Combat takes too long

jtarbox

Explorer
I'll have to agree with most of the comments.

We played a 4 hour session all at lvl 1 with a rogue, wizard, and paladin. This was a basic dungeon claw to get used to the mechanics of combat. Most of the fighting was fairly short lived, prolly longer on the initial fight and sped up considerably when we got used to the characters. We managed 2 trap encounters, a bit of searching around larger rooms, and 5 encounters. Unfortunately, we misread the hit point value calculation and we only added out con modifier to our hit points instead of our entire con score at 1st level, so we were all running at about half health w/ half valued healing surges.

Encounter 1: 4 gobbies, we did alright, but with half health I felt like a paper tiefling...

Encounter 2: 3 gobbies, we were a bit more prepared and hit em hard and fast.

Encounter 3: 2 beetles.. no idea what they were, but they went down fairly fast.

Encounter 4: 8 minions and an elite (i think, or a normal). This followed the beetle fight immediately due to the noise we made. They could only come at us one at a time and we had very good positions for attacks of oppotunity. The elite went down nicely after the wizard softened him up with a flaming sphere for a round or so.

Encounter 5: 2 elite (i think, or maybe an elite and a normal). Each party was aware of each other. Main guy in some circle room with his 'pet' dog thing up some stairs. I [rogue] ran in to the opposing side while the pally ran right up to the main guy and marked him. I got flanking from behind and we made short work of him. The dice gods were in our favor that encounter as I got 1-2 crits and the npc missed on the pally 2-3 times. The dog pet thing got into melee right around the time his master died, and we managed to take it out in a round or two.

Overall, once used to things, combat ran smoothly. Most of the hold up was figuring out what power to use at the right time.
 

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Jasperak

Explorer
It is probable that the DM put in extra opponents for us since we did have 6 people. All I know is that my dwarven fighter kept getting b!tch-slapped by kobold minions. Those 4 hit points keep adding up. And true, I get the feeling that we don't play well together, tactically speaking of course. It doesn't change the fact though that a couple bad rolls here, a couple extra monsters there, not a single one of our combats lasted less than 6 rounds. We were never really in any danger as a party, though our fights did drag on longer than I felt appropriate.
 

keterys

First Post
Honestly, I'm more than happy to see combats go at least 6 rounds, but the time required should go down at a steady rate as people get more and more experienced.
 

erik_the_guy

First Post
It might be a DMing issue. If the DM throws 5 monsters with 30 hp each against your party he isn't being fair, and the wizard is not going to be as effective. Strikers are the best characters in this situation. My level 2 rogue gets about +12 to hit (with combat advantage, and non min/maxed stats) and does around 18-20 damage on an average hit (more if I use an encounter power). If your party doesn't have a striker or two, the DM should not send a lot of high HP monsters against you.

Also, if the combats are taking over a dozen rounds, the DM might be hitting you with too much (an average party of lvl 1s would take down about 2 of those kobolds in 3 of 4 turns). As the wizard you can make combat a lot shorter by hitting 3 enemies in one turn, or using your spells to move control the battlefield and give your allies combat advantage.
 

Jasperak

Explorer
It might be a DMing issue. If the DM throws 5 monsters with 30 hp each against your party he isn't being fair, and the wizard is not going to be as effective. Strikers are the best characters in this situation. My level 2 rogue gets about +12 to hit (with combat advantage, and non min/maxed stats) and does around 18-20 damage on an average hit (more if I use an encounter power). If your party doesn't have a striker or two, the DM should not send a lot of high HP monsters against you.

Also, if the combats are taking over a dozen rounds, the DM might be hitting you with too much (an average party of lvl 1s would take down about 2 of those kobolds in 3 of 4 turns). As the wizard you can make combat a lot shorter by hitting 3 enemies in one turn, or using your spells to move control the battlefield and give your allies combat advantage.

:eek:18-20 on average? My dwarven fighter does a MAX of 17 with a maul and dwarven weapon training. What the heck am I missing?
 

keterys

First Post
Well, you're a fighter and he's a rogue :)

That's about right for a rogue, assuming he's either a brutal scoundrel or a trickster using sly flourish. His attack bonus suggests he's using got at least 2 of (20 Dex, Dagger, +1 Magic Enh, Nimble Blade feat) - a rogue with backstabber deals 2d8 Sneak Attack, so you're looking at 1W + Dex + (Str or Cha) + 9 (+ Enh and/or Focus), which easily hits the range indicated.
 

JaeKin

First Post
Our party of 4:
Dwarf Fighter
Tiefling Warlord
Halfling Rogue
Elf Ranger

The encounters have been pretty short, most only last 4-6 rounds I think. Our DM was cutting back on some of our early encounters, but we were drilling through them pretty easily, and he's been throwing some encounters meant for 5 adventurers. Haven't had too many encounters with lots of minions, those usually took a bit longer (Not having a wizard drags them out, but with my fighter's cleave and the rangers two arrow attack we take them down pretty quickly. I had an impressive cleave + AP + cleave one encounter where I took down 4 minions in a single turn.)

Mainly our group works well together (Not to knock anyone who feels the combat is long or assume you don't know how to work together) I try to make sure as the fighter to get into the thick of it early and tie up the big hitters and keep the enemies off our soft targets, the warlord works well with the rogue easily moving him into flanking, and our ranger takes down their artillery and controllers early. Haven't really felt the enemies have too many hp either, usually once we concentrate on an enemy, it won't last a full round. We do have a lot of damage with the two strikers, warlord throwing around his great axe, and I'm pretty happy with my warhammer damage.

I think our longest encounter was in the kobold lair adventure against the large white dragon, and I think it only made it 6 or 7 rounds.

For me though, as long as an encounter stays fun, how many rounds or how much of the session it takes up doesn't ruin it for me. I just dislike when a encounter devolves into a tedium and I find myself simply waiting for the next round so I can take my single action and already know the outcome probably isn't going to be that spectacular. Haven't really had that encounter happen yet.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
With 4 hour sessions, we did:

1 Encounter and a lot of Roleplaying on session one (which lead to DMG and KotS dungeon crawls which we only left once)

4 Encounters on session two
5 Encounters on session three
3 (or 4, not quite sure if we combined two into one) Encounters on session four
4 Encounters on session five

So, an average of one encounter per hour. This includes exploring, looting, taking time out to search and heal, stopping for the players to discuss plans and goals, etc. My Wizard is even mapping (which we have not really done since 1E or possibly 2E days).

I would estimate that the actual combat portion averages about 40 minutes each.

That's typically better than 3.5 by a factor of maybe 1.5 times quicker with typically more 4E opponents on average (due to minions) than in 3.5.
 

Jasperak

Explorer
Well, you're a fighter and he's a rogue :)

That's about right for a rogue, assuming he's either a brutal scoundrel or a trickster using sly flourish. His attack bonus suggests he's using got at least 2 of (20 Dex, Dagger, +1 Magic Enh, Nimble Blade feat) - a rogue with backstabber deals 2d8 Sneak Attack, so you're looking at 1W + Dex + (Str or Cha) + 9 (+ Enh and/or Focus), which easily hits the range indicated.

:.-( I think I'm going to pay little more attention to what the strikers do. A rogue better in combat than a fighter. I might just have to let a couple of those pesky minions through the front lines :]
 

keterys

First Post
Hah - actually, you're a lot better at dealing with minions than a rogue is. His 18-20 damage still only counts for 1 when hitting a minion.
 

erik_the_guy

First Post
To answer Jasperak's questions about rogues

My attack bonus: +1 from level (2), +1 to attack for daggers with rogue, +3 proficiency, + 4 dex, +2 from combat advantage (usually) and +1 from nimble blade when I have combat advantage. +12 to hit. Since I can attack AC or reflex, I almost never miss with combat advantage.

Damage: 1d4 for dagger (average 2-3) , +4 for dex, +2d8+2 for sneak attack (average 11). This is about 17-18 damage. A bit less than I previously guessed. I could deal more with a short sword (+1 damage average) but I prefer the +1 to hit since it increases my chance of getting the 2d8+2 sneak attack. I have also ditched powers that deal extra weapon damage in favor of those that grant me combat advantage, since these set the target up for more sneak attack damage next round.

But don't feel bad about your dwarven fighter. Usually when I sneak attack it is only because the dwarven fighter on our team is giving me flanking. I love the guy. He also soaks damage for me so I don't go down (plate armor, heavy shield, +2 con and second wind as a minor action for being a dwarf). I really love fighters.
 

I ran a session where the final battle was +4 level against level one characters. It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes and only one character died out of ignorance. The entire party is nine people strong and three of the players are younger than 15. The reason the fight took so long is one person is legally blind and deaf in one ear. Two of the kids aren't game savvy and weren't using any powers other than At Will (one was only using basic and it was his second game).

As the DM I thought the combat was dragging but the players didn't. We're coming off of a long time in 3e land so a combat with 15 creatures would have probably been the entire session. Or it would have been quick cause at 1st level everyone would have been dead from critical hits. That's the difference. We're used to large groups of gamers and 3e doesn't work well with a large group. As a DM I thought the game was too long because I only saw what the players weren't doing (I'd intentionally set monsters up so the kids would use their powers but they didn't). When I asked what they thought it really changed my perspective. Looking back I saw three players that worked very well together.

The Rogue was and outstanding player. He killed a 3rd level Soldier in two turns w/o action points. He worked with the Fighters to take down the other Soldiers. Some players learn quickly. Others, not so much. The two Fighters and Rogue communicated well, by tying up monsters until a Striker could go in for the kill. They would also alert the Leaders when they were bloodied (like theyr'e supposed to) and remained in good health.

It's a matter of perspective.
 

med stud

First Post
:.-( I think I'm going to pay little more attention to what the strikers do. A rogue better in combat than a fighter. I might just have to let a couple of those pesky minions through the front lines :]
Not really better, the rogue is different ;). A fighter has a lot more staying power than the rogue. The rogue kills fast but it dies fast too. The fighter doesn't kill fast but he kills reliably and it takes a lot to take him down.
 

Shabe

First Post
6 Players
Wizard
Fighter
Paladin
Warlock
Cleric
Warlord

Our first two fights in KotS took around 2 hours each, encounters have been leveled up and in keeping with the basic encounter design. So pretty much our entire session for 1 fight, we run for 3 - 3.5 hours. Later, when the players were more comfortable with their characters, the burial site and the outside of the kobold lair was cut down to an hour-ish for a fight.
Irontooth both waves took around 2.5hours.
Just counted through in my head and all encounters have the equivalent of 6 creatures in them, except irontooth which is like 2 seperate encounters rolled into one.

Rounds wise I think fights are taking around 5-6 rounds, but with lots of players reluctant to spend encounter powers / dailies then it will probably speed up even more when people get into the swing of things and realise what are threats.

Also as pointed out its the first few rounds that tend to take the time up, the final rounds are usually mopping up the 1 or 2 strays.
 

jtarbox

Explorer
Rogues can take out things fast. My lvl 1 brutal scoundrel rogue can currently do a +8 hit w/ an absolute max of 34 damage. (Easy Target w/ shurikens, 15 str, 18 dex, burtal scoundrel, backstabber: 2d6+4+2d8+2 & potentially slowed w/ CA till at least next round.)

However, we go down like wet paper bags. The best thing for me is to let the defender (pally in my case) take agro w/ a mark, then I'll come from behind w/ flanking for constant CA. We took out a 'boss' npc in 2-3 rounds like this. Defender characters should be positioning to better allow for rogues to come in from behind, or to position the npc so the ranger gets clear shots, or to position multiple npcs together for wizards, etc.
 

Andur

First Post
We generally play 5-6 hours, have been doing so for the past 8 years give or take. Under 3.x we would be lucky to get 3 encounters in an evening, most the time we would get 2 combats into an evening, though it was not rare for only 1 combat to happen.

With 4e we are getting in 3-4 encounters in an evening. Most of the time we are getting 3 combats in an evening and have yet to get less than two.

There were several times in 3.x that one of the players at the table could literally drive to town, replenish food and drink, and get back before their next turn came up in combat, that's 40 minutes roundtrip without stopping. We have found with 4e we need to make sure supplies are stocked well up front, most rounds are over in 15 minutes with the players taking 2-3 minutes to resolve their actions and the DM taking 4-5 minutes. Majority of encounters are over in 3-4 rounds. "Boss" encounters tend to last longer. (Except for the time when one player expressed his thoughts on dragons being pansies, a party +5 Solo is pretty much a guaranteed TPK in 2 rounds or less... {good thing it was only a "dream sequence"})
 

s0l0m0n

First Post
We just finished our first 6 hour session in 4e, and I must agree with the OP that combat seems to take far longer than in 3e. I am willing to take into account this was our first session, and we did not yet know the rules instinctively. Nevertheless, our 3 combats took about 1.5 hrs apiece, and were quite boring after round 10 or so.

Mind you, we did start off at level 30, as the campaign in question has been running for almost 10 years. Nevertheless, a well-built system should display the same level of consistency across power levels.

Out main objection is that monsters have too much hit points compared to PC damage output, while monsters - oddly enough - cause too little damage too pose a serious threat. It is simply a war of attrition in which the PC's have the advantage.

We are currently examining possibilities to make combat more quick 'n dirty. If we're doing a combat session, it is much more fun doing 4 quick ones with a different set-up each time, than 2 excruciatingly long hackfests where everyone ends up using all their powers and pew-pewing their way to an undeserving win.

We are considering lowering Monster HP, or upping damage across the board. Any suggestions on this from you guys ?
 

Mathew_Freeman

First Post
I've not experienced this problem in the game I'm running.

Partially because I keep harrying the players with "Who's next?" after each action, and because I make quick decisive actions with my monsters, I'm sure, but also because the simplicity of each monster being on a single stat block means that when anything happens I can just check the block, do the action and move on.

We ran the first Kobold ambush from KotS last night with 6 players, and extra kobolds to compensate - took about 30mins max. Was a great dynamic combat.

I think the best thing you can do is hurry the players along - and also then make sure you're being a decisive DM in return to help keep the pace up.
 

Andur

First Post
I"m a little confused solomon, there is no way your party would get through an encounter at level 15 in 1.5 hours in 3.5, without some great rolling on the PC"s part, and some poor rolling on the DM's part. Sure the combat would not last more than 2-3 rounds, but timewise 1-1/2 hours would be a minimum. Combats got slowere and slower in 3.x as the party progressed, I would expect them to take a "tad" longer in any system as one progresses.

As far as suggestions, how about playing the game more, leveling up so you get a better understanding of power combos and how the party needs to work together differently in 4e versus precious editions, and in general increasing your practical (as in experience) knowledge of 4e. What you are describing is like when somone who has never played WoW before buys a level 70 geared out toon and then says "it sucks" when they get pwned the first time they go out and try PvP or boss encounter.

It really sounds like your group was a little over ambitious with your first session of 4e. We always start a new mini campaign when a new edition comes out to "kick the tires" before we go converting old characters and pick up an old campaign. (Best example was the time we were doing a Slavers campaign kicking off with B2 using 2e Skills and Powers and then 3e came out, if we had tried porting right over we would have had a TPK, instead we started a ToEE mini-campaign)
 

ShinRyuuBR

First Post
I was under the impression that what the designers said was that combat is faster as in you do more in less time, not as in the encounter takes less real time.

Anyway, if combat is taking too long for you, you can always try using more minions instead of normal enemies. Or putting several lower-level enemies (lower HP and all).
 

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