5e Hardcore Mode -- Questions, just... tons of questions

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#1

I’ve looked through the eight or so threads on 5eHCM and still have some questions I noted down. I don’t think these were answered in the other threads, and if they were, not in a way I understood them. That’s completely on me, but I hope you help anyway, and are very patient with me.

p6 - Size and Mass
When it says, “…used for monster healing,” is it safe to intuit (based on p15) that CR also equals number of HD that can be healed by a monster until it has a long rest, too?

p7 - Skilled and Unskilled
Does the d20+prof+attrib/d20 formula also apply to saving throws, which also benefit from proficiency in 5e?

p8 - Ah, Much Better!
This is not the first or last time I’ll overcomplicate things. Injured goes away when you received 10 HP from “a spell, item or potion.” Does that mean, like the damage received, all 10 HP has to come from a single source, or until you recover a cumulative 10 HP?

p10 - Zymer’s Candle

  • “…a single, flickering candle” is per party or per adventurer?
  • How long does it last? Until it burns down and out of wick and wax, or is deactivated by being blown out?
  • Is it a consumable? If it is, can it be replaced?

(I know these answers probably boil down to “DIY” but I’d love to know Hankerin’s intent, if he had a specific one.)

p11 - Spells, Not Slots

  1. Does this apply to all classes? Some of the later language about frequency limits (which is different from class to class) makes it unclear.
  2. Do 1st level spells follow this rule of three? Or, for example, do wizards still get six in their book, and then three every level after?
  3. CHA casters (specifically paladin, since sorcs and locks aren’t in 5EHCM) default to… CHA? Or since they’re divine-ish, we say WIS?
  4. I’ve run ICRPG before, and am familiar with room DC, but how should I determine/increase “local cast DC?”
  5. Does this (local cast DC of 10+) replace attack spells, or side-by-side with them (anything not an attack spell is vs DC, attack spells are versus AC)?
  6. Saving throw spells: rip out the save and make a roll vs a target (what target) or an opposed roll based on what the save originally was (Caster roll vs [d20+CR] roll)?

p12 - Memorize
Since these are “a few possible solutions” do I read the two different memorization options as global options, or as options for each class group immediately above them? (Intuition says the second, but always up for making it crystal clear.)

p12 - Spell Math
Just so I know I’m on the same page as Hankerin… Level 3 Wizard: knows 9, memorizes 6, casts 4/2 per the PHB?

p13 - Design Theory (not a mechanical question)
Why drop the monk, sorc, and lock? The monk was… OSR-ish, as a set of optional rules, like the psionicist, so I’m not sure it was that? I’m curious as to the whys and wherefores.

p14 - Design Theory (not a mechanical question)
Can/should monsters ever get Upper Hand, or is that (mechanically?) too hardcore for hardcore?

p15 - Challenge Rating Formulae
Monster damage bonuses and spell saves? This follows on to #6 from p11, I guess, since if we solve it for players, we solve it for monsters.

p15 - Challenge Rating Formulae
Fractional CR does not fit the formula listed, unless you’re doing mobs…? Does a fractional CR get +1 since it’s still a CR?

p16 - Hordes
To make sure I’m following: CR2 goblin (because it’s just an example), 6 in the horde is +8 atk, +6+DB dmg, with 20 hp?

p16 - Hordes (Constant)
I don’t follow the example of ghouls at all, or how to appropriately set or adjust the constant. @Paxx suggested the constant be an HP value for each individual unit in the horde, but that doesn’t work with my original example (immediately above). I’ve misunderstood him, or I made a bad example that doesn’t work with 5EHCM. Help?

p20 - Agreed Initiative (Mucking)
I love getting rid of held actions. Bonus actions, though, are important action economy for specific (albeit few) spells, plenty of class features for some of the martials like Rogue and Fighter, who I won’t say live and die by them… but certainly utilize them heavily. What are some proposed solutions or mods for that? @Arc spoke on making some of the things like the Rogue’s dash/disengage part of their move, but that’s one part of a whole.

I guess I’m asking here for a further delve into the ideas since that April topic, if anyone has new ideas.


And finally, a mea culpa. Runehammer is definitely the home of DIY. I’m still the guy who needs Bob Vila to sit down and tutorial me with a nail gun beyond, “Here’s a nail gun, pull the trigger to make it work. You’re set to build a house.” Some people can look (or read) and just… do.

I envy them, and I’m not that smart. So, sorry for eating a lot of your time with a lot of these questions. Still willing to help a guy out?


#2

I am probably wrong, and have not thought about it since my original post. I think what I meant was assume each 3 hp or such reduces the horde by -1 to original stats.

Depending on how you implement it, you can make it that anything over 3hp on single target attacks gets ignored.

Less annoying would be a natural roll of 15 or higher allows full damage…”as your arrow passes through and hits the goblin behind in the neck”.
Or if you run more abstract combat (my preferred but easy to forget) you wade into the horde swinging and with each blow you Sever heads and limbs…”

But with hordes the advantage goes to AoE effects.

Edit: I skipped a lot of thoughts there…sorry.

My recommendation…each goblin = 3Hp…the last one is 5hp…making the total 20 hp. As each goblin is worth 3 hp…any single target damage over 3 gets ignored by the horde until the last is the only one left.

This makes a horde dangerous, while it is only 20hp, for single target attacks it still requires six hits.

As such, you can simply count the hits, as opposed to tracking HP. But if you use smaller creatures…20 creatures with 1 hp each…20 individual hits to take out…or a couple of burning hands cast doing full AoE damage.


#3

I run a game with this and will take a look at these questions later if can. You’re on the right track for a lot of your questions though.


#4

I think you are correct in your assumption. Good thinking …

p7 - Skilled and Unskilled
Does the d20+prof+attrib/d20 formula also apply to saving throws, which also benefit from proficiency in 5e?

That is how I play it…

p8 - Ah, Much Better!
This is not the first or last time I’ll overcomplicate things. Injured goes away when you received 10 HP from “a spell, item or potion.” Does that mean, like the damage received, all 10 HP has to come from a single source, or until you recover a cumulative 10 HP?

I am being very literal with this rule in my game… “receive 10 or more points of healing from a spell, item, OR potion” … I would take it to mean 10 point from a single source, as the key word is OR. … But I have been liberal with allowing my players to receive 10 HP from combined sources. Especially at lower levels.

p10 - Zymer’s Candle

  • “…a single, flickering candle” is per party or per adventurer?
  • How long does it last? Until it burns down and out of wick and wax, or is deactivated by being blown out?
  • Is it a consumable? If it is, can it be replaced?
    (I know these answers probably boil down to “DIY” but I’d love to know Hankerin’s intent, if he had a specific one.)

I assume the following: 1 per party. It stays lit until blown out by the party or something/someone else. I assume it is a permanent magic item. I know some have only allowed it as a single use item. Its up to you and your table.

p11 - Spells, Not Slots

  1. Does this apply to all classes? Some of the later language about frequency limits (which is different from class to class) makes it unclear.
  2. Do 1st level spells follow this rule of three? Or, for example, do wizards still get six in their book, and then three every level after?
  3. CHA casters (specifically paladin, since sorcs and locks aren’t in 5EHCM) default to… CHA? Or since they’re divine-ish, we say WIS?
  4. I’ve run ICRPG before, and am familiar with room DC, but how should I determine/increase “local cast DC?”
  5. Does this (local cast DC of 10+) replace attack spells, or side-by-side with them (anything not an attack spell is vs DC, attack spells are versus AC)?
  6. Saving throw spells: rip out the save and make a roll vs a target (what target) or an opposed roll based on what the save originally was (Caster roll vs [d20+CR] roll)?
  1. answered on page 12.
  2. yes. 3 1st level spells upon creation. But this is subject to your preference. No reason a wiz could not start with 6 spells.
  3. Either/Or CHA/WIS… Players choice…
  4. I just use the room target method from ICRPG when playing D&D… its just so much easier.
  5. my ruling is that any attack spells are cast like attacks, and any other spells follow the DC 10+ rules. ymmv
  6. Opposed is how I play it. Players still make saving throw vs caster roll. again, so much faster…

p12 - Memorize
Since these are “a few possible solutions” do I read the two different memorization options as global options, or as options for each class group immediately above them? (Intuition says the second, but always up for making it crystal clear.)

Yes, a few possible solutions is how I read it as well.

p12 - Spell Math
Just so I know I’m on the same page as Hankerin… Level 3 Wizard: knows 9, memorizes 6, casts 4/2 per the PHB?

Level 3 wizard knows 3 1st level, 3 2nd level, and 3 3rd level spells, 9 in total. A level 3 wizard can memorize 6 spells from any of the 9 he/she knows. As for you next question… “casts 4/2 per the PHB?” see page 11 of HC… “In HC mode, all this is stripped away.” … I interpret this as I can cast each spell I memorize as many times as I like. I use the “roll to cast” option from HC Mode. The spells are “expended from memory when they are successfully cast.”… there are a couple options such as Crit success and Crit failure on page 11 as well (I use them at my table).

p13 - Design Theory (not a mechanical question)
Why drop the monk, sorc, and lock? The monk was… OSR-ish, as a set of optional rules, like the psionicist, so I’m not sure it was that? I’m curious as to the whys and wherefores.

Only Hankerin knows why it was not included in the HC Mode book.

p14 - Design Theory (not a mechanical question)
Can/should monsters ever get Upper Hand, or is that (mechanically?) too hardcore for hardcore?

In my opinion, if the monster can use adv/disadv rules, then why cant the monster get the upper hand… although this may have been a more “rule of cool” move by Hankerin. I dont think it would hurt if the monster got the same benefit.

p15 - Challenge Rating Formulae
Monster damage bonuses and spell saves? This follows on to #6 from p11, I guess, since if we solve it for players, we solve it for monsters.

Your assumption sounds right.

p15 - Challenge Rating Formulae
Fractional CR does not fit the formula listed, unless you’re doing mobs…? Does a fractional CR get +1 since it’s still a CR?

I would assume YES.

p16 - Hordes
To make sure I’m following: CR2 goblin (because it’s just an example), 6 in the horde is +8 atk, +6+DB dmg, with 20 hp?

Yup!.. Hoard of 6 (CR2) Goblins = +8 to Attacks, +8 Damage, 20 HP.

p20 - Agreed Initiative (Mucking)
I love getting rid of held actions. Bonus actions, though, are important action economy for specific (albeit few) spells, plenty of class features for some of the martials like Rogue and Fighter, who I won’t say live and die by them… but certainly utilize them heavily. What are some proposed solutions or mods for that? @Arc spoke on making some of the things like the Rogue’s dash/disengage part of their move, but that’s one part of a whole.

Make them a starter or milestone ability… that’s my two cents on it.

I hope this helps…

Game On!


#5

Tell me more about starter and milestone abilities, as they pertain to 5e. I’ve read ICRPG, but I haven’t read a lot of opinions about converting 5e to things like starters and milestones. (Unless it’s as simple as calling that column of the D&D class charts “milestones” to level 10?)


#6

Thank you. Looking forward to it.


#7

milestones aka Feats.


#8

Class features into feats? Okay, interesting.

I’m going to spend some time with the PHB and see how I can suggest and implement that with my table.


#9

One other question I want to add for everyone input is what to do with the Paladin’s Divine Smite ability. It allows them to drop a spell slot to add damage dice to a successful hit. Since we don’t have spell slots anymore I assume that a player could just voluntarily expire a spell to use for their Divine Smite. But with the amount of spells that they get now because of hardcore rules they’re slinging 2d8 additional damage for a first level spell then an additional 1d8 for every spell that’s a level higher than that. This makes the Paladin a tank beyond tanks with a maximum of 5d8 radiant damage by Level 4. Then they get an extra attack at Level 5.

So should this be kept as-is or does this mean it’s an excuse to drop all the big monsters on them?


#10

Clerics still have ‘spell slots’. They are all just bunched into one pile now…5eHC p12…Caster Classes, Clerics… “memorize your level+2 of any spells at or below you level.” … 3rd level Cleric memorizes 5 spells per day. Expire a spell to use Divine Smite is a good idea! I would run with it…

In ICRPG, you could also make DIVINE SMITE a milestone ability (FEAT) that adds 1 dice of MAGIC EFFORT to any successful melee hit with his deity’s chosen weapon.

OR

You can make it a Spell from their list of holy or nature spells they can choose to cast.

That adds a little damage boost but doesn’t turn him into a “Tank beyond Tanks”. And you never need an excuse to “drop all the big monsters on them” … just a story line…

Good food for thought…

Game On!


#11

When would a paladin not use their deity’s chosen weapon?

(I learned to ask that question from FATE when limiting aspects and stunts.)


#12

Given the scaling of damage and HP in these alternate rules, I think I’ll rule at my table that it’s just a flat +2d8 per spell they expend, with no to-cast roll. Since you can’t upscale spells, you shouldn’t be able to upscale smites…?

Glad you pointed it out. I totally spaced on that feature’s scaling and would have been ambushed at my table by it when I do get around to running.


#13

I mean I’m perfectly fine having the Paladin use their Divine Smite for massive damage because it’s going to run out, they’re going to attract a lot of attention from bigger baddies using Hank’s idea for big damage attracting enemy aggro, and in a game where a good hit can kill you it seemed to make the players relieved that they could do such heavy hits right back at the monsters.

Sleeping on the idea of Divine Smite I’m going to try it out with expiring higher spells and see how it affects the game. Divine Smite already has built in limitations for its usage so it might just be a matter of applied pressure to make them use it and Mobs provide that pressure pretty nicely.


#14

Let us know how the experiment goes.