Five Minute Boss Battles - Combat Length in the 5E Core

On Critical Hits, there's a mention that the game plays fast. Really fast. Specifically, 5 minutes for a boss battle fast.

critical-hits.com/2012/02/03/initial-imp... 


My AD&D game has combats that are normally this fast, for a few reasons. Group initiative, group action declaration, 2-turn combat rounds Players all at once, Monsters all at once. Combat usually lasts 5 rounds, and each round is about a minute.

What do you think they're doing to get it to go this quick? Speculation?
Maybe the mathematics of the game have been simplified for 5e? At my table, much time is wasted with players trying to work out numerous bonuses and penalties in their heads when they take an action. If you're a little slow with mental arithmatic, which a few of my friends are, it can take a moment for them to add their 17 on the die with their +18 attack modifier, then subracting, say 11 from power attack, while also taking into account that they are flanking the enemy, are affected by a bless spell and have taken a -3 penalty to strength.

Considering that most people, myself included, would probably say that arithmatic is simple in the first place so there's no sense in making it easier...
meh. I  dunno. It seems like they're considering adding MORE opposed rolls, so that can't be it. My best guess is that the modifiers are going to be smaller, making addition and subtraction much easier. Not to mention playtesters aren't going to get distracted as much as weekly players at an informal table.

Some people, I think, will be disappointed when they have a battle that takes much longer than 5 minutes. My first DnD battle was in 3.5. I joined an adventure in progress at level 5. It took us something like 45 minutes just to beat a bunch of dretches. There were 6 of us and about 15 of them. Kind of ridiculous for it to take that friggin' long, but it did. The same thing probably happen to us in 5e, assuming we start playing it.
If 'boss battle' just means 'fight against a solo monster', I've had fights that fast in 3e, though that had to do with the 'rocket tag' nature of 3e (monster charges, does a ridiculous amount of damage, then the PCs do a ridiculous amount of damage to the monster, and the fight is over).
Well, looking at 4E, combats were taking my group an average of about 50 minutes after 70 sessions, a year and a half or so. We couldn't get it much faster - by the time we learned the systems really well, the characters and monsters had added a fair bit of complexity.

So, the new game appears to be 10 times faster than that.

Not having to set up a board takes a few minutes off. Perhaps there's fewer rounds. Perhaps less arithmetic, although we had computers do all the arithmetic for us in 4E, and it still took the time it took. Rocket tag seems a possibility, though you'd think someone would mention that as an issue - it's not a game rule, so I doubt it would be under the NDA.

"The boss fight took five minutes. Boring rocket tag." 

Seems like someone would have mentioned that.
I'd like to have a bit more flexibility, really. One of the things I'm actually looking forward to is this faster paced combat. I'd love to have an easy-to-medium combat last about 10 minutes. On the other hand, I'd like to have the possibility to include full-fledged boss fights with cinematic scenes, tension, tactics and on the spot improvisation that last 30-45 minutes.

I think this can be achieved with the tactical module. I want a game that can be played on both tactical and narrative mode, with narrative-based fights lasting 5-10 minutes and tactical fights lasting 30-45 minutes (not because the player's turn is three times as long! But because the fight is three times as awesome). That would be awesome. 
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Ideas for 5E
I'm hoping to use the tactical module to drop in a set-piece fight every couple sessions. I hope the game works this way. But I'll be mostly doing it to satisfy the one guy in my group who still likes this sort of thing after a year and a half of 3 per-session in 4E.

I find that in my experience as a player and a DM, 5 minute D&D fights contain exactly the same amount of awesome as 40 minute D&D fights. The awesome just arrives at 1/8th the speed.
I dont get any awesome out of a fight with no choices... 5 minute fight is a game of craps.
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I like the concept of faster fights, but I like a challenge too. I've noticed dms crank up the difficulty of encounters till they are interesting, which can turn a 15 minute fight into a 45 minute fight. I prefer this, really, since 1 good fight beats 3 bad ones. But, I don't see a lot of ways to keep tactical difficult fights and have them be fast. Though, less bonuses and simultaneous turns could work?
I would be fine with a normal encounter being 5 minutes. I want my boss battles to last longer. Taking down the BBEG should be more than going nova with your spells and smashing him to pieces with a couple dice. I want those battles to be longer, memorable encounters that require more strategy and thinking that normal.

This sounds like fighting your way to the end of a videogame level and then discovering that you mash a couple buttons and the boss goes down just like any other mook fight. Not very satisfying.
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I think faster fights will bring back the "random encounter".  I found that fight speed was really a function of the number of players (we typically had 7).  Player decisions were often slowed due to the changes in the situation by the time their turn cam around (we use individual initiative for the PCs and Cretures).  I have started to try more "at level" encounters to make fights last only 3-5 rounds.  We also tended to be less optimized or treasure heavy.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

A quote from the article gives insight into how they are completing five minute encounters.


We might have had ten battles spread out through these games. As shown in Greg Bilsland’s pictures from the event, some of them were free-form descriptions between the DM and the player, some of them had loose diagrams just to keep everyone on the same page, and some had full tactical maps with miniatures.

 

So not a showcase of the mechanics. At least not the top end of their complexity scale.
I have started to try more "at level" encounters to make fights last only 3-5 rounds.  We also tended to be less optimized or treasure heavy.


My problem with 'at level' encounters in 4e is that they're almost totally inconsequential -- unless you use broken critters (which 4e has fewer of than prior editions, but not none), the PCs will win, and they might lose a few surges in the process, but nothing more significant.
Yeah, but it was better than an hour long slog for EVERY fight.  7 Players, 1-2 minutes per player per round adds up fast (3 rounds is 21 minutes of just FAST player time),  it also means loss of focus (one attack every 10+ minutes)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

I have started to try more "at level" encounters to make fights last only 3-5 rounds.  We also tended to be less optimized or treasure heavy.


My problem with 'at level' encounters in 4e is that they're almost totally inconsequential -- unless you use broken critters (which 4e has fewer of than prior editions, but not none), the PCs will win, and they might lose a few surges in the process, but nothing more significant.


I've found they can be very consequential with one or more non-optimized PCs.

On-level is challenging for people inexperienced with 4E - people who make poor combat decisions, don't automatically seek combat advantage, fail to coordinate their characters actions, fail to coordinate their character's builds, and fail to optimize their builds.

An optimized party will steamroll on level so bad. 
I have started to try more "at level" encounters to make fights last only 3-5 rounds.  We also tended to be less optimized or treasure heavy.


My problem with 'at level' encounters in 4e is that they're almost totally inconsequential -- unless you use broken critters (which 4e has fewer of than prior editions, but not none), the PCs will win, and they might lose a few surges in the process, but nothing more significant.


If they lose a few surges, then it isn't inconsequential. It's no different than most encounters in previous editions that were just there to drain some HP and spells. And I've nearly TPK'd on at level encounters. You don't need broken critters, you just need to play hardball with the monsters.
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I'm assuming that given the time, they would have run the boss battle at a higher level of complexity, and taken more than 5 minutes to do it. But the fact that it is possible to run a combat in less than 5 minutes, is pretty cool. That's the sort of combat I would throw into a roleplaying scene. It wouldn't break the momentum of the scene as much as a 4e battle that takes 45 minutes would.
If they lose a few surges, then it isn't inconsequential.


I can make a challenging day with four normal encounters and one double strength encounter. I can also make a challenging day with one triple strength encounter; these two are actually roughly equal in difficulty. The single triple strength encounter will be quite a bit faster than the five weaker encounters.
On Critical Hits, there's a mention that the game plays fast. Really fast. Specifically, 5 minutes for a boss battle fast.

...

What do you think they're doing to get it to go this quick? Speculation?

Sounds like Phill Phoglio's "Coin Toss Dungeon," to me.

More likely it's just the writer engaging in hyperbole for effect.


Remember, when 4e was at this stage of just-anounced rumor, they were going on about it being faster & simpler, too. 

 

 

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5 minutes for a boss fight seems a bit fast to me.  At 5 minutes it does not seem like heroic fantasy for a boss fight, it is more appropriate for a gritty realistic game. Still I'd prefer most fights to be over in a few minutes.  An hour long slog of a fight no longer seems like a fight to me, all sense of chaos and urgency is gone it is just a hike through boring landscapes.  
I'm all for quicker combats as long as I don't lose tactical decision making.  

The long combats in 4e have totally made me stop random encounters, and since I only play via VTT once a week, I only get 1 or 2 combats per session.

If most combats could be resolved in 20-30 min, I'd be happy.


 

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My 4E game has had 3 combats in an hour, and a combat that lasted for nearly 2.

Both were as long as they needed to be. The three hour combat was a chase through multiple locations, with addition of enemies and allies alike, with location based mechanics where someone would gain strategic or power advantage by where they moved (the rogue behind the ballista was fun), and every player at the table had a lot of fun. Yes it was more like a tactical board game for those 3 hours, but the stuff before it was pure storytelling and the stuff after it was amazingly good roleplayer for much longer than the fight lasted.

The short fights were simple sweap and clear fights with no feeling of epicness to them. They were just a bunch of damage rolls and resolution.

Most combats are somewhere in the middle.

Making combat too fast is as bad as making it too slow. But a 5 minute fight against a "boss", which in this case I read to be a single monster, is fine as long as the single monster wasn't core to the story. If it was a guard protecting the spillway controls that allowed the PCs to flood a series of tunnels and therefore be able to gain access to the area above, fine. If it was the final boss of the complex who had masterminded the entire thing and built the tunnels as a huge arcane symbol to be able to draw power from the Astral Sea... then he wasn't worthy of the story he had been written into. 
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Yeah, I'm not thinking that 5 minute fights are worth beans. I mean in my 4e game there are plenty of SITUATIONS that play out in 5 minutes. They aren't anything like setpiece encounters though, and they shouldn't be. I think the problem is people have gotten FAR too enthralled with setpieces. 4e showed you a lot of things about how to do those, but that should only be a small part of a DM's arsenal. When you unleash one there's NOTHING wrong with it taking 30-50 minutes to resolve. I know when it happens at my table nobody is looking at the clock.

Here's the thing though, unless you're going to make encounters virtually devoid of any player decision and mostly arbitrary dice tosses they're never going to last 5 minutes. It is perfectly fine to present options for describing inconsequential action quickly, the 4e DMG could have and should have done that. It isn't a substitute for the real thing though, and a game consisting of nothing but quick descriptive sequences is unlikely to be really deep or challenging IME.

So, we'll assume that there is better presentation in 5e such that people aren't tempted to try to play out unimportant nonsense as encounters. That will be nice. I don't think it is really a profound advance in rules, just sensible advice to DMs.
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Maybe the mathematics of the game have been simplified for 5e? At my table, much time is wasted with players trying to work out numerous bonuses and penalties in their heads when they take an action. If you're a little slow with mental arithmatic, which a few of my friends are, it can take a moment for them to add their 17 on the die with their +18 attack modifier, then subracting, say 11 from power attack, while also taking into account that they are flanking the enemy, are affected by a bless spell and have taken a -3 penalty to strength.

4E supposedly fixed that: most adjustments are always-on and included in your attack modifier. It's unusual to have two situational adjustments and rare to have three (add 1 if you're a Charm-focused Bard or if there's a Warlord in the party), and a very large share of those adustments are between -2 and +2.

From what I've seen, they want to make 5e simpler by eliminating the precalculation and letting you go through six or seven upward and downward adjustments every time you roll a d20.

As for battle length, I think it's almost (not quite) irrelevant. An exciting 5-minute battle is good, an exciting 40-minute battle is better (but somewhat harder to achieve). A boring 5-minute battle is bad, a boring 40-minute battle is worse (and somewhat easier to achieve). I've had all of those in 3.5E, and also in 4E.

In 3.5E I've been in a battle that took more than 4 hours, with 11 level-14 PCs and 30 or so enemies. In 4E I've been in a battle that took 5 minutes, with 7 level-1 PCs and about 20 enemies. Both were good battles.
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4E supposedly fixed that: most adjustments are always-on and included in your attack modifier.


I gather you haven't played 4e at paragon tier.
4E supposedly fixed that: most adjustments are always-on and included in your attack modifier.


I gather you haven't played 4e at paragon tier.

Notice I said "supposedly".

And I've seen a situation where four different situational penalties would have applied to a single attack roll (but the creature attacked someone else instead and only got three penalties). At level 7.

(Edit: in 4E.) 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Hmm, 4E 5-minute battle...

1. Design a minion-only combat.  Only defenses, attack bonus, and damage matter.
2. If players have anti-group, mooks-by-the-horde should be fine.  Otherwise just put four minions per player (two if you want it faster) and have them all provoke opportunity attacks.

Did that in last night's game, only took 30 minutes because 25 of those minutes was spent preparing, panicking, and a whole lot of "ooh"s and "ahh"s by the players (all were used to the 2E system, all save one saw 4E for the first time last night).

Boss battle in 5 minutes?  Likely means HP inflation is that low (or nonexistent), which makes sense since Orcs would stay threatening for a long time (if not forever).  They must still be attached to Tucker's Kobolds I guess, and never thought that 4E supports that sort of play [HINT: equip kobolds with high-level alchemical flasks (no downwards accuracy adjusting), give kobolds LOTS of terrain advantage and hazardous terrain, and if you're scaling the encounter accordingly, that can easily be 300+ minions more at your disposal ].
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I've had five minute battles in 4e with standard monsters, but these were small battles that I didn't even use the battlemap for. Which is fine for a normal battle, just not what I would want from a boss fight.
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And I've seen a situation where four different situational penalties would have applied to a single attack roll (but the creature attacked someone else instead and only got three penalties). At level 7.


I see more stacking damage bonuses than stacking attack bonuses, though I'm routinely seeing a power bonus (magic weapon/greater magic weapon), an AC reduction on the target, a bonus for prime shot or combat advantage, and cover, and concealment is credible enough, or being marked by someone other than the target.
The reason I felt things took too long in 4e is that everybody has too much hp, doesn't retreat, and players have all these small paragraphs on their sheets, the math and relevance of which they like to weigh before deciding which "card" they want to play. My supposition is that 5e thankfully drops these.

My take on encounter length is that length and drama are two separate things. You can have a very dramatic turn in 5 minutes. I've had a daring 2 to 4-round combat (short in real time too) where the players suddenly found themselves outmatched and knew one enemy's next move would be their last. They had to strategize a delay, secure an exit path, and enact a retreat. Also valid is a battle wherein players must find a stable strategy; it must last as long as they need to overcome their opponent(s). Tactics exists in the weight of the decisions involved, not the length of time they have to deal with the problem.

4e hp often simultaneously made attacks less consequential and combats last longer, defeating itself.
I played 3(.5) from it's release until 4E was released. I don't understand all the comments that 4E was slow. 4E has been a lot faster than 3(.5).

4E you pick your ability, often while it isn't your turn, and when your turn comes you state your action, roll a dice and say something like "I hit AC 23 for 19 damage" then if you hit maybe do something else like move and ally or an enemy.

In 3E you had people stopping to look up one of their spells, pick their ability (often these happen while waiting for their turn, but the need to look stuff up more often also meant they missed play while doing it), state your action, roll a dice, figure out what buffs are currently active or have falled off by how many rounds into the fight you are, tell the GM what you hope happens, wait for a Saving Throw, then see if you can do something else.

4E has been a lot faster for combat that 3(.5), because the player makes all the decisions and dice rolls during their turn. Maybe it's just that the people who I played 3(.5) with, who don't want to play 4E were much slower, but I doubt it.
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I played 3(.5) from it's release until 4E was released. I don't understand all the comments that 4E was slow. 4E has been a lot faster than 3(.5).


3.5 didn't have as many pushes and pulls, so it was easier to do mapless, and everything did craploads of damage, so you tended to have a lot of 1-2 round fights. It's not that the actions were fast, it's that there weren't very many of them.
I've had five minute battles in 4e with standard monsters, but these were small battles that I didn't even use the battlemap for.



I'm interested to know in which way you played out a combat in 4th Ed without a grid.
If Encounters is a good approximation of time, then most combat sessions for 5-7 players lasts about an hour.

I would personally like to see two different combats.  Your, "Hey, there's a group of orcs" - 10 minutes, and your, "Hey, there's a frost giant" - an hour.  Not sure how this could be done, but one important aspect to all this is that the story gets lost when the combat becomes too lengthy.
I've had five minute battles in 4e with standard monsters, but these were small battles that I didn't even use the battlemap for.



I'm interested to know in which way you played out a combat in 4th Ed without a grid.



wel for start any batle taking place at range, you only need to know how far you are from the enemy.
flanking and attacks of opertunity are less of an issue when at range.

also seen a few people play with an intresting zone system.
but this only seems to work well in things like corridoors. 
I've had five minute battles in 4e with standard monsters, but these were small battles that I didn't even use the battlemap for.


I'm interested to know in which way you played out a combat in 4th Ed without a grid.


Pretty much the same way it was done in every other edition. There have always been effects that assumed you knew everyone's distances and position.

In these cases, I had a map but just chose not to use it during the battle. However, I still knew where everything was. So when one enemy comes running out of the house and a character shoots him, I know that he's within range because the character is on the street. When two other enemies get pushed by a character's AoE power, I know he's no longer in melee range and is going to have to move on his turn. Yeah you lose some of the fine details, like the difference between a push 2 and push 3 effect, but even with a grid it is often negligable anyway, and again it is no different than handwaving certain things in 2e where you had facing, losing shield bonuses because they attacked from your weapon side, attacks of opportunity, etc.

Now for the record, I generally prefer the use of battlemats and I've used them throughout my years of D&D, but sometimes it just isn't worth the time for the setup and the more detailed tactical play, you just want to get through it and move onto the rest of the story, especially if it's nearing the end of your session. However, it honestly is not as difficult as some people make it out to be.
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The reason I felt things took too long in 4e is that everybody has too much hp, doesn't retreat, and players have all these small paragraphs on their sheets, the math and relevance of which they like to weigh before deciding which "card" they want to play. My supposition is that 5e thankfully drops these.



If everybody doesn't retreat -- including the DM, who isn't backing down on his monsters even when defeat is imminent and there's no reason to stay -- then it's a group issue, not a system issue.

If the players are relying so much on stacking all these bonuses and penalties, it's more of a group issue if you ask me; you should see how 3E had so many -2 to AC conditions it could easily get ridiculous, and I do believe that there were parties that took advantage of these conditional effects too.

"Too much HP" is also a relative term.  What sort of situations are you pitting your PCs against?  I mean, you could easily make a "sea of minions" encounter -- having individual minions deal pittance damage compared to standard opponents, but with the number of attackers swarming PCs, easily have a PC hacked to pieces in just one round -- or you could have multi-attacking monsters.  For my PCs in particular, they don't have enough HP, and shudder whenever I throw at them surge-draining enemies.
My take on encounter length is that length and drama are two separate things. You can have a very dramatic turn in 5 minutes. I've had a daring 2 to 4-round combat (short in real time too) where the players suddenly found themselves outmatched and knew one enemy's next move would be their last. They had to strategize a delay, secure an exit path, and enact a retreat. Also valid is a battle wherein players must find a stable strategy; it must last as long as they need to overcome their opponent(s). Tactics exists in the weight of the decisions involved, not the length of time they have to deal with the problem.

4e hp often simultaneously made attacks less consequential and combats last longer, defeating itself.

I'm guessing you're using MM1 material, that's why you feel 4E's monster damage isn't enough.

I don't understand how 2-4 rounds of "tactical repositioning" is anywhere near daring.  You're not daring to face the foe outright -- the only one facing the foe is the one executing the bluff that lets the rest of the group retreat -- and frankly that's 100% doable in 4E.  Just show how the enemy kills off creatures in one hit [roll a couple of d12s and d8s to show how difficult he is to kill and how fatal engaging him is, just for show mostly], then when they start their retreat, skill challenge! (Bluff to divert attention, Stealth to prevent the enemy from realizing the bluff is a diversion, then just go ahead and roleplay the encounter!)

Yes, "tactics exists in the weight of the decisions involved, not the length of time they have to deal with the problem".  4E has given players and monsters alike so many options and so many chances to both instantly die and avoid that death, that determining tactics can be a very painstakingly long process.  HP has rarely been a problem for me in particular -- in fact, I've brought several PCs from full to dying [or even dead] in a matter of real life seconds, so my players often take more time weighing their options than actually taking actions, because of the fatality of a wrong move -- although the fact that my players usually resort less to "surviving" and more on "heroics" makes the whole play interesting and fun for everyone in the group, including myself, regardless of HP

Tips for 4E DMs who think HP is an issue

1. More monster damage. (My minions do at least 10 damage at level 1, and it only gets better from there)
2. Minions galore.
3. Don't use monsters with high defenses.  65% chance to hit a brute is more satisfying and ends encounters faster, than a 50% chance to hit a soldier.
4. Drain healing surges.
5. Encounter level should be 2 levels higher than the party.
6. Use objectives other than defeat the opposing team with damage.


Honestly, aside from solos -- which were poorly implemented, at least during most of 4E's pre-Essentials life -- I've yet to see HP being a real issue even in Epic tier, where combat could still be reduced to 5 ~ 15 minutes, depending on how the DM "fixes" it.

And frankly, since we're talking about Oberoni Fallacy and all, I find it easier to fix "combat takes too long" by doing my homework as DM and using monsters that are meant to die fast (and hitting hard), than fixing stuff like "save or die" by implementing anti-Vorpal, anti-magic, super-high saving throws, etc. etc. etc. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
If everybody doesn't retreat -- including the DM, who isn't backing down on his monsters even when defeat is imminent and there's no reason to stay -- then it's a group issue, not a system issue.

The same behavior did not make the game crawl before 4e (we've played Basic, 1e, 2e, 3.0e, and 4e), and players were still limited to 30 seconds or less per battle action. Rounds didn't drag; there were too many of them. The need for a change in play-method to adapt was caused by too much HP, which was not needed to add tactics to the game, so I call it a problem. Don't get me wrong; 4e did wonders for some other things.

Yes, we used the MM1. I'd personally return everyone's HP to around pre-4e levels over inflating damage to match HP like I heard (less math and fewer dice being rolled per action), but if you had a good time with it, good.

"Too much HP" is also a relative term.  What sort of situations are you pitting your PCs against?

Crawl came in when we had a number of non-minions matching the number of PCs. Using many minions and 1, maybe 2, non-minions for a group of 3 PCs helped. Using different level non-minions within 4 levels of the party helped less to make things quick, but did make things more deadly.
I don't understand how 2-4 rounds of "tactical repositioning" is anywhere near daring.  You're not daring to face the foe outright -- the only one facing the foe is the one executing the bluff that lets the rest of the group retreat -- and frankly that's 100% doable in 4E.

I was saying combats can be teeth-clenching without being long, regardless of edition. Perhaps "daring" wasn't the right word. The whole party were trapped in a courtyard escaping a prison. One person cast Slow on the giant monster, the other 2 party members picked out a path they could make in the rounds they thought they had and cleared all the smaller monsters (around their level) out of the way before the big one got in range. No Skill checks used.
[Yes, we used the MM1. I'd personally return everyone's HP to around pre-4e levels over inflating damage to match HP like I heard (less math and fewer dice being rolled per action), but if you had a good time with it, good.


Even with the later books, 4e critter damage wasn't any higher than prior editions, but I've strongly considered halving every monster's hit points (PC hit points aren't that big of a problem. Sure, at level 1 you have more hit points, but a level 10/14 con fighter in 4e has 84 hit points, that same fighter in 3e has an average of 80 hit points, or 90 if he's using a +2 con item). Requires renormalizing critters or encounters, though. If you take MM1 monsters and halve both hit points and xp value, you'll probably get reasonable encounters, but they'll be rather large.
The reason I felt things took too long in 4e is that everybody has too much hp, doesn't retreat, and players have all these small paragraphs on their sheets, the math and relevance of which they like to weigh before deciding which "card" they want to play. My supposition is that 5e thankfully drops these.

If they do, all the people who like 3.5E spellcasters are going to be very upset - because they had the same sort of stuff, only more of it.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
4e went a ways toward concising the spell descriptions, but I noticed that 4e also had many class abilities and Feats (the Warlock and Barbarian come to mind) that were tactical carrot abilities. Each player trying to line up as many carrots as one could each round of combat was what I was alluding to, but it was vague. I don't recall 3.5e having that. I gather spells will still be in 5e, but people won't be carrying as many at once as they did at high-level 3.5e.
This very topic came into play last evening as I suspended my 4th Edition Dark Sun Campaign.

I have 3 level 18 PC's and 2 level 11 PC's

I have been getting increasingly frustrated with the balanced encounter/time investment that it takes to challenge the characters.

Last evening, a level 15 encounter took 7 HOURS to conduct combat. 6 enemy monsters vs the 5 PC's. At the end of that encounter, the PC's still had over half of their healing surges left. It was at that point I realized 4e had completely broken down and it would take hours upon hours worth of time investment in combat to truly challenge the PC's.

I would love to see, fast, tough boss battles once 5e makes its debut. The characters should be challenged, but the sheer scope of options, buffs, forced movement, control attacks should not be such that it takes all night to run one encounter. I realized that to make a truly challenging 4e encounter for high level characters, the time needed would be one gaming session per encounter, which I decided was too steep of price to pay.

I plan to convert their characters to 5e once it comes out and resume the campaign with normal length challenging encounters.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson