Tactical movement and game speed.


4th Edition


I have a question for all of you.

As I read the various 4th edition excerpts over at WoTC, I seem more and more examples of how this upcomming edition is designed to have combatants be more mobile on the field of battle. Rouges that can dash past the front line, attack, and dodge back behind the warriors, Zombies who's aura keeps you from escaping, the ability for warlocks to teleport thier enemies to hell and back, etc, etc, etc.

Now in 3rd edition, I found that in many encounters the usage of a map and miniatures really slows play down. SO I stopped using it for simple encounters (you know, like 2 guards in a large chamber), and we went back to good old imagination to picture how everything was occuring. Sure we broke it out for large complex battles, but worrying about where im gonan step to avoid AoE's, how I can get somewhere with only 6 squares of movement, and whether or not things were in range for a certain spell or ability really slowed the game down, which im sure your all aware.

So here's the deal, with this new empahsis on movement and controlling the battlefield in the new edition, I get the feeling the battlemat is going to become not only necessary, but intergral to the new edition. A simplification of the movement in combat rules may make the combats run faster, but also heavily resemble the DnD miniatures game. I guess If you sell a miniature line, it only makes good business sence to make your miniatures required for the new edition, But I worry that they will become so ingrained that combat will resort to small DnD miniature skirmishes in between bouts of roleplaying. ((The current adventure format system with the tactical encounter maps screams miniature combat scenario)).

SO what do you think? Would you consider the streamlining of miniature combat and its intergration into the core rules as a bane or boon? Do you think all of these new manuevers will actually speed up the game? Or will all this extra time spent moving figures around a battlemap actually become more of a pain in the ass than its worth? Or would you prefer simplified skirmish encounters to represent combat, and leave time for more Rp and storytelling?

--The Osquip--


“Faster or smoother” 4.0 game play experience vs. 3.5? I don’t think so. Star Wars Saga said the same thing and the end result was a system just as complex as its predecessor, just in new ways. IMHO the only way to achieve a faster/smoother game play experience is through the integrated use of computers (and that’s inevitable, by the way). That is, unless, you are willing to forego the crunch and adopt a new system such as d6, d10, etc. and I think that many would say that this is not the right system for D&D, and oh yeah, doesn’t sell either.

With a few modifications, I don’t think you’ll have any problem adjusting your play style to 4e; this is said of course without benefit of knowledge of said 4e. My opinion is that 3.0 and 3.5 were already miniature-heavy rules wise (AoO, square intersections for targeting of spells and cover and the like). You may be out a few talents and feats that require particular placement conditions, but you could wing this like anything else.

Of news to me is the “Zombie Auras”. If its one thing that I’ve decided to change altogether in D&D (of any edition), its how these painfully annoying these abilities are employed. I’ve decided to make the following changes to Auras and Gazes:
• Operate to 100’ (large enough for almost all melee combats)
• Roll the save against these DCs before initiative is rolled, and apply the effects immediately
• One roll against these abilities only; characters do not roll against the ability again unless the monster uses a standard action to use it
• Increase the DC where applicable to account for the reduced challenge of a not always active Aura and Gaze attack
This change alone should shave 10 minutes (or more) on high-level fights against monsters with a blistering array of abilities – most of which are forgotten about somewhere along round 3.


erlikbl wrote:
SO what do you think? Would you consider the streamlining of miniature combat and its intergration into the core rules as a bane or boon? Do you think all of these new manuevers will actually speed up the game? Or will all this extra time spent moving figures around a battlemap actually become more of a pain...

Even in 2nd Ed I would sometimes break out the battle mat. In 3.x I've always used it and my players definitely enjoy having figurines of their characters that they have painted and get to use. It instills a sense of ownership in them and a real attachment to their characters.

Since my group likes their minis and seems to enjoy combat on the battle mat, I can only see the streamlining and standardization/inclusion of such rules as a boon. Even if all the moving of minis slows down gameplay somewhat (and that's largely a factor of how cluttered Your gaming table is IMO) the increase mobility that characters will have sounds like it will make things more fun and dynamic.

Being as this is a game we play, I'd say that whatever makes it more enjoyable overrides just about all other factors. Of course, if Your group dislikes the use of minis and what comes with them then You have a strong argument that this decreases the enjoyment for Your group.

Even so, it's much easier for a group to dispense with rules they don't like than it is for a group to create a comprehensive ruleset they need. Therefore, I'll cast my vote that integration is a necessary evil (if it is indeed evil in this case).

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