trying some new rules

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I'm a new DM and have been DM'ing a group, 3 adult family members and a friend of mine. We play 4e one session per week and have been playing for about 2 months now. Last session the group members were getting really bored and distracted during encounters and i realized that aside from the monsters not dealing enough damage  to make it exciting, they all just seem to do thier own thing rather than work together which leads to people sitting around waiting for thier turn to roll and paying no attention to what is going on at the table.

So stealing some mechanics from WoW I decided to try something different. the party consists of a hybrid avenger/prot pally, brutal scoundrel rogue, hybrid ardent/cleric and elemental sorcerer. So we have a tank, healer and two DPS, why not have them work together by having the pally actually tank the monsters, the cleric do at will heals while still being able to deal damage and the rogue and sorcerer focus on damage.
Also the Paladin will have the highest initiative bonus in the party, right now the rogue has a +11 on init and the pally has a +3.  it just makes more sense for the tank to take the lead in combat rather than the rogue.

I made some modifications to where the pally has some aggro generation and ranged pulls. in addition this gets the pally to get to the front of the group rather than her usual system of trying to hang in the back with the clothies lol

Paladin (tank): A tank is a character whose primary role is to absorb damage and prevent others from being attacked. Tanks are “meatshields”, so to speak, putting themselves between the enemy and the more vulnerable party members. The tanks main job is to hold create and hold aggro, meaning that the tank taunts and creates higher threat than any other party member to the enemys, causing them to attack only the tank. If another player generates a high amount of threat, for instance the sorcerer does an AOE attack that causes massive damage, the tank my lose threat and the enemy will begin to attack the sorcerer instead.

Paladin threat is generated by abilities such as concecration

Consecration – high threat AOE spell temporarily infuses the ground with holy power, 1d6 damage to all hostile creatures who tread upon it, can be used once per round as a minor action. consecration is an area burst 2, the attack will move out 2 squares from the paladin in all directions, in addition any creature affected by consecration who does not include the paladin in thier next attack takes 1d8 damage and a -2 penalty to attack and damage rolls.

Flying Shield – a ranged attack where the paladin throws thier shield and hits up to 3 targets within 2 squares of one another and does 1d6 damage to tagets hit by the attack. Targets must be witin 6 squares of the paladin to use this ability, may be used up to twice per encounter, generats a high amount of threat

for the Cleric, heals on a points/mana system that can be used anytime in an encounter. all powers with healing lose the healing portion but maintain the attack /damage portion

Healing : The cleric will have a total of 5 at will heals to use for each encounter, heals are based on a mana point system. once all heal points are expended she will have to use a mana potion as a minor action and the recharge will take 2 rounds at which time she will not be able to heal. The Tank is priority for the healer. Each heal allows the player to gain HP equal to thier surge value.

I ran some pen and paper simcrafting using the rules and it seemed to work well, I used a group of 5 monsters 1 lvl higher than the pc's, consecration forced me as the dm to keep the monsters attacking the pally in order to avoid the damage and attack penalty. the cleric used 4 heals on the pally and one to the rogue before having to take a mana pot recharge. I did the sims using actual rolls for hits and damage and it seems to work pretty well, the pally took a beating but survived , rogue drew aggro once with a big sneak attack hit and the squishys were safe at a distance. I tried a few different setups and each were tough but when they worked together they were able to pull through it.

I didn't read all of your fixes, because I don't think they'll help.  If players are distracted during combats that seem to grind on, it's more of a problem on your side of the screen.  Yes, the players need to know how how their character's role (defender, striker, etc) interacts with others on the table, and they need to build their PCs in a way that makes them not suck at it.  But you're the one running the show.  If all of your encounters involve your players pounding on sacks of hit points, it's gonna get boring real quick.  You need to fix your encounters.  Make sure you're using up-to-date damage numbers, and that you aren't encouraging their behavior by being stupid with Team Monster.  The game works pretty well on it's own, figure it all out before you go making sweeping changes to the mechanical core.

edit:  I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but lots of people start playing 4E and they basically don't learn anything about how it works, then try to change stuff to force their idea of what it should be.  Take the time to learn the system, and you'll see what it's capable of.  Tell your players to read some CharOp handbooks to see what a character can do. 

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

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