Forums Archive RPGMP3 Chatter Dungeons and Dragons 4e Speeding up combat in 4e

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    • Posts : 136
    • Orc
    Illianthar wrote:
    . . . I think the front line fighter has the biggest adjustment to make. In 3.5, Fighters really only have a couple of options. They move and attack, or take a full attack. Feats like Spring Attack and Leap Attack offer a little variety, but mostly it’s just swing hard, and hit hard. 4e Fighters need to mark their opponents, have reactionary attacks and all kinds of options that they didn’t have to deal with before . . .

    Fighters, like Henry Rollings, should stick to what they are good at: breaking bones, skewering innards, and drinking heavily. Singularly my least favorite aspect of the 4th era has been the inclusion of magical abilities in all classes. The fighter breaks your arms, not uses a power to slash you with his sword. He rips the still beating heart out of the nearest goblin with his bear hands and force feeds it to his next opponent. And above all else, he does not use a healing surge.

    Fighters fight and let the gods sort out the rest.

    • Posts : 2288
    • Succubus

    I must admit I’m not a 4E player @ all, but reading some of your posts above it reads and feels like you’re playing a tactical simulation game, not a role-playing one. 🙂

    And this is from a GURPS player… 🙂

    • Posts : 12
    • Commoner
    riddles wrote:
    I must admit I’m not a 4E player @ all, but reading some of your posts above it reads and feels like you’re playing a tactical simulation game, not a role-playing one. 🙂

    And this is from a GURPS player… 🙂

    A lot of this is down to the scenario and the way our DM runs the game, I think. Listening to the podcasts has been interesting because there’s a lot more roleplaying that Hal’s group bring to the game thanks to his DM’ing style and what the players actively contribute.

    Don’t get me wrong – 4e doesn’t actively encourage roleplaying but then I don’t think many systems do – 95% of that is up to the group.

    I will run 4e myself sometime soon and hopefully will facilitate more roleplaying opportunities.

    • Posts : 50
    • Bullywug

    I second a lot of the advice above. The character generator is a huge help, printing out cards that have all the bonuses/penalties pre-computed. It is worth the price in the time it saves you, if you are in a campaign lasting more than a dozen sessions. Roll the hit and damage dice together. Use visual means to keep track of status effects and initiative.

    More important, there’s an assumption that a lot of people are making here, which underlies the advice to de-Elite monsters, reduce hit points, reduce the number of player options, etc. The assumption is that the combat ends when only the PCs are left standing. Slogging through the gore until every last guy is dead is a huge drag on energy at the table, but reducing monster toughness cheapens the PC’s accomplishments. Also, I love the fact that fighters can mark people, slide around, get powers, and generally say more than “I hit people with my longsword.” Removing PC power options is a last resort in any system.

    One thing we’ve done in the campaign I am playing in is to put a 30-minute time limit on fights, unless it is a key moment in the campaign. If a fight reaches 30 minutes, it is almost always VERY clear who the winners will be for the purposes of continuing the story. The party gets full XP for every dead/captured enemy, and half XP for the ones left alive, who all flee. Many of these return to be recurring villains or flavor in future fights (“Hey, it’s that minotaur again!”). At 30 minutes, the party can choose to keep fighting, but loses 2% of the total XP for each extra minute that passes.

    After weeks of using this rule, we’ve consistently been able to get through two fight encounters per four-hour session, with plenty of time for table chatter, in-character planning and research – all the fun stuff. I do not for a minute miss the XP we would have gotten had we stayed to reduce each and every critter to zero HP. FYI our party is very big, with seven PCs, and fights against 15-20 total monsters are commonplace.

    • Posts : 1433
    • Owlbear

    Your mileage may vary, but…

    My group unintentionally solved a lot of the time issues in a 4E encounter by all designing incredibly potent melee characters. They have almost no range, very weak control, and rely entirely on charging headlong into an enemy and flanking. This has forced me to be very careful when designing encounters because, while I do like to challenge them, I want them to have a chance at winning. Thus they don’t encounter a lot of minion rushes and while I do like throwing artillery at them there is usually a way for them to close the distance, if they’re clever.

    Mostly they bump into groups of baddies only slightly larger than the number of PCs with some kind of hazard, trap, or nasty trick on their side.

    So my tip, to any aspiring players or DMs concerned with combat length, is to not play a wizard.

    Also that thing where you decide on your action before your turn comes up? That’s golden, and I wish I could get one of my guys to do that.

    • Posts : 50
    • Bullywug
    Telemergion wrote:
    Your mileage may vary, but…

    So my tip, to any aspiring players or DMs concerned with combat length, is to not play a wizard…

    From my way-back, playing AD&D 2nd Edition days, I remember reading about people playing parties of all thieves, all warriors, etc. Certainly, in 2nd ed, a party of all clerics would be an unstoppable engine of destruction.

    Still, this kind of thing is good as a diversion from the usual play, where the party works in different niches to be well-rounded. Playing without wizards, in a game built for a high-fantasy world, can’t be a long-term solution, can it?

    • Posts : 1433
    • Owlbear
    salvagebar wrote:
    . Playing without wizards, in a game built for a high-fantasy world, can’t be a long-term solution, can it?

    Well, I have two answers to that. The first is that my particular forum personality (which is only slightly better thought out than my actual one, and not by much) is to be very tongue and cheek. So really, anything I say ever should likely just be ignored and forgotten. 😛

    The second answer is, predictably, contradictory of what I just said.

    By saying “don’t play wizards” I wasn’t advocating a low magic, or less high fantasy campaign. My particular campaign is set in Eberron and is rife with the stuff. I’ve got players who play arcane characters next to divine, martial, and primal. I have all four roles represented with a striker, defender, leader, and controller. What I don’t have, specifically, is a wizard or a controller like one.

    My controller is a druid who plays like a rogue and his controlling capabilities are limited to pretty much a few enemies in melee range and Chillwind. He’s quite simply not capable of laying down the kind of battlefield support that a wizard, invoker, or even some of the ranged strikers can provide. When you have one of those classes – one built to take on multiple foes in a wide area – it behooves you to design encounters where they get the opportunity to shine. This, however, can drastically increase the number of enemies in play, which is more book keeping and more time.

    Now, I also don’t want to be misinterpreted. I really like some of the ranged casters, and I think all of them in 4E are pretty great at what they do. But I don’t have one, so I don’t design encounters for them, and as such my combats tend to be a lot shorter than they perhaps might be. And as I said above, your mileage may vary.

    Finally, just because you don’t have a ranged aoe specialist in the party doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pit one against them now and then, to spice things up. 8)

Viewing 7 posts - 16 through 22 (of 22 total)
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