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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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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How do I use the same type of creature as characters level up without using more of them?

Is there a good formula/strategy for making monsters harder as characters level up without just throwing more of them? My kids, for example, love Kobolds but I just don't want combats of 30 of them.
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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 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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Squad formations

I've just watched episode 1-2 of Terranova, and there is a scene in which a military squad goes to the rescue of some teenagers who are surrounded by dinosaurs in a jungle. When the squad arrives, ...
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How can I efficiently manage Ship to Ship Tactical Combat and Boarding?

I'm planning a campaign that will involve a fair amount of ship to ship combat and boarding. My group is accustomed to using a square grid battle mat, and I'm concerned about the mechanics of the ...
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Does flanking always grant advantage, or is it up to discussion?

The rules packet does not provide any specific rules about flanking. However the rule do say that the DM has lots of leeway in deciding when to give advantage or disadvantage in combat. Should it be ...
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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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Clocking the round. Tools?

Chess players use a special clock to keep timings of each move within a reasonable amount, or they lose. During fighting session, I'd like to introduce a similar technique to prevent excessive ...
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How to kill yourself in 4e?

Warning: spoiler about P2: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens. The following explains why I want rules on killing yourself, but isn't critical to the question (with the edit), so don't read it if you will ...
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Is there a penalty for holding a two handed weapon in offhand while throwing a weapon?

I have a fighter (warforged weaponmaster, level 6). He wields a Mordenkrad (2-handed hammer, brutal 1). He has a "Dwarven Thrower" Throwing Hammer (1-handed throwing weapon) sheathed at his belt. ...
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What counts as a critical on defense?

In GURPS Campaigns p381, it states that a critical success on defense causes the attacker to suffer a "critical miss." Does a critical hit on defense count as a roll of 3 or 4? If my parry is 15, ...
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How can Rogues maintain combat advantage?

I get that if you are hidden from an opponent, you gain combat advantage against them. I get that if you make a point of it, and you're not getting surprised by the opposition, you should be able to ...
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What is the significance of a Basic Attack vs. any other sort of attack?

On the one hand, this is a pretty newb question: I’m not familiar with 4e and do not actually know what a Basic Attack is. That sort of question, however, I could answer by simply opening the ...
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484 views

Non-combat objective: Delay larger enemy force

I'm re-writing the "Battle of Albridge" encounters from The DM-kit's Reavers of Harkenwold. As supplied they are mostly just a rehash of earlier fight-to-the-death skirmishes on re-used maps. Instead ...
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How can characters with low Fighting and Shooting contribute in combat?

I've run a few rounds of Savage Worlds, and I like the quick character generation and minimal bookkeeping. I'm a little frustrated with a phenomenon which is hardly unique to the system: in combat, ...
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Does going prone stack with having cover?

Suppose I'm playing a ranged character. I am standing with an ally between me and my enemies, which grants "+2 defenses" for cover. I decide to further go prone. Do I now have a "+4 defenses", 2 ...
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Do players get full XP from encounter if enemies break and run?

First, I don't know of any specific morale rules for NPC's/monsters, but I would say based on modern army tactics, a unit has lost its effectiveness at 33% losses, and at 50% its a rout. So if the ...
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Flanking and swarms in 4e

Can swarms be flanked by two PCs? What if the swarm is occupying the same square as a PC? Does a PC grant combat advantage to a swarm if a regular mob is adjacent in a flank? Does it matter if the ...
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How do you know if two monsters can move at the same time in DnD4e?

Can monsters in Dungeons and Dragons 4.0 share turns? In the first encounter of the Dungeons and Dragons 4e Redbox it states that you should make one initiative roll for the two goblins and one for ...
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AC differences between AD&D 1E and Basic D&D?

I understand that there are differences between the way Armor Class works in AD&D (first edition) and Basic D&D (the boxed sets, Rules Cyclopedia, etc.), but I don't have the books to check it ...
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How do I map a 15' cone to a 1" grid?

I've been playing 5e for a while now, and mercifully this hasn't come up yet, but it's definitely on it's way. When a caster casts burning hands, how is that properly mapped onto a standard 1" battle ...
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Is there one type of combat system considered to be more deadly than other alternatives?

I've frequently heard the Basic Role-play system and Dark Heresy described as deadly from a combat perspective. I think those are both percentile systems. Is that typical of percentile systems or is ...
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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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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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Awarding XP for combat encounters in Dnd 4e

I am a very inexperienced DM. I have here what must be an obvious question, but I can't seem to find any solid clarification. How is XP rewarded after a combat encounter? Is the total monsters' XP ...
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Standard attack vs full attack at low level

At a low enough level that a character only has one BAB, is there any incentive to using a full attack, or is it more advantageous to hang on to the move action and use a standard attack?
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Greater Feint Clarification

I don't understand the benefits of Greater Feint feat in Pathfinder. Its Benefit states: Whenever you use feint to cause an opponent to lose his Dexterity bonus, he loses that bonus until the ...
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Does telekinesis do Bashing or Lethal?

I'm trying to figure out what type of damage a direct physical assault with telekinesis would result in. (From NWoD) From pg. 212 of World of Darkness: Alternately, the ghost can make a direct ...
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Tricks allowing continuous narration during a fight [on hold]

I used a lot of tricks that allowed to skip the counting of every swing and blow and dodge. I think people should share such solutions. My favourite tricks: Roll a bunch of dice and just take look at ...
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How do I make a physical challenge for Dawn-caste Solar Exalted?

I'm currently running an Exalted (2.5e) game (set in the West around Wavecrest, if it's relevant). The Dawn caste Solar in the party is carving through things incredibly fast - using Iron Whirlwind (6 ...
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Do underwater opponents have cover from someone in the water?

Someone under the water has total cover from someone on the land. If you are in the water but not under it you have partial cover from a land based opponent. What I'd like to know is if you are in ...
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What's the maximum number of minions for an encounter?

What is the maximum number of minions that can be pitted against a party 0f 5 characters of equal level without being overwhelming (as defined by the DMG)? ie: How many Kobold minions can I pit ...
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How do I make headshot rules interesting?

I'm working on a unified conflict system for a lightweight setting-agnostic RPG ruleset. The beta version is available on my website, although I have changed a lot of rules since that was released. My ...
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What to do in Labyrinth Lord when both PCs and Foes are surprised?

In Labyrinth Lord, when there is a possibility of surprise for both PCs and foes, both sides roll 1d6. A 1-2 indicates that side is surprised for the first round. If both sides roll a 1-2, both ...
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How can I improve damage for a 2e rogue? (Particularly a Kender handler)

I'm roleplaying a 2nd Ed. Dragonlance Kender Handler. I had no experience in roleplaying, and kender sounded like a great opportunity to do fun stuff. In particular, my hiding / sneaking stats are ...
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In need of general tips for making more interesting and fun battles

I've been a Game Master for about 5 years now and I've mantained the same group of players for that long, we're all young gamers (I being the oldest with 22 years old) and since we're not from USA we ...
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Simulating grenade explosions in a stairwell

What would be a fair way to adjudicate the detonation of a grenade in an enclosed space, such as a stairwell? I have used the rules for blowback in games such as Shadowrun before, but recently ran a ...
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Can I Coup de Grace and/or make a death attack with a touch spell?

This question has two components: firstly, can a character with Assassin levels trigger their Death Attack (after the three rounds of study, of course) by making a Coup De Grace against the helpless ...
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How to make combat deadlier?

I was thinking of reducing all hit points by 1/2 (pc, npc and monster) to make combat deadlier and less Hp crunching. Is this a good approach or is there a better way to do this or would it be better ...
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How does the Multi-Weapon Fighting feat 'replace' the Two-Weapon Fighting feat?

The Multiweapon Fighting feat clearly states that it Replaces two-weapon fighting for creatures with more than two arms. What does that mean? I've given it some thought, and I can think of only three ...
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Does the Critical Hit threshold keep rising as skill goes up?

In GURPS Campaigns (p381) it states that a skill of 15+ means that a roll of 5 counts as a critical, and 16+ means that a 6 counts as a critical. Does this threshold continue to rise? Ex: Does ...
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How many rays can a beholder use in one full-attack action?

What it says on the tin. Beholders and beholder kin are given a number of rays that they can use. The entry for the Beholder-kin: Watcher notes that each eye can use one of its powers every round, ...
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Close burst from a large creature — one square origin or all of them

If a large or larger creature uses a close burst, does the burst have to emanate from a single square of the large creature's space, or does it act as if the creature is the source (all squares)? The ...
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With a negative Strength value, how much damage can I do?

When skipping through the All Flesh Must Be Eaten rulebook, I noticed that you can create PCs with negative strength values (e.g., children). As hand weapons do damage based on that strength value, ...
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Can a monk increase his dodge bonus as a swift action out of his turn?

In Pathfinder, a monk has a power which lets him spend a point of his Ki Pool to increase his AC Dodge Bonus as a swift action. Can he do it even when it isn't his turn? a monk can spend 1 point ...
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How can I use improvised consequences to make combat more interesting?

In DnD 4e, the consequences for being hit by basic attacks are a simple loss of HP, and narration is what gives the basic attacks their 'spice'. The use of encounter and daily powers is the main ...
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How many spears can fit in one pincushion

In The Riddle of Steel on page 77 it notes that the maximum number of combatants that can surround a single opponent is three, except "groups of spearmen and the like, who may gather tightly together ...
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“Epic Level” Shadowrun

Recently I've run into an issue with my Shadowrun campaign for a number of reason, the most key of which is that my players have hit the 180-250 karma level where they've started to ascend to levels ...
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If I am using 2 weapons, can I trip with one and attack the tripped target in the same round?

I'm playing a dual wield fighter and I was wondering is it possible to, when using a full round action to attack and you have more then one strike, can you trip with your first hit and then proceed to ...