D&D 4th Edition Healing and combat tension between 4e and Next - Page 8




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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    There is nothing - repeat, nothing - wrong with a party taking several days or even a few weeks (or even a few months if there's lots of travel involved) in game time to get through an adventure; most of which time is spent resting.
    Agreed - but that doesn't really have anything to do with healing surges, as such. Call a "short rest" over night and an "extended rest" a week of game time (or a month, or a week per surge spent), and you get this effect. It all takes place in a few minutes of real time, anyway - the game time lag is basically just colour (with possible off-camera plot implications). I think DDN just needs to set up a "dial" for this colour; get the scaling of what refreshes with a "short" rest and what refreshes with an "extended" rest right - get it working well as a game - and then let each game group decide what "game time tempo" they want to use for themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Or, as an alternative, there's also nothing wrong with having the healers use their spells to - horrors! - heal rather than to do other things (I think this is a lot of what broke the Cleric in 3e - they didn't need to save their spells for healing so instead could become buff machines).
    Meh - clerics never "had to" save spells for healing; they were just sort-of expected to in order to (a) let the rest of the party play properly and (b) stop the game being broken in 3.x. If you were able to turn a blind eye to this sort of shenanigans and just roll with it, it worked fine - otherwise, the strings and the machinery behind the curtain became disconcertingly visible.

    To me, healing surges are better because the capacity to heal is where it fits best - with the "patient" being healed - and the "healer" is just a catalyst for the process. The resource management is still there, but now it scales to the number of characters in the party and is a game everyone gets to play. The healer still gets to be a helpful catalyst to speed when the resource can be spent - and maybe even has some "bonus" resource to add into the pot for any "patient" of their choice - but doesn't have to be the sole source of fast recovery for however many there are in the team.

    Whether the healing can be done in combat is a taste thing. I think it adds an extra dimension to the tactical game, but to those who either want a simpler tactical game, or who just don't want a tactical game at all, I can see that it's not helpful. An area for "modularity" to apply, maybe.
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  • #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Healing surges were even worse, unless your goal of play was to plow through an entire adventure without having the PCs rest and recuperate very often.
    Not a bad goal. Smacks of heroism.

    There is nothing - repeat, nothing - wrong with a party taking several days or even a few weeks (or even a few months if there's lots of travel involved) in game time to get through an adventure; most of which time is spent resting.
    Well, unless some of the characters re-charge super-powerful abilities every day, and are only remotely balanced when forced into 4-5 encounter days.

    The upshot of that is that class balance and resource management need to be robust and flexible enough to allow the DM to vary pacing to fit his campaign. A 'dial' that adjusted not just healing, but all resource-recovery would be a good part of that.


    Or, as an alternative, there's also nothing wrong with having the healers use their spells to - horrors! - heal rather than to do other things (I think this is a lot of what broke the Cleric in 3e - they didn't need to save their spells for healing so instead could become buff machines).
    That is a lot of what broke the 3e Cleric. It was designed with the idea that it would use a lot of it's spells to heal, restore, and/or buff it's party, particularly those benighted non-casters. Instead, parties stocked up on WoCLWs, Clerics rarely healed in-combat (never out of combat), and buffed themselves into CoDzillas. Being able to swap out resources meant to aid the party, to gain resources for self-glorification was the core problem.

  • #73
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    I don't believe the OP's description of a long, drawn out battle against a significant opponent should be ignored, but I don't believe it requires extensive, short-gain healing options either. High level casters have powers, both weak and powerful in the vancian system. Powerful wizards can cast their most powerful spell that they've been saving all day. Clerics can use all kinds of enhancements, aids, and heals to benefit their allies. Regardless, a high level party could pull off what was described.

    What isn't needed is a baked in combat length or multiple heals. That simply makes one's decisions in combat more scripted and contrived than leaving combat space as wide open as possible. Sometimes combats run long. Sometimes its because dice are rolling poorly, sometimes its because the players went in with a number of misconceptions about their foe. There are plenty of reasons.

    Low level play historically has fewer options, but players can always, at any level, choose to get creative. Their opponents don't. They fight based upon a number of factors predetermined by the game system, but ultimately they aren't as capable of being newly creative as the players. That's simply the nature of the game.

    Setting up the possibility of a long, tough battle that ends in the PCs is something I agree with. But I would only want it if the possibilities existed as well for short, easy battles and long, tough ones the PCs ultimately ran from, were captured, or were even possibly killed during.
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    Narratively, of course you want the game to let short easy battles and short hard battles and short impossible battles and long impossible battles exist.

    All I want is for long hard battles to exist. Because in 3.5, they often didn't. Initiative. I cast hold person. I coup de grace the adventure's final boss. (Or dominate monster. I coup de grace the main boss of the campaign.) Kind of underwhelming.
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  • #75
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    snippage of stuff I totally agree with

    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    Because in 3.5, they often didn't. Initiative. I cast hold person. I coup de grace the adventure's final boss. (Or dominate monster. I coup de grace the main boss of the campaign.) Kind of underwhelming.
    To be fair, this was really not just a "problem" (put in quotes because to me as a DM it wasn't an issue, it was just the way the game worked....sometimes the bad-guy went down faster than I would like, sometimes WAY faster, but it happened to the PCs sometimes too, so no biggie) with 3.5. I remember a climactic encounter in a 2E adventure I was running where a massive creature (something from spelljammer....one of the reallly scary ones!) rolled astoundingly bad on his save versus spells for a Hold Monster and that was that....spear through the eye into the brain. Hold spells have always been win buttons (IIRC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    Because in 3.5, they often didn't. Initiative. I cast hold person. I coup de grace the adventure's final boss. (Or dominate monster. I coup de grace the main boss of the campaign.) Kind of underwhelming.

    Quote Originally Posted by 13garth13 View Post
    To be fair, this was really not just a "problem" (put in quotes because to me as a DM it wasn't an issue, it was just the way the game worked....sometimes the bad-guy went down faster than I would like, sometimes WAY faster, but it happened to the PCs sometimes too, so no biggie) with 3.5. I remember a climactic encounter in a 2E adventure I was running where a massive creature (something from spelljammer....one of the reallly scary ones!) rolled astoundingly bad on his save versus spells for a Hold Monster and that was that....spear through the eye into the brain. Hold spells have always been win buttons (IIRC).
    Most anti-climactic (and funniest) battle I've played: Assault on a red dragon's lair in 3.5. We had it planned out to a degree that makes a WoWC guild raid look like a disorganized mess. What we failed to account for was that the dragon might actually just fly out of its cave when it realized we had come prepared to fight it in close quarters. So we chase it back outside and it turns on us, raises into the air and it becomes obvious its going to skip right over the front rank and divebomb the wizard in the back. I say to the guy playing the wizard, half-jokingly "quick, turn it into a cow!". And he says "okay, what the hell...". And casts baleful polymorph and the dragon fails it's friggin save.

    The DM sat quietly for a second and the said "We'll... it's a cow.". And then with a befuddled "moo?" it plummeted to the earth and went splat.

  • #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameDoc View Post

    The DM sat quietly for a second and the said "We'll... it's a cow.". And then with a befuddled "moo?" it plummeted to the earth and went splat.
    Heh.

    That's great!

    Much like Hold Person (or Disintegrate in 1/2/3E), Polymorph Other/Baleful Polymorph has likewise led to some anticlimactic (yet quite amusing moments) at several points in my career as DM....many a villain, both monstrous or human(oid) has ended their career as a hamster/rabbit/mouse being gang-stomped by a party of vengeful adventurers.

    Cheers,
    Colin

    P.S. And to reiterate my previous sentiment, that's okay! That's what some of the fun of D&D is for me. My villainous plans and occasionally the player's heroic plans go spectacularly awry from time to time and I wouldn't have it any other way. Hey, they roll ones on saves too!
    Last edited by 13garth13; Thursday, 11th October, 2012 at 04:41 AM. Reason: grammar

  • #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    I dunno, when I present the lich as seeking to tear open a gateway to the Abyss to fulfill a bargain he made with a demon, and the PCs have to stop him, I expect that he's working rather hard at this goal and thus the PCs don't have a few weeks or months to lounge around on lawn chairs living the good life.
    Absolutely. And that's when the PCs really have to manage their resources properly because they won't get the rest breaks they otherwise might, won't have as many chances to study/pray for spells, won't get their overnight heal rate as often, etc. And some adventures should totally be like this; where the choice as to whether to plow ahead or to stop and rest has potentially very serious consequences either way*.

    Some adventures, but not all. Each adventure really should have its own pacing - sometimes the party might think they're on a clock when they're actually not; other times they might not know of a deadline until it's too late; another adventure might have a well-known and hard deadline, while a fourth doesn't have any time limit at all.

    * - note this still doesn't completely work in a 4e-style situation where resources (other than dailies) are not really diminished that much as you go along - you've always got your at-wills, you've got your encounter powers to pull out once per fight no matter how many fights you get into, and so on.

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  • #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by howandwhy99 View Post
    What isn't needed is a baked in combat length or multiple heals. That simply makes one's decisions in combat more scripted and contrived than leaving combat space as wide open as possible. Sometimes combats run long. Sometimes its because dice are rolling poorly, sometimes its because the players went in with a number of misconceptions about their foe. There are plenty of reasons.

    Low level play historically has fewer options, but players can always, at any level, choose to get creative. Their opponents don't. They fight based upon a number of factors predetermined by the game system, but ultimately they aren't as capable of being newly creative as the players. That's simply the nature of the game.
    I think this is a fundamental division point in what people do want. Leaving a "combat space as wide open as possible" for me just gives me a space with nothing in it. It's sort of the difference between liking to paint, starting out with a big, blank canvas of pure white, and wanting to carve wood, figuring out ways to use the knots and gnarls that the wood presents you with to form something elegant and attractive. Do the knots and gnarls constrain what you can do? Sure - but that's a good thing!

    The point isn't really the "in combat healing" - it's not any one, specific thing. It's making sure that there are plenty of knots and gnarls to work with (and work around) as the play progresses. In other words, when I "get creative", I want to build something from what is already there, not invent whatever I want without any sort of constraint. The second form of play isn't wrong - it's just not what I find fulfilling.
    Last edited by Balesir; Thursday, 11th October, 2012 at 09:26 AM. Reason: The usual (typo).
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  • #80
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    In the 3 editions of D&D I played before 4e, the players always managed to pull themselves out of the brink. 4e might force it with design, but it certainly is not unique to 4e.

    I am looking forward to the quick dramatic combats in previous editions, rather than the long drawn out grinds that take an hour or more to run.

    If they want to make long drawn out combats a module it is all good,

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