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Questions tagged [combat]

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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Can you use swift actions as other action types?

Let’s say I am playing a Tome of Battle class that utilizes many stances and boosts. Can I ‘slow down’ a swift action and have it count as a move or standard action? Example: Swift action: use a ...
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1answer
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Can you apply Combat Expertise/Deadly Defense after a trip attempt?

I have a trip-build swordsage with Improved Trip and a spiked chain. Is this legit: Trip attempt at full attack modifier. Trip succeeds. Free melee attack on prone target. Take -2 off attack to ...
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How can an archer beat a foe that cuts all his arrows out of the air?

My PC is an archer—a human no-archetype fighter 4/hawkguard warder 5—who has taken only feats that let him make more ranged attacks and deal more damage with ranged attacks. My PC doesn't even have a ...
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1answer
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Is it possible to eat an object affected by Allfood while in combat? If so, how is the damage handled?

I realize this is a very strange and seemingly useless question, but hear me out on this. I've recently been assessing more creative uses of spells that seem useless in combat but may be made useful ...
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1answer
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What are the mechanics for tackling / charging attacks without using the Charger feat?

I'm trying to find the mechanics for a running tackle / charging attack, but can't seem to find one in the PHB or the DMG. I'm looking for something that allows players to run towards a creature and ...
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Can I use a spell out of combat?

Can I use a spell out of combat? Another form of putting it would be using spells meant for battle during a non-combat scenario. If so, what are the rules for doing so for casting the spell? An ...
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4answers
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Time equivalent of a day in Dungeons & Dragons [closed]

How long is a typical day in Dungeons & Dragons in terms of time in our real world? I'm using the 3.5 player's handbook, and I know a round lasts 6 seconds.
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1answer
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How close is 5ft? [duplicate]

While this sounds kind of silly, I'm a DM and trying to settle on a question a player asked me. In the game I use a battlemat and place all creatures in melee adjacent to each other. However a player ...
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Moving “out” vs moving “through” a threatened square with acrobatics

If I begin my turn in a creature's threatened area, can I use acrobatics to leave the threatened area without provoking an attack of opportunity? My GM argued that I can't since the acrobatics skill ...
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4answers
406 views

Can players decide at the start of combat what order to act in when planning an attack on a known enemy?

What keeps a player from deliberately planning their own initiative action themselves by choosing to act in a predefined sequence and waiting until a monster has acted? If all the players do this, ...
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3answers
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Is initiative order affected by a player volunteering to begin combat? [duplicate]

In the campaign I run, it is frequently the case that one player will make an attack against an unsurprised enemy to start combat. For example: DM: "At the end of the long hall, you see a large ...
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How to break the “Death Loop” resulting from unfortunate initiative order

In a recent session, an encounter with a single particularly tough Orc (who was my doppelganger, trying to kill me) left the party dealing chip damage a few rounds at a time while they attempted to ...
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2answers
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How might this undead player character type unbalance combat?

In a recent session, a player character in my game died. Due to events involved in the player's backstory and their attachment to the character, I offered to have the character rise from death as ...
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5answers
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Could a strong character wield an object that gives them full cover?

My question is mostly in the title, but here's an example. Jeff, a STR 19 Bear Totem Barbarian wants cover as he advances towards enemies. To do so, he rips a heavy wooden door off its hinges, and ...
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1answer
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How should I run an encounter involving scouting out an area then setting an ambush afterwards?

Currently, I am designing a campaign in Mouse Guard 2nd Ed involving the patrol delivering the mail to all of the minor settlements in the territories and stumbling into huge conflicts through doing ...
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1answer
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How does the Dimensional Dervish feat work?

I'm a bit confused about the wording of the Dimensional Dervish feat from Pathfinder: Ultimate Combat and its exact working. Link: https://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/dimensional-dervish/ ...
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Is there a correct way to deal with “fish-in-a-barrel” type combat?

I'm wondering if there is an official way of dealing with "fish-in-a-barrel" type combat, and if so, what is it? Examples: Some examples might include: Monster in a cage and the PCs want to stab/...
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3answers
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How would an Animated Armor knocked unconscious by Dispel Magic work in combat?

I'm in the process of preparing my first one shot as a way of trying DMing in a few weeks. For one of the battles, I was thinking of having the PCs face an Animated Armor and a Flying Sword. ...
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4answers
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Awarding encounter experience when enemies flee/get intimidated/are convinced to help

This is my first time DM'ing and I'm playing DnD 5e's "Lost Mine of Phandelver" campaign with 3 other players. The PCs seem to have a trend of encountering a group of enemies, start fighting and ...
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1answer
103 views

Planned action encounters in town [closed]

I'm presently running a campaign in a custom sci-fi universe (using Chaosium's BRP system as a ruleset) and my party have just finished getting through the equivalent of what in a fantasy game would ...
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3answers
260 views

How to balance combat with a couple of min/maxed characters in the party?

I have a party of 4 freshly minted level 7s for an upcoming game. 3 of the players have been playing for a while and one person is a relative newcomer to the group. The problem I'm having is that 2 ...
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1answer
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How can my players take on a bigger-sized ship?

A friend and I have been alternating mastering a game of Star Wars D6 by WEG. It's not really a full blown campaign, more like a series of one-shots loosely linked together. And we came across a major ...
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How do you make the final battle in Tomb of Annihilation non-trivial?

After a nine month campaign across over thirty sessions, we are finishing the final confrontation in Tomb of Annihilation - but the adventure seems to have set up the adventurers to have a unique ...
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0answers
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Who attacks first in a battle of Readied Attacks? [duplicate]

This question is best illustrated in an abridged example: Combat has already begun and a goblin sees a Paladin on his noble steed. He readies an attack on this trigger: When the Paladin enters my ...
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1answer
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Can you use a shield with shield spikes to make a bludgeoning attack?

With any regular shield, typically one makes bludgeoning damage with a shield bash. If you add shield spikes, it changes the damage die and type to piercing. Would it be possible still use the altered ...
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How to add more combat into an investigation-heavy campaign?

I have experienced such an issue with a previous run of our Fate RPG campaign. The setting is somewhat influenced by the Dresden Files, which means the campaign involved lots of investigation (...
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3answers
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Having goblins hide every turn in Lost Mine of Phandelver

The following contains minor spoilers for LMoP. I am preparing to DM my first-ever game, which is the published adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver. I'm looking at the very first encounter, the I ...
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1answer
464 views

What are the rules for a hovering creature in combat?

I'm new to GM'ing and I ran into an (Pathfinder) issue that needs clarification. My group faced a flying demon and I thought it could easily hover and fight. Some of my experienced players pointed ...
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1answer
641 views

For a basic unarmed strike, is only the proficiency bonus included in the attack roll, or is the Strength modifier also added?

The Player's Handbook, Chapter 9, states about attack rolls: The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack is Strength A bit later on it also states about melee attacks: Instead of using ...
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1answer
220 views

How to handle player resistances as DM? [closed]

There are many threads which talk about NPC/Monster Resistances, Immunities, and Creature Tactics, but I couldn't find anything about the following: How do I, as a DM, handle PC resistances, ...
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5answers
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Handing a weapon to another player during combat

The players in my game recently came across a fairly powerful magic sword as the first magic item they found. Shortly after that, they wound up in a boss fight. The players came up with the ...
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0answers
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Is the combat system in Fireborn unbalanced in favor of defenders?

I was hoping someone could help me with understanding the Fireborn combat mechanics, or optionally has a better way to explain and implement it in a less confusing way. The way the system is ...
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2answers
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How do I ensure tactical combat is interesting for my large party?

I am writing a custom PbtA hack to reboot an old play-by-post-RPG that I used to run on a lightweight, but overly random original system. The party contains 8-9 players (which worked out before the ...
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3answers
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Can tiny (or smaller) creatures typically never attack in melee?

Movement: You can’t end your movement in the same square as another creature unless it is helpless. Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine Creatures Very small creatures take up less than 1 square of space....
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11answers
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A PC can't do any damage in combat. How can I keep the player interested?

I’m running my first campaign as a DM. One of the players has created a cleric that has been cursed—he takes 3x the damage he deals—and is therefore for all intents and purposes a pacifist. The player ...
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4answers
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How do I avoid being and feeling useless as a player new to D&D combat?

I tried playing D&D 4th edition a few years ago. While I enjoyed it, this particular thing put me off. I didn't know about this SE at the time, so I couldn't ask this. Events in this question are ...
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3answers
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Is it best practice to reveal monster information about resistances/vulnerabilities/immunities to the players?

I was recently running a game with my players, whose characters were in combat with a Scarecrow. According to the Monster Manual, Scarecrows have immunity to poison damage, but my players weren't ...
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2answers
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Can you ready a ranged attack on a suspected completely concealed enemy?

Is it possible to ready a ranged weapon attack (specifically with a longbow) when you suspect there might be an enemy lurking and hidden, completely concealed from you? For example, my party and I ...
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Who benefits from flanking?

While DnD 5e no longer includes flanking as a standard rule, they have an optional rule that covers it. I've not played earlier versions, but I imagine it's very similar (if not identical) to the ...
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2answers
589 views

Combat on a spiral staircase

Are there any rules regarding combat on a spiral staircase? In real life, castle-towers had spiral staircases designed to give a definitive advantage to the defending party, always spiraling in such a ...
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2answers
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How can I keep the players tense after combat has ended and there is no longer an obvious need for initiative?

I'm currently running Curse of Strahd and due to the "horror" nature of the setting, I'd love for there to be after battle tension especially when it comes to undead and such. For example, maybe he ...
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1answer
179 views

Chaining up a creature in combat

Can you use chains to chain up a creature in the middle of combat? (What if it becomes stunned or paralyzed for a round? - Would this be enough time?). What would the creatures condition be afterwards?...
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1answer
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Does Eldritch Strike apply to a spell cast before the attack?

Consider the following scenario: A level 10 Fighter with the Eldritch Knight (EK) archetype (PHB, p. 74-75) is facing a single opponent, and has hold person as a spell available. EK attacks with ...
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2answers
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Are there ways other than Kensei Weapons or Hex Warrior to use an ability other than STR for non-finesse melee weapons?

Usually melee weapons (without the finesse property) use the character's STR modifier exclusively for attack rolls and damage. I am aware of two exceptions: The Monk (Path of the Kensei) gains the ...
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1answer
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Should a DM disclose Armor Class or other NPC/monster information during encounters? [closed]

A neighbor and I are trying to get our kids (3 children, ages 10-13) into playing D&D. We started the Lost Mines of Phandelver campaign, which was OK for a certain amount of time, but it became ...
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4answers
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How do stealth and surprise interact for full-round actions?

This is something of a clarification question off of Is it really impossible to surprise someone with a full-round action? Suppose we have the following situation: A sorcerer is stalking an unaware ...
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7answers
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Is this alternative initiative house-rule balanced?

As a fairly new DM, one thing that has commonly occurred in my sessions so far is my PC's starting combat outside of initiative. For example after a telepathic conversation with a Nothic was going ...
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2answers
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Is it really impossible to surprise someone with a full-round action?

Is it true that not even the person/creature/thing doing the initial action that starts a combat is able to use a full-round action? According to all sources I can find, the initial attack already is ...
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2answers
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If an attack alerts someone to your presence, can their initiative save them from being surprised in time?

In D&D 5e "Surprise" is a condition that can affect a creature during the first round of combat, only until the end of their turn: [... T]he GM compares the Dexterity (Stealth) checks of anyone ...
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4answers
3k views

Do ability checks in combat require an action?

I was under the impression that using skills, and therefore making an ability check in combat required an action. Note: I'm obviously not talking about passive perception, it's definitely passive, it'...