Dropping Down a Gear

Finally decided to try out one of the many anti-grind solutions that have been mooted for 4e combat. As my group head into the upper Paragon tier, the combats have been getting even longer than they already were. We were regularly getting towards 90 mins for a level equivalent fight, and that’s just not going to get us enough gaming in.

I went for half hit points and plus half level in damage for the monsters.

It has merits over other, probably better, solutions in that it’s trivially easy to adjust pre-existing encounters this way. The end result was that the two combats I trie dit in ran to about 5 rounds (instead of the usual 10) and took about 40 minutes to play through. Ideally I’d like to trim off another 10 mins, but I don’t want to have any less rounds per combat. I’ll have to encourage faster play with my group. Sometimes it is painfully difficult to not shout ‘get on with it!’, especially when I know the monsters only got 5 hits left and the Warlord is sending forever on a minor action to get it just so. 

A potential downside is that my monsters are going to get a bit less time to shine. Even under the RAW I found it tricky enough to pull off multi-round tactics (like vampire bites). My players have, not unreasonably, opted for stuns and dazes wherever they can be found in the powers lists. This can get my guys in lockdown for a couple of rounds, and that’s gonna be so much worse under these new house rules. Certainly, my Cyclops Storm Shaman never got to do much beyond his first salve this week.

I’ll keep it under review of course. Initial feelings are positive though. If I can get to the magical 4 encounters per session then there’s a chance we’ll see the end of this campaign before I, or the guys, retire.

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3 responses to “Dropping Down a Gear

  1. I DM’d 4e for a group of up to 7 players at one stage. Although I think I managed not to shout “get on with it” at them, I did frequently ask them to pick up the pace, to keep it moving and when their turn finished I would immediately ask “Who’s next?”

    In return to being a bit school-teacher-ish in DMing style, I made sure that on my turn I acted quickly to keep the pace of the combat up.

    Largely, it worked really well.

  2. Daz

    I’m also going to take the plunge. This comes after an 8 hour battle (the Cathedral fight in Temple Between) which was a 3 way fight with lots of trolls with lots of regeneration. I think the half hitpoints add level to damage solution seems easiest to implement. How would you handle monster abilities which prevent damage/restore healing? Does resist 10 become resist 5 and regen 10 become regen 5 or do you leave as printed?

    Keep up the blogging always makes interesting reading.

    • Hi Daz,

      I only add half level to damage, not the full amount. Everything else I leave as written. I wanted to make it as easy for me to run as possible. I may lose or gain a few points here and there but seeing as it’s all behind the screen it doesn’t really matter, as long as the flow of the game is uninterrupted.

      Blooging has had to suffer due to real life demands recently, but there’s lots to come over the next few weeks!

      Cheers,
      Baz

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