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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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D&D 5e and “Theatre of the Mind” in combat

Our target play style for combat encounters would be to use battle boards roughly half the time (when there is enough of interest in play that the tactics are fun to play out), and to skip that with ...
71
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12answers
8k views

What is the purpose of easy combat scenarios that don't need resource expenditure?

This is something I've been thinking about as a DM in my encounter design: Why have easy/medium/etc combat encounters that don't really require resources to successfully complete? Given the limited ...
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18answers
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How do I challenge my PCs who fight every battle like Mongol horse archers?

In my last few game sessions, my players have begun adopting a strategy which is working wonders in the campaign we are playing. In this Planescape campaign, we are on the Outlands, which has a lot of ...
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13answers
5k 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 ...
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10answers
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Does Warlock combat just equal Eldritch Blast spam?

Been looking over the warlock because I thought it would be cool to make a spellcaster that can also mix it up in melee combat. After all how awesome is it to conjure up a magical weapon and start ...
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14answers
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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 ...
52
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12answers
10k views

How do I make an unwinnable fight fun?

In one of my campaigns, it's possible that I'm going to have to pull off a Hopeless Boss Fight depending on the choices of my player (we're playing one-on-one). The gist is that they're interfering ...
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6answers
6k views

How can I make my enemies feel real and make combat more engaging?

As a newer DM, I have trouble making some of the more routine combats feel unique or urgent. I believe this is because the enemies my PCs are fighting tend to act like an AI, or just attack until they ...
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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 ...
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7answers
13k views

How does one handle a bottleneck of enemies in a doorway?

As a new DM I'm still learning how to control the monsters in a battle. A situation came up last game and although it was fine and fun, I wonder if there are better strategies for a DM to avoid a ...
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6answers
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Since advantage and disadvantage caused in a heavy obscured area cancel out, what effect does it have in combat?

The rules say that creatures in a heavily obscured area "effectively suffer from the blinded condition". The blinded condition states that: attacks against a blinded target have advantage a ...
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6answers
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How did D&D end up so focused on fighting, when its inspirations weren't?

There are a lot of systems around nowadays that don't focus on combat, and that's great. But I was struck recently by the fact that D&D has always been, and remains, heavily oriented toward ...
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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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8answers
6k views

How can I encourage combat as war-style play in my campaign?

I've recently begun a new D&D 5e campaign with a group of players who have all just come from a Pathfinder adventure path. I was the GM for that campaign and it was a very on-the-rails adventure ...
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25answers
8k views

How can I speed up D&D 3.5e 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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16answers
13k 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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5answers
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Can massive damage knock out rather than causing instant death?

Suppose, as happened last night, a character intends to subdue rather than kill an opponent. She made a melee attack, hit, declared her intent to knock out. The damage roll was enough to reduce the ...
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4answers
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How do I reward creative combat improvisation without making it overpowered?

I have a level five fighter who enjoys using the terrain as a weapon in a somewhat WWE style. I am at a loss as to how to go about adjusting the damage he does for the less than by-the-book actions. ...
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1answer
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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 (...
35
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6answers
7k views

Which player character do I attack first?

When I played 1st and 2nd edition AD&D, I was always a player. The party was written down in order and numbered. When monsters would attack us, the DM would roll the die and check which character ...
35
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4answers
2k views

How do I fight with Heavy Armor as a Wizard with Tenser's Transformation?

Tenser's Transformation is a rather unique, gish-y spell that lets wizards toss their spellbooks aside and take up arms like their Fighter counterparts. One aspect of this spell that disappoints me ...
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2answers
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Am I hit when I have immunity?

My character is immune to a specific type of damage, and an opponent attacks him with that type of damage. I know my character will not be getting any damage from that attack. My opponent ...
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3answers
4k views

Can I say something to an ally when it's not my turn and we are both in combat?

For instance I want to suggest a spell or a generic action to an ally because my PC has a better view of the battlefield. Can I do that or I must wait my turn?
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5answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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How to increase difficulty in Dungeon World

I've been GMing for a couple of sessions now and I'm still struggling at making encounters or situations more difficult. I will describe dangerous situations and encounters in fiction but the ...
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4answers
6k views

What happens if a creature is killed between its attack and damage rolls

Came across a scenario that’s a little odd: A creature hits a character with an attack. The character has an ability that deals damage when he is hit. Based on other rulings the damage from the ...
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4answers
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What insight does True Strike grant?

The part of the True Strike spell I am concerned with reads: Your magic grants you a brief insight into the target’s defenses. I'd always considered this to be flavor text. But a friend of mine ...
32
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2answers
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How to resolve surprise and “instant actioning” initiating combat

DMed for the first time yesterday and one of the things I feel I need to sort out, among other comments, improvements, and similar, is how combat itself is actually initiated. The main example I ...
31
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6answers
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Does flanking always grant advantage, or is it up to discussion?

The rules packet does not provide any specific rules about flanking. However the rule does say that the DM has lots of leeway in deciding when to give advantage or disadvantage in combat. Should it ...
31
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3answers
6k views

How can I make combat less static in D&D 5e?

I am GMing the 5e starter set with a group with experienced players from Pathfinder, and during the last dungeon (Wave echo cave), they expressed their dissatisfaction with the combat system of the 5e....
31
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2answers
4k views

Is 5th Edition D&D combat faster than in 3.5 at low levels?

I am trying to get a group together, and we cannot agree on an edition of D&D. An argument being made by the pro-5e side is that 5th edition D&D goes faster than in revised 3rd edition, all ...
31
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3answers
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Can Bag of Holding + Portable Hole Turn Enemies Inside-Out?

First, the player is swallowed by a large monster, such as the Tarrasque or a Dragon. Next, the player puts a bag of holding into a portable hole. This opens a gate to the Astral plane inside the ...
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3answers
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Can a Familiar aid a Rogue's Sneak Attack?

A Rogue character with the Arcane Trickster archetype chooses Find Familiar as her non-enchantment, non-illusion, 1st level spell. How does that creature interact with the Sneak Attack feature? From ...
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21answers
13k 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 ...
30
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3answers
149k views

Wielding two weapons without “Two-Weapon Fighting” or “Dual Wielder”?

We have a Barbarian on our team that very much likes to switch up his weapons; he goes from a Dwarven Hammer, to a pair of Hand-Axes, to occasionally just going bare-fisted. No issues there, he's ...
29
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8answers
6k views

How hard is too hard for monster tactics?

Fairly straight-forward question: How good should you make your monsters' combat tactics? I recently came across a situation similar to this... Party attacked by monsters. Party is taken off guard, ...
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14answers
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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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5answers
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How does combat start when one PC is not seen as a threat?

Imagine a party of four - three honest characters standing face to face against three evil bandits, one sly, backstabbing type some 30 ft behind the bandits' backs; the bandits may know he's there, ...
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7answers
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How can I make combat more tactically interesting for me as a DM?

For me, I find it very difficult to enjoy DMing combat encounters. Combat is generally very dry and monotonous. What can I do to make combat more enjoyable for me as a DM? Some of the issues I have ...
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3answers
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What is a “Melee Spell Attack” and how does it differ from a regular spell?

In 5e a lot of the spells in both the Monster Manual and PHB talk about a spell being a "melee spell attack". Is this simply to do with the range of the spell or are there additional rules to rolling? ...
28
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2answers
7k views

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/...
28
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2answers
9k views

Does casting a 10 minute spell really take 100 rounds of combat?

I am new to D&D and have recently bought the Starter Set for 5e (Lost Mines of Phandelver). So I was looking through the spells and I see some spells that can be used in battle can take minutes to ...
28
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4answers
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Can Cutting Words cancel a critical hit?

If a creature hits with a natural 20, can a Lore bard use his Cutting Words ability to substract an inspiration die from the result, thus preventing a critical hit? Cutting Words: When a creature ...
28
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7answers
2k 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 (...
28
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5answers
5k views

Is grabbing an opponent's arms to prevent casting within the “scope” 5e's combat?

Recently, my players faced off against an enemy spellcaster. During the fight, the barbarian stated that it was his intention to grab the spellcaster in a bearhug, pinning his arms to his sides to ...
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5answers
8k views

How can I speed up 5e combat?

Combat at my table (5 players plus me, the GM) takes a long time. Even only moderately-complex combats usually take about an hour. I find myself wanting to end the session early if the group is about ...
27
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10answers
4k 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 ...
27
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3answers
4k views

If a Gnome is riding a Dragonborn who is riding a horse, who can be targeted when the horse provokes an opportunity attack?

We have a gnome fighter and a dragonborn bard in our campaign. The gnome sometimes gets in a makeshift sling on the dragonborn's back to shoot arrows at enemies during combat. Thus far I've considered ...
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12answers
4k views

How can I secretly notate which squares on a combat map are traps?

The party has ventured underground. One of the civilizations where they are is kobolds. I (GM) went trigger-happy with pit traps, falling block traps, and a couple of others. The kobolds have one path ...
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3answers
3k views

Is giving one side advantage always equivalent to giving disadvantage to the opponent?

Sometimes, players get advantage; sometimes, monsters get disadvantage. Sometimes it's not clear whether to give someone advantage or his opponent disadvantage, especially in improvised contests (PHB ...