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Front-load Your Encounters
Posted By Kurt "Telas" Schneider On May 5, 2011 @ 2:08 am In GMing Advice | 8 Comments
Gripe all you want about 4E, but I’ve learned more than a few things from everyone’s favorite whipping-boy RPG. As a player, I spent more than a few tense moments at the beginning of many encounters, wondering how the party was going to survive this onslaught. Once I recognized the pattern (thanks to a comment by Martin), it all made sense.
A number of factors contribute to the feeling of impending doom at the start of a 4E encounter, but the one that can be most easily drifted into another system is front-loading. No, I’m not talking about a high efficiency washing machine, but about maximizing the effect the obstacles (bad guys, tactics, terrain, etc) have on the player characters early in the encounter.
Whatever you use, the net effect will be players who are surprised and concerned at how difficult the combat initially seems, but who aren’t in much danger of suffering a TPK. If your players are anything like me (and my players), they’ll be more engaged in the combat, and more satisfied that they survived.
Agree? Disagree? Got something to add? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
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