Session 3

This time we had a melee fighter join.

It has become painfully apparent that deadly strike is overpowered. An extra 1d6 damage at second level versus 2nd level monsters who often don't have more than 10 HP every single round imbalances the game. At 10th level a fighter could do an extra 3d10 on every single attack. That's the kind of damage a level 10 wizard might do a few times a day, but the fighter can do it every single round. I find it strange that a few rule changes weaken the fighter's abilities (cleave and spring attack don't add damage bonuses), as if they're trying to make it balanced, but here staring everyone in the face is deadly strike which negates any effort to balance the class.

How should they deal with it? One of my players suggested a "recharge" time, like a dragon's breath weapon. Makes sense as a deadly strike must use up a lot of stamina. It could be balanced by making it a tradeoff, where you take a -1 penalty on your armor class for every expertise die you spend on deadly strike, or a similar penalty to hit when you declare you're using it. It could be restricted to a full-round attack, so at least you couldn't also move. It could even be repurposed as a barbarian maneuver usable only during rage.

Many things could be done to improve it, but it's completely broken as it is. The game has a lot of great maneuvers, but they all seem so pointless compared to deadly strike.

I also believe that if every fighter gets deadly strike, every rogue should get sneak attack.
As much as I like quick combats, I think they are going to have to raise the hp of monsters to account for all of the expertise bonuses, and to encourage more tactical combats.

A vocal portion of the playtesting population (at least the ones who post on this forum) complain how D&DNext is less tactical than 4e.  Part of the problem is that monsters are just too squishy.  Average combats last 1-3 rounds.   In that amount of time, it is difficult to be tactical.  If all of the bad guys just go down quickly, the optimal tactic is to attack at range as quickly as possible.   That doesn't encourage movement or positioning.   

I like average encounters to be pretty balanced.   So if there are 4 PCs, I like an average encounter to be 4 PCs vs. 4 equal level opponents.  I think WoTC has to play with the numbers to see what the optimal amount of combat rounds an average fight should take.   From my experiences so far it seems as if an encounter like this will take only 1 round or 2 rounds at most.   I think it should take 3 to 4 rounds.

I would rather have fewer opponents that take a little longer to kill than have to throw many more opponents at the PCs.  I think more opponents slows the game down more than fewer opponents that are slightly tougher.     

A Brave Knight of WTF

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Why is everyone so big on faster combats? Combat is the bread and butter of the game, I thought, I don't want it to be over in two minutes.
Why is everyone so big on faster combats? Combat is the bread and butter of the game, I thought, I don't want it to be over in two minutes.


Especially when it takes five minutes to roll initiative.
I like the speed of combat. As a DM I can throw more enemies, explore more rooms, or press forward on the story. The chess like aspect of 4e is fun if you just enjoy combat, but we want intruige in our campaigns and when two fights take up over two hours of the session we didn't have enough time for the kind of storytelling we want. I am sure Next will expand on the tactical rules (or incorporate more 4e powers) in future modules for those that want that style of play.
Two hours is certainly too much, but two minutes? When the storytelling involves building up to a battle and establishing an enemy, it's pretty anticlimactic when they go down in a few hits.
Our group has yet to fight a dragon in Next, but will be soon. I think that will be the test of tests as far as speed vs climax.

The biggest, most complex battle we have had was facing a wizard accompainied by bugbears and it proved to be a good balance between the two. Try using the environment around you to alter the tide if things go to quickly.

I our case they were searching a ruined castle for this Wizard. They had to battle their way through Bugbears and Zombies as they searched differtent rooms which added to the tension. Once they found his laboratory the Wizard came up behind them and threw a fireball into the room. most were able to leap behing tables for cover (make DEX saves), but then the potions in the lab exploded creating a fog. Confusion ensued and the Bugbears attacked! They were dispatched easily but was not the intended target, where was the Wizard? Once they made their way to the corridor the Wizard escaped from he blasted at them as he ran. The party mage used his web spell and caught the Wizard before he could leap into the dungeon. The Wizard would not be taken alive...

Chasing him through the corridors of the castle made for excitement and tension that would not have been there if they were standing in the courtyard. Also adding the elements created by the exploding laboratory were fun too.  The Wizard did go down in a few hits, but they had to earn those hits.
Two hours is certainly too much, but two minutes? When the storytelling involves building up to a battle and establishing an enemy, it's pretty anticlimactic when they go down in a few hits.



I must have missed the part where someone said that it should be two minutes :P

Personally, I wouldn't mind 1/2 (regular) to 1 hour (boss-esque) battles.