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63

AngryDM Says Something About This Once your characters are obviously going to win, end the encounter/fight. That's tough, but I'm going to sum up what he said. (You should still read it, though) You need to figure out what the main question the encounter is trying to answer, and when the answer becomes obvious, end the encounter! Yes, I know AngryDM's ...


60

I'll deal with your first example first: standing on a table in that situation is not particularly an advantage. It's also, therefore, very unlikely behaviour for a martial artist. (Not counting Feng Shui players). Standing slightly up from your opponent, on the other hand, is an advantage for many of the reasons below. It brings your kicks to better ...


58

I suspect you're underestimating the effects of the wargaming roots, both on D&D specifically and on role-playing games in general, which, in those early days, were all but synonymous. The cover of the original edition of D&D, published in 1974, described it as "Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames". Although it included various non-wargaming ...


46

Combat needs to move. It's the most detail packed in the least in-game time most systems have to offer. And yet it's also (usually) supposed to feel fast-paced and action packed. So yes, it's perfectly acceptable to hurry players along to the point of skipping a turn. It's even a rule in some systems. Here's an example from the Star Wars RPG (although I ...


37

I grapple with this question all the time. I'm not sure this is the best answer, but I try to start by having the enemy negotiate with them. Early in a campaign, I'll have the enemy surrender on reasonable terms. The trick is to implant the idea that negotiating doesn't lead to a worse outcome, and that the "bad guys" may want something the PCs are ...


36

The key does lie in not sweating the details, but the trick is that which is the least intuitive one: positioning! Follow three principles and theatre of the mind becomes much easier: Use descriptive detail When describing a fight scene, say in general terms where everything is relative to each other. You're not used to giving this detail verbally when ...


34

Lead by showing. Have the enemies talk during fights, shouting threats or bantering. Make sure that this is relevant to what's going on (or about to happen) and not just throw-away one-liners: have the enemies snarl angrily and promise painful death to the PC who wounded them, declare revenge for their fallen comrades, shout quick instructions or ...


32

Scenario 1, a bag of holding into a portable hole: No. When the bag of holding is placed into the portable hole, a gate is opened and the two items are sucked into it and forever lost. Essentially, they consume each other. There is no mention of anything else getting sucked into the gate or if the gate allows other creatures and objects travel to the astral ...


31

See DFRPG: p.200 for Attacks p.207 for Maneuvers Whenever you attack someone, you choose the appropriate Skill to roll - Fists for punches, Weapons for knives/swords, Guns for guns, etc.. Roll 4dF (the 4 Fudge dice) and add the result of the roll, which will be between -4 and +4 to the Skill you chose. The defender gets to make a defense roll with an ...


31

You can have several tricks to get around this, I've used similar methods with fantasy and cyberpunk games. Security Weapons are keycoded, or Palmprinting - this stops anyone but a certain person using it. Yes you can bypass it, but it's either difficult or very pricey. Limited uses Yes, you've got a melta gun - but getting ammo/powerpacks for it is ...


29

You're seeing one of the classic military ideas play out in your game - control of chokepoints. As many other people have pointed out, the advantage to controlling a chokepoint is that you can step back and force the enemy to push a narrow front of combatants against a broad base of defenders- so the person coming through the door is taking the most ...


28

According to The ever useful d20PFSRD: In a round of combat, you can do either : 1 Full-round action OR 1 Standard action plus 1 Move action (in any order) OR 2 Move actions (effectively trading your Standard action for a Move action) Plus a combination of : 1 Swift or Immediate Action AND Any number of Free Actions A few special cases The 5 ft. ...


27

My view has always been that if they need to pause to ask you a rules question, for a better description, etc, then it's fair to let them slow the combat down to get answers to those things. But if they're just sitting there waging an internal struggle (or even just arguing with other party members) about whether they should smack the monster with their +5 ...


27

In general, you have a number of options - some need more preplanning however. Doctor, It Hurts When I Do That If characters are frequently getting caught in situations where they don't have anything to do, they are not playing the long game very smart. They should consider these times in builds, when purchasing magic items, etc. "Oh I'm a melee guy if ...


26

Pros: no arguments about where something is no confusion based on differing visions of the world if you use 3d terrain and so forth, it can be very evocative easier/quicker to do crunchy strategy Cons: time consuming to set 'em up can definitely hamper player creativity -- "if it's not on the map it doesn't exist" same goes for GM creativity


26

The most common way this is done is as a "switch" on the entire campaign: the campaign's "you know your HP point total" switch is set to "no". Jason White's answer already covers the reason for such a blanket campaign feature well. This is almost always done at the campaign-wide level to make players more careful with the lives of their PCs. That isn't to ...


24

You can also make them smarter and more resourceful. Two levels ago, say five kobolds were a challenge. Now, consider: Five kobolds who have hired an ogre to protect them against the recent plague of adventurers Five kobolds who have raised a bear from a cub and trained it to help them Five kobolds who have scavenged a wand or two Five kobolds who have ...


24

Sometimes combat is just long and boring. Try a more exciting game system, or house-rule the more long and annoying parts. Some game systems are tuned towards long combat rounds and grind. There's some system specific tips out there for speeding combats, see Speeding Up Combat for 3.5 as an example. Time limits etc., not going to list them all here as ...


23

A "Death Spiral" is something that can happen in games where your combat skill is affected by your health (or similar attribute). If you take a hit, your combat skill decreases slightly (making it harder for you to hit the opponent and/or easier for the opponent to hit you). While there is a certain realism to this, it can often quickly lead to the "death ...


21

Some of these have been mentioned, but here's my list: GM's assistant Make someone else in charging of tracking the initiative order. Each turn, have them call out whose turn it is, but also who's "on deck" so that the next person can get ready. The GM's assistant can also help move monsters, as someone mentioned. Make players roll ahead of time This is ...


21

The Pathfinder game I'm scheduled to join in a few weeks has one of these. I've reproduced it below. (©2010 Vivian Abraham) Hit Points, Conditions, and Healing Conditions, or what happens when you are knocked below zero hit points Hit points represent your character's ability to avoid lethal damage. When you reach zero hit points or go negative, you gain ...


21

An unconsciousDDI character cannot take actions. So they could not voluntarily take their second wind. If the character is also Dying, a 20 on the death save will allow them to spend a healing surge. However, if an unconscious character is the target of an effect such as Healing WordDDI then they can spend the healing surge. Also, an adjacent character ...


21

It's been a while since I dealt with 3.5, but couldn't enemies armed with missile weapons just ready actions to "shoot them when they come into range"? That's certainly not a "screw you" approach. As a way to mix things up, you could also introduce terrain that makes this strategy less viable (much reduced line of sight, for example.) or NPCs who are ...


21

Think in terms of how you—as a player, not a DM—might tackle an opponent doing what your players are. There are several things I can think of. Spellcasters with Protection from Arrows and Slow or Grease are good start points. Protection from Arrows removes their attacking options while Slow and Grease, among other spells, are excellent for taking away ...


20

Used to be that RAW, the sniper wasn't getting the sneak attack. Why? No good reason other than that "a legalistic reading of the rules said so." There are no end of huge threads on paizo.com going over in tortuous detail how vision and stealth and all that work in PF core, especially here and here, and the summary was "slavishly following the rules means ...


20

The biggest key to creating interesting boss fights (in my experience) is to introduce an element of surprise or guess work. Fights are boring if they're just constant dice rolls back and forth where everything goes as expected. But you can make mechanics which keep the players guessing and on their toes, which force them to constantly be thinking about ...


20

Take a hint from the big computer rpg boss fights - even if you don't play them, you could find inspiration on youtube videos of them. First - a commonly used concept in boss fights there is 'stages' where you make a memorable fight longer but not repetitive by splitting it in sub-fights with different styles, i.e., after 'defeating' the initial phase HP, ...


20

The problem, basically, is that PC defenses and to-hit values increase every other level, and monster to-hit and defenses increase every level. So if you're L8 party (on average) hits 60% of the time, and gets hit 40% of the time. If you face a L15 minion, your party's going to be hit 75% of the time, and is only going to hit 25% of the time. Your PCs will ...


19

Lead by showing. Have the enemies talk during fights, shouting threats or bantering. Make sure that this is relevant to what's going on (or about to happen) and not just throw-away one-liners: have the enemies snarl angrily and promise painful death to the PC who wounded them, declare revenge for their fallen comrades, shout quick ...


19

First thing to remember is the definition of terrain in a combat/encounter framework: Terrain is anything that is not a character or monster combatant. Terrain is not just the ground the PCs are standing on. It is the furniture, atmosphere, weather, walls, ceiling, non-combatant plants and creatures, dead-bodies (real dead, not undead), fire, water, ...



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