D&D 4th Tactical Hints?

pward

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Ok, so I'm back into an RPG, and it's 4th ed D&D. The tactical level of play with the minis and everything is way more detail than I'm used to for an RPG.

Most of the other players are experienced with the rules, but there are a few of us that are brand new with the start of this campaign (Living Forgotten Realms). I'm playing a warlord, and just made second level two sessions ago, but I'm still not seeing the tactical tricks that might help the party.

Any general suggestions on the tactical side of things? I know about delays/readied actions but haven't seen them applied well yet. It's a big party (7 players with 1 rotating into DM spot) so we usually have 2 strikers, 2 leaders and 2 tanks, depending on the rotation.

The guys at the store have given plenty of insight into the character building and whatnot, but I haven't learned enough on the tactics side yet.

One tip for every aspiring warlord that I've learned: get a whip. For one GP, it's got the reach you need to mark targets for the "commanders strike" at-will... (I might have the name confused.) "You, Rogue, mug that poor sob again!" or "Tank, put some hurt (and a mark) on that ugly one..." is a nice skill to have.
 
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The hardest part of playing a leader type, is the same challenge in any game design, getting the players to realize that is what your PC was meant to be, and making them understand if they refuse to let you lead, they won't get much aid from you as well.
 

pward

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Not really. So far, most of my defender or striker party mates have been very receptive to commanders strike, or being the followup attack for the various "warlord hits target, an ally attacks <something>". It's not like I'm dictating the whole fight action by action just because I'm a leader archtype.

So far I've learned:
Flanking is good, even required for Rogues to get their backstab bonus damage (technically it's having combat advantage, but flanking is the easiest way to get it).

Our usual Defender (when he's not DMing of course) has about three rounds of "everyone hates me" marking capability. I've taken warlords recovery to give him one back if the fight goes long, and I've taken some burst 1 attacks to help clear minions as needed. His whole job is to mark targets, to reduce their odds of hitting allies, or to get them to attack his insanely high AC and pile of HP. He's got a plan, and usually sticks to it. His only problem is making sure nobody takes the "best spot" for his usual opening move of "come and get it". Very rarely now am I maneuvering him into that space, or close to that space before his attack.

Our usual striker (rogue) seldom has issues getting into position to backstab someone's kidney out. The best cooperation was one evening where another player brought along his rogue and they played off one another for an action-point commanders-strike filled round of absolute mayhem. Attack, action point to attack again, sneak in the attack (someone else gets the backstab damage when they hit), rinse and repeat with the second rogue shortly thereafter, followed by commanders strike, AP to commanders strike again... massive pile of HP gone in one round. "Hello Mr. elite solo monster, nice to meet you, hope you don't need that spleen and liver."

Our regular cleric has absolutely no problem keeping the party standing, he's got a fairly interesting combo where he's taking ongoing 5 to do surge-less healing every round. It may be a daily, but it's been worth it when we used it. Hes also a pretty good Melee character, and subs as the second "in your face high AC" defender in the party.

When the ranger plays, he's like the rogue, only from 20 squares away.

When another warlord shows up (or I've DMed with 2 WL in the party), we/they can have an insane synergy to make sure one round of mayhem is full of almost certain hits and piles of extra damage.

A recent addition to the group plays an Elven Avenger, who's every bit about doing as much damage in as short a time as possible, as the rogue. To boot, he's got abilities that let him get into fights easier, as well as the occasional teleport with the guy attacking me, to setup the poor victim for some followup abuse.


When I started this thread, I'd been playing for maybe a month, and hadn't gotten used to the new mechanics. I didn't even know that the different classes/races/combos were possible. I haven't even skimmed the surface as far as observing which classes can do what.

Starting with last Monday's game, we are now at paragon tier, and the fights are much tougher. It's a whole new ballgame because of the zone/aoe/one-shot-wonder/lasting-effect powers we now face. I was looking for tactical (game mechanics) hints then, and I need them now for the new threats.
 

Bob Miller

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Pete hopefully I'll see you in Chicago at the Open and after a few (11-14) beers or Beams we can get in a good discussion on 4th addition. I tried it last summer with a gaming group that still plays some, but it didn't appeal to me at all. fyi - I played the warlord character role as well. My main beef w/ 4th addition; it is now telling the players HOW think in addition to the previous WHAT to think during roleplaying adventures. Bad bad bad.
 

pward

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I should make the Open again this year, I will be abusing my "birthday weekend" privileges again... (The STC DRM of bringing the Mrs. with me for a weekend away also helps a lot!)

I'm working well with the new rules now after about 8 months of play every Monday. The hardest thing was to adapt to the new paradigms for each class, such as fighters not being primary damage dealers (strikers) in addition to the High AC "tank" role of the earlier editions. As it stands now, a fighters role is to mark targets to make the others in the party less likely to be hit, and not necessarily to "crush all opposition in displays of martial prowess". We've got a min-maxed avenger in the party with some tricks up his sleeve to make sure he scores a critical hit, which gives him another attack roll, which is very likely to be another critical hit, rinse and repeat. (11th level, with a stack of feats and specific items to make sure that happens on a big bad target at least once a night.)

I disagree slightly in the new rules telling players how to think, I believe it's more of a "narrowing of focus" for the specific classes. For example, the old (1st/2nd ed) rogue/assassin was definitely a "striker" class, but by the old rules they had to be sneaking to get the damage, or otherwise "behind" the target. New rules only requires that the rogue have combat advantage (so a flanker, prone target, blind target, etc.) to get the bonus damage. An early edition ranger was usually a ranged weapon damage dealer, with a secondary role in melee if needed. The 4th ed ranger is similar for ranged damage, but even the dual wielding melee version isn't very suitable as an off-tank because they don't goad/threaten/mark targets into attacking them instead of others.

I still like the group dynamic of hanging out with my amigos and having a good time, even if it's not the D&D I recall from my youth.
 
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