[5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

The next iteration of the Dungeons & Dragons game.
The Book-House: Find 5th Edition products.

Moderator: Blacky the Blackball

Post Reply
User avatar
shesheyan
Cardboard Hero
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:58 pm
Gender: male
Location: Montreal

[5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by shesheyan » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:30 am

Interesting article :

Bounded accuracy is a fundamental design philosophy underlying the mathematics used in the core rules for attack roll hit probability. It is unique in D&D history, in that it is one of the few times the developer was publicly vocal about their development standards, going so far as to even give it a name, and expressing this idea through official statements. This is a big departure from the typically secretive or silent R&D department for past editions.

https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Understan ... Guideline)

User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3390
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by willpell » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:50 pm

It probably surprises nobody that I'm rather not a fan of Bounded Accuracy (beyond the fact that it was nice of the developer to admit his philosophy outright, even if it was wrong IMO).

User avatar
shesheyan
Cardboard Hero
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:58 pm
Gender: male
Location: Montreal

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by shesheyan » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:00 am

willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:50 pm
It probably surprises nobody that I'm rather not a fan of Bounded Accuracy (beyond the fact that it was nice of the developer to admit his philosophy outright, even if it was wrong IMO).
I really enjoy Bounded Accuracy because it allows me to do Low Fantasy with D&D. I tried in the past but the 3e and 4e «treadmills» always got in my way. My current group of level three characters only have 1 magic item for the party - an intelligent sword. I handed it out for narrative purposes only, not because the game forced me to do it. Very refreshing.
Last edited by shesheyan on Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 20208
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by Havard » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:10 am

Quite interesting to hear their thoughts in detail.

Without bounded accuracy, you end up with the d20 making less and less of a difference. I'm not sure I'd call most 5E games low fantasy, but the game should stay fairly dynamic even at the high levels.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
THRESHOLD Magazine - The Mystara Fanzine
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
Hugin
Messenger of Odin
Posts: 4154
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:40 pm
Gender: male
Location: Fergus, Ontario

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by Hugin » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:28 am

shesheyan wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:00 am
I really enjoy Bounded Accuracy because it allows me to do Low Fantasy with D&D. I tried in the past but the 3e and 4e «treadmills» always got in my way. My current group of level three characters only have 1 magic item for the party - an intelligent sword. I handed it out for narrative purposes only, not because the game forced me to do it. Very refreshing.
I absolutely agree! I love the application of Bounded Accuracy in 5E. It really helps to keep ability scores relevant, essentially eliminates reliance on magical items, and (one of my favourites) keeps lower-level monsters useful for more of the PC levels. Seriously, Bounded Accuracy is one of my favourite aspects of 5E.

My one observation where I think 5E could have made a good adjustment surrounding Bounded Accuracy, however, is in PC ability score generation methods. I feel that that the game actually runs better when the PCs do not have high ability scores to start the game with. Using the point buy works alright (with a few points less working even better), but the high scores generally allowed by rolling methods such as the suggested roll 4d6 and drop the lowest, creates characters that can be a touch overpowered within 5E's Bounded Accuracy framework.

If you can have your PCs start a little more modestly, building ability scores through increases during play, the Bounded Accuracy philosophy will really shine through the campaign.

User avatar
pawsplay
Ogre
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by pawsplay » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:42 pm

willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:50 pm
It probably surprises nobody that I'm rather not a fan of Bounded Accuracy (beyond the fact that it was nice of the developer to admit his philosophy outright, even if it was wrong IMO).
Wrong in what sense? It was the overriding philosophy of AD&D and BEMCI D&D, which were very stringy about bonuses.

User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3390
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by willpell » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:02 am

Havard wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:10 am
Quite interesting to hear their thoughts in detail.
Without bounded accuracy, you end up with the d20 making less and less of a difference.
Whereas with bounded accuracy, the d20 becomes much more prominent, and I would call that a bad thing. I don't like having randomness play more than a small role, unless we're doing something very low-investment like Betrayal at House on the Hill. For D&D, it's all about investment to me, and part of that is in crafting a character who has a specialty where they can get reliable results, with only a minimal chance of being screwed by bad luck.
pawsplay wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:42 pm
Wrong in what sense? It was the overriding philosophy of AD&D and BEMCI D&D, which were very stringy about bonuses.
Wrong in my opinion, to be clear. For pretty much the aforementioned reason.

User avatar
Morfie
Metamorph
Posts: 824
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:48 am
Gender: male
Location: New Zealand

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by Morfie » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:52 am

Without bounded accuracy, the d20 becomes pointless at higher level play.
A high level 3e char is usually so high-powered that a lot of low level monsters need to roll 20 just to hit it. Dice rolling becomes very boring.

User avatar
talsine
Priest of Syrinx
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 1:01 am
Gender: male
Location: Phoenix Metro, Arizona

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by talsine » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:48 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:00 am
willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:50 pm
It probably surprises nobody that I'm rather not a fan of Bounded Accuracy (beyond the fact that it was nice of the developer to admit his philosophy outright, even if it was wrong IMO).
I really enjoy Bounded Accuracy because it allows me to do Low Fantasy with D&D. I tried in the past but the 3e and 4e «treadmills» always got in my way. My current group of level three characters only have 1 magic item for the party - an intelligent sword. I handed it out for narrative purposes only, not because the game forced me to do it. Very refreshing.
D&D isn't ment to do Low Fantasy though, that was never the design intent. If you want Low Fantasy, they are better games for it than D&D. Bounded Accuracy just means that your characters never see real, meaningful improvement. And yes, as someone else mentioned, it means that low level monsters remain a threat throughout the life span of a character. This is a bug, not a feature as far as I am concerned. I don't want to have to worry about goblins the entire life span of my character and, worse, i hate the fact that high level monsters are more sacks of hit points than they are meaningful threats. 5E hits a sweet spot between levels 7 and 10, which is where most people stop anyway, but that doesn't mean people don't want to go beyond that.

While i understand Bounded accuracy, and i even understand why some people might like it, it is one of the main reasons that I returned my PHB the day after i bought it. i knew it would never be a game I would want to play, and time has only borne this out.

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Strawman argument about this post split off and put into Black Pudding.

User avatar
Dread Delgath
Storm Giant
Posts: 1615
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:09 pm
Location: "The Good Life"

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:39 am

I can't agree that 5e supports low fantasy. Low MAGIC, perhaps, because characters are designed with anime style (IMO) powers granted at specific levels.

IMO low fantasy would have less flashy abilities that grant characters so many bonuses to attacks & damage.
A big THANKS! to Giant Space Hamster & Chimpman for the cookies! (Dark Side be damned!) :D

My D&D 5th edition Dakan Mar Campaign setting Conspectus and Campaign Rules here at The Piazza Forums, a Fool's Errand WIP.

User avatar
pawsplay
Ogre
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by pawsplay » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:16 pm

D&D was originally designed to support Conan, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, and the heroes of epic fantasy battles. Bounded accuracy is in keeping with a setting of perilous adventure.

zontoxira
Planewalker
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 8:46 pm
Gender: male
Location: Sigil, The Lady's Ward

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by zontoxira » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:29 pm

pawsplay wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:42 pm
Wrong in what sense? it was the overriding philosophy of AD&D and BEMCI D&D, which were very stringy about bonuses.
pawsplay wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:16 pm
D&D was originally designed to support Conan, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, and the heroes of epic fantasy battles. Bounded accuracy is in keeping with a setting of perilous adventure.
I'd love to hear more about that.
I can't say 5e is low fantasy or low magic. You have elves, dwarves, even dragonborn and tieflings. And all classes are somehow equipped with magical abilities, either through subclasses or with special features.
As for bounded accuracy, I believe it was incorporated also as a counter-measure to number bloating of earlier editions. While I appreciate the effort, I still find it a bit overwhelming at times (our 10th level fighter/warlock deals an average of 40 damage per round, 80 if he uses Action Surge, enough to insta-kill several monsters).
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
---
Cager extraordinaire, at your service!
---
"There are no saints in the animal kingdom. Only breakfast, and dinner." - Lorne Malvo

User avatar
pawsplay
Ogre
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by pawsplay » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:34 pm

The 5e numbers looked small to me, so I went back and looked at the THAC0 tables for BECMI and AD&D. They are actually very similar. It's really 3e and 4e that introduced progression rates that tracked closely to your level.

In earlier editions, things like sleep and fireball were insta-kill. You would decide, is it time to use the insta-kill? Or save it?

User avatar
shesheyan
Cardboard Hero
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:58 pm
Gender: male
Location: Montreal

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by shesheyan » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:38 pm

talsine wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:48 pm
shesheyan wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:00 am
willpell wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:50 pm
It probably surprises nobody that I'm rather not a fan of Bounded Accuracy (beyond the fact that it was nice of the developer to admit his philosophy outright, even if it was wrong IMO).
I really enjoy Bounded Accuracy because it allows me to do Low Fantasy with D&D. I tried in the past but the 3e and 4e «treadmills» always got in my way. My current group of level three characters only have 1 magic item for the party - an intelligent sword. I handed it out for narrative purposes only, not because the game forced me to do it. Very refreshing.
D&D isn't ment to do Low Fantasy though, that was never the design intent. If you want Low Fantasy, they are better games for it than D&D. Bounded Accuracy just means that your characters never see real, meaningful improvement. And yes, as someone else mentioned, it means that low level monsters remain a threat throughout the life span of a character. This is a bug, not a feature as far as I am concerned. I don't want to have to worry about goblins the entire life span of my character and, worse, i hate the fact that high level monsters are more sacks of hit points than they are meaningful threats. 5E hits a sweet spot between levels 7 and 10, which is where most people stop anyway, but that doesn't mean people don't want to go beyond that.

While i understand Bounded accuracy, and i even understand why some people might like it, it is one of the main reasons that I returned my PHB the day after i bought it. i knew it would never be a game I would want to play, and time has only borne this out.

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Strawman argument about this post split off and put into Black Pudding.
Please IP ban me from this forum.... I am serious. Do not send me private messages to try to resolve this. I'm done with The Piazza. End of story.

User avatar
willpell
Black Dragon
Posts: 3390
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm
Gender: male
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by willpell » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:24 am

shesheyan wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:38 pm
Please IP ban me from this forum.... I am serious. Do not send me private messages to try to resolve this. I'm done with The Piazza. End of story.
Well, that seems a rather extreme reaction. But so long; enjoy wheverever you go next.

User avatar
Dread Delgath
Storm Giant
Posts: 1615
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:09 pm
Location: "The Good Life"

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by Dread Delgath » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:32 am

I am very sorry to see you go away, Shesheyan. You have contributed so much to our gaming experiences here. :(

Everyone has their differences, and that's ultimately okay. If you feel that those differences are enough to separate yourself from everyone here, we will learn to cope without you.

I hope you enjoy your gaming elsewhere as much as we enjoy ours here.
A big THANKS! to Giant Space Hamster & Chimpman for the cookies! (Dark Side be damned!) :D

My D&D 5th edition Dakan Mar Campaign setting Conspectus and Campaign Rules here at The Piazza Forums, a Fool's Errand WIP.

User avatar
Dread Delgath
Storm Giant
Posts: 1615
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:09 pm
Location: "The Good Life"

Re: [5e] Bounded Accuracy Design Philosophy

Post by Dread Delgath » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:50 am

zontoxira wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:29 pm
I can't say 5e is low fantasy or low magic. You have elves, dwarves, even dragonborn and tieflings. And all classes are somehow equipped with magical abilities, either through subclasses or with special features.
As for bounded accuracy, I believe it was incorporated also as a counter-measure to number bloating of earlier editions. While I appreciate the effort, I still find it a bit overwhelming at times (our 10th level fighter/warlock deals an average of 40 damage per round, 80 if he uses Action Surge, enough to insta-kill several monsters).
Agreed!

I should add that 5e has magic items, but it designed to play without any magic items, or at least very few for the PCs. I mean, PCs are limited to attuning to 3 (attunement required) items. This seems harsh to me, except I have witnessed first hand just how powerful PCs can get with only one special (attunement required) magic item.

Their power levels by 8th level are through the roof compared to 1e, 2e, & Classic D&D.

3e & 4e did amplify power & ability inflation, (again IMO) that 5e keeps, but through this "bounded accuracy" philosophy has done away with limitless ability adds, visible mostly in level cap of 20, and also the AC cap at 20-25.

For example, Let's give a 5e and a 1e fighter a +1 sword, and see which character NEEDS it more at level 8. ;)
A big THANKS! to Giant Space Hamster & Chimpman for the cookies! (Dark Side be damned!) :D

My D&D 5th edition Dakan Mar Campaign setting Conspectus and Campaign Rules here at The Piazza Forums, a Fool's Errand WIP.

Post Reply

Return to “D&D 5th Edition”