Combat refers to the systems used in roleplaying games to resolve conflict through violent means, often to the death of one or more characters. Combat often involves several subsystems that determine whether harm is inflicted (to-hit) and the extent of that harm (damage).

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Does a gargantuan creature still die if only the feet are ever attacked?

A group of PCs without ranged weapons is facing a gargantuan creature (e.g. Tolkien's Oliphaunts). Obviously, if they don't climb the creature, they can only hit a small and non-lethal part of it (...
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What can I do in one round?

I'm still little confused about actions in Pathfinder. There are standard actions, move actions, full round actions, free actions, etc. I need to know which combinations of these actions I can use in ...
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What is a good combat tracker for D&D 4th Edition?

As my players go up levels there are more and more variables in combat. I need help. What solutions exist out there and what makes them good?
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How do you handle injury in Roll For Shoes?

I'm preparing to play my first Roll For Shoes game soon, with me as the GM and about 3-4 friends as my PC's. Knowing my friends, it won't be long before they attack or provoke someone, and looking at ...
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Are upper-level combat encounters still as complicated and time-consuming?

With level 10 and higher PCs, a lone Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 or Pathfinder combat encounter can take a long time, but I haven't heard if the same is true in Dungeons and Dragons 5E. Does a 5E upper-...
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Readying an action before combat

Suppose the party suspects that combat is imminent, and some of the PCs ready actions (attack nearest hostile creature, attack first thing that moves). Then combat erupts. Some of the PCs are ...
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Can you ready a charge?

In 3rd edition, you could ready a partial charge. From the PHB, p134: Only partial actions can be readied. To do so, specify the partial action you will take and the conditions under which you ...
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How do you plan Savage Worlds combats based on PC ability?

Last night I ran my first Savage Worlds combat, to try to get a feel for the system. The combatants were two sword-wielding fighting men against three orcs (extras) and their chieftain (a wild card). ...
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Can Cutting Words cancel a critical hit?

If a creature hits with a natural 20, can a Lore bard use his Cutting Words ability to substract an inspiration die from the result, thus preventing a critical hit? Cutting Words: When a creature ...
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How can I GM and play a PC without spoiling the fun?

We're returning to D&D 4E after a long absence from it, coming back from Savage Worlds since we've really missed HP-based battles and videogame-like logic. However, as we talked about our new ...
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How do you alter the difficulty of a challenge/fight in the middle of it?

I've run a bunch of times with players that took very diverse characters. I made them use their own rolls (which often ended up giving them awesome stats for some reason). Eventually I had to ...
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Can massive damage knock out rather than causing instant death?

Suppose, as happened last night, a character intends to subdue rather than kill an opponent. She made a melee attack, hit, declared her intent to knock out. The damage roll was enough to reduce the ...
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Spaceship Combat in Fate Core

I'm trying to run a space-opera RPG in Fate Core, and ship-to-ship combat is a central focus. I'm looking to emulate the kind of fighting we see in Star Wars, Wing Commander, FreeSpace, etc, but ...
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Alternatives to inapplicable critical-hit table results?

In a recent session of ours, one of the players scored a critical hit on a very scary wolf. The random critical-hit bonus rolled was "disarm opponent." Our GM was kind and clever enough to announce ...
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Are there any RPGs that realistically prioritize speed and reach in melee? [closed]

I took up middle-ages reemnactment for a hobby for a little while, the sort of fighting that you do with actual steel swords and spears, not the rubber versions used for LARP. I was very surprised to ...
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How can acrobatics be used to move through an enemy occupied square?

According to the AcrobaticsDDI skill you can use an Acrobatic Stunt to "somersault over an opponent", amongst other things . It gives a base DC of 15, and "the DM sets the DC based on the complexity ...
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How to set up a battle with a God?

I have a campaign (D&D 2nd Edition) that has been running on and off for about 22 years (real life). Characters have finally reached super-high levels (some are 30, multi-classes are lower). I'm ...
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How do you handle Reach in Dungeon World?

How does reach actually work? If I am wielding a long spear against a goblin with a dagger ("Staying far out of its reach, I make quick thrusts at the goblin's head!"), do I roll Hack and Slash? Do ...
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How to manage incomparable movement speeds in combat?

I'm playing a Shadow character in a campaign which is running for 2 year. Our party has reached a great amount gnosi (27), and we are all level 13. The main features of my character is agility and ...
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When should the DM hide a PC's hit points?

In any game with hit points (I'm thinking D&D, but any will do), is there ever a situation where the DM ought to keep track of a player character's hit points, and not reveal it to the player? I'...
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How can I speed up combat with a large number of enemies?

I'm DMing for a campaign where the player characters will sometimes face small squads of creatures, most recently six ground troops and two archers helping out. In this setting, these creatures ...
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Vast and expanded realistic combat system

I am searching for a combat & damage system for an ad hoc RPG system set in Victoria era, more or less (though this part is completely unimportant). Are there any system that would bring me close ...
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How to reduce Whiff & Ping

In Savage World there is a problem of Whiff (I miss) and Ping (I hit but bounce off the armour). We have had several long combat encounters where the PC and NPC have basically done almost nothing for ...
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Do enemies have the same rules for death as PCs?

Once an enemy is lowered to 0 HP, are they dead or just knocked out? Do you have to reduce them to their negative Con score or is that mechanic strictly reserved for players?
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How can I create an introductory D&D encounter intended for teaching the rules?

For my next D&D campaign, I want to introduce the players to the ruleset by having them play through a sample combat encounter. All of them have prior RPG experience, but they haven't played any ...
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Headshot (but don't aim for it please)

Apologies for not using the perfect English wording, I only own the books in my native language. But I think it will become clear what actions I'm talking about. In combat, you can take aim. This is ...
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Firing into close combat in Pathfinder

If I am using a bow against an enemy who is in melee combat with an ally of mine, I get a -4 on my attack roll, unless I have the precise shot feat. (See page 184 ...
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Can a creature immune to Immobilized walk away from a creature grabbing it?

Grabbed: While a creature is grabbed, it is immobilized. Maintaining this condition on the creature occupies whatever appendage, object, or effect the grabber used to initiate the grab. This ...
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Rules for Stranglers

Does anyone have any play-tested house rules for dealing with attempts to strangle a (not helpless) creature to death? Suffocating, per the rules As far as I see, the only guidance in the rules ...
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Can a PC use a readied action to deflect a projectile?

Let's say that my party is fighting a bunch of kobolds outdoors. The kobolds are slinging a bunch of rocks at the party, and one player says, "I ready my action until a rock comes my way, and then I ...
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How can I give strong weapons to enemies without the players looting them?

If I give an enemy NPC a Meltagun in combat, nothing prevents the players from taking the weapon after they kill him, which leads to the inevitable snowballing: they get stronger, I need stronger ...
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Can an attacker tell they're dealing non-lethal damage?

While reviewing regeneration I was reminded that "damage dealt to the creature is treated as nonlethal damage". This made me wonder if the attacker can tell (before regeneration happens) that the ...
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How to make combat more tactically interesting for me as a DM?

For me, I find it very difficult to enjoy DMing combat encounters. Combat is generally very dry and monotonous. What can I do to make combat more enjoyable for me as a DM? Some of the issues I have ...
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What would the effect of removing death saves and just having characters die at 0HP be?

I am currently attempting to create a campaign, inspired both by West Marches, and earlier editions of D&D (mostly OD&D and 1e AD&D), but still keeping the 5e rules that my group are ...
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Do weapons damage themselves?

Weapons have explicitly listed hardnesses and hit points: Damaging Objects – PFSRD Many medieval weapons were known for breaking; most notably, in jousting, breaking a lance scored points: ...
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How does disarming a monster affect its statistics?

The disarm maneuver has almost totally disappeared from D&D 4th edition. However, at least one Fighter power - Exorcism of Steel - allows it. Exorcism of Steel - Fighter Attack 17 You make a ...
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What, if any, bonuses to AC can my allies temporarily 'turn off' so I can hit them with an Alchemist's Healing Bomb?

Healing Bomb is a splash weapon, so it would be a touch attack, and therefore armor/shield/natural armor AC don't matter. I would have to overcome any of the target's touch AC bonuses: Dexterity, ...
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How do the dual wield feat and versatile weapons interact?

I have a level 4 Paladin with the Dual Wield feat (he does not have the TWF style). He is wielding a longsword in one hand and a handaxe in his other (thrown weapon). Can the paladin throw the ...
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Can one PC grab another PC and drag them?

While DMing my session today, I encountered a situation I wasn't sure how to answer. The PCs were attacked by a werewolf and decided to flee onto their nearby horses. Two of them were already mounted ...
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How do you keep players involved between their turns?

I've been running D&D Encounters for the last several seasons. One of the areas I would like to improve is keeping players involved and interacting with the scene when it's not their turn. When ...
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How does d20 Modern handle having someone at gunpoint?

How does d20 Modern handle the common situation of having someone at gunpoint, or entering a room with your firearm in hand, cocked and ready to fire? I'm asking because I notice that to draw a ...
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Are Battle Master maneuvers usable once per attack, or per attack action?

It says in the PHB that you can use only one maneuver per attack. If that's per attack, not per attack action, that seems somewhat powerful, since after 5th level you get multiple attacks per attack ...
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What happens if the effects of two different damage types contradict each other?

A flesh golem has the extraordinary ability immunity to magic, which says that A flesh golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells ...
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What does “+6 to hit, Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4)” mean in a creature's stat block?

My friends and I are very new to D&D, played like 3 times. In a monster's stats next to weapon damage it says stuff like "+11 to hit" and "Hit: 5 (1d8+1)". For the premade characters it just says ...
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Downtuning lethality in Savage Worlds

My groups go-to system is Savage Worlds, and it works pretty well for our needs. But the system uses exploding dice, and that means that sometimes a casual encounter that should be a cakewalk for the ...
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Do characters provoke opportunity attack when they leave another character's reach who is not facing them?

"You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that YOU CAN SEE moves out of your reach." In 5E do you have to specify which way your character is facing at all times? If an enemy who ...
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How does having monsters of the same type go at the same time affect balance?

I'm running a group of 6 PC's through HotDQ. All of them are new to 5e and we just started, so the combat is pretty slow, and some of them aren't all that excited about combat to begin with. I'm doing ...
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Can a Familiar aid a Rogue's Sneak Attack?

A Rogue character with the Arcane Trickster archetype chooses Find Familiar as her non-enchantment, non-illusion, 1st level spell. How does that creature interact with the Sneack Attack feature? From ...
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When to use scarce resources in combat?

How does one choose when to use scarce resources (e.g. powers you can only use once per day or encounter) in combat? I am particularly concerned with D&D, but I believe the concept carries over ...
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How are “non-damage” attack rolls determined?

In 5e, I have not found a system that works with "non-damage" attacks. Eg, throwing sand in someone's face, to temporarily blind them. Because this is not an attack that involves their AC, does it go ...