Four Hour Combat…

I might be exaggerating when I say sometimes one person’s action for a round took 45 minutes, in reality, it was likely closer to about 20 or 30 minutes.


Summoning spells. That and a bunch of screwed up Feats that made casting two spells per round a little too easy.

Imagine you have one guy in the group that is pretty slow with adding things up (1+10 = 1 and 1, so 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 , 7, 8, 9 and 10! Dude, it’s 11.). Now imagine he’s playing a character that involves adding for casting, adding for the results and subtracting from a pool of other numbers with modifiers that change. Oh and add one more roll with addition in there.

It’s going to grind to a bit of a halt, isn’t it? (I’m not trying to berate or belittle or mock this player – he’s a good guy, just staggers with the math and it probably doesn’t help that were try to help and call out numbers hehe).

Okay, now take that guy and let him summon up something that can also cast a bunch of things and has a number of abilities. In effect, imagine giving him a caster with a bunch class abilities and racial abilities that he hasn’t seen before.  He’s now running that creature in the same round has his other mathematical monstrosity.

Maybe he is a little at fault for not looking up the creature – it seemed like- he knew he was going to summon immediately given that we’ve had two weeks to prepare. And, in all fairness, caster rounds/actions almost always take longer to resolve than other classes simple due to the nature of spell casting. No two are exactly the same and there are a lot of options.

Let me tell you, the whole watering down of D&D in 4e made a whole lot of sense to me after that night. There are no exploitable holes (that I’ve seen yet) that lets you do anything beyond what other players can do in a round. Combat is simple and straight forward. There are no summoning spells – unless they added some in some accessory I didn’t pick up – to add another player on the board to expand the round even further.

There is a lot less ambiguity in what each ability does as well. It’s pretty damn clear.

It’s a benefit and a failing. I’m really starting to wonder if it’s a worthwhile trade off. Or maybe we just start disallowing some of these extra books that are letting people easily cast multiple spells per round.

Oh… and due to ‘rushing’ we missed a number of extra abilities for the creatures and the summoned stuff which would have added more stuff to resolve.



8 thoughts on “Four Hour Combat…

  1. Really, the primary issue is that, once again, many people were not paying attention during the off-time between their turns. I had to remind the person sitting beside me that while I’d like to chat, we had a game going on and I needed to pay attention and plot my next move. I found that as a druid, it was EXTRA important as my moves in this campaign have always been especially complicated.

    On many occasions, people with the most complex actions weren’t pre-reading and prepping their next turn. That has been the primary cause of our slowness for years, and it’s been brought up many times.

    Everyone gets caught out once in a while with a sudden turn that borks a pre-planned move, but some people in our group never seem to think about what they’re going to do next until the DM calls their turn. That runs the clock.

    Somewhere back, I figured we could cut combat times in half just by people thinking about their next in the space between their turns.

    The urge to hold a few weekends of classes with flash cards for arithmetic hits me from time to time. We could make something cool of it: bring the kids, they could learn these skills too 🙂 Get everyone in a room, and some flash cards that go from 0+1 to 12+12 and 0*1 to 12*12 and drill everyone like schools did back when I was in primary.

  2. A lot of that up front preparation is due to the complexity and options available to casters almost require reading and re-reading. The fact that they have spells that can extend the round by injecting another combatant AND also generate a bunch of adjustments to all sorts of modifiers (hit, damage, AC, saves, etc.) makes them more likely to take longer than someone just moving and attacking or straight up attacking.

    The system is one that allows for the mathematically-challenged to really bog things down.

  3. Get your bubble ready, Tim. If I’m there tonight all my agro is going to you.

    I wonder if I can Misdirect a Distracting Shot to you? Hmmm…

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