Making a miss in combat not feel like a boring waste

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See title.

I know my players (and myself as a player) hate seeing a miss in combat.
And if you expended a really good encounter power, it feels like even more of a waste.

And let's be honest, stacking more +Hit to miss less often isn't the answer we're looking for.

I don't mind overpowered players. I can deal with that just fine. I just want the players to feel like the superheroes I expect 4e characters to be.

So has anyone tried anything interesting on this issue? Any crazy ideas to try?
See title.

I know my players (and myself as a player) hate seeing a miss in combat.
And if you expended a really good encounter power, it feels like even more of a waste.

And let's be honest, stacking more +Hit to miss less often isn't the answer we're looking for.

I don't mind overpowered players. I can deal with that just fine. I just want the players to feel like the superheroes I expect 4e characters to be.

Wow, I was just talking to someone about this. I agree that it's a problem, that it just drives people to stack more bonuses on, and pick no-miss powers over more interesting powers. I myself prefer powers with Effects, or that are Reliable, and I often choose powers assuming I'll miss.

So has anyone tried anything interesting on this issue? Any crazy ideas to try?

How's this for crazy: assume every attack hits.

That will cause some problems for 4e as it is, because the penalty from marks will becomes less important, as will many powers that already don't miss. Warlords will take a hit, but might be able to specialize in boosting damage. Try it for a one-shot and see how it goes.

(While you're at it, explore ways for "hits" not to have to mean "makes physical contact." This pretty much works without any system chances if you assume that HP is about stress rather than physical damage.)

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

Funny, some of us were just talking about this on Twitter.

Basically the dividing line between arguments on the matter appears to be that some people find "I miss" to be boring. Others find "I miss" to be full of tension. I don't understand the latter point of view outside of the fact that a given monster maybe gets to hit you on its turn since it continued to live. But at the moment of the roll it's not very interesting in my opinion. The fiction can be made interesting and that's about it. Mechanically it falls flat for me. In games like Dungeon World, a miss in most cases means the GM can take a "hard move," which is always very interesting in context.

I have no solution as the game is currently based on that binary mechanic of hit or miss. Some powers are better on this score (dailies, reliable, effect lines, etc.).

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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How's this for crazy: assume every attack hits.

That will cause some problems for 4e as it is, because the penalty from marks will becomes less important, as will many powers that already don't miss. Warlords will take a hit, but might be able to specialize in boosting damage. Try it for a one-shot and see how it goes.


It's crazy, perhaps the attack roll could be used to determin how effective it was.
Like, a normal miss would deal 1 dice less of damage instead of dealing nothing at all.
And, hit by more than 5 (or some number) and you deal some extra damage or something.

(While you're at it, explore ways for "hits" not to have to mean "makes physical contact." This pretty much works without any system chances if you assume that HP is about stress rather than physical damage.)



And yeah, I plan on abstracting HP a lot. It was supposed to be asbtract anyways. I plan to use a lot of "...and the goblin ducks just in time avoiding the swing of your axe, it looses 19HP..."
It's crazy, perhaps the attack roll could be used to determin how effective it was.
Like, a normal miss would deal 1 dice less of damage instead of dealing nothing at all.
And, hit by more than 5 (or some number) and you deal some extra damage or something.

Sure, though that starts to increase the number of "operations" one has to make before the attack is concluded.

I have a feeling, too, that the longer an approach like this were used, the more it would just shift things down the road, so that even though every turn involves a hit, some hits are considered "wastes." "Aw, he's not bloodied/dead? What a waste."

Another alternative I see is to only roll when the player agrees that a miss wouldn't be a "waste," or when they can still feel like a hero even if they miss. You might be able to find that point (which I expect will be different for different players) by first trying the "attacks always hit" approach, and then letting people choose when they want missing to be a possibility.

And yeah, I plan on abstracting HP a lot. It was supposed to be asbtract anyways. I plan to use a lot of "...and the goblin ducks just in time avoiding the swing of your axe, it looses 19HP..."

Try giving the players some ability to provide that kind of input. Ok, the creature they just hit isn't bloodied, and its effectiveness hasn't changed, but the attack just moved the battle closer to a new state (i.e. fewer enemies). What does that look like?

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

I know you are talking about 4e, but I have found that 3.5e action points make missing more interesting:

"Oh you JUST missed, use an action point and you will probably hit if you add a d6."

"Wow you missed horribly, use an action point and you can re-roll."

Sometimes no prompting is required, especially when a spell with a touch attack or a spell-like ability with a DC to activate is used and the dice fail.

At least it gives the player an option to think about.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
We did something that revolutionized our game and made everyone a lot more happy.

You deal normal damage on a miss.

This means that you do not get the benefit of any on hit effects like daze or any other special benefit (unless the power says so), but you are always making progress on the damage front. This also sped up the NOTORIOUSLY slow 4E Combat.
Well, in my games, I allow a player to spend an action point to reroll a Daily or Encounter power if they miss. That gives them a chance to recover from 'wasting' a powerful move, while still coming at a cost to the player.

If you wanted to extend this, maybe an At-Will could be rerolled at a penalty to defenses, or the cost of a healing surge? The key, as I see it, is that if you want there to be a chance for the player to recover from a miss, it still needs to come with a cost.

I feel the assuming every attack hits idea would reduce the tension of battle, so for me at least it wouldn't be a route I'd take, and I don't think my players would like it either. We all like rolling our dice too much.

The other alternative is of course to, as a player, pick powers with effects, or that deal damage on a miss, but that may not always be ideal if you have a particular theme you're going for that these powers don't fit.  
We did something that revolutionized our game and made everyone a lot more happy.

You deal normal damage on a miss.

This means that you do not get the benefit of any on hit effects like daze or any other special benefit (unless the power says so), but you are always making progress on the damage front. This also sped up the NOTORIOUSLY slow 4E Combat.



What sort of unintended consequences have you see after implementing this? Examples might be the downplaying of certain class, feat, power or item choices, etc.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I know you are talking about 4e, but I have found that 3.5e action points make missing more interesting:

"Oh you JUST missed, use an action point and you will probably hit if you add a d6."

"Wow you missed horribly, use an action point and you can re-roll."

Sometimes no prompting is required, especially when a spell with a touch attack or a spell-like ability with a DC to activate is used and the dice fail.

At least it gives the player an option to think about.

That adds more operations. Do you find it slows things down as the DM determines whether the action point would help, and the player decides whether to use the resource?

Anyway, this just moves things down the road, making the "wastes" less common, but not really dealing with them. Might make them worse, too. It's not great to spend an action point to make up for a miss and have it miss too.

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

We did something that revolutionized our game and made everyone a lot more happy.

You deal normal damage on a miss.

This means that you do not get the benefit of any on hit effects like daze or any other special benefit (unless the power says so), but you are always making progress on the damage front. This also sped up the NOTORIOUSLY slow 4E Combat.

I like this idea. What affect has it had on your game? I would guess that people would start eschewing powers that trade damage for riders.

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

That adds more operations. Do you find it slows things down as the DM determines whether the action point would help, and the player decides whether to use the resource?

Anyway, this just moves things down the road, making the "wastes" less common, but not really dealing with them. Might make them worse, too. It's not great to spend an action point to make up for a miss and have it miss too.


Yeah, two things I'm not fond of:
- Slowing down the game
- Turning a small "waste" into a bigger one because of bad luck or bad dice 
That adds more operations. Do you find it slows things down as the DM determines whether the action point would help, and the player decides whether to use the resource?

Anyway, this just moves things down the road, making the "wastes" less common, but not really dealing with them. Might make them worse, too. It's not great to spend an action point to make up for a miss and have it miss too.

Yeah, two things I'm not fond of:
- Slowing down the game
- Turning a small "waste" into a bigger one because of bad luck or bad dice

Agreed. Do you agree that there are some moments that are worth some slowness, and when even a tremendous "waste" might lead to an interesting (if not good) outcome? What if rolls were only made when the player and the group felt that those conditions were met? You plowed through the minions (few if any rolls), took on the lieutenant (a few crucial rolls) and now you're facing the main enemy, with only seconds to prevent his nefarious plan from reaching completion. Failure might be crushing, but also epic, leading the way to a stunning conclusion or an epic continuation. Pour on those bonuses and rerolls for all they're worth.

FATE deals with misses in an interesting way. You have "points" that you can spend for rerolls and bonuses. The bonus is a flat +2, so you can always know whether spending them will help, but the reroll might make things worse. What makes it work, though, is that you don't just get the points back at a constant rate. You have to earn them by having interesting things happen to your character. The upshot of this is while the points might be "wasted" in the moment, their mere use drives the game in interesting ways down the road.

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

I feel like missing, or at least the possibility of missing, is too integral to the game. YMMV, of course, but in my opinion I would hate any game that stripped out the ability to fail. It adds tension, because players are invested in whether they hit or not, and the feeling of disappointment that comes from missing is a good thing. It means the player is invested enough to care.

I am reminded of an old idea that goes something along the lines of "pathological gamblers aren't addicted to winning, but to losing." Winning and succeeding eventually gets boring, but losing and that feeling of triumph you get from overcoming the odds is far more long-lasting. Just my two cents on the matter.

As an aside, I will also give a player who is having a rough night a hand. I have had players who spent entire sessions rolling 1s and 2s, and I will either let that person have a hit or two anyway, or ensure they have a chance to shine that doesn't involve rolling dice. Because while disappointment is a positive, frustration is not. 

As an aside, I will also give a player who is having a rough night a hand. I have had players who spent entire sessions rolling 1s and 2s, and I will either let that person have a hit or two anyway, or ensure they have a chance to shine that doesn't involve rolling dice. Because while disappointment is a positive, frustration is not. 


We've had sessions where the entire party was doing this. It got to the point where we all had to fudge dice and it no longer felt awesome at all.

I figured maybe, allow misses to deal 1 dice less of damage, and hits to deal an extra dice of damage.
You still -want- to hit, and while a miss would still suck, you wouldn't feel too terrible about it and it would force the DM to consider the possibility of an unintended TPK. 
I once implemented a system to expand on the binary nature of combat. 

Lets say a monster had an AC of 20, Touch of 12.

If a PC's attack total came to 16, they would not do any damage, but still hit and had a chance to damage the armor, stagger the enemy, or have some other ill-effect.  

Likewise, if you hit by 5 or more, you had the opportunity to deal additional damage or add another affect.  

The only miss was the one that completely whiffed.   

I didn't get to spend a lot of time refining it and haven't used it in a while, but it is always a consideration to spice up combat, maybe in the upcoming campaign I start on the 14th.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
I feel like missing, or at least the possibility of missing, is too integral to the game. YMMV, of course, but in my opinion I would hate any game that stripped out the ability to fail. It adds tension, because players are invested in whether they hit or not, and the feeling of disappointment that comes from missing is a good thing. It means the player is invested enough to care.

I am reminded of an old idea that goes something along the lines of "pathological gamblers aren't addicted to winning, but to losing." Winning and succeeding eventually gets boring, but losing and that feeling of triumph you get from overcoming the odds is far more long-lasting. Just my two cents on the matter.

As an aside, I will also give a player who is having a rough night a hand. I have had players who spent entire sessions rolling 1s and 2s, and I will either let that person have a hit or two anyway, or ensure they have a chance to shine that doesn't involve rolling dice. Because while disappointment is a positive, frustration is not. 



You can roll a critical hit on every attack roll you make in a scene and still fail.

Provided "winning" isn't simply a matter of killing the other side. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | The Art of Pacing (Series) | Improvisation Guide | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character
Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!
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You can roll a critical hit on every attack roll you make in a scene and still fail.

Provided "winning" isn't simply a matter of killing the other side. 


All fine and good, but that can't always be the case.

And that's just avoiding the question. At some point, sometime, there will be some fight-for-your-life battle where the only objective is survival and the only win-condition is the complete dominance of the aggressors.
What do you do then? 
I feel like missing, or at least the possibility of missing, is too integral to the game. YMMV, of course, but in my opinion I would hate any game that stripped out the ability to fail.

Please not this again. Taking away misses (or death, which is the usual trigger for this response) does not mean taking away failure. All it takes are situations in which death of one side doesn't ensure that that side either won or lost. The Rebels could have blown up the Death Star right after Yavin IV had been destroyed, and they still would have lost. The Empire could have killed the last pilot moments after the torpedoes had been launched and the Rebels still would have won.

It adds tension, because players are invested in whether they hit or not, and the feeling of disappointment that comes from missing is a good thing. It means the player is invested enough to care.

I am reminded of an old idea that goes something along the lines of "pathological gamblers aren't addicted to winning, but to losing." Winning and succeeding eventually gets boring, but losing and that feeling of triumph you get from overcoming the odds is far more long-lasting. Just my two cents on the matter.

I think you're onto something there. As your words go to show, some players are absolutely in love with the idea of missing being possible. They cling to it desperately when someone suggests removing it, encouraging them to reach their way of looking at it, of dealing with it without actually fixing anything.

Missing doesn't inherently add tension. Sometimes it drags out something that is a foregone conclusion. Also, sometimes the tension isn't the point. Sometimes the player just wants to look cool and the roll stands in the way as a gatekeeper. Sometimes the chance to miss is really a detriment. We should only roll when it isn't.

As an aside, I will also give a player who is having a rough night a hand. I have had players who spent entire sessions rolling 1s and 2s, and I will either let that person have a hit or two anyway, or ensure they have a chance to shine that doesn't involve rolling dice. Because while disappointment is a positive, frustration is not.

This is the impossible balance that the designers try to provide. They want to make sure we always hit on a certain number. That's not enough for people, so they introduce expertise feats. That's not enough for some people, so they make more powers hit automatically and have a Miss line. That's not enough for some people and they still drive their attack bonuses higher.

The designers have to realize that some people do not want to miss, and they will do what they have to in order to ensure that. If the designers could figure out how to let people choose when missing provides cool tension, we could stop trying to convince people that it always does, and set the dial where we personally enjoy it.

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

All fine and good, but that can't always be the case.

And that's just avoiding the question. At some point, sometime, there will be some fight-for-your-life battle where the only objective is survival and the only win-condition is the complete dominance of the aggressors.
What do you do then? 



It most certainly can always be the case, if you choose it to be so. There's a reason for anything in a fantasy world based upon our imaginations.

But my point was simply that an underlying issue is that we tend to see always hitting with an attack roll as the surest path to default victory. But that's just the solution to one particular problem: The other guys breathing.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character
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All fine and good, but that can't always be the case.

Why not?

And that's just avoiding the question. At some point, sometime, there will be some fight-for-your-life battle where the only objective is survival and the only win-condition is the complete dominance of the aggressors.

Says who?

What do you do then? 

You get everyone's agreement up-front that misses and failures will not be treated as a big deal, and get everyone in the mindset of just enjoying the throwing of dice and determination of outcomes. If you can't get everyone bought-in to that, you do something else.

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

Centauri, 
I don't know if you're playing devil's advocate or what but your last two posts seem to indicate two very different stances on the subject.

isereth,
You continue to avoid the issue.

--
I'd go as far to say that for most of my gaming group, they are the type that want to do something cool and the attack roll is the gate keeper. I only see dissapointment when they miss and it got to the point where we were all fudging our attack rolls cause otherwise things just dragged on and got un-awesome like we hoped.

Also, yes, the problem of "the other guys breathing" certain must be dealt with. If you say that all battles must have alternate win conditions, you have alienated a good portion of my group who don't always enjoy that. The fight-to-the-death is a perfectly acceptable combat mode and my game group is generally fine with it and seems to enjoy that one more than the alternative ones.

In our case, a miss generally means the battle will drag out and become a chore after a while. And the person who missed has the look on their face of not having done anything cool.
This I do not want to ignore next time I'm behind the DM screen.

EDIT: We are perfectly fine with the idea that the PCs will win inevitably. Our main concern is to look cool while doing it and make some meaningful choices in regards to how they will go about it.

Centauri,
I don't know if you're playing devil's advocate or what but your last two posts seem to indicate two very different stances on the subject.

Nope.

I'd go as far to say that for most of my gaming group, they are the type that want to do something cool and the attack roll is the gate keeper. I only see dissapointment when they miss and it got to the point where we were all fudging our attack rolls cause otherwise things just dragged on and got un-awesome like we hoped.

Ok. This seems a lot like just saying that every attack is a miss. Did you feel like this had any unintended side effects, such as making certain powers or classes less useful? Were there any circumstances under which your group wouldn't fudge a miss? The answers to those questions seem significant.

Also, yes, the problem of "the other guys breathing" certain must be dealt with. If you say that all battles must have alternate win conditions, you have alienated a good portion of my group who don't always enjoy that.

I'm not saying that. I'm saying that having alternate conditions can always be the case, and there's nothing requiring any battle to be a fight to the death. If you want those things, you can require them, but no one is forcing you.

The fight-to-the-death is a perfectly acceptable combat mode and my game group is generally fine with it and seems to enjoy that one more than the alternative ones.

Sure, it's acceptable, it just lends itself to dragging out, becoming a chore, and not meshing all that well with the fact that as long as losing is one possibility the dice offer, you will sometimes lose.

In our case, a miss generally means the battle will drag out and become a chore after a while. And the person who missed has the look on their face of not having done anything cool.

Yep. Personally, I looked for a way to set an in-game time limit on battles. I found one, and I generally use it. It works pretty well. Players still miss, but that doesn't drag the battle on.

This I do not want to ignore next time I'm behind the DM screen.

So, try the "never miss" session, see how that goes. I predict quick, bloody battles that the players can basically win as soon as they decide to unload their dailies, thereby letting them control the pace of the encounter.

EDIT: We are perfectly fine with the idea that the PCs will win inevitably. Our main concern is to look cool while doing it and make some meaningful choices in regards to how they will go about it.

It's possible to look cool even while losing. What are some of those meaningful choices?

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

And here I thought I was backing up your argument, PrimeSonic, by telling another poster that always getting some effect regardless of hit or miss wouldn't mean failure was removed from the game. I guess that's "avoiding" the issue.

Good luck. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | The Art of Pacing (Series) | Improvisation Guide | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character
Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!
Check Out My D&D Next Playtest Campaign: The Next World

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And here I thought I was backing up your argument, PrimeSonic, by telling another poster that always getting some effect regardless of hit or miss wouldn't mean failure was removed from the game. I guess that's "avoiding" the issue.

Good luck. 



That only works if it ends up being cool for the player. As DM you can make all sorts of "interesting" unintended consequences for "failure", but if it still means the player is disapointed at not getting the bit of awesomeness he was hoping for, it's all for nothing.

I appreciate your push to think outside the box, but I hope you would look at this from the player perspective a bit more rather than the DM one.
That only works if it ends up being cool for the player. As DM you can make all sorts of "interesting" unintended consequences for "failure", but if it still means the player is disapointed at not getting the bit of awesomeness he was hoping for, it's all for nothing.

This is the key issue: will the player accept anything other than the "bit of awesomeness he was hoping for"? If not, then rolling is pointless except to determine if it was a critical or not, because you'll only fudge the result anyway.  If so, then make what the player will accept (which might vary from attack to attack and player to player) the consequence for a miss.

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

At no point was I trying to say that success is only defined by how you roll. Things are rarely so black and white as "success" and "failure," and it is often a sliding scale with many shades of gray. 

Though I will note my biases here: I dislike the idea of only rolling when dramatically appropriate, as that directly and negatively impacts some of what I enjoy most about the game (the random chance). As for the death issue, I have seen your debates regarding it on other threads. I generally prefer permanent death in my games, but by the same token, if one of my players really wanted their character to somehow survive with a permanent penalty, I'd probably allow it. Setting and campaign context of course matters as well.

Having said that, I have some players who define success and failure by their abilities in combat. This has meant that, occasionally, they have had awful die rolls that made them feel rather less than awesome. This also means that, on occasion, they have gotten some critical hits just in the nick of time to turn a battle and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

Eliminating attack rolls or mitigating their meaning has drastic effects on the game, devaluing certain classes and empowering others. It would certainly be interesting to see, but my guess is it wouldn't be my cup of tea.

I also think that an important aspect never mentioned on these forums in my time lurking here is DM enjoyment. One thing I love about D&D is pitting myself against the PCs. While I want them to succeed, if the game is made easy it gets boring for me as DM. You may say it is a power and control thing, and maybe it is, but I have given my players the occasional easy battle (usually as a tune up after a lot of leveling up) and it is dreadfully boring. Combat in 4e is time-consuming (generally a minimum of 30 minutes), and spending it on cakewalks does not appeal to me. My players know this about me and it is part of the buy-in.

By the way, since it always somehow gets mentioned, yes, I do alternate victory conditions. I have very few battles that end upon wiping out the other side; I usually make killing the enemy leader/certain number of enemies sufficient (when appropriate, as most opponents are intelligent and few intelligent creatures will stick with a losing battle), as well as have had many other alternate win conditions for a combat encounter. Also, "losing" does not always equate with "death." Sometimes you will be captured, enslaved, left alive but stripped of your money and items, maimed, cursed, etc. TPKs do little to advance campaign plotlines.
Though I will note my biases here: I dislike the idea of only rolling when dramatically appropriate, as that directly and negatively impacts some of what I enjoy most about the game (the random chance).

It's already impacted, because when people roll a miss that's simply boring, they often just fudge it. People say they like the random chance, but I bet no one just swallows it all the time. And no one rolls for everything. But there are times when you can at least get everyone at the same table to agree that, yes, this needs a roll.

Having said that, I have some players who define success and failure by their abilities in combat. This has meant that, occasionally, they have had awful die rolls that made them feel rather less than awesome. This also means that, on occasion, they have gotten some critical hits just in the nick of time to turn a battle and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Eliminating attack rolls or mitigating their meaning has drastic effects on the game, devaluing certain classes and empowering others. It would certainly be interesting to see, but my guess is it wouldn't be my cup of tea.

Yes, give it a try. But it's simply not necessary to roll dice if one of the outcomes is that it will make the players feel "less than awesome." Why not reserve rolls for when the outcome will be either a nick-of-time save, or an epic defeat?

My players know this about me and it is part of the buy-in.

That's great. (edit: really. No sarcasm.) No, we don't metion DM enjoyment a lot, but the questions we mainly try to address are from DMs who aren't getting the enjoyment they want.

But again, it seems like "removing randomness" is being conflated with "cakewalk." The two are not the same. Since you're talking about a competitive mode, take chess: there's no roll to hit in chess, but it's not a cakewalk unless the two players are of very different skill levels.

Sometimes you will be captured, enslaved, left alive but stripped of your money and items, maimed, cursed, etc. TPKs do little to advance campaign plotlines.

Agreed. I can't help but notice, though, that all of those failures have some direct impact on the way the characters work. Do you think it would be possible to get your players to buy in to failure that left them free and intact, but drastically changed the world they were in?

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

"Agreed. I can't help but notice, though, that all of those failures have some direct impact on the way the characters work. Do you think it would be possible to get your players to buy in to failure that left them free and intact, but drastically changed the world they were in?"

Of course, the result of the failure is dependent upon what they were attempting to do. Did they fail to stop a dark ritual that was attempting to summon a demon? Well, you survived, but there is that little issue of the evil demon stomping around. My answers were merely what I came up with off the top of my head.

Sorry, I am conflating "removing randomness" with "cakewalk" because that is how I feel like it would turn out. Yes, chess may be the appropriate example, so perhaps I am giving it the short end of the stick, but I feel like you lose a lot more of the drama inherent in combat. Even if it is manufactured, I personally feel like losing that tiny thrill you get when you hit, and even that sadness you feel when you miss, hurts the overall experience.

I also can't stop the optimizer in me from thinking of all the stupid things you can do if you no longer miss.
At some point, sometime, there will be some fight-for-your-life battle where the only objective is survival and the only win-condition is the complete dominance of the aggressors. What do you do then? 

And that's the question, isn't it? Are the characters really just fighting to kill each other, or are they fighting to do something?

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Sorry, I am conflating "removing randomness" with "cakewalk" because that is how I feel like it would turn out. Yes, chess may be the appropriate example, so perhaps I am giving it the short end of the stick, but I feel like you lose a lot more of the drama inherent in combat. Even if it is manufactured, I personally feel like losing that tiny thrill you get when you hit, and even that sadness you feel when you miss, hurts the overall experience.

It's hard to know. The game would certainly be different, but I think there's a good chance that it would remove a lot of what we have to rationalize to ourselves as fun and replace it with actual fun. When we're in the position of stating that not enjoying  the game is part of the game, I think we really need to examine things closely to make sure we're not just fooling ourselves.

I also can't stop the optimizer in me from thinking of all the stupid things you can do if you no longer miss.

As I said initially, the game would not work well if that's all that changed. I also wonder if the fact that the monsters never miss is also being considered.

But say you could optimize to the point that you could easily win every combat: would you? Or would you get tired of it, and choose to inject some randomness back in? I don't kill my players' characters unless they want me to. One of my players decided he wanted to and would occassionally roll percentile dice, stating that on a 5 or less his character was dead. When I first started playing a more collaborative game, the players were winning everything very easily, because they could just say they did. They agreed, though that this was pretty boring, and we set about collaborating on failure that they would find interesting. And they fail all the time.

Not that everyone could or should choose that approach. I can see people enjoying only success. I think some groups who have only live-or-die combat do that all the time. I imagine that their DMs find enjoyment in something other than the challenge of the fight, perhaps in story design or something.

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

We had a similar concern when playing 4e. We found there are a few things that suck about a miss. The biggest is that it takes forever for your turn to come back around. The second biggest is that you "wasted your encounter/daily". 


Our solutions. Speed up game play dramatically. There are tons of suggestions on this, but the big ones are increase everyone's damage, reduce the enemy HP, ask everyone to prep their turn in advance, and encourage the DM to declare "You are holding your action, let me know when you are ready" if someone isn't prepped when their turn rolls around. 


As for wasted powers, maybe institute some sort of action point system. 1/day spend a point to unexpend a power. +1 action point for doing cool stuff. Alternatively, you could always say powers aren't expended on a miss.


I personally would find the "You always hit" method a little boring. I'd miss out on the tactical elements of "Buff this guy" "position here to gain advantage" sort of things.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"

"Your advice is the worst"

You could also call for rolls only on certain powers. Maybe At-Wills and encounters without Miss lines never require rolls, except to see if it's a critical, but Dailies and Encounters with Miss lines always do.

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

  Not that everyone could or should choose that approach. I can see people enjoying only success. I think some groups who have only live-or-die combat do that all the time. I imagine that their DMs find enjoyment in something other than the challenge of the fight, perhaps in story design or something.



You would be at least partially correct. 

I wouldn't say that very many of my combats are live or die only, but that they are live or die AND succeed or fail at other goals. 

I am able to find enjoyment in the challenge of the fight, even in those live or die encounters. 
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
  Not that everyone could or should choose that approach. I can see people enjoying only success. I think some groups who have only live-or-die combat do that all the time. I imagine that their DMs find enjoyment in something other than the challenge of the fight, perhaps in story design or something.

You would be at least partially correct. 

I wouldn't say that very many of my combats are live or die only, but that they are live or die AND succeed or fail at other goals. 

I am able to find enjoyment in the challenge of the fight, even in those live or die encounters. 

I'm not sure I follow you. If a DM only takes enjoyment from the challenge, but the characters are guaranteed to succeed, the thought was that the DM's enjoyment would be impacted. Contrariwise, if the players are not guaranteed to succeed, the enjoyment of the entire table might be impacted.

So, are you saying that your players are challenged in the live or die fights and that there's a real possibility that they'll die?

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

 
  Not that everyone could or should choose that approach. I can see people enjoying only success. I think some groups who have only live-or-die combat do that all the time. I imagine that their DMs find enjoyment in something other than the challenge of the fight, perhaps in story design or something.

You would be at least partially correct. 

I wouldn't say that very many of my combats are live or die only, but that they are live or die AND succeed or fail at other goals. 

I am able to find enjoyment in the challenge of the fight, even in those live or die encounters. 



I'm not sure I follow you. If a DM only takes enjoyment from the challenge, but the characters are guaranteed to succeed, the thought was that the DM's enjoyment would be impacted. Contrariwise, if the players are not guaranteed to succeed, the enjoyment of the entire table might be impacted.



I vehemently reject the first premise, but not necessarily the second one.  As for the second premise, I reject the notion that anyone would actually enjoy guaranteed success, as implied by the statement. 




So, are you saying that your players are challenged in the live or die fights and that there's a real possibility that they'll die?



Yes and yes.  (given the context of the campaign).  More on this later. 
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
  As for the second premise, I reject the notion that anyone would actually enjoy guaranteed success, as implied by the statement.

Groups do it all the time. The guarantee is not explicit, and in fact the strong possibility of failure might be stated explicitly, despite there being no serious chance of it. There are DMs who want nothing but for their players to succeed but feel challenged. I daresay there are some player who assume success, and find the challenge to be about minimizing their use of time and resources.

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

I'll agree that missing sucks, but I don't think there's any reason in 4e to add non-miss mechanics for every single attack.

AFAIK, ALL daily powers are either reliable or have a decent effect.

Many Paragon Paths have Action point effects to reduce chances of missing.

I can, see, however, adding the following as a house rule:

+1 Tokens: Each time you miss every target with an attack power that is not Reliable or has a Miss effect OR fail a saving throw, you gain a +1 token. Until the end of the encounter, you can apply any/all of these tokens to a single attack roll or saving throw AFTER rolling the die. At the end of the encounter, unspent tokens are lost.

The problem with missing is that individual players tend to have noticeable strings of misses. While it's a pain to miss with any attack, it's even worse if you miss with EVERY attack you attempt in an encounter. 
I'll agree that missing sucks, but I don't think there's any reason in 4e to add non-miss mechanics for every single attack.

AFAIK, ALL daily powers are either reliable or have a decent effect.

Yep. And I think we need to consider why that was done.

I find it fascinating that people get disheartened about their Dailies missing. I regularly see players needing to be reminded that Dailes never just miss. The fact that they don't is the bulk of what makes them special.

Many Paragon Paths have Action point effects to reduce chances of missing.

I can, see, however, adding the following as a house rule:

+1 Tokens: Each time you miss every target with an attack power that is not Reliable or has a Miss effect OR fail a saving throw, you gain a +1 token. Until the end of the encounter, you can apply any/all of these tokens to a single attack roll or saving throw AFTER rolling the die. At the end of the encounter, unspent tokens are lost.

I like that. There's a magic weapon that gives you a cumulative +1 on attacks until you hit.

But it still just moves the risk around.

The problem with missing is that individual players tend to have noticeable strings of misses. While it's a pain to miss with any attack, it's even worse if you miss with EVERY attack you attempt in an encounter.

That's mostly confirmation bias, of course.

As a side note: I wonder if this issue affects different roles differently. I've been playing a leader recently, and half the time I don't even bother making attacks. I could miss every time and still feel like I was a necessary and useful member of the group. A defender who never hits (even excepting those with automatically damaging marks, who tend to be considered weaker anyway) is still imposing a -2 penalty, or absorbing hits. Controllers, I feel, have a lot of powers with effect lines, to hinder the enemy even if they don't damage them. I can't say that anyone playing those roles should dislike missing less as a result, but it's quite a bit different from being a striker which really isn't fufilling its roll at all unless it hits.

Puts me in mind of trying to run a game in which no attack hits. Careful power and monster selection would be in order.

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

One of the house rules we tried for this was simply this:  The power was not expended on a miss.  This means if the player missed on a Daily or Encounter Power, he could try to use it again later.  Once the power scored a hit of any kind, it was used up.  At-wills received no such consideration.

For Pathfinder, we sometimes use a variant that affects spells, powers, and limited use maneuvers as above-- the power is not lost until it hits or forces a saving throw.  Whether the creature makes its save or not doesn't factor in, for this only deals with attack roll required based powers as getting a redo on a failed save is too powerful given the SoDs and Save or Sucks in the game.
We did something that revolutionized our game and made everyone a lot more happy.

You deal normal damage on a miss.

This means that you do not get the benefit of any on hit effects like daze or any other special benefit (unless the power says so), but you are always making progress on the damage front. This also sped up the NOTORIOUSLY slow 4E Combat.

I like this idea, but I think that I will try instead to give "esclation die" damage on a miss. 

For those who don't know, 13th Age uses an Escalation Die mechanic which starts on the second round of combat.  A d6 is put on the table and starts at one.  On the 2nd round, all PCs get to add a +1 to their attack rolls.  On round three, the die is turned to two and they get to add +2 to all attack rolls, and so on, up to +6.  This helps to speed up combat by making PCs less likely to miss as the fight goes on.

I tried this with my 4e groups and both groups gave me feedback indicating that they thought this made things "too easy."  Fine then.  Since the point is to speed up combat, I suggested that instead, the escalation die be added to all damage they do, and multiplied by their tier.  So, for example, in Heroic tier play, at round three, +2 is added to all damage inflicted on enemies.   On round seven of an Epic tier combat, the players would add +18 to damage any time damage is inflicted against an enemy.

I think I'm going to try using that escalation die damage mechanic as damage inflicted on a miss.  It seems like a decent consolation prize, but more importantly it should help to speed up fights somewhat without making things appear to be "too easy."  We'll see if my groups want to try it and how it goes if they agree.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”