Do you use all of your daily powers every day? If you’re anything like me, you’re reluctant to use them if they won’t yield the best possible results. But how often have you held your daily powers in reserve and then not had a chance to use them? I know this happens to me almost every time I play.
PCs in 4e D&D have numerous powers at their disposal. Encounter powers are tougher than at-will powers, and daily powers are tougher than encounter powers. So if the daily powers are the strongest in you PC’s arsenal why are they not being used more often? By not using your daily powers every day you are, in essence, putting your PC at a disadvantage and are less effective.
During most gaming sessions my actions tend to go like this during combat. Round 1, encounter power; round 2, encounter power; round 3 encounter power, round 4 and onwards at-will powers. I rarely use my daily powers. What usually ends up happening is that by the third or fourth combat encounter we either stop and take an extended rest, or we realize that one more fight is all we can handle for the day.
Resting now means I’ve once again held back daily powers only to have them go unused. Alternatively, knowing (or suspecting) that we only have one fight left I try to use all of my daily powers during one combat. This is true for most of my allies as well. So after struggling through the last three encounters we all start using our daily powers in the last fight. This makes combat boring for us (usually because it’s over so quickly) and incredibly frustrating for the DM, since his monsters are slaughtered with minimal effort.
Encounters are designed with balance in mind. The DMG provides very clear direction on how to build encounters that are suitable for PCs of a particular level. Part of this calculation assumes that the PCs will throw a couple of daily powers at the monsters every fight. If none are used then the PCs should find the battle tough. If everyone uses their daily powers in the same fight it should seem easier. By holding back, you’re making your job harder.
I’m going to propose a radical idea to all PCs. Why not use your daily powers in the first few rounds of the very first combat? The power may not be put to its fullest potential, but at least then you get a chance to use it. Of course if your daily power has a specific effect that just isn’t applicable at the beginning of combat, for example if it lets all allies spend a healing surge, then this isn’t the best idea. But as soon as a few of your allies need healing go ahead and use the daily power. What’s worse: using your daily power and not getting the absolute maximum benefit out of it; or going through three combat encounters and not using it at all?
How often do you use all of your PC’s daily powers? How often does your party take an extended rest and none of the PCs have a single daily power left? Would you rather use your daily power doing twice the necessary damage to drop your opponent or would you rather save it just in case?