True strike and Guiding Bolt

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9 months ago

With the new buffs certain enemies have while in darkness, light management is now more important, not less, because simply having darkvision doesn't counter much of the negative anymore. If you don't manage light properly, the new Soraks are a lot more dangerous and equally so to both humans and elves.

I know I've said this a million times, but I'll say it again - this right here is how you build a proper challenge in tabletop. This change was literally perfect.

Do not remove an advantage from the players, give complicating advantages to your enemies. That's how you let a player make a choice that matters, but still give them a challenge while doing so.

exsonic01
Level 10
9 months ago (edited)

I don't think most people mind a gameplay challenge, as long as it doesn't feel unfair, counter-intuitive or poorly explained. The old rules for lighting was pushing for all three. The problem I had with the lighting prior to them changing it was that it disadvantaged the playable races without darkvision a lot more than the others, making them inherently less desirable in your party. Maybe I'm crazy, but punishing people for simply playing the character they want seems like poor game design. Each race can have their own strengths, but they should all be in the same rough ballpark of usefulness.

With the new buffs certain enemies have while in darkness, light management is now more important, not less, because simply having darkvision doesn't counter much of the negative anymore. If you don't manage light properly, the new Soraks are a lot more dangerous and equally so to both humans and elves. After all, now they get regeneration and a bonus to all saves, accuracy and damage in darkness.

True Strike is in a fairly unique position because it is useless without homebrew. They can revert it to the RAW version if they want to, but that means I won't have any use for the spell anymore because you get too few cantrips to spend one on a spell that I'll probably never benefit from. RAW True Strike is so bad that it might as well not be a spell. In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar: "It's a TRAP!"

That's not to say I think every addition that makes the player characters more powerful are welcome additions. I don't think Potent Cantrip should be a feat, for example, because guaranteed damage at no resource cost is a bit too powerful to give to everyone with access to cantrips. It's not like Wizards and Clerics need help competing with other classes, so why give them this too? I also think Shock Arcanist seems overtuned, Sellsword background shouldn't give armor proficiency and that Darkweaver overlaps too much with Thief.

You may know, all of these opinions towards rules and effects are very very subjective. You and others "feel" the previous lighting rule was pushing and punishing. But I (and maybe some others) don't think so. I was not, and I'm still not, and I still don't think that lighting rule was poor game design. To me, the TA lighting system was a good attempt, though I admit there were some points to improve. The number of ways to bring light was limited, back then (glad they are working on this as well). If there were affluent ways to light the enemy, for ranged and melee, that could've helped players to better react and adjust, and would've received less criticism. I feel playing human is fun, never felt any particular difficulty by playing non-DV race now and then both, because I always properly bring light to the game. So, previous TA lighting was no issue towards me, at least to me. Honestly, the current version feels too easy to me, so I'm waiting for their difficulty option. 

Regarding TS, again, read my post again. I wrote I'm OK with this TA homebrew, but I wish they could add the "option" of original TS so that modders could use that original TS effects for other contents. And I also wrote, some people may attempt to mod the original TS after full release, so I'm still OK if TA doesn't do that. That way, if you don't like it, then you can skip that mod and forget about it. 

My "opinion" is, players should regard all homebrews equally whether it is good or bad, and don't just cherry-pick good ones. Good and bad here refers to not just "good" and "bad", but also includes easy/challenging rules and adding/restricting advantages/disadvantages to players. To me, it is about finding a proper balance point. But of course you can think differently and I respect your opinion. 

exsonic01
Level 10
9 months ago (edited)

I know I've said this a million times, but I'll say it again - this right here is how you build a proper challenge in tabletop. This change was literally perfect.

Do not remove an advantage from the players, give complicating advantages to your enemies. That's how you let a player make a choice that matters, but still give them a challenge while doing so.

Hmmm.. my previous DM may not agree with your opinion. He always brought a good amount of challenges and restrictions when players attempt min/max and build damage machines. To me, that was reasonable and was a fun challenge. I think it is a matter of finding a good balance point. 

TomReneth
Level 14
9 months ago (edited)


You may know, all of these opinions towards rules and effects are very very subjective. You and others "feel" the previous lighting rule was pushing and punishing. But I (and maybe some others) don't think so. I was not, and I'm still not, and I still don't think that lighting rule was poor game design. To me, the TA lighting system was a good attempt, though I admit there were some points to improve. The number of ways to bring light was limited, back then (glad they are working on this as well). If there were affluent ways to light the enemy, for ranged and melee, that could've helped players to better react and adjust, and would've received less criticism. I feel playing human is fun, never felt any particular difficulty by playing non-DV race now and then both, because I always properly bring light to the game. So, previous TA lighting was no issue towards me, at least to me. Honestly, the current version feels too easy to me, so I'm waiting for their difficulty option. 

My "opinion" is, players should regard all homebrews equally whether it is good or bad, and don't just cherry-pick good ones. Good and bad here refers to not just "good" and "bad", but also includes easy/challenging rules and adding/restricting advantages/disadvantages to players. To me, it is about finding a proper balance point. But of course you can think differently and I respect your opinion. 

The lighting mechanics weren't too bad in and of themselves, the problem was (on top of being poorly explained in-game) that it really only affected humans and island halflings because it was mostly countered by darkvision. That makes the mechanic disproportionally punishing for someone wanting to play with humans or island halflings in their party. I would argue that a system is poorly designed when it is meant to be central against certain types of enemies, yet only have its intended effect of adjusting difficulty for 2 out of 8 playable races/subraces.

The current way Soraks work makes them more dangerous, not less, than they were in the previous lighting system because of their "Child of Darkness" buff (health regen, save bonus, accuracy bonus and damage bonus) and it affects every playable race equally. Overall a big improvement, because now light management matters for everyone. I'm fairly certain their healing spell-thing is also new.

Have you considered that meta-knowledge is affecting your impression of the difficulty? Subsequent runs through content is almost always going to be easier because you already know a thing or two about the encounters, even if it isn't actually easier. My impression of the Soraks, at least, is that they are significantly deadlier due to their heightened accuracy and damage when in darkness.


Every bit of homebrew should indeed be measured on their own merits. I would say that the lighting mechanics as implemented originally definitely fell on the side of being a poor addition to the game because it didn't increase difficulty for all the playable races. And I would say Solasta's True Strike is a decent addition to the game, because it's a spell worth using sometimes, unlike the original version. If that makes it seem I'm just in favor of things that make things easier, that's because those are the major bits of homebrew that came up in this thread. Other bits, like equipment proficiency from backgrounds, should definitely be reconsidered.

I know I've said this a million times, but I'll say it again - this right here is how you build a proper challenge in tabletop. This change was literally perfect.

Do not remove an advantage from the players, give complicating advantages to your enemies. That's how you let a player make a choice that matters, but still give them a challenge while doing so.

Hmmm.. my previous DM may not agree with your opinion. He always brought a good amount of challenges and restrictions when players attempt min/max and build damage machines. To me, that was reasonable and was a fun challenge. I think it is a matter of finding a good balance point. 

Just a thought, but I don't think a mechanics that only affects 2 out of the 8 playable races to a notable degree counts as having found the "good balance point". If most of the characters you can make can largely ignore something, you need some more fine tuning.


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

exsonic01
Level 10
9 months ago (edited)

 The lighting mechanics weren't too bad in and of themselves, the problem was (on top of being poorly explained in-game) that it really only affected humans and island halflings because it was mostly countered by darkvision. That makes the mechanic disproportionally punishing for someone wanting to play with humans or island halflings in their party. I would argue that a system is poorly designed when it is meant to be central against certain types of enemies, yet only have its intended effect of adjusting difficulty for 2 out of 8 playable races/subraces.

The current way Soraks work makes them more dangerous, not less, than they were in the previous lighting system because of their "Child of Darkness" buff (health regen, save bonus, accuracy bonus and damage bonus) and it affects every playable race equally. Overall a big improvement, because now light management matters for everyone. I'm fairly certain their healing spell-thing is also new.

Have you considered that meta-knowledge is affecting your impression of the difficulty? Subsequent runs through content is almost always going to be easier because you already know a thing or two about the encounters, even if it isn't actually easier. My impression of the Soraks, at least, is that they are significantly deadlier due to their heightened accuracy and damage when in darkness.

What I experience in this game now is very different from your experience. But I understand what others felt about being penalized under dim light when attack with non-DS race. On the other hand, I really enjoyed that challenge and micromanaging the light sources. Hope TA could implement difficulty options in the future. 

I'm not sure if I feel fighting Soraks are more difficult after the new rule, though. They are the same to me before or after the lighting overhaul. Even before the lighting patch, I always brought light and dancing light, so cannot recall if I particularly penalized after Soraks with "Child of Darkness" appears. To me, it was all under the realm of management and control, and the old lighting rule was a fun environment to bring more challenge, "to me". I even tried the 4-human fighter roll before the winter patch, it was very successful. Of course, point buy without free purchase, though I min-maxed stat to 16 STR and 16 CON, and I had to make at least one spellblade for the cantrips. (I wish to see throwing torches and other methods or etc in the future.) 

And after the winter patch, I tried 4 human paladins, and it worked too. 4 paladins are more difficult than 4 fighters, because there is no "spellblade" and "elf cantrip" so you cannot use any light cantrips. I'm not saying it was super easy but it was doable, at least to me. All 16 to STR, CHA, and CONs. Before level 5, I had to optimize my usage of smite, and think carefully about Smite or Bless/Heroism or other spells, for every single battle. From level 5, difficulty dramatically drops because hitting twice with Smite can makes things really different. So I grind from the world map a little and started Dark Castle from level 5.

The fact that I know something already may influence the difficulty, like you commented. But, the management and control remains the same, and element of self-restricting by 4 human paladin remains intact. For 4 paladins, the fun factor was optimizing my limited slots and resources and Channel Divinities. For 4 fighters, it was easier than 4 paladins because of cantrip from Spellblade. They are mostly challenging, and sometimes really tough. But it was really fun.

But, you are also right, because I know my experience cannot be generalized to everyone. So your words make sense too. But the decision about the degree of "how much the old rule penalized non-DS races" is clearly different between you and me, and I disagree with you about that point. And I think this is in the region of subjectivity, so it is OK to have a different idea about this factor. 

Just a thought, but I don't think a mechanics that only affects 2 out of the 8 playable races to a notable degree counts as having found the "good balance point". If most of the characters you can make can largely ignore something, you need some more fine tuning.

Oh in that particular post, I wrote about more "in-general" cases, not just about the light rule. 

TomReneth
Level 14
9 months ago

If you, like me, got into the habbit of managing light before the patch change, then it's pretty obvious why you wouldn't notice much difference in the difficulty. I find the encounters to generally be about the same before and after, but I do notice that when I make a mistake or dancing lights go down or something, the Soraks are currently worse to deal with than they used to be because of their buff. Before, you could still pretty safele make it to the round of whoever had light to manage, but with their increased offense, that has a higher chance of going terribly wrong now. Their climbing can also make their regen scary, at least in the final fight in Caer Lem with lots of vertical surfaces for them to evade you on.

My point isn't that the idea of making darkness a big deal was bad, I quite like it as a theme relfected in gameplay. My point is that it was a poorly implemented system because it didn't make dealing with it a big deal for everyone. It was unfair because only 2 out of the 8 playable races got the full brunt of it. It was clearly meant to be a core mechanic in Solasta, so they should've made it so all 8 races had to interact with it. But they didn't, so it just became a nerf to humans and island halflings. So it either had to be fixed in the direction of everyone or no one having to deal with it. We got a compromise, where lighting was reverted to RAW mechanically, but they still added mechanics that make light management important.

Of the two options, I'd rather have the one where both the human and the elf have to consider the lighting instead of just the human. Seems like a lot more parties are going to have to learn light management that way.


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

exsonic01
Level 10
9 months ago

My point isn't that the idea of making darkness a big deal was bad, I quite like it as a theme relfected in gameplay. My point is that it was a poorly implemented system because it didn't make dealing with it a big deal for everyone. It was unfair because only 2 out of the 8 playable races got the full brunt of it. It was clearly meant to be a core mechanic in Solasta, so they should've made it so all 8 races had to interact with it. But they didn't, so it just became a nerf to humans and island halflings. So it either had to be fixed in the direction of everyone or no one having to deal with it. We got a compromise, where lighting was reverted to RAW mechanically, but they still added mechanics that make light management important.

Of the two options, I'd rather have the one where both the human and the elf have to consider the lighting instead of just the human. Seems like a lot more parties are going to have to learn light management that way.

Just in case to make sure about my stance, if you misjudge my opinion here, I wish to make sure of this: I never wrote the old lighting system is "perfect" or "flawless". You should've read, I clearly stated above I still think it is "not poor design", but it was a good attempt and there were some points to improve:

I was not, and I'm still not, and I still don't think that lighting rule was poor game design. To me, the TA lighting system was a good attempt, though I admit there were some points to improve.

I understand, as an EA game, this game has room to improve and adjust. In that sense, you and I are discussing a sort of similar idea. Though, the degree of judgment about "how poor" is different between you and me and I don't expect that gap will be narrowed, and I think that is OK because there is plenty of room for subjectivity. I still prefer to find a balance point from the old light system. But we'll see if TA will even further improve their old TA light rule. 

I still think even more lighting options can help this issue. Throwing torches, implementing light effect to "on fire" effect condition by fire arrow (if hits and pass Dex saving throw) or Tirmar paladin Channel Divinity, for example. New lighting homebrew cantrips were a good attempt as well, IMO.

The lamp is already included in the 5e rule, so it might be possible to bring the lamp to Solasta as RAW. It has 15ft light + additional 30ft dim light, consumes 1 pint of oil for 6 hrs. Comparing to that of torch, 20ft light + 20ft additional dim light, lamp wouldn't be a good light source for TA lighting rule. It might be possible to make lamp and oil fairly expensive (depending on difficulty). However, if TA applies a sort of homebrew convenience to the lamp by allowing it to be equipped on the belt slot or accessory slot, instead of the hand, that can compensate for smaller light radii and expensive price than torch. This way, using lamps (but with the expensive cost of lamp and oil for balance) can help players to free their both hands from light sources, even if there is no one to use light cantrip. 

For reference, there were oil lamps and metal oil lanterns in medieval Europe, even before the Renaissance. Medieval oil lamps references: 

http://www.larsdatter.com/lanterns.htm

https://medievallondon.ace.fordham.edu/collections/show/105


There are some good ideas about lighting and darkness in D&D, like this post too: 

https://www.reddit.com/r/DnDBehindTheScreen/comments/7xjcgy/help_with_homebrew_5e_permanently_dark_city/

I'm sure devs read this post already. 

9 months ago (edited)

Hmm I thought many people around here wish to stick to pure 5e.  

Plus, the problem is, some mods, which also uses the true strike option, might be influenced by this decision in the future. 

I wish at least more options are given to choose this: advantage to caster only, or advantage to everyone. 


This is a good example of why sticking to RAW isn't always the right choice. If they're going to make True Strike as bad as it is in table-top, then there's no reason to even include it. It's bad design to include options you know are awful from the outset, sticking to the source just for the sake of doing so should NEVER be the goal, make changes where it's sensible to do so regardless of what table-top implements; table-top is not a perfect system and the devs are free to homebrew within their own game's universe.

And speaking about the lighting changes, management has actually become more important in certain encounters than before. Getting disadvantage on an attack is nothing when compared to fighting an enemy with increased saves/hit chance/AC AND the ability to heal every turn. As someone who was worried about the change "dumbing down" the challenge, I think they actually did a good job with it.

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