Players love this range of emotions, but having every combat follow the same trajectory gets a bit boring. The grind feeling results from recognizing the pattern and the corresponding desire to just fast forward to the end. Who wants to sit through round after round of monster at-will attacks especially when we “know” that the PCs are likely to win?
I spend most of the week working out the story elements and building an exciting and dangerous, yet balanced, encounter or two. By the time I get to treasure allocation, I’ve spent my creative energy and it’s usually less than an hour to game time. What the heck do I give them? Enter wish lists.