Invincible PC's

Also, don't play a pure melee character. Always have a range attack you can fall back on, preferably something that you can do as a single action when you're dazed.

in my tuesday night game atleast 4 times our fighter has pulled his long bow...all four times he got sick of it real quick...since our bow ranger witht he exact same bow shoots what the fighter calls "nukes"....

Sometimes it is better to play to your str, so he now has those giant gloves that let you throw anything...
 

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Elric

First Post
It just depends on what one means by offense and defense.

A simple and perhaps inadequate definition:
Offense decreases the average number of rounds that a monster lives.
Defense decreases what the monster does to the party in these rounds, either by preventing effects from occurring or removing the effects later.

Many powers qualify as both offense and defense (e.g., damage and a penalty to hit for a round).
 

Victim

First Post
There are few ways to do this without either a spell, or a Throwing Shield.

It takes more than one action to pull out and use a ranged or melee thrown weapon.

Quickdraw works too.

I'd say that offense is basically superior to defense because offense can be applied by a group of characters onto selected targets fairly easily, while controlling the recipients of attacks is generally a lot harder. It's the old (DEX/WIS) monk rule in action - dying last (or being able to run away as the last survivor) because you're a pain in the rear to kill isn't worth sucking the rest of the time.
 
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Elric

First Post
I'd say that offense is basically superior to defense because offense can be applied by a group of characters onto selected targets fairly easily, while controlling the recipients of attacks is generally a lot harder. It's the old (DEX/WIS) monk rule in action - dying last (or being able to run away as the last survivor) because you're a pain in the rear to kill isn't worth sucking the rest of the time.

This is a narrow reading of what qualifies as "defense", though. A power that causes an enemy to lose its actions for a round should be "defense" as well.

"Unkillable but pointless Guy" isn't good. By the same token, if monsters can select who they attack, and prioritize targets in an intelligent manner, Glass Cannons aren't going to look great either, because they'll be targeted first. Defenders may look like "Unkillable but pointless Guy" on their own, but when combined with "Glass Cannon" striker the sum comes out looking good.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The best defense is a good offensive holds true in 4e as it did in 3e, but not as much.


In high level 3e, with save or dies, auto effects, and other things....generally offense was the only way to go. Your goal was to kill the bad guy in a couple of rounds so he wouldn't kill you.

In 4e, combats are longer round wise, and while increasing offense can help that, combats are still several rounds in length usually. In 3e you could get through a combat without being attacked by killing teh other guy quickly. In 4e you have to be able to take some pain...so balancing defense is still important.
 

Stalker0... is balancing defences really that important, or is it a player mentality that puts too much emphasis on 'not getting hit'?

I have two players who are polar opposites in this regard. In the last session, one player was down to zero healing surges and had only 2 hitpoints remaning at the end of the adventuring day.. his AC sucks. I think most of the monsters his him on a 5 or better. He is also a TWF Ranger and deals 'nuke' level at-will attacks... and has an absolute blast.

The other player plays a Rogue who... well, isn't that effective in combat and might spend a healing surge during an encounter.. and generally ends up with full hit points. But he doesn't engage many monsters and often is out damaged by the pure defender build fighter. I think I can hit his AC on a 12 or better most times...

Both characters survive the conflict.. and the former is actually alot of fun for the party. {he plays very suicidal and the Cleric has oathed to keep him alive no matter what... which of course makes him play even that much closer to the edge}

I think these are two extreme approaches and expect most players to be in the middle. Yes, monsters can hit a low defense pretty easily.. but thier damage isn't really too bad. I think it emulates that Heros are needed.. after all, a commoner would be sliced and diced by these nasty nasty monsters.

IMHO, YMMV, and all that jazz...
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
In the last session, one player was down to zero healing surges and had only 2 hitpoints remaning at the end of the adventuring day.. his AC sucks. I think most of the monsters his him on a 5 or better. He is also a TWF Ranger and deals 'nuke' level at-will attacks... and has an absolute blast.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. The player is having a lot of fun and fun is the name of the game.

However, this type of approach will not work forever and might eventually result in a TPK.

The reason is probability. There are just times when the DM's dice are hot and the Player's dice are cold. In this scenario, the DM's dice are even hotter for this one Ranger due to the fact that even a lousy roll hits.

So, this Ranger will get hit a lot, the Cleric will run out of heals, this Ranger will go down and it's the start of a downhill slide. And when this happens, a DM should not fudge the dice rolls. He should just let it happen. The reason is that it is not fair to the cautious player (or the other players) to have the DM protecting the PC of the risk inducing player. The DM should be impartial.


The problem with having low defenses is the swinginess of combat. The purpose of Daily powers is to attempt to offset this swinginess when either the encounter is going against the PCs, or when the encounter is more difficult than usual. Having low defenses will result in getting hit a lot which in turn will result in other players playing their Daily powers.

The concept of low defenses combined with a PC that goes out of his way to get into harms way will result in the other players being quasi-forced to use resources that they may not have generally decided to use. This behavior can also reduce the number of encounters before an extended rest.


As a DM, you also have to wonder if the player of the Rogue is being more cautious than he might otherwise be because he knows that the Cleric will be focusing healing on the Ranger and that there might not be that much healing left over if he gets into trouble as well.
 
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Fedifensor

Explorer
in my tuesday night game atleast 4 times our fighter has pulled his long bow...all four times he got sick of it real quick...since our bow ranger witht he exact same bow shoots what the fighter calls "nukes"....

Sometimes it is better to play to your str, so he now has those giant gloves that let you throw anything...
Yes, the gloves are cool. I'm surprised he used a bow instead of a heavy thrown weapon, though. A simple +1 javelin has a range of 10, adds his primary stat (STR) to hit and damage, and returns to your hand after being thrown.

As mentioned by Victim, Quick Draw works pretty well. It also gives an initiative bonus. Other means of drawing an item quickly include the Battle Harness, Ruby Scabbard, and Knifethrower's Gloves, just to name a few.

There's also a few melee weapons in recent books that give the ability to attack at range. In particular, the Blade of the Eldritch Knight (AV2) is useful for far more than swordmages:
Property: When you use a standard action to make a melee attack with this blade, your melee reach increase to 5 for that attack.

So, you can use a weapon to give you a ranged attack, or items from a variety of slots (gloves, arms, etc). It's a decent investment, considering status effects, flying creatures, terrain, and other things that can keep a character out of melee range.
 

Well, actually I think what I'm saying about offense vs defense in 4e is more geared around group tactical concepts than individual math. I also wasn't saying anything about saves, resistance, etc. I was talking about defense numbers for the most part. Other kinds of "defenses" are a more mixed bag. Usually it doesn't require a huge resource input for a character to get some resistance or a way to get a save bonus or extra save.

You could consider status condition placement to be a "defensive" concept if you want. I think its not really specifically either defensive nor offensive. Its something you do to the enemy and in that sense is offensive. However you could consider dealing damage "defensive" as well if you want to look at it as "I'm degrading the other guy's ability to hurt me" but that isn't the most enlightening way to look at what I will call offense from a standpoint of tactical analysis.

In other words I'd call everything you do to the other guy "offense" and everything you do or have that helps you survive "defense". I agree that some defenses in the general sense can be quite good. I just think they come at a much lower cost than boosting your AC/NADs and that's WHY they're so good. There is also the issue of having the most flexible possible set of tools to deal with threats. Sometimes you're going to run into a monster that can dish out a crazy amount of stun and you just better have a way to do something about it or its going to be a tough fight. Ideally one way to do that would be to have a party with really good NADs, but that's just too expensive so its not a good option (or really an option at all). There are some cases where it even IS worth boosting your best NAD with a feat for some specific builds. It just isn't generally all that great an option.
 

There is nothing wrong with this approach. The player is having a lot of fun and fun is the name of the game.

So, this Ranger will get hit a lot, the Cleric will run out of heals, this Ranger will go down and it's the start of a downhill slide. And when this happens, a DM should not fudge the dice rolls. He should just let it happen.

As a DM, you also have to wonder if the player of the Rogue is being more cautious than he might otherwise be because he knows that the Cleric will be focusing healing on the Ranger and that there might not be that much healing left over if he gets into trouble as well.

That is my point exactly.. being hit can be part of a fun game!

I roll my dice in the open and have actually focused fire on the Ranger in an out-and-out attempt to slay the character..after the Clerics vow :)
{and the player is okay with this.. he actually wants to change characters but doesnt want to simply swap out mid-dungeon}

The Ranger is a more recent addition to the gaming group.. the Rogue has been cautious for a long time, but has started to loosen up after seeing the Ranger get down near death and still survive.

As a player, I agree with AbdulAlhazred.. 4e is much more about the capability of the party as a whole, not the individual ability of my character. If I am weak in an area or two, thats generally okay as my team-mates should have me covered.
 


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