Running a role playing game is different now than when I first started out. There is a science and art behind the mechanics. And it is really important to grasp those when creating and running a game. And it is important to understand the differences between thos in different games if you are going to be occasionally borrowing.
A couple of weeks ago @TheAngryGM posted a video where he explains some basic concepts behind D&D 5E. You can see it here:
He gets into a few different things here but the most important take away for me was this:
- Pathfinder as a system is based on an escalating mechanic. Everything your character can do get progressively better. And this also means the monsters have to follow the same escalation path. So long as this is consistent across the system it can work. My character keeps getting better at hitting things, and doing more damage when he does so. And his saves improve, along with armor and skills, everything goes up as you level up. Again if it is consistent it can work. But you do get to the point of crazy math, ‘I am +15 to hit, except this is undead which means I have another +4, and I am shooting at 30′ for another +1, and then my damage is 1d8 + 4, plus magic, plus bane, plus 2 d6 for bane, etc.’ I don’t mind it, and it does reward the players who know the system and as a result figure out how to maximize the math potential.
- D&D 5E is different now. The only things that should really go up is damage inflicted and the ability to take damage (hit points.) You will not have to pull out scratch paper or a calculator for all the many calculations involved as you go up in level. It is consistent as far as I can tell. So you will not see monsters and high level characters who are unhittable, instead it is a matter of being able to absorb the damage and then turn around and give it back.
Why is this important to me? Well I am working from a home brew campaign. And I have already mentioned that I am creating my own monsters. Well if I have grokked those points above I will do a much better job of creating those new monsters. That’s really important, I want the monsters to fit into the game, not stand out.
But another really important point is that when I start customizing the bad guys, giving them classes, adding abilities etc. I want to be sure that they fit into the overall game. It can be done correctly, so long as I follow that template.
And the last point is this. Since what differentiates the low level challenges from the high level ones is damage, inflicted and absorbed, I can run a battle better. It will not dismay me as much when the players hit my monsters, that’s just part of the game. What makes a difference is can my monsters take the hits. And conversely, expect my monsters to hit the characters, so the damage inflicted is a bigger deal.
Add it all up and it becomes a deadlier and bloodier game. There will be damage, do not be surprised by that. The smart players and GM’s plan for that and either take actions that will minimize attacks against them, or be prepared to get hit and have healing available.