Am I being to controlling about houserules

29 posts / 0 new
Last post
     I am a newbie DM and started a new 4E level 1 dark sun campaign a few months ago.  Because I am new and  I have one totally new player and two players that have only played encounters and lair assault I decided to keep the game as simple as possible rules wise. As i havn't had much experience with running a game I've tried to keep to a simple ruleset when it comes to homebrewing/houserules. Basically if there is a feat for something then I don't give it to players even it it makes "sense". If there is an item for it then the item then i don't just let the players do it. If a rule wouldn't make sense flavorwise or common sense wise and would not be game breakable then i will houserule it.

     Now for the actual meat of my question. One of my players with a werewolf theme argued that he should have increased speed in wolf form because of having extra legs to which i said no if it was not part of the power then he would have to go RAW(we both missed the fact that the power gives +2 to speed). One player argued that his Warden that was born in the only forest on the planet at this point should have forest walk for free to which I said there is a feat for that. One player playing a wizard has tried to argue that by inscribing the alarm ritual on some rocks that he has carried around that he did not have to pay the component cost of the ritual. I initially said that the cost would be halved but now feel that it will be the full cost each time because there are feats/class abilities/powers that can cover this sort of thing. Some of the players have complained about taking to long to level up. Ive been giving them a standard encounters worth of XP each session with or without an encounter or skills challenge after enough complaining I've decided to give a major quest's worth of XP (half a level's worth) each time they find one of the macguffins (seven in all). They are still complaining about the speed of leveling.

     I've let the wizard not calling which spells he prepares slide. I've also made some skill checks during combat minor actions instead of standard actions. I wouldn't mind say a player using the epic destiny if storywise it would make sense and compliment the character if the player would go on a dangerous quest or something like that. Other then these things I've going RAW for most things. My actual question is have I been to tightassed about houseruling or am I just overworrying. Let me know if I've left out some important piece of info.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/4.jpg)

     I am a newbie DM and started a new 4E level 1 dark sun campaign a few months ago.  Because I am new and  I have one totally new player and two players that have only played encounters and lair assault I decided to keep the game as simple as possible rules wise. As i havn't had much experience with running a game I've tried to keep to a simple ruleset when it comes to homebrewing/houserules. Basically if there is a feat for something then I don't give it to players even it it makes "sense". If there is an item for it then the item then i don't just let the players do it. If a rule wouldn't make sense flavorwise or common sense wise and would not be game breakable then i will houserule it.

     Now for the actual meat of my question. One of my players with a werewolf theme argued that he should have increased speed in wolf form because of having extra legs to which i said no if it was not part of the power then he would have to go RAW(we both missed the fact that the power gives +2 to speed). One player argued that his Warden that was born in the only forest on the planet at this point should have forest walk for free to which I said there is a feat for that. One player playing a wizard has tried to argue that by inscribing the alarm ritual on some rocks that he has carried around that he did not have to pay the component cost of the ritual. I initially said that the cost would be halved but now feel that it will be the full cost each time because there are feats/class abilities/powers that can cover this sort of thing. Some of the players have complained about taking to long to level up. Ive been giving them a standard encounters worth of XP each session with or without an encounter or skills challenge after enough complaining I've decided to give a major quest's worth of XP (half a level's worth) each time they find one of the macguffins (seven in all). They are still complaining about the speed of leveling.

     I've let the wizard not calling which spells he prepares slide. I've also made some skill checks during combat minor actions instead of standard actions. I wouldn't mind say a player using the epic destiny if storywise it would make sense and compliment the character if the player would go on a dangerous quest or something like that. Other then these things I've going RAW for most things. My actual question is have I been to tightassed about houseruling or am I just overworrying. Let me know if I've left out some important piece of info.



If there's a feat for it, there's nothing wrong with sticking to the book. Especially if you're new, and they're new. Changing things on a whim can have drastic game balance issues and you should really only do that kind of thing when you're sure you're comfortable with the changes. I can't speak as to the specifics on the wizard issue, unfortunately. Except to say that I would not let it slide on which spells he prepares. That's an important feature to playing a wizard and it's how you potentially offset some of their more game breaking and OP abilities/spells. If they didn't prepare it, they didn't prepare it. And they have to deal with that. It also gives other players to a chance to step up and shine a bit instead of relying on the wizard who usually acts as a one stop shop of problem solving.

As for speed of leveling up, how many sessions does it take to reach a new level on average? And what are their current levels? And what is the average length of any given play session?

My personal pacing guide is as follows:

To reach:

Level 2: 1-2 sessions

Level 3: 1-2 sessions

Level 4: 1-3 sessions

Level 5: 1-3 sessions

Level 6: 2-4 sessions

Level 7: 2-4 sessions

Level 8: 3-5 sessions

Level 9: 3-5 sessions

Level 10: 4+ sessions

Level 11: 4+ sessions

Level 12: 5+ sessions

I think you get the idea. This also assumes at least a weekly playing schedule or bi-weekly schedule. If you play more frequently, go for the high end of the scale. If you play less often, go for the low end, or even faster.

Also, do not forget to award bonus XP for good roleplaying, personal quest fulfillment, and other ad hoc activities such as picking a locked door.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Most responses here will fall into two camps: The first, you are the DM, you enforce the rules and this keeps the game progressing on an even keel for everyone. The players need to adapt to the world, and if they want something there is a way (feats, powers, etc.) for them to go that direction.

The other camp will say if your players want it, give it to them. The player who has a character who can change into a wolf wants his guy to be faster as a wolf. No problem, let him. The guy whose character grew up in a forest wants to move quickly through the forest. Sounds swell, go for it. Mage wants to cast spells. God bless, go forth and cast my son.

There is no correct answer. What is important is all of you are having fun. You obviously think you might be doing something incorrect, which is why you are coming here, so you really need to talk to your players and decide what kind of game all of you want to play.

In fact, it doesn't sound like you are houseruling at all, just holding everyone to the rules as written. That is both good and bad, as the game really is meant to be played however you and your players wish. Have fun, don't sweat the small stuff, try to get everyone on board.
My PCs level whenever they get three tallies.  Each mark is fulfilling a goal that the group made for themselves in order to progress in the world.  Sometimes they level fast, sometimes they level slow.  The key there was to put it out of my hands and into theres.

As to your other specific examples:
The game is pretty clear about refluffing is refluffing and houserules are meant to be mechanical /fixes/ to problems.  Now, feel free to take all of this and throw it out if you want, but by that logic my games typically go with me letting the players do most of what they want inside of combat and combat being more like a "minigame" where the rules are more hard-and-fast than they are outside of combat.  Your Werewolf wants more speed?  Sure, that makes sense.  Outside of combat or when it would be munchkinly relevant he moves faster than the party.  Inside of combat, the numbers are what they say on the sheet.

Basically, its the essence of refluffing (see my sig if you want to watch/listen to a video on it).
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Other then these things I've going RAW for most things. My actual question is have I been to tightassed about houseruling

Nope.
4e (more than previous editions) was designed to be played by the rules. Example from WotC's FAQ:
"Can an ooze be knocked prone? In situations like this, DMs are encouraged to change the flavor of what is happening without changing the actual rules governing the situation. For example, the ooze could be so disoriented by the blow that it suffers the same disadvantages as if it had been knocked prone until it spends a move action to stand up effectively shaking off the condition."

Besides: rules are for the player's benefit (since a DM can otherwise do anything).
As much as you can, say "Yes, and..." That is, go with what the players are interested in, or how they understand things, and build off of that in a positive way. The main reason for this suggestion is that it saves a lot of argument and discussion that not even scientific fact is likely to be able to cut through. Argument is boring and it breeds mistrust. Accepting and adding on moves things forward and engenders trust.

You're not locked in to anything. If they want to try something, let them try it. If you can foresee something not being fun, or something turns out not to be fun, as a result of the change, ask the players how the issue should be worked out. Maybe the wizard will agree that other creatures would carry around alarm stones, and would collaborate with you to figure out what that would mean for the world. Don't just say "good for the goose, good for the gander," because that's easily seen as punitive.

I'd lay good odds that the game will be fun even with most of the suggested changes.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I've been giving normal experience for a battle which is about 1/10th a level with the macguffins theyve leveled about every 6 sessions. we have been playing weekly. My intention is to have the story end around level 10 since by then someone might move/quit/etc. Changes can be made and we can continue from there depending on where everyone stands at that time. Also I should have clarified that I was wondering if sticking to a mostly RAW approach during encounters is taking away to much from my players in the future.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/4.jpg)

Also I should have clarified that I was wondering if sticking to a mostly RAW approach during encounters is taking away to much from my players in the future.

The primary downside, is that it makes them stick mostly to RAW themselves. That's not the worst, since the game can function well that way, but it leads to another complaint we often see about players who are uncreative, and risk averse and never try things.

I recommend using RAW as a jumping off point, to build trust. Initially, and for a long time, the DM should stick to RAW when ruling for the monsters. When uncertainty arises, or requests are made, the DM should err on the side of the players, and try to accommodate the players as much as possible. This builds trust, and encourages ideas, rather than fostering mistrust and doubt. Players who see their ideas work will try to come up with more ideas, so the goal should be to make ideas work. Once you've built trust, once you've shown the players that your interest is in their fun, rather than in the rules, then you can start to rule in favor of the monsters, and to offer interesting restrictions to the players. This will burn a little trust at first, but might create much more when they come to see that your intention was their fun. It's harder for them to see that before copious amounts of trust have been established.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I've been giving normal experience for a battle which is about 1/10th a level with the macguffins theyve leveled about every 6 sessions. we have been playing weekly. My intention is to have the story end around level 10 since by then someone might move/quit/etc. Changes can be made and we can continue from there depending on where everyone stands at that time. Also I should have clarified that I was wondering if sticking to a mostly RAW approach during encounters is taking away to much from my players in the future.



I would personally say that taking 6 sessions to reach say level 5 or 6 is definitely too long. But, that's just my opinion. I'd say 6 sessions to reach level 8 or higher is more acceptable. But if they're still dawdling around at level 3 or 4 after 6 weeks, I can see the frustration. Leveling up is one of the things that is high on the to do list of players when they're new to the game. You won't get more role playing oriented goals until after the concept of "ooo...shiny new feat, skill points, and HP!" wears off.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Everyone else has put in points, but I just want to address one issue with you.
I am a newbie DM


You have no experince at being a dm, and are already making up rules.  I would suggest you get experience, or look into what others have done for houserules.  Otherwise, stick to the written rules.


I would personally say that taking 6 sessions to reach say level 5 or 6 is definitely too long.


You would personally not be knowing if a session is 2, 4, or 6 hours.  Six sessions is definitely not too long if you don't know what the person is defining a session as.
Everyone else has put in points, but I just want to address one issue with you.


I would personally say that taking 6 sessions to reach say level 5 or 6 is definitely too long.


You would personally not be knowing if a session is 2, 4, or 6 hours.  Six sessions is definitely not too long if you don't know what the person is defining a session as.



Also a fair point. But in my defense, I did ask the length of a playing session...never got an answer. So I can only work with what I'm given. If the players are complaining, it might mean lengthy sessions.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
sorry forgot to say the length. 3 to 3 1/2 hours per session which gets mostly eaten up by fights lately because we have 6 players on average which opens up another set of problems which is off topic.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/4.jpg)

sorry forgot to say the length. 3 to 3 1/2 hours per session which gets mostly eaten up by fights lately because we have 6 players on average which opens up another set of problems which is off topic.

Not entirely off-topic. How much time do you spend in combat deciding whether something the players are trying to do will work? How much time would you save if you erred in their favor and let the ideas work?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

sorry forgot to say the length. 3 to 3 1/2 hours per session which gets mostly eaten up by fights lately because we have 6 players on average which opens up another set of problems which is off topic.



That comes out to 18+ hours between level up. Plus all the time you're not playing. I'd definitely say too slow. And here's the other really big issue. If most of that is bogged down in fights, it means players are using the same skill sets over and over for combat. The main reason they're going to complain about wanting to level up is so they can get new mechanics and stat boosts to play with and speed up combat (the higher my damage, the faster it dies).

You may want to try shaking the game up a little more with non-combat playing time. And rewarding XP for those times as well. Give the players non-combat oriented decisions to make, let them roleplay or have dialogs, and so on. I know some on this board despise what I'm about to advise, but even just sticking around the town and having some fun in the tavern, marketplace, town hall, etc. can be extremely interesting. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
My PCs level whenever they get three tallies.  Each mark is fulfilling a goal that the group made for themselves in order to progress in the world.  Sometimes they level fast, sometimes they level slow.  The key there was to put it out of my hands and into theres.

As to your other specific examples:
The game is pretty clear about refluffing is refluffing and houserules are meant to be mechanical /fixes/ to problems.  Now, feel free to take all of this and throw it out if you want, but by that logic my games typically go with me letting the players do most of what they want inside of combat and combat being more like a "minigame" where the rules are more hard-and-fast than they are outside of combat.  Your Werewolf wants more speed?  Sure, that makes sense.  Outside of combat or when it would be munchkinly relevant he moves faster than the party.  Inside of combat, the numbers are what they say on the sheet.

Basically, its the essence of refluffing (see my sig if you want to watch/listen to a video on it).

If the werewolf starts being a munchkin and leaving the party, just let the party know they've gotten faster because they're used to running with the wolf. :P


But I digress.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
As much as you can, say "Yes, and..." That is, go with what the players are interested in, or how they understand things, and build off of that in a positive way.

Hm. That brings up a point I'd like to explore. Two of my house-rules (neither of which do I completely consider a 'house-rule', since they follow RAW) are:


  • "standard rules are followed as best as possible" and

  • "The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."



What happens when these two rules conflict? I can accommodate almost any PC action via refluffing and/or DMG p.42. However, what if (as in the OP's example) players want to start changing permanent rules willy-nilly, and the DM is not comfortable with that?

I view the rules mainly as an agreed upon convention that establishes expectations and minimizes disputes. Not using them would seem to create conflicts in expectations and increase disputes.


Note: I'm not talking about where the DM and player simply have different interpretations of the rules. Those I handle with a quick die roll (low=bad for player, high=good for player) until it can be researched later.
As much as you can, say "Yes, and..." That is, go with what the players are interested in, or how they understand things, and build off of that in a positive way.

Hm. That brings up a point I'd like to explore. I have two houserules (neither of which do I completely consider a 'house-rule', since they follow RAW):
"standard rules are followed as best as possible" and
"The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."

What happens when these two rules conflict? I can accomodate almost any PC action via refluffing and/or DMG p.42. However, what if (as in the OP's example) players want to start changing permanent rules willy nilly, and the DM is not comfortable with that?

When the DM can't see a way to say "Yes, and...." (not just "Yes," but "Yes, and...") and keep the game fun for everyone, then the players should be invited to help find a way. If the DM is uncomfortable with a change, they should do their best to determine why, and offer the change on a provisional basis.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I didn't think about how much time is spent between levels actually. And the time talking about rules per session comes out to be 5 mins at most

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/4.jpg)

Nope. You're the DM.

The rules are there as guidelines to help the DM make a judgment. If you're sticking to the rules, the players aren't likely going to complain. If they do, it's likely to be a complaint about the rule itself. There's a learning curve to being DM, as there is with any game. The rules are there to help you, though. If your players are mature enough to accept your judgment call EVEN WHEN THEY DISAGREE, then you might not have to be such a stickler for the rules and things will go more smoothly for everyone.

If a player complains, I hear them out. If it seems legitimate, don't be afraid to agree with them. When in doubt, err on the player's side. Listen to their ideas. They might point out something you didn't think about. Be fair. Make a call. Move on.

A note about XP: Your call as well. I'm a proponent of using XP as a guideline because I tend to have multiple campaigns going at once and want to be fair across the board. That said.... I really recommend you ignoring the XP table and advancing the characters at a level you are comfortable with, letting the players know in advance that you are going slow until you get familiar with the rules and get more comfortable as DM. Just a recommendation. You're the DM.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
I didn't think about how much time is spent between levels actually. And the time talking about rules per session comes out to be 5 mins at most

Ok, that's good. How about time spent addressing requests like the ones in the original post?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

As much as you can, say "Yes, and..." That is, go with what the players are interested in, or how they understand things, and build off of that in a positive way.

Hm. That brings up a point I'd like to explore. I have two houserules (neither of which do I completely consider a 'house-rule', since they follow RAW):
"standard rules are followed as best as possible" and
"The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."

What happens when these two rules conflict? I can accomodate almost any PC action via refluffing and/or DMG p.42. However, what if (as in the OP's example) players want to start changing permanent rules willy nilly, and the DM is not comfortable with that?

When the DM can't see a way to say "Yes, and...." (not just "Yes," but "Yes, and...") and keep the game fun for everyone, then the players should be invited to help find a way. If the DM is uncomfortable with a change, they should do their best to determine why, and offer the change on a provisional basis.


  • "The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."


I think those three words are important and all-too-often overlooked. It lets the discerning DM notice that he's not obligated to tell the players "Yes you succeed".
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
"The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."
I think those three words are important and all-too-often overlooked. It lets the discerning DM notice that he's not obligated to tell the players "Yes you succeed".



Overlooked by whom? Success or failure are determined by dice, when it's appropriate to roll them.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

"The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."
I think those three words are important and all-too-often overlooked. It lets the discerning DM notice that he's not obligated to tell the players "Yes you succeed".

Overlooked by whom? Success or failure are determined by dice, when it's appropriate to roll them.

Don't say "Yes, you succeed," anyway. That doesn't really add anything. Say, "Yes, you succeed, and...." unless failure is interesting enough to roll the dice for (or unless it's compelling enough that the player agrees failure is the better outcome).

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

"The DM must say ‘Yes’: (per DMG p.28) players can try to do pretty much anything."I think those three words are important and all-too-often overlooked. It lets the discerning DM notice that he's not obligated to tell the players "Yes you succeed".

Note: those words are mine rather than a DMG p.28 quote, so I do not think they could've been overlooked that often. Nor do I believe any DM's feel obligated to tell the players "Yes you succeed".

I've been giving normal experience for a battle which is about 1/10th a level with the macguffins theyve leveled about every 6 sessions.



(1) What is the XP Budget you've been using on the combat encounters?  If your XP budgets per player are actually higher than the 1/10th step to the next level, then your not giving them enough XP.

(2) I think you said you were, but just to clarify: Are you doing non-combat Skill Challenges as well?  If so, they should be earning XP credit for these as well (with the level of the DCs and number of successes required to succeed being used to determining how much they get).

(3) Have you been using Major and Minor Quest XP?  For finishing a Major Quest, they should be getting about the 1/10th step.  For finishing a Minor Quest, maybe 1/5th of that step (or 1/50th step).  If they're doing a lot of RP-work, and getting things done, you might consider treating things as quests of either sort as they go along in order to reward them for RP.
If the DM is uncomfortable with a change, they should do their best to determine why

Because if you start changing the rules then nothing is sacred and you have Anarchy!

Some players just want to watch the world burn.



Anecdote: in 3.5 we discovered that character generation quickly got out of hand when allowing all those extra books. So we made a rule to stick with just the core books, and I made this very clear to any new groups I started (as there was no way for me to review all that excess material). However, despite this explicit statement, a player still asked if he could play a class that was not in the core rules. I said I would look it over.

Not only was the class a confusing abomination, but all the other players started asking for exceptions. And the player got upset when I said I was not really comfortable with such a... unique class. I had to cancel that particular group. Best to just not open some doors... even a little bit.
If the DM is uncomfortable with a change, they should do their best to determine why

Because if you start changing the rules then nothing is sacred and you have Anarchy!

Some players just want to watch the world burn.




Mine certainly damn well do.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Here's something that might help you as well.  You said that the majority of your sessions are involved in combat due to it taking a long time.  There are several ways to speed up combat so that you can have more "inbetween" combat encounters occurring, like roleplay between characters and NPCs or more skill challenges, etc.

Here's some methods to help speed up combat.

1. Roll both attack and damage rolls at the same time.  If the attack hits you now already have the damage ready to go.  If not, no harm no foul.

2. Not everyone will agree with this method....Give players a time limit to decide/do what they want to do on their turn.  You have 6 players so there should be ample time for each one to determine what they want to do before it's their turn.  If a player isn't ready when it comes to their turn then it slows play down a little, but if they are ready right away when it's their turn they can have a bonus. (maybe getting advantage on their next turn as an example).  This will encourage players to move a little quicker thus speeding up combat.

3. This is one that is particularily helpful (IMO) for new DMs/players.  In between gaming sessions send an e-mail out to all of your players.  In the e-mail explain to them that you are giving them all a chance for some bonus XP.  In order to get the bonus XP you will send out a challenge question.  This should be something rules based dealing with combat for each individuals character. 
Here's an example question: 
         Your character is attacking a (insert a monster here) single-handedly with their primary weapon.  Monster AC = 19.  What do you need to roll on your d20 in order to hit it?  If you roll a natural 20 how much damage will you do? (Remember you will need to figure out the correct answer to these yourself for each player as their characters will have different stats, etc.

By doing this you can help the players learn the rules better.  You will also get more familiar with rules as you send out more bonus XP questions.  All of this will help to speed up combat because the players (and yourself) will not be having to stop every few minutes to figure out what the rules are and how they affect what they're trying to do.  It will also help your players to level up a little quicker which can help to alleviate some of the troubles you are having with that as well.
Here's some more ways to speed up combat:

(1) Consider and utilize alternatives to "fighting to the death."  Have enemies disengage and flee when Bloodied.  Use rules similar to Fight or Flight (Dragon 396) in order to implement alternatives such as surrendering, escape & pursuit, and requesting parlay.  If you choose options which don't require everyone to reach 0 hp, then you don't have to fight until everyone on one side or the other is at 0 hp.

(2) Draw OAs, violate Marks, and otherwise act in non-Optimally Strategic ways.  If you look at the standard NPC of the same level as the standard PC, their hit points are significantly higher.   I'm not suggesting that you should stand around and let them get hit and don't fight back; I am suggesting that you don't be afraid to draw OAs or violate Marks or whatever else might cause them possible HP loss, if by doing so you make more advantageous situations (Flanking, or attacking vulnerable PCs, and so on).  Risk/Reward; if you play to never lose HP, you can never cause HP loss, and it drags things out.

(3) Make sure you're using MM3-style math (ie, the Rule Update for the DMG), and not pre-MM3 numbers, for NPCs.  Lower defenses and higher amounts of damage means that contrition (via loss of HP) takes affect sooner; more people hitting for more average damage, and whatnot.  Similarly, consider using Inherent Bonuses (from the DMG and recommended with Dark Sun), and even adding Inherent Expertise Feats (a very common house rule); these remove the "magical arms race" and "feat taxes" by building the bonuses into PCs, and also raise the DPR numbers to speed things up.

(4) If it makes sense to do so, run a Combat challenge (or, even better, a series of combats) as a Skill challenge instead.  For example, if they're fighting in a large melee battle, where everything is constantly shifting and moving and they might not be fighting the same enemies every few moments, then have them Skill Challenge it instead, using skills instead of attack powers.
Sign In to post comments