Save the core combat system!

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The thing I have liked best about 4th edition is the core combat system. It is simple, clean and it works. I have no arguments with players or DMs or rules lawyers. I like playing it. I like running it. It is I think the main reason I am sticking with 4th editiuon. With 5th edition looming before us, my main fear is that this system (and the stat blocks that support it) are going to go away. 

So I am starting this thread in the hopes of garnering support to preserve what I think is best about 4th.

Change the skills, change the classes, change feats, etc, but please keep the basic combat suystem. It is the first time in D&D play (for me) that the combat rules have not gotten inthe way of playing. It would be a real shame to lose that.
I've played D&D, AD&D, 3rd ed, 3.5e, and now 4th. It wasn't until 4th that I started to genuinely like D&D as a gaming system, as opposed to having to play D&D because that's what everyone else was playing, thus the only way to get my fix of table-top RPGs. And it's for the same reasons Zenwar pointed out: The core combat system. It's easy to teach, easy to learn, relatively balanced, and fosters teamwork. 4th was also the edition that encouraged me to DM for once, and I really appreciate how easy it is to set up encounters.
I've played D&D, AD&D, 3rd ed, 3.5e, and now 4th. It wasn't until 4th that I started to genuinely like D&D as a gaming system, as opposed to having to play D&D because that's what everyone else was playing, thus the only way to get my fix of table-top RPGs. And it's for the same reasons Zenwar pointed out: The core combat system. It's easy to teach, easy to learn, relatively balanced, and fosters teamwork. 4th was also the edition that encouraged me to DM for once, and I really appreciate how easy it is to set up encounters.



+1


Though I only started in 3rd.


I liked playing D&D at the time because "it was D&D" not because I particularly enjoyed the system. Every party had rather noticible imbalances, and was waay too much book keeping just to say "I attack".  
The thing I have liked best about 4th edition is the core combat system. It is simple, clean and it works. I have no arguments with players or DMs or rules lawyers. I like playing it. I like running it. It is I think the main reason I am sticking with 4th editiuon. With 5th edition looming before us, my main fear is that this system (and the stat blocks that support it) are going to go away. 

So I am starting this thread in the hopes of garnering support to preserve what I think is best about 4th.

Change the skills, change the classes, change feats, etc, but please keep the basic combat suystem. It is the first time in D&D play (for me) that the combat rules have not gotten inthe way of playing. It would be a real shame to lose that.




Score another +1 for me.
You might want to define 'core combat system'.  In a sense, 4E has the same core combat system as D&D has always had - role a d20 whenever you have to roll to hit and deal damage if you do. 

Personally, I think they made a very fun and balanced game when they made 4E.  However, it does not feel like the D&D I've played since the 70s.  There are similarities, but the 'core' feel of the game is quite different.  The closest comparison to old school D&D is saying that 4E D&D levels 1 through 30 feel like playing earlier editions from levels 4 to 14.  You need the feel of levels 17+ to be out there in the distance (although the loss of levels 1 to 3 is not really much of a loss).  I also feel like the classes are too similar in mechanics to really feel like you're playing something different when you move from z fighter to a wizard.

I hope they'll retain a lot of the balance from 4E while recovering a lot of the core feel of the nonmartial classes that disappeared in the move to 4E. 
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
As much as I enjoy 4e above all other editions and I would now choose to play it over previous editions, this does not mean I had less fun with previous editions when they were new. Because I have never managed to change the design plans of the publisher of D&D form one edition to the next, I see no reason to do so now.

I love the 4e combat system. If 5e has this same combat system, great. If it doesn't, I'll still see what it is like. If, for some reason, I actually like it less than 4e, I'll just keep playing 4e. But I don't want my 4e enjoyment to act as a hindrance to whatever the designers build into 5e.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
You might want to define 'core combat system'.  In a sense, 4E has the same core combat system as D&D has always had - role a d20 whenever you have to roll to hit and deal damage if you do. 


Rolling a d20 and checking a number is 'core' to the point of worthlessness.  Any game that uses a d20 has that.

What he means, and what people like me are agreeing with, are the clear, concise rules surrounding combat.  How many things you can do in a turn, which things fall into what category of actions, how you move in combat, how you interact with terrain.

It is not a good idea for the DM to have to decide on the spot whether something you want to do is a Standard Action or consumes all three of your Standard, Move, and Minor because you're being just that badass.

Such a system may do a better job of encouraging out-of-the-statblock thinking, but what you sacrifice for that is consistency from group to group.
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I also feel like the classes are too similar in mechanics to really feel like you're playing something different when you move from z fighter to a wizard.



I actually appreciate the standardization they did between all the classes. It makes it really easy for me, the player, to go from one role to a completely different one if necessary. It's really quick and fast to adapt.
I think there is room for improvement in the 4th ed combat engine.

I think there is room for support for narrative (i.e. mapless) combat. 

For example a small area effect could be hit 1d4 enemies (or 1d6 if you choose to also target an ally) in mapless combat, or be a standard 3 square by 3 square area if you are playing a tactical combat.

This dual approach would doubtlessly be more complicated to design, but done well i think it would bring more to the table than either reusing 4th edition OR in starting with simple narrative rules with an optional tactical add on.
I actually must object.  I've played every edition of D&D, and I find this edition has one huge flaw - it requires a detailed map.  I need to know which square everyone is in, because everyone has powers that move other people 1 or 2 squares.  If you want those powers to matter, you must know exactly where everything is.

I object to this because in previous editions, I COULD do a detailed map - and for big important fights that I could plan for, that was something I did.  But as a DM who loves improvising, I constantly (and I mean as many as 3 or 4 times in a single session) had combats that I simply did not see coming, and therefore had no premade map for.  Parties would attack people I thought they believed to be innocent, wandering monsters found them, they rolled a natural 20 on that editions perception roll and found the assassin stalking them - in a totally random place.  PC's could pick where they wanted the combat to be, instead of me picking it, so they felt like setting up an ambush made a significant difference. Or choosing a defensive ground. 

This combat system is too reliant on the map; everything else about the system (including it's ease of use, it's intuitive approach to actions, its balance so that people felt like they could do what they wanted, as opposed to deciding whether to draw a weapon or attack, or heal or attack, or any of the other things that previous editions did wrong) is awesome.  But please please, reduce how much we need a map! I want to be the master improvisor I am known to be!  I want to be playing a roleplaying game where combat occurs spontaneously due to the roleplay at the moment, not playing a roleplaying game, where roleplaying occurs between semi (you could easily have 3 or 4 things planned at once, but that's still rather limiting given the endless creativity of players) pre-planned combat because improvising combat is too difficult.
I also feel like the classes are too similar in mechanics to really feel like you're playing something different when you move from z fighter to a wizard.



Honestly, I think you'll find in most other RPGs that they do not need two wildly different mechanics to make class feel different, and I believe 4e doesn't either. I mean, you can't play a wizard like a fighter. You can't play a fighter like a wizard. What more do you want?

I mean, in Spirit of the Century, just because my Two-Fisted Pilot and my friend's Extravagantly Rich Playboy use the exactly same rules, have the same number of aspects and equal stats, doesn't mean they don't play completely differently.

This combat system is too reliant on the map . . . please please, reduce how much we need a map! I want to be the master improvisor I am known to be!

Snipped for brevity but this is my sentiment as well.

My style is very much 'let's see what happens' but 4e simply doesn't fit that approach very well in my XP.  It's more important than ever to know the encounter script (as the DMG calls it).  For instance:  What type of terrain is there, and where is it exactly?  As the DMG says, terrain has purpose, it encourages choices and movement, and just plain makes fights more interesting.

I simply can't hold those kinda details in my head, a map is invaluable.  I could gloss over such details over of course but then the encounter lacks challenge and complication.   Combat has really came into its own with 4th.  I enjoy the game more as a player and less as a DM.
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My trick around that is to plan a central encounter or two for the session, and then have a bunch for back up on flipmats or other pre-printed maps.
Agreed.  I'd like to see the next edition (whether it is 5.0 or 4.5) as an evolution rather than a revolution for the most part.  But I do wonder if the next edition might be the right time to drop AC as a defense...
Honestly I would like to see both - an in-depth map based tactical combat system and a more lightweight narrative system. 

4e's tactical system is excellent: it's deep and fun without being overwhelmingly complex. But it absolutely requires a map, which takes time to draw or assemble. It can also be quite time-consuming (depending upon factors such as player experience, # of players, classes played and # of monsters). I would hate to lose 4e's brilliant tactical combat. But sometimes it would be nice to have a more lightweight alternative.

A simpler narrative combat resolution mechanic would be great for running games on the fly or for minor encounters. It would also be a boon to those who just aren't that into tactical combat.

There have been various computer strategy games through the years that had complex tactical combat systems; often those games will allow you to skip the tactical combat and just roll against a calculated percentage if you so choose. That's maybe too simple for D&D (we still want the fighter to be able to say "I hit it with my axe") but I like the idea. When I get into the late game in my space war game and I'm running a dozen tactical combat encounters every turn it's nice to be able to just roll a dice on a couple of them to save time. The important thing is that the two different resolution mechanics have roughly equal outcomes (combat shouldn't become much harder or much easier when you're rolling instead of playing it out). If they are they can be used interchangeably.

I think it would cool if D&D had a system like that.

That said I do worry that basically one of those systems would get more love and you'd wind up with a situation where it was never worth it to skip tactical combat. But in a perfect world... 
I <3 the 4th ed combat system.

I am <3ing a lot of things today.

Maybe I have the power of <3. ;)
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
Maybe I have the power of <3.


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Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Actually a lot that is being discussed here have actually their roots before especially 3e.  The big difference now is how magic is no longer able to do anything. For instance take 3e and eliminate the wizard and replace with the warmage.  If all wizards were warmages (which is closer to what 4e has going in terms of combat power) then wizards would not be overpowered.  If clerics were redesigned so that they were not choosing between all powerful and healbot (adly there is not a good choice for that like warmage for wizard).  If you did that most of the problems in 3e combat would be gone (but so would many of the reasons people like playing which is being able to do anything).

The other area that 4e does differently is using a common format for everything.  That has some nice things going for that.  I do think if we were to restart I would make a change in some things.  For instance I would make it so that warrior classes are based off of basic attacks (sort of like the essentials martial classes) but unlike the essentials classes I would make encounter powers that modified the basic attack but made them work just like the encounter powers we know and love.

This combat system is too reliant on the map . . . please please, reduce how much we need a map! I want to be the master improvisor I am known to be!

Snipped for brevity but this is my sentiment as well.



Definitely gets a +1 from me.

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A good mix of mapless and map using combat would be good. I don't know about you, but perhaps have a way to make super small encounter (like two regular goblins) actualy hinder the party a bit. You know, like taking out the two guards to the castle. But maybe i'm looking for another system here. I love 4e combat though, and I would keep most of it. Change some things, though, just to make a better system.
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You can't please everyone, but you can please me. I DO NOT WANT A FREAKING 4E REPEAT. I DO NOT WANT A MODULE THAT MIMICS MY FAVORITE EDITION. I WANT MODULES THAT MIMIC A PLAYSTYLE AND CAN BE INTERCHANGED TO COMPLETELY CHANGE THE FEEL, BUT NOT THE THEME, OF D&D. A perfect example would be an espionage module, or desert survival. A BAD EXAMPLE IS HEALING SURGES. WE HAVE 4E FOR THOSE! A good example is a way to combine a mundane and self healing module, a high-survival-rate module, and a separate pool of healing resource module.
i love 4e combat but yall need to face the fact that monte is going to freaking gut 4th edition and serve you a simple 'retro' dnd combat system-something like castles and crusades but not as cool

Lots of interesting feed back. I am surprised at how many people want mapless. I have always used maps in almost all RPGs I play. Though early on in 1st edition I did not. And in dice-less systems I do not...



Again let me emphasize the point of this thread: I fear we are going back to the days when combat was a series of arguments about the rules, or just plain confusion about what the rules meant. Does anyone remember how fearful it was during third edition, when someone announced they wanted to grapple?



And to clarify, I mean the core combat rules of 4th edition. The rules that are in the combat chapter of the PHB. They are short, concise, easy-to-learn and work well. I think it would be a shame to lose these, especially if it means going back to something like the mess we had in third.



I also think many of the problems people that people ascribe to the rules are actually due to the more advanced powers. Indeed I think many of the problems with 4th are due to both power design and due to power progression. But that is another thread...

I didn't like Castles and Crusades. Fighters were way too lame.
Not as many people want mapless as this thread might lead you to believe.

Also, in the choice for "default is mapped" vs "default is mapless," mapped is objectively better.  It's far simpler to go from a mapped system to a mapless system than the other way around.  The former caters to both styles of play, whereas the latter really doesn't work for both.

Check out wrecan's blog post on different levels of mapping to see how existing 4e can be adapted to any level of mapping without too much trouble.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
i love 4e combat but yall need to face the fact that monte is going to freaking gut 4th edition and serve you a simple 'retro' dnd combat system-something like castles and crusades but not as cool

My worry also -- it almost reads like some insane soap opera with the spurned lover returning to burn down the house. What a shame. I think, to be fair to Mr. Cook, that the mandate is coming from the powers that be. He’s just the hired assassin. 

I didn't like Castles and Crusades. Fighters were way too lame.



then you better brace yourself for 5th edition
Not as many people want mapless as this thread might lead you to believe.



I can't believe there are actually people who want mapless at all.  I *hated* it when I tried to play previous editions without a map.
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Save the 4e combat system?  No..no..no no no no no!

Please, its part of what is wrong with the game, its part of what makes me sit at every session of 4e..bored out of my mind for a good portion of it.

Everything about it is too involved.  Everything about it takes too long.  The core assumption of the combat system is that combats are supposed to last around 5 to 6 rounds, not turns, rounds of play.  I'm thankful they got that wrong...with just 2 rounds it still takes close to an hour for a whole combat to be done.

There are too many effects flying around that need to be kept track of, too many temporary modifiers, too many small fiddly things that just increases the length of a turn.  Plus some mechanics are just wrong.  Seriously do we need as many effects as we have?

Dazed, Stunned, Dominated, Marked, Helpless, Immobilzed, Restrained, weakened, blinded....and several more I don't want to list em all.  And this isn't including powers that have their own personal special condition they drop on someone..plus is it until end of turn or save ends (gotta keep track..especially if both is on an enemy).

This is a roleplaying game, not a combat game, we seriously need some of the crap cut down, and combat to go much faster.  Combats that last close to an hour should not be the norm..and they shouldn't be taken up largely by keeping track of effects, as well as applying new ones.


It has some good ideas in it, but the core system needs to be seriously retooled to not be so condition intensive (conditions are not bad in and of themself...but the system relies on them too greatly).  It also has too many conditions that counter the fun the system itself tries to impliment (Dominate is NOT a good condition to have in this system..and I have yet to find a player or DM who enjoys it).

So yeah, the 4e system combat needs to be changed, its too condition and effect intensive.
I believe someone put out a blog a year or more ago about how to do 4e mapless. I think he called his system "SARN-FU" or something. It basically is a simplified positioning system that doesn't worry about what square something is in exactly but just whether it is in the same square, adjacent, near to far, or unreachable. You lose some of the tactical depth of positioning+AOE especially, but keep the core of it. I haven't really learned it or tried it because mapless isn't something I desire.

Overall I think 4e feels less map-dependant than 3.5 in part because I don't spend anywhere near as much time counting out squares in 4e, due to the non-Euclidean coordinate space. Figuring out exactly where to place a fireball with it's psuedo-circular area, or the best path to wind through battle to avoid AoOs while factoring in the 1-2-1-2 cost of diagnals, especially when some straight moves where involved got to be kind of tedious, doubly so after having a bit of 4e experience under my belt. 
I don't know about you, but perhaps have a way to make super small encounter (like two regular goblins) actualy hinder the party a bit. You know, like taking out the two guards to the castle.



Interesting point.  I was reading through the Sunless Citadel the other day (although it probably could have been just about any other pre-4e module) and it occurred to me that maybe combat just seems slower in 4e because you don't have those '2 regular goblin' type encounters.  I remember plenty of 1e and 2e encounters that took 2 hours+ to resolve, but they were the exception and usually at a climactic point in an adventure where a longer combat felt suitably epic.  I'd be curious to hear whether anyone has actually tried using smaller encounters in 4th - presumably even a couple of goblins could have a chance of burning up a surge or two.
Save the 4e combat system?  No..no..no no no no no!

Please, its part of what is wrong with the game, its part of what makes me sit at every session of 4e..bored out of my mind for a good portion of it.

Everything about it is too involved.  Everything about it takes too long.  The core assumption of the combat system is that combats are supposed to last around 5 to 6 rounds, not turns, rounds of play.  I'm thankful they got that wrong...with just 2 rounds it still takes close to an hour for a whole combat to be done.

There are too many effects flying around that need to be kept track of, too many temporary modifiers, too many small fiddly things that just increases the length of a turn.  Plus some mechanics are just wrong.  Seriously do we need as many effects as we have?

Dazed, Stunned, Dominated, Marked, Helpless, Immobilzed, Restrained, weakened, blinded....and several more I don't want to list em all.  And this isn't including powers that have their own personal special condition they drop on someone..plus is it until end of turn or save ends (gotta keep track..especially if both is on an enemy).

This is a roleplaying game, not a combat game, we seriously need some of the crap cut down, and combat to go much faster.  Combats that last close to an hour should not be the norm..and they shouldn't be taken up largely by keeping track of effects, as well as applying new ones.


It has some good ideas in it, but the core system needs to be seriously retooled to not be so condition intensive (conditions are not bad in and of themself...but the system relies on them too greatly).  It also has too many conditions that counter the fun the system itself tries to impliment (Dominate is NOT a good condition to have in this system..and I have yet to find a player or DM who enjoys it).

So yeah, the 4e system combat needs to be changed, its too condition and effect intensive.



Not to be antogonistic, but I kind of hope you and I end up playing different game systems as it sounds like you dislike what I find fun.
Not as many people want mapless as this thread might lead you to believe.



I can't believe there are actually people who want mapless at all.  I *hated* it when I tried to play previous editions without a map.



we always played with a map so i never had to suffer this way but i just want to say-im sorry
Snip and a Half.



Don't worry, I tend to stay away from any game where there is too much focus on combat.

There are too many effects flying around that need to be kept track of, too many temporary modifiers, too many small fiddly things that just increases the length of a turn.  Plus some mechanics are just wrong.  Seriously do we need as many effects as we have?



I'm not arguing that point, because it becomes more and more apparent the higher in level you go. Things really slow down as you approach the upper Paragon levels. But good personal organizational skills can really help here. When I DM I personally bring a stack of cheap 3x5 index cards. When combat starts, I write down each PC's and monster's name at the top of their own individual card, and arrange them in a stack in the order of their respective turns. As they get affected by anything that buffs or debuffs them, I write down each effect on the card of the effected, as well as what round the effect is supposed to end. Keeps things running nice and smooth.
I think that mapless has about a 0% chance of happening.

Lets face it, it's 2011.  If you don't know 'the guy that has torrented every 4E sourcebook' you don't play 4E.  

WotC is going to make money on value-added products.  Tokens, maps, D&D Insider, monster and power cards, art cards, etc.

They'd be idiots to shoot themselves in the foot and try to return to AD&D/3E where they made money by selling books and nothing else.  Hell, that didn't even work for TSR (not that that was the only problem with TSR...).

If I had to choose a direction this game is heading, it is away from complex, expensive, and low-margin (or often money-losing) hardcover sourcebooks, and towards smaller packaged sources with value-added components.

Instead of having a manual that gives you 4 new character classes, you have a small softcover book with a new class - and one of four different miniatures to represent the class, blast markers and areas specific to the class abilities, character specific tokens for the debuffs the class gives to monsters, small tokens for minions that the class summons during combat, power cards for the class to use etc.

Instead of 'an adventure book' you get an adventure module with printed maps, the tokens you need to play the module, suggestions on how to use the maps and components to make other systems, and direction for moving the game forward from there.

Instead of an 'Adventurer's vault' you get a package of treasure cards with well drawn illustrations, cards that let you easily see and manage the powers of your items, maybe even magnetic attachments for your miniature so he can be weilding the new sword you just got.


This is where the game is going, folks.  And at the end of the day?  I like it. 
Honestly we've tried everything we can to have it make sense..to be organized.  And I mean everything.

I think we are down to using both index Cards and Alea tools (well when we play 4e that is....we're down to only one guy who wants to really play 4e...and he's always been sometimes here sometimes not...so we've been playing other games lately).

So we try what we can..we keep perfect track of conditions, we have the alea tools colors down to a science (certain colors are always the same thing).  Cards have things kept.

The problem is, even when you have all of that going on, when a miniature looks like it's flying because so many effects are stacked on it.  You still got to keep track of all those effects.  You also have buffs on players as well to worry about, terrain effects, etc.

Again, the system is simple..extreemly simple to use.  but it relies on too many effects, bogging down the playstyle.  Not to mention the likes of immediates and OAs, that sometimes break into the middle of a turn.
Save the 4e combat system?  No..no..no no no no no!

Please, its part of what is wrong with the game, its part of what makes me sit at every session of 4e..bored out of my mind for a good portion of it.

Everything about it is too involved.  Everything about it takes too long.  The core assumption of the combat system is that combats are supposed to last around 5 to 6 rounds, not turns, rounds of play.  I'm thankful they got that wrong...with just 2 rounds it still takes close to an hour for a whole combat to be done.

There are too many effects flying around that need to be kept track of, too many temporary modifiers, too many small fiddly things that just increases the length of a turn.  Plus some mechanics are just wrong.  Seriously do we need as many effects as we have?

Dazed, Stunned, Dominated, Marked, Helpless, Immobilzed, Restrained, weakened, blinded....and several more I don't want to list em all.  And this isn't including powers that have their own personal special condition they drop on someone..plus is it until end of turn or save ends (gotta keep track..especially if both is on an enemy).

This is a roleplaying game, not a combat game, we seriously need some of the crap cut down, and combat to go much faster.  Combats that last close to an hour should not be the norm..and they shouldn't be taken up largely by keeping track of effects, as well as applying new ones.


It has some good ideas in it, but the core system needs to be seriously retooled to not be so condition intensive (conditions are not bad in and of themself...but the system relies on them too greatly).  It also has too many conditions that counter the fun the system itself tries to impliment (Dominate is NOT a good condition to have in this system..and I have yet to find a player or DM who enjoys it).

So yeah, the 4e system combat needs to be changed, its too condition and effect intensive.

I agree that combat can take way too long. But I do not think it is due to the rules in Chapter 9 of the PHB. I think it is due to the powers that have been designed for the classes, many of which are too dependent on conditions. I also think it is due to simply having both players and creatures with too many hit points.
It's so funny hearing people talk like 5th edition is lurking just over the horizon. You guys know this forum is pretty much the only place people say that, right? 4e is alive and well everywhere else. You don't completely reboot an edition right before you throw it away.

Anyway, I love the mechanics of 4e, but I wouldn't want them to continue in 5e. Editions should be different.  If you like 4e and dislike the changes they make in the future, just... keep playing 4e. That's how it works.

I don't want mechanics from older versions messing up 4e, and I don't want to impose that same kind of thing onto future editions.  If you like an older version, keep playing it.  Let newer versions go in a different direction that might suit others better.
I would keep the core 4E combat system, but make an optional system that helps remove the push, pulls, and slides, as that feature is the most likely to detract from not using a combat grid in the game or what I call the micromanagement of character and monster movement. Otherwise, you are just dealing with areas and ranges just like any other edition of D&D, and you are free to ignore the difficult terrain features if they are something you don't like.
Save the 4e combat system?  No..no..no no no no no!

Please, its part of what is wrong with the game, its part of what makes me sit at every session of 4e..bored out of my mind for a good portion of it.

Everything about it is too involved.  Everything about it takes too long.  The core assumption of the combat system is that combats are supposed to last around 5 to 6 rounds, not turns, rounds of play.  I'm thankful they got that wrong...with just 2 rounds it still takes close to an hour for a whole combat to be done.

There are too many effects flying around that need to be kept track of, too many temporary modifiers, too many small fiddly things that just increases the length of a turn.  Plus some mechanics are just wrong.  Seriously do we need as many effects as we have?

Dazed, Stunned, Dominated, Marked, Helpless, Immobilzed, Restrained, weakened, blinded....and several more I don't want to list em all.  And this isn't including powers that have their own personal special condition they drop on someone..plus is it until end of turn or save ends (gotta keep track..especially if both is on an enemy).

This is a roleplaying game, not a combat game, we seriously need some of the crap cut down, and combat to go much faster.  Combats that last close to an hour should not be the norm..and they shouldn't be taken up largely by keeping track of effects, as well as applying new ones.


It has some good ideas in it, but the core system needs to be seriously retooled to not be so condition intensive (conditions are not bad in and of themself...but the system relies on them too greatly).  It also has too many conditions that counter the fun the system itself tries to impliment (Dominate is NOT a good condition to have in this system..and I have yet to find a player or DM who enjoys it).

So yeah, the 4e system combat needs to be changed, its too condition and effect intensive.



Not to be antogonistic, but I kind of hope you and I end up playing different game systems as it sounds like you dislike what I find fun.



I will agree that there are way too many powers, IMO, that are "end of next turn" or "beginning of next turn" or "save ends".   For example, in the game I run, there was a certain situation where, and I'm checking my notes here:

1.  All enemies within 3 of the Fighter were -7 to attack anything but him, end of next turn;
2.  Cleric hit those same bad guys with -2 to attack rolls until end of next turn, sustain minor;
3.  3 bad guys were taking 1W damage for being next to the fighter;
4.  Zone on the ground that caused any enemy to move into it to fall prone;
5.  3 bad guys taking ongoing 5 fire damage, save ends.

Now, there were some dailies thrown in there, but as a DM, I would be completely SCREWED if I wasn't using a computer program to track statuses and effects.

I don't mind the conditions so much (marked, dazed, blinded, etc), but I think the following streamlining could go on:

1.  Get rid of Stunned.  Not fun for players at all, and too OP against pre-Monster Vault solos.
2.  Get rid of Dominated:  I turn Dominated into Dazed, and on the DominaTING thing's turn, you make an attack or charge.
3.  Get rid of "End of Next Turn" effects.  And by "Get Rid Of" I mean "change them into End of Encounter/Save Ends" stuff.  If it is a zone you sustain, fine, but there are so many powers that give a bonus for just one turn that people forget are there because they don't know what round it is, or think that a buff is up but it isn't... honestly, Save Ends/EoE are easier to remember and track.
4.  Only allow one Immediate Interrupt power per combat, or honestly just get rid of them entirely.  At level 7, my party interrupted a combat 8 times, among 4 players.  And they're not power-gaming at all.

Now, I should note:  I pretty much run it like this in my own game anyway:  I don't use Stunned on my players and have told them that Elites/Solos have ways of breaking Stuns in my game, and I change all monsters to follow 2 and 3.  I don't force 2 and 3 to happen to the players, though, because that takes considerable rebalancing (or maybe it doesn't).  I don't feel comfortable banning Immediate Interrupt powers, so 4 is something that I alone do

Honestly, I love the 4e combat system, but acknowledge that it needs some tweaking.  I'm kind of cold to the ideas Monte Cook has been throwing around, though.

Just so we know where I stand: my perfect 4e would have the improvements I listed above, with the Skill Point system of 3.5, without as huge a disparity in skill points between classes (causing all fighters to be bumbling idiots while wizards are naturally good at everything)
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
With 5th edition looming before us

Did I miss something? I haven't seen any announcements about a 5th edition.

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