How to stop players from breaking your plot?

How to stop players from breaking your plot?

With save or die or save or suck spells like Hold Person available at level 3, what can you do, short of outright cheating and fudging saves and dice rolls, to keep the players from accidentally breaking your plot?

Keep in mind how saves don't scale but players save DCs do with their level so it will get harder and harder to do as they level up...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times.

Or could in the last packet.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

BAsically never let the players be Primary caster classes.

OR play 4e

Or another game entirely

Or spend hours giving the bad guy hundreds of special magic items and defensive buffs that your players will either chew you out for overpowerign the villains or find the one little exploitable hole you forgot about without even trying hard, just like back in 3e. 
BAsically never let the players be Primary caster classes.

OR play 4e

Or another game entirely

Or spend hours giving the bad guy hundreds of special magic items and defensive buffs that your players will either chew you out for overpowerign the villains or find the one little exploitable hole you forgot about without even trying hard, just like back in 3e. 



My most recent 3E game I took out a BBEG giant fire resistant crocodile using Balor Nimbus and grappling in like 1 round by rolling high on the damage...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times. Or could in the last packet.



Yeah, like I said, without cheating or breaking the rules.

"Sorry guys, this monster auto saves against your spells."

You'll also notice that a novaing caster can actually put out more spells than the Legendary creature can save against if they use their entire repertoire of spells, which reasonably would happen because its the big boss fight...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
You dont. And it is not a problem, because plot breaking abilities are fun apparently. 

BAsically never let the players be Primary caster classes.

OR play 4e

Or another game entirely

Or spend hours giving the bad guy hundreds of special magic items and defensive buffs that your players will either chew you out for overpowerign the villains or find the one little exploitable hole you forgot about without even trying hard, just like back in 3e. 



Or you could just be flexible and see where the Player's want to take the story instead of railroading them.  Or,  you could just drop in a lackey on the spot with a scroll of dispell magic and improvise.  Drop in "Reinforcements" that keep the PC's distracted. 

Plus,  nothing says "This spell works 100% of the time whether the DM likes it or not".    

This isn't a rules problem,  it's a playgroup problem.  There are myriad ways to handle this situation,  from brute-force "Didn't work",  to letting the PC's roleplay out a different path,  to being flexible and making changes on the fly to keep the party from breaking the plot.

It's no different in 4e.

Solo's where extra vulerable to a simple stun or 2. They also had to "cheat". Also, more classes could stun.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I would avoid plots that have a BBEG. I would also include enough elements that it doesn't all hinge on the survival of the the BBEG. This is less of a problem if you avoid plot lines that are on rails, but if you are going to rail road you have to plan into your plot the fall out after a BBEG dies prematurely. Also, having a group of people working independently can make the plot more stable since losing one person doesn't cause everything to collapse.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times. Or could in the last packet.



Yeah, like I said, without cheating or breaking the rules.

"Sorry guys, this monster auto saves against your spells."

You'll also notice that a novaing caster can actually put out more spells than the Legendary creature can save against if they use their entire repertoire of spells, which reasonably would happen because its the big boss fight...



Wait are we talking about a "plot" or a "boss fight".

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times. Or could in the last packet.



Yeah, like I said, without cheating or breaking the rules.

"Sorry guys, this monster auto saves against your spells."

You'll also notice that a novaing caster can actually put out more spells than the Legendary creature can save against if they use their entire repertoire of spells, which reasonably would happen because its the big boss fight...



At this stage,  I have to ask,  are you really interested in the answers to your question?  You seem to be trying to define the playing field in such a way as to get the answer you want to hear,  rather than the answer to the question you've posited.  You're now setting it up so that flexibility isn't an option in a game meant to be flexible.

Any good DM is going to tell you that the answer to your question is either:  Roleplay up the events and let the plot go in an unexpected direction,  or insert a counter such as reinforcements or someone hiding with a scroll of dispell magic.

I find this to be an extremely strange playing field you're setting up.  You express that you want "Cinematic" gameplay,  but here is a prime example of a point where gameplay could be "Cinematic" by giving the Villian a surprise out,  or inserting a plot twist,  and you're now setting it up so that the only acceptable answers are rules-based ones.   
BAsically never let the players be Primary caster classes.

OR play 4e

Or another game entirely

Or spend hours giving the bad guy hundreds of special magic items and defensive buffs that your players will either chew you out for overpowerign the villains or find the one little exploitable hole you forgot about without even trying hard, just like back in 3e. 



Or you could just be flexible and see where the Player's want to take the story instead of railroading them.  Or,  you could just drop in a lackey on the spot with a scroll of dispell magic and improvise.  Drop in "Reinforcements" that keep the PC's distracted. 

Plus,  nothing says "This spell works 100% of the time whether the DM likes it or not".    

This isn't a rules problem,  it's a playgroup problem.  There are myriad ways to handle this situation,  from brute-force "Didn't work",  to letting the PC's roleplay out a different path,  to being flexible and making changes on the fly to keep the party from breaking the plot.




Yeah, I don't want to have to create an entirely different adventure every time the players drop a save or die/suck spell. That's way too much work.
Yeah after the third or fourth time of dropping the lackey in with a scroll of Dispel Magic, my players would be crying foul again. That only works once or twice over the course of the entire campaign.
Reinforcements won't keep the PC's distracted. They will still run up and kill the BBEG before dealing with the reinforcements.
The way save or die spells work and the modified sorcerer style vancian casting system means if it doesn't work the first time (around a 70% chance it will work), it will almost assuredly work the second time (around a 91% chance it will have worked on the first or second casting).
It is very definitely a rules problem. I specifically said no cheating or fudging dice, because players can discern when that's happening when every BBEG they come up against makes the first 3-5 saves against them every time.
Most of the rest of your suggestions boil down to DM really really well and spend tons of time prepping and making adventures you may not need in case the players go off the rails.
Good DMing is not an answer to everything and most people simply aren't going to put in that kind of time...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

Break the plot? I don't design "plots" in a story book sense. I design crap that goes down, then a slew of NPCs who will have an effect on that crap in the same way PCs will have an effect on it. I place NPCs on each corner of the plot so no matter which side the PCs take, they'll have allies and enemies. I don't know who's going to be a friend or foe to the players, because I don't know how they'll react to the plot.

I fully expect the NPCs who's beliefs don't line up with the players to get killed off somehow. As for the NPCs the players like? I'll kill those ones off myself for shock value if the players don't do something right. "You all walk into the room to see that one undead guy you hate eating the intestines out of your best friend."

Rule number one in my games, everyone's mortal. If you want a Storyteller style game where things go down like a book, then don't let me GM. Simulationism ho!
It's no different in 4e. Solo's where extra vulerable to a simple stun or 2. They also had to "cheat". Also, more classes could stun.



Yeah, but in 5E its even worse a single action has a pretty good chance of paralyzing a BBEG at 3rd level. In 4E you didn't start getting stun powers until higher level and BBEG's in 4E got huge save bonuses and had abilities that allowed them to bypass those things...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I would avoid plots that have a BBEG. I would also include enough elements that it doesn't all hinge on the survival of the the BBEG. This is less of a problem if you avoid plot lines that are on rails, but if you are going to rail road you have to plan into your plot the fall out after a BBEG dies prematurely. Also, having a group of people working independently can make the plot more stable since losing one person doesn't cause everything to collapse.



Yeah, double prep is not a good answer. I have trouble keeping up with making the adventures for my group as it is...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times. Or could in the last packet.



Yeah, like I said, without cheating or breaking the rules.

"Sorry guys, this monster auto saves against your spells."

You'll also notice that a novaing caster can actually put out more spells than the Legendary creature can save against if they use their entire repertoire of spells, which reasonably would happen because its the big boss fight...



At this stage,  I have to ask,  are you really interested in the answers to your question?  You seem to be trying to define the playing field in such a way as to get the answer you want to hear,  rather than the answer to the question you've posited.  You're now setting it up so that flexibility isn't an option in a game meant to be flexible.

Any good DM is going to tell you that the answer to your question is either:  Roleplay up the events and let the plot go in an unexpected direction,  or insert a counter such as reinforcements or someone hiding with a scroll of dispell magic.

I find this to be an extremely strange playing field you're setting up.  You express that you want "Cinematic" gameplay,  but here is a prime example of a point where gameplay could be "Cinematic" by giving the Villian a surprise out,  or inserting a plot twist,  and you're now setting it up so that the only acceptable answers are rules-based ones.   



Uh no. I'm setting up reasonable responses by players. After the third for fourth minion with a scroll of Dispel Magic shows up my players would start saying harsh things. I'm sure many players would do the same. This amounts to giving the players a feature and then bypassing it every time its useful. Its not a good answer.
If every time they kill the BBEG easily, suddenly something else happens it starts to get old and the players are going to know somethings up.
Each of the suggestions in this thread could be used once or twice in a long campaign without drawing the ire of the players, but after that there are still going to be more BBEG's than solutions...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Druid could dominate 1/encounter at 7.
And i belive there where daily stuns at 5.

And i've screwed up at least 2 campaigns with the avenger's tracing beacon power.

And even at level 1, you could prone+daze+immobilize with some teamwork.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.


Break the plot? I don't design "plots" in a story book sense. I design crap that goes down, then a slew of NPCs who will have an effect on that crap in the same way PCs will have an effect on it. I place NPCs on each corner of the plot so no matter which side the PCs take, they'll have allies and enemies. I don't know who's going to be a friend or foe to the players, because I don't know how they'll react to the plot.

I fully expect the NPCs who's beliefs don't line up with the players to get killed off somehow. As for the NPCs the players like? I'll kill those ones off myself for shock value if the players don't do something right. "You all walk into the room to see that one undead guy you hate eating the intestines out of your best friend."

Rule number one in my games, everyone's mortal. If you want a Storyteller style game where things go down like a book, then don't let me GM. Simulationism ho!



Some of us don't have the time to spend hours designing a sand box that may or may not get explored. Most of your answers boild down to "be an awesome DM that can improvise on the fly" or "do lots and lots of prep that may or may not be used" which to me would mean going back to a 3E DMing style which I simply don't have time for...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
D&D is really not meant to cater to creating a pre-determined story. Sometimes PCs die in less than epic ways, sometimes boss fights end quickly too. 

That's a feature of the game, not a bug. If you want to have epic finales be guaranteed, read a book instead.

hint : if you think railroading PCs or enemies to have a minimum number of rounds of combat before winning or losing, definitely play 4e instead. There is no reason PCs can't find some non-combat way to circumvent your big final battle anyway, and still get full XP.

Sometimes you win the fight by not fighting at all. Other times you roll a natural 20 on targetting the pit trap mechanism and the enemy caster is crushed in the first round of battle. Othertimes the barbarian wins initiative, charges in with his greatsword, and rolls the right d6 on an mirror-image'd enemy necromanver and cleaves him cleanly in two, ending the fight immediately.

The problem isn't in casters, save of die, or D&D in general, it's in shoe-horning D&D to make combats last longer than they should. I remember fondly that single round lucky charge+beheading of the necromancer in PF far more vividly in my imagination than I do many a grindy battle in 4e. HP attrition wars aren't inherently more exciting. Longer combats don't stick out in your mind. It's those moments that matter.

If every battle you do must last a minimum of 3-4 rounds, that must really suck for the story. Not all battles should last longer. Why not let the dice decide? Instead of nerfing all spells or lucky barbarian crits. 
 
Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times. Or could in the last packet.



Yeah, like I said, without cheating or breaking the rules.

"Sorry guys, this monster auto saves against your spells."

You'll also notice that a novaing caster can actually put out more spells than the Legendary creature can save against if they use their entire repertoire of spells, which reasonably would happen because its the big boss fight...



At this stage,  I have to ask,  are you really interested in the answers to your question?  You seem to be trying to define the playing field in such a way as to get the answer you want to hear,  rather than the answer to the question you've posited.  You're now setting it up so that flexibility isn't an option in a game meant to be flexible.

Any good DM is going to tell you that the answer to your question is either:  Roleplay up the events and let the plot go in an unexpected direction,  or insert a counter such as reinforcements or someone hiding with a scroll of dispell magic.

I find this to be an extremely strange playing field you're setting up.  You express that you want "Cinematic" gameplay,  but here is a prime example of a point where gameplay could be "Cinematic" by giving the Villian a surprise out,  or inserting a plot twist,  and you're now setting it up so that the only acceptable answers are rules-based ones.   



Uh no. I'm setting up reasonable responses by players. After the third for fourth minion with a scroll of Dispel Magic shows up my players would start saying harsh things. I'm sure many players would do the same. This amounts to giving the players a feature and then bypassing it every time its useful. Its not a good answer.
If every time they kill the BBEG easily, suddenly something else happens it starts to get old and the players are going to know somethings up.
Each of the suggestions in this thread could be used once or twice in a long campaign without drawing the ire of the players, but after that there are still going to be more BBEG's than solutions...



At this point,  I have to ask,  how often are you exposing the main villian with the intention of him not being killed or captured in a campaign?  How did you manage this in 4th edition?  It seems to me that "The villian got away" is at least as bad or worse than reinforcements or scrolls if used so much.
I use the Paul Levitz writing style for adventures and have multiple plots and adventures going on at the same time.  So if a BBEG gets toasted unexpectedly it doesn't matter just move the story to the next plot element.  And I try not to have linear railroad plots.  I can keep the encounters twisting.
To answer the OP's question, it's simple : You don't.

D&D stories are interactive, they don't follow a strict plot. Even highly structured modules shouldn't railroad PCs into a certain way of solving or winning the adventure.  

I'm almost ashamed at myself even spending time to answer this. 
Druid could dominate 1/encounter at 7. And i believe there where daily stuns at 5. And I've screwed up at least 2 campaigns with the avenger's tracing beacon power. And even at level 1, you could prone+daze+immobilize with some teamwork.



Looking at the compendium (I don't have DDi, but I can do a search) there are 7 powers that have the word "stun" in them and the lowest level power is level 10 (equivalent to level 7 in 5E).

The lowest level power that comes up in the compendium with daze is a level 5 Warlock daily called Forceful Assault a single target power that Dazes (save ends) which means a 4E BBEG at worst is dazed for 1 to 2 rounds (meaning they have to choose between taking a standard action, minor action, or a move action) once per day. In 5E a caster (several of them actually) can cast Hold Person 2 times at level 3 (about equivalent to level 5 in 4E). In other words way more powerful.

Prone is losing a move action, hardly a game stopper. Immobilize is the same as long as the BBEG has a ranged or area attack immobilize is an inconvenience at best.

4E had these problems to an extent, but 5E is going to have them much much worse...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
For example recently in a 2E game.  The wizard out of desperation cast disinegrate at great wyrm Red Dragon.  It failed its save and magic resistance.  No problem, there were other plot lines going on and loot in his treasure that connected some of the plots.  Instead of a big climax it looked like something leading up to something else.


P.S.  I rolled read bad for the Big Red.  But was not going to take that away from the wizard.  
D&D is really not meant to cater to creating a pre-determined story. Sometimes PCs die in less than epic ways, sometimes boss fights end quickly too. 

That's a feature of the game, not a bug. If you want to have epic finales be guaranteed, read a book instead.

hint : if you think railroading PCs or enemies to have a minimum number of rounds of combat before winning or losing, definitely play 4e instead. There is no reason PCs can't find some non-combat way to circumvent your big final battle anyway, and still get full XP.

Sometimes you win the fight by not fighting at all. Other times you roll a natural 20 on targetting the pit trap mechanism and the enemy caster is crushed in the first round of battle. Othertimes the barbarian wins initiative, charges in with his greatsword, and rolls the right d6 on an mirror-image'd enemy necromanver and cleaves him cleanly in two, ending the fight immediately.

The problem isn't in casters, save of die, or D&D in general, it's in shoe-horning D&D to make combats last longer than they should. I remember fondly that single round lucky charge+beheading of the necromancer in PF far more vividly in my imagination than I do many a grindy battle in 4e. HP attrition wars aren't inherently more exciting. Longer combats don't stick out in your mind. It's those moments that matter.

If every battle you do must last a minimum of 3-4 rounds, that must really suck for the story. Not all battles should last longer. Why not let the dice decide? Instead of nerfing all spells or lucky barbarian crits. 
 



Some people find it anti-climactic to have the BBEG die to a single roll of the dice. Also ruining a plot that you designed an adventure or campaign for could end up grinding a game session to a halt as the DM struggles to put something together instantly (some DM's aren't masterful at this kind of thing and prep stuff so they aren't put on the spot)...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Yeah, how do you break a combat related plot with combat?

MacGuffins are the DM's best friend.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Legenday creatures can auto-save a few times. Or could in the last packet.



Yeah, like I said, without cheating or breaking the rules.

"Sorry guys, this monster auto saves against your spells."

You'll also notice that a novaing caster can actually put out more spells than the Legendary creature can save against if they use their entire repertoire of spells, which reasonably would happen because its the big boss fight...



At this stage,  I have to ask,  are you really interested in the answers to your question?  You seem to be trying to define the playing field in such a way as to get the answer you want to hear,  rather than the answer to the question you've posited.  You're now setting it up so that flexibility isn't an option in a game meant to be flexible.

Any good DM is going to tell you that the answer to your question is either:  Roleplay up the events and let the plot go in an unexpected direction,  or insert a counter such as reinforcements or someone hiding with a scroll of dispell magic.

I find this to be an extremely strange playing field you're setting up.  You express that you want "Cinematic" gameplay,  but here is a prime example of a point where gameplay could be "Cinematic" by giving the Villian a surprise out,  or inserting a plot twist,  and you're now setting it up so that the only acceptable answers are rules-based ones.   



Uh no. I'm setting up reasonable responses by players. After the third for fourth minion with a scroll of Dispel Magic shows up my players would start saying harsh things. I'm sure many players would do the same. This amounts to giving the players a feature and then bypassing it every time its useful. Its not a good answer.
If every time they kill the BBEG easily, suddenly something else happens it starts to get old and the players are going to know somethings up.
Each of the suggestions in this thread could be used once or twice in a long campaign without drawing the ire of the players, but after that there are still going to be more BBEG's than solutions...



At this point,  I have to ask,  how often are you exposing the main villian with the intention of him not being killed or captured in a campaign?  How did you manage this in 4th edition?  It seems to me that "The villian got away" is at least as bad or worse than reinforcements or scrolls if used so much.



There are many different things I do. One is to create high level villains and pit them against low level characters so they run away easy or the players run away or some other event stops the encounter. I also use villains monolguing while the players flail away at the bag of hp high level villain before the villain wipes them out (but leaves them alive) to show its power which is a great plot device. The players want revenge or have to seek out X artifact to fight the BBEG or fight a guerrilla war against its minions and lackeys. Hundreds of things like that. you can't do that in 5E because at 3rd level the players have nearly the same chance of paralyzing the BBEG as they do at level 15...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I use the Paul Levitz writing style for adventures and have multiple plots and adventures going on at the same time.  So if a BBEG gets toasted unexpectedly it doesn't matter just move the story to the next plot element.  And I try not to have linear railroad plots.  I can keep the encounters twisting.



I've already said that massive prep times are out...I don't have time to write multiple adventures and plots. I'm struggling to write what I have now...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Druid could dominate 1/encounter at 7. And i believe there where daily stuns at 5. And I've screwed up at least 2 campaigns with the avenger's tracing beacon power. And even at level 1, you could prone+daze+immobilize with some teamwork.



Looking at the compendium (I don't have DDi, but I can do a search) there are 7 powers that have the word "stun" in them and the lowest level power is level 10 (equivalent to level 7 in 5E).

The lowest level power that comes up in the compendium with daze is a level 5 Warlock daily called Forceful Assault a single target power that Dazes (save ends) which means a 4E BBEG at worst is dazed for 1 to 2 rounds (meaning they have to choose between taking a standard action, minor action, or a move action) once per day. In 5E a caster (several of them actually) can cast Hold Person 2 times at level 3 (about equivalent to level 5 in 4E). In other words way more powerful.

Prone is losing a move action, hardly a game stopper. Immobilize is the same as long as the BBEG has a ranged or area attack immobilize is an inconvenience at best.

4E had these problems to an extent, but 5E is going to have them much much worse...



Eh. You fail at compedium. Dazing Strike is level 1, as is Stunning Palm.

To answer the OP's question, it's simple : You don't.

D&D stories are interactive, they don't follow a strict plot. Even highly structured modules shouldn't railroad PCs into a certain way of solving or winning the adventure.  

I'm almost ashamed at myself even spending time to answer this. 



Your D&D stories maybe don't follow a strict plot, others do. What you are saying is my play style of railroading or using a single pre-made adventure is somehow badwrongfun, which is odd because nearly every published D&D adventure to date uses this style...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Some of us don't have the time to spend hours designing a sand box that may or may not get explored. Most of your answers boild down to "be an awesome DM that can improvise on the fly" or "do lots and lots of prep that may or may not be used" which to me would mean going back to a 3E DMing style which I simply don't have time for...

Way more improv for me than hours of prep. Characters are where I put most of my prep effort in, and even there I often just take one from somewhere else then change a few factors. (Usually Touhou. None of my players know about them Touhous and there are TONS of em'!)

Characters are really the only prep work I can keep relevant no matter where the players go or what they do. (The awesome monster fight in the sewers was totally skipped, oh well.) That may sound odd after I just said they were all mortal, but their mortality is where some of the biggest parts of the plot come in!

PS: Improv isn't awesome GMing in general, it is simply one way of doing things. It has just as many faults as pre-made.
Druid could dominate 1/encounter at 7. And i believe there where daily stuns at 5. And I've screwed up at least 2 campaigns with the avenger's tracing beacon power. And even at level 1, you could prone+daze+immobilize with some teamwork.



Looking at the compendium (I don't have DDi, but I can do a search) there are 7 powers that have the word "stun" in them and the lowest level power is level 10 (equivalent to level 7 in 5E).

The lowest level power that comes up in the compendium with daze is a level 5 Warlock daily called Forceful Assault a single target power that Dazes (save ends) which means a 4E BBEG at worst is dazed for 1 to 2 rounds (meaning they have to choose between taking a standard action, minor action, or a move action) once per day. In 5E a caster (several of them actually) can cast Hold Person 2 times at level 3 (about equivalent to level 5 in 4E). In other words way more powerful.

Prone is losing a move action, hardly a game stopper. Immobilize is the same as long as the BBEG has a ranged or area attack immobilize is an inconvenience at best.

4E had these problems to an extent, but 5E is going to have them much much worse...



Eh. You fail at compedium. Dazing Strike is level 1, as is Stunning Palm.




Dazing Strike is 1 round of daze, not exactly game breaking.
Stunning Palm could be a problem, except its a daily and save ends meaning at worst the BBEG is taken out for 1 to 2 rounds. Meaning they can only do it once per day for 1 to 2 rounds on average.

Again this doesn't compare to 5E where the Mage can do it 2x per day by level 3 and many more times after that and the Mage can keep it up for 3-4 rounds on average meaning an entire 5E fight. Where in 4E it only lasts a round or two at worst and the fights last more rounds.

4E does have this as a problem, but 5E makes it even worse...

"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
That DM column Chris Perkins used to run had a good answer (even in 4e this was a problem for some): have Big Bad Evil Organizations, not guys. That way your plot will survive whatever the group does to any one guy. Makes sense, if you think about it: in real life, a giant army doesn't just pack it up and go home if you assassinate their leader.

If you're just talking about single battles and not overarching plotlines, the same might still apply: if your party is in love with SoD effects, toss them fights with 2-3 powerful enemies instead of just one.
Some of us don't have the time to spend hours designing a sand box that may or may not get explored. Most of your answers boild down to "be an awesome DM that can improvise on the fly" or "do lots and lots of prep that may or may not be used" which to me would mean going back to a 3E DMing style which I simply don't have time for...

Way more improv for me than hours of prep. Characters are where I put most of my prep effort in, and even there I often just take one from somewhere else then change a few factors. (Usually Touhou. None of my players know about them Touhous and there are TONS of em'!)

Characters are really the only prep work I can keep relevant no matter where the players go or what they do. (The awesome monster fight in the sewers was totally skipped, oh well.) That may sound odd after I just said they were all mortal, but their mortality is where some of the biggest parts of the plot come in!

PS: Improv isn't awesome GMing in general, it is simply one way of doing things. It has just as many faults as pre-made.



Improv requires system mastery and the ability to think quickly, something not all DMs have...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
That DM column Chris Perkins used to run had a good answer (even in 4e this was a problem for some): have Big Bad Evil Organizations, not guys. That way your plot will survive whatever the group does to any one guy. Makes sense, if you think about it: in real life, a giant army doesn't just pack it up and go home if you assassinate their leader. If you're just talking about single battles and not overarching plotlines, the same might still apply: if your party is in love with SoD effects, toss them fights with 2-3 powerful enemies instead of just one.



So basically limit my options. Eh, I'd rather have a big climactic fight with the leader on occasion that didn't end in 1 round, than have hundreds of fights with minions to take out an organization, after a few times of pulling this the players are really going to get annoyed...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
To answer the OP's question, it's simple : You don't.

D&D stories are interactive, they don't follow a strict plot. Even highly structured modules shouldn't railroad PCs into a certain way of solving or winning the adventure.  

I'm almost ashamed at myself even spending time to answer this. 



Your D&D stories maybe don't follow a strict plot, others do. What you are saying is my play style of railroading or using a single pre-made adventure is somehow badwrongfun, which is odd because nearly every published D&D adventure to date uses this style...



IIRC,  many of those published D&D adventures also included instructions such as "If the PC's try to do this,  then have this happen..." in order to manage these situations.
It's not badwrongfun to force your players to do what you want, it's just not the way D&D is expected to work. 

Modules always give options. Achieving a predetermined "plot" is not a game design requirement. Might as well not even roll dice at that point, because it isn't D&D.

PCs also don't follow the "plot" for your big boss if they have to retreat, and go back to town, do they. Assuming a pre-ordained plot is absolutely not D&D, in the sense that player actions and motivations are ignored.

I'm sure that's not what you mean to say, is it? I haven't read a single module where there was just one way to win the adventure, and no contingencies.

Contingencies, depending on PC decisions, dice rolls, combat outcomes, are in a sense pre-determined forks in the road of the story. It reads like you're assuming actual player choice affecting the entire outcome of the game, is bad. Let's say the players decide, you know what? We're probably gonna die if we go in this volcanic room with an arch-lich dragon, let's RP realistically and go back to town and figure out a way to defeat it without 1/2 of us being dead at the end of it.

Railroading PCs is absolutely, to me, against the spirit of D&D. If a DM told me unless I picked this path or the other, the game was over, I'd say "ok, bye". DMs do not get to control PCs, they just don't. That is absolutely not the way the game is meant to be played, I can tell you that without any reservation whatsoever. 

Removing all dice rolls, player choice, etc. Aren't badwrongfun, they just result in a game that is not Dungeons and Dragons in any meaningful sense. Let's live in reality here, I don't know a single player who loves being railroaded into choices their characters would not make, because you want them to follow this path. Learn to adapt the story on the fly to what the PCs do, and if they happen to land a lucky hit against the big boss...good for them!! 

Winning a boss fight with 0 HP loss should be an outcome allowed for by the rules, otherwise you're fudging the rules. The rules state that dice rolls matter, they implicitly affect the outcome of events. They are just as much out of the DMs control as the players' actions are.

Having plots "play out the way the DM wants them to" is called a BOOK, it's NOT D&D!! Period.
Change Plot.

Players create plot, plot can't exist without them.

 

My mind is a deal-breaker.

If you have already written a plot that cannot survive an NPC or monster dying, why are your players even there?


edit:

BTW, railroading is not a playstyle.  It might be a storytelling style, but when all you're doing is dictating to the players the result of a predetermined series of events, you are not playing D&D, you're barely even playing a game at all.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
It's not badwrongfun to force your players to do what you want, it's just not the way D&D is expected to work. 

Modules always give options. Achieving a predetermined "plot" is not a game design requirement. Might as well not even roll dice at that point, because it isn't D&D.

PCs also don't follow the "plot" for your big boss if they have to retreat, and go back to town, do they. Assuming a pre-ordained plot is absolutely not D&D, in the sense that player actions and motivations are ignored.

I'm sure that's not what you mean to say, is it? I haven't read a single module where there was just one way to win the adventure, and no contingencies.

Contingencies, depending on PC decisions, dice rolls, combat outcomes, are in a sense pre-determined forks in the road of the story. It reads like you're assuming actual player choice affecting the entire outcome of the game, is bad. Let's say the players decide, you know what? We're probably gonna die if we go in this volcanic room with an arch-lich dragon, let's RP realistically and go back to town and figure out a way to defeat it without 1/2 of us being dead at the end of it.

Railroading PCs is absolutely, to me, against the spirit of D&D. If a DM told me unless I picked this path or the other, the game was over, I'd say "ok, bye". DMs do not get to control PCs, they just don't. That is absolutely not the way the game is meant to be played, I can tell you that without any reservation whatsoever. 

Removing all dice rolls, player choice, etc. Aren't badwrongfun, they just result in a game that is not Dungeons and Dragons in any meaningful sense. Let's live in reality here, I don't know a single player who loves being railroaded into choices their characters would not make, because you want them to follow this path. Learn to adapt the story on the fly to what the PCs do, and if they happen to land a lucky hit against the big boss...good for them!! 

Winning a boss fight with 0 HP loss should be an outcome allowed for by the rules, otherwise you're fudging the rules. The rules state that dice rolls matter, they implicitly affect the outcome of events. They are just as much out of the DMs control as the players' actions are.

Having plots "play out the way the DM wants them to" is called a BOOK, it's NOT D&D!! Period. 



D&D is different things for different people. Any claim you make that "X isn't D&D" is purely your personal opinion. I'm looking for answers to actual questions that will come up in play and "improvise it" is not a universal answer...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Well, I'm not sure exactly how save or dies break plots.

You have PCs that get into combats, and save or dies help them win those combats. Save-or-dies may well overshadow the fighting classes or may make the game too swingy, but they're not plot breakers.

Plot breaking spells are things like: Find the Path, Scry/teleport, detect thoughts, commune, resurrection. These things can skip large sections of a dungeon (perhaps the entire thing), or make plotlines like "The king has been murdered!" a total non-issue.