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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42
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10answers
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Is it fair to press the players for decisions during combat?

My group tends to over-analyse during combat, which slows everything down. I press upon my players to make their decision and roll the dice quickly. My players are all experienced in the system and I ...
40
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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 ...
36
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3answers
536 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 ...
34
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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, ...
30
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5answers
3k views

Why is attacking from higher ground an advantage?

I just don't understand how attacking someone from higher ground is an advantage in melee combat. I always think of two examples where I can't see this to be an advantage. Example 1: A kung-fu fight ...
30
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22answers
3k 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 ...
29
votes
21answers
6k views

Beyond hit points: injury in D&D [closed]

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 ...
27
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
22
votes
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 ...
21
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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?
20
votes
7answers
682 views

How do I make and use tactically interesting terrain?

I'm running 4e but I think this applies everywhere. I want to use terrain more often in my fights. My best fights are the ones that revolve around interesting terrain. The problem is that I don't ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
20
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8answers
21k views

How do I make a gunslinger with a decent damage progression?

I am considering playing a Gunslinger when next we play Pathfinder (I am currently GMing a game, and we'll be switching off afterwards), and thumbing through the Ultimate Combat Playtest v. 2, and I'm ...
19
votes
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 ...
19
votes
11answers
2k views

Game with Interesting Combat that is Crunch Heavy and is built to not Require a Grid?

As an alternative to trying to play a game that normally requires a grid, I'm looking for an RPG that Has mechanically interesting combat (plenty of depth, not necessarily high complexity). Has a ...
19
votes
3answers
768 views

Can a Gelatinous Cube be knocked prone?

Actually, this is a more general form of the question. Can something that cannot be tripped still be knocked prone from an effect which causes it? So, in the Gelatinous Cube Stat block, we have: ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I use minions effectively?

I'm a newbie DM. It seems that minions in an encounter benefit the PCs more than they benefit me: The Barbarian can kill them for free THP and a Swift Charge (I thought they were supposed to slow ...
18
votes
11answers
953 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
597 views

What is a 'Death Spiral'?

And what does it mean for combat in a game?
18
votes
10answers
917 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 ...
18
votes
12answers
4k 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?
18
votes
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
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?
18
votes
4answers
753 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
834 views

How do I make my overpowered character more fun to play?

My friend is running a modified cyberpunk campaign, where we are fighting zombies during WWII in Germany. Fun stuff. However, I made my character a Martial arts boxer, giving them a 10 in reflex, ...
17
votes
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 ...
17
votes
6answers
590 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 ...
17
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4answers
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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 ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

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). ...
17
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
16
votes
9answers
809 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? ...
16
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
16
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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 ...
16
votes
1answer
7k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

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?
16
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1answer
4k views

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 in the Core Rules. Do I suffer the ...
16
votes
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 ...
15
votes
12answers
910 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
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 ...
15
votes
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

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 ...
15
votes
3answers
422 views

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 ...
15
votes
3answers
371 views

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 ...
14
votes
4answers
353 views

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 ...
14
votes
5answers
721 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Does making an opportunity attack with a ranged weapon provoke an opportunity attack?

If I make an opportunity attack with a ranged weapon (e.g., a crossbow) against an adjacent enemy, does it provoke an opportunity attack as well?
14
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4answers
521 views

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 ...
14
votes
5answers
846 views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
809 views

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 ...