Questions tagged [tactics]

For questions about tactical play, relating to how combat is planned and played out in a game, in individual encounters or in larger group situations. This encompasses tactical concepts directly tied to game mechanics, as well as more abstract discussions.

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31 votes
9 answers
5k views

How to have enemies that use tactics while also making sure that the encounter is fun for all players?

I am currently running a 5e game for a party of 5 players (level 3). I tend to make my enemies use tactics. My encounters involving a large number of low-CR enemies tend to have roles (so a tank, some ...
5 votes
2 answers
775 views

How can we deal with being frightened?

Last session our party (totem barbarian, mutant (homebrew) druid, starry druid, soulknife rogue, fathomless warlock, conjuration wizard, all 14th level) just got completely pwned by a couple of ...
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8 votes
0 answers
153 views

As a PC, which creatures should I attack first? [closed]

Specifically when you’re engaged in an encounter that includes some clearly larger threats and clearly weaker threats, which creatures should I attack first? Does it make the most sense to focus your ...
31 votes
5 answers
4k views

Am I using my high level spells wrong?

I have been playing D&D 5e for only five months. I play a 5th level wizard. My warlock party member constantly berates me for using spell slots in encounters and says I need to "understand ...
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24 votes
6 answers
7k views

What countermeasures protect against Power Word Kill?

My group might be facing a lich soon (as part of a one-shot). Its ninth-level spell is power word kill: You utter a word of power that can compel one creature you can see within range to die ...
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5 votes
1 answer
492 views

Should Vow of Enmity or Hexblade's Curse be deployed first? [closed]

Imagine an Oath of Vengeance Paladin 3 / Hexblade 1. This is the big boss, and the character wants to use both Vow of Enmity and Hexblade's Curse on the same target. Vow of Enmity gives advantage on ...
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6 votes
3 answers
288 views

What purpose does the quickling's Fade from View ability serve?

In Pathfinder 2e the Quickling has an ability called Fade from View which, as a free action, lets the quickling become invisible until it uses an attack, manipulate, or move action. The quickling can'...
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35 votes
8 answers
6k views

How can a single creature safely flee from a combat?

This question is really more of a tactics and plotting question than a rules question. In D&D 5e, a creature can avoid opportunity attacks when running away by using the Disengage action (although ...
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24 votes
5 answers
5k views

How did towns mundanely protect themselves against Dragons or bring them to the ground?

Not every town has a party of adventurer's ready to take on big monsters. What methods are expected to be feasible in the combination of system (as of fifth edition) and setting (northern regions of ...
19 votes
5 answers
3k views

Spread out AC or consolidate?

Imagine a Party with 4 characters. Each one has different AC: 14 AC/48 HP (squishy caster) 15 AC/50 HP 16 AC/50 HP 17 AC/54 HP (the tank) The Party picks up a Ring of Protection +1. Who "should&...
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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

How to surpass Construct's Hardness with no heavy-hitter at low level?

In Pathfinder 2E there are enemies like the Animated Armor, constructs with the defensive ability "Construct Armor" which reduces all incoming damage by an amount equal to the listed ...
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6 votes
1 answer
255 views

Can a Wizard ready a combat cantrip?

You can use Ready only for single actions: You prepare to use an action that will occur outside your turn. Choose a single action or free action you can use, and designate a trigger. Your turn then ...
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3 votes
3 answers
409 views

How much does True Strike improve my DPR?

For simplicity, assume that there are no special effects on criticals, other than a doubling of damage. Without agile is good enough, but it would be welcome. (there are no circumstance penalties, and ...
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19 votes
2 answers
1k views

What can Orcus do with Time Stop?

Last night I pitched the Demon Lord Orcus against my level 19 players. With a 26CR, I expected it to be a bigger challenge than it was. Orcus had a Wand of Orcus, and summoned a Nightcrawler, a Death ...
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15 votes
5 answers
3k views

What to do when I'm forced to make battle decisions by other players?

I've been playing a campaign in which there have been a few instances in battles where I feel like I'm being forced to make some non-optimal moves in battle by the rest of the PC group. For example me ...
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7 votes
1 answer
217 views

How have Yuan-Ti communities defended their bases against attrition attacks? [closed]

My party are level 14 and we are running a high-level version of Tomb of Annihilation. Based on lore, The Yuan-Ti had superb intelligence compared to other races. The yuan-ti took advantage of ...
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28 votes
8 answers
7k views

How can I improve combat so my players don't always use the strategy of collectively focusing fire on one enemy at a time until it's dead?

I'm DMing a 5e campaign with a group of four players. We're all experienced in RPG in general but not specifically in 5e. Players are Level-4 Wizard, Fighter, Rogue and Druid, Circle of the Moon. My ...
4 votes
1 answer
137 views

Ranged combat in close quarters

This is a more specified version of this question. Short background: I am rather new to Pen&Paper, thus my tactical knowledge is rather slim. Ranged attacks in Rolemaster are modified by ...
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6 votes
0 answers
114 views

Ranged combat - warrior mage [closed]

Background We're a group of four players new to Pen & Paper with a seasoned game master. Up to now we haven't had any active contact with magic skills during combats. Due to a mixture of bad ...
  • 301
26 votes
4 answers
4k views

Self-Preservation: How to DM NPCs that Love Living?

I have it in mind that humanoid NPCs do not "rage against the dying of the light" as much as they should. Combat encounters frequently result in a full-on massacre, when realistically a single ...
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2 votes
2 answers
290 views

Players make a single plan with no backup plan, then complain about DM unfairness when their plan fails [closed]

I have been running a campaign that recently has had two very roleplay/exploration heavy arcs (really 1 arc, and the consequences of that arc). The arc in question was a heist, where the players were ...
1 vote
0 answers
228 views

Is there a guide to implementing realistic army logistics in D&D? [closed]

I just read Grain into Gold. If you don't know it, it is a guide for creating a realistic medieval/fantasy economy. I just wanted to know if there is any equivalent for fantasy army management, ...
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47 votes
10 answers
10k views

How can I discourage/prevent PCs from using door choke-points?

To keep this from being voted as a duplicate of this, let me clarify. The other question asks for DM tactics to battle chokepoints. Its answers are all focused on fighting at these choke-points. I ask ...
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12 votes
2 answers
457 views

What Design Decisions Produce a Strong Positioning Game?

Over the years, I noticed that some games produce a very 'trench warfare' or 'shooting gallery' kind of feel. The 'trench warfare' variant is where once a combat starts, nobody really cares about ...
-1 votes
2 answers
290 views

I have no magic weapon; why might I melee a target who is immune? [closed]

Let's say I have a character with a non-magical weapon, and I find myself in melee with a target immune to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. What reason might I have for making ...
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65 votes
10 answers
13k views

How can I engage players with melee monsters when players keep their distance?

So I am running a campaign as a DM, and one session my players were in a dungeon and spotted a Chuul in a water-filled area. The Chuul stayed deep in the pool, so the characters decided to drain the ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Given that a Small creature cannot pass through a space occupied by a Tiny creature, but a Medium creature can, will this strategy work?

Based on this question: Given a space occupied by a Tiny enemy, is a Small creature unable to move through it even though a Medium creature could? Could I summon, say, 8 Sprites and have them ...
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61 votes
18 answers
18k views

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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4 votes
1 answer
308 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, ...
5 votes
2 answers
530 views

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 ...
8 votes
5 answers
10k views

How to survive as a support character with low AC?

I'm currently playing curse of strahd as a college of whispers bard, our party just hit level 5. During our last encounter, I was getting swarmed by multiple ghouls and getting paralyzed every turn, ...
22 votes
6 answers
4k views

How can I create encounters that encourage players to use non-Attack actions?

In D&D 5e, the players have lots of actions they can take within combat encounters besides attacking. I'm trying to figure out how to encourage them to use a greater variety of actions, especially ...
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

How to determine when opponents attack unconscious player characters?

As a GM, how can I tell what monsters will keep attacking unconscious PCs? I am especially wondering what happens if a party all become unconscious during combat (that is, their HP all got reduced to ...
9 votes
2 answers
191 views

Can a Hunter learn and use tactics by himself?

I'm about to play a game where there are several other players, but they play other creatures like Vampires and Demons making me the only Hunter. Is it possible for me to use tactics without the help ...
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Armor of Agathys and Damage Prevention [closed]

A character in my group has multiple ways to reduce/prevent incoming damage, among others the Heavy Armor Master feat and such things. This wasn't a big problem so far. I could just throw more bad ...
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16 votes
3 answers
422 views

Hyperintelligent Tactics

In a game of Eclipse Phase I'm planning, the players are likely to run into a TITAN Delta Fork (a small fragment of the mind of a godlike AI). This Fork has very little access to tech (one or two ...
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32 votes
8 answers
7k 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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15 votes
8 answers
5k views

I want my players to face clones of themselves as a Boss. How do I run them without making it too hard or going easy on them?

I'm running a custom RPG (based on the universe of Boktai, an old GBA game) with a group of six players. We are pretty far into the campaign and the players are getting pretty close to face the final ...
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5 votes
3 answers
5k views

How can a pugilist deal with flying enemies?

I started playing D&D a couple of months ago and I'm getting used to my pugilist character in my GM's homebrew campaign. But I always have a problem when we face flying opponents, and I know for ...
1 vote
0 answers
196 views

How to best play the CON boost from a raging Chained Barbarian [closed]

When raging, HP increases from a boosted CON aren’t lost first. If the barbarian falls in a fight, when the rage is done that can mean that the barbarian suffers instant death. Obviously the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
7k views

When is a lance's 10 feet reach helpful?

The lance is unique among weapons with similar damage dice by having a 10-ft. reach and being one-handed when mounted. But the 10-ft. reach comes with disadvantage when your target is within 5 feet, ...
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21 votes
2 answers
31k views

Can a short rope used with Rope Trick create a “safe space” during combat?

Rope trick in 5e says: You touch a length of rope that is up to 60 feet long. One end of the rope then rises into the air until the whole rope hangs perpendicular to the ground. At the upper end ...
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1 vote
0 answers
5k views

Dealing with dragons [closed]

I understand that dragon encounters are supposed to be scary--DM plays them smart, etc.--but my question is how can (should) a party of adventurers prepare for a dragon fight (assuming it's ...
46 votes
11 answers
11k views

How to deal with sniping spellcaster PCs?

I am running my first campaign of D&D 5e. We have been playing for two years and I have maybe been a bit too generous with my players. We play with a projector and MapTool, so the players can see ...
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7 votes
3 answers
463 views

How do controlled and uncontrolled sharks differ in behavior when aiding Sahuagin?

So, sahuagin can command sharks telepathically. However, even when they don't or can't command the sharks, the sharks still automatically know the Sahuagin are on their team and don't attack them. ...
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

What do strategy vs tactics mean in tabletop RPG combat? [closed]

What's the difference between "strategy" and "tactics" in the context of tabletop roleplaying game combat? I have some idea of how these terms differ in English and I've read the SE tag descriptions ...
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5 votes
2 answers
13k views

Why wouldn't a 2017 UA Gunsmith Artificer use Thunder Monger every time?

As part of the 2017 UA Artificer's Gunsmith subtree, you gain the Thunder Monger ability. Why would a player ever choose to not use this ability vs a normal attack with the Thunder Cannon? It always ...
26 votes
3 answers
67k views

Do I get advantage if I have the high ground?

If my character is elevated above a creature (on a table, rock, etc.), is there anywhere in the Player's Handbook or Dungeon Master's Guide that states I gain advantage for my attacks? Do attacks ...
23 votes
4 answers
32k views

How can hunger of Hadar be used effectively?

How can the 3rd-level spell hunger of Hadar be used to deal damage effectively? Although the spell's area covers a 40-ft. diameter and creates difficult terrain, enemies can dash through it or out of ...
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35 votes
5 answers
11k views

How are Githyanki effective against Mind Flayers?

The description of the Gith, particularly the Githyanki portrays them as deadly, implacable enemies of Mind Flayers, so much so that they took down the unbelievably vast and powerful ancient Illithid ...
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