D&D 4th Edition Healing and combat tension between 4e and Next - Page 2


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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobTheNob View Post
    I hate "IWIN" dailies that you pop at the start of combat.

    <snip>

    But when they have the attribute of being potent, yet circumstantial, they start to get a bit more flavor.

    <snip>

    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.
    I'm not sure about your actual example - the hit the party would take to its action economy is pretty huge - but your design principles I completely agree with.

 

  • #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Warbringer View Post
    @ bobtheknob

    While I appreciate the Sentiment of the power, it's too gamist for me.... Trade off a fighter at close to full power for a hp... Nah ...

    What I want is what happened in my 1e game back in college in 87 .... Ranger with frost blade vs. lich with fire shield .... Sure , killed the lich, and himself in the act ! .... If there are trade offs , let's make them real.
    Granted, its a gamist example. I guess the thing I was trying to illustrate with it is that is we are going to have desperation abilities (and I think there is plenty of room for them) I like them to scream of desperation. Something you would only do as a last option, yet, if played well, saves the situation.

    But then again, how do you create desperation capabilities without being gamist?

    Personally, I dont think the game has to be too real. "Gamism" is to a game like sugar is to a cake. Too much, its sickly sweet, too little, its bland. Peoples personnel tastes determine what kinda cake they like.

  • #13
    @Bobtheknob .... Awesome analogy

    I find a big stick I hit players with as their hit points get low works well for a simulation point of view

    But I agree with the sentiment, creating that story dynamic of desperation creates the memorable moments in the game, and I dolike you approach of powers that have that sacrificial element

  • #14
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    A difficult proposition for me. I love the drawn out detailed boss fight that 4E enables and in combat healing is an important component of it (not the only one). OtoH having played a couple different 4E defenders for me the frequency with which a defender gets clobbered and reduced to little or no HP and then gets right back up again drains much of the tension or feeling of danger out of your average combat. After a few levels it doesn't surprise you anymore you become somewhat numb to it.

    It would be silly to expect different combat rules for boss fights yet I can't escape the feeling that in the long run I'd find it more personally satisfying if we could pick and choose which fights happen in bullet time and command that level of detail and complexity.
    I hope with strange eons even the edition war may die.

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    That's a product of 4e's rather carefully engineered HP and damage values more than anything else. (And the nature of in-combat healing, too, particularly minor actions and heal-from-zero.)

    4e doesn't have high HPs because it's "easy mode" - it has high HPs to cut down on the swinginess of combat. The less swingy the combat, the more likely you are to have an "back from the brink" moment or three over the course of a fight.

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  • #16
    Quote Originally Posted by FireLance View Post
    I can't speak for others, but for me, the fights are too short and the monsters don't hit often enough that the players feel the need to pull their PCs back from the brink in the middle of a fight.
    Well, this part is an easy fix - add 2 or 3 to monster attack bonuses (as many have suggested) and buff monster hp a bit. As a rule of thumb I'd say give 20-50% bonus hp to anything with at least 10hp (no point in buffing minions, since making them go squish is half the fun).

    Mearls mentioned that pc damage is a bit high right now; Buffing monster hp seems a good way to counter that.

    The bigger structural issue is whether healing should take a full action from a healer (cleric/Druid/etc). I agree that this is bad action economy UNLESS the heals are big enough that they negate a lot of enemy whittling. But that itself requires high enough hp values that a cleric can wait a few turns while everyone beats on the tank and then heal him up to near full.

    I think the ideal here might be that the cleric can use a weaker attack+heal option to top off lower-hp allies who start taking damage, and also have full action heals to restore big chunks of hp when absolutely necessary. I just wish this were possible without using up all the cleric's slots on Cure X Wounds for the big heals.

  • #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    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."
    Nod. And 5e's de-facto minions (any monster with fewer hps than the party's minimum damage) still let you have those, though they may come down to one spell sweeping them all away, since they lack the minion's ability to survive half damage.

    But for boss fights, Next doesn't have the "pull back from the brink" options 4e did. Should it?
    Of course it /should/. But, those options come in the form of healing surges (which, even emasculated and re-branded as Hit Dice are under concerted attack) encounter/daily powers (which martial classes have already lost in 5e) and off-turn actions (which are going to be cut back if not cut). Part of the goal of next is to make combats /fast/ and fast is likely to mean either one-sided or "swingy," and generally precludes the sort of dramatic battle you describe above.

    I suspect the idea is that drama will come from the other two 'pillars,' with combat there to generate short bursts of excitement to punctuate that drama.

  • #18
    Right now, combat is certainly fast, but hardly swingy, a consequence of the differential in monster and character to hit...

    If they increase the to hit probability on monsters, reduce the damage, then we will get back to warning signs in the damage count... That said, should pcs have get out of jail cards to play that permiates 4e?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    I think the ideal here might be that the cleric can use a weaker attack+heal option to top off lower-hp allies who start taking damage, and also have full action heals to restore big chunks of hp when absolutely necessary. I just wish this were possible without using up all the cleric's slots on Cure X Wounds for the big heals.
    Maybe something like healing word, only instead of extra healing, it allows the target to spend a Hit Dice (and is thus only useful if the target still has Hit Dice remaining)? To avoid it taking up too many slots, maybe the cleric can regain the slot he used to cast it after a short rest?

    What an absolutely brilliant concept. I can't believe that nobody has ever thought of anything remotely like it in the entire history of D&D.

  • #20
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    I certainly accept that the specifics of combat balance will change. Obviously right now, monsters aren't as threatening as we're used to. But even after they change that, I want to make sure there are at least a few nods to "comeback pacing" in the game.

    Like BobtheNob, I like abilities that you can't blow at the start of combat for an instant take-down. It doesn't have to be minor action healing. Maybe if they get HP thresholds figured out, those will work:

    * Crap, we're dying here. But the dragon is down to under 50 hit points. I blow my combat superiority dice on Killing Embrace. The dragon gets a free attack on me, but I simultaneously get to attack, and if I hit, it's a crit that inflicts a horrible wound. ---- He got me in his jaws, but I drove my spear through his eye and pierced his brain. He flails and drops me, and we both fall limply to the ground.

    Or

    * I'm a necromancer, and my Death Spell does damage based on the number of monsters that have died in this combat. We've killed all the blackguards minions. Now I've just got to get close enough to touch the blackguard's chest, and he'll keel over.

    Or

    * You may strike me down, but by Pelor I curse you! May the sun's holy light sear your eyes so that you might never see its blessed rays again!

    Or

    * I'm a fire elementalist. There have to be at least three fires active for me to cast my most powerful spell. So early in the fight I shoot minor spells that create burning barriers or set fire to minions. Then I can finally cast Power Word Incinerate.
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