Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty

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It is my observation and experience that if I announce that I will give access to magic items like Dice of Auspicious Fortune and LFR Reward Cards to my monsters when I DM if the players use such items, I find that the players refrain from using those items.

I also find it interesting that combat is much more challenging even with encounters I thought were underpowered.

Just interested what the community thought of this practice.

I don't really want to tell you what you can and can't do when you play D&D, but if the players aren't okay with you giving the monsters Dice of Auspicious Fortune and Reward Cards to the monsters, there's really nothing that suggests that you can do so.


I personally avoid both out of principle, but I can see players getting annoyed with that notion.

Having said that, I do agree that certain features make the game less fun and it's great when players agree not to exploit them. I've found that when players avoid the following, the game becomes much more fun (let's face it, LFR isn't challenging as it is):

- Rewards Cards
- Dice of Auspicious Fortune
- The "Frostcheese" combo
- Maintaining "even" ability scores at all times
- Extreme initiative bonuses/alpha strike combinations (this is a more complex issue that some don't see as a problem)

Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Just interested what the community thought of this practice.

Absent buy-in from your players that this is the way they want to play the game, this would be a "walk away from the table" point for me.

There are limits to how much you can change an adventure, and while I don't really have a problem with anything that makes an adventure more difficult with player consent, going outside of those limits without player consent is a sign that maybe a living campaign isn't really for you.

Strategic deterrence has its place in a home campaign.  It even has some value in LFR, in the context of tactics (e.g., warning players that if they try the 'use readied actions on a creature's turn to avoid its immediate actions' trick, you'll do the same).  Using it to limit powers, items and metagame objects like Rewards Cards?  Not even close to being something allowed by the rules.

If you're the only DM in town, you can certainly do something similar by simply refusing to DM for players who use such items, but modifying adventures to retaliate against players for using legal items you dislike is not the kind of behavior most would find acceptable.
I'm all for giving access to this stuff to monsters to 'appropriately challenge' characters who abuse this stuff.

I don't like the idea of just giving it to all monsters and sort of forcing players to partake. 
From a DMing perspective, I don't care. It's RPGA.

From another perspective, you're punishing the players for using something (Cards) that's allowed by the CCG and RPGA. They are not PC reward cards, they are player reward cards. If you want to make it more difficult you should request the cards (or print out) must be physically present for it to be used in play. I'm planning to start implementing that rule myself.

Dice are a whole different matter. The DM/Players who implement this rule of giving monsters Dice in response to player Dice are opening a whole can of worms which in the spirit of the rules is not beneficial to anyone. If a player brings the Dice to the table and a DM states that if the player uses the Dice the Monsters have a set also, you're now blocking a player who spent GP on a 11th level magic item and punishing them for using it. What is to stop a DM/Player from using "DME" and saying that monsters have the Dice even when players do not? I can see this happening.

Let the PCs have their cheese and kill them the old fashion way.
Im generally against this idea as it sets a bad precedent. I mean, where does it stop? Will monsters get to Certain Justice PCs because theres a champion of order PC at the table? Will All the monsters be able to fly because the PCs have hippogriffs/wyverns? It just exacerbates the DM v Player scenario which should not exist. Sure I find some things a PC does a little much when I DM, but I accept it and move on and try to make it challenging anyways. I mean, when a PC is stunned forever/unconcious forever, the dice are useless.

The problem that the OP is trying to address, is really the elephant in the room.

Q. Why does the OP want to equip BBEG's with more gear than they have?
A. (My answer, possibly not the OP's) The combats are not a challenge to the party.  Similar thread addressing Alpha Strikes hits to the same theme.  Given the XP budget for the encounter (and the adventure as a whole), the writers seem unable to put together 3-4 combats that provide any meaningful challenge to the party.  The higher the party level, the more pronounced this problem becomes.

Q. Why don't correctly budgeted encounters challenge a party?
A. Well, the most obvious answer is "power creep".  As more and more options have been given to players, it has become possible to build stronger and stronger characters at every level.  Every new book moves the power of characters upwards.  Power cards, free retraining, and liberal errata rules only make it easier and easier for players to optimax characters.  (And yes, I pushed hard for liberal errata rules, but for differently vectored reasons - different discussion). 

Q. Can we quantify this problem?
A.  Okay. Maybe. The problem is that a Level X party now has the power that a Level Y party might have had 1 year ago, and a Level Z party might have had 2 years ago.  Let's just throw a few numbers out there, as an example.  It might be fairly accurate to say that a Level 8 character today, given the plethora of options avaiable really has the power that a Level 9 character had 1 year ago, and a Level 10 character had two years ago.  In practical terms, what was released as a 7-10 module two years ago, might really be more suited to a 4-7 party being played today.  The net result is that the well-balanced 7-10 party simply walks through 7-10 modules. 

Q. Yeah.  Okay.  I'll sort of agree that this problem exists.  What can be done about it?
A.  Here's the hard part.  And it requires work and/or decisions by Organized Play, which means that it probably won't happen.  (I'm not being pessimistic, just realistic, as the signs are pretty clear that D&D 4.0 is nearing End-of-Life).   Monster XP needs to be scaled down.  It needs to be recognized that a 200xp monster in MM1 really only provides about 125-150xp to current characters.  If you need to spend 500xp in monsters to give a 300xp challenge to a current level party, accept that fact and scale the monster xp down.  This would give the writers the flexibility to design encounters that accurately reflect the current power level of parties playing LFR today. 

Q. But this means issuing huge amounts of "updates".  It won't work.
A. Correct.  But there is an easier way.  If the goal is for a character to level every 3-4 adventures, and current monsters are overrated given the power of the party that is playing today, then there is one simple change that can be made.  Change the Character Advancement chart on PH pg29.  Make 2nd level come at 1500xp.  Make 7th level come at 15000xp.  This would allow writers to have a bigger xp budget for each encounter, and they can suddenly start making encounters that are a challenge again. 

Q. But what about existing adventures.  They'd all have to be rewritten. 
A. Yes.  Some are long overdue for retirement.  But it would be a fairly simple quick fix to simply have the writing directors issue a small update for existing modules.  (ie.  Scale each encounter by advancing each monster by X levels. (DMG p174) ).  Not an optimal fix, but it would work better than random DM's issuing random equipment to monsters, creating a huge house-ruled campaign.

This is a problem that is not going to go away, and will only get worse (well, not so much from this point on, given the rather light release schedule for the rest of the year) until 4e is replaced by the "next big thing" from WOTC.  If we want to keep LFR play challenging, something needs to happen.  DM's are complaining, players are complaining.  It would be nice if someone in authority might start addressing this.



Q. But this means issuing huge amounts of "updates".  It won't work.
A. Correct.  But there is an easier way.  If the goal is for a character to level every 3-4 adventures, and current monsters are overrated given the power of the party that is playing today, then there is one simple change that can be made.  Change the Character Advancement chart on PH pg29.  Make 2nd level come at 1500xp.  Make 7th level come at 15000xp.  This would allow writers to have a bigger xp budget for each encounter, and they can suddenly start making encounters that are a challenge again. 



That might work...but it's a fundamental change to the 4E rules set, and I pretty seriously doubt that it's something that the Globals would do (even if the new "freedom" which they have allows them to do, which I'm not at all certain it would, anyway).
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
It is my observation and experience that if I announce that I will give access to magic items like Dice of Auspicious Fortune and LFR Reward Cards to my monsters when I DM if the players use such items, I find that the players refrain from using those items.

I also find it interesting that combat is much more challenging even with encounters I thought were underpowered.

Just interested what the community thought of this practice.



These are bad practices to be using in LFR.  They are not legal by the LFR rules.

Reward cards are for use by characters only.  Monsters do not have access to them.

The CCG says "The DM cannot specify what rules elements are or are not allowed for characters".  You are breaking this rule by punishing the use of legal items and cards. 
Q. But this means issuing huge amounts of "updates".  It won't work.
A. Correct.  But there is an easier way.  If the goal is for a character to level every 3-4 adventures, and current monsters are overrated given the power of the party that is playing today, then there is one simple change that can be made.  Change the Character Advancement chart on PH pg29.  Make 2nd level come at 1500xp.  Make 7th level come at 15000xp.  This would allow writers to have a bigger xp budget for each encounter, and they can suddenly start making encounters that are a challenge again. 




That might work...but it's a fundamental change to the 4E rules set, and I pretty seriously doubt that it's something that the Globals would do (even if the new "freedom" which they have allows them to do, which I'm not at all certain it would, anyway).


Not to mention that for each person crying something is easy, there is another person grumbling about adventures being too difficult and that is within the xp budget (looking at some recent complaints, but also about CORE1-1). If your group is having an easy time, feel free to do whatever you can within DME to make things more challenging.

Furthermore, the alphastrike problem actually arises because of two things that are only indirectly related to the XP budget:
- Adventures need to be finished with 4.5 hours. Adding more xp to an adventure, whether by increasing the difficulty of a single encounter or complete encounters, makes it much more difficult to reach this time limit. Furthermore, players know about the limit, and hence can meta-game their way out of it (sometimes they are wrong though, I still get a laugh when I think of the player asking whether it was a good idea to use a particular good daily and an action point in the first fight while they were being slaughtered and it would likely save them from a TPK).
- The fact that players insist on getting an action point after EVERY xp granting encounter, even if it is just a single Complexity 1 skill challange which they make without ever rolling a dice or spending any resource at all. This despite the fact that the DMG clearly mentions that a DM should not grant a milestone for encounters that are not a challenge at all.

When I run a game with my regular group, we agreed not to use a daily just because we can, but only because it is actually a good thing to use (or it is really needed) and we certainly do not reach milestones for anything but the biggest skill challenges. The last one is also something I discuss in advance when running games at a convention, 9 out of 10 players don't complain about it.
The AP thing for skill challenges is an LFR rule. One that would be easy to change.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
The AP thing for skill challenges is an LFR rule. One that would be easy to change.



It is not that straightforward. The basic rule is you get a milestone after 2 xp granting encounters, although a DM can decide whehter or not something was not challenging enough or so challenging as to grant a milestone early. The few times skill challenges actually included actual fights, there was certainly some flag about it on here so at least some players really expect that action point thing ;)
I don't believe any rule flat out states that you get action points for skill challenges. You could certainly read the rules that way - you could also read the rules that you get action points for completing puzzles and talking to NPCs outside of a skill challenge. So every DM must decide where milestones lay appropriately.

Some random rules quotes, for fun:
"An encounter, by definition, involves a meaningful risk of failure."
"You’re well within your rights to tell the players that an encounter doesn’t count toward a milestone."
"Action points help balance the depletion of character resources (expended daily powers and healing surges) by providing a new resource that can help characters adventure longer before taking an extended rest."

If a party saw a group of goblins, and killed one, then ran away... short rested, then came back and killed one, then ran away... repeat until all goblins gone. They might have four "encounters" with goblins, but they clearly wouldn't count as two milestones.

There's no reason skill challenges have to work any differently.

Personally, I'd think that LFR should just specify at what points in the adventure there are milestones, for assisting newbie DMs, aiding balance and pacing, and avoiding the drawback of having an action point near every fight, but sure, maybe you don't want to go there. But trying to claim the D&D rules prevent you from fixing it? Try again.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Personally, I'd think that LFR should just specify at what points in the adventure there are milestones, for assisting newbie DMs, aiding balance and pacing, and avoiding the drawback of having an action point near every fight, but sure, maybe you don't want to go there.



IIRC, LFR mods already tell you if the encounter should count towards a milestone. I don't see the issue.

Right... and at the moment it tells you that a complexity 1 skill challenge with easy skill checks, in which failed checks and/or outright failure costs you no resources at all, counts towards a milestone.

AFAICT, that's not generally how normal 4e gameplay works. Just LFR. It's made all the worse because you only have 2-3 combats in the first place, so you get an AP for almost every fight.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director

A milestone is defined as the completion of two encounters without taking an extended rest.  Encounters are categorized as combat or noncombat.  Examples of noncombat encounters are given: skill challenges, traps, hazards, and puzzles.  There's no formal definition of what an "encounter" is, as far as I can tell, but the rules do stipulate that completing an encounter or quest earns you XP.  You could then infer that anything that doesn't grant you XP isn't an encounter, although the reverse is not necessarily true.  It does seem pretty clear to me that a skill challenge that grants you XP is an encounter.

For folks who say that complexity 1, easy-DC skill challenges aren't encounters, do you believe that fights with nothing but minions below your level aren't encounters?  Of course they are.  If you're writing your own adventure, don't make something a skill challenge (or a combat) if it's not going to challenge the players, but if you're playing LFR, you have to go with some of the bad decisions that the writer made, although you can use DME to help.  If a skill challenge isn't hard enough, feel free to bump up the difficulty level, but don't deny the players a milestone if you don't.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

actually, in a home game I do not normally allow a below-level encounter with nothing but minions to count toward a milestone...

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Q. But this means issuing huge amounts of "updates".  It won't work.
A. Correct.  But there is an easier way.  If the goal is for a character to level every 3-4 adventures, and current monsters are overrated given the power of the party that is playing today, then there is one simple change that can be made.  Change the Character Advancement chart on PH pg29.  Make 2nd level come at 1500xp.  Make 7th level come at 15000xp.  This would allow writers to have a bigger xp budget for each encounter, and they can suddenly start making encounters that are a challenge again.


There's an even easier way to do this if you change the player XP system entirely.

For example, if the goal is for characters to gain a level every three modules, award 1 XP for each completed module, and have have characters level up at every multiple of 3 XP.

This way, the monster/skill challenge XP value of the encounters in the module can be tailored to an appropriate difficulty, and will not affect the advancement rate of the characters.

Q. But this means issuing huge amounts of "updates".  It won't work.
A. Correct.  But there is an easier way.  If the goal is for a character to level every 3-4 adventures, and current monsters are overrated given the power of the party that is playing today, then there is one simple change that can be made.  Change the Character Advancement chart on PH pg29.  Make 2nd level come at 1500xp.  Make 7th level come at 15000xp.  This would allow writers to have a bigger xp budget for each encounter, and they can suddenly start making encounters that are a challenge again.



There's an even easier way to do this if you change the player XP system entirely.

For example, if the goal is for characters to gain a level every three modules, award 1 XP for each completed module, and have have characters level up at every multiple of 3 XP.

This way, the monster/skill challenge XP value of the encounters in the module can be tailored to an appropriate difficulty, and will not affect the advancement rate of the characters.




Absolutely.

Paizo's Pathfinder Society uses this system. 

The only "problem" (if it is a problem), it it shifts responsibility from the game designers to the author's to ensure that any given module is balanced.  (Not that the game designers accept responsibility for LFR module balance, but, you know...). 

It would certainly eliminate any "You know, if this module had monster X instead, it would be much more balanced and thematically consistent, but I can't do that because I'd then be over budget on XP..." problems.

It is my observation and experience that if I announce that I will give access to magic items like Dice of Auspicious Fortune and LFR Reward Cards to my monsters when I DM if the players use such items, I find that the players refrain from using those items.

I also find it interesting that combat is much more challenging even with encounters I thought were underpowered.

Just interested what the community thought of this practice.



Something I don't like about this practice is that if the bad guy uses an item against the PC's, the PC's should be able to take that item from the bad guy after they've kicked his butt.  That's just fundamental D&D.  But in LFR PC's can only have the items that are in the list at the back of the module, so the bad guy's magic dice just disappear after he's done using them thereby depriving the PC's of their justly earned reward. 

However-  I'm all for using the items that the PC's are going to earn in the module against them.  If an encounter awards the PC's a Vicious Weapon +2, I think it's perfectly kosher to have one of the monsters swinging that weapon at the PC's during the encounter.  Some bad guys have that incorporated into their stats or into the tactics section already, but not many. 
It does seem pretty clear to me that a skill challenge that grants you XP is an encounter.

Perhaps, although apparently not if it has no meaningful risk of failure: "An encounter, by definition, involves a meaningful risk of failure."

do you believe that fights with nothing but minions below your level aren't encounters?

Whether it's an encounter or not, that doesn't mean that it contributes towards a milestone. "You’re well within your rights to tell the players that an encounter doesn’t count toward a milestone."

So, are four minions of lower level than the party an encounter? By one definition, certainly. Are they a meaningful risk of failure? No. Absolutely not. Should they grant an action point? Nope.

Also, LFR shouldn't have a combat encounter like that as a 'real' combat - but as a 1-round 'Do you kill all the guards before they get to sound the alarm?' it could totally work.

It'd also work well as part of a larger encounter without a short rest. Much like many skill challenges.

A party sees four zombies guarding something. They start combat and blow away one of them, then run away before the others can fight them. Does it count as an encounter for AP purposes? Okay, they go back and kill another one, then leave. Does _that_ count as an encounter for AP purposes? Repeat. How many of those fights counted, and how many didn't - do they get the AP after they finish the last zombie, or do they get 2, because each was clearly an encounter separated by a short rest, with initiative, and xp, etc.

If you're writing your own adventure, don't make something a skill challenge (or a combat) if it's not going to challenge the players, but if you're playing LFR, you have to go with some of the bad decisions that the writer made

And if the module writer has this non-challenging encounter, but stipulates it doesn't count towards an AP... how is that a bad decision? That's all I'm asking, is that the people writing the campaign make intelligent decisions about what grants action points. You're supposed to get an action point every two fights. We're getting about .8 to .9 action points per fight, which is 60-80% more than usual. It's noticeable.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Not to mention that for each person crying something is easy, there is another person grumbling about adventures being too difficult and that is within the xp budget (looking at some recent complaints, but also about CORE1-1). If your group is having an easy time, feel free to do whatever you can within DME to make things more challenging.




My personal experience with a pretty broad sampling of players is that the ratio of those complaining LFR is too easy to those complaining it is too hard is probably alot more like 4:1. Players might say an adventure was tough but, often liked that it was even if it was TPK or at least rarely "complain". Alot of players complain they aren't hard enough. Around many veteran gamers in my area, LFR's reputation is that it is too easy.

I actually think they are properly scaled to reasonable character and playstyles and players need to throttle back a bit so increased scaling doesn't force everyone into an optimized builds. That being said, I'd love if it DMs were allowed some latitude in counting encounters toward action points.

Around many veteran gamers in my area, LFR's reputation is that it is too easy.

I actually think they are properly scaled to reasonable character and playstyles and players need to throttle back a bit so increased scaling doesn't force everyone into an optimized builds. That being said, I'd love if it DMs were allowed some latitude in counting encounters toward action points.


I don't think LFR's scaling forces anyone to optimize their builds at all.  It's the game system, and large availability of poorly playtested items and character options that encourages it.

Most of the players I game with have highly optimized characters, and I have noticed similar complaints.  Many players I've seen say they want a challenge, but then they deny themselves that challenge due to their choice of character build.  It's very strange.

Many players I've seen say they want a challenge, but then they deny themselves that challenge due to their choice of character build.  It's very strange.





Yeah, I reckon it's a case of people saying that they want something, because they see this wanting as a desirable trait, when they really want something else.

Right or wrong, it is fashionable to say that you "want to be challenged".  Many people actually do want to be challenged.  Many other people say that they want to be challenged, and then build the most broken invincible characters they can get their hands on.  They say the words, but do their actions suggest that they really want to be challenged?

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Let the optimizers win.  Build encounters that challenge average characters.

So far, LFR is doing it this way in general (or at least with a waaay better ratio than LG had in the end, anyway - some of which was written by your truly, and I would know my own motives).  I'm just suggesting that we stay the course, difficulty-wise, and resist the temptation to escalate the old arms race.
I think with MM3 we are closer to where we want to be challenge-wise. MM2 and recent DDI releases have greatly helped Heroic play be more challenging (I would argue H1 should be easier than it is now). Paragon will be helped by MM3. I suspect that making any other changes wholesale would make play too challenging for a lot of groups. If play is too easy for you, then you should ask the DM to make a few changes (please make sure the entire table agrees).

In general, adding a single monster or trap, if the DM is experienced or the adventure already has good options, should result in a fine encounter. This is assuming the encounter needs anything at all.

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Yeah, I reckon it's a case of people saying that they want something, because they see this wanting as a desirable trait, when they really want something else.

Right or wrong, it is fashionable to say that you "want to be challenged".  Many people actually do want to be challenged.  Many other people say that they want to be challenged, and then build the most broken invincible characters they can get their hands on.  They say the words, but do their actions suggest that they really want to be challenged?

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Let the optimizers win.  Build encounters that challenge average characters.

So far, LFR is doing it this way in general (or at least with a waaay better ratio than LG had in the end, anyway - some of which was written by your truly, and I would know my own motives).  I'm just suggesting that we stay the course, difficulty-wise, and resist the temptation to escalate the old arms race.





I strongly agree with your take on it. If you want challenge, it's not hard to find by dialing in your build to what the mods offer. When scaling is correct, D&D is alot more about dynamic play and good, creative strategy with a good give and take between the PCs and NPCs. When character's are overbuilt for the adventures, it's the builds that win and it's mostly a matter of activating attack routine alpha then sitting back.

At the core, it is a very selfish thing to build hyper-optimized characters and then request that the challenges be set to your level.  :P

Personally, I have a few very optimized characters  (such as the warforged TWF waraxe ranger and warforged fullblade barbarian) that I enjoy cakewalking with.  I also have a few sub-optimal characters (such as the warforged wizard and warforged bard) that I enjoy being challenged by.


My personal experience with a pretty broad sampling of players is that the ratio of those complaining LFR is too easy to those complaining it is too hard is probably alot more like 4:1. Players might say an adventure was tough but, often liked that it was even if it was TPK or at least rarely "complain". Alot of players complain they aren't hard enough. Around many veteran gamers in my area, LFR's reputation is that it is too easy.



This matches my experience. People consider LFR too easy, despite most DMs here not counting skill encounters towards a milestone, and most players here not using reward cards any more, and people avoiding overly cheesy powers and items, and while playing "high tier" on H3 with L7 characters, or on  P1 with L11 characters.

The difference is between an actual challenge or a self-imposed challenge. Sure, you can make things more difficult for yourself by e.g. building a rogue with 10 dexterity. But what's wrong with making a good-but-not-uber high dex rogue with a bunch of well-chosen powers, and expecting a challenge for that?

The difference between low-tier and high-tier is simply too small: shifting to-hit ratios by 5 or 10 percent doesn't make enough of a difference.
I strongly agree with your take on it. If you want challenge, it's not hard to find by dialing in your build to what the mods offer.


Agreed.  It is absolutely the player's reponsibility to bring a character that is appropriate for the mod.  In most cases, if a character makes the mod too easy, it is the fault of the player and not the module.

Unfortunately, problems occur when some players bring reasonable characters and others do  not.  From my experience, it takes only one inappropriately powered character to steal the show and deny the rest the players a meaningful role in the adventure.  I find this sort of behaviour very rude and annoying, both as a DM and as a player, and it has really soured my opinion of paragon-level RPGA play in particular.

Isnt all this counter intuitive...  In all other games, the players strive to be better at the game they are playing.  Either via practicing, studying, working out etc...

This is the ONLY game (LFR) that I know that welcomes mediocrity and sub-averageness.

When I started playing DnD so many years ago, the players were the Heroes and were destined to accomplish literally amazing and near impossible feats and tasks.  The many books, movies, short stories, comic books et. al lends support for that notion.

It is once said that good can not exist if evil does not.  I find it sad that heroes can not exist because every commoner can accomplish what was set aside for only heroes due to the bar being set to its lowest notch.

As to the OP, my response is why try to challenge the party.  The writing on the wall is already set.  For every Aragorn that may exist in LFR, there are 10x Joe Schmucks that have accomplished and reached the same heights.
Call it counter intuitive if you like but if you're looking for a system that encourages you to push the limits you can playing the wrong game.

Building an Aragorn is overkill and generally in bad taste if Pippen provides all the combat effectiveness that is necessary. 
Indeed, I may be playing the wrong game...

Last I checked though, Aragon, Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf were all NEEDED and played their role to the FULLEST to achieve the task of destroying the ring.

It is this story and the thousands like it, that inspire me to play DnD and be a hero.

If I wanted to be in mediocre in a game I would play Paperclips and Paychecks....

Oops.. I already do that... in real life.
 I would play Paperclips and Paychecks....

Oops.. I already do that... in real life.



I wish I was playing Paperclips and Paychecks...
I don't agree with that advice. Asking players to deliberately make bad choices in order to get a challenge isn't really very challenging. Playing a ranger does not become more challenging if you use Careful Attack instead of Twin Strike; it's just a boring choice.
Handicapping yourself is a time-honored strategy for making things more challenging, in all sorts of games and sports. Time limits for taking your turns, refusing to use certain items or powers, more stringent goals or restrictions (hardcore - no raising allowed), etc.

Personally, I think a _lot_ of people could use the time limit for taking your turn. 
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
As to the OP, my response is why try to challenge the party.  The writing on the wall is already set.  For every Aragorn that may exist in LFR, there are 10x Joe Schmucks that have accomplished and reached the same heights.



It seems that it is not enough for you to win; others must lose.  Otherwise, how do you know that you are the superior Aragon and not another Joe Schmuck?



I don't agree with that advice. Asking players to deliberately make bad choices in order to get a challenge isn't really very challenging. Playing a ranger does not become more challenging if you use Careful Attack instead of Twin Strike; it's just a boring choice.



Alot hinges on your definition of "bad". What is being suggested are non-optimal choices. Presumably intersting ones that add interest and dynamic play to the game rather than the same few stale choices that everyone takes in near identical combination. There are plently of choices to make that are up to the challenges presented but, not as good as the frquently powergamed ones. A whole army of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas would have been a boring damned book.


Handicapping yourself is a time-honored strategy for making things more challenging, in all sorts of games and sports. Time limits for taking your turns, refusing to use certain items or powers, more stringent goals or restrictions (hardcore - no raising allowed), etc.

Personally, I think a _lot_ of people could use the time limit for taking your turn. 




I dont agree with that statement, if a player is actually handicapping themselves like "tieing one hand behind their back" it is a statement of disrespect to their opponents and team mates.  It says I do not have to give my best effort for this task.  Which lends to the question, if you are not giving your best effort, why are you here?

To MatteBlack,

There was NOT a whole army of Aragorns, Gimlis or Legolas', there was only one of each of them much like a DnD party today and also why the BOOKS were pretty damned good.

The Silmarillion is full of whole armies of people MUCH tougher the Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, getting there **** completely kicked. Not boring at all, if you make it past the Creation myth at the beginning.

Which lends to the question, if you are not giving your best effort, why are you here?


To spend some time relaxing and having fun?

There was NOT a whole army of Aragorns, Gimlis or Legolas', there was only one of each of them much like a DnD party today and also why the BOOKS were pretty damned good.


And in LFR the Aragorns, Gimlis or Legolas' are the 16 starting-dex longsword wielding rogues (because they like longswords and there's a feat that allows them to work with rogue powers, so why don't take it?), while the Joe Schmucks are the NPCs with non-combat-relevant NPC-stats. The 20 starting-dex Daggermaster is pre-loss-of-his-ring Sauron complaining that hobbits don't provide him enough challenge.
I don't agree with that advice. Asking players to deliberately make bad choices in order to get a challenge isn't really very challenging. Playing a ranger does not become more challenging if you use Careful Attack instead of Twin Strike; it's just a boring choice.



I think the Ranger who takes the feat True Arrow Style(free ranged basic attack against same target as free action on miss, grant CA when using Careful Attack) and Throw and Stab) would be a lot more fun than a Twin Striking Ranger. Lots of movement and tactical options.

Admittedly, you don't focus fire quite as well as a Twin Striking Ranger, but if Twin Strike didn't exist, people would be playing that combo quite happily, I think...people don't need to pick up two interrupt/minor action attack powers to work well in 4e, but a lot of players do that(and then wonder why LFR is too easy...)