My party always leaves the combat grid...

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Very often during encounters, 1 of my players tends to go outside of the prepared combat grid. Its mostly the warlock of my party. I totally understand that he wants to stay away from trouble, but I seem to have trouble to "lure" him so he stays on the battle grid.


The end of the grid is not the end of the world, for example if my players fight in an open terrain (village, woods...) the ranged players simply run off. I already tried to change that by enlarging the battle grids, but still, the warlock goes wherever the squares stop... Sometimes he even refuses to go into a room, stands at the door and shoots in. The thing is I dont want to tell him "stay on the grid" but I would like his character to move inside because he wants to.


I'm offering cover, difficult terrain, different heights and everything on the terrain but still, it hardly works. I might also add here that he likes metagaming, thinking of every possibility and always maxing everything till the end, be it situations, his char, etc.


The tank is not the problem, the is on the front, the leader is usually also on the grid and so is the controller. But this warlock striker really gives me a headache.

You guys got any advice how I could make my player more "comfortable" on the battle grid?

Thx

you could say 'you have to stay on the map'
Ye I could, but I dont want to dm-bully him. I would like to solve this issue "in-character" if you know what I mean.
move the creatures he attacking out of his range, forcing him to come on the map?
Lurkers live for this sort of tactic ;) The warlock in my first game used to hang way back and lurk in the shadows too. He was downright shocked the day a couple wraiths materialized out of a wall next to his hiding place, lol. Now and then I'd stick a nice lurker somewhere around where it could tangle with him. Skirmishers or really any flying monster can have fun with this too. He REALLY hated stirges!
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Is it really a problem? If the character has invested in long range abilities, the sensible thing for them to do is to use that range by staying away from the melee. Just think like his character: If you can melt the face off a giant club-wielding ogre and stay at a 50 foot distance, would you really stand any closer unless you had to?

The character already sacrifices his Prime Shot bonus, and he can as well forget about spreading curses across multiple enemies (since Warlock's Curse can only target the monster(s) that are nearest to the character). And if some lurkers and/or skirmishers happened to sneak after the lone warlock, far away from his buddies... well, it wouldn't be pretty.

As for firing through doorways, that's a legitimate strategy. Team Monster will usually be able to get superior cover or even deny line of effect, though, so it severely restricts his targeting options.

Try to keep a (preferably large) square tile in reserve. When the character is off the map, plant the tile below it, noting the number of squares between the battlefield and the tile.
Lurkers live for this sort of tactic ;) The warlock in my first game used to hang way back and lurk in the shadows too. He was downright shocked the day a couple wraiths materialized out of a wall next to his hiding place, lol. Now and then I'd stick a nice lurker somewhere around where it could tangle with him. Skirmishers or really any flying monster can have fun with this too. He REALLY hated stirges!



yeah i would def attack the guy
I dont want thim to get in melee or stay within 5 square of the enemy, in situations where it matters I always prepare grids of 20x20 or so, so there is enough space, also because the tank does his job very well. The lurkers are a possibility, I've done that once or twice, once I also used a door which closed after 3 rounds (operated by monster that used a lever on the other end of the room), cutting him off the party. But its like he is always looking for a place outside the grid, kind of annoying if it happens every encounter.
... which is now sounding like it would be a good thing to bring up out-of-game and out-of-character. Simply tell him that there are gamist limits on what the PCs can engage narratively. Don't try to use an in-game fix, use an out-of-game chat.

I'll be playing a pixie in this season of encounters and would sure love to stay safe everywhere, but once meta-gaming and optimization are going out of bounds, there is a good reason for a DM to step aside and talk out-of-game about the gamist rules that apply as much as the narrative expectations.

He should be near his comrades in battle, even if he is staying towards the back. He should be mobile to take advantage of shadow walk and a chance to curse more enemies.

You could look at rewards like that. A warlock that remains far from battle and doesn't move much is losing a free +2 to defenses and +1 to best targets. Imagine, since the monsters vaguely understand taht after being cursed they will get hurt worse by his spells, that monsters keep their distance after being cursed; if he isn't moving near to lay out the curse, they don't see him as a threat, just a squishy meal. Imagine, since shadow walk obscures his appearance as though under partial cover, that monsters are worried about whether they are looking at a real combatant or an illusion. If the PC isn't able to arrange those narrative benefits, the PC isn't really doing all that good a job as an adventurer. (Too bad for him).
Probably that is a way to solve it, I was always looking for something I could do better to get him in but as the metagamer he is, maybe talking out of character is the thing he understands.
Thank you guys very much for your ideas.
If he is able to fight at that distance it is you who has to provide a solution for him, instead of trying to force him to do something because your maps are no enoughly prepared or because the field of view in D&D4 is too narrow due to the size of the squares (1 inch).
Not sure if you have tried this or not, but you could always add say 6 squares to each side of the area you plan on using for the map.  Then instead of starting the characters on the edge of the map have the combat start with the characters on the area of the map that you would have originally used.  This would give him room to move backwards away from the action without leaving the designed map.  The area outside your designed combat area can not include any cover for him to find, and the area where you actually want him to fight could hold cover.  Also include enemies with ranged attacks, so that he is a sitting duck if he stands way out there with no cover.  My enemies with ranged attacks will always attack the target that can attack them back before shooting arrows at the tank if possible.  So even if there is no other cover out there standing right behind the tank of the party will be better than staying 10 squares away from where the tank is occupying the melee characters of the enemy.  You can also then have your ranged enemies show your character how it is more effective to go get cover then stay as far away from the fight as possible in situations.  If you have only one tank, make an elite brute or something that will run up and engage the tank.  This will make the tank want to stay as close to the elite brute as possible.  Then the 3 ranged enemies and a melee striker can remain free to engage the rest of the party.  In particular the ranged striker and controller with weak AC.
If he is able to fight at that distance it is you who has to provide a solution for him, instead of trying to force him to do something because your maps are no enoughly prepared or because the field of view in D&D4 is too narrow due to the size of the squares (1 inch).



I always try to provide cover, areas with difficult terrain to slow down enemies and large areas to fight in, places to climb to have superior view and stuff like that. There are other ranged players who are fine with the battlefield and manage to stay out of enemy reach.
Next time we're playing I'll just ask him what he's missing and why he's always running around on the blank. Maybe my drawing is so bad....
I've talked to my group and this is the way I handle it:  Any creature (PC or enemy) that willingly moves off the map has disengaged from the encounter and cannot affect anything on the map.  If the disengaged creature comes back onto the map, then they can participate in combat.

You have the free will to agree or disagree.
You have the ability to act freely on the above choice regardless of the consequences.

i have to agree. its not being a lame dm to say 'this is the map'
Some good suggestions already provided, but let me add one....split the party.  Occasionally you could plant a trap that closes a door between the Warlock and the rest of the party.  As it begins to close, he will have to make a decision about moving into the room or being separated. It doesn't have to be permanently closed, but it could take him a difficult DC to open it and take a full round to rejoin the action--also he will have to consider whether or not it will close again (what's triggering the door?).  Yes, it's a contrived solution but it isn't an unrealistic one either and while it wouldn't be something that I would use often, it could be a nasty surprise and will be yet another consequence that will get "into his head" for future encounters.
I would also think building a map that doesn't have an 'off map' would be useful.

In the wilderness it could be something like thick brush that is too difficult to move through, cliffs, rock walls, etc.
In doors it's the walls of the structure you're in, or the cavern, or what have you.

I use a huge wet erase battlemap, but I make sure things are clearly marked as to where combat is taking place. There is always a lot of blank space outside of the actual area, but the space for play is clearly defined, and there is no feasible way to actually exit the combat area.
20 x 20 is actually very small for a 4th edition map.  Assuming your table is big enough, I would double that.  If not, at least 30x30 would be better.

Also, someone else mentioned it, but let me stress it, make sure your map shows area beyond the "expected" fighting area.  For example, if you plan the battle to be in a room, have the map extend beyond the door by 5-10 squares.

Also, the range of your warlock is 10 (maybe 12 with the right magic item).  You know this.  A simple way to ensure the warlock doesn't walk off the map is to center the map on the location where you expect the majority of the actual combat to occur (or at least where you expect the enemies to cluster).  The warlock has no reason to stand 20 squares from them.  The warlock won't be able to attack.

Finally, if all that fails, consider alternate battle tactics for the enemy.  Surround the players (put them in the center of the map) or use zones near the edges of the map.  Heck, you might want to set up a scenario where anyone leaving the map will attract the attention of reinforcements (the first time the warlock causes extra enemies to appear, the PCs will start enforcing the map edges for you).  This will encourage all PCs to stay on the map.

-SYB
There are many possible solutions.

Give the lurker reason to want to stay close.

For any indoor/underground encounters, just have some more enemies approach from behind a few times.   I suspect that will encourage your lurker to stay near his companions for protection.

For outdoor maps, I rule that once you go off the edge, you are out of combat, and cannot contribute to the fight.   If you reenter, reroll initiative and take your turn when it comes around.

You can also do things like walls popping up or sections of ground falling away, higher elevation sections which increase the distance making a far back attacker out of range.

Even within the map, you can have areas near the edges with a very narrow line of sight, making it difficult for the ranged attacker to target enemies if he stays far away.
This happens to me often with Encounters. The player and I agree on how far off the map he is, then we put a die beside his mini that indicates how many squares off the map he is. For me, triangulating position for attacks is a simple matter of picturing where the grid would be.

When I run my own games, I use my Chessex megamat (roughly 3' x 4') and drape it entirely over the table before the game starts. Sometimes players like to doodle on the bits where their sheets are during sessions. Then, any tiles I use can be lined up on top, and I have a place to write initiative then erase it after. It also helps protect the table from drink spills Laughing

Final solution from me: run dungeons. Dungeons have walls. Fields generally don't. And dungeons can have very unstable/old construction, with the ruckus of a battle potentially causing partial tunnel collapes behind the group...
Where appropriate, for outdoor you can use dense trees as terrain beyond the map, which are both difficult terrain and have each intervening square add a layer of cover: cover(-2)->superior cover(-5)->total cover(no line of effect). That means he can't go far beyond the edge without removing his functionality entirely. For open fields you can.. just let it go, because it's an open field and being able to manuever openly is part of the scenario. Use enemies that substantially outrange him as enemy artillery. It shouldn't be terribly hard to find or create enemies with longbows (20/40 range) that can plink at him safely from a distance. And of course indoors scenarios you really should map out the room/hall the PCs are coming in from each time, as it's silly to assume ranged characters will willingly run on in. (Though I note that published mods quite frequently only map out the monsters' room.)
Make the grid the same size as the table.
I've talked to my group and this is the way I handle it:  Any creature (PC or enemy) that willingly moves off the map has disengaged from the encounter and cannot affect anything on the map.  If the disengaged creature comes back onto the map, then they can participate in combat.



This.
Provide enough cover around the edge of the map that he is forced to always fire through cover if he leaves the map, or that line of effect is broken, and have te party entry be a bit of a bend so he can't just back straight out and saw there's a clear line.
Hints why I tend to make Rooms about 1/4th the size of my Battle Grid so they could try and work around it.  Have a larger scale map so if someone wounders they might just run across a Patrol on there Woundering self (Who says kobolts or such dont patrol IM sure Hobgoblins do 100%)


And hints why get 2-3 More Battle grids just in case someone wounders you can bring out a smaller grid and use that.  
Ye I could, but I dont want to dm-bully him. I would like to solve this issue "in-character" if you know what I mean.



That's not being a "DM Bully," first of all.

Even beyond, lets keep a couple things in mind. First, the player is inclined to meta game. Second, he's inclined to use non-crafted map areas to his advantage--the map's edge and beyond.

Solution? Craft maps larger than typical but don't reveal them as such right from the start. Reveal your map border like normal for the narrower section. When he tries to move beyond or sticks to the edge, reveal as necessary.

However, don't stop there. Use his like of expanding the map before he has a chance.

For example, have monsters appear behind him in the unrevealed map area--the region he's likely to trigger open anyhow. Being "crunched" will incentivize him toward moving into the real map on a more consistent basis.

If he heads for a new map edge, repeat by having more monsters appear or let him fumble into a planned trap or trap-like location (such as a thick mud pit or other trap that "attacks" without doing damage, but hinders mobility, vision or threatens to do damage). 

Don't use this tactic to bloat an encounter into a higher level, however. Instead, keep a small number of monsters from the planned encouter in reserve and add them in after the first round--a standard + 2 minions are good to have appear from uncomfortable angles. And don't pull that stunt every fight. Just occasionally. It can be interesting for your other players too, don't forget.

Additionally, craft scenarios where edge-hugging is less efficient for him. For example, cut down lines of effect and lines of sight from map-edges or doorways. His warlock will have to move into broaders areas if he wants to be more effective--which, as a meta gamer, he almost certainly does. 

This means that you'll want blocking obstacles, corridors or other terrain that impedes ranged attacks for those at the map's outer edges. Be sure, at the same time, to reward the opposite: give clean lines of sight and effect for those who use the map's innards.

You can accomplish something similiar with patches of fog or obscuring terrain in outdoor areas. If he moves into the map he can avoid penalties for shooting through the fog, for example.  

Done right, he'll learn that the map edge is no longer a safe or effective zone to play and that he's better off moving into the known rather than unknown map regions before something hounds him. Many metagamers don't like surprises and avoid them as a result. And they always want to be effective, so that is a huge incentive for him to move into the map's interior.
     The basic answer is the Bhuddist one, live with it. 
    He wants to be far from the center of the action, so be it.
    Now it's the DMs job to make sure no strategy is really superior, particularly one that can be seen as unfair and/or too easy.  So you do want to use some of the tactics suggested here at times.  Put the party in a closed room, or one with a door that closes, or a passageway that bends and makes being far away ineffective, add in a couple of monsters who are following the party and know they are no match for the full team, but when one PC is so clearly alone..., whatever.  You want to give him problems.  But no, you don't want to forbid him from leaving the map.