Would this solve the "grind" issue?

Prestidigitalis

First Post
... and that's why Grind IS in the mind! One person's grind is another person's idea of a fun combat. The actual time it takes to resolve a combat is not indicative of grind. It's how the time is spent. It's about 'quality'.

True. Our most recent combat was enormous fun (for me) in spite of the long duration, because a) it was our first paragon encounter and we all enjoyed using our new abilities, b) there were environmental and tactical considerations that made it a puzzle, and c) we were mobbed by non-minion creatures that cranked up the tension.

However, it is common for people to say "It's all in the mind" when what they mean is "It would be okay if you had a better attitude". This is probably what most people are objecting to, rightly or wrongly.
 

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KarinsDad

Adventurer
No, it's one of the reasons that the people you play with play the game. Please try not to generalize from your own experience.

Dude. It's a game. I used the word "most", not "all". Sorry, but if you don't play games to socialize and have fun, you're an outlier.

And by socialization, I'm not talking about "telling stories about how the week went". I'm talking about a group of people getting together "to take part in social activities". In other words, have fun together in a group.

For example, I play over Maptools. The any socializing gets taken to whispers an pretty much never happens on a given player's turn. It's actually quite rude in our games to start jumping in with non sequitors on someone else's turn.

Rude? Over Maptools? You need to take a breath there. It's a game dude. The entire purpose of playing over Maptools besides long distance gaming is to sit there and crack jokes about the situation. Otherwise, talk about grind. zzzzzzzzz :lol:

So, the idea that everyone plays to sit around and chat while the game goes on isn't universal.

No, but people tell jokes, especially about the game, all of the time. That is a type of socialization. If you sit like a rock at a game and only speak in character and heaven forbid, never talk when a friend of yours wants to talk, more power to you. Unusual, but everyone enjoys the game differently.

And, I'd really, really appreaciate it if all you guys who feel the need to try to "prove" the existence of the grind or not would kindly go find your own thread to go piddle in.

Dude. Chill out. You need to learn how to socialize and have fun on the web pages. By exploring side tangents of topics, that's how people here can synergize their discusions and learn more.

You will actually get a better feel for grind and how to avoid it if you just let people talk about it in their own way, even if it is a side topic.

You need to laugh more dude and "stay focused on combat and topics" less. Yikes! :eek:

Let me rephrase the question then.

I want to run combats that are fast, with multiple opponents (read more than 6 usually) and lots of action. Would using lower level opponents and primarily skirmishers achieve this goal?

No multiple lower level foes will not work, but having people actually enjoy the game by socializing and telling jokes will help with the grind. ;)


Say you have 7 slightly lower level NPCs on 5 PCs. That's 12 turns that have to be adjudicated instead of the 10 of 5 on 5. On round one, that means that the x minutes it take to run an entire turn will jump up to 1.2 x minutes. It will actually slow the game down, until the last few rounds during mopup.

Can that still be fun? Yup.

But, the actual solution is to slightly increase the level of foes and slightly decrease the number of them while having fewer total hit points with the lesser number.

As an example:

Seven first level foes might have 27 hit points each and AC 15 (your suggestion)
Five second level foes might have 38 hit points each and AC 16 (standard).
Four third level foes might have 45 hit points each and AC 17 (my suggestion).

With 5 PCs in a typical encounter, the +1 AC and other defenses of 3rd level foes means that one or possibly two attacks on average will not hit in an encounter that would have hit otherwise. The -1 AC and other defenses of 1st level foes means that one or possibly two attacks on average will hit in an encounter that would not have hit otherwise

7 * 27 hit points = 189 hit points with the first level foes.
5 * 38 hit points = 190 hit points with the second level foes.
4 * 45 hit points = 180 hit points with the third level foes.

In your scenario, the NPCs get 7 attacks in per round. In mine, the NPCs only get 4 attacks in per round instead of the standard 5. So, 9 PC or NPC turns per round instead of 12, plus although the NPCs will average slightly more damage per attack, there are a lot fewer NPCs to do this.

Your solution with 12 turns per round increases grind. My solution with 9 turns per round decreases grind.

At second level, using fewer higher level foes is mostly a wash offensively (a significant advantage defensively). But at higher levels, it starts becoming easier to wipe through the "one fewer, one level higher" foes because although their defenses increase by 1 and their hit points increase by 10 or so, it's much easier to overload hit points (i.e. do too much hit point damage) when the PCs are throwing out 20+ points (and eventually 30+, 40+, and even more) per successful hit.


The solution for when you want to run a lot of foes is to have 3 or 4 slightly higher level standard foes, but add a bunch of minions to make it seem more overwhelming. The minions will only last the first 2 or 3 rounds for the most part and it's then goes back to a situation where the PCs more or less outnumber the foes. The increased action economy helps with the grind.

Adding fewer lower level foes like you suggest can backfire. If the DM's dice get hot and the PC's dice get cold, the action economy will be in favor of the NPCs. Sure, the foes won't be doing as much damage per successful hit, but they might be putting more conditions like slow or daze or whatever on the PCs. This can even result in a death spiral or a TPK if one or two PCs fall to the overwhelming numbers and the rest do not have enough actions per round to overturn that.
 

Benimoto

First Post
If it's so hard for many players to process all the info for their 4E character quickly enough to make a decision and resolve their turn in a few minutes, that tells me there is something wrong with the system. If the people that publish adventures professionally and work for the company that publishes the game can't even get encounter design right, that also throws up a red flag that something is wrong with the system. Seriously, if it takes so much effort and system mastery and maybe even a computer program to make and run/play 4E combats that don't take forever or seem to grind, doesn't that scream that the whole system needs an overhaul?

Yes that means grind is a problem for some people. I think that's well established. No, I don't think it screams that the entire system needs an overhaul, since I think the majority of the posters here either don't experience grind at all or they have taken steps to minimize it.

Personally, I can't speak for my system mastery, but I know I don't spend much effort preventing grind, and I don't use a computer program, and I don't experience it as a problem.
 

Benimoto

First Post
Say you have 7 slightly lower level NPCs on 5 PCs. That's 12 turns that have to be adjudicated instead of the 10 of 5 on 5. On round one, that means that the x minutes it take to run an entire turn will jump up to 1.2 x minutes. It will actually slow the game down, until the last few rounds during mopup.

I think the problem with your argument here is that you're assuming that each monster's turn takes as long as a PC turn. This is completely contrary to my experience. Monsters have deliberately simplified action choices in order to make their turns much faster.

Maybe this is a DMing style difference, but I admit that I don't usually consider monster actions individually, but instead sort of formulate their strategy as a group. As a result, adding 1-2 more monsters only really adds the time into the combat required to move the miniatures, roll the dice, and announce the result. In many cases, this is a 4-10 second affair, not the 1-2 minutes of the initial PC turns.
 

Obryn

Hero
It's even worse when they say "You only experience grind because you are doing it wrong." Apparently either grind does not exist or you can only expereince it if you have slow players, unoptimized PC's, or poor tactics. If it's so hard for many players to process all the info for their 4E character quickly enough to make a decision and resolve their turn in a few minutes, that tells me there is something wrong with the system.
So what is it that you're looking for here? Yes, some people think 4e combat takes too long, and some people think it gets grindy. Others don't. Some have found that some fights grind, and others don't. Some of us have found that efficiency and party construction go a long way towards making sure we don't experience grind.

This doesn't mean it's a fatal flaw in the system. It means that people want and expect different things from their RPG combats. 4e is designed so that most combats will take about an hour to resolve, with rich tactical options and lots of player choice. This gels with my experience. If this is not the amount of time you want to spend on combat, and if you don't want deep options, there are both tweaks available (-HP/+dmg) and other systems. 4e is not the best game for every group.

I don't think you'll find that people who are enjoying the system and enjoying combats other than a few possible burps here and there will agree with you that it is fundamentally flawed at the system level.

Seriously, if it takes so much effort and system mastery and maybe even a computer program to make and run/play 4E combats that don't take forever or seem to grind, doesn't that scream that the whole system needs an overhaul?
You keep bringing up Masterplan and other combat trackers. Why? Do you not trust my assertion that I was running combats just fine before I started using it as a play aid? It's exactly like using Character Builder for building characters - a program to make an otherwise easy process almost effortless.

It seems like you're looking for affirmation that grind is all the system's fault, and that you're not at least partly responsible for your own enjoyment. And spending a lot of time trying to convince people who don't find it problematic that it's deeply flawed. What are you looking for here?

I have no problem believing that you find 4e combats grindy, and would rather play something else. But your experiences are not universal.

-O
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
I think the problem with your argument here is that you're assuming that each monster's turn takes as long as a PC turn. This is completely contrary to my experience. Monsters have deliberately simplified action choices in order to make their turns much faster.

Maybe this is a DMing style difference, but I admit that I don't usually consider monster actions individually, but instead sort of formulate their strategy as a group. As a result, adding 1-2 more monsters only really adds the time into the combat required to move the miniatures, roll the dice, and announce the result. In many cases, this is a 4-10 second affair, not the 1-2 minutes of the initial PC turns.

I think the problem with your argument here is that you're assuming that each of the players who play their PCs over and over and over and over and over again, and have an entire round to plan out their next action are slower than the DM for whom every group of monsters tends to be unique and who only has the time taken by the players on their turns to plan the actions of the monsters. The DM has more work for one single person to perform at the table than any of the players do.

So, I'm assuming that's more or less a wash. The players tend to know their PCs better than the DM knows the monsters and have more time to plan, the DM has fewer options that he can select for the monsters and has less time to plan.

I also think that selecting which attack is a small part of a turn unless the group does a "group conversation" on it a lot of runs. Rolling multiple dice, putting some form of token on the miniatures, taking some form of token off of miniatures, movement, backing up mistakes like moving into an Opportunity Attack (which players tend to make more of than DMs do), it all adds up so that this takes about as long for any person at the table, DM or player.

Yes, your super brilliant DMs who tend to hang out at ENWorld might be better at whipping through monster actions than your average DM who are not into 4E to the 100th degree, but the game can actually be faster for the players who are more familiar with their PCs, who have an entire turn in which to plan their next turn, and who are not necessarily constantly doing other chores that the DM has to do. It might be slower for the players, but that is often due to other considerations (like new player, like group tactics conversations being allowed, like not being ready for their turn, etc.).
 

Benimoto

First Post
I think the problem with your argument here is that you're assuming that each of the players who play their PCs over and over and over and over and over again, and have an entire round to plan out their next action are slower than the DM for whom every group of monsters tends to be unique and who only has the time taken by the players on their turns to plan the actions of the monsters. The DM has more work for one single person to perform at the table than any of the players do.

I see the logic in your statement, but it still doesn't jibe with my experience at the game table. I still see both in my own games and in situations where I've played with other people, such as in LFR games, that the DM's turn for 4-7 monsters takes as long as 1-2 player's turns. Maybe that's my anti-grind formula right there.

Again, I'm speaking from my own experience, but it seems to me that a vast amount of the players turns go towards communication, assessment and strategy. The player spend a lot of their turns discussing things with each other: what monsters need to go down first, where the controller could be controlling, who needs a heal, who is going to get this buff, what threats aren't focused on the defender, etc. And of course, there's a lot of banter, jokes, and plain old players spacing out and not being ready for their turns at my tables too.

A lot kind of that stuff is irrelevant to the DM's turn. He doesn't need to spend time communicating with himself. The DM rarely needs to reassess the situation when a monster turn comes around because he's spending all of the players' turns focused on the monsters anyways. (In fact, this is one of the things I really like about DMing--that no matter whose turn it is, I'm usually involved in some way.)
 

Stalker0

Legend
Again, I'm speaking from my own experience, but it seems to me that a vast amount of the players turns go towards communication, assessment and strategy. The player spend a lot of their turns discussing things with each other: what monsters need to go down first, where the controller could be controlling, who needs a heal, who is going to get this buff, what threats aren't focused on the defender, etc. And of course, there's a lot of banter, jokes, and plain old players spacing out and not being ready for their turns at my tables too.

A lot kind of that stuff is irrelevant to the DM's turn. He doesn't need to spend time communicating with himself. The DM rarely needs to reassess the situation when a monster turn comes around because he's spending all of the players' turns focused on the monsters anyways. (In fact, this is one of the things I really like about DMing--that no matter whose turn it is, I'm usually involved in some way.)

I will agree with many of these points.

1) PCs are more complicated than monsters, once you hit paragon, they have a lot of different powers and have to consider factors like saving powers for the next.

2) PCs often have more interrupt type powers that forces them to reconsider the battle frequently.

3) PCs are chatty!

4) PCs have to communicate with each other as a team to fight a battle. DMs control all the monsters and know what each one will do.


So I do think DM turns are often much faster than a PCs, sometimes even several PCs, but as with EVERYTHING in this thread, your group may vary.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
I see the logic in your statement, but it still doesn't jibe with my experience at the game table. I still see both in my own games and in situations where I've played with other people, such as in LFR games, that the DM's turn for 4-7 monsters takes as long as 1-2 player's turns. Maybe that's my anti-grind formula right there.

So, does your DM do all or most of the monster's turns on the same initiative? If so, yes, I can see this would be somewhat faster for him. We do not do that in some of our games. We have one DM who has an init for every monster and another DM who segregates monster inits by specific monster type.

Again, I'm speaking from my own experience, but it seems to me that a vast amount of the players turns go towards communication, assessment and strategy. The player spend a lot of their turns discussing things with each other: what monsters need to go down first, where the controller could be controlling, who needs a heal, who is going to get this buff, what threats aren't focused on the defender, etc.

We tend to limit cross table talk somewhat. There is some of it, but the players try to do it in character.

I'm a strong believer in "this is Fred's PC, let Fred run him" instead of the cacophony of opinions and tactics flying across the table.

And of course, there's a lot of banter, jokes, and plain old players spacing out and not being ready for their turns at my tables too.

The spacing out part has been mostly handled in our games by having inits on a white board (as opposed to the 3x5 cards we used to use) and having someone in charge of saying not only who the next init is, but the init after that as well.
 

Prestidigitalis

First Post
There's one other factor on the "Who has the more complex tactical decisions, the DM or the players?" question, and it's a big one.

If the DM makes a poor decision, the combat becomes a bit easier and ends a bit sooner. If I, as a player, make a poor decision, one or more characters in the party may die.

Right now, that latter consideration is very fresh for me. In my most recent combat, my character did the right thing on every round of the combat but the last. Due to the mistake I made on the last round, one of the party members died. We do not "do" Raise Dead in that campaign, so my fellow player gets to say goodbye to a cherished character and create a new one.
 

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