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Mop-up: Speeding up combats
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Thread: Mop-up: Speeding up combats

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    Mop-up: Speeding up combats

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    I'm running a 4 hr/week game with as many as eight players, with a system that not everyone's used to, and I'm looking for a way to speed the combats along so there's more time for discussion, RP, exploration, etc.

    Last night I suggested a "mop-up" rule- when I as the DM see that the combat has moved from tactical, exciting play to the drudgery of finishing off the stragglers, I'll call "mop-up", and just say the monsters are defeated and move on. Similar to forfeiting a chess game- we know how it's going to end, and it's becoming tedious at this point. In 4e, it gets especially tedious because the party knows they've won, so they're going to withhold their expendable powers, which makes things drag on even longer as everyone's down to a single damage die.

    If there are outstanding tactical concerns (like, the minions have decided to flee and rouse nearby allies, or some similar scenario), then the combat plays out to its end, of course.

    So, what's your take on this? Am I robbing my players of the chance to finish off every last foe and howl victory from atop a pile of bodies? Or is the mop-up phase something you've also seen as a drag?

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    I would say that there is a flaw in the game system, but it could be assimilated as starting a flamewar. If the majority of the players feel the way you do I guess you're robbing nobody. Right ?
    Au gibet noir, manchot aimable, dansent, dansent les paladins
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulet View Post
    I would say that there is a flaw in the game system,
    How so? Even chess players will forfeit when the match has reached a certain point. I think all strategy games reach a point where the outcome is certain.

    Most players in most games I've played are reluctant to speak up about things that bother them- not wanting to "rock the boat" as it were (and I've been guilty of the same thing), so it's hard for me to get a read on whether my decisions are popular or not.

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    I like the "mop-up" idea, as long as your players are fine with it.

    I've also witnessed the occasional tediousness of watching a combat, whose outcome has become inevitable, grind out the last few rounds chasing fleeing enemies, coup de gracing helpless opponents and generally "cleaning up" the scene. It's a time sink and not a lot of fun compared to the "meat" of the battle that preceded it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    In 4e, it gets especially tedious because the party knows they've won, so they're going to withhold their expendable powers, which makes things drag on even longer as everyone's down to a single damage die.
    I thought I read on En-World somewhere that 4e has a rule for that. Its not the old moral rule but whatever.
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    Since the idea is to have fun, moving on to the fun stuff is socially acceptable.

    I know 4e has the "Fun" rule on page 105 in Chapter 6: Encounter Mix, DMG. If it's not fun, fast forward to the fun part. Your "Mop-up" sounds like it fits right in there.

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    I would also agree with the adage that if your players are fine with the idea, then yes, by all means use it. I guess questions back to you would be, "How did your players respond to the idea?" Did you just presume that the party finished off the opposition? And did the party get to gain the experience and other treasure from them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    I'm running a 4 hr/week game with as many as eight players, with a system that not everyone's used to, and I'm looking for a way to speed the combats along so there's more time for discussion, RP, exploration, etc.

    Last night I suggested a "mop-up" rule- when I as the DM see that the combat has moved from tactical, exciting play to the drudgery of finishing off the stragglers, I'll call "mop-up", and just say the monsters are defeated and move on. Similar to forfeiting a chess game- we know how it's going to end, and it's becoming tedious at this point. In 4e, it gets especially tedious because the party knows they've won, so they're going to withhold their expendable powers, which makes things drag on even longer as everyone's down to a single damage die.

    If there are outstanding tactical concerns (like, the minions have decided to flee and rouse nearby allies, or some similar scenario), then the combat plays out to its end, of course.

    So, what's your take on this? Am I robbing my players of the chance to finish off every last foe and howl victory from atop a pile of bodies? Or is the mop-up phase something you've also seen as a drag?
    That sounds like a great idea, I have never been Dm But as a player I have become bored in battle before. When you know the out come I think it just makes it that much harder to go on, not quite as exciting I would love to have the mop up plan in our campain. Great Idea Valdar!!
    Chi-Halfling

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    I'm running a 4 hr/week game with as many as eight players, with a system that not everyone's used to, and I'm looking for a way to speed the combats along so there's more time for discussion, RP, exploration, etc.

    Last night I suggested a "mop-up" rule- when I as the DM see that the combat has moved from tactical, exciting play to the drudgery of finishing off the stragglers, I'll call "mop-up", and just say the monsters are defeated and move on. Similar to forfeiting a chess game- we know how it's going to end, and it's becoming tedious at this point. In 4e, it gets especially tedious because the party knows they've won, so they're going to withhold their expendable powers, which makes things drag on even longer as everyone's down to a single damage die.

    If there are outstanding tactical concerns (like, the minions have decided to flee and rouse nearby allies, or some similar scenario), then the combat plays out to its end, of course.

    So, what's your take on this? Am I robbing my players of the chance to finish off every last foe and howl victory from atop a pile of bodies? Or is the mop-up phase something you've also seen as a drag?
    battle does sometimes get boring. unless you have a new exciting thing happen every round (fat chance of that happening) then its inevitable. . . it will bog down and get boring. well unless you have players that like that. i think it is a good idea

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    So, what's your take on this? Am I robbing my players of the chance to finish off every last foe and howl victory from atop a pile of bodies? Or is the mop-up phase something you've also seen as a drag?
    Go for it. The Friday group I play in willingly took a cut in XP for not playing out the combat against 300 CR 1 critters one at a time. Foregone conclusion who would win, but a whole evening of 5 foot step, kill another, five foot step kill another was opted out of.

    I've been known to have the last monster with 5 hit points drop dead to save yet another round.

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    we do that all the time. unless there is a compelling reason to play it out to the end, once the conclusion is forgone, skip to the end and move on.

    but notice how the players never want to do the same thing with treasure searching? go figure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    How so? Even chess players will forfeit when the match has reached a certain point. I think all strategy games reach a point where the outcome is certain.
    Well I guess it's D&D specificity, where the battle map represents a game inside the game, or maybe it's the core of the game. I usually don't rely much on strategy aspects when I think of fun role playing. So I would say that the "mop up" could be transformed into nice role playing : ditch the dice for a moment and interpret the last moment or the surrender of the foe. Actually I think it's very interesting to see how the PCs will react to a group of enemies who lost so much that they're asking for mercy. Brings personalities into the light.
    Au gibet noir, manchot aimable, dansent, dansent les paladins
    Les maigres paladins du diable les squelettes de Saladins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
    we do that all the time. unless there is a compelling reason to play it out to the end, once the conclusion is forgone, skip to the end and move on.

    but notice how the players never want to do the same thing with treasure searching? go figure.
    Well ya you know how the fight is going to end you never know what kind of treasures you will find! *you find 100 gold pieces*
    Chi-Halfling

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi View Post
    Well ya you know how the fight is going to end you never know what kind of treasures you will find! *you find 100 gold pieces*
    100 gold? for me?

    yes treasure searching is always fun. who knows where you might find a gp?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thriondel Half-Elven View Post
    100 gold? for me?

    yes treasure searching is always fun. who knows where you might find a gp?
    No gold for you just nijineko
    Chi-Halfling

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