Slay Living Traps and Save vs. Death in 4th Edition

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Greetings,
    I have began converting some old 3.5 stuff to 4e and one of the traps Im working on now is slay living.  I've read a few different ways to have something like this in the game however it's usually suggested to just make this trap do a large amount of damage with ongoing damage until the character saves.  While I don't think this is a bad way to do it, it lacks the threat of an old school slay living trap.  I want to preserve the save vs. death mechanic as I think it will suprise my players and keep them on their toes.  
   Here is what I'm thinking.

The character\creature that sets off the trap is the target.  The trap attacks Fort at a+17, if it hits the target gets to make a death save, if they fail they die.  If they succeed the trap does 3d12+8 necrotic  damage plus 10 necrotic on going damage (save ends).  This adventure is designed for Four 10th level characters.  Does this sound to harsh?  Or does it seem ok?  Any suggestions on how you would do it is appreciated.  Thanks all.
Greetings,
    I have began converting some old 3.5 stuff to 4e and one of the traps Im working on now is slay living.  I've read a few different ways to have something like this in the game however it's usually suggested to just make this trap do a large amount of damage with ongoing damage until the character saves.  While I don't think this is a bad way to do it, it lacks the threat of an old school slay living trap.  I want to preserve the save vs. death mechanic as I think it will suprise my players and keep them on their toes.  
   Here is what I'm thinking.

The character\creature that sets off the trap is the target.  The trap attacks Fort at a+17, if it hits the target gets to make a death save, if they fail they die.  If they succeed the trap does 3d12+8 necrotic  damage plus 10 necrotic on going damage (save ends).  This adventure is designed for Four 10th level characters.  Does this sound to harsh?  Or does it seem ok?  Any suggestions on how you would do it is appreciated.  Thanks all.



Is this a one shot?

Or have the players leveled their characters from one to ten already? Have they become attached? Have they complained about lethality (or the lack thereof) in the game?

It sounds like you have a solution looking for a problem. Before dropping this on an unsuspecting group of players, it is time to have a frank discussion with them about what kind of game you want to run, and what kind of game they want to take part in. You want the "threat of an old school" D&D game. Do they?

4E was designed to evoke heroic fantasy. That is part of the reason why the characters make all of the attack rolls (instead of the monster saving v Reflex), why the "country bumpkin phase" is relegated to backgrounds and themes, and why "save or die" (and "save or suck") is gone. "You open the door, light flashes, you die" is neither heroic nor fun (clarification: In my opinion, it is not fun, YMMV).

In a game where combat takes a long time to narrate and resolve, do you really want to have exploration take just as long or longer as the players poke every five foot square with a stick (from 15 feet away), examine every single door for traps (or, just everything, because anything could be a trap). Be careful about how you reintroduce "Gotcha!!" DMing back into 4E. It may very well turn the game from the players against the world you provide for them into the players against you (personally). They will stop interacting with the world, and begin metagaming against you.

Greetings,
    I have began converting some old 3.5 stuff to 4e and one of the traps Im working on now is slay living.  I've read a few different ways to have something like this in the game however it's usually suggested to just make this trap do a large amount of damage with ongoing damage until the character saves.  While I don't think this is a bad way to do it, it lacks the threat of an old school slay living trap.  I want to preserve the save vs. death mechanic as I think it will suprise my players and keep them on their toes.  
   Here is what I'm thinking.

The character\creature that sets off the trap is the target.  The trap attacks Fort at a+17, if it hits the target gets to make a death save, if they fail they die.  If they succeed the trap does 3d12+8 necrotic  damage plus 10 necrotic on going damage (save ends).  This adventure is designed for Four 10th level characters.  Does this sound to harsh?  Or does it seem ok?  Any suggestions on how you would do it is appreciated.  Thanks all.

Here's the thing: that so called "threat" has only 2 settings: you get to do nothing until you get resurrected (if at all), and you were never threatened at all.  In other words, no real suspense unless you do other stuff to add to the suspense (and I say this as a CRPG player who has endured countless reloads because of save-or-die spells from 2E/3E-based CRPGs; they're never exciting if it happens -- just annoying to horrifying (if I ended up wasting several hours' worth of gaming) -- and it's forgettable when it doesn't happen).  Besides, 4E gives players three death saves before they actually die.  Why not make use of that?

Here's how I'd suggest you do it (inspired from a monster who does, in fact, have a save or die mechanic in 4E):

Attack: +17 vs. Fortitude
Hit: The target is knocked unconscious (save ends). Until the target saves from this effect, the first save it must make is a death saving throw.
Aftereffect: The target takes 3d12+8 necrotic damage and 5 ongoing necrotic damage (save ends).
Miss: 3d12+8 necrotic damage.



An alternative:

Attack: +17 vs. Fortitude
Hit: The target is slowed (save ends).
First Failed Save: The target is immobilized and weakened instead (save ends both).
Second Failed Save: The target dies.
Aftereffect: The target takes 5 ongoing necrotic damage (save ends).
Effect: The target takes 3d12+8 necrotic damage.



EDIT: The latter kills PCs faster (2 saves vs. the former's 3 failed death saves), but the former is much harder to recover from, since if you save from the latter you can stand back up with your three death saves out to save you later in the encounter, but the former includes your death saving throws... which means that when you fail two death saving throws then save against the former's effect, the next failed death save will automatically kill you (death saves are counted on a per encounter basis).
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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.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
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
There is also a shaman power that seperates the targets soul from it's body.
The mechanics are unconcious save ends fail 3 saves to end this effect and die.

While not as fast a "death spell trap" that steals healing surges could be scary especially if it causes damage if you don't have enough surges like wraiths do.   
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
There is a reason that traps don't have save or die mechanic now. Historically players don't enjoy it, even if a DM thinks it's a cool threat or challenge. People have given you some good advice. I would suggest thinking of some other way to introduce tension and fear. You need the characters to be alive for a few rounds to achieve this.
There is a reason that traps don't have save or die mechanic now. Historically players don't enjoy it, even if a DM thinks it's a cool threat or challenge. People have given you some good advice. I would suggest thinking of some other way to introduce tension and fear. You need the characters to be alive for a few rounds to achieve this.



Yeah, save-or-die was the antithesis of 'tension and fear', because there was no buildup, no suspense.  "Roll a d20.  You're dead."  No tension, just boredom and lameness.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
There is also a shaman power that seperates the targets soul from it's body.
The mechanics are unconcious save ends fail 3 saves to end this effect and die.

While not as fast a "death spell trap" that steals healing surges could be scary especially if it causes damage if you don't have enough surges like wraiths do.   


Loss of surges is the eternal bane of my LFR players, with or without the damage-vs.-surgeless additional penalties.  Having to wade through hordes of enemies with almost no healing to back you up?  I think that should be some pretty interesting fear-inducing stuff then and there
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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.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
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
To the OP: check out Fourthcore, and more here.

I play in a 'Fourthcore' campaign right now, and we all love it. But it's obviously not for everyone. There are the occassional Save vs Death traps, though they are few and far between. Most often it's save vs take on a nasty effect and/or lose a ton of surges.

We also play with something called 'Blight.' Which can build up over time and then kill you.

Again, we love it... but it's not for everyone.
A couple of my group miss save vs death and one shots, thats why i bring it up.  Though I think takeing a large amount of damage and loseing surges is really mean as well.  That may work.  Personally I'm not a fan of the mechanic but there are people in my group that are. Also have any of you tried halfing everything's HP players and Monsters?  I imagine this speeds things up a bit, but I worry that it could spell doom for the players.  We like 4th edition but are looking at ways to modify it as we all feel there is a lack of threat.
A couple of my group miss save vs death and one shots, thats why i bring it up.  Though I think takeing a large amount of damage and loseing surges is really mean as well.  That may work.  Personally I'm not a fan of the mechanic but there are people in my group that are. Also have any of you tried halfing everything's HP players and Monsters?  I imagine this speeds things up a bit, but I worry that it could spell doom for the players.  We like 4th edition but are looking at ways to modify it as we all feel there is a lack of threat.


Here are a couple of deadlier modifications I might suggest:


  • Reduce the healing surges of all classes (except the Vampire, which already has just 2 surges) to 5.


    • As Vampirism can easily bypass just about everything mentioned here, I suggest the Vampire's class feature that allows them to fully recover damage at the end of battle require one roll of 16+ on a d20.


  • All game elements that increase number of healing surges (including Constitution) should instead increase healing surge value by an amount equal to the number of healing surges they normally grant.

  • Each extended rest does not recover hit points; instead, PCs recover a number of healing surges equal to their Constitution modifier 


    • if they have a Constitution modifier of 0 or less, they recover healing surges every 2 extended rests.


  • Game elements that offer surgeless healing grant half their normal healing.

  • Death saving throws require a 16 or better, instead of a 10 or better


    • to make up for this, succeeding the save automatically lets you spend a healing surge.


  • Remove all game elements that improve the death saving throw.


    • Make failed death saving throws only count at the end of the dying PC's turn, not for each attempt


      • I'm assuming the rules already take this into consideration, but if not, please consider it since death saving throws would be far more brutal in the above setup




With this setup, even if you run campaigns as normal, the strain on the players' resources should be more apparent, because even though each encounter might not seem threatening, having to adventure with virtually no healing is a real enough threat to the characters.
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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.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
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
A couple of my group miss save vs death and one shots, thats why i bring it up.  Though I think takeing a large amount of damage and loseing surges is really mean as well.  That may work.  Personally I'm not a fan of the mechanic but there are people in my group that are. Also have any of you tried halfing everything's HP players and Monsters?  I imagine this speeds things up a bit, but I worry that it could spell doom for the players.  We like 4th edition but are looking at ways to modify it as we all feel there is a lack of threat.


Here are a couple of deadlier modifications I might suggest:


  • Reduce the healing surges of all classes (except the Vampire, which already has just 2 surges) to 5.


    • As Vampirism can easily bypass just about everything mentioned here, I suggest the Vampire's class feature that allows them to fully recover damage at the end of battle require one roll of 16+ on a d20.


  • All game elements that increase number of healing surges (including Constitution) should instead increase healing surge value by an amount equal to the number of healing surges they normally grant.

  • Each extended rest does not recover hit points; instead, PCs recover a number of healing surges equal to their Constitution modifier 


    • if they have a Constitution modifier of 0 or less, they recover healing surges every 2 extended rests.


  • Game elements that offer surgeless healing grant half their normal healing.

  • Death saving throws require a 16 or better, instead of a 10 or better


    • to make up for this, succeeding the save automatically lets you spend a healing surge.


  • Remove all game elements that improve the death saving throw.


    • Make failed death saving throws only count at the end of the dying PC's turn, not for each attempt


      • I'm assuming the rules already take this into consideration, but if not, please consider it since death saving throws would be far more brutal in the above setup




With this setup, even if you run campaigns as normal, the strain on the players' resources should be more apparent, because even though each encounter might not seem threatening, having to adventure with virtually no healing is a real enough threat to the characters.




I think you're going way out of the way to make the game challenging. There is already a ton of material out there that ups the difficulty level without changing the basic nature of the game.

One of the biggest ways I've seen it done/done it myself is to attack healing surges directly. Maybe a monster's at-will is two attacks, and if they both hit, the player loses a surge. A disease based trap and every failed save, you lose a surge. A player gets cursed and has only half their normal surges until the curse is lifted, etc.


A couple of my group miss save vs death and one shots, thats why i bring it up.  Though I think takeing a large amount of damage and loseing surges is really mean as well.  That may work.  Personally I'm not a fan of the mechanic but there are people in my group that are. Also have any of you tried halfing everything's HP players and Monsters?  I imagine this speeds things up a bit, but I worry that it could spell doom for the players.  We like 4th edition but are looking at ways to modify it as we all feel there is a lack of threat.


Here are a couple of deadlier modifications I might suggest:


  • Reduce the healing surges of all classes (except the Vampire, which already has just 2 surges) to 5.


    • As Vampirism can easily bypass just about everything mentioned here, I suggest the Vampire's class feature that allows them to fully recover damage at the end of battle require one roll of 16+ on a d20.


  • All game elements that increase number of healing surges (including Constitution) should instead increase healing surge value by an amount equal to the number of healing surges they normally grant.

  • Each extended rest does not recover hit points; instead, PCs recover a number of healing surges equal to their Constitution modifier 


    • if they have a Constitution modifier of 0 or less, they recover healing surges every 2 extended rests.


  • Game elements that offer surgeless healing grant half their normal healing.

  • Death saving throws require a 16 or better, instead of a 10 or better


    • to make up for this, succeeding the save automatically lets you spend a healing surge.


  • Remove all game elements that improve the death saving throw.


    • Make failed death saving throws only count at the end of the dying PC's turn, not for each attempt


      • I'm assuming the rules already take this into consideration, but if not, please consider it since death saving throws would be far more brutal in the above setup




With this setup, even if you run campaigns as normal, the strain on the players' resources should be more apparent, because even though each encounter might not seem threatening, having to adventure with virtually no healing is a real enough threat to the characters.




I think you're going way out of the way to make the game challenging. There is already a ton of material out there that ups the difficulty level without changing the basic nature of the game.

One of the biggest ways I've seen it done/done it myself is to attack healing surges directly. Maybe a monster's at-will is two attacks, and if they both hit, the player loses a surge. A disease based trap and every failed save, you lose a surge. A player gets cursed and has only half their normal surges until the curse is lifted, etc.



Well, I am nicknamed "Evil DM" for a reason That said, the reason why I mentioned this is because A) an undead/plague/curse-centric game isn't always going to cut it, and B) by halving HP without halving damage, combat can be both too deadly and too fast, whereas restricting the daily healing combined with the errata to the DMG allows for combat to flow as normal, yet the threat of death becomes much more real with each surge spent.

As for Vamps, they can always suck surges during combat and spend that, plus they can always utilize their ally's healing surges to gain alot of hit points.
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

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.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
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
Look at video and computer games.  See how they've evolved past instant kills?  It's because those kinds of things are lame. 
  You could play great, do all the right things.  Start killing Gobrotol to save the world!  You get him down to almost nothing and then...SAVE OR DIE!  Yep!  There goes the climax for everybody who worked so hard, but rolled that one! 
But hey, sucks for them.  ATLEAST YOU GOT TO KILL A PLAYER, RIGHT?

Save or die was phased out a long time ago for good reason.
My experience with conditions that worsen with each failed save and finally results in death are actually quite good. It does add tension to the battle, but I have not yet any PC die because of it and ultimately the sense of looming death is fun while actual death rarely is.

Another thing to keep in mind though, is that in 4e most save or die traps where single events, for example when opening a trapped door. Such traps in my experience never really worked, there simply was no tension. The few times I adapted such traps, I turned them either into a quick encounter with a "solo"-trap that does a lot more than triger a save or die effect or I simply let it deal a massive amount of damage.
Look at video and computer games.  See how they've evolved past instant kills?  It's because those kinds of things are lame. 
  You could play great, do all the right things.  Start killing Gobrotol to save the world!  You get him down to almost nothing and then...SAVE OR DIE!  Yep!  There goes the climax for everybody who worked so hard, but rolled that one! 
But hey, sucks for them.  ATLEAST YOU GOT TO KILL A PLAYER, RIGHT?

Save or die was phased out a long time ago for good reason.



Some people really like it. Thus "Demon Souls/Dark Souls" have sold quite a number of copies.
Look at video and computer games.  See how they've evolved past instant kills?  It's because those kinds of things are lame. 
  You could play great, do all the right things.  Start killing Gobrotol to save the world!  You get him down to almost nothing and then...SAVE OR DIE!  Yep!  There goes the climax for everybody who worked so hard, but rolled that one! 
But hey, sucks for them.  ATLEAST YOU GOT TO KILL A PLAYER, RIGHT?

Save or die was phased out a long time ago for good reason.



Some people really like it. Thus "Demon Souls/Dark Souls" have sold quite a number of copies.


Videogames are different. Instant kill? You can just reload, no problems. I mean, I can't stand save or die in D&D, but I'm the kind of gamer who finished I Wanna be the Guy. Hard difficulty. Yeah.
I personally love save or die, but that's because we have some fantastic house rules around death and reincarnation. And I completely understand why some people would hate it, but for the people that want it, we should make it as sound as anything else added to the game.
Thanks for the advice.  Take away healing surges seems like a good way to go, and I hadn't thought of that.  I love the tactical, teamwork based, combat of 4th edition but I also feel like it drags on too long some times, and thats why I though halfing HP would be a good way to deal with that.  A moster with 300 hp would still have HP wich sounds like a lot to me. Though I have never played paragon levels nor has anyone in my group.  Has anyone tried doing this?  It kinda stinks to lose a whole gameing session to a single orc ambush, I mean yeah sure the fight is fun but we also wanna keep the pace up.  I think I still wanna implement save vs death on a trap basis, but maybe try something like this.

Attack vs Fort +16
Hit 20 ongoing necrotic damage and player begins to make death saves, on 3 failed death saves the player dies.

Miss Player takes 3d12+8 damage and 10 ongoing necrotic damage and loses 1 healing surge. Save ends ongoing damage.

I think the rolling of deathsaves after they are hit by the trap will add tension.  Any thoughts on this?
 
I've never lacked for players feeling mortal at my tables and I don't mess with healing surges most of the time.  What I do mess with is how much characters get hit for.  Auto-damage, auras, things that hit like a truck are something my players are used to dealing with and feeling challenged.  Remember that players also die at negative bloodied and if your players don't see unconscious very often maybe you need to up the challenge for them.  As a DM you have a literally infinite toolbox to challenge the player, changing the base rules just seems silly when your rules for what you throw at them don't even exist.

A Few things I've done in my game:

Stacking buff that was (Save Ends) that the players at first thought they wanted, but when they save against it causes a nova of damage to them and everyone around them.
2 Different auras that hurt individually but stack for extra damage when put together. (One aura deals 5 radiant a turn, the other does 5 fire.  Together they do 15 fire and radiant and increase ongoing damage taken by 5).
Monsters that do double damage to players with a specific status condition on them (Stun/immobilized/ongoing damage)
Monsters that reflect damage done to them.
Monsters that engulf players and half damage dealt to the monster is dealt to the player engulfed.

Mess with the rules on your side of the screen.  Its easier since you can always fudge things if they were too hard, or add an extra layer of difficulty if the players are blitzing through it. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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If combat's going too long, it's probably because either the party damage is too low or your players don't know their characters well enough. Or both.



No I don't think that's the case.  Our Rogue did nuts damage, our Paladin did his job a little too well, the Rune Priest was a healing god, and our Druid did a fine job at controlling the battle field.  Our Barbarian could roll above a 6 though...  It just takes too long to chip away 400 hp, I want non minions to put up a fight and throw out some damage but I don't want them to get hit 10 times and keep going...


60 damage non crit with one hit from a sling sounds pretty good to me.
No I don't think that's the case.  Our Rogue did nuts damage, our Paladin did his job a little too well, the Rune Priest was a healing god, and our Druid did a fine job at controlling the battle field.  Our Barbarian could roll above a 6 though...  It just takes too long to chip away 400 hp, I want non minions to put up a fight and throw out some damage but I don't want them to get hit 10 times and keep going...

If combat's going too long, it's probably because the only way for the PCs to win is to chip away hit points to zero. Not only does that take forever, it's not particularly interesting for any length of time. Explore other ways for one side or the other to win, ideally without having to wipe out the other side.





[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Maybe my perception of "too long" is out of whak.  How long should an average challenging combat encouter last?
 
We are talking heroic level not epic.  The rogue did 60 damage in heroic tier.  Is that still considered low?
Maybe my perception of "too long" is out of whak.  How long should an average challenging combat encouter last?

Until just before it stops being fun.

You have a lot of control over this. Monsters don't have to avoid OAs, or hoard their HPs. It's more plausible if the monsters have a goal that's more important that mere survival, but you can always chalk it up to the monsters being mindless, or insane, or alien, or enraged.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I know mosters don't have 400 hp in heroic.  They have like 200 wich still feels inflated to me.  I don't know what the rogue did to do that.  I was the healer in that game, but it was crazy, something with sneak attack with backstabber, a magic weapon, hunters quarry from Warrior of the Wild feat.  All i know is the rogue did crazy high damage. 
As I said, I don't know what the rogue was doing, and wasn't running the game.  We may have been.  All I'm saying is stuff felt like it took a lot longer than we were accustomed to comming from Pathfinder.  Was combat more enjoyable, intresting, and tactical?  Yes it was.  Did the Orc Solo boss and Dracolich take forever to kill?  Also yes.
 
As I said, I don't know what the rogue was doing, and wasn't running the game.  We may have been.  All I'm saying is stuff felt like it took a lot longer than we were accustomed to comming from Pathfinder.  Was combat more enjoyable, intresting, and tactical?  Yes it was.  Did the Orc Solo boss and Dracolich take forever to kill?  Also yes.
 



To phrase things a little better:

Do your normal combats last longer than 5 rounds?

As far as the rogue thing is concerned Erachima is a CharOp person.  When someone says "nuts damage" he wants a number.  When someone gives a number that seems too high, he wants to know "how".

The reasoning is that, lets take a normal bargain-bin 3[W]+Stat hit in heroic.

Weapon [3(1d4)] + SA (2d8) + Dex (6) + Str (4) + Weapon (2) +  Expertise/Focus (2) + Quarry (1d6)

That should be about as hard as a normal hit is going to get, erring on the side of too much stat.  Lets say he didn't crit, but rolled max everything.

12+16+6+4+2+2+6 = 48 points of damage.

So when you say they did 60 damage, the question becomes "Ok, how". Did they do 60 damage on their action point turn blowing a daily or more and rolling very well?  Ok, thats totally in the realm of doable.  Typically, in the type of discussions Era is used to, people talk about their DPR.  Or average damage per round.  In that discussion 60 for a rogue is unreachable in heroic.
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Fair enoug, as I said It wasn't my Rogue, so I don't know how it was done.  Combat has taken more than 4 or 5 rounds typically.  Players miss, enemies heal, so on and so forth.  I like how combat works but it does feel silly to spend an hour plus on a fight with a band of ambushing orcs.
 
I like how combat works but it does feel silly to spend an hour plus on a fight with a band of ambushing orcs.

This doesn't have to happen, if it's not fun, and there are pages and pages written about how to avoid it. Until the goal becomes something other than one side whittling the other down to zero, though, there's only so fast combat can be.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Agreed and I think 4 rounds sounds pretty good.  I think Pathfinder's combat is over to quickly, and is dull.  (At least for my level 4 fighter it's dull)  4th Edition does a great job at keeping things intresting and I'm cool with a fight lasting a while if it's a "boss" fight like a dragon or beholder, or an Orc Cheiftan and his elite guard.  But when we are beset on by 10 kobolds that should go like 4 rounds tops.

We tried haveing baddies flee when it's obviouse that they are gonna lose but then the players hunt them down in a bloodlusted furvor.  I think other win conditions are a good Idea and will try to implement them.  Any point of reference would be great! 
Any point of reference would be great! 

Any action movie you've ever seen. The bad guys are almost always after something other than the deaths of the good guys, which serves to make the good guys' continued survival somewhat more plausible.

If the baddies flee, it's okay to state that the PCs hunted them down and just move on. A DM could also specify that hunting them down will take extra time, reducing the amount of time the PCs can spend on other things before the quest or mission is failed.

But if they're hunting them down, then it seems like they're still having fun.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Fair enoug, as I said It wasn't my Rogue, so I don't know how it was done.  Combat has taken more than 4 or 5 rounds typically.  Players miss, enemies heal, so on and so forth.  I like how combat works but it does feel silly to spend an hour plus on a fight with a band of ambushing orcs. 

The basic design concept for 4e differs from earlier edition in that in 4e most fights are assumed to be of the challenging ones that take an hour or more to resolve. Short fights just to get rid of a few hit points or to make a point are still possible within 4e, but do require a bit of adjustment from the DM. For example, when I want a fight to be simply short, but still do some damage, I simply pick a few brutes or artillery and definitely leave the soldiers and controllers out of the fight. Furthermore, the group composition can have a huge impact. For example, I know the PCs in my group have a lot of area attacks and most have something against total concealment for at least 1 fight, so I know that using monsters with darkness creating zones is no problem. If your group is single target focussed and has little against darkness though, that might very well lead to a very boring fight.

We are getting off-topic though... ;)
Fair enoug, as I said It wasn't my Rogue, so I don't know how it was done.  Combat has taken more than 4 or 5 rounds typically.  Players miss, enemies heal, so on and so forth.  I like how combat works but it does feel silly to spend an hour plus on a fight with a band of ambushing orcs.
 


The part in bold seems wrong.

4E is designed to spend an hour plus on a fight with a band of ambushing orcs if the fight was actually relevant.  If it's just one of many minor skirmishes designed to wear out the PCs, run the series of combats as a single long-going skill challenge wherein each fight is assumed to be an easy enough win unless the PCs fumble a lot with their attack rolls and/or skill checks.

Now, if you really want to use the combat rules for those orcs and you want fights to be fast, use minions.  Lots and lots of minions.  They're there for a reason.  Now if you really want to use regular opponents and not minions, lower their HP and defenses as if they were 2-3 levels lower, but retain the attack bonus, then stop rolling for damage and instead use average damage for the non-minions. 
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57047238 wrote:
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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
I do like the boat load of minions idea.  That's a fun idea that I wanted to try, forgot about, and never got around to.  
A fair point, actually: enemies should almost never be healing. Enemies that do have regen are better off having it removed and their HP set to normal instead.


Personally I'd have creatures with means of prolonging their stay in battle (via regeneration or via resistance to most forms of damage that the PCs have) start out with half their maxHP, so while the frustration of killing them would be there, the actual length of combat isn't increased.
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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.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
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
A fair point, actually: enemies should almost never be healing. Enemies that do have regen are better off having it removed and their HP set to normal instead.

Never had much trouble with regeneration, although most have a method to stop it for a round. I do either completely remove or otherwise significantly reduce any healing effects that heal as much as a healing surge. Monsters have more hit points, especially elites and solos and they should never heal a full healing surge. Practice has definitely shown that to be a recipe for a dragging fight for most groups.

Never had much trouble with regeneration, although most have a method to stop it for a round.



It's a compounding problem for small and no-divine parties.

Not all regeneration is with undead ;) In fact, the most infamous ones are trolls and I run those with PCs that even lacked acid and fire attacks. Regeneration is never too high for even basic at-will attacks to pierce: 5 hit points per round at heroic and 10 hit points per round at paragon*. It does require the players to focus fire though, so if you have a group that is not that focussed on party tactics OR you design the encounter to prohibit focus fire (either through terrain, control effects of the monsters or adding non-killing goals) you should indeed avoid regenerating monsters.

In this regards it is really no different from any other monster powers. You need to know the PCs and the players and whether they are able to offset the effects. Similarly, you need to look at the other monsters and the terrain to make sure that they do not interact in unexpected ways with those powers. Such interaction in itself is not bad. You just need to know its effect to achieve the planned effect and adjust accordingly. Of course, this is easier said than done. It helps that when things do end up in a grind, you can adjust accordingly without disrupting the immersion too much. Recogning a grind and knowing when and how to call a fight are great skills for any DM ;)

* Just don't combine regeneration with insubstantial AND weaknesss, because that is a bad idea as we learned the hard way in LFR ;)
CORE 2-5, Black Card, encounter 6 comes to mind: at-will save-ends Weakening, Insubstantial, Wizard's Escape, and self-resurrecting creatures that can be killed only by radiant damage. Yeah.

Ironically, still a breeze for the well-prepared, but why would anyone write that?

People being humans, we can all miss things even more so when the problems rise with certain party compositions and not with others. Having said that, I have not been involved in the adventure and I don't know the encounter. After all, you can certainly create these encounters, just make sure the monsters themselves are less lethal than typical ;)

(One of the most favorite fights in my home campaign involved a fight with a monster that could conjure impenetrable darkness. I just made sure the downsides of that defensive power was offset by other things.)
Agreed and I think 4 rounds sounds pretty good.  I think Pathfinder's combat is over to quickly, and is dull.  (At least for my level 4 fighter it's dull)  4th Edition does a great job at keeping things intresting and I'm cool with a fight lasting a while if it's a "boss" fight like a dragon or beholder, or an Orc Cheiftan and his elite guard.  But when we are beset on by 10 kobolds that should go like 4 rounds tops.

We tried haveing baddies flee when it's obviouse that they are gonna lose but then the players hunt them down in a bloodlusted furvor.  I think other win conditions are a good Idea and will try to implement them.  Any point of reference would be great! 



If it's obvious that the fleeing enemy will just be killed, just say they are killed and be done with it. (edit: sorry, that was mentioned like three times already - I should have read the whole thread ...)

Also: You mention enemies healing. It's rather rare to have enemies around who can heal themselves in combat and for a good reason: it'll make combat even longer.