Would this solve the "grind" issue?

Pelenor

Explorer
But, I suspect that the grind for a new group of players and DM will still have a higher chance of grind, especially if they use WotC modules from the first year.

Now this part I agree with to a point. Keep on The Shadowfell was particularly badly written especially some of the encounters. However that is indicates a problem with the modules or more accurately a problem with the module design (or at least that one) not necessarily a problem with the system. Elevenfootpole has an excellent analysis of that module. In fact I'm in the middle of a project to rewrite that series of nine modules to fix some of the design issues and make them into a somewhat more cohesive campign.
 

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keterys

First Post
I'm not sure why it happened, but... it's probably not fair to compare using 7 1st level creatures (700 xp) to using 4 3rd level creatures (600 xp) for time. 6 1st? Sure.

Grind is definitely possible in 4e. There are a bunch of bad monsters, there are a bunch of bad encounters, and there are some DMs and Players who think uber-control of the 'your actions suck, but you aren't getting that much closer to death' is more important than uber-fun. I remember reading on these boards about one game where they average 15-18 rounds, and barely get to act in any particular round. That sounds like a pretty ruined game, to me, and certainly grindy. Everything is weakening, insubstantial, and regenerating? Yeah, suck.

And there are players who need to optimize every single action. Find the perfect square, perfect movement, perfect tactic, minimize and maximize every single thing... and that can ruin the game from people standing around twiddling their thumbs. Teach those people to optimize for number of encounters played, and thusly maximizing treasure and xp gain? Bam, better. Excitement > Perfection.

And all of that can be addressed by the DM and Players. Like in the OP's question - sure, use lower level critters that resolve faster, killing and being killed faster. Done.
 

Pelenor

Explorer
I'm not sure why it happened, but... it's probably not fair to compare using 7 1st level creatures (700 xp) to using 4 3rd level creatures (600 xp) for time. 6 1st? Sure.

Grind is definitely possible in 4e. There are a bunch of bad monsters, there are a bunch of bad encounters, and there are some DMs and Players who think uber-control of the 'your actions suck, but you aren't getting that much closer to death' is more important than uber-fun. I remember reading on these boards about one game where they average 15-18 rounds, and barely get to act in any particular round. That sounds like a pretty ruined game, to me, and certainly grindy. Everything is weakening, insubstantial, and regenerating? Yeah, suck.

And there are players who need to optimize every single action. Find the perfect square, perfect movement, perfect tactic, minimize and maximize every single thing... and that can ruin the game from people standing around twiddling their thumbs. Teach those people to optimize for number of encounters played, and thusly maximizing treasure and xp gain? Bam, better. Excitement > Perfection.

And all of that can be addressed by the DM and Players. Like in the OP's question - sure, use lower level critters that resolve faster, killing and being killed faster. Done.

Grind is possible in any system . I'm lucky with the groups I'm in. One group doesn't over analyze the tactics and still does just fine. The other group is very tactical but they are also pretty fast about it so it works without any grind in both cases. I still maintain that 4e is not particularly more or less prone to grind than any other edition or game it's all about play-style. Now I am sure there are some play styles that simply don't mesh well with 4e and will result in grind. There is nothing wrong with those play styles or that problem it just means another game might be a better fit or play style will need to be adjusted.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, for s&g I kludged together an encounter that I wanted to use. The adventure is set in swamps, using mostly lizardfolk. The party is about level 2 (about halfway through) of five characters. Currently I don't know what the fifth charry will be, but, we've got the four roles covered already with a wizard, warlord, paladin and an assassin.

This is meant to be a light, early on encounter. It's 650 xp, so a light 3rd level encounter, possibly a heavy 2nd.

  • 1 Lvl 3 Lizardfolk Darter
  • 2 Level 1 Blackscale Bruisers
  • 1 Level 2 Macetail Behemoth
  • 7 rebranded decrepit Skeletons - lizardfolk with shortbows.

That gives me 11 baddies on the field. There will be lots of rough terrain as it's in the swamp, with a fair number of trees blocking line of sight and whatnot. The level reductions for the critters drops their AC to the point where even the worst attacks are hitting 50%, and the best are likely hitting around 75%. They're all running around with less than 50 hp each, meaning they'll drop fairly easily.

OTOH, open terrain, with "foxholes" of water mean that the baddies have cover and don't have to bunch up which lessens the impact of area of effect abilities.

Should run pdq, IMO, but, the baddies should almost all get a few shots in. Plus, since the minions have ranged attacks, they're almost guaranteed to get at least one shot each in.

Whatcha think?
 


KarinsDad

Adventurer
I'm not sure why it happened, but... it's probably not fair to compare using 7 1st level creatures (700 xp) to using 4 3rd level creatures (600 xp) for time. 6 1st? Sure.

That was based on the OP's desire to have more than 6 lower level monsters (i.e. 7 or more) in an encounter combined with how many hit points each would have (i.e. how much total damage the PCs would have to put out in x amount of time). Hit point-wise, 7 1st have about the same as 5 2nd (the baseline) whereas 4 3rd have slightly fewer (but are harder to hit). XP in the DMG isn't an exacting science, especially at the lower levels. If the PCs are using one attack per turn each, then 7 is too many. If the PCs are using multiple area effect powers, than 6 is too few.

But, a 6 vs. 4 is a better comparison since nobody cries foul then since it's straight from the DMG charts.
 

Stalker0

Legend
If your group experiences grindy combats, and considers them a serious problem, and other groups are just fine with things as-is, it's not an inherent problem with the system and the onus is not on WotC to fix it.
-O

I will disagree with this statement to a point.

While grind is not a universal issue with all groups, if it happens fairly regularly with many groups, and those groups are making mechanical decisions that the majority of players would consider reasonable...then that is flaw with the system.

Now i'm not saying that my above statement is occuring, but if it is...that is a problem with the system.
 

Shazman

Banned
Banned
Thank you for your thoughtful and reasonable comments Stalker0. If most groups didn't experience a lot of grind, I'd say that the problem was mostly do to group dynamics (slow players, suboptimal PC's and tactics, poor encounter design, etc.) instead of the game itself. However, it seems that at least from anectodal evidence and personal experience that "grind" is a very common occurance for 4E combat. If anything, groups experiencing little to no "grind" in 4E combat seem to be the rare outliers. It seems that the DM and/or the players have to put in extra effort to mitigate the "grind" so that it isn't problematic enough to interfere with their enjoyment of or even outright participation in the game. Many of you may disagree with me, but overly lengthy combats in 4E (perceived as "grindy" or not) seem to be caused by a problem with the system. I believe that the problem with the system is simply bad math, i.e. monster defenses and hit points are too high relative to PC attack bonuses and damage.
 

Pelenor

Explorer
Thank you for your thoughtful and reasonable comments Stalker0. If most groups didn't experience a lot of grind, I'd say that the problem was mostly do to group dynamics (slow players, suboptimal PC's and tactics, poor encounter design, etc.) instead of the game itself. However, it seems that at least from anectodal evidence and personal experience that "grind" is a very common occurance for 4E combat. If anything, groups experiencing little to no "grind" in 4E combat seem to be the rare outliers. It seems that the DM and/or the players have to put in extra effort to mitigate the "grind" so that it isn't problematic enough to interfere with their enjoyment of or even outright participation in the game. Many of you may disagree with me, but overly lengthy combats in 4E (perceived as "grindy" or not) seem to be caused by a problem with the system. I believe that the problem with the system is simply bad math, i.e. monster defenses and hit points are too high relative to PC attack bonuses and damage.

That's the problem here anecdotal evidence and personal experience. Mine for instance is the exact opposite of yours that people experiencing grind are not the majority. Until someone comes up with some concrete, verifiable, evidence (which is darn near impossible I'd bet because even a poll of everyone here on enworld would probably not be a suffcient statistical sample) no one can say for sure which of us is truly right. All we can do is keep repeating what we've said. Which in my case is as far as grind goes I just haven't seen it and the system to me is FAR less grindy than 3.5 and that's coming from someone who likes 3.5 warts (and my it has some big ones) and all.
 

Benimoto

First Post
However, it seems that at least from anectodal evidence and personal experience that "grind" is a very common occurance for 4E combat. If anything, groups experiencing little to no "grind" in 4E combat seem to be the rare outliers. It seems that the DM and/or the players have to put in extra effort to mitigate the "grind" so that it isn't problematic enough to interfere with their enjoyment of or even outright participation in the game.
From what I see, the issue is more that grind is a minor problem for many groups, and a major problem for a few. You keep mentioning though that people have to put in extra effort to mitigate problems with grind. In my experience, this just isn't the case. I mean, feel free to put in extra effort. I do still feel that a well-planned combat encounter (or any type of encounter really) will often turn out better than a slapdash one, but as a DM who sometimes uses meticulously planned encounter, and sometimes improvises, I don't see that either type tends to grind more.

I believe that the problem with the system is simply bad math, i.e. monster defenses and hit points are too high relative to PC attack bonuses and damage.

Well there already are systemic changes to those aspects. The DMG 2 has advice about lowering the defenses and HP of elite or solo monsters, and the MM2 and other recent monster books incorporate that advice. Are you asking for more?
 

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