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Tim: Combat wasn't bad time-wise, by 4e standards. But it was much slower that us old school types liked. And 15-20% of that time was bookkeeping. Bah.

Carpe: Bill says that your improvised spell idea has merit. With our group, at least, it would probably work fine.

Andy Hauge

On the Magic-User: what if you did incorporate a list of spells? Otherwise, you could have a more freeform Mage, with DCs for Magery tied to the affect being attempted. This is admittedly more freeform than Vancian magic, though you could also give the player a certain number of slots to populate with improvised spells with pre-determined effects.

Timothy S. Brannan

We have run into similar problems in our 4e games. Combat is just too long. We switched over to Pathfinder for our games and have enjoyed how quickly the combats have gotten.

I still like 4e and will continue to play with it, but at the moment it looks like Pathfinder is my future.


@Eldrad Could of misconceptions there, old chap.

An encounter is not a room. An encounter is a group of monsters in a region – that could take up many rooms in a classic dungeon. Yes, you could run a megadungeon is 4e just as you could in any other edition of the game. I've run a fairly large dungeon crawl where random encounters accounted for about 1 encounters' worth of critters (minions and low-level foe, mainly) and 4 encounters filled the rest of a very large area.

I'd argue that 4e is much better for dungeons than previous editions as the monsters aren't just sat in isolation in their rooms waiting for the PCs to appear. If you encounter a foe in one room, the monsters from five other rooms are likely to peek their noses out and see what's happening as well 😀

Also, 10 encounters do not make up a level, because PCs don't just gain XP from killing stuff. There's Quest XP (both major and minor) which is XP gained from completing the adventure and any personal side-goals. There's XP from skill challenges, not to mention the good old DM rewards for great role-playing. It varies, but in my games I'd say that encounters account for perhaps 70% of a level gain, and those 7 or so encounters would be spread over 4 or 5 sessions of gameplay. Yes, it's faster advancement (esp compared to OD&D) but it's certainly not as bad as it has been made out to be on the intertubes.

@Randall I feel your pain 😀 There are a lot of conditions to keep track of in 4e, and that can be tricky if the GM is writing everything down. We use poker chips to note status effects, even when we're playing without figures. The players toss me a chip (Blue for Dazed, say) if they get that effect, and I put it on the monster's name on my sheet. If he makes the save (or it's an effect which ends on the next turn), I remove it. Same for Marked, Bloodied, etc, and I throw the chips at the players if they suffer the same effects. Speeds up combat no end.

Eldrad Wolfsbane

Try and make a megadungon using the 4th edition rules. The rules are set up to have roughly 10 encounters per level. A megadungeon with 10 rooms per level?

My group plays 4th edition D&D but I am trying to get them to try LL. The combat is confusing for some and TAKES WAY TOO LONG. It's an average of 3 hours per battle.

Well I guess that I am not the only one!