For years, I've had trouble keeping the players engaged in the narrative of combat and what happens during their turns.

After the first 4 turns or so, it becomes hard to imagine what everyone does and even my players forget about their allies, and I foget about the villain's allies as well. After a cuple rounds it starts becoming a "you hit with a raise, well, throw 1d6 more", and I'm left wondering how I can make things seem more dynamic and cool, however I find it very hard to wait for players to end turns, throw dices, and then proceed to imagine and narrate what they do, it also makes players frustrated as they just want me to be donw with other player's narrative and move on to their own turn.


Creative Fatigue

Creative Fatigue is when you get mentally tired having to generate new, creative stuff, in the moment during play. Some game systems this is more, or less of an issue.

Two things influence this:

1) Iterations vs. outcome

How many times do you have to come up with creative descriptions for a given situation? If a whole situation is resolved in one dice roll, you only have to do it once. If you have to do multiple attacks, over and over, then you have to do it over and over.

Consider- how many attacks does a combat typically take? Over how many players? And each one should sound a little different than the other ones? Over how many combats? Over how many sessions?

2) Fiction Support

Different systems give you different levels of support on the mechanical level. If it's just a generic "Attack roll" that results in "hit or miss" you don't have a lot of support.

If the player has to choose between specific attacks ("Upward swing", "Change and bowl them over", "Grapple for a headlock") you now have specific events already chosen you don't have to create in the moment. If the system gives you support in what the outcomes look like ("Solid hit, but you take a glancing hit as well", "Opponent falls down", "They drop their weapon from pain.") you don't have to imagine those bits either. These things become the skeleton around which narration sits, and if solid enough, it even means you may not have to imagine much around it at all and still have fun.


As you can see, the two issues above are pretty much dictated by the mechanics you use. Aside from going to a system that better supports you, your options either become "Let's stop trying to narrate and simply speed through the mechanics with 'I hit I miss'" or trying to off load some of the creative needs to the players - "Tell me what happens" but that, too, often still results in creative fatigue, just a little more spread out.

You could try less/shorter combats and sessions - I know for my group we typically do 2-3 hour sessions and get more fun because we're not reaching points of wearing thin and getting tired creatively.

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