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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    If you were DMing a party of 7 level 2 players - would you put a level 10 monster in as one of 7 monsters in a standard encounter?
    I lose more minions to that Starting Tavern than from any other. I mean come on! Give a guy a chance!

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Almost certainly, unless that monster was supposed to be a boss that the PCs are meant to face with their full array of powers, and even then he'd probably be too much.

    What monster do you intend to use anyways?

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Is that an almost certainly would, or an almost certainly would not?
    I lose more minions to that Starting Tavern than from any other. I mean come on! Give a guy a chance!

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Would not. Every level, generally, means +1 to hit and +1 to defenses. Being hit all the time while whiffing a lot will not make for happy players. And that's before you look at bonus HP, damage, and powers.

    If you absolutely must have a specific type of higher level monster, you have a few options. De-leveling the monster a bit can bring it into a reasonable encounter range. Rebuilding it as a solo can make it impressive without all the math faults that a higher level monster brings. But L+4 is meant to be hard, and past there is going to leave a serious mark.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    If you were DMing a party of 7 level 2 players - would you put a level 10 monster in as one of 7 monsters in a standard encounter?
    In a standard encounter, no. In a boss encounter, a level-plus-eight monster may be doable if the party is reasonably well optimized, but this likely wouldn't work yet at level 2.
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Thanks for your advise - and let me say I am with you all 100%...

    Our DM ran a session last night that went for three hours... each of the 7 of us had about 4 turns in the encounter and not many of us actually hit the monster from what I recall, but we did all get hammered, but somehow we managed to kill them all...

    I was just looking checking with the playground to see what you guys all thought of this. When I DM'd the last campaign we played, I reserved higher level characters for boss encounters, but this campaign a few of us are struggling with the high level monsters thrown at us at such an early level.

    It makes me nervous to find out what the boss encounter will be if we are taking on level 10 monsters already!
    I lose more minions to that Starting Tavern than from any other. I mean come on! Give a guy a chance!

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Yeah, that's overkill.

    If that happened to me, I'd start thinking that maybe my DM is an old school DM who includes encounters that I'm supposed to talk/sneak/run from.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    I guess it might be doable, but I'd certainly avoid it.

    If you want a "boss" creature, that's what Elites and Solos are for. Instead of a Level 10 creature for a Level 2 party, something like a Level 4 Solo creature with a couple of a Level 2-3 standards and/or 4-8 minions.
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    Nu's Avatar

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    I think the DMG gives some general guide lines on this in the "building encounters" section.

    Notably, I think it sets a level+4 or so as the maximum for monsters you should be using, regardless of the target XP value.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Yes, the published guidelines are to use level+4 as the max, and for good reason as even level+4 is intensely frustrating to actually land a hit on as players. As other have said, rather than raise levels past L+4, bump monsters up to elite or even solo status instead.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Yep - our DM is a first time 4E DM and those of us that have DM'd 4E before ask him every week if the encounter meets the XP budget and level settings.. and he just keeps saying that we are all fine.

    The first encounter of the night we missed entirely - and the DM wasn't happy - as I had just bought a cart to go with my warhorse that I had bought previously. As we got ambushed on the road, everyone jumped on the cart, and we rode on through, trampling a few enemies on our way...

    I don't think any of our encounters are designed to be run away from, I think our DM enjoys the prospect of killing us too much... we only got 20xp for that encounter as we didn't 'beat' it... and 200xp for the encounter with the level 10 monster.
    I lose more minions to that Starting Tavern than from any other. I mean come on! Give a guy a chance!

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    If this was me, I'd talk to your GM and express that, since you're a new character, you will need a bit of help making a new character if the old one dies. Presumably he'll be willing to help. Get the other six players to state something similar.

    And then enjoy the meat grinder that will be an 8-level split. TPK. Have the GM spend 5 hours of his life helping everyone remake. Another ridiculous encounter, another TPK. Rinse, repeat.

    Eventually he'll figure it out and tone things down, but only by a level or two because the poor fellow sounds unwilling to compromise on the difficulty of things. Then watch the campaign fail, and get a new GM.

    Alternatively, flee from every encounter all the time, forever, and this still leads to the final step the same way; campaign destruction.

    But this is what I'd do, and I'm a bad person. You don't want to be a bad person, do you?

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Nope. That's a TPK waiting to happen if ever I saw it.

    After much experimentation and documentation on the subject of proper encounter levels for encounters for my gaming group (of 4 PCs) I found that PC level +2 was the minimum level of an encounter I'd go for for an encounter that didn't feel like a cake walk... and 5 levels above was a definite TPK. 4 levels above for an encounter was only a TPK some of the time and MOST of that time was when they had diminished resources.

    Keep in mind these are Encounter levels, not individual monster levels. For those I never go above 4-5 levels above, max, and usually there was only enough points to buy one of them anyway.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    A single level 10 monster for two level 7 PC's? That sounds like a dead monster to me.

    I typically fight monsters level +4 without too much difficulty. And by "too much difficulty", I mean the monsters are dead by round 3. The problem with level +1 and level +2 is that they die before they get to attack us (I play a Wizard).

    When running encounters, my experiences are a little bit different. Level +3 is still standard, but level +4 is difficult and level +6 is a boss fight.

    (I'm the most tactically-oriented player at the table, so that's why I believe there's a slight difference.)

    /edit - Oh wow, I misread the OP. That explains why there was such a difference between his first and second post. You have seven PC's who are level 2. I thought you meant two PC's that are level 7.

    Hmm... yes, 8 levels is a bit much. There's not enough flexibility on the PC's part to be able to handle that yet. For a level 2 character, you have to realize that they are relying almost exclusively on at-wills. Depending on the group make-up and the monster, they might be able to do it, but man would it be a boring fight. Under all circumstances, I would not do it.
    Last edited by tcrudisi; 2011-03-18 at 07:10 PM.
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    I typically fight monsters level +4 without too much difficulty. And by "too much difficulty", I mean the monsters are dead by round 3.
    Maybe with a group of 4 or 5 strikers all using encounters. The action economy isn't high enough to pull this off in 4e.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cartigan View Post
    Maybe with a group of 4 or 5 strikers all using encounters. The action economy isn't high enough to pull this off in 4e.
    With optimization it's definitely possible. You'll also probably want party optimization where everyone is playing a high damage version of their role (fighter as defender, taclord leader, novavoker controller).

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    I'd say it's fine if it's a level 10 minion. It should survive by sheer AC for a good while, but whenever it actually gets hit it'll die.


    But any actual level 10 monster, yeah, that's over the top.
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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cartigan View Post
    Maybe with a group of 4 or 5 strikers all using encounters. The action economy isn't high enough to pull this off in 4e.
    You don't need action economy to pull it off; you just need a couple of Controllers who know their role well. That's what we have: a Wizard and Druid who make monsters obsolete (and due to ridiculous initiative modifiers, maximized +attack scores, and things like Superior Reflexes for auto-CA in round 1, our powers always land).

    Our typical group is a Wizard, Druid, hybrid Seeker|Warlord (it is as bad as it sounds), Assassin (also poorly made), and a Runepriest (new player). Even with this group, we have finished combats in round 1 before the monsters got to act and are usually able to finish by round 2. Controllers are just OP compared to the other roles (and I firmly believe that).
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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Yep. Just look at the L1 Wizard daily Sleep; hell, look at any of the best of breed Wizard dailies. Even their encounters (lol Steal Time, most broken Encounter ever) and at-wills are ridiculous by comparison, their dailies just happen to be _most_ ridiculous of all.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    What source is Steal Time from?

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suedars View Post
    What source is Steal Time from?
    Arcane Power. It gets even more ridiculous if you use it in conjunction with Royal Command of Asmodeus to dominate instead of stun.

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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    You don't need action economy to pull it off; you just need a couple of Controllers who know their role well. That's what we have: a Wizard and Druid who make monsters obsolete (and due to ridiculous initiative modifiers, maximized +attack scores, and things like Superior Reflexes for auto-CA in round 1, our powers always land).
    That just means you are doing LESS damage.

    Our typical group is a Wizard, Druid, hybrid Seeker|Warlord (it is as bad as it sounds), Assassin (also poorly made), and a Runepriest (new player). Even with this group, we have finished combats in round 1 before the monsters got to act and are usually able to finish by round 2. Controllers are just OP compared to the other roles (and I firmly believe that).
    Your DM is going easy on you. There is no way that group is putting out enough damage to drop ANY appropriate enemy in one round or even 2.
    Last edited by Cartigan; 2011-03-19 at 08:45 AM.

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sine View Post
    If that happened to me, I'd start thinking that maybe my DM is an old school DM who includes encounters that I'm supposed to talk/sneak/run from.
    When did having the PC's encounter something they are not yet ready to fight and must find another solution for become old school?
    Been there, fought that, died horribly.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cartigan View Post
    Your DM is going easy on you. There is no way that group is putting out enough damage to drop ANY appropriate enemy in one round or even 2.
    This is my impression as well. How in the heck can you drop opponents in 1-2 rounds without strikers (O-Assassin barely counts) by late heroic? The monsters should simply have too much HP.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Choco View Post
    When did having the PC's encounter something they are not yet ready to fight and must find another solution for become old school?
    Arguably with 2nd Edition when the main way to get xp became killing monsters instead of acquiring treasure.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nu View Post
    This is my impression as well. How in the heck can you drop opponents in 1-2 rounds without strikers (O-Assassin barely counts) by late heroic? The monsters should simply have too much HP.
    Simple, your DM never bothers to actually READ the 4th edition material, and thinks that monster level is equivalent to 3.x CR, so he uses ONE standard monster of appropriate level rather than one per character.

    Or your DM really, really likes minions and has them bunch up a lot.

    Or any number of other similar screwups. But I'm with Nu, you simply don't have the damage potential to deal with standard encounters as quickly as described even WITH mostly strikers and leaders.

    You can massively screw with a single solo with control type powers, but it doesn't work nearly as well against a diverse group. Against that you need walls and the like to block off some of them, and walls have plenty of downsides in actual use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
    Yep. Just look at the L1 Wizard daily Sleep; hell, look at any of the best of breed Wizard dailies. Even their encounters (lol Steal Time, most broken Encounter ever) and at-wills are ridiculous by comparison, their dailies just happen to be _most_ ridiculous of all.
    Let's look at sleep, burst 2 so it won't catch all the monsters unless they go out of their way to bunch up. Lets say they're in a tight line in a corridor so you DO catch all 5 standard opponents in the same burst, and that the power hits them all. You activate your orb power, which gives ONE of them a modest penalty to ONE save, and then it's their turn.

    They know what effects they are under, and go one at a time, so after the first one goes everyone knows if he's sleeping on the ground or awake, and they can rearange their line accordingly so you don't get ANY sleeping targets you can coup-de-grace, because even with the orb power and bad rolls two of them STILL probably made the first save and the same corridor that forced them to bunch up allows those two to protect the rest of them. Then in a couple of rounds they're all back up.

    Let's look at Steal Time, your horribly broken encounter which just happens to be the highest level encounter you'll EVER get. Single target, if it hits it stuns a foe for one round and gives you an extra action. YEAH! You can use that extra action to do some actual damage or something more effective, because otherwise all you've done is traded you don't do anything for one monster doesn't do anything (at the cost of a level 27 encounter power!). Stunned is nice if your striker is a rogue (although at level 27+ CA isn't really a problem), but it's hardly an I WIN button. If you hit you get one more effective action than your foe, miss you get one less effective action than your foe. It's only really good if your GM throws lots of Solos or Elites at you and picks solos and elites without any "get out of jail stunned for free cards".

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Let's look at sleep, burst 2 so it won't catch all the monsters unless they go out of their way to bunch up. Lets say they're in a tight line in a corridor so you DO catch all 5 standard opponents in the same burst, and that the power hits them all. You activate your orb power, which gives ONE of them a modest penalty to ONE save, and then it's their turn.

    They know what effects they are under, and go one at a time, so after the first one goes everyone knows if he's sleeping on the ground or awake, and they can rearange their line accordingly so you don't get ANY sleeping targets you can coup-de-grace, because even with the orb power and bad rolls two of them STILL probably made the first save and the same corridor that forced them to bunch up allows those two to protect the rest of them. Then in a couple of rounds they're all back up.
    Are you seriously trying to argue that the best Wizard Dailies aren't encounter destroying/crippling?

    Your analysis is completely flawed in that it ignores the fact that most parties have both the forced movement, and the mobility to get into position against slowed and unconscious opponents for a coup de grace (particularly one packing a Wizard). Furthermore Orb of Imposition, which applies a significant (and not modest) penalty to a key target (like an elite/solo), is hardly the only meaningful save penalty you can apply to a target even in Heroic. Off the top of my head, a couple of effective Heroic tier penalizers: Spider familiar, Amulet of Elegy, Orb of Mental Dominion, Amulet of Seduction, Orb of Fickle Fate, etc... Finally, unconscious opponents afford an effective +7 to hit anyways (CA and -5 to all defenses) and don't have any actions; that alone is extraordinarily powerful, coup de grace or not.

    Between all this and the fact that it's a ranged 10 Area 2, which will likely encompass at least half the enemies of a given encounter in its AoE, or all of them after forced movement (which being a Wizard you probably have), it is an incredibly broken 1st level Daily and is easily amongst the best in the game. Sleep only gets better as you acquire ever more and greater methods of penalizing saving throws; this is a power that remains strong from Heroic to Epic.

    Let's look at Steal Time, your horribly broken encounter which just happens to be the highest level encounter you'll EVER get. Single target, if it hits it stuns a foe for one round and gives you an extra action. YEAH! You can use that extra action to do some actual damage or something more effective, because otherwise all you've done is traded you don't do anything for one monster doesn't do anything (at the cost of a level 27 encounter power!). Stunned is nice if your striker is a rogue (although at level 27+ CA isn't really a problem), but it's hardly an I WIN button. If you hit you get one more effective action than your foe, miss you get one less effective action than your foe. It's only really good if your GM throws lots of Solos or Elites at you and picks solos and elites without any "get out of jail stunned for free cards".
    You completely miss the point. You get an action free stun on a target; that is insane. It doesn't come at an opportunity cost; you just get another Standard you can use on whatever, and you've taken an enemy out of the fight until the end of the next turn complete with CA granting. It's ridiculously powerful precisely because it breaks the game's turn economy. If you have Royal Command of Asmodeus, then it's even _more_ broken, because you've just gained a third attack (the monster's). Complete with Encounter recovery powers/items this easily proves one of the (if not the) best and most abusable encounter powers in the game, even by L27 standards. In a fight with normal monsters this is still great: stun the isolated straggler, and then use your AoE spell to nail and control a couple of bunched up targets on the same turn. If you have methods of regaining your encounter powers, you can chain this several times on the very same turn, or just lock down the poor BBEG until it's dead without expending actions.

    That said, hitting is not a problem; it's never been a problem for the Wizard. At this point, you should be hitting equal level opponents around 70-80% of the time minimum, before any temporary bonuses/CA, and you have, by this point, several powers which can pump that up by +10% or further (like Emerald Eye).

    It's also worth noting that almost every solo in the game has no effective response to 'until the end of next turn' effects, stun or otherwise, in contrast to (save ends) ones.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Choco View Post
    When did having the PC's encounter something they are not yet ready to fight and must find another solution for become old school?
    Don't know. Maybe with 2e like Suedars says, or maybe with 3e. Maybe it never did, but it seems to be an unusual style these days.

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    For the record, I'm not disputing that wizard dailies are encounter-dominating (they are), or the fact that controllers have some of the best powers in the game (they do).

    But a party with 2 controllers and no strikers isn't going to completely eliminate the opposition in 1-2 rounds unless something is really going wrong with the encounter design, or unless there are some major cheese builds in there (which didn't seem to be the case).

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    Default Re: How many levels up is too many levels up for an encounter?

    Yes, the published guidelines are to use level+4 as the max, and for good reason as even level+4 is intensely frustrating to actually land a hit on as players. As other have said, rather than raise levels past L+4, bump monsters up to elite or even solo status instead.
    Say what? My players had no problem hitting level+5. The combat was a bit slow but that's only because they were fighting two swarm creatures.
    Last edited by technoextreme; 2011-03-24 at 10:32 AM.

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