Power narratives

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Hi,

i have question for both players and DMs alike. When it comes to the action descriptions of what a character does in combat using whatever power at their disposal how do you prefer tithe narrative to unfold?

do you players prefer to describe the details of what you are trying to achieve with the power your using or do you prefer to just state power name, throw dice and give result And hope the DM has good imagination to describe the effects of that power?


DMs  how do you deal with this same situation, do you prefer to hold the control of the descriptions of what happens odo should the player give little more than I use power x and this is the result!!


I know this is one what a subjective topic aplay ayers and DMs have different ways in which they play, but I ask because as a player I prefer to embellish my actions with colour in the hope the DM responds in kind with the actual result, and when I DM I have found my players rely on me to give details of what their characters do and it's results.

====== Edit=====

Also, when you do give a narrative to your powers what's your favourite power description and/or resolved effect?

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your thoughts are welcome.

Zirk.
We go through cycles, often over the course of a single combat.

Phase 1: "Yeah I swing, 28 to hit, and dazed."
Phase 2: "With a monstrous cleave, Sachelhoffen Reinbach the Eighth (it's a real name, of my guy) takes down the murderous beast! Or I rolled a 2, but hey."
Phase 3: DM: "Well as your blade connects, the no-longer murderous beast explodes in a shower of gore." "I love Lightning blades." "As do we all."

It's all just about how tired we are of the battle, or the epicness of what's happening. We don't describe how we slaughter each kobold, but we sure say what we're doing to the dracolich. Until we get to at-will spam.
While it is nice to have narrative during combat, there are a couple of caveats:
a) Time: turns should be swift in order to keep everyone engaged. Having someone holding the spotlight for 2 minutes to act out their deeds gets boring very quickly.
b) Nautral disposition. Some players are natural performers, others are not. Trying to force people into doing things they are not confortable with is counter-productive.

In conclusion, use your judgement and try to be flexible to accomodate and balance everyone's preferences in the group. 
What we do ourselves is move quickly on the ordinary stuff, and decorate notable achievements, like a crit or a spectacular success (or failure).

Edit: Whatever we do, we have this unwritten rule: never read out loud the fluff from the power card. Either players read it and tell it back in their own words, or re-fluff it out completely on the fly.
I think it's important for players to describe what their spells or maneuvers look like / do the first time they use them. After that, they can just rattle off the name of the attack and the effects, unless there's some dramatic reason for description - felling an important foe, causing a change in the combat environment, or perhaps just landing an impressivly powerful crit. At least, this seems to be the formula for a lot of animated TV series; off-the-cuff examples are DBZ, Yu Yu Hakushou, and Naruto.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
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The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
a) Time: turns should be swift in order to keep everyone engaged. Having someone holding the spotlight for 2 minutes to act out their deeds gets boring very quickly.

Edit: Whatever we do, we have this unwritten rule: never read out loud the fluff from the power card. Either players read it and tell it back in their own words, or re-fluff it out completely on the fly.



Oh man, too right, we have one member of our group who has to relearn his character. Every round. Flipping of books and sheets and reading out the entirety of the power, before doing any rolls and sometimes after, if we have to confirm a status placed on a creature or something.

My group uses maptools, so we have the flavour text built-in to our powers display anyway.

That said, I will often describe what happens when there's a cool use of a power, or an interesting combo of abilities happen. 

Like when our group's warlock used All Must Sacrifice to kill a bunch of dwarven captives we were supposed to be freeing to instantly kill their captor. Suffice to say, there was much wailing of souls, and much ogre exploding.


Suffice to say, while everyone else was laughing, the paladin was fuming.
Every now and again, typically when an enemy drops or is critted, I'll just look at the player responsible and say "What happened?" and give them narrative control to describe their moment of awesome.
Names of powers, alone, can be fairly evocative.  I find that you can leave the "narrative" to the imaginations of the players, and only talk about the mechanics at the table.  If something particularly dramatic, like a crit, happens, it might be worth throwing out some more dramatic description.  Similarly, daily powers or powers being used for the first time can benefit from some extra description.

 

 

 

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Names of powers, alone, can be fairly evocative.  I find that you can leave the "narrative" to the imaginations of the players, and only talk about the mechanics at the table.  If something particularly dramatic, like a crit, happens, it might be worth throwing out some more dramatic description.  Similarly, daily powers or powers being used for the first time can benefit from some extra description.

 



This is my experience exactly. Whenever players get a new power (or retrain) I'll get them to act out or carefully describe what their power is doing. Probably do that the first few times they use it, then after that it's just naming the power which is almost always enough to get the idea across. I think the important thing is to keep battles moving quickly and only ask for the narration when it has the most impact.

If, however, the flow of the battle is such that some extra flavor would really spice it up, I'll either ask the player to describe what's happening or just do it myself. I especially do this on important crits or when the killing blow is landed on a boss. It's nice to the end the fight with some exciting narration of how the bad guy died.
We go through cycles, often over the course of a single combat.

Phase 1: "Yeah I swing, 28 to hit, and dazed."
Phase 2: "With a monstrous cleave, Sachelhoffen Reinbach the Eighth (it's a real name, of my guy) takes down the murderous beast! Or I rolled a 2, but hey."
Phase 3: DM: "Well as your blade connects, the no-longer murderous beast explodes in a shower of gore." "I love Lightning blades." "As do we all."

It's all just about how tired we are of the battle, or the epicness of what's happening. We don't describe how we slaughter each kobold, but we sure say what we're doing to the dracolich. Until we get to at-will spam.



This is how games at our table are played.

First few rounds have some narration, but after round 8 of trying to kill zombies, you just wanna roll the dice and keep things moving.

Almost all kills have some narration since it's the climax of any attack. 
We usually read the flavor or our version of it for the first time an attack is used, but after that it's just the power name.

My pixie killswitch (warlord/artificer) just got Friendly Fire at 7, which has the text "Such is your presense that you panic an enemy into accidently hitting one of it's allies."  That's one of my favourite flavour texts so far.
As a DM, I tend to minimize the dramatic descriptions of action to a minimum, to save on time, but, also, to emphasize cool-ass things happening (like what someone else above mentioned about critical hits and critical misses and such). I don't like to overdo descriptions of locations and such, unless it's wildly different from what the PC has experienced. Less is more, in this particular instance.


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I think the narrative and figuring out cool things that can happen is a lot of the fun. I don't think its realistic to expect players to describe every single round that they fire off some at-will, but I think a good story is a good story, and narrative matters. I give the players as much control of it as they feel like taking though. If you use a power and add some detail to the scene to make it cool, that's great!
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I feel bad about saying this, but I sometimes come down on different classes as needing more of it than others. When my fighter says [2W] push 1 square as his encounter I don't really encourage much more, but if an Enchanter says 1d8 psychic burst 1 restrained . . . I need him to tell the table what the hell just happened.
We go through cycles, often over the course of a single combat.

Phase 1: "Yeah I swing, 28 to hit, and dazed."
Phase 2: "With a monstrous cleave, Sachelhoffen Reinbach the Eighth (it's a real name, of my guy) takes down the murderous beast! Or I rolled a 2, but hey."
Phase 3: DM: "Well as your blade connects, the no-longer murderous beast explodes in a shower of gore." "I love Lightning blades." "As do we all."

It's all just about how tired we are of the battle, or the epicness of what's happening. We don't describe how we slaughter each kobold, but we sure say what we're doing to the dracolich. Until we get to at-will spam.



This seems fairly close to my own experience. A lot of times I either just want to keep things moving or don't really have the inspiration to really describe in detail what I'm doing, so I just go with mechanics.
And sometimes I rattle off a vivid description, especially when I'm doing something new or unusual, or just have some interesting inspiration pop up.