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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Auras (what makes a good solo aura? how to use effectively in encounter?)
    Also how to keep them from killing PCs too easily. When a PC falls unconscious in an aura, it's game over. Often literally.

    Save...and then die powers (making "save ends" powers more suspenseful & increasing player agency...you don't just make a saving throw vs. fire, you leap into a waterfall!)
    Save isn't a good mechanic here. I use a modified version of the MV black dragon's vulnerability ability. In this case you are affected by ongoing fire damage until the end of the encounter. There is no save, but if you take a specific action (making a skill check, falling prone, jumping through a waterfall, etc) you can end the effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Psi)SeveredHead View Post
    Also how to keep them from killing PCs too easily. When a PC falls unconscious in an aura, it's game over. Often literally.
    Really? I haven't noticed that yet, but we've only played till 13th. I'd assume that the other PCs would just heal their friend up, and if unable someone would drag/teleport them out of the aura or mega-forced movement on the solo then send in the heavy hitters to keep it at bay.

    Save isn't a good mechanic here. I use a modified version of the MV black dragon's vulnerability ability. In this case you are affected by ongoing fire damage until the end of the encounter. There is no save, but if you take a specific action (making a skill check, falling prone, jumping through a waterfall, etc) you can end the effect.
    Yep, exactly. Anything that involves a choice.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Psi)SeveredHead View Post
    When a PC falls unconscious in an aura, it's game over. Often literally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Really? I haven't noticed that yet, but we've only played till 13th. I'd assume that the other PCs would just heal their friend up, and if unable someone would drag/teleport them out of the aura or mega-forced movement on the solo then send in the heavy hitters to keep it at bay.
    That has been my experience, and my party hasn't had an actual leader in the group for a while (though one pc is multiclassed warlord and another is a multiclassed skald, so there is a little healing in the group). IME, unless someone makes the effort to employ a coup de grace, pcs almost never die from damage alone.

    But, as I'm fond of pointing out, this may be a playstyle thing- if the players were less prone to teamwork, it might be a lot more likely than it is in my game.

  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Really? I haven't noticed that yet, but we've only played till 13th. I'd assume that the other PCs would just heal their friend up, and if unable someone would drag/teleport them out of the aura or mega-forced movement on the solo then send in the heavy hitters to keep it at bay.
    The last time the PCs went up against a boss with healing, it was a level + 4 encounter, and the second really hard encounter of the day. They were tapped out of healing, so reviving someone unconscious wasn't easy. In fact we discovered that session that if you have no surges to spend, you come up to 1 hit point, but the boss was a multi-attacker and could easily KO everyone. It was the last battle of the campaign, but I didn't like how the aura was interacting with an already hard encounter. I didn't mind the only actual death, which came from dropping a PC from low to below negative bloodied. His head exploded from psychic damage.

    Back when 4e came out, I ran Keep on the Shadowfell and a PC died from being knocked unconscious and then being slid into the Thing in the Portal. A bit cooler, since the exact fate was obvious, and I don't recall why no one healed them. (Maybe they were out of Healing or Inspiring Words?)

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Really? I haven't noticed that yet, but we've only played till 13th. I'd assume that the other PCs would just heal their friend up, and if unable someone would drag/teleport them out of the aura or mega-forced movement on the solo then send in the heavy hitters to keep it at bay.
    We're also currently at 13th level and we've had a few deaths caused by a combination of ongoing damage and going down in the area of effect of an aura. It's usually at least partially caused by players not paying attention, e.g. charging a foe out of the leader's healing range or triggering several opportunity attacks at once. But sometimes it's also a side-effect of, e.g. in the case of a foe being immobilized that has only melee attacks. In our group that usually means the foe will keep attacking whoever's within reach even after they go down!

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhaelen View Post
    We're also currently at 13th level and we've had a few deaths caused by a combination of ongoing damage and going down in the area of effect of an aura. It's usually at least partially caused by players not paying attention, e.g. charging a foe out of the leader's healing range or triggering several opportunity attacks at once. But sometimes it's also a side-effect of, e.g. in the case of a foe being immobilized that has only melee attacks. In our group that usually means the foe will keep attacking whoever's within reach even after they go down!
    Sounds like situations where the PCs *should* suffer from the aura. Or am I wrong?

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    Yeah, I killed 2 PCs at a gameday a bit ago - first was because I was immobilized and had no other targets on a creature that attacked multiple times. Second was bad luck, where someone was up at the start of my attack, got dropped, then no turn plus ongoing and aura finished them off.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    Sounds like situations where the PCs *should* suffer from the aura. Or am I wrong?
    No. I was (mis)interpreting your reply to mean you'd never experienced a pc getting killed by aura effects.

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    @Jhaelen Ah, well truthfully I've only had a handful of PC deaths between my last 4e campaign and my current...one from a foreshadowed coup de grace, and two from falling / friendly fire. It would appear my players are their own worst enemies

    Anyhow, back to the topic of Solo Monsters!

    I think I've got a list of rules for solo design / major topics that should be covered in a design document:
    • Monster damage equivalence (e.g. solo should be worth 3-5 monsters' DPR)
    • Multi-attacks (connected to above, what is impact of choosing one type of multiattack vs. another? For example area attack vs. opportunity attack vs. minor action attack vs. dual basic attacks)
    • Schrodinger's stat block (i.e. needs to adapt to party size)
    • Action recovery (including mitigating attack penalties)
    • Auras (what makes a good solo aura? how to use effectively in encounter?)
    • Replacing "save ends" powers with something more suspenseful & increasing player agency...you don't just make a saving throw vs. fire, you leap into a waterfall!
    • The Lair (how to design a lair to accentuate the solo's abilities?)
    • Combat Narrative/Development (solo fights are meant to take up table time, so the fight needs to evolve to stay interesting, what are some tricks to do this?)

  10. #80
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    Here's another sample. I built this when I realized the 4e anathema didn't look anything like the 3e version (which I thought was superior in terms of flavor). Like the 4e version, this one is made of many snakes rather than just being a hydra-like being.

    On the issue of determining attacks per action, I twice freaked out my players with elites whose encounter/recharge powers are simply using two encounter-level attacks at the same time. Very vicious if they can attack the same target twice. Even nastier with an action point. It almost seems like the best of both worlds.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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