Probably a recurring theme, but here’s the first 4th edition D&D rule that we’ve been doing wrong
1. You only roll once to attack, even when you’re about to Critical.
It looks like we skimmed the rules around this section, or we read them and then forgot them, or we just plain got them confused. When you roll to attack, if you roll a 20* then you automatically hit. You also have the chance to cause a critical hit. The determination of whether it’s a critical hit is simple. Does your total attack roll score enough to hit. If it does, you criticalled, if it doesn’t you still hit, but for regular damage.
So if the enemy AC is 23, and you roll 20, and add 2 for a total of 22, you hit but don’t crit, if your total turned out to be 24, you would have caused a crit instead. This gives you the chance to hit something 1 in 20 times that you might never otherwise be able to hit, and also gives you an increasing chance to crit against creatures as you increase your attack bonuses off of that automatic hit.
Let me know if I’m still wrong 😉
* A 20 is always an automatic hit, some weapons have an increase critical hit range (19-20), if you roll a 19 and the total is enough to hit, you crit, but if you roll a 19 and the total is not enough to hit, you miss and don’t crit. Only a natural 20 is enough to automatically hit, no matter what the weapon.
Wrote a couple more 4th edition D&D encounters last night, again won’t really know how well they play out until the characters get to them (maybe this week, maybe not, depends how quick we get through the remaining encounters in the ‘intro’ adventure).
I knocked up a quick spreadsheet (yes Grete), which does the work of adding up the numbers so you can play with how many of each creature type you want included. That makes it easy to move between a load of minions and a few tough mobs, to more tough mobs and fewer minions while staying within your XP budget.
I did flirt briefly with the idea of signing up to WoTC’s D&D Insider thing which gives you access to some online tools, but decided not to in the end, we’re on a budget this month for one, and secondly I think I can probably hack together anything I really need. We used to do all this by hand you know 🙂 I’ve enjoyed working out the maps for the encounters as well, trying to take into consideration the different kinds of terrain and situations that affect abilities, to spice things up.
The three encounters are sort of bridging encounters between the starter adventure and the published module I want to run. I’ve added some treasure although it’s a bit of guesswork as to how much I should be giving out. All-in-all it should be enough to get the PC’s to 2nd level and give them some excitement. We’ll see if they turn into pushovers or are so deadly the PC’s die three times over.
I tried my hand at creating an encounter last night using the guidelines in the 4e DMG – and I have to say, I found it a lot more intuitive than it was in v3, and none of the random guesswork and knowledge of creatures required in 1st and 2nd edition.
We’ll see how it plays out when the party meets the bad guys. I can see that it could turn out a little formulaic, but then it’s based on a formula so there’s always going to be that risk, the difference will be how well a DM can turn things around to give the same results without always ending up with the same encounter structure.
I created a 4th level encounter for a party of 5 1st level characters, which makes it a pretty tough encounter. I love minions, in older versions of D&D you’d end up to 2 or 3 tough creatures and the fight would feel small, with 4e the encounter has 11 creatures and feels much larger and epic even if 6 of those have essentially 1hp. I tried to make sure the terrain played a role, giving the enemy cover and adding some terrain which slows movement, and then picking creatures which could take advantage of that (don’t want to say *too* much since my players are reading!)
I certainly feel more confident that the encounter will at least be appropriate, without having to test it too hard or run through too many details, and that leaves me more time to think up exciting situations and more encounters. I’d love more electronic tools for doing this, but I’m not going to pay Wizards for theirs, I may have a go at putting some basic creatures values into some spreadsheet tables and just giving myself the option to quickly build encounters and add the XP totals as we go, which is the only non-creative hard bit.
I may post the encounter was the players have defeated it.
So, you’ve got 14 monsters in the encounter, say 10 Goblin Cutters, 3 Goblin Warriors and a Goblin Hexer. They’re all on your battle map along with your four or five PC’s.
You’ve done the work and you know the order your monsters are going in, but, how do you remember which Goblin Cutter is which? I wonder what the best way of identifying them is. There’s plenty of suggestions on the web about marking them with conditions (like marked, slowed, etc.) but nothing I can find using lazy-google-fu about just tracking which bloody one is which.
I might try sticking a small bit of paper underneath each one with a number on it for now.