One thought on “Angry Rants: D&D is Too Easy

  1. It seems to me like you are still focusing on the wrong spot. A battle being tough changes based on the composition of the group, their condition (resources down, etc), the opponents, and the situational factors (positioning, weather, etc). Of these four things, you control only two. Maybe more like 1.5 since not all the situational factors are up to you.

    Compounding this issue is the fact that the players go into nearly every scenario blind. There is no effective way for them to get a good read on the strength of their opposition. In a video game I can see the health, mana, items, etc that the enemy has and I can look at my own to gauge my likeliness of overcoming an encounter. The players of D&D can’t do that. They have to depend on the encounters to be “balanced” or for the GM to make clear that they are outclassed.

    Why does this matter? It determines how they spend resources. How much the group front loads their alpha strike is based on how tough they think the enemy is. If they have no good metric of that than they are likely to make a bad decision. Either they over spend and are out resources or underspend and lengthen the encounter (which will cost them resources). Either way that makes them less likely to complete that 6th daily encounter.

    So how do you give them information without handing over stat blocks and making the entire affair boring? Narration. If you describe a monster as quick & agile the wizard knows that fireball is less likely to hit at full force. Now that player is making better decisions about how he should spend those resources. At the point where everyone is making the best decisions they can, then you can make a call on if the day’s worth of encounters together were too hard for that group.

    Ultimately, while you don’t want them to fail all the time, failure needs to be an option in any scenario. If you are doing your job of narrating and getting the information to the players than it shouldn’t matter if it was too hard. You shouldn’t have a vested interest in the outcome being one way or the other. That isn’t something you are supposed to determine. You take what you learn and adjust moving forward. That’s all you can do.

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