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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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 ...
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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?
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10answers
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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 ...
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13answers
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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
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1answer
8k 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 ...
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5answers
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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 ...
12
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3answers
479 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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1answer
5k 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 ...
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3answers
323 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 ...
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15answers
3k 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, ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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6answers
1k 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 ...
18
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4answers
754 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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12answers
912 views

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 ...
15
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4answers
1k 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
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11answers
954 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
670 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, ...
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2answers
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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?
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4answers
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D&D Next and “Theatre of the Mind” in combat

My group have been using the play test material for D&D Next. Our target play style for combat encounters would be to use battle boards roughly half the time (when there is enough of interest in ...
10
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3answers
704 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 ...
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3answers
612 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 ...
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8answers
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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, ...
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1answer
597 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 ...
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2answers
256 views

Sniping: How Does It Work?

The Player's Handbook says the following about sniping: Sniping: If you’ve already successfully hidden at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack, then immediately hide ...
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8answers
4k 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 ...
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12answers
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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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3answers
400 views

Windows application for Pathfinder combat [duplicate]

Is there any good application for Windows, where can I have combat map, something like figures and maybe some tracker (HP, initiative, etc.) where can I try out some combat situations in Pathfinder ...
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9answers
810 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? ...
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5answers
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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 ...
10
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9answers
854 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 ...
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3answers
537 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 ...
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6answers
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In D&D 4th Edition, how numerically close should party member levels be? What happens if they aren't?

I've read a lot here (and in the official books) about balanced parties in Dungeons and Dragon's 4th edition. Parties should contain at least one each of four specific roles, a distribution of skills ...
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5answers
348 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 ...
16
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1answer
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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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5answers
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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 ...
9
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3answers
825 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
562 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 ...
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6answers
303 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 ...
17
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6answers
592 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 ...
16
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1answer
235 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 ...
13
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6answers
238 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
509 views

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 ...
10
votes
8answers
632 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
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3answers
3k 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
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1answer
268 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
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5answers
722 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 ...
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7answers
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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 ...
13
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8answers
461 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.