praguepride
 member, 1362 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 20:41
Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
So for those who don't know there is an option in D&D 5E that allows Humans to trade up some starting bonuses for a free "feat" (i.e. ability).

Now 9 times out of 10 what is given up is equivalent for what is picked however as feats are not designed to be taken before 3rd level there are a couple that are very powerful choices mechanically early on. One, for example, gives you potentially three attacks per round while everyone else is doing only a single attack for several levels and others give you such powerful damage bonuses that compared to the HP of a typical first/second level monster you're one-shotting them.

At 3rd level this is less of an issue because of the overall power curve but at 1st level some of these feats can really break the game. Therefore I put a simple restriction on it:

Submit a list of 3 feats that you would like to pick from and based on the theme/setting/character build I'll pick one to allow. If none of the three make it then you're back to being a regular human.

I don't think this is a very unreasonable request. There are plenty of feats to pick from and most are obviously not that powerful. Getting an extra bit of proficiency in armor or being able to climb and jump better or getting a bonus to-hit on the charge, while powerful, doesn't break the game and it is clear from just spending 5 minutes on Google what the most powerful, potentially game changing feats are. I would say out of the 40+ feats there are maybe 5 I would frown upon so I think this is a perfectly fair system.

Sure enough had a player come asking to use the variant rules and when I outlined the restrictions hoo boy did they just quit on the spot. If that's all it takes to make you not want to play a game then I am already glad I put this filter into place!


edit: To catch people up here are some missing critical pieces of info from the above as originally posted: -the variant is an optional rule that says in the book to ask GM permission, -I did not say it was allowed prior. They asked if they could use it and I said 'sure with conditions..'

edit 2: No characters were made. I specifically did not ask for a prebuilt character, just what race/class and bio stuff. They were not added to the game and then yoinked out, this was all during the RTJ vetting process

This message was last edited by the user at 23:08, Fri 08 Mar.

RosstoFalstaff
 member, 158 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 21:04
Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Well I mean I think it's only every four levels in one class that you get feats so they're significantly sparser than in 3.5/PF and they are usually quite defining on what your character can do. No one is clamoring for Keen Intellect really

Did you outline these rules before the person applied? Because if not this would be new information on your houserules to the player, which is 100% something that might affect them wanting to play your game

I fully support the idea you should run the game how you want to, and the Variant Human is good enough that barring some other reason it's the best choice for a race for any class (which is a problem from a race choice position). The only problem is that on the other end of it, Human is pretty much the most boring option of the PHB races.

I as a player would simply want to know, before I committed, what the five feats you don't like are (or ten or fifteen or whatever, or five "absolute no"s and ten "we'll see"s. If I was playing Declan, my rogue that I'm currently trying to play in some games, I might be off-put trying to play a crossbow fighter without the Crossbow Expert feat from as early as possible, and would then move on to my next idea instead of trying to fit square Declan in a round houserule hole

edit: obviously we aren't seeing the whole picture here and HOW the player decided to quit the application process says a lot about what they were there for

This message was last edited by the user at 21:06, Fri 08 Mar.

engine
 member, 691 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 21:10
Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
I thought that the supremacy of combat as a problem-solver had been dealt with in 5th Edition. Honestly. It's all fine and good to be great at combat, but there are two other equally important (I thought) pillars of adventure. If it's easy for someone to dominate combat, can't the GM arrange things so that those other pillars are more important?

Even if not, it's not that hard under any system to make combat about more than killing the other side, or making it so that instead of being overpowered a given feat is necessary just to get by. If the goal of the monsters is not to kill the PCs, one doesn't even have to worry about overpowered opposition wrecking the game. Giving the PCs two rounds to kill the monsters before the monsters achieve their goal also keeps combat short, which I understood to be one of the goals of 5th Edition.

Not that your solution isn't reasonable for your game. But I hope you don't feel like it's your only option.
praguepride
 member, 1363 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 21:49
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
RosstoFalstaff:
Did you outline these rules before the person applied? Because if not this would be new information on your houserules to the player, which is 100% something that might affect them wanting to play your game


You have a fair point. My RTJ process doesn't involve character sheets at all, just general background information.

I get the switch but be honest, how would you feel about a potential player willing to drop your game just because they don't get three times as many attacks at first level as any other character?

Engine:
Not that your solution isn't reasonable for your game. But I hope you don't feel like it's your only option.


Oh I agree but in my opinion it is less about their actual abilities and more about their purpose for playing the game. I know I can just throw more enemies or have more social/puzzle encounters etc to balance the game. I know a simple vanilla Barbarian with 20 strength is going to crack a low level game of pathfinder over his/her meaty thighs.

What bothers me though is if that is the only reason you're doing it. I don't mind powerful characters so long as they are characters and not just piles of numbers and items being moved around to score imaginary points.

Like I said, I'm glad I put that filter in place because if someone isn't willing to play in a game just because their super power combo isn't allowed then I'm not the right DM for them. Now this is purely my opinion based on anecdotal evidence of DMing for ~10 years but players like this generally tend to have a short lifespan in a game. As soon as things get hard or someone upstages them then poof, they are gone. They only want to play if they get to not just win, but win over the other players as well. Not every time, but, again my personal observation, there is far more that fall into this category than any other.

Now I get wanting to try out a specific build or combination for funsies. I get that, but that wasn't the discussion we had. They asked for a variant rule, I said I wouldn't allow it if they only wanted gamebending/breaking options and so they left. The implication is that they only wanted to abuse the system, not actually play the game or try something new.
Dirigible
 member, 208 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 21:53
Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Wouldn't it be more honest to list the feats that you are forbidding or restricting, Praguepride? Making the palyers guess what's off limits feels like a cruel bit of 'gotcha' on the GM's part. It seems like you're punishing them by making them play a non-variant human (which may not be much of a punishment stat-wise, but if I'm playing a human I know that most of the time I'd want the feat for flavour and mechanical interest reasons) for not being able to read your mind and predict your views on game balance based on zero information.
engine
 member, 692 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 22:00
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
praguepride:
Now this is purely my opinion based on anecdotal evidence of DMing for ~10 years but players like this generally tend to have a short lifespan in a game. As soon as things get hard or someone upstages them then poof, they are gone. They only want to play if they get to not just win, but win over the other players as well. Not every time, but, again my personal observation, there is far more that fall into this category than any other.

In my experience, it's usually much more complicated than that, and almost always understandable. But if one isn't willing to stick around and work things out, there's nothing one can do. But I think it's uncharitable and not all that healthy to assume that they're truly reacting in the way you describe. It's divisive.

praguepride:
Now I get wanting to try out a specific build or combination for funsies. I get that, but that wasn't the discussion we had. They asked for a variant rule, I said I wouldn't allow it if they only wanted gamebending/breaking options and so they left. The implication is that they only wanted to abuse the system, not actually play the game or try something new.

I encourage you to let it go without considering the implications. It fills one's world with more undesirable people than there actually are.

But I probably don't have the whole story, so I shouldn't assume that I wouldn't have behaved the same way in your place. Or in theirs.
swordchucks
 member, 1551 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 22:07
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Dirigible:
Wouldn't it be more honest to list the feats that you are forbidding or restricting, Praguepride? Making the palyers guess what's off limits feels like a cruel bit of 'gotcha' on the GM's part.

To be honest, it'd probably put me off, too.  I've had... poor experiences with GMs that are overly picky about mechanics and demand to pick things for the players.  The players really only have one thing that they get to control - their character - and forcing them to cead some of that control can really rub people the wrong way.

That said, as much as I dislike 5e, that's what my home group plays, and my elven rogue hasn't looked back once at taking the racial feat at 4th level that lets her teleport.  Then again, we haven't had an actual combat yet... and we started at level 1... There have been a lot of shenanigans.
praguepride
 member, 1364 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 22:32
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
The issue with an exact list is two things: 1) there is 40+ feats and only about 5 problematic feats 2) those feats are only really problematic with certain builds and 3) if someone comes up with a really solid character idea I'm more than willing to let them use the feat if it enriches the game.

3 chances out of say, 40 gives you a 99.995% chance of passing even with purely random picks. Real odds are even higher considering I listed out two of them as examples.

As for picking things for the player: the options is to just not use the variant rule, right? I mean it specifically says "by GM's permission"

From the PHB:
quote:
If your campaign uses the optional feat rules from chapter 5,
your Dungeon Master might allow these variant traits, all of
which replace the humanís Ability Score Increase trait.


So even RAW it's on the "maybe" pile, not exactly a rug pull for a prospective player, imo.
CaesarCV
 member, 355 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 22:37
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Kind of have to disagree on that one a little bit. I mean, you allowed Variant human, but then pulled the rug out from under them, and from the conversation it looked like after they already started character creation. I think that for these sorts of situations its better to just put the houserules and cards out on the table, just as a general rule. You can put whatever house rules in you want, but they should be clear and obvious from the get go.

This message was last edited by the user at 22:38, Fri 08 Mar.

praguepride
 member, 1365 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 22:47
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
I never said I allowed it. They asked if they could use it and I said "yes...with conditions..."
DaCuseFrog
 member, 39 posts
 SW Florida
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 23:04
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
I've designed plenty of characters for 5e, and I've even gotten to play some of them. :-D

For me, I tend to look for a non-human race to play whenever possible, unless there is a specific background-driven reason for a first level feat.  For example, one of my favorite designs is a farm girl apprenticed to her druid mother who witnesses great feats of magic from a wizard.  She falls in love with the idea of arcane spells, prays to Mystra, and voila, she's an Arcana Cleric with Magic Initiate: Druid.  Another is an expert archer from the city watch who loves music (in Forgotten Realms he's from Derlusk).  Two levels of Fighter (or Ranger) with an archery focus, then switch to Bard for the rest, with Sharpshooter feat to start.

I understand that the power level difference between those feats is sizable, but both of them are part of my characters' stories.  I'd rather switch my race to something else than be told that I have to be a basic human because my feat was not accepted (and I in fact have a backup race for each character).  One of the main reasons to take human IS for the first level feat (unless you roll all odd scores, in which case it's debatable).

I have to concur that knowing all of the house rules up front is kind of important, and also be flexible enough to allow a race switch if you don't want to allow a specific feat to start.
praguepride
 member, 1366 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 23:07
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
DaCuseFrog:
I have to concur that knowing all of the house rules up front is kind of important, and also be flexible enough to allow a race switch if you don't want to allow a specific feat to start.


Is it an expectation that I list out the ins and outs of every optional rule in 5e ahead of time? I've never done and game through rPoL and perhaps there is a community thing I am not understanding...
DaCuseFrog
 member, 40 posts
 SW Florida
Fri 8 Mar 2019
at 23:45
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Not every rule, but definitely character creation rules, as those are one of the first things handled.  It can be as simple as stating which books/resources are available for use, and that multiclassing/feats are allowed/not allowed/conditional (and then listing what you mean by conditional).  As for the other optional rules, you can list the ones that are important to you ahead of time, and deal with the rest as they come up  (encumbrance and flanking are ones that are debated a lot).  But the nice thing about RPoL is the ability to list a publicly view-able thread in your game with any important rules/house rules.  Depending on how detailed you make it, this can also cut back on many RTJs which are not to your liking.
praguepride
 member, 1367 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 00:57
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Hmmm this did not go the way I thought. I thought it would be 5e players/GMs weighing in on my restrictions or a discussion about whether or not quitting over not being allowed an OP build is rational or normal but instead it has turned into me just constantly clarifying that this is an optional rule that I never said was allowed prior. I was just trying to find a compromise between a players desire for flexibility and my need to weed out min/makers but trying to find a compromise puts me in the wrong, apparently.

Anyway looking back I may have struck too arrogant a tone in my opening pitch to prompt the discussion that I was looking for. At least that is something I can take away from all this.
swordchucks
 member, 1552 posts
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 01:04
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
praguepride:
As for picking things for the player: the options is to just not use the variant rule, right? I mean it specifically says "by GM's permission"

For me, it's a vibe thing.  You can set whatever restrictions you want, as the GM, but I think you can tell a lot about a GM by the restrictions they set.

In this specific case, the thing that puts me off is "suggest three and I will pick one".  If it was a more generic "I don't like some of them in certain combinations, so be aware that I might ask you to pick a different feat", I wouldn't have had any problem with it at all.

Heck, I wouldn't even have a problem with "roll three times on this table and that's the feat you get" or "I'll give you five options and you can pick one".  It's the vibe of it where the PC isn't getting to make the choice about the only real thing they're getting from their race.
DaCuseFrog
 member, 41 posts
 SW Florida
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 03:18
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Viewing your edits, I can tell you that although you didn't list it in your rules, you clarified it for the person during their RTJ.  They decided that they didn't like the restrictions you placed and bowed out.  I actually think that it's one of the best results all around.  Since you explained when asked, they weren't blindsided when already in the game.  They didn't like it and made room for someone else who would be happy with the restriction.  That way you wouldn't have to replace someone already chosen for the game.  Some players and GMs don't mix, nothing wrong with that.
RosstoFalstaff
 member, 159 posts
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 03:41
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
I mean, if we're talking variant human then yes I never take that as a certainty. But if we're talking feats, those are kind of "ask your GM" for the same reason prestige classes were in 3.0, so the GM could have final say, not because the player was supposed to ask permission first (they SHOULD though)

I would just list the feats myself, and if it mattered to me I'd put a caveat saying "convince me"

As it stands, I'm fairly certain Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master are on that list (can't say I'd see the character hitting much but it is the biggest their attack bonus will be relative to the enemies' AC for a while), probably Crossbow Expert (mmm extra attacks). Lucky should be, but likely isn't (so good everyone can benefit from it). I've seen a guy with Heavy Armor Mastery really shrug off enemy attacks. Polearm Mastery and Sentinel (especially together) are real show stoppers. I guess Ritual Caster could be a problem?

As a personal rule I check out of any game where the GM wants to pick something about my character ever since I signed up for a freeform Marvel game set in the Middle Ages, wrote a really cool idea for a character . . . and the guy went "cool story, but the only way Luke Cage is here is if he's someone's slave" after I already was in.

This is not that, but I still ask permission on anything I want to do and then if the GM turns around and say "oh I'll be picking your feats/race/powers (M&M)" I walk
praguepride
 member, 1368 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 05:30
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
RosstoFalstaff:
Lucky should be, but likely isn't (so good everyone can benefit from it).


Saw this and it jogged my mind. I saw a really neat house rule for Lucky where what it is is after a d20 roll (but before results) you can use a luck point to add 1d4 to the roll. Basically it's a way to nudge a close miss into a close hit.

I really like it but i'm still pretty new to the system as a GM so curious about your thoughts...
NowhereMan
 member, 292 posts
Sat 9 Mar 2019
at 05:44
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
See? Now this is how these threads should always go. There's a bunch of GMs here that don't necessarily agree with each other, but are sharing ideas and game mechanic opinions, and no one has set anyone else on fire.

I don't play 5e, but in general I would try to make any creation-based house rules as public as possible, but that doesn't always work out. I've also been irked by players that quit the second that they discover that they won't be allowed to do a very specific small something-or-other. I rarely require complete builds pre-acceptance, and while I can understand wanting to build a Very Specific ConceptTM, I'd certainly appreciate an applicant mentioning that ahead of time, so I didn't end up having to recruit a replacement player right out of the gate.

Edit: Hit "post" too soon.

This message was last edited by the user at 05:47, Sat 09 Mar.

RosstoFalstaff
 member, 160 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2019
at 14:28
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
NowhereMan:
I don't play 5e, but in general I would try to make any creation-based house rules as public as possible, but that doesn't always work out. I've also been irked by players that quit the second that they discover that they won't be allowed to do a very specific small something-or-other. I rarely require complete builds pre-acceptance, and while I can understand wanting to build a Very Specific ConceptTM, I'd certainly appreciate an applicant mentioning that ahead of time, so I didn't end up having to recruit a replacement player right out of the gate.


Been on the receiving end (DM more than I play) of this sort of thing a lot and can confirm it sucks.

Which is why as a player I'm often VERY specific about what I want, why I want it, and upfront about how things interact.

"I'm going to be a Variant Human if allowed, and take Crossbow Expert. This is because it allows me to engage in melee range, make multiple attacks, and maximize my damage with that crossbow. If that isn't okay, could I please play the same character but be a half-elf (wood-elf variant) to improve my chances of Stealth, as that would allow me to hide in rain, fog and light foliage? Barring both, neither race really matters so I'll go standard half-elf"

The last thing I want as a player is for the DM to suddenly realize I can do something they don't like.
Rystefn
 member, 38 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2019
at 22:13
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
Yeah, I would have walked away, too. Most players capable of getting in other games would, I think. You keep referring to the total feat pool like that's a meaningful metric. A solid half of the feats in the game are literal garbage. "Why don't you just take a garbage feat instead?" is a terrible response to someone trying to take one of the decent ones.

Further, I'm going to point to your specific reference to the damage enhancing feats. Those feats tend to one-shot weaker enemies in the low levels, sure. But they come with a crippling attack penalty. There are not many level 1-3 characters that can eat a -5 penalty to hit and still be useful in combat. If you have four second level characters in your party fighting six goblins, and your fighter is swinging at -5, they're more likely to land zero hits in that fight while the rest of the team wins than to wade through and one-shot all of them.

The common zeitgeist loves them, but in actual play, Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master are ridiculously overrated, especially on low-level characters that are unlikely to have a reliable method of getting advantage to help overcome the penalties.
praguepride
 member, 1369 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Sun 10 Mar 2019
at 22:43
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
You might think that but when you actually crunch the numbers GWM and Sharpshooter always come out ahead, big time in terms of damage output.

Also doesn't address Polearm mastery that gets x3 attacks with no penalty and Lucky which is straight up ridiculous.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1450 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2019
at 23:23
Re: Called it!!! Fun in vetting 5e RTJs
In reply to Rystefn (msg # 21):

I think the point here is what one is looking for in a game. You can play the game or play the rules. The latter group finds half the feats as garbage, while the former does not, because they have entirely different goals, expectations, and desires regarding the game.

The two groups do not mix very well, especially when the players do not see the difference (a verh common issue).