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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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64 votes
10 answers
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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 ...
Juicetin's user avatar
  • 4,125
61 votes
18 answers
19k 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 ...
Xirema's user avatar
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50 votes
8 answers
17k 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 ...
Besty's user avatar
  • 7,227
49 votes
11 answers
11k 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 ...
BlueMoon93's user avatar
  • 46.5k
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 ...
Christoph's user avatar
  • 561
37 votes
8 answers
65k views

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 ...
AJMansfield's user avatar
36 votes
6 answers
14k 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 ...
keithcurtis's user avatar
  • 32.1k
36 votes
6 answers
29k views

What are the ramifications of replacing a square based combat grid with a hex based one?

I have a personal preference for hexes over squares - the latter present some problems in terms of diagonal movement, and aliasing for certain area effects, that are just handled better with hexes. ...
migo's user avatar
  • 4,851
35 votes
8 answers
11k 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 ...
RedGeomancer's user avatar
  • 6,609
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, ...
Sh4d0wsPlyr's user avatar
  • 6,955
31 votes
9 answers
7k 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 ...
comedroidrive's user avatar
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 ...
Patti 's user avatar
  • 311
29 votes
8 answers
8k 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 ...
Jorge Córdoba's user avatar
28 votes
6 answers
13k views

A PC dies every session - bad tactics or the normal outcome of adventuring?

In the campaign I'm currently playing in we have had a lot of character deaths occurring recently, almost (if not every) session. The party are 13th–14th level and are taking on significant opponents....
jsecker's user avatar
  • 3,984
28 votes
6 answers
20k 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 ...
Dan B's user avatar
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28 votes
4 answers
102k 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 ...
SeeDerekEngineer's user avatar
27 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do I signal that alternate tactical end states are possible?

Question inspired by "Redefining Combat" on Clan of the Gray Wolf: It provides an excellent list inspired by army manuals of alternate tactical goals for a scenario: Here are some tactical tasks ...
Brian Ballsun-Stanton's user avatar
26 votes
11 answers
5k views

How do I learn enough about military tactics to run credible military-type NPCs in combat? [closed]

I'm the GM of a Shadowrun Campaign and have difficulties letting the NPCs move in a battle like they would in real-life. Two of my players are pretty informed about how military or police would act ...
Ferox's user avatar
  • 1,411
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 ...
Enoch's user avatar
  • 457
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 ...
vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica's user avatar
24 votes
8 answers
5k views

How do I make and use tactically interesting terrain?

I'm running 4e but I think this applies everywhere. I want to use terrain more often in my fights. My best fights are the ones that revolve around interesting terrain. The problem is that I don't ...
valadil's user avatar
  • 19.7k
24 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do I use minions effectively?

I'm a newbie DM. It seems that minions in an encounter benefit the PCs more than they benefit me: The Barbarian can kill them for free THP and a Swift Charge (I thought they were supposed to slow ...
Snowbody's user avatar
  • 3,564
23 votes
4 answers
37k 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 ...
Shenyu Lin's user avatar
  • 1,262
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 ...
philosophyguy's user avatar
21 votes
8 answers
3k views

When is a shield wall a viable tactic?

I have often seen 3-4 people try to form a small shield wall but it falls apart. From this I would have to guess that this is not a viable tactic, at least not with those numbers of people involved. ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
34k 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 ...
Praxiteles's user avatar
  • 11.9k
20 votes
6 answers
26k views

How can a party defend against the Nightmare Haunting action of a Night Hag?

This question was asked previously with respect to D&D 3.5: What are the ways that a CR-appropriate party can stop a Night Hag's dream haunting? There are some interesting answers there, but ...
RedGeomancer's user avatar
  • 6,609
20 votes
5 answers
1k views

What are some good sources for combat tactics for a GM to use? [closed]

My players are extremely strategic, and they're consistently (and too easily) defeating groups of enemies that I intended to present a real challenge. Probably for the same reason that I suck at chess,...
Corey's user avatar
  • 389
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&...
schroeder's user avatar
  • 1,827
19 votes
3 answers
863 views

Do marks go away when one of the parties is dead or incapacitated?

While DMing for DnD Encounters, I had an interesting rules concern come up, that I can't see handled in the rules specifically. We always assumed that when a character or monster goes unconscious via ...
Brisbe42's user avatar
  • 2,793
19 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
BlueMoon93's user avatar
  • 46.5k
17 votes
8 answers
1k views

What would clever creatures do to protect their lair?

(This question is for fantasy worlds like in D&D and other such games.) Usually, as the adventuring party goes up in ability, they end up facing stronger and more powerful characters. Let's say ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 17.1k
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do I deal with playing in an ultra-specialized party that is using a different playstyle than my own?

Someone asked a question about how to deal with wanting to play a plan-focused, stealthy character in a group that essentially consisted of melee types playing a 'Kick In The Door, Screaming Death ...
user2754's user avatar
  • 30.3k
16 votes
3 answers
450 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 ...
John Doe's user avatar
  • 1,418
15 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
user66539's user avatar
  • 167
14 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 ...
Cyrius N.'s user avatar
  • 338
13 votes
5 answers
5k views

Standard monster tactics for 4E D&D combat

In a similar vein to a question on tactics sources, I'm interested in knowing what are common tactics for monsters to use. The DMB and the MV mention monster groups, which are very useful, but I want ...
Adriano Varoli Piazza's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
829 views

How can I GM for more tactically-minded players?

I've been GMing a Dungeon World campaign for about a year now, and consider myself an intermediate at understanding the system. My group has recently told me that they miss D&D's tactical combat. ...
Tim C's user avatar
  • 9,713
13 votes
2 answers
339 views

Squad formations

I've just watched episode 1-2 of Terranova, and there is a scene in which a military squad goes to the rescue of some teenagers who are surrounded by dinosaurs in a jungle. When the squad arrives, ...
Metalcoder's user avatar
  • 1,301
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can I handle a short adventure when one or more characters has 7 Web spells at their disposal?

How can I handle a short adventure with a 2- or 4-hour timeframe when one or more characters has 7 Web spells at their disposal? I DM D&D 5e Adventurer's League regularly. On more than one ...
William M-B's user avatar
  • 2,419
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Would flying monsters ever land during combat?

Spooney asked this question in one of his podcasts, and I've started wondering about it myself. In a D&D 4.0 encounter, why would an at least moderately intelligent creature (including, but not ...
Ravn's user avatar
  • 5,886
13 votes
2 answers
567 views

How can I learn to play my character when they know more about tactics than I do?

I've recently joined a game of Aberrant, and it's extremely player-driven and roleplay-heavy. This is very different from what I'm used to (D&D 3.PF hack & slash), and I've run into a problem (...
Alyksandrei's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
10k views

How to force enemies to attack the tank?

I am having a group, in which I play as a Crusader. I specialised to be a support tank - I can shrug off respectable amounts of damage all the while improving the rest of the group's fighting ...
eimyr's user avatar
  • 17.2k
12 votes
2 answers
527 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 ...
vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to defend allies as a Fighter at level 1?

At first level, the chance for death is fairly high especially for the squishier members of the party. A fighter comes with high hit-dice, a self-healing ability, and starts with chain mail and a ...
user2754's user avatar
  • 30.3k
10 votes
6 answers
680 views

As a DM is it better to focus fire on defenders or on a weaker target?

As a DM if you wage a fair fight, the defender is something of a spoiler for your monsters. A defender usually has high hitpoints, high defenses, marking abilities, and ally protection abilities, all ...
Mark Rogers's user avatar
  • 6,290
10 votes
2 answers
553 views

Strategic play elements for Microscope

One of my players only likes games with strong strategic, tactical, or deductive elements. I would like to try Microscope, but he is one of my core players, and I’m concerned that it would bore him. ...
Bradd Szonye's user avatar
  • 9,246
9 votes
5 answers
12k 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, ...
THOR'S AWAY's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

What can a player do to force down a flying creature?

Dakeyras' answer in this thread got me thinking about how a player would/could counter an enemy that used hovering flight to its full advantage. What specific items/powers/etc. can a character use to ...
Ravn's user avatar
  • 5,886
9 votes
4 answers
450 views

How do I get players to assign alternate tactical goals?

Based on my prior question on signalling alternate end states and Redefining Combat, how do I present PCs with the ability to assign their own tactical goals beyond "clear" to a hostile environment ...
Brian Ballsun-Stanton's user avatar