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Back to Bed at 8.15am

4e designer James Wyatt quoted on ENWorld:

See, in 3e there's a basic assumption that an encounter between four 5th-level PCs and one CR 5 monster should drain away about 25% of the party's resources, which primarily translates into spells (and primarily the cleric's spells, which determine everyone else's total hit points). What that actually means is that you get up the morning, then have three encounters in a row that don't reallly challenge you. It's the fourth one that tests your skill—that's where you figure out whether you've spent too much, or if you still have enough resources left to finish off that last encounter. Then you're done. So basically, three boring encounters before you get to one that's really life or death.

It kind of makes sense, mathematically. The problem is, it's not fun. So what lots of people actually do, in my experience, is get up in the morning and have a fun encounter: there are multiple monsters that are close to the PCs' level, so the total encounter level is higher than their level. There's interesting terrain and dynamic movement. Sometimes there are waves of monsters, one after another. Whew! It's a knock-down, drag-out fight that could really go either way. And it's fun!

So you get up at 8:00 AM, you have that fun encounter, and you rest "for the night" at 8:15 AM. Repeat as needed.

If they're going to come up for a solution to this problem, 4e begins to sound promising.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2007 06:31 am (UTC)
Back to bed at 8.15
...actually going back to bed at 8.15 sounds very appealling, especially today!!

Aug. 23rd, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
Bed time
But on a more serious note, whats wrong with that scenario? I think some of the 'early day' encounters are useful for characters to try out new tactics and spells and learn to work with the rest of the party. And I cant see anything wrong with the alternative approach of pressing the characters hard with the very first encounter and making them rest after.

I suppose the issue is 'how they rest and recover spells' If you say they have to sleep for 8 hours every time then it is going to drag. Perhaps its a simple as limiting the number of encounters characters have each 24 hours? Perhaps arrange it so that on average there is one average and one challenging encounter each 24 hours.
Aug. 24th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: Bed time
I think it's the way that what happens in the game in this case moves so far away from what might happen in (fantasy) reality. The bold heroes get up in the morning, enter the dungeon, have a couple of encounters, come back out after 5 minutes and then spend the next 24 hours resting. It actually wasn't as bad in 1st & 2nd edition when recovering spells could be done after 8 hours rest or so. In 3.x, it's per day = 24 hours.

As a DM, you can obviously try and arrange things so you don't throw too many encounters per day at the party and that's fine for wilderness travel or what's happening currently in Red Hand of Doom. Doesn't work for site-based adventures such as dungeons though where the PCs need to be given some choice on where to go and where they are multiple encounters (in separate areas) all in the one big location.
Aug. 24th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Bed time
This may be a stupid question, but why doesn't the DM just change it so that characters can get spells back after 8 hours, as in 2nd edition?
Aug. 24th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Bed time
That's not a stupid question but I'm not convinced the 8 hour thing was much better.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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