for free advantage with no cost from backstab and height?


Why is this 56 number propped up like it's some talisman of defense to change the game as it is?


Let's pretend you are trying to great a balanced game.

You have a system with some problems, but those problems are well known and has 6+ years of playtesting and rules updates to support it. It is widely recognized as the most widespread ruleset in its genre and the most balanced by far, in addition to being *so* popular that it's part of the reason your game is being made at all. It is also the edition of the rules you claimed you're using to make the game.

You decide to make a small number of changes because you don't like how often you miss in the low levels of gameplay. Those changes will end up invalidating 56+ methods of hitting targets. This imbalances the game and removes huge chunks of the aforementioned rules you claimed to be using. So, if you want to keep those 56+ 'things' still useful, you need to rebalance them.

Which is easier.....to remove those few changes and revert those 56+ things to now be useful again, oooor try and redo those 56+ 'things' to be useful again?

That's why. Because it's easier to restore game balance by making less changes (remove Height + Backstab) than it is to try and make more changes (adjusting 56+ 'things'). The easiest way to stop the butterfly effect is to remove the butterfly, rather than the hurricane you're looking at now.

Last edited by Isaac Springsong; 02/11/20 03:22 AM.
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My take on OP from someone that has only played the table top DnD game one time. I am just a gamer who loved Divinity 2 and so here I am enjoying bg3.

Missing all the time isn't just annoying, it is extremely slow paced especially in larger fights where I have to wait 3 mins to get a turn again. I like a good grind and want to feel progression as I level up, but personally leveling up to attain better accuracy seems stupid. If you are fighting something higher level, something on higher ground, something in the shadows it makes sense to have a lower accuracy. But when I am face to face with an enemy and have a 60% or lower chance to hit, of which is the same level as me, among other similar scenarios that is absurd. Lower accuracy when blinded, when an enemy has mirror image, if an enemy is a higher level etc makes sense. This base accuracy in most situations is really frustrating and takes away from the enjoyment. When an enemy is prone and I miss standing next to them it is absurd. Adding HP to enemies health pool and granting more accuracy would feel better in my opinion.

How adv and disadv work I am still learning. The OP was actually quite educating for me. But I will say: every fight seems to be a question of how can I increase my chance to hit? The entire fighting mechanics is how can I increase my chance to hit. Instead of spending actions / spells / bonus actions on cool combinations I am forced to spend them on lights, faerie fire, or something that is saving throw'd so the turn is just as useless as attacking with that 40% chance to hit. Instead of programming smart AI it seems hit accuracy is the primary difficulty meter.

I agree with the OP with adv on backstabbing and height (to a point). Why on earth would an enemy just stand there while i move from his front to his back, while I get an advantage on attack? For height, someone 2 feet above me shouldn't get adv. I support height advantage from an actual high level, but when I can stand on a crate and get height advantage it seems a little stupid.

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Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
Originally Posted by macadami
Since there is not an overall difficulty slider to 5e as there will be in BG3, how would you suggest making encounters easier and harder?


*Points to the difficulty settings in BG 1 & BG 2*

Use those. I mean this is supposed to be the third game in a trilogy, don't need to reinvent that wheel.



I don't think that will work in 5e. There isn't a way to out scale hits with AC like there was in 2e. BG1&2's main difference was more damage when hit but in 5e It's not even a matter of a completely min maxed character; you just aren't given the tools to prevent the hits, or guarantee them. You would just die from the increased damage on ever hit. I don't even think spell failure is in 5e, casting or copying scrolls, and that was another annoying trait of the difficulty slider.

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I think Ostrago that you're a great example of exactly how Larian thought after a few devs played one or two games of tabletop D&D.

That line of thinking is absolutely understandable. If you're an average character, you have +5 to hit an enemy. If you that enemy has an AC of 13, well, the math is what it is, you're chance to hit is 'just' 60%. To some people, that seems absurdly low. But that's because of the well known inability of human beings to properly grasp and understand percentages. Our brains just don't deal with them very well.

Before I discuss further, I want to bring up a point you made and one that is making this issue significantly worse: what should be relatively simple fights take an excruciatingly long time. This is almost entirely due to Larian *also* rebalancing enemy's AC and HP values. They lowered the AC so you'd hit more, but increased their HP so it would take more hits to kill them. This has the same affect on game balance as a butterfly flapping its wings, except the hurricane is literally the very next step. Fix that HP bloat problem, and suddenly lots more cool combos and spells become way more useful like they should be. Have faith in the rules of 5e.

But I digress. You are right, a lot of low level D&D combat seems to be about chasing methods of increasing your chance to-hit. It's your time to learn some additional tactics and gameplay mechanics beyond just swinging a sword or shooting a bow. It's a great time to learn ways to buff your party, how different class abilities can be really valuable, what sort of spells (the guaranteed damage ones) are super good against high AC enemies, and which spells are great against low AC enemies. Basically, it's time to learn how to play the game, what the different classes (and subclass especially) are good at doing and what they're weak at doing. Your Wizard might be great for blowing up large numbers of weak enemies, but not great against single targets. Maybe your Ranger can do fantastic with bows, but suffers if an enemy gets up in there face.

Larian has basically taken all of that away from you. They've taken away dozens and dozens of class abilities and spells, and replaced them with two mechanics that require nearly zero effect or learning. Combat at level 1 is going to be the exact same as combat as level 10, literally, because all that will matter is getting above your enemy or getting behind them. Advantage and Disadvantage are the strongest mechanics *in the game*. By handing them out for free, Larian has removed all need to learn...literally anything else.

The most important thing to remember is that D&D is a *team game*....even when you're playing by yourself. Because yeah, it might be several minutes between your Fighter getting to swing their sword or your Rogue to try stabbing someone. That's a consequence of going from RTwP to TB (which I enjoy personally). But in between you have your other party members doing their turns. And yeah, maybe this combat one or two of your party members aren't going to be very effective, but you aren't playing those characters. You're playing your *party*. In DoS, every character rapidly becomes the ultimate versatile character, able to do a bit of everything really well. Every single character can heal, can have high mobility/teleporting, can dish out huge single target and AoE damage, and is capable of disabling all enemies. In short, each character may be slightly better at some things than others, but no class has a weakness. That's not D&D. You play your party, not your character.

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Originally Posted by macadami
Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
Originally Posted by macadami
Since there is not an overall difficulty slider to 5e as there will be in BG3, how would you suggest making encounters easier and harder?


*Points to the difficulty settings in BG 1 & BG 2*

Use those. I mean this is supposed to be the third game in a trilogy, don't need to reinvent that wheel.



I don't think that will work in 5e. There isn't a way to out scale hits with AC like there was in 2e. BG1&2's main difference was more damage when hit but in 5e It's not even a matter of a completely min maxed character; you just aren't given the tools to prevent the hits, or guarantee them. You would just die from the increased damage on ever hit. I don't even think spell failure is in 5e, casting or copying scrolls, and that was another annoying trait of the difficulty slider.


What? There absolutely is...if Larian every decides to fix the litany of problems with their homebrew creations. Hell introduce the Dodge Action and right away you have the ability to minimize hits on your tank while your damage burns the enemies down/locks them down with CC. In BG 2, the highest difficulty settings (discounting SCS) were reserved for players with masterful knowledge of the rules *and* perfect knowledge of each encounter in the game. It's the difference between going into the Githyanki fight blind versus prepositing your team on the upper levels to push off the Gith and rain down fire on them. BG 1&2's highest difficulties weren't for players with more skills, they were for players with more knowledge *including* about the game itself. They weren't ever intended for players to use them on their very first playthrough, at least not without significant save scumming after learning the mechanics of a fight/enemy.

1. Max HP on level up vs rolled/average. Super easy to implement.

2. Incoming modifier. Again, super easy to implement and reserved for higher difficulties (winning fights before the enemy gets an Action)

3. Boost enemy AC/reduce player to-hit. Don't touch enemy HP, rewards players for proper fight prep and execution (again, largely requiring prior knowledge).

4. Introduce Arcana checks to scribe spells (risks losing GP on failure and destroys scroll)

5. Disable enemy critical hits

6. Remove/enable perma death absent rules based options (no revivify scrolls at the beginning, enable/disable death saves, etc).

Seriously, just do the 5e retrofit of the original series' difficulty setting. Ideally, then introduce SCS changes for the ultra-hard modes that actually increases enemy AI/behavior/spell choice, etc.

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As I already touched the issue in this thread I also made a much more robust numerical analysis of BG3 vs RAW DnD combat (AC/HP/Advantages) in separate thread. I demonstrated that Larian changes regarding AC, HP and abundant advantages works all together and are really helping to made martial combat less flustrating while keeping average length of combat same as RAW DnD. Knowing that those changes have big and bad side-effects I tried to suggest some alternative solutions which could solve the problem of bad feeling from missing while also beeing as close as possible to RAW DnD to not disrupt the whole rule ecosystem.

So far the best solution appears to be combination of do not interper all misses as misses and simultaneous enemy AI. If you thinkd about it, the biggest frustration comes from sequence of events: complete miss -> long wait -> complete miss -> long wait -> .... That's why I believe by eliminating long waits and complete misses we eliminate the bad feeling also.

By the way with standard HP lots of spell (e.g. Sleep) become usefull again and helps speed-up the fight.

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Originally Posted by SacredWitness
Why is this 56 number propped up like it's some talisman of defense to change the game as it is?


Because it demonstrates how many other things have been affected by these two 'simple changes'. That number 56 is ONLY what is affected between levels 1 and 4 there are a LOT MORE spells and features which affect Advantage/DIsadvantage if higher levels are considered.

Pop quiz: Which do you think would be easier for the Larian team: Making changes to alter and rebalance over 56 class features and skills, or reverting the changes to height and backstabbing?


Originally Posted by Ostrago
My take on OP from someone that has only played the table top DnD game one time. I am just a gamer who loved Divinity 2 and so here I am enjoying bg3.

Missing all the time isn't just annoying, it is extremely slow paced especially in larger fights where I have to wait 3 mins to get a turn again. I like a good grind and want to feel progression as I level up, but personally leveling up to attain better accuracy seems stupid. If you are fighting something higher level, something on higher ground, something in the shadows it makes sense to have a lower accuracy. But when I am face to face with an enemy and have a 60% or lower chance to hit, of which is the same level as me, among other similar scenarios that is absurd. Lower accuracy when blinded, when an enemy has mirror image, if an enemy is a higher level etc makes sense. This base accuracy in most situations is really frustrating and takes away from the enjoyment. When an enemy is prone and I miss standing next to them it is absurd. Adding HP to enemies health pool and granting more accuracy would feel better in my opinion.


They already did that. You're looking at the "more accuracy, more HP" version right now. You have noticed that they didn't actually remove missing.

However, what that "more HP, less AC" butterfly flap did is to screw up spells which forced the enemy to make a saving throw instead, because those spells still have to pass the enemy's untouched saving throw modifier, but the increased HP means that when they do hit, they're less effective than intended. The same goes for spells which target a specific amount of HP instead like Sleep and Color spray. They were never spells which last you a long time into a campaign, but now they're even worse because the bloated enemy HP. Why bother using a spell which targets a single enemy and deals no damage when you have better options?

In order to fix those saving throw spells, Larian will need to flap the butterfly's wings again, and that will lead to more unintended consequences and more butterfly wing flapping.

Solasta didn't remove missing either, but because they stuck closer to the rules, hits feel appropriately hard, spells which require saving throws seem more useful now, and spells which target HP can affect more than one enemy, thus being more useful.

I enjoyed D:OS 2 as well, but the mechanics of D:OS 2 are quite different than that of D&D, because D:OS 2 is designed for being at full strength in every fight, and D&D is designed for attrition and managing resources.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by etonbears
...
I don't really see Larian changing the core game design prior to release. Neither should they, since those that have purchased EA could see exactly what they were buying from the early gameplay videos; it has not changed.

As with most of the more fundamental game changes that different players want, complete 5e accuracy is more likely as a post-release optional mode or from the mod community.


I wouldn't call "high ground giving advantage" a core game design. It's a mechanic. And there is a difference between "not sticking completely to the rules" and making adjustments that significantly throw off the balance of the system. Getting advantage is one of the most significant things in 5e: it typically cost a spell or ability (see the 9th!!! level spell that grants advantage for the day), and importantly it does not stack.

A very simple change that would fix a lot of problems is giving height/lowground a +4/-4 bonus instead of advantage. Mechanically, this is the ~same as advantage. BUT this method wouldn't invalidate the usage of the dozens of spells, abilities, feats in 5e that grant advantage.

Similar for backstabbing: it is in no way part of Larian's "core game design" and invalidates a lot of spells/abilities that grant advantage.


I didn't engage with the specifics of the DnD player's argument ( the mathematics of the 5e system ), because I don't play TT and, therefore, really don't care. From the viewpoint of a video game player ( which is what I am ) the core design of BG3 is the environmental design, the controls and actions available, and how the game plays, regardless of how these are realised.

The game, as advertised, includes a strong vertical emphasis, gaining obvious benefit/drawbacks from difference in height, and similarly gaining obvious benefit from attacking from behind - which is possible , seemingly, because 5e is turn-based, but has no facing, ZOC or positioning rules.

Obtaining these height/backstab benefits is not cost-free, as you have to move into position, and movement is also a resource. The positioning benefits also apply equally to all actors, and the benefits can be lost/negated by opponent movement, so considering your movement becomes, relatively, more important.

This is unlike the dozens of feats/abilities/spells mentioned that presumably will continue to pertain regardless of how actors position themselves, and are therefore tactically superior to gaining positioning benefits. As the resources used are trivially restored between encounters, at the press of a button, those other mechanisms are effectively unlimited in use.

Larian ( with this and the universal bonus actions ) are clearly of a mind that when you actually get a turn, all characters should have variety things they can do, not just attempt to hit the nearest opponent, and in all likelihood miss. You may like playing 5e TT, but it has been so over-simplified that RAW would make an exceedingly dull video game by the standards of the bulk of videogamers.

Originally Posted by Stabbey
Originally Posted by etonbears
Have any previous DnD video games stuck completely to the rules? I'm not aware of any. I'm not sure how many DnD TT player groups stick to the rules either.


Strawman argument. There are many other changes to the 5e rules Larian has made which don't have people complaining about them, like Speak with Animals lasting until next long rest or until losing concentration. I don't think anyone is complaining about the special weapon attacks Larian has made as well. It is clearly not the case that people are complaining merely because BG 3 is not being a precise exact duplicate of the 5e rules.

You are completely ignoring the detailed discussion about exactly why these specific rule changes affect the balance. Do you have any defense for why 56+ sources of advantage/disadvantage with a cost or drawback should be thrown out the window for free advantage with no cost from backstab and height?


It wasn't an argument, merely a question and observation concerning the differing nature of computer moderated games vs socially moderated ones.

Were Larian to be advertising a product as a multi-player 5e play-aid with assets that allowed a social group to play their sessions online, I would clearly expect full implementation of the rules and options. But BG3 is not that; it is a Larian-DNA videogame, somewhat based on 5e Rules, the Forgotten Realms and the spirit of the original BG games. They will change whatever they need, to get the game experience they want.

There are quite a few changes to 5e rules, and this is far from the only one attracting complaint. The reaction system is a big change attracting criticism, as it the apparent range limit of 18m. As far as I can see, these changes ( and the less contentious ones ) are also designed to make the videogame experience ( in the game environments Larian have designed ) less jarring and frustrating to the videogame audience.

If there truly are 56+ mechanics for producing the same non-stacking outcome, I have to wonder, firstly, why providing a 57th is even an issue - particularly as the other mechanics are presumably "at will" and recovering resources is trivial in BG3.

Secondly, I would actually step back and wonder quite why having 56+ selectable mechanics that produce an identical, non-stacking, outcome is considered a good thing. It hardly seem to me that such a situation encourages any form of tactical, nuanced or thoughtful play. By contrast, the positioning mechanics Larian have added, that achieve the same end, could be said to encourage scouting, observation and continual ,deliberate, careful movement that would otherwise be largely irrelevent.

I understand the OP's argument, it is quite straightforward; I just don't happen to agree with/care about it, because it is an artifact of the over-simplification of 5e mechanics, and Larian's chosen path seems to work well as a video game.

Originally Posted by Soul-Scar
The height advantage/disadvantage isn't a small mechanic change people are upset about because of 5e rule puritism. As the OP has explained in great detail it is a change so detrimental to the 5e rule set it isn't D&D. It is a cheese mechanic available to all classes including spellcasters that affects all classes to the point it makes most classes completely irrelevant. Add the "free action" nonsense that allows disengage AND an attack for all classes is simply not D&D.

If Larian make the effort of including a plethora of classes and 90% of them are made redundant by making their class benefits available to all classes by either standing 6 inches higher or behind the enemy then they are wasting their time. If they add better benefits to classes to compensate then the game gets further away from D&D.

If they start from D&D core rules and make changes based on feedback rather than including DOS mechanics it would go smoother. I don't mind changing the D&D rules if they don't work in game, don't care at all. But they haven't been tried as yet soooo. Nobody expects 1:1 creation of 5e so I don't accept this argument.

I understand this is early in the EA so I am not concerned. If these mechanics remain unchanged closer to release it will be something to gripe about. I am pretty sure by this thread alone Larian are aware of these concerns.


Sure, if you are a DnD TT player, you want what you are used to. When translated to a video game, It just happens to result in a play experience that other people don't like, and is quite unlike the experience that their existing audience are used to.

From a commercial point of view, starting with what sells and moving it towards DnD until it ceases to be fun, is a more logical approach, and seems to be what they have done.

I guess you'll probably like Solasta more, but I found it slow and dull ( well made; just not interesting to play ). I have not played TT since ADnD and DnD 2e, but I understand the difficulty in finding the right balance of complexity, interest and playability. I know 3e became regarded as over-complex, but from reading the SRD and other info, I think 5e has over-compensated to the point of becoming flat and uniform. I don't really care much for any of the classes in the PHB, since the differences are largely froth and flavour; I really have no idea what I will play when EA ends; probably roll D20 ( with advantage ) to decide smile

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Originally Posted by etonbears
I didn't engage with the specifics of the DnD player's argument ( the mathematics of the 5e system ), because I don't play TT and, therefore, really don't care. From the viewpoint of a video game player ( which is what I am ) the core design of BG3 is the environmental design, the controls and actions available, and how the game plays, regardless of how these are realised.

The game, as advertised, includes a strong vertical emphasis, gaining obvious benefit/drawbacks from difference in height, and similarly gaining obvious benefit from attacking from behind - which is possible , seemingly, because 5e is turn-based, but has no facing, ZOC or positioning rules.

Okay, but this makes no argument for ADVANTAGE due to high ground. Why isn't the height itself, and thus larger ranged attack range a sufficient bonus? You're also harder to hit when you have the high ground because enemies on the low ground have reduced range. You can also sometimes destroy ladders behind you, making you unreachable by melee combatants.
Originally Posted by etonbears
Obtaining these height/backstab benefits is not cost-free, as you have to move into position, and movement is also a resource. The positioning benefits also apply equally to all actors, and the benefits can be lost/negated by opponent movement, so considering your movement becomes, relatively, more important.

This is incorrect. There is basically no cost to moving to high ground: you simply walk up some stairs/a ladder. This is even more true for backstabbing, simply circle around an enemy. I would agree with this point IF you could choose between taking 2 actions or a move and an action. Then you'd be choosing between gaining height OR getting 2 attacks.
But currently, it's often cost-free to move to high ground/circle behind an opponent, since you wouldn't use that movement for anything else. The only scenario that has costs is when you're running away from an opponent and could provoke an AoO or use your bonus action to jump.
Originally Posted by etonbears
This is unlike the dozens of feats/abilities/spells mentioned that presumably will continue to pertain regardless of how actors position themselves, and are therefore tactically superior to gaining positioning benefits. As the resources used are trivially restored between encounters, at the press of a button, those other mechanisms are effectively unlimited in use.

Again, no. Many feats/spells/abilities are invalidated by height/backstab advantage. And you have it backwards: many of these abilities COST AN ACTION, and thus are almost always tactically inferior to the (again, often cost-free) decision to walk up a hill. You say that height/backstab involves cost benefit while spells/abilities/feats do not: this is the exact opposite of the current state of the game.

Originally Posted by etonbears
Larian ( with this and the universal bonus actions ) are clearly of a mind that when you actually get a turn, all characters should have variety things they can do, not just attempt to hit the nearest opponent, and in all likelihood miss. You may like playing 5e TT, but it has been so over-simplified that RAW would make an exceedingly dull video game by the standards of the bulk of videogamers.

I literally suggested to replace height/backstab with a +4 bonus instead of advantage. This would COMPLICATE the game, by adding lots of little bonuses that could stack. The game would be much improved to its current state if backstabbing and height gave numerical bonuses instead of advantage/disadvantage.

Honestly, I think you read the first line of my post, where I disagreed with you, and nothing else...

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
There is basically no cost to moving to high ground: you simply walk up some stairs/a ladder.


Now I realized that vertical movement doesn't even cost movement. It should cost extra movement and only with something like Athletic feat it costs normal movement. So going high-groud literally have no cost at all and you kinda get effect of 9th spell Foresight.

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Originally Posted by Zahur
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
There is basically no cost to moving to high ground: you simply walk up some stairs/a ladder.


Now I realized that vertical movement doesn't even cost movement. It should cost extra movement and only with something like Athletic feat it costs normal movement. So going high-groud literally have no cost at all and you kinda get effect of 9th spell Foresight.


That's a fair point. The resources needed to get advantages should be significant.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by etonbears
I didn't engage with the specifics of the DnD player's argument ( the mathematics of the 5e system ), because I don't play TT and, therefore, really don't care. From the viewpoint of a video game player ( which is what I am ) the core design of BG3 is the environmental design, the controls and actions available, and how the game plays, regardless of how these are realised.

The game, as advertised, includes a strong vertical emphasis, gaining obvious benefit/drawbacks from difference in height, and similarly gaining obvious benefit from attacking from behind - which is possible , seemingly, because 5e is turn-based, but has no facing, ZOC or positioning rules.

Okay, but this makes no argument for ADVANTAGE due to high ground. Why isn't the height itself, and thus larger ranged attack range a sufficient bonus? You're also harder to hit when you have the high ground because enemies on the low ground have reduced range. You can also sometimes destroy ladders behind you, making you unreachable by melee combatants.
Originally Posted by etonbears
Obtaining these height/backstab benefits is not cost-free, as you have to move into position, and movement is also a resource. The positioning benefits also apply equally to all actors, and the benefits can be lost/negated by opponent movement, so considering your movement becomes, relatively, more important.

This is incorrect. There is basically no cost to moving to high ground: you simply walk up some stairs/a ladder. This is even more true for backstabbing, simply circle around an enemy. I would agree with this point IF you could choose between taking 2 actions or a move and an action. Then you'd be choosing between gaining height OR getting 2 attacks.
But currently, it's often cost-free to move to high ground/circle behind an opponent, since you wouldn't use that movement for anything else. The only scenario that has costs is when you're running away from an opponent and could provoke an AoO or use your bonus action to jump.
Originally Posted by etonbears
This is unlike the dozens of feats/abilities/spells mentioned that presumably will continue to pertain regardless of how actors position themselves, and are therefore tactically superior to gaining positioning benefits. As the resources used are trivially restored between encounters, at the press of a button, those other mechanisms are effectively unlimited in use.

Again, no. Many feats/spells/abilities are invalidated by height/backstab advantage. And you have it backwards: many of these abilities COST AN ACTION, and thus are almost always tactically inferior to the (again, often cost-free) decision to walk up a hill. You say that height/backstab involves cost benefit while spells/abilities/feats do not: this is the exact opposite of the current state of the game.

Originally Posted by etonbears
Larian ( with this and the universal bonus actions ) are clearly of a mind that when you actually get a turn, all characters should have variety things they can do, not just attempt to hit the nearest opponent, and in all likelihood miss. You may like playing 5e TT, but it has been so over-simplified that RAW would make an exceedingly dull video game by the standards of the bulk of videogamers.

I literally suggested to replace height/backstab with a +4 bonus instead of advantage. This would COMPLICATE the game, by adding lots of little bonuses that could stack. The game would be much improved to its current state if backstabbing and height gave numerical bonuses instead of advantage/disadvantage.

Honestly, I think you read the first line of my post, where I disagreed with you, and nothing else...


I think we are just talking past each other because we care about different things. I'll try to explain what I mean again with the benefit of your further thoughts.

1 ... Justify advantage ... Yes, you are right I didn't do so, because I don't know exactly ( or particularly care ) what the numerical benefits of height and positioning are in BG3; only that it modifies hit chances for everyone ( which I consider a good thing ) and possibly slightly modifies range.

As a player of the game, I find the current experience works OK. If gaining height ( particularly in a game where this is advertised as important ) or hitting a target from an unseen position do not matter, then the value of the game play experience, from my point of view, will be reduced.

If you tell me that currently its ~+/-5 but doesn't stack, and are suggesting taking it to +/-4 but stacking with other benefits ( which may also increase the hit chance ) then I certainly would not object, as it is likely to speed up combat and may add options; but I don't see it as necessary.

As to why height/unsighted should have benefits at all, you could find that from just about any military manual since the dawn of time, where both are primary tactical objectives:

- Flank or rear attacks are generally undefended, greatly increasing the likelihood of landing a blow.
- Melee attacking uphill is at severe disadvantage in terms of both weapon inertia and tiredness.
- For missile attacks, not only is range modified, but also the defensive benefits of cover and visibility.
- Range benefits might only apply to some magic ( difficult to tell really, since it is rather abstract ),
- Both flank attacks and high ground also deliver significant morale benefits.

2 ... Movement isn't a resource ... Yes, it is. It is a finite resource that is renewed each round, just as an action is a finite resource renewed every round, spell slots are finite resources renewed every long rest, etc. You simply have not thought of it that way.

More to the point, in normal DnD play you can move where you want without much risk. I suspect that this leads to melee characters re-enacting "the charge of the light brigade" in every encounter, while ranged characters attempt to kite.

Including height/position benefits means that when you move, you also must consider where other actors are now, and where they will be able to move to. For example, you cannot be flanked ( this turn ) if you take a position where no enemy can move behind you in their turn.

I would also note that changing your movement rate using dash now becomes a more interesting tactical choice, as is using feats/spells such as Misty Step.

The rules surrounding movement in 5e are ( as far as I can see ) extremely weak, just as they have been in most versions of DnD. The BG3 approach may not be a perfect solution to that, but at least they are giving meaning and purpose to movement, which is important in a video game, where you have to actually show-and-tell, not just hand-wave everything as you can in TT games.

3 ... Feats/spells/abilities and stuff ... I said 2 things here, but obviously not clearly as you seem to think I said something else.

First, I said that I was assuming the 56+ other ( non-movement ) ways of getting advantage/giving disadvantage have no specific negation mechanism, and will apply to the target for a fixed duration, regardless of what other actors do; I was contrasting this with height/backstab advantage, where you can negate the condition through your own tactical movement.

Second, I said that these 56+ forms of advantage were not long-term resource limited in BG3, because you can always take a short or long rest to replenish resources after every single encounter. This statement is, I admit, an assumption, because I am not actually sure what these 56+ things are, having found very few myself, despite playing most of the classes available.

4 ... Didn't read my post ... Sorry if it seemed that way, I felt I was replying fairly directly to it. Again, probably talking past each other. As I note above, I wouldn't care about switching the benefit to a different mechanism, since I am not of the opinion it makes much difference. My point was that the design of the game does revolve around what you, and the other actors, can do, in the environments provided. This includ all sorts of additions and changes that are not in the official 5e literature at this point. Maybe some will be added; DnD is always changing.



For these above reasons, I'm unclear that the rules angst justified. If you want to give situational examples that show how Larian's choices destroy some of the character classes abilities, I would be happy to try to understand.

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@etonbears I appreciate the detail you put into your response. I'll try to respond in kind.

I've included my responses in the spoiler boxes to clutter up the thread less.

1.) Height/Backstab Advantage vs numerical bonus
Yes, you are correct in what I'm saying. Currently in BG3, Height/Backstab are equivalent to ~+/-5 bonuses that don't stack and I'm suggesting that it should stack with other abilities (as a +X bonus, where X is between 1 and 5)
I agree with you: it makes sense that height gives benefits. You can see people more easily from high ground and will be harder to hit because of cover. I'm not opposed to these benefits. But I do think it is necessary to make these height bonuses stackable with normal sources of Advantage, or else a lot of the game and character's abilities become irrelevant. See the list of 56+abilities made by the OP.

1b) Backstabbing: In your most recent response, you use "unsighted," "backstab," and "flanking" interchangeably. These are all different mechanics in 5e
--You can Hide, preventing the enemy from seeing you = unsighted. This grants advantage to attack rolls. I agree with this being in the game. You have spent a significant resource (Bonus Action) to gain a bonus (Advantage)
--There are optional flanking rules, where you have allies on either side of the enemy. This is not implemented in the game. I would be fine with this granting a bonus (again, Advantage is too strong. I'd suggest a +2 or +3 bonus). You have spent a resource (significant positioning requiring coordination between 2 PCs) for Advantage.

Neither of these are what Larian has implemented as "backstabbing." The current problems with Larian's implementation are that a) It costs basically nothing to circle around an opponent. b)Advantage is too strong and doesn't stack. See below for my argument re:moving being ~free


2.) Movement as a resource
Yes movement is a technically resource, in that each turn you have limited movement. But, often there is no cost associated with moving, because you don't lose out on something like you do if you spent your action not attacking. (Also climbing a ladder costs literally 0 movement!)
---For example, if your fighter is next to an enemy. It is almost always the correct decision to circle around to the back of the enemy, getting this "backstab bonus." The fighter then still has their bonus action and their action. They haven't really lost anything.

In some cases, yes there is a cost. However, these situations are rare, negated by other Larian decisions, or have very small costs
---You would have to leave the threatened area of another enemy. This situation is somewhat rare. This would require multiple enemies to be near your fighter, none of which you can already backstab without moving. In addition, this cost is reduced by the ability to jump+disengage as a bonus action, ~always enabling you to do so, especially given that many Fighters don't have bonus action options anyway.
---Your example: "you must consider where other enemies are and can go". I'll admit, this can be a cost. But, as you said, 5e's has very lenient movement rules. This makes it much less likely that your decision to circle behind/gain height will actually put you in a worse position. The enemy could probably already move to gain whatever position they wanted. Again, "flanking" does not exist in BG3, so you don't have to worry about being surrounded.
--The biggest risk is being shoved off high ground by an enemy. This is significant. Which is why I'm more favorable of height bonuses than backstab bonuses. Risk&Reward

Also, I believe the opponent won't circle around you for backstab. They'll try to get in a position to backstab if they're not already next to you, but they won't circle around you. This might be wrong though...but if true, then backstabbing benefits don't apply equally to all actors

In summary, while there can (sometimes) be cost to moving, there often isn't or the cost is small compared to the Advantage gained.



3.) Feats/abilities/spells
The list of 56+ things is in the first post of this thread. Does it really matter what exactly they are? The point is that there are so many options that are made irrelevant by easy sources of advantage. Some of them are integral to classes/spells e.g.,
--Bard's spell Vicious Mockery, giving an enemy disadvantage to hit, is almost always used in PnP. If I'm on high ground, the enemy already has disadvantage against me. Why would I viciously mock?
--Barbarian's Reckless Attack grants you Advantage on all your attacks this round in exchange for enemies getting advantage on you. Why would you use this if you can just circle around an enemy for advantage?
--Faerie Fire grants advantage on all attack roles against a target, and is incredibly powerful for that. But why would you cast this if instead, you can just circle around an enemy/get height advantage?

I agree with you that, with infinite long rests, spells can be used more freely. But that is not the timescale I'm talking about. I care about a single combat, a single turn. In a single turn, would you rather:
a) walk up stairs/circle around an enemy to gain Advantage, where you still have your Action and Bonus Action?
b) spend an action (cast a spell) to POSSIBLY (they could resist) allow your allies/you to have Advantage on their attacks? In this case, you've used up your Action, and thus your turn is over
My point is that Option B is strictly worse than Option A, because you can achieve Option A will less resources used.


tl;dr: My point is that Advantage (the mechanic) from height/backstab is too powerful and too easily achievable. It makes lots of other parts of D&D irrelevant, and the costs for getting height/backstab are often small given 5e's lenient movement rules.
That said, I do like Larian's environments involving height. In this, we agree ^_^ I just think that a +2/-2 bonus for height (or even a +4/-4) that stacked with Advantage/Disadvantage would be much better.
Similar for backstab: change it to a numerical bonus that stacks, and maybe change "backstabbing" to "flanking", where you have to have allies on opposite sides of an enemy. That would involve a higher cost and more tactics, as you'd have to maneuver 2 people to positions in the thick of melee. Risking getting backstabbed themselves or AoE'd

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3

...
tl;dr: My point is that Advantage (the mechanic) from height/backstab is too powerful and too easily achievable. It makes lots of other parts of D&D irrelevant, and the costs for getting height/backstab are often small given 5e's lenient movement rules.
That said, I do like Larian's environments involving height. In this, we agree ^_^ I just think that a +2/-2 bonus for height (or even a +4/-4) that stacked with Advantage/Disadvantage would be much better.
Similar for backstab: change it to a numerical bonus that stacks, and maybe change "backstabbing" to "flanking", where you have to have allies on opposite sides of an enemy. That would involve a higher cost and more tactics, as you'd have to maneuver 2 people to positions in the thick of melee. Risking getting backstabbed themselves or AoE'd


Thanks for the conversation, @mrfuji3. I suppose I'm going to both agree and disagree smile

At core, I think that height and flank attack *should* have benefits, and I think it a good thing that Larian has included changes for this. Most previous DnD video games did not bother, but I think the bar for video games has been raised above that. Similarly, and related, I do not think you can create a good video game if movement is essentially worthless.

I agree that actual implementation detail is not perfect, particularly for flank attack - once you are within weapon range, you should probably not be able to circle further, the way you currently are allowed. But if you can get to the rear 90 or 120 degree arc "the long way round" so to speak, it doesn't seem unreasonable to get a much easier attack.

And while I haven't seen it often, I have seen enemies go straight past party characters to hit other ones in the rear with advantage, though that is probably not a conscious decision. Similarly, there are more frequent occasions where enemy actors surround a character and gain flanking advantage.

There is definitely some work for Larian to do on movement and blocking it ( also noted in other threads ) which may play into making flanking ( and perhaps ladder climbing, as you mention ) work more acceptably. I'm hopeful that they will take another look, in the light of comments in this thread and others.

Going back to how you implement the movement benefits compared with other features, thanks for offering the specific examples ( vicious mockery, reckless attack, faerie fire ), of why you would find movement advantage disturbing; it helps me see more clearly why it is considered a problem.

Without considering all possible sources of advantage and how they can be used, I think I would probably say that positional advantage is not the all-destroying rules breaker it is being painted as in this thread.

In the particular cases you kindly outline, I would offer the following views:

Vicious Mockery ( not in EA yet ): Yes, as you say, if I am above a creature, they have disadvantage to attack, so I can choose to not use VM, save a spell slot and use my action to, perhaps, shoot it with a ranged weapon. On the face of it, this is positive for me, I think.

So, does this mean VM is useless and invalid? I would say no. Firstly VM also inflicts damage, as do some other spells in the "made useless" list. Secondly, the potential VM target gets to move before the end of its next turn ( the duration of VM disadvantage ), and may use that movement to move out of disadvantage and hit me at normal chance. If it is melee attacking me, this is actually highly likely. Thirdly, the creature may be at disadvantage to me, but not to other party members, unless they are also above the creature.

In short, this means the value of VM is not really diminished, but becomes tactically slightly more interesting.
- If the creature is not able to reach me in a turn, I can use it to protect a party member, but don't need it to protect myself.
- If the creature could reach me in a turn, I need to decide if I will risk not using VM in exchange for another feat/spell/attack.


Reckless Attack ( not in EA yet ): Yes, if I can circle an opponent for advantage ( or better yet, get on a ledge in front of them ), I don't need to use this ability. Again, on the face of it, this is positive for me.

I think we both agree that circling shouldn't be as easy as it currently is, but even in the current circumstances, reckless attack would still be a tactical choice when circling/height cannot be achieved. So this one is lessened, but not invalidated.


Faerie Fire (available in EA): I have to admit, being an old TT player, I dismissed FF without actually reading the description, as I rarely used to use it! But yes, I can see in 5e it is useful. And if I can see a creature, and can gain positional advantage, I can save a spell slot and do something else, thats true, and a positive choice again.

Is FF made useless? I'd say not at all, really. The spell affect all actors attacking the outlined creatures and items within the spell bounds for 10 rounds, not just the caster. Also, outlined creatures may move to negate positional advantages in any round, making it very unwise to assume that advantage will continue.


I don't know if these seem reasonable characterisations to you, but my impression from this small sample is that the existing advantage giving capabilities are affected to varying degrees by the Larian positional benefits, mainly changing the tactical circumstances of use or decision making, rather than everything being invalidated.

I shall certainly look more carefully at how this works out in future plays.

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Just want to post my support for the OP and the side of the discussion favouring removing the majority of the always-available cost-free advantage sources in their current form.

Many folks have wanted to say that making it easier to achieve what you're trying to do reliably is a good thing, but what I'm seeing more than anything else is people saying that they like not having to think about, stock, use or ever consider a huge swathe of the interesting and different spells, abilities and features that are already, or will at some point be, available int he game... and I cannot fathom how being able to ignore most of the game's mechanics, abilities, spells and other features, becuase you can achieve their value for free without using them, could be considered to be a good thing by anyone.

Speaking just as a player of video games (I play table top as well, but I game plenty), if I am faced with a game that leaves one single tactic vastly superior to all other choices in combat, which is free and easy to abuse, and the go to in every situation, causing me to ignore almost the entirety of other features, spells and abilities ignored because they cost resources, and are less effective, or at best only just as effective, as the free, cost-free method... That's just bad game design. It's not fun. It gets tired and dull and boring way, way, WAY too fast.

- No more facing advantage; nix that entirely.
- *Optional* rule to use flanking for advantage, requiring another ally.
- Cover rules
- Height advantage removed in favour the base environmental benefit - it should usually negate cover.
- No low-to-high disadvantage either; at most, a high ground target that is back from the edge substantially can gain cover from lower attackers. One right on the edge is a sitting duck for low ground shooters - there's no way they should be harder to hit.

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@etonbears

Yes I definitely agree that circling around an enemy should be made more difficult, given the extreme bonus you get for doing so. This could be addressed by reducing the bonus (numerical +2/+3 bonus), requiring actual flanking (allies on opposite sides of an enemy), or having such movement provoke AoOs. Or many other solutions.

Re: Faerie Fire, Reckless Attack, Vicious Mockery
I agree with you that these options all still have uses. The enemy could climb up to you, in which case having mocked/faerie'd them the previous turn would have been a good decision. Those examples you gave are good. I suppose I was being hyperbolic when I said these were completely invalidated, so my bad.
But the effects of them definitely are lessened, as you mention in your post (for reckless attack and faerie fire at least).

As I said, I do like the idea of getting a bonus from high ground. And I'm not opposed to some kind of flanking/backstab bonus. I just want the reward-to-risk/cost ratio to be more balanced and negatively affect fewer spells/abilities. Currently, high ground&backstab are so easy to get and provide such a strong bonus.
I think this would be best achieved by changing it from Advantage to a stacking numerical bonus and/or changing backstabbing to flanking.

@Niara
+1

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Alright so Advantage/Disadvantage is roll 2d20 an take the high/low. The way its setup from the combat log seems like a 1d20 + a flat number added to your roll plus bonuses, is this correct? Besides this, there is currently from what it looks like 2 surprise rounds. Say I attack a creature, they get damage combat starts and surprise round goes I get another attack that is the official surprise round.

For sneak attacks, if I shoot from stealth or start my turn during a combat round go into stealth and attack, I'll get advantage but no sneak attack damage. I'm not sure if this is a bug or if something is off and I'm getting disadvantage also and advantage is still showing up in combat log for me.

Truthfully advantage/disadvantage seems more of a crap fest than anything I've ever read. If I have advantage on enemy i get to roll 2d20, if i have disadvantage i get to roll 2d20, if i have both nothing, if im a halfling i get another reroll on ones even if i have both. Why the hell isnt this just a flat +2/-2 from what i read the percent bonuses to the roll far far blow away any bonus from a spell. Bless why have it???

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