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View Full Version : [4e] Rolled Defenses and Static Attacks



Mark Hall
2009-11-14, 01:21 PM
I don't know if this was covered in the DMG, but talking about putting minions in 3e reminded me of something. Instead of having the DM roll attacks for monsters, players roll their defenses against a static to-hit (which is the monster's current to hit +10). Thus, if I have a Reflex of 22 (TAKE THAT, HZURR!), I would instead roll a d20+12, against the monster's attack of it's usual bonus (which seems like they were all 17) +10.

It lessens the rolling the DM has to do, and makes everything player-centered. A possible downside I can see, though, is that you may wind up with monsters that can't do fratricide... their +10 AB is less than their defenses.

Duos Greanleef
2009-11-14, 01:40 PM
I don't like the idea of letting PCs roll their defenses for two main reasons.
1) I like to keep my PCs on their toes. Not every group of 10+ bad guys has a minion in it. And even if it does, I don't like them to know which one it is. That breeds metagaming.
2) There is a simpler solution: Roll group attacks or maybe half of- or third of- the group attacks.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-14, 01:42 PM
It complicates matters with reroll-based powers, but apart from this one issue I'm fine with that. It's always more fun for the players to roll more dice.

Mark Hall
2009-11-14, 03:40 PM
It complicates matters with reroll-based powers, but apart from this one issue I'm fine with that. It's always more fun for the players to roll more dice.

How does it complicate things with reroll based powers?

root9125
2009-11-14, 03:49 PM
"YOU" reroll any one die.

If you're rolling your own defense, you're effectively rerolling the monster's attack die.

Cybren
2009-11-14, 03:51 PM
Yeah that's so complicated.

Oh wait no it's not.

Holocron Coder
2009-11-14, 03:55 PM
It may not be complicated, but it's also opening a whole area for rerolls, potentially making reroll mechanics more powerful than they were intended to be.

nightwyrm
2009-11-14, 04:11 PM
To retain their functionality, you'd have to change the elf's ability (and other ability to reroll your own dice) to "reroll your attack die" and change the halfling's ability (and other ability to force a monster to reroll) to "reroll your defense die".

Certain powers such as Curse of the Fey King where you steal a monster's roll and use it for your own would translate pretty weirdly.

Of course, monsters will still have their saves, damage and recharge to roll so...not really seeing that much of a gain from having players roll defense.

Mando Knight
2009-11-14, 04:13 PM
It may not be complicated, but it's also opening a whole area for rerolls, potentially making reroll mechanics more powerful than they were intended to be.

No, since it's a static attack and a dynamic defense rather than dynamic attack and static defense. Same number of rolls, it just changes who's rolling.

sofawall
2009-11-14, 04:35 PM
No, since it's a static attack and a dynamic defense rather than dynamic attack and static defense. Same number of rolls, it just changes who's rolling.

This is exactly the point, the entire crux of the issue, precisely what is the problem.

taltamir
2009-11-14, 05:52 PM
I don't know if this was covered in the DMG, but talking about putting minions in 3e reminded me of something. Instead of having the DM roll attacks for monsters, players roll their defenses against a static to-hit (which is the monster's current to hit +10). Thus, if I have a Reflex of 22 (TAKE THAT, HZURR!), I would instead roll a d20+12, against the monster's attack of it's usual bonus (which seems like they were all 17) +10.

It lessens the rolling the DM has to do, and makes everything player-centered. A possible downside I can see, though, is that you may wind up with monsters that can't do fratricide... their +10 AB is less than their defenses.

You seem to be making 2 changes here:
1. make players roll their defense instead of having you roll attack
2. make attack countered by reflex save instead of AC.

1. it makes less work for the DM I think, but it also reveals more info than you might want about the enemy
2. unless I missed something when reading the 4e PHB, you still oppose attack with AC.

But why even go through such a complex process where all you want is for the PCs to roll to see if they are hit?
Since telling the PCs that the static attack they roll defense against is 17 immediately clues them into the fact that the actual attack value is 7 (since they should be able to subtract 10), then you already revealed all the critical info that was needed. You could keep things simple and just tell them the attack is 7 and to roll the attacks against themselves and tell you if they were hit (and maybe damage) instead of having to revise every single power or ability in the game to fit the new scheme...

EX:
DM: ok, you are facing 3 orcs and an ogre, the orcs have a +7 to attack and do 1d12+4 damage per hit, the ogre has +10 to attack and does 1d12 + 7.
On the first round of combat, 2 orcs attack jim, the last orc and the ogre attack jeff... roll for their attack and damage and tell me your results
Jim: *rolls* one orc hits me for 6 damage.
jeff: *rolls* neither hits him
DM: ok, round2, this time the orc who was attacking jeff breaks off to attack joe the wizard, the rest attack the same targets again.

Nightson
2009-11-14, 06:18 PM
I would just like to point out as a DM, that hitting things with monsters is fun.

nightwyrm
2009-11-14, 06:39 PM
I would just like to point out as a DM, that hitting things with monsters is fun.

I support this. There's nothing quite like criting against half the party. Besides, it's kinda boring for the DM if he never rolls anything.

Dimers
2009-11-14, 08:44 PM
The 3.5e Unearthed Arcana mentions this option for essentially the same situations, p.133-134. It's got a good writeup on how that changes the game, including engaging the players more (they feel like they have a more active role and they can't wander away between combat rounds), speeding up combat because the DM doesn't have to make all the rolls, preventing quite a bit of fudging on the part of the DM, and letting the characters in on more behind-the-scenes mechanics. It sounds like a good method to try with a gaming group you know and trust.

EDIT: A natural '1' on the defense roll should have the same effect as a natural '20' on an attack roll, or else you're changing the power balance between PC and monster. Then if the monster ought to be able to crit on a '19', that means a '2' on defense also crits.

Mark Hall
2009-11-14, 09:44 PM
You seem to be making 2 changes here:
1. make players roll their defense instead of having you roll attack
2. make attack countered by reflex save instead of AC.

1 is correct. 2 is not correct. If the attack targeted Fortitude, you'd roll fortitude. If the attack targeted AC, you'd roll AC. I just used reflex because it is much on my mind.

As for the rest, it wouldn't work much different from now.

"The ogre swings his club at you; roll AC."
"Damn... does a 17 miss?"
"Nope. You fly across the room and shake some splinters out of your teeth as his hits you for 12 points of damage and pushes you two squares."