D&D is Not Just a Game of Combat

The underlying theme I'm seeing in these forums is a complaint about combat and the abilities or lack thereof of the characters to perform in combat. D&D is not just a game of combat. The fact that the mechanics of combat are being simplified and every class is not balanced perfectly in combat is a good thing in my opinion. Because there is a heck of a lot more to do in D&D than just combat. And characters should all have a chance to shine in different areas of the game.

What I see from 5e is the possibility to actually be able to get the full D&D experience when our group sits down for a session and not just 3-4 hours of grinding combat. I want to be able to engage my players in a plot and story that is interesting. I want them to have fun exploring, finding secret passages, discovering the wonders of the game world, interact with the inhabitants, solve puzzles, and more.

I think that's what was lacking so desperately in 4e. Yes, you could do all those things in 4e, but at the expense of time and the flow of the game. It could become boring and mundane to sit through 1-2 hour combat encounters to get to the next step in the adventure. Combat should be fun and engaging, but not dominate the entire session.

I used to write RPGA tournament modules that took up a 4-hour slot and, if converted to 4e today, would literally take at least 4 of those 4-hour slots to complete. That's just my guess, but there's no doubt that you could do so much more in a 2e adventure in the same amount of time than you can do today in 4e. More combat, more exploration, more role-playing. A much more balanced game. I believe 5e is shaping up to be that kind of game again.


My LFR Modules:
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EAST1-3 Unbidden (H3) EAST2-3 Nightmares (P1) NETH3-1 Secrets and Shadows (Paragon Tier) (Author) ELTU3-6 True Blue (Heroic Tier) (Author) EPIC3-3 The Tangled Skein of Destiny (Co-Author) ABER4-3 A Little Rebellion (Paragon Tier) (Author) WATE4-1 Paying the Piper (Heroic Tier) (Co-Author)
True.

But do you really want rules about non-combat roleplaying in the books?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
True.

But do you really want rules about non-combat roleplaying in the books?

I agree, we don't need many rules for non-combat role-playing. Some base stats, and a few suggestions are enough. I don't want to roll cha each time I have to interact with an NPC just because the rules tell me to do so. Let role-playing be...
True.

But do you really want rules about non-combat roleplaying in the books?



I didn't say anything about rules for non-combat role-playing. They certainly aren't necessary at all. I was just saying that simplified combat opens the door to being able to do much more with a gaming session than just grinding out combat.
My LFR Modules:
Show
EAST1-3 Unbidden (H3) EAST2-3 Nightmares (P1) NETH3-1 Secrets and Shadows (Paragon Tier) (Author) ELTU3-6 True Blue (Heroic Tier) (Author) EPIC3-3 The Tangled Skein of Destiny (Co-Author) ABER4-3 A Little Rebellion (Paragon Tier) (Author) WATE4-1 Paying the Piper (Heroic Tier) (Co-Author)
True.

But do you really want rules about non-combat roleplaying in the books?



Yes oh yes I most certainly would. Both rules adn definetly guidelines.

The ratio between combat and non combat; rules and guidlines may be debatable but their existence is not (to me).

I do of course not expect them to be this early in the playtest in there.

True.

But do you really want rules about non-combat roleplaying in the books?

I agree, we don't need many rules for non-combat role-playing. Some base stats, and a few suggestions are enough. I don't want to roll cha each time I have to interact with an NPC just because the rules tell me to do so. Let role-playing be...



Yet I'd welcome loads of out of combat only options. Feats and spells that are completely combat useless but fun to play whenever you do not fight.
I think the point of my thread is being misunderstood. I want a game of D&D that isn't combat-centric. That is, one that is rules-light on combat so that combat doesn't dominate a session. I want to engage the players in other ways and I want them to be able to do much more in a single session, even if that means more combat encounters. That may seem strange to say that, but if the combats go much quicker and we can have more variety then that's more fun than grinding out fewer combat encounters. But I really want a balance between combat, exploration, role-playing, puzzle-solving, storytelling, and all that. And I want to be able to digest much more in the same time period. That, to me would be much more satisfying than what we have today.


My LFR Modules:
Show
EAST1-3 Unbidden (H3) EAST2-3 Nightmares (P1) NETH3-1 Secrets and Shadows (Paragon Tier) (Author) ELTU3-6 True Blue (Heroic Tier) (Author) EPIC3-3 The Tangled Skein of Destiny (Co-Author) ABER4-3 A Little Rebellion (Paragon Tier) (Author) WATE4-1 Paying the Piper (Heroic Tier) (Co-Author)
Heheh - you may have sent out a bit of mixed notions and meanings

Yes the ratio of encounter types can be affected by the complexity of rules and how each encounter is resolved by the different types of people on the table.

But how do you see the current playtest rules affecting this? And hwo owudl you suggest to change them - what would constitue a rules light system and how does that contradict with the current rules given to us?
What I see so far from 5e is that it supports what I am advocating. I've only run one short playtest so far, but combat went fast and was easy to run so I'm encouraged that 5e will deliver what I'm looking for. I will be playtesting some more tonight and we'll see if that opinion still holds up.
My LFR Modules:
Show
EAST1-3 Unbidden (H3) EAST2-3 Nightmares (P1) NETH3-1 Secrets and Shadows (Paragon Tier) (Author) ELTU3-6 True Blue (Heroic Tier) (Author) EPIC3-3 The Tangled Skein of Destiny (Co-Author) ABER4-3 A Little Rebellion (Paragon Tier) (Author) WATE4-1 Paying the Piper (Heroic Tier) (Co-Author)
How does having the classes imbalanced in combat make things better anywhere else?

My thinking is that it just makes combat worse. 
How does having the classes imbalanced in combat make things better anywhere else?

My thinking is that it just makes combat worse. 



Quite honestly, I don't think any random mix of characters/classes should be somehow magically and perfectly equal on the combat field. That's just ridiculous and I believe not a good thing to have. I believe classes/characters should be balanced as a party and that each should contribute to the overall combat to make it a success. That synergy is what is important to me. So, the group as a whole works better with all its components.

And by giving classes unique abilities that translate well outside combat then you have interesting things for characters/classes to do in various situations that a party might encounter throughout an adventure.
My LFR Modules:
Show
EAST1-3 Unbidden (H3) EAST2-3 Nightmares (P1) NETH3-1 Secrets and Shadows (Paragon Tier) (Author) ELTU3-6 True Blue (Heroic Tier) (Author) EPIC3-3 The Tangled Skein of Destiny (Co-Author) ABER4-3 A Little Rebellion (Paragon Tier) (Author) WATE4-1 Paying the Piper (Heroic Tier) (Co-Author)
I always had a problem with this kind of approach.
just because I want my character to be a fighter doesn't mean I want him to be a dumb unsocial brute.
but, on the other hand, usually when I want to make a more socially adept character, i'm forced to suck in combat. classes are there for combat, and only that.
This has been true in any edition of dnd so far, and I do not yet see that next will change that. All they did so far was reintroducing older aspects of the game, not breaking it further apart.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.

Quite honestly, I don't think any random mix of characters/classes should be somehow magically and perfectly equal on the combat field. That's just ridiculous and I believe not a good thing to have.

So you don't want balance...
I believe classes/characters should be balanced as a party and that each should contribute to the overall combat to make it a success. That synergy is what is important to me. So, the group as a whole works better with all its components.

And by giving classes unique abilities that translate well outside combat then you have interesting things for characters/classes to do in various situations that a party might encounter throughout an adventure.


You just want balance.

You've lost me. 
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
How does having the classes imbalanced in combat make things better anywhere else?

My thinking is that it just makes combat worse. 



Quite honestly, I don't think any random mix of characters/classes should be somehow magically and perfectly equal on the combat field. That's just ridiculous and I believe not a good thing to have. I believe classes/characters should be balanced as a party and that each should contribute to the overall combat to make it a success. That synergy is what is important to me. So, the group as a whole works better with all its components.

And by giving classes unique abilities that translate well outside combat then you have interesting things for characters/classes to do in various situations that a party might encounter throughout an adventure.



Well said. ^

I absolutely hate the term 'class balance'. All classes aren't created equal and they shouldn't be. Each class should be strong in a certain area and weak in another. They shouldn't all be good at everything. That is dull and uninspired. The party, ideally, is what you want balanced. Some better at combat than others? That's fine. Those 'others' usually have something they are better at out of combat. The game isn't all about combat and classes shouldn't be designed as such, imo.
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."

Quite honestly, I don't think any random mix of characters/classes should be somehow magically and perfectly equal on the combat field. That's just ridiculous and I believe not a good thing to have.

So you don't want balance...
I believe classes/characters should be balanced as a party and that each should contribute to the overall combat to make it a success. That synergy is what is important to me. So, the group as a whole works better with all its components.

And by giving classes unique abilities that translate well outside combat then you have interesting things for characters/classes to do in various situations that a party might encounter throughout an adventure.


You just want balance.

You've lost me. 

I will stay on the combat aspect of the OPs words and hopefully I will not be considered as putting words in their mouth - I will stand corrected if I understood wrong.

I think what they are trying to say is that while not everyone in any given party will be good with melee, magic, missiles and other combat moves, the party on the whole should be balanced in combat. Players can decide on their expertise according to their roles and customisation of their characters.

I would extrapolate this further into saying that this might end up with party compositions that might have weaknesses and strengths in various combat scenarios and tactics.

And that the rules (more specifically the class powers/skills/abilities) should ensure that everyone may contribute equally to the combat field.

I agree with all of this but the very last part. I feel that not everyone should be able to contribute equally in every given scenario - to attempt to bring this kind of balance to the game is not achievable in my opinion and will probably break the game - at least based on the solutions I have seen or heard up to now.

But I definitely do not see the contradiction you see in the OP's words
How does having the classes imbalanced in combat make things better anywhere else?

My thinking is that it just makes combat worse. 



Quite honestly, I don't think any random mix of characters/classes should be somehow magically and perfectly equal on the combat field. That's just ridiculous and I believe not a good thing to have. I believe classes/characters should be balanced as a party and that each should contribute to the overall combat to make it a success. That synergy is what is important to me. So, the group as a whole works better with all its components.

And by giving classes unique abilities that translate well outside combat then you have interesting things for characters/classes to do in various situations that a party might encounter throughout an adventure.



Well said. ^

I absolutely hate the term 'class balance'. All classes aren't created equal and they shouldn't be. Each class should be strong in a certain area and weak in another. They shouldn't all be good at everything. That is dull and uninspired. The party, ideally, is what you want balanced. Some better at combat than others? That's fine. Those 'others' usually have something they are better at out of combat. The game isn't all about combat and classes shouldn't be designed as such, imo.

That isn't at all what balance means. Balanced classes does not mean that every class is as good at everything as every other class. It does not mean the Wizard can take hits just as well as the Fighter.

Balanced classes just means that no class is cumulatively, overall better than most other class (See: Clerics in 3.5).

If you look at a class and see no real reason to play it or bring it in a group, then that class is not balanced well.

A system with balanced classes still has classes with advantages and disadvantages in certain situations.



On your other point, I disagree. I think balancing out-of-combat and in-combat together is a horrible idea. Don't make one class awful at combat just because he has good skills. Make each class good in-combat and out-of-combat. They can be good at different things, sure: the figher can be exceptional at breaking down doors and the Rogue can sneak and the Wizard can have rituals. But balancing combat prowess with out-of-combat skills has always been a bad idea.
The underlying theme I'm seeing in these forums is a complaint about combat and the abilities or lack thereof of the characters to perform in combat. D&D is not just a game of combat. The fact that the mechanics of combat are being simplified and every class is not balanced perfectly in combat is a good thing in my opinion. Because there is a heck of a lot more to do in D&D than just combat. And characters should all have a chance to shine in different areas of the game.

What I see from 5e is the possibility to actually be able to get the full D&D experience when our group sits down for a session and not just 3-4 hours of grinding combat. I want to be able to engage my players in a plot and story that is interesting. I want them to have fun exploring, finding secret passages, discovering the wonders of the game world, interact with the inhabitants, solve puzzles, and more.

I think that's what was lacking so desperately in 4e. Yes, you could do all those things in 4e, but at the expense of time and the flow of the game. It could become boring and mundane to sit through 1-2 hour combat encounters to get to the next step in the adventure. Combat should be fun and engaging, but not dominate the entire session.

I used to write RPGA tournament modules that took up a 4-hour slot and, if converted to 4e today, would literally take at least 4 of those 4-hour slots to complete. That's just my guess, but there's no doubt that you could do so much more in a 2e adventure in the same amount of time than you can do today in 4e. More combat, more exploration, more role-playing. A much more balanced game. I believe 5e is shaping up to be that kind of game again.


No one is saying D&D is just a game of combat.  However, the vast majority of people don't really need rules for the roleplaying part of the game.  Some people would be happier if the game had no social skills in them whatsoever, and all those things are handled exclusively by roleplaying and DM fiat.  Others want social skills to determine success or failure, or the degree thereof, for characters who are more or less sociable than the player that plays them.  And still others would like to see an updated version of skill challenges for building skill-based encounters.  None of them are wrong.  It's just a matter of personal preference.  And, to be honest, no one is hurt by including these things because DMs can choose to ignore as many or as few of those rules as they wish.

Your biggest issue seems to be that you don't want combat in DDN to take as long as it did in 4e.  You're in luck, because that is one of the stated design goals.  However, that doesn't require stripping out rules and options from the system, and it certainly doesn't require that the fighter's class features be restricted to just "more damage."  Just as there are varying levels of social rules that appeal to different playstyles, so too are there different levels of combat rules to appeal to different playstyles.  And, like the roleplaying part of the game, no group is wrong for wanting DDN to be able to reasonably accommodate the playstyle they enjoy.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

How does having the classes imbalanced in combat make things better anywhere else?

My thinking is that it just makes combat worse. 



Quite honestly, I don't think any random mix of characters/classes should be somehow magically and perfectly equal on the combat field. That's just ridiculous and I believe not a good thing to have. I believe classes/characters should be balanced as a party and that each should contribute to the overall combat to make it a success. That synergy is what is important to me. So, the group as a whole works better with all its components.

And by giving classes unique abilities that translate well outside combat then you have interesting things for characters/classes to do in various situations that a party might encounter throughout an adventure.




@TomJScott, I Agree D&D is not only about combat, but combat is an important and exciting part of it, but RP is the most important thing, and it should happen all the time, including during combat. I think It´s possible to achieve it in 4E, despite the game is encounter oriented, and most rules are base on combat, the clarity and solidity of the system allows a lot of room for roleplay as well.  The core books reads a bit to technical, but as books where released they highlighted RP more and more.


I hope 5E will cover everything, having great combat options and character customization, like 4E, but maybe dressed up in a different way, not so technical. It would favor RP, having flexibility to focus on what you like.


I think AD&D 2E was a great example on how they added modular combat and tactics options on top of the original rules, and it added a lot to the game for those who like that kind of stuff.


Kudos for the modules, I have read True Blue, and it´s very well written!

Well said tomjscott I agree wholeheartedly.

I would add this though: Sometimes, not often, but sometimes I would like the ability to run a session of play with the grid and all of the combat complexity of 4E. Perhaps to resolve the final encounter with the dreaded Lich Lord deep in the bowels of his crypt.

We can do that with a 4E styled Advanced D&D module that we whip out for that session.

What we can't do is easily dumb down 4E to resolve a combat situation in ten minutes, without the grid, and without a ton of highly complex combat maneuvers getting in the way.

We can do that with 1E, 2E, 5E and even 3.5E. I can see resolving the majority of combat situations with5E just fine. Maybe 80-90% of them. That way, like tomjscott said, the party get on to doing other things besides combat.

A note on balance: In a typical tabletop miniatures game having balance is important because it's necessary to create a sense of fairness. Where everyone has a fair chance to win or participate in an even or balanced way. But in an RPG like D&D it isn't necessary or even desirable for each player's character to be contributing evenly or on a balanced footing, because it's not about fairness or winning. It's about the party completing the quest or the party surviving to fight another day, or some other RPG trope. The combat is incidental to the player's experience within the story.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
I think that many roleplay fans gave 4e the miss, because of the subtlty of the Skill Challenge system. Skill Challenges done right is everything good RP is supposed to be- it allowed players to play to their, or the groups immersion level. It rewarded in tangible positive ways, and if you played it right it was equivalent to an encounter worth of experience. Everything a good roleplayer should want. It failed because it was poorly supported to the point that most DMs didn't get (short of hip deep in the magazine articles) any real clue how to develop such a challenge. So, it went the way of the buffalo for most games, and mores the pity. Like good clear, and hopefully fun combat rules that make sense; RP needs good, clear, and rewarding guidelines for success. Next could be amazing if that system is cleaned up the way encounter creation was for 4e.
-Owain 
I said this elsewhere, but this seems an appropriate place to say it again:

4E's (and every other versions of D&D and most other RPGs in general) focus on combat was quite purposeful. COMBAT is the single most important part of the game to balance mathematically. It is also the single biggest part of the game riddled with houserules, with need for DMs to step in and clarify, accept, or deny suggestions, it was the biggest area of the game for rules lawyers to bog down the game.


Codifying the combat section of the game makes that section of the game flow more smoothly. 

This frees up the DMs time to focus on the non-combat aspects of the game, and re-engage in storytelling. 

Outside of combat, every character is generally much more able to successfully be on par with one another. The fighters are still looked to for brute force to get through doors, they are still the go-to individuals for other soldiers and city guard and the like to interact with. Rogues are still the street-savvy information gatherers and urban scouts, and contact with the undergroud areas of society. Clerics are still healers and religious comfort and ties to certain parts of the nobility. Wizards are still sages, and contacts with circles of knowledge seekers and gatherers, and other parts of the nobility.

It is COMBAT where the disparity between the classes is most prevalent, so it is COMBAT where that needs to be reigned in and adjudicated by the rules themselves the most.

Thus, a focus on combat for the mechanical side, and specific, constant articles and light rules for out of combat and fluff, where roleplaying is king instead of numbers and math.

That so many old school players never grasped that is really part of the problem, in my opinion. 4E, for me, was so bloody refreshing, because combat was just not so tipped in favor of one type of character (the casters) over the others, such that those classes are utterly dominating the flow of combat, taking the rest along for the ride.

So...in that regard, the complete lack of codified rules for upkeep of property, chart upon chart of NPCs and how they interact, favors and social appearances, and chart upon chart of crafting and professions and on and on and on left all of that to the imagination of the players and the DM. Not in the hands of a rulebook. That, to me, meant a drastic INCREASE in roleplaying over previous editions. The parts that needed to be balanced and codified were, albeit far from perfectly (yet much more so than in previous editions), and the parts that are just story are left as just story, not given intricate rules. Skill challenges in particular, when done correctly, cover SO MUCH of the non-combat rules all by themselves, it was beautiful, once you got the hang of it.

I don't WANT massive amounts of rules for anything BUT combat, save those spells and abilities that have specific rules implications that need rules to look to for adjudicating their usage in-game. 
I said this elsewhere, but this seems an appropriate place to say it again:

4E's (and every other versions of D&D and most other RPGs in general) focus on combat was quite purposeful. COMBAT is the single most important part of the game to balance mathematically. It is also the single biggest part of the game riddled with houserules, with need for DMs to step in and clarify, accept, or deny suggestions, it was the biggest area of the game for rules lawyers to bog down the game.


Codifying the combat section of the game makes that section of the game flow more smoothly. 

This frees up the DMs time to focus on the non-combat aspects of the game, and re-engage in storytelling. 

Outside of combat, every character is generally much more able to successfully be on par with one another. The fighters are still looked to for brute force to get through doors, they are still the go-to individuals for other soldiers and city guard and the like to interact with. Rogues are still the street-savvy information gatherers and urban scouts, and contact with the undergroud areas of society. Clerics are still healers and religious comfort and ties to certain parts of the nobility. Wizards are still sages, and contacts with circles of knowledge seekers and gatherers, and other parts of the nobility.

It is COMBAT where the disparity between the classes is most prevalent, so it is COMBAT where that needs to be reigned in and adjudicated by the rules themselves the most.

Thus, a focus on combat for the mechanical side, and specific, constant articles and light rules for out of combat and fluff, where roleplaying is king instead of numbers and math.

That so many old school players never grasped that is really part of the problem, in my opinion. 4E, for me, was so bloody refreshing, because combat was just not so tipped in favor of one type of character (the casters) over the others, such that those classes are utterly dominating the flow of combat, taking the rest along for the ride.

So...in that regard, the complete lack of codified rules for upkeep of property, chart upon chart of NPCs and how they interact, favors and social appearances, and chart upon chart of crafting and professions and on and on and on left all of that to the imagination of the players and the DM. Not in the hands of a rulebook. That, to me, meant a drastic INCREASE in roleplaying over previous editions. The parts that needed to be balanced and codified were, albeit far from perfectly (yet much more so than in previous editions), and the parts that are just story are left as just story, not given intricate rules. Skill challenges in particular, when done correctly, cover SO MUCH of the non-combat rules all by themselves, it was beautiful, once you got the hang of it.

I don't WANT massive amounts of rules for anything BUT combat, save those spells and abilities that have specific rules implications that need rules to look to for adjudicating their usage in-game. 




+1 to this. Because combat is decided primarily with dice rolls, that is where the bulk of the rules need to be concentrated. I know many groups out there role play more than roll play, but do we need pages upon pages of rules covering events outside of combat? That is where the DM (and quite possibility the players) move the events that best fit the story. There were constant cries that 4E was too combat oriented, but that did not stop the DM and players from progressing the plot as they see fit.
I will agree with TomJScott about the faster combat being a good thing. My wife really couldn't handle the longer fights in 4E, though I kinda liked them. I think the area many people have rankled on is the fact that the fighter came in as a very simple, option-less (yet effective), playstyle, while the wizard and clerics came in with significantly more options. If we end up with a more complex Fighter version more like a Warblade, and a simpler wizard (probably Sorceror?) than in the end I suspect these groups will relax.  

In either case, if they add something like OA's, I'll be very happy with the current combat system as a foundation for fast  fights, and will also look forward to layering on the tactical module for the right situations.  I agree that faster fights are a good thing and hope that they continue even with the tactical module (thought probably still longer than using the base rules).
The underlying theme I'm seeing in these forums is a complaint about combat and the abilities or lack thereof of the characters to perform in combat. D&D is not just a game of combat. The fact that the mechanics of combat are being simplified and every class is not balanced perfectly in combat is a good thing in my opinion. Because there is a heck of a lot more to do in D&D than just combat. And characters should all have a chance to shine in different areas of the game.

What I see from 5e is the possibility to actually be able to get the full D&D experience when our group sits down for a session and not just 3-4 hours of grinding combat. I want to be able to engage my players in a plot and story that is interesting. I want them to have fun exploring, finding secret passages, discovering the wonders of the game world, interact with the inhabitants, solve puzzles, and more.

I think that's what was lacking so desperately in 4e. Yes, you could do all those things in 4e, but at the expense of time and the flow of the game. It could become boring and mundane to sit through 1-2 hour combat encounters to get to the next step in the adventure. Combat should be fun and engaging, but not dominate the entire session.

I used to write RPGA tournament modules that took up a 4-hour slot and, if converted to 4e today, would literally take at least 4 of those 4-hour slots to complete. That's just my guess, but there's no doubt that you could do so much more in a 2e adventure in the same amount of time than you can do today in 4e. More combat, more exploration, more role-playing. A much more balanced game. I believe 5e is shaping up to be that kind of game again.





I agree.  You see people making that mistake over and over as if DnD is just some kind of combat sim game.

Yes there is often combat in the game but it should never have been allowed to massively balloon out to take hours to resolve.

From what I have seen re: Combat in Next, at least that issue seems to have been successfully resolved.

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This is why Next has to focus on adventure design and not encounter design.

With adventure design, you have to think about the 4 fights, 2 traps, 1 puzzle, 2 locks,2 hidden objects, 1 pack of wild animals, and 2 talkative NPCs.

With encounter design, you have to segment everthing so each combat encounter grants everyone has nearly equal time, each exploration encounter grants everyone nearly equal time, that every social enc....

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Just to clarify once again for those who have jumped in this conversation and are saying things like they don't want intricate rules for non-combat things. I never said I wanted that either. I absolutely do not want that. I do not like skill challenges and I hope they never return. Anything beyond combat should be extremely rules light and mostly guidelines. I'm just stating that combat is not the only thing to do in D&D and should therefore not dominate a play session to the exclusion of the other fun elements of D&D. With quick combats we can do much more in a game session, even more combat if that's what you like, but not the same combat for 1-2 hours.
My LFR Modules:
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EAST1-3 Unbidden (H3) EAST2-3 Nightmares (P1) NETH3-1 Secrets and Shadows (Paragon Tier) (Author) ELTU3-6 True Blue (Heroic Tier) (Author) EPIC3-3 The Tangled Skein of Destiny (Co-Author) ABER4-3 A Little Rebellion (Paragon Tier) (Author) WATE4-1 Paying the Piper (Heroic Tier) (Co-Author)
Just to clarify once again for those who have jumped in this conversation and are saying things like they don't want intricate rules for non-combat things. I never said I wanted that either. I absolutely do not want that. I do not like skill challenges and I hope they never return. Anything beyond combat should be extremely rules light and mostly guidelines. I'm just stating that combat is not the only thing to do in D&D and should therefore not dominate a play session to the exclusion of the other fun elements of D&D. With quick combats we can do much more in a game session, even more combat if that's what you like, but not the same combat for 1-2 hours.



The return of Save or Die, OHKO weapon kills, and massive damage vs low hp will all speed up combat. Combat will not based around 6+ round minimums a fight. Classes that can nova can "erase" fights quickly.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I do like skill challenges, or rather I like the idea of them. They've been evolving over the course of the last couple of years and I think that they are now at a level of sophistication where they could again be retooled and offered up in an advanced module of optional rules. They probably don't belong in the core rules.

The reason that I like them is that they bring a new element to the game, they're not strictly speaking combat and nor are they a roleplaying element per se. But a hybrid that brings a choreographed set of interactions to the game. The reason that this is a useful piece of gaming rules is that skill challenges necessarily bring a certain degree of complexity to a given situation that you wouldn't probably get in an old school 1E through 3E game.

Take for example the situation where a character goes into town to purchase some healing potions. Typically this would be role played off the cuff with perhaps a simple back and forth between the player and DM. With the skill challenge the DM can quickly add some chance to the outcome using a predefined mechanic. Which would in and off itself create a richer more involved session of play.

However, I wouldn't use skill challenges for every situations only those that I wanted to create a little extra dynamic. So I do hope they manage to make their way into the game at some level and in some incarnation.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.