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View Full Version : Opinion on Abilities that Slide, Push or Pull Opponents



Farcaster
12-02-2008, 09:59 AM
Wizard recently posted a preview of the new Druid coming out with the Players Handbook II, which got my blood-a-boiling a'bit since they introduced yet another ability that slides opponents, and this time it is an at will. Abilities that push, pull, or slide opponents really grate on me as DM. If you play 4e, I'm interested to hear what you think. Am I alone in this?


An At-will power and many of the encounter/dailies do all sorts of slides and pulls.

I got to be honest, abilities that slide, push, or pull enemies are the most annoying thing about 4e to me. I'd do away with it if I could.

Maelstrom
12-02-2008, 09:34 PM
I got to be honest, abilities that slide, push, or pull enemies are the most annoying thing about 4e to me. I'd do away with it if I could.

Heh, I've got the opposite view. These kind of abilities lead to strong positioning and tactics, especially when there are hazards such as cliffs around. It's nice to see the players planning out how to manipulate their opponents, or try to avoid it when the opponents are the ones with those abilities. It seems to add to the battlefield collaboration.

3.5e combat seemed to often devolve into multiple players having individual fights, so the elements that encourage them to work together are nice IMO.

Farcaster
12-02-2008, 11:15 PM
Heh, I've got the opposite view. These kind of abilities lead to strong positioning and tactics, especially when there are hazards such as cliffs around.

The cliff example perfectly illustrates why I don't like it. The new druid level one at will has a 50/50 chance of killing a monster outright by "sliding" it off a cliff. It gets a simple "save" and that's it. And even assuming it saves, it is still hanging off the side of a cliff. Further, there doesn't seem to be a wide selection of monsters that have abilities to slide opponents. Even worse, most of the powers they made up to move opponents seem pretty arbitrary and don't make that much sense to me. Even the warlock's "Curse of the Dark Dream" -- which makes sense as to why the opponent would "slide" around aimlessly -- isn't an ability that controls the opponent, so technically it should be random and not a choice of the player's.

Grandore The Giant Killer
12-03-2008, 06:44 AM
Funny that someone mentioned Curse of The Dark Dream... My new Warlock Mortimer has a spell called Dark Requiem. It basically forms a black talon around the opponent and you can drag the target around. I think spells like that are meant for more items or heavy things. However players just seem to be tactful enough to use them in other ways.

I was once in a dungeon and was fighting this knight with all of these poison weapons and he was mounted on top of a GIANT sized Acid spewing Beetle. I casted Curse Of The Dark Dream on the beetle and my DM said "Ok The Beetle starts bucking out of control and starts stomping random things. Suddenly he comes charging at you." So I managed to dodge and the thing did a complete and utter header right into a stone wall that had no give whatsoever. The best part was Acid spewed out of it's mouth and got on the rider melting his armor. So after a while and it looked like the battle was coming to a close The rider jumped on the beetle and started to climb up the wall to try and get away. I was like "Oh hell no! You get back down here!" And with that I casted Dark Requiem on the rider and pulled his ass off the beetle and he did a complete face plant into the floor knocking him unconcious. I proceeded to slay the knight with ease and got 2 Poison Spears, 1 Poison Scimitar, and a weird Poisoned weapon that almost is like a Halberd except the blade is shaped like a lightning bolt. It almost is like a weapon for a Tiefling.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-03-2008, 11:56 AM
The only thing I don't like about them is the fact that it kind of eliminates the suspension of disbelief factor for me and turns the game more into a miniature combat game.

Which I don't mind because my enemies thus far have had powers that really hamper the PCs.

I don't know... its annoying yeah, but it doesn't really bother me I guess.

Valdar
12-03-2008, 03:00 PM
I think there's a section in the DMG about moderating falling damage to make it level-appropriate- basically PCs should never see a fall high enough to kill one of them instantly. I think this goes for monsters too- basically make pits deep enough to do some damage, but like all other threats that you throw out, make sure they can't insta-kill anything. Unrealistic, sure, but every other challenge is level-appropriate, so it's reasonable to moderate things like cliffs and lava pits to make them not insta-kills.

Also note that Chill Wind is only Slide 1- compare that to Thunderwave (Wizard At-Will), which is Push 3 or so (depending on wisdom mod). Further, it's a Hit effect, so no slide on a miss. Also, a save is 10+, which is 55 percent (minor nit-pick) rather than 50, so it's less than half the time.


Previous to 4e, battles were very static- charge attack->full attack-> full attack. Push, pull, and slide powers make the battle a lot more dynamic.

Windrider687
12-03-2008, 05:03 PM
I find the new movement effects as results for abilities an interesting dynamic to the game, and one of the things done mostly well for the new system. I do enjoy the additional aspect it adds to combat; while the system becomes more miniature dependent because of that, I think it is an acceptable price to pay. I think some of the abilities that allow such effects are a bit exaggerated, and/or overpowered, but I think affecting movement ability, and terrain and such is a good aspect to have added to the game.

Kalanth
12-03-2008, 06:45 PM
I don't mind those powers. When it comes to the suspension of disbelief I just describe it as though the target stumbles in shock as they try to regain their balance (from the melee attack). Sure that gets a bit tough when the powers start flinging people about four squares or more, but then I just change it up to hitting the with force and the target flying through the air. The spells are easier, what with the shift being part of the spell.

Overall the powers add some strategy into the combat which can be fun (or frustrating). I have used such attacks to nearly kill a PC that was trying to flee a collapsing tunnel. Guards at the exit to the tunnel had an encounter power that also recharged when bloodied that was push 3. The majority of the group zipped through taking what AOO's the enemy had to offer but the combersome Paladin come up on the low end of initiative. He reached the guards, they used their powers and shoved him back into the tunnel. The party turned and unleashed on the guards which ended up making them bloodied. That mean that after the paladin reclosed the gap the gaurds used the attacks again and pushed him back into the tunnel again. Thankfully the guards were killed that round cause the tunnel was set to collapse at the end of the third round.

So I guess that means I am in a position that is all in favor of these attacks. They are fun and strategic powers that I like to use to build tension. :)

Grimwell
12-04-2008, 11:10 PM
I really enjoy the strategies these powers lend to the game and have enjoyed seeing how my players put them to use. I've yet to find anything that felt horribly abusive, but that's only a matter of time and solved by GM's Fiat (which isn't a car).

Even going without miniatures, I could see how the concepts could be abstracted and used even in an IRC game. It's about being descriptive and finding ways to make it work. :)

Kazinsky
12-13-2008, 06:40 PM
I love them. Another poster mentioned it: it makes combat dynamic. Things move around. Old combats used to be just enough movement in order to get in your attacks, then just sit there till someone died. Here, you have to watch out for environmental tricks (cliffs, pits, pools, etc.).

All in all, a great addition to combat in order to make it feel more lively, imo of course.

Farcaster
12-13-2008, 09:58 PM
Hmm. Sounds like this is a Farcaster-Exclusive annoyance.

Valdar
12-14-2008, 03:39 PM
As an addendum, now that the preview is out, we're letting our Cleric morph over to Bard. One of the things she's most excited about is the ability to push, pull, and slide targets, since she finds that the status ailments and conditional bonuses she hands out as a Cleric get forgotten all the time, making her abilities as a leader useless (beyond straight healing, which gets boring after a while). Push, pull, and slide powers create an immediate effect that gets recorded on the battle map for eveyone to see and take into account with their tactics. And with two controllers in the party (our Warlock is similarly morphing to Druid as best as she can with the 3-level preview), slide powers will synergize nicely with area, zone, and aura powers for some good teamwork potential...

Farcaster
12-14-2008, 03:53 PM
This does little to convince me. I don't play D&D for the strategy side of things. I do like combat, but I want it to make sense. I want to be able to picture the scene in my mind's eye. There are a number of powers that WotC made up that just don't seem to make much sense when you try to rationalize them.

frank634
12-15-2008, 08:20 AM
The Push, Pull, Slide is something that made me truely enjoy 4e. Now rooms with pits truely become a danger.

Farcaster
12-15-2008, 08:43 AM
You could have always used Bull Rush in 3.x to push an opponent into a pit or other hazard. At least that one had some kind of opposed check for the movement.

Kalanth
12-15-2008, 08:47 AM
Some of these powers do include the PC filling the empty space, but really all the powers are usefull and can be describbed well. The enemy loosing footing and stumbling back a bit while trying to regain their balance is one of the ways I use to describe these powers. It's creative wording that can really help on these. I know there are those that don't think that the words make a difference in the powers and that it still makes them rather unbelievable and to high fantasy but a really good description does make a world of difference.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-15-2008, 08:53 AM
Hmm. Sounds like this is a Farcaster-Exclusive annoyance.

Not really. I don't mind the moving around the board, I just can't get past the names of things.

Kalanth
12-15-2008, 09:12 AM
Not really. I don't mind the moving around the board, I just can't get past the names of things.

The names are pretty bad, I agree. Names like Come Get Some? Did they hire a group of 10 year olds to do that part?

Kazinsky
12-15-2008, 10:46 AM
Then assume that pushes are short bull rushes, slides are feints and pulls are mini-trips, if you want to keep within the 3rd edition feel of things. I end up describing them the same way when they are used by my NPCs against the PCs. One of them even hates me because he thinks I've given my NPCs trip and he really wants it.

Farcaster
12-15-2008, 11:25 AM
I suppose the problem for me is mroe a frequency of use. A trip here or a bull rush there is one thing, but if it is happening every round it gets annoying -- especially if the reasoning behind the ability is a bit shaky.

Kalanth
12-15-2008, 12:36 PM
I suppose the problem for me is mroe a frequency of use. A trip here or a bull rush there is one thing, but if it is happening every round it gets annoying -- especially if the reasoning behind the ability is a bit shaky.

Think about the fight between the Wesley and Inigo Montoya. Throughout the fight they are yielding ground and pushing the other back. Push and pull esq. maneuvers being used constantly there. It really adds a cinematic feel if you look at it that way.

Valdar
12-15-2008, 01:13 PM
I don't have my books on me, but I don't think there are any powers that have forced movement that isn't in the Hit section- that is, powers need to overcome defenses in order to force movement. So it should never be automatic.

As for the realism question, I guess it would depend on which power you're talking about. Shoving someone (Tide of Iron) or putting them to flight (Turn Undead) seems fairly straightforward. Tactical positioning (Positioning Strike, Leaf on the Wind, etc) is a little less so, but it is possible to coerce a dodging opponent to dodge in a different direction, thus forcing them into a new position.

Edit: Yeah, what Kalanth said.

Life*Angel*
12-15-2008, 01:52 PM
well it seems you are the only one so far who does not like it farcaster...... but i am here as an ally i swear:lol:

although not playing it personally..... i would have to disagree with those abilities. it seems to be a "way out" i have heard many of you say that you like to see how players put these abilities into effect..... and how well many of them use them.

wel it just seems like an easy way out to me.... for ex.
lets say there is a mounted goblin patrolling a passage way that leads down the mountain ( assume you are on top trying to get down to the side he is blocking ) instead of creating a distraction and ambushing him as a group.....or trying to find a better way down ( ltes assume there is a sturdy rope just a half mile left of the goblin, and the only thing gaurding it is a little old rat with rabbies). well instead of using thier heads, the players take one look at the druid and mutter 3 words....."just 'push' him"
wt heck is that!.....

im sorry but these powers just seem to take away the fun of finding alternitive ways to deal with the situation at hand.:(

Kazinsky
12-15-2008, 01:58 PM
although not playing it personally..... i would have to disagree with those abilities.

im sorry but these powers just seem to take away the fun of finding alternitive ways to deal with the situation at hand.:(
You may want to give them a try before you make a call on them.

Also, if you were playing in 3rd edition, you'd have the exact same options available to you, just wrapped up in slightly different rules and titles. So what is the difference, really?

Kazinsky
12-15-2008, 02:01 PM
I suppose the problem for me is mroe a frequency of use. A trip here or a bull rush there is one thing, but if it is happening every round it gets annoying -- especially if the reasoning behind the ability is a bit shaky.
I'd like to understand where you're coming from: name a power that makes you feel that the reasoning behind it is shaky.

I just read through the first 10-levels of fighter powers and every one that pushed, pulled or slid an opponent had marvelously rich flavor text that I had no trouble understanding. Perhaps it's different for another class that I'm not as familiar with.

Life*Angel*
12-15-2008, 02:09 PM
You may want to give them a try before you make a call on them.

Also, if you were playing in 3rd edition, you'd have the exact same options available to you, just wrapped up in slightly different rules and titles. So what is the difference, really?

as i said....it just seems to me....who knows i might change me mind once i have played it......

but you must agree that those specific abilities are a little to powerful to be considered. if i had it id would say to hell with the weapons (excuss my lang.) and start throwing objects at the enemy with the elements around me.... now i know how stupid this may sound....but its unfair.

i mean really.... a force push? well how about we sneak up on him and then push him..... but not with "mind powers" or "the force" i mean its not starwars we are playing..........or did i miss the memo???:confused:

Kalanth
12-15-2008, 02:55 PM
as i said....it just seems to me....who knows i might change me mind once i have played it......

but you must agree that those specific abilities are a little to powerful to be considered. if i had it id would say to hell with the weapons (excuss my lang.) and start throwing objects at the enemy with the elements around me.... now i know how stupid this may sound....but its unfair.

i mean really.... a force push? well how about we sneak up on him and then push him..... but not with "mind powers" or "the force" i mean its not starwars we are playing..........or did i miss the memo???:confused:

The actions are specific in that you need a weapon and then specific to melee or ranged. Improvised weapons can't be used with powers, unless I missed something (and even then I would still say no in my 4e games). Force push just is a short way to explain that the push cannot be resisted with a saving throw. There are some poor choices of language in the technical writing and force push is a fine example. Just like the movies all that is needed is to suspend your level of disbelief and it makes more sense. As was mentioned before you still need to succeed on the attack to actually move the target. If you miss the attack the target does not move at all.

Life*Angel*
12-15-2008, 03:16 PM
...As was mentioned before you still need to succeed on the attack to actually move the target. If you miss the attack the target does not move at all.

interesting..... so lets say you fail..... he is then alert? or is dumbfounded and u are able to recieve a 2nd chance....

im not attacking you.....its obvious we like to play different ways....:biggrin:
but that obviously what makes groups strong.....the variety.

Kazinsky
12-15-2008, 03:50 PM
i mean really.... a force push? well how about we sneak up on him and then push him..... but not with "mind powers" or "the force" i mean its not starwars we are playing..........or did i miss the memo???:confused:
You didn't miss the memo. It's out there, you just need to read it.

Like Kalanth mentions, these aren't abilities that are available to all characters at all times. Some of them are available only to certain classes. Some can only be used once a day, some more often, a few all the time but only in situations.

Again, I strongly suggest that you pick up the book or wait for a 4e SRD to come out and view it online, so that you can understand what the system is about before you form your opinions on it.

Kalanth
12-15-2008, 04:42 PM
interesting..... so lets say you fail..... he is then alert? or is dumbfounded and u are able to recieve a 2nd chance....

im not attacking you.....its obvious we like to play different ways....:biggrin:
but that obviously what makes groups strong.....the variety.

The push effect simply never happens. The attacker fails and I interpret that as they never actually try to push, pull, trip, etc their target.

Life*Angel*
12-16-2008, 08:42 AM
Again, I strongly suggest that you pick up the book or wait for a 4e SRD to come out and view it online, so that you can understand what the system is about before you form your opinions on it.

well for arguments sake i will....... but again.....it asked me for my opinion, and thats what i gave. but to "support" my...feelings (if you will)... then i will read up on the 4th edition.

Valdar
12-16-2008, 10:43 AM
interesting..... so lets say you fail..... he is then alert? or is dumbfounded and u are able to recieve a 2nd chance....
.

Yeah, he's alert- assuming he wasn't alert in the first place (which meant your Stealth beat his Perception). Attacking ends stealth, so even if you miss, the surprise round is over and you enter initiative. You might then beat his initiative and be able to go first, but no way can you just take pot-shots at someone until you hit.

Life*Angel*
12-16-2008, 10:54 AM
but no way can you just take pot-shots at someone until you hit.

good..... thats one reason i would hate it..... it's stupid to keep trying to throw him aside untill you finally hit him..... i suppose thats a little better, but i still think it takes away a little of the fun.

but as i promised i will look into the rules before giving any more opinions on this page.

Caradrayan
12-16-2008, 11:22 AM
You could have always used Bull Rush in 3.x to push an opponent into a pit or other hazard. At least that one had some kind of opposed check for the movement.

Those opposed checks were part of the problem. In my experience, there was a very narrow window in which bullrush was even possible.

We never played at level 1, for unrelated reasons. By level 5, the PCs arn't fighting medium opponents anymore, they are fighting ogres and dire wolves. Sure, it's still possible to push the ogre, if you specialize for it, but the wolf gets a further bonus for having 4 legs, on top of his monstrous strength and size bonus. We just never fought that many humanoids, because they were such a pain to stat out, and generally ridiculously weak compared to PCs of the same level. By level 10, PCs are fighting stone golems, and hydras. You will never bullrush anything huge, and if it isn't huge, it flies, or it's invisible, or there isn't any place to bullrush it to.

In my entire experience with 3e, I recall one cinematic bullrush by a PC. One of my players pushed Count Strahd off a balcony. Except he had damage reduction, so the vampire took nearly no damage, but the player took full.

wbrandel
12-17-2008, 12:20 PM
One way to look at the forced movement is that the opponent is reeling from the blow or that the targets vision is clouded and that will account for the move. With the cliff problem what I have done is treat it as an attack vs Reflex and if the attack misses then the creature is right at the edge but does not go over(it also forces another save due to the shock of seeing a long fall)

Kalanth
12-17-2008, 12:41 PM
One way to look at the forced movement is that the opponent is reeling from the blow or that the targets vision is clouded and that will account for the move. With the cliff problem what I have done is treat it as an attack vs Reflex and if the attack misses then the creature is right at the edge but does not go over(it also forces another save due to the shock of seeing a long fall)

In 4e the target gets an instant saving throw if the push / pull / drag will cause them to fall over a ledge. Doesn't matter if the attack is a Bull Rush or Tide of Iron, the saving throw is always there. Not sure if you are playing 4e or if you are aware of this information. If its the later then picture my face with a shooting star over head and the words "Now You Know..." written across the tail. :D

ChaunceyK
12-29-2008, 01:36 PM
I'm not even reading everyone else's replies (no offense, I haven't been online in a few days from being sick). But in a nutshell, I feel push/pull/slide should only be an Encounter or maybe even a Daily power depending on the class. It comes in great handy when you're way is blocked or when there's a hazard nearby. I've used it once for each of those specific purposes, and I've only had 3 or 4 sessions so far...and I was the only member of the party with the ability (I'm a Rogue), so it made me feel useful & a little bit special, especially being the new player at a table of 4 other guys who've known each other for years & really don't know me from Adam. (I met them through this site, btw, so thank you PPG!!)

Anyway, being able to move a foe via brute force, magic, intimidation or trickery makes perfect sense to me, but At-Will is just too powerful. It should have a limited use, imo.

Grimwell
12-29-2008, 01:43 PM
One thing to add...

While there are a number of abilities that can cause a pull, push, or slide they all have to succeed. Further *most* of them required the character who is triggering the position change to move with the target.

So, when you find your PC's pushing a villain off a cliff (and triggering the 50/50 save) be sure to have the minions take note of the PC now standing at the edge of the cliff... just asking to be pushed off.

I haven't seen these rules abused yet in my games, but that does not mean they aren't broken or potentially foul. If it is cheese, my first reaction is to always sprinkle some more on top. If it's a good tactic for the PC's, it's a good tactic for the NPC's.

Once that point has been made, people tend to back off on the cheese, and so do I. =)

Kalanth
12-29-2008, 02:31 PM
So, when you find your PC's pushing a villain off a cliff (and triggering the 50/50 save) be sure to have the minions take note of the PC now standing at the edge of the cliff... just asking to be pushed off.

I took advantage of this once during a game session. The paladin in my party was so proud of himself when he bull rushed one of my kobold assassins out of the window causing the creature to plumet 40 feet to the streets below (and their death). I responded in kind by having the nearest kobold bull rush that paladin and succeeded in pushing him out of the 4th floor window and crashing to the streets below. It was luck of the dice and the fact that he carried a Safewing Amulet that kept the fall from being fatal, but it was a great game moment none the less.

Malruhn
12-29-2008, 10:21 PM
I still remember the first time an NPC bull-rushed a PC over a cliff to their death... and the sadness on the player's face... followed by the joy when they found out that the feather shaped amulet that Grandpa gave them as a kid allowed him to Featherfall...

And then the horror on the bandits' faces when the "dead" Ranger showed up a half-hour later to exact revenge.

Dammit, but I love being a DM sometimes!!

Farcaster
12-29-2008, 11:23 PM
I tell you what, the shoe was on the other foot this weekend, and my players surely didn't like it. I used a kobold from the Draconomicon called a "hobbler decoy." They have a special ability that allows them to move 4 squares and make an attack vs. will of a target. If they succeed, they pull the target 3 squares. The best part is that ability is an at-will move action, which meant I could do it twice a round! This frustrated the players to no end -- especially when I used this ability to pull one of the characters off of a platform she had just taken so much effort to jump on top of.

So, what did my players say? They thought it should have been an encounter-ability and certainly not at-will. Of course, it was made all the worse by being a move action. This illustrates my point though that it can be frustrating to be thwarted in this way over and over every round.

You know what it reminds me of? Apropos, it reminds me of playing Magic the Gathering. If you've ever had the opportunity to have the game "played-at" you, you know exactly what I am talking about. I'm referring to those decks that skip your turn, destroy all you land, or generally leave you unable to effectively do anything except have the game played-at you. That is, to a lesser degree, how I feel about abilities that push, pull, or slide a target at-will.

D'argos
12-30-2008, 07:45 AM
I have played in two 4.e campaigns, one as player and another one as the DM (my friend Mark's one regularly, and about 7 games where I DM'ed for some close friends who came to stay with me for a month after Hurricane Ike)

I have to say I am against the whole movement thing. Let me cite a couple of examples for you why it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

1). Any game you play in, no matter what, your play experiences will differ than someone elseís. So taking that into consideration, I was playing in my friend Markís game. Every time we tried to do a movement thing, we literally spent almost 10 minutes on the move, the reason being is people would stop and try to min/max or get the most out of the movement. It became a lot less like D & D and lot more like Chess. We would routinely stop and be like.. ok if your guys are positioned here, and we all move to here, can we setup a move to allow the most amount of attacks or the least amount of defense by moving here, or by doing this here, what about.. or so here we can do this right DM, no wait, then we canít do this, no lets move it here.. etc. etc. We literally went from 3.5 game where Korgash the barbarian Bullrushed, and tackled the skeleton mage to prevent his casting of his arsenal of spells, to Korgash the warrior planning his move with 5 contingencies.

2.) The style of play. Part II.
Mike: Korgash the barbarian charges in with his bloodthirsty axe screaming for death !

Archon: (me by the way) I start casting Archonís Will (I named all my spells , this was a summon monster spell) hoping there is just enough magic in me to hold off the goblin scouting party advancing to our rear.

Dirquin the blade: (my cousin) If I am still stealthed I sneak up on the Warpriest preparing her spells and attempt to take her out with my poisoned blade, as I do this I want my character to say, Remember me, remember the scar you left, well when I am done with you there wonít be enough flesh to leave scars..

Turned into this..

Mike: Kargash Will use his At will power A, but only if the Wizard is using his at will power C so that I can get into combat with the boss and by pass the minions.

Dirquin: Wait I need the wizard to use that power so that I sneak attack that foe there.

Me: I am not using any push pull powers this turn, I am using ability cloud of Daggers.

Kargash: Oh well, then I am hanging back..

Dirquin: Party pooper !

Before it seemed like they roleplayed a lot more. We didnít really use minatures that much, maybe with some large field positioning, but now its like World Of Warcraft with the using of powers and startegy to beat bosses, and its like D & D minis with all the talking and game positioning. I have played D &D minis with the questing flavor, this is almost the xact same game.
I donít mind stategy, ambush the bad guys, take down the wizard first, escape as soon as possible. Sneak past the dragon VS I need a 3 slider to set up this ability who has one left ?

3.) The DM thing: Monsters are tough as Nails in 4.e I routinely kill whole adventuring parties due to bad rolls, or smart tactics. I have used pushing and sliding to separate characters from their group such as the warlock and just had every monster I had beat up on him that turn. Hes dead, now next lightly armored target. I come from a military background and played games like warhammer and so forth growing up. The game becomes CHESS, And not an RPG. Yes in 3.5 you had bullrush, but you also had swinging from a chandelier to knock an opponent over, using a trip wire to have the monster who charged you fall flat on their face. And when you did those things it was just like hey it was smart and fun at the moment. But when it is done every single round. Its not fun. Its not spontaneous. It's which power out of the 3 encounter powers I know, is best for this situation. But my power depnds on your power. And if you don't use it, than I waste.. so let's talk about it for 10 minutes.

My 2 cents.

ChaunceyK
12-30-2008, 08:55 AM
My 2 cents.

Way too much to quote, so that'll do. :)

The group I play with doesn't plan nearly that far ahead. While I agree wholeheartedly that 4e is much more tactical than anything I ever played in D&D (I last played around 20 years ago), our group takes it one action at a time. Occasionally someone will propose a detailed strategy, but for the most part we play it as its happening with just a general gameplan. Prevents all the headaches you mentioned, and the game still runs smoothly.

As far as the roleplay aspect goes, any Common-speaking creatures should surely catch on quickly while the party is standing around discussing strategy for too long. I would expect a DM to eventually step in & say "You're characters shouldn't be taking this long, make a decision or they miss their turn." In the heat of battle, decisions should be made more spontaneously rather than planning out in such detail with hostile creatures in the room.

My 2 coppers! ;)

1958Fury
12-30-2008, 09:16 AM
This frustrated the players to no end -- especially when I used this ability to pull one of the characters off of a platform she had just taken so much effort to jump on top of.

Hehehe, we had a similar situation last LFR game. There was a bad guy on a platform, and he was too far from the lip for arrows, and his spells kept knocking us off the platform each time we'd climb up. It was more funny than frustrating, but if it had gone on much longer it might have been annoying.


Turned into this..

Mike: Kargash Will use his At will power A, but only if the Wizard is using his at will power C so that I can get into combat with the boss and by pass the minions.

Dirquin: Wait I need the wizard to use that power so that I sneak attack that foe there.

Me: I am not using any push pull powers this turn, I am using ability cloud of Daggers.

I really think that that's at least partially because we're all still learning the system. Once you've done it so long that the rules are second nature, then using the powers will be more like:

Mike: While bellowing a mighty battle cry, Kargash bashes ahead in a Tide of Iron, forcing the wizard to stagger backwards.

Dirquin: While his attention is focused on Kargash, I creep behind the vile wizard and skewer him with a Piercing Strike!

Grimwell
12-30-2008, 12:04 PM
While I have been running a "learning game" so far with 4E, allowing people to take some time to think through the new system and their character to decide their actions; I normally give people a handful of seconds to call their move when it's their initiative.

They can plot in advance all they want while they wait, but nobody stops the game for minutes on end to find the ideal action in combat. Combat is fast and dirty, and chaos that you try to organize with tactics and strategy; but it does not stop and wait for you to find the best plan -- it happens and you either move quick or die.

I started doing this in the 2E days for the exact same reason; some of my players would agonize over finding the best spell to play, or position to take, or enemy to attack... and would drag others into it. One day I was so tired of it I told them that a combat round lasts six seconds, so they had better be able to describe their action in six seconds on their turn, or I'd declare them unable to act in that round.

It worked, and after people got over their initial offense, they loved it. Combat moved faster, felt more intense, and gained a spark because it was moving quick.

I intend to start cutting down the time I give my current 4E players, because they are getting a good hand on the flow of the game.

I find that a lot of times, when a game isn't running like the old days and has fallen to strategic patterns, that it's less the rules and more the behaviors at the table. As the GM I can do things to adjust those behaviors.

Drilling the game down to a list of best practices does not take long. My college friends and I had 2E down to math through trial and error. Everyone knew exactly what they should do to best support the party in combat, and we rolled encounters. We didn't take ten minutes to call moves though, and I think that's a surmountable problem given a few tweaks.

Meeki
12-31-2008, 09:37 AM
Grimwell, I run my group a similar way. After we learned the 4e rules I only give a character about 12 seconds to declare what they are going to do. When we played 3.x my gaming group was so knowledgeable about the system everyone knew what the best options were.

As far as forced movement goes, while it can occur frequently I find that it is usually limited in use. Sure you can push a bad guy over a cliff, when there is a cliff, but when there isn't a cliff forced movement has limited use. It is very terrain dependent, for instance in a tight corridor moving 1 creature might be difficult to do if other creatures are behind it, or if you do move it for a defender to step into the gap further movement might be unnecessary.

Killing a normal baddie by pushing it off a cliff isn't really that bothersome to me, as a DM. Elites and Solos have +'s to saves and if there is a cliff I wouldn't make it lethal incase PC's fall off.

Some of the powers are a bit unbelievable, but this is a fantasy game. I know not a "great" argument; however if you require your PC's to describe how their power actually works or you as a DM describe how it works it may make it more "realistic" and satisfying. Is it really that unbelievable and fun-impeding, in a fantasy game, for a fighter to push an ememy around with his shield every turn or a druid to command nature itself to knock around an enemy every turn. It may be monotonous in metagame terms but if you describe how it occurs I can imagine the fight being quite cinematic.