4e Encounters vs realism

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Firts let me say in no way am I bashing 4e, thus far evrtything I have read is consistent with a well thought out an designed system. Kudos to all who helped make it so. My chief concern, however is the lack of realism in an encounter based system. Intelligent monsters will not sit back and wait for the party to come and get them. I remember fighting a pitched battle with nearly every firegiant in the old G3 module. They came at us in organized waves, attacking us from side corridors and in numbers that made the players squirm, but it made sense! It was a memorable session. In 4e those numbers would slaughter the party.

Also, looking at the suggested encounter groupings listed in the MM I grow concerned about the ecology and wherefores as to why these monsters are cooperating. Trying to design realistic groups that don't seem overbalanced has me scratching my head. For instances: I want to design an encounter w/ just firebeetles. A 1st level encounter should involve 4-5 beetles. If they all attacked with their breath weapon, which seems reasonable to have them do, the party doesn't stand a chance, unless the dm rolls horribly low.

Is this just me or are others running into similiar problems w/ encounter design?
I have to take a moment to laugh that there is a concern about "realism" in fighting fire giants.

In answer to your question, this seemed the case to me until I played the game. It's fun. I have never had this much fun playing a 1st level game before, but the DnD gameday module was FUN.
I like the move to more cinematic gameplay. Also, I noticed more roleplaying than I ever have when we played yesterday. I thought I would witness less.

Realism should be tossed out the door. Sure, keep physics and gravity. They are real, but why can't we get cinematic with our gameplay. I really think 4th has answered a lot of problems with throwing old conventions that were based off of wargaming and moved to a more organic action paced cinematic feel.
They came at us in organized waves, attacking us from side corridors and in numbers that made the players squirm, but it made sense! It was a memorable session. In 4e those numbers would slaughter the party.

That's why they have minions.

As far as I understand it, 4e is designed more around fighting groups rather than solos than 3.Xe was.
Laugh all you want. Maybe the word I should have used was logical. If creatures don't act in a manner that makes sound strategic sense when they have perfectly acceptable or above average intelligence or wisdom, the players are cheated, or they should feel cheated anyway. Why shouldn't kobolds attack the party enmass, it is one of their chief abilities, why wouldn't they swarm overa party entering their lair?

Once again this is no slight, I'm just pointing out tthat for some dms this will require a shift in style and encounter writing.
Well about the creatures not attacking en masse, who says they cant? In the first run i did for 4e I had an entire horde of goblins attack my party. So what did they do? They backed away found a narrow corrider conveniently placed a few rooms back and proceeded to winnow the numbers down until it was a reasonable encounter. The fact that the first few waves were minions helped a bit as well, but overall with good level design and planning on both the pc's and dm's parts you can have moderately realistic encounters.
I ran the D&D gameday adventure. The first group I ran through it ended up fighting everything in the dungeon at once. Several of them barely survived, but they did survive.
Everyone will find things they dislike with a new system, but I have to admit, why should anything in 4e change anything about the tactics you use? Really, you should be able to throw more fire giants at the pc's.

And there was already advice for DM's to take any monster they want and re0skin it to fit with other monster types.
The players will only notice that 'these' guys are new versions of the monster type their against.

We played with the preview material for weeks ahead with 1st characters, and the first thing I did was throw 20 goblins at the PC's, with no minions, and they got through quite well.

I'm looking forwards to using the tactics you think are lost with a hundred mionons! Now THAT will be an eipc battle!
This reply is from someone who has argued a fair bit here from the pro-realism standpoint, and frequently from a fairly anti-4e perspective. After having run a couple sessions of H1, and playing a fair bit solo just for practice, I've really changed my perspective. Primarily, the game plays really, really fun. That's obviously subjective, but I was surprised at just how much fun it is to play.

Although the lack of realism in some areas still has me a little tweaked, I now agree that the overall flow of the game is so much superior to 3.x that I'm going to be comfortable overlooking it. In fact, I was thinking I might actually run two versions for two different groups, but really, 4e works and I'm likely going to use it for all my D&D.

Granted, I've formed this opinion without even having leveled any characters past 1st, but I do think they've nailed it. Also, there's huge potential for expansion, and I do think that this version will really expand in a much more logical, coherent manner than previous versions. If you haven't played it, at least pick up H1 and give it shot. If you try it with even a moderately open mind, you may really like it. And if you look at any other threads I've written in the last 6 months you'll find that I was NOT a fan until I tried it.
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