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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What is a “Melee Spell Attack” and how does it differ from a regular spell?

In 5e a lot of the spells in both the Monster Manual and PHB talk about a spell being a "melee spell attack". Is this simply to do with the range of the spell or are there additional rules to rolling? ...
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How can I run fights involving large groups of creatures without slowing combat to a crawl?

Earlier today, I stumbled upon this question. As I often do around RPG.SE and another sites, I initially misread the title, and contemplated for a second why someone would look for a way to raise ...
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Can players “Ready” outside of combat?

Can players in 5e ready an action before combat begins? If so, does this impose any penalties? (I saw this, but it is written for 4e and IMO the answer left something to be desired)
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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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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 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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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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Is combat supposed to be this quick?

This question is a follow-up to the comments in this answer What ways exist to consistently and reliably grant my allies advantage on the attack roll? I was confused about timing terms and effects ...
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How can I design encounters that appeal more to stealth based characters and are fun for me to run?

I'm currently running a levels 1 to 20 campaign with my friends, and one of them is a Ninja (Pathfinder's class using the Basic Rogue Template). Functionally it's pretty much the same, and the thing ...
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Does an Evocation shield have a reactive utility to it?

Say that Player X is 2nd in the initiative. 1st is the Black Court vampire that is in a rage and taking a swing at Player X. Player X gets a built in defense [Athletics/Fists + 4dF] but can Player X ...
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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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Does Cutting Words work on things with very low (animal) intelligence?

Is it possible for a Lore Bard to use Cutting Words on an animal? In the session the group was dealing with a pack of stirges. The Bard stated he was using his Cutting Words to reduce a stirge's ...
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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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Can a Druid/Monk make unarmed strikes while Wild Shaped?

Can a Druid/Monk who is Wild Shaped perform Unarmed Strikes?
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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 NPC'...
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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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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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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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Does using versatile weapons with 2 hands disqualify them as Monk weapons?

When using either the quarterstaff or spear as a Monk weapon, do you still gain the unarmed bonus action from Martial Arts if using 2 hands(1d8)? On pg.78 of the PHB under Martial Arts it states ...
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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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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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Can I choose not to defend against an attack?

Playing D&D4e, I have a situation in mind where a character could reasonably WANT to get hit with a normally harmful attack. Is there anything in the rules allowing the character to purposefully ...
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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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Are swift actions allowed during surprise round

I know that normally you are only allowed either a standard or move action during a surprise round. Also you are allowed a free action. The book says nothing about swift actions during the surprise ...
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Are you still two-weapon fighting if you've thrown one of your two weapons and are no longer holding it?

In this question we see that two-weapon fighting with darts is not possible because they are not melee weapons. Let's replace the darts in that scenario with daggers, which are valid light melee ...
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Does taking the option to ignore a Ready trigger waste it, or let you use it on a later trigger?

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. (PHB, Ch9, Actions in Combat) Does that mean that by ignoring the trigger you don't ...
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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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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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Fighting an Invisible Stalker

I'm having trouble understanding the mechanics of invisibility, so I'd like to propose a scenario, as an example, which I don't know exactly how to handle as a GM. Let's say my group is about to ...
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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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Is there a playtested house rule for prone that makes its usefulness less dependent on initiative order?

As discussed somewhat in Is knocking someone prone worth it? the advantages of knocking prone are rather situational, and in particular, depend a lot on where you and the enemy you want to knock prone ...
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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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In a Mouse Guard fight, does each team target a specific other team with each move?

The Mouse Guard rules are unclear on whether -- during an extended conflict, a team's actions specifically address only a single other team on each phase of the turn. I think so, but not everyone in ...
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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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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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Can any creature elect to make touch attacks or ranged touch attacks?

Can a creature lacking a special ability to make either touch attacks or ranged touch attacks nonetheless make against his foes—without provoking attacks of opportunity—touch attacks or ranged touch ...
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How do I resolve my move if I can move farther than I can see?

If I use a dash action on my turn it will allow me to move 70 feet in that round, but I can only see 60 feet in the dark. We use Roll20.net with the dynamic lighting feature. So, sometimes I can't ...
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How does shield bashing work?

I've looked in the DMG and the PHB, but have only found ancillary uses of the shield. The Shield Master feat (PHB, p.170) gives you neat perks, but doesn't act as a weapon (beyond the bonus shove ...
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Mechanics of how to kill a hydra

In a session where I was the DM, I made my players fight a hydra. In the end I had to end the battle by stating the hydra became unconscious. It was at 0 hitpoints for a good 4 turns before I made my ...
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Does a Monk need to see an incoming attack to use the deflect missile ability?

I play in a 5e game, and a monk was getting shot in the back of the head. One of the monk's abilities is Deflect Missiles: "Starting at 3rd level you can use your reaction to deflect or catch the ...
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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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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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Does one have to confirm a critical hit?

In D&D 3.5, one scored a critical threat, and then had to confirm the crit by hitting the monster's armor class again. In D&D 5th edition, it does not explicitly state that crits have to be ...
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Handling many similar opponents in combat

I plan to send my players into a town of about 600 inhabitants. Overnight the town will be infested with zombies, with about 400 inhabitants turned. When my players awake, they will need to get out of ...
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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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How to force enemies to attack the tank?

I am having a group, in which I play as a Crusader. I specialised to be a support tank - I can shrug off respectable amounts of damage all the while improving the rest of the group's fighting ...
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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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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 ...