Need help on how to counter an over relied upon tactic by a PC

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Overall we have a good game, but I've found that a few of my PCs have become over-reliant on a few At-Will powers. One of the most frustrating is used by the Elf Druid. She has an At-Will Power called "Grasping Tide." It's initially an attack against Fortitude. With a successful hit the damage is light (1d6 + Wis) but "until the end of the Druid's next turn, if the target leaves the burst's (burst 1) area of effect, you can use an opportunity action to make a secondary attack against it." The second attack is against Reflex and if successful knock's the target prone.

She is using this attack multiple times in each encounter and locking up NPCs that I need to get into close combat. I'm trying to figure out how to thwart this attack. So a couple questions.

1) The power, as written, leaves no option for the monster to leave the burst without impact. My interpretation is the method of departure doesn't matter. So walking, flying, teleporting, whatever leaves the monster exposed. Am I interpreting this correctly.

2) I'd like to encourage her to use a little more variety by thwarting her use of it. I've blinded her but that gets old and frustrating for her. I'd love to find some power that would bounce the attack off the monster and onto one of the other PCs. Any thoughts?
How many opponents are you using? If she locks down one NPC, just use the others to deal with her. Once they're close enough, she'll provoke an OA for using that power as it's ranged.

Give your foes a ranged attack. Even if they're less effective with their ranged attack, at least they won't be completely useless.

Use critters with higher reflex defenses so she doesn't hit each time.

Don't clump up your targets so that she can hit several of them at once.

Btw, the power targets creatures, so it's not party-friendly (unless it's been errataed).
1) I share your interpretation. It is a vortex holding the monster in, not something that happens when they walk out of the area.

2) You can easily make her power useless (Monsters with high Fortitude, Monsters that have something against opportunity attacks), but I feel this is the wrong way to go. Empower your player's, don't make them smaller.
I would try talking to the player. Or maybe try something fun with the whole group, for the next encounter they can't use a power more than once (might be difficult for fighters). Or let the monsters get annoyed by this attack and only go after her.
At the risk of parroting the obvious, throw in some alternative combat goals. Specifically, force the players to go on the offensive (preferably through asymmetric, challenging terrain). Trying to get your monsters into melee isn't hard when the PCs -have- to go past them, especially if they only have a limited number of rounds to do so.

Try to avoid encounters that center around a solo (especially a melee solo) and pump up the number of minions. Throw in some timed triggers ("On round three reinforcements arrive behind the party's starting position") to shake things up. If you have a big melee monster, make sure he is at least large or has reach so that he still has some manuever room within the burst 1 effect. And yes, mix in plenty of monsters that have alternative ranged attacks. I agree with fiLR that nothing is more frustrating for a player than having a perfectly legal tactic be mitigated by DM-metagaming, but there's nothing wrong with monsters who know about the druid's reputation to take appropriate steps to protect themselves.
How many opponents are you using? If she locks down one NPC, just use the others to deal with her. Once they're close enough, she'll provoke an OA for using that power as it's ranged.



Note that this won't work on the secondary attack. The secondary part to the power has no range. It is an option for the initial attack though.

Use critters with higher reflex defenses so she doesn't hit each time.



Keep in mind that the attack must hit a target to allow her to use the secondary attack against it, so any creatures with a big fort defense are also viable. No initial hit means no secondary attack chance till next turn.

Give your foes a ranged attack. Even if they're less effective with their ranged attack, at least they won't be completely useless.

Don't clump up your targets so that she can hit several of them at once.

Btw, the power targets creatures, so it's not party-friendly (unless it's been errataed).



These are also good options. In addition, as the second attack is an opportunity action, consider adding in monsters that can move their allies forcibly, as forced movement does not trigger opportunity actions.

All this being said, you don't want to completely eliminate that attack from her repitoire every encounter. Give her an encounter every now and again to make as good of use of the power as she is now in addition to some encounters where her other options might work better.

Happy Gaming
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I don't want it take it away completely but I'd like to push her out of the comfort zone From time to time. Plus I get frustrated fighting against it from time to time.
Locking up your NPCs is kinda her job.  Sounds like she is doing it right to me.  If she's spamming it, you're using to many melee mobs.  Throw some ranged attackers at her which don't have to leave the square to be effective. 

Perhaps using something like the binder at-will power that makes everything beyond 3 squares invisible to her would be useful.  She's not completely locked down, but she can't stop your melees at long range.

Teleport based melees could also be useful.  Let them simply teleport out of the square so she doesn't get the extra attack on you.

In short, don't negate the power.  That's only going to make her feel like she's getting a raw deal for playing her character correctly.  Negate the power's usefulness by changing up the type of encounters that she's facing, so it's not the optimal power to use.
Pretty much what crzyhawk said.

Check out some of the sample encounters in DDI, the MMs or the modules to see what a good, balanced enemy party looks like. For example, check out the suggested otyugh encounter from MM1. You have three soldiers, a controller and an artillery. The controller and the artillery will be dangerous as long as they are active. The otyugh has reach 3, so even if he gets locked down he can threaten up to 4 squares away (and pull those he hits to further shift the battlefield).   The druid can still be very useful locking down the other two soldiers, but if she wants to be optimally useful after they are taken care of she'll need to switch tactics.
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