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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30
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22answers
2k views

Speeding Up Combat

I'm looking for ways to speed up the combat in my D&D 3.5 game. It seems that turns - both player and non-player - simply take too long. I have thought about giving everyone a 30 second timer, but ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

How does attacking someone work?

OK, I keep going around in circles. In Dresden Files RPG, how do you work out punching someone vs using a knife/sword/weapon vs using a gun?
17
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10answers
709 views

Without a map or miniatures, how to best determine line-of-sight, etc?

I think the title says it all. Let's say you're mastering a game without the benefit of miniatures, maps, or any kind of physical representation of the environment. How would you keep track of details ...
17
votes
5answers
5k views

Can I use a full attack and natural attacks in the same round?

I'm playing a 7th level monk variant in D&D 3.5e and I'm a werewolf. The variant has a 1 for 1 BAB. (level 1 = BAB+1) If I'm in hybrid form, Can I make my 2 standard attacks followed by 2 claws ...
39
votes
13answers
1k views

How to communicate to the players that an encounter can be solved also through diplomacy?

When you play D&D, you are not supposed to chat with the enemy during encounters. The system is made for fighting. However, in some circumstances, it would be nice to make the players conscious ...
22
votes
1answer
7k views

How does Stealth work with Sneak Attack?

So, in Pathfinder, it seems that being able to use stealth in order to gain sneak attacks only works in the surprise round, with the rules as written. So, imagine a scenario where we have a sniper ...
12
votes
3answers
424 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
298 views

Is there any good place on the internet that hosts monster playtests?

I've been a DM for a while for 3.5. I've run many NPC characters, however only a small fraction of monsters out of the books (comparatively). Also, I like to use templates liberally as well as advance ...
34
votes
15answers
2k views

Narrative Combat versus Use of Miniatures

When I first started playing D&D, my DM did not use battlemaps or miniatures to describe combat. Everything was described to us, and questions to the DM were part and parcel of the experience, ...
27
votes
7answers
965 views

Fighting boredom in combat as a player

Sometimes (as a player) I get bored during combat. At times I feel like all my turns are the same (especially when playing lower level characters) and when that is combined with no combat progress ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

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 ...
18
votes
6answers
995 views

Realistic modern day combat system to model real life ambush

I came across a video (helmet camera) of an Taliban force ambushing US infantry troops in Afghanistan. This is a link to the video of ambush: Combat in the First Person, Spc.Michael Gannon guides us ...
15
votes
3answers
877 views

How do you administer combat without an Initiative system?

So in Dungeon World, there doesn't seem to be any stat for initiative or any structure to the sequence of moves that people can make. Is the game intended to be simply played "round robin", or do ...
15
votes
4answers
872 views

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 ...
18
votes
11answers
873 views

Encouraging out-of-the-box thinking in combat encounters

I'm a GM currently running D&D 3.5. I try to think of situations that present the players with a number of possible solutions. The players, however, always resort to the same pattern of killing ...
17
votes
4answers
661 views

How can I make combat more challenging without making it too frustrating?

My fellow DMs and I have come across a problem. It feels like the party has been doing a good job of dispatching our monsters with relative ease. We are not upset about this part, our party has done ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the best ways to move and full-attack in the same round?

One of the most important things for any physical fighter to accomplish is to maximize the amount of time you spend full-attacking. Once you have BAB +6, not full-attacking halves your potential ...
6
votes
4answers
409 views

Are there rules for dropping on an enemy as an attack?

In our current campaign, our ninja decided to try to drop on a monster from a ledge 25 feet up, blade first. I house ruled that it would require an extra 10 to the Tumble of falling without damage, ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Can an unconscious character use a healing surge?

Can an unconscious character use an action (like second wind or a healing power) to spend a healing surge? Can an unconscious character spend a healing surge due to some external effect?
10
votes
3answers
656 views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
557 views

How long does “Joker” initiative in Savage Worlds apply?

I'm trying to learn enough Savage Worlds to start running a little experimental game. I keep feeling like the rules are explained poorly, but it may just be that my brain is not ready to learn. The ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

What do you do when there's nothing to do in combat?

There are a lot of situations in D&D combat where characters seem to be left without anything to do that round. For example, a bard out of inspires and without slashing weapons beset by zombies, ...
3
votes
1answer
461 views

How exactly does lighting affect combat?

I understand that there are different types of lighting (dim, bright, complete darkness), but I haven't been able to find anywhere in the DMH or PHB that specifically describes how these different ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How do I design exciting, fun boss fights for my players?

So I've DM'd three separate games, of which one that I'm largely happy with. However, one consistent problem I run into is designing fun, exciting, and interesting boss fights. I've run into two major ...
26
votes
20answers
5k views

Beyond hit points: injury in D&D

I'm interested in adding a touch of realism to combat in D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder. Hit points are a very simple way of measuring injury and stamina, that contributes to the "hit things first, ask ...
18
votes
12answers
3k views

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?
10
votes
9answers
755 views

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 ...
34
votes
3answers
468 views

Shame him into not shooting: multiple stress tracks in a single conflict

If you insult the hitman enough, will he stop shooting at you? It doesn't seem likely, but that brings into play a question about whether some stress tracks are "more important" than others: If you ...
16
votes
5answers
335 views

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 ...
13
votes
8answers
620 views

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? ...
9
votes
2answers
419 views

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 ...
7
votes
6answers
285 views

How do you come up with attribute values and skills for your NPCs

I have been playing PnP for some years now and also had one session GMing (my first) and I discovered that my biggest problem wasn't creating a world, inventing scenes or reacting fast if my players ...
16
votes
1answer
221 views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
5k views

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 ...
15
votes
5answers
529 views

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 ...
13
votes
6answers
224 views

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 ...
10
votes
8answers
571 views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What action is it to switch between holding a weapon two-handed, and then wielding it one-handed

I'm planning on building a Gish for the next game I play in, and I was wondering how to best plan the build. I want power attack so I can do damage in combat, and I want to wield the weapon ...
6
votes
1answer
242 views

Order of actions in combat

Is there a specific order in which move / move-equivalent actions and standard actions should occur during a combat round? I know you can take the 5-foot step at the beginning or the end of the turn, ...
14
votes
5answers
683 views

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 ...
13
votes
7answers
980 views

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 ...
12
votes
8answers
417 views

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.
9
votes
4answers
563 views

Making epic combat interesting and challenging but not complicated

I'm running up on the tail end of a year-and-a-half 4e campaign, and epic levels are exhausting to GM. Everyone has more weird powers than you can shake a dragon at, and that includes the NPCs ...
8
votes
3answers
990 views

Was psionic combat removed from Pathfinder?

I have the 3.5 edition of the Psionic Handbook that covers psionic combat. But reading through the Pathfinder I have found nothing so far. If changing to Pathfinder, will I no longer need psionic ...
8
votes
2answers
902 views

Do two standard actions equal a full round action?

If a character was somehow able to get two extra standard actions on their round in combat, could those actions be used as an extra full attack action or full round action? Elaboration: In the first ...
8
votes
3answers
463 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
882 views

Does 2 handed multiplier apply to Dex mod with Weapon Finesse?

I have a rogue with Weapon Finesse. This allows me to: When making a melee attack with a light weapon or rapier, you may use your DEX Mod instead of your strength Mod on the attack roll. Since ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Can any creature be tamed?

In my game, my PCs are always trying to tame a creature or monster with their Nature skill. Can any and all creatures/monsters be tamed and controlled/kept by using Nature or any other skill?
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Avoiding slow and boring combat

I ran my first 'mini' session as a GM yesterday for Rogue Trader. It was a 1 on 1 session designed to help both myself and one of my players to get familiar with the rules and the setting. After a ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

When using a reach weapon, which squares around me can I attack?

Considering a medium creature, with 5ft of reach, wielding a reach weapon such as a longspear. By the rules: With a typical reach weapon, you can strike opponents 10 feet away, but you can't ...