D&D 4E Making 4E "Survivable and Fun" for New Players

Retreater

Legend
Is your party working as a team properly? I dunno if GW has flanking and combat advantage, but is your party making use of synergetic strategy? Dod they have complimentary characters? Good teamwork can multiply the strength of a part in 4e.
GW does have flanking and combat advantage. They try to do it when possible. The issue they're having is that they are evenly matched (5 characters vs. 5 opponents), so it's hard to "gang up" on them - especially when I am dropping characters faster than they drop enemies.
As far as complimentary characters go, all character creation in GW is completely random, so there's really no character creation minigame.
 

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Undrave

Legend
GW does have flanking and combat advantage. They try to do it when possible. The issue they're having is that they are evenly matched (5 characters vs. 5 opponents), so it's hard to "gang up" on them - especially when I am dropping characters faster than they drop enemies.
As far as complimentary characters go, all character creation in GW is completely random, so there's really no character creation minigame.
Do they have forced movement powers?

Usually it's a better tactic to focus fire to disable one source of damage than trying to go toe to toe with everybody at once.
 

Retreater

Legend
Do they have forced movement powers?
Yes. There was a pretty good one (Temporal Fugue) that would teleport an enemy 4 squares away AND daze it. So the enemy would have to spend the next action just moving into position, but would still cause damage from its aura. That was the most effective attack of any of them.

Usually it's a better tactic to focus fire to disable one source of damage than trying to go toe to toe with everybody at once.
But maybe I was playing the enemies tactically better than the group of newer players not used to tactical combat, coming from a 5e background. Too many of them focused on their own DPS and not on teamwork. Maybe this is just an example of the game not being for this style of players.
But the problem is that they LOVE the theme of the game, the randomness, the weirdness, the change of pace (compared to traditional, epic fantasy). I just have to figure out how/if I should limit it to be winnable.
 


Undrave

Legend
But maybe I was playing the enemies tactically better than the group of newer players not used to tactical combat, coming from a 5e background. Too many of them focused on their own DPS and not on teamwork. Maybe this is just an example of the game not being for this style of players.
But the problem is that they LOVE the theme of the game, the randomness, the weirdness, the change of pace (compared to traditional, epic fantasy). I just have to figure out how/if I should limit it to be winnable.
Well there's your problem... if they don't try to synergize with one another they're not gonna get the most out of their abilities. Maybe try to build an encounter built around the principles of minion+big guy? See if you can get them to team up on one dude by making the others easy to dispatch?
 

Well there's your problem... if they don't try to synergize with one another they're not gonna get the most out of their abilities. Maybe try to build an encounter built around the principles of minion+big guy? See if you can get them to team up on one dude by making the others easy to dispatch?
The 4e DMG1 adventure Kobold Hall was designed to guide the players through some different tactical situations and let them figure out things like using terrain, flanking, cover, etc. It's imperfect but useful and the same sort of idea can be employed.
 

4e 1st level PCs are incredibly survivable compared to any other edition, so something must be different about GW.

A few things you can do as a DM
  • Use lower level monsters. If they are already level 1, make some minions. Minions are great fun.
  • Have the monsters use deliberately bad tactics: provoke OAs, get themselves into flank, use a lot of movement walking around to get to another target.
  • Start the encounter with not all monsters on the board. Start with 1/2 or 3/4 of them, and hold the rest in reserve as reinforcements if the encounter turns out to be too easy.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
4e is pretty survivable & fun at 1st level, especially compared to, well, every other edition of D&D.

GW7, which uses a similar system, is decidedly random, so deadlier than typical 4e - but it's still a lot less deadly than the other 6 (or so, depending on how you feel about Metamorphosis Alpha and the S&SS d20M version)

I ran and played GW quite a bit when it was first out, and the community on the old WotC boards came up with tons of origins and other stuff for it. It is a lot of fun, but the chargen is random so party synergy is not likely. I can recall PCs occasionally dropping in GW games I ran, but I don't think I killed any. Tho, I was running for players who were familiar with or even started with 4e, not players who started with 5e. From what you've said, you probably just need to dial back the challenge a bit until they get used to it. 5e is a poor foundation, so that could take a bit.

One plus of GW is the way it handles weapons, as long as you have one high stat among STR,CON,DEX, or INT, you're set for melee & ranged basic attacks. No one should be sitting out a combat because the enemies are all flying. (There are a couple of origins that use WIS or CHA primary, and if you randomly combine them, you can be left without a viable weapon attack, which is, well, random chargen for ya.)
Missing too much, if not just dice luck, and being frustrated by fliers - I'm thinking maybe they didn't kit themselves out with weapons sufficiently... you essentially get to make up your weapons, so, IDK, maybe they missed that you can have both melee & ranged (and even guns) from the get-go?
 
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