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Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 07:20 PM #1
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
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Healing and combat tension between 4e and Next
By late-era 4e, combats (at least in my group) tended to go like this:
Round 1. PCs and monsters engage. Each side gets chipped away a bit.
Round 2. Monsters bloody a PC.
Round 3. A PC nearly goes down, another PC is bloodied, and the party has only just bloodied one monster.
Things are looking bad for the party. But then the PCs start using their healing words and similar powers. Minor action healing lets them keep dealing damage while pulling the team back from the brink.
Round 4. Resurgent PCs take down two enemies. Enemies bloody another PC, keeping the pressure on.
Round 5. A PC who's gotten into a bad spot uses a daily power and mops up the enemies. The party is left beaten and bloodied, and feeling like they narrowly pulled out a win.
Now, I don't want every fight in 5e to feel like that. In fact, I rather enjoyed "Crap, 6 kobolds. Get 'em! . . . Oh, wait, they're already all dead? Hm, okay."
But for boss fights, Next doesn't have the "pull back from the brink" options 4e did. Should it?
Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 07:29 PM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I just don't believe you can't compare a polished, published and heavily errata system to an early play test of a completely different game and hope to get anything really meaningful out of it. Its apples and oranges.
I think the direction you're asking questions is fine, but there are better ways to look at/phrase the problem.
There's a new playtest right around the corner, as well.
Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 08:47 PM #3
Superhero (Lvl 15)
I'd rather the "pulled back from the brink" actually be pulled back from the brink, not just engineered. I know that my group has pulled out a victory from a losing situation a few times, and that while they absolutely love that feeling, it would be greatly diminished if it was part of the system. Maybe its just me, but I'm guessing plenty of fights in 5e can go from "looks like we're going to lose" to "we won!" From where I'm standing, that's perfect. As always, play what you likeAs always, play what you like
Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 09:01 PM #4
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
"There's a fine line between a superpower and a chronic medical condition."
- Doctor Impossible
Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 09:48 PM #5
Lama (Lvl 13)
I love "pull em back from the brinks", but they have to be designed right.
Ultimately it comes down to the nature of "dailies" (or other limited use mechanic) and how they are designed. You see, I hate "IWIN" dailies that you pop at the start of combat. Deplore them. So some dailies have left a bad taste in my mouth. But when they have the attribute of being potent, yet circumstantial, they start to get a bit more flavor.
Im going to come up with a hypothetical example here...its a bit 4e, but its to illustrate a point
(Kinda paladin-ish really)
Power : "My life for his"
Effect : An unconscious ally regains consciousness and recover half of his max hit points. In addition, that ally has +2 to hit and damage till end of round. Your hit points instantly drop to zero and cannot be revived for at least 10 minutes
Now consider this. Your in a fight, you down to 1 hit point and have little left to contribute. The enemy is looking beat up, but ultimately looks like a TPK is in the works. The parties moderately durable yet hard hitting fighter is down. You pop this power, lose the 1 hp you had left, the fighter gets up at half max hp and a good attack bonus, in a much better position to help finish the fight than you are.
This is what I like.
* It has a price that makes it a judgement when to use it
* Its not a "start the fight, I WIN" button
* Its daily, so it aint every fight. You have to time it.
Im summary : I like it because its only effective if used well, meaning half of the potency of it lies with the character and the other half lies with the player. It smacks of something only a desperate person would do, and to me, thats what "back from the brink" powers should be all about.
Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 11:06 PM #6
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
What in 5e seems not brinky enough? Couldn't a well-placed Cure X Wounds spell work just as well as a Healing Word?
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 12:03 AM #7
Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)
Thursday, 4th October, 2012, 11:48 PM #8
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I have to admit, I really like OP's combat dynamic. I understand that simplifying things is a big part of Next, but I see the fights becoming boring for me, not just because of the dynamic, but also tactically.
The biggest complexity I think was adding a variety of durations to different effects. If the durations were simply "until the end of target's next turn" "save ends" (the two are almost the same thing) and "encounter" and keep effects standardized, I think it would be much easier to deal with a little complexity.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 11:09 AM #9
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
@rangerWicket great post, couldn't give you more xp though, because you are too awesome.
Anyway, I don't quite agree with your description of combat. With a bit more experienced players they will most likely identify the situation as a deadly one quite quickly (within the first round) and use some daily powers ASAP. This usually cuts down the monsters pretty quickly and takes away from the tension.
What I do agree on is that the HP in a 4e fight is very dynamic, going up and down. Unlike in 3e where it went down mostly, except when Heal was available. (Using cure x wounds spells was a waste of time. Too little healing compared to incoming damage).
I do dislike the 1-3 round fights of 3e (nuke until dead), but I also dislike the 6-10 round fights you often got in 4e (chipping away). Something in between would be nice.
Personally what I dislike most in fights are status effects (slow, stun, daze, immobilized, sleep, weakened, knock-down and so on) that disables a character or monster. They just makes the fight slower and there was waaaaay to much of it in 4e.
Friday, 5th October, 2012, 01:03 PM #10
Lama (Lvl 13)
I believe, the usual fights need to be done with in 15 minutes real time. It does not matter, how many rounds a fight is.
Also I don´t like the expected number of rounds thing. This is too much "combat as sport" to my liking. If you go into a fight with advantage, it should be heavily weighted to the players side and be a short thing. (An alpha strike with surprise should make a combat short.)
On the other hand, if you don´t have the advantage and you are facing a prepared enemy of equal power, the combat may last 1 or 2 hours, with recoveries and so on. But this may never be your standard.
4e is very good in epic fights. But its strength is also its biggest weakness. Every fight on an evening shortens your progress in the actual story by a large amount.
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