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Questions tagged [tactics]

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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10answers
11k 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 ...
55
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14answers
14k 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 ...
46
votes
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 ...
42
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11answers
10k 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 ...
30
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5answers
16k 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. ...
29
votes
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, ...
29
votes
6answers
11k 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....
29
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7answers
42k 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 ...
25
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5answers
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 ...
24
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8answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
11answers
4k views

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

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 ...
22
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2answers
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 ...
22
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3answers
4k views

How are Githyanki effective against Mind Flayers?

The description of the Gith, particularly the Githyanki portrays them as them deadly, implacable enemies of Mind Flayers, so much so that they took down the unbelievably vast and powerful ancient ...
21
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5answers
3k 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 ...
19
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4answers
3k 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 ...
19
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3answers
768 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 ...
19
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5answers
1k views

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

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,...
18
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8answers
2k 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. ...
17
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8answers
965 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 ...
17
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3answers
17k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
16
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2answers
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 ...
16
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3answers
326 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 ...
14
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2answers
9k 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 ...
13
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2answers
299 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, ...
13
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2answers
1k 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 ...
13
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4answers
2k 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 ...
12
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3answers
4k 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 ...
11
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5answers
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 ...
11
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2answers
282 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
429 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 (...
9
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4answers
413 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 ...
8
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5answers
4k 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, ...
7
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5answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

Combat system that is less abstract than hit points yet is not more lethal [closed]

I have a campaign based on battles with miniatures in mind, with my players controlling the standard "heroes". It should be possible for the players to keep their characters alive through the ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

How to deal with moderately armoured and shielded casters?

Background I am DMing Princes of the Apocalypse for 5e. My past campaigns (mostly 3.5 and 4e) were always quite challenging and tough, my players got quite paranoid, and understandably so. At level ...
7
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1answer
4k 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
941 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 ...
7
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1answer
1k 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 ...
7
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3answers
329 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. ...
6
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5answers
5k views

What's a good defense against silence?

Well, a dungeon master keeps throwing characters who can silence spells at me. It's a pain in the butt when trying to fight as a group, as most of my friends and I are casters. We're dealing with ...
6
votes
6answers
343 views

Effective use of many close combat characters?

In systems with a square grid, it seems that melee/close combat characters are limited by their numbers. In one of my games we currently have more than five melee characters, and are now being ...
6
votes
1answer
305 views

Fighting an opponent with higher Reflexes

Say you have a character with Reflexes B4 — pretty standard for many kinds of PCs and NPCs in Burning Wheel. That character is likely to eventually face someone with Reflexes B5 or B6, maybe ...
6
votes
0answers
105 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
764 views

If two hostile players approach, why the fastest one gets to attack in second place?

In posting this question I'm thinking of GURPS, but it would be the same with any game in which: players get one action per turn players can either move OR attack OR (move only one hex AND attack) ...
5
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3answers
401 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 ...
5
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2answers
12k 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 ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Reliable ways of generating cover/concealment at range

Are there any magical items that can be used in order to reliably generate concealment at range, but do not impair/effect the user? Take the case of, say, an archer-archetype character. They may ...
5
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0answers
4k views

What spells and tactics should an Evil Wizard have as Boss? [closed]

I've been playing and DMing D&D for 10 years across versions 3.5 to 5e and am now running a campaign for a group of enthusiastic newcomers in 5th Ed. The group is a mix of level 4 and level 3 ...
5
votes
0answers
255 views

Is there a system that takes tactics over skill, and skill over dumb luck? [closed]

This is my first post. StackExchange is an incredible community, thank to you! I'm writing an RPG system and I'm looking for systems to inspire me with the following characteristics: The PCs are ...