136 votes

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

The players may have gotten out of the boss fight I had intended Excellent - I love it when players outsmart me, giving players the chance to feel clever and empowered is what being a DM is all about....
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
129 votes
Accepted

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

Play the monster like the ambush predator it is If a monster is slow and has no ranged attacks, then it is most likely an ambush predator that relies on the element of surprise to catch its prey. ...
Ryan C. Thompson's user avatar
104 votes
Accepted

How to break the "Death Loop" resulting from unfortunate initiative order

You could break out of the loop if the druid had any healing potions and 1 spell slot remaining upon realizing the loop existed. Here's the general flow: Enemy orc's turn finishes, with friendly orc ...
CTWind's user avatar
  • 19.3k
97 votes

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

Your players are not choosing to fight from doorway choke points. You are. "Yeah, you have 4 undead zombies, 2 living suits of armor, and a weakened Lich looking at you once you open the door. Roll ...
krb's user avatar
  • 4,051
94 votes

How to deal with sniping spellcaster PCs?

Doorway dodging is a valid tactic and comes up a lot in computer games; dragging everyone in the room into a small spot where they can be burned down in a hail of AoE (Area of effect) damage works. I ...
SeriousBri's user avatar
88 votes
Accepted

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

Talk to the players. The party isn't doing anything wrong per se. Proper use of choke-points is in fact good tactics, especially if they don't have a strong need to move in and surround the enemy. (...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
77 votes

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

Hope the dragon doesn't come I'm being a little facetious obviously, but in the fiction of Forgotten Realms for most towns (as opposed to a large city) without nearby adventurers the plan for a dragon ...
TimothyAWiseman's user avatar
67 votes

How to deal with sniping spellcaster PCs?

Allow your players to use these tactics. It's entirely legitimate for player characters to take advantage of mobility and cover, and if your players enjoy the game this way, you've succeeded in the ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
64 votes
Accepted

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?

"Focused Fire" is a legitimate technique. But there are many ways to deal with it. If your Combats are small skirmishes, with all participants within reach of each other then the PCs all piling on ...
Black Spike's user avatar
  • 3,206
55 votes
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How can a single creature safely flee from a combat?

You're correct that the rules kinda stink for this. The rules for combat, that is. But at my tables... Fleeing is not fighting. The movement rules for combat are inherently predicated on the notion ...
nitsua60's user avatar
  • 101k
54 votes

Am I using my high level spells wrong?

What they mean Your friend is concerned that once you need to fight more than one or two encounters per (in-game) day, you will be frustrated not to have spells available to you. Action Economy is ...
Ifusaso's user avatar
  • 43.2k
51 votes
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How hard is too hard for monster tactics?

RAW, tactics are broadly determined by monster type. There are no generic rules for how a monster behaves in combat. However, the monster manual does detail specific tactics for specific types of ...
Icyfire's user avatar
  • 63.6k
49 votes
Accepted

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

Monsters aren't perfect . . . so don't play them that way. The PCs make mistakes, so should the monsters. In any battle, from a street fight to the Battle of Endor, mistakes will be made. The PCs ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 32.1k
45 votes

How to break the "Death Loop" resulting from unfortunate initiative order

The Rogue could attempt a Grapple. Athletics may not be a Rogue's strong suit, but you mentioned that the Rogue was having trouble dealing damage anyway. So instead of attacking, the Rogue could ...
user48255's user avatar
  • 11.7k
41 votes

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

Add allies that move, fly, or have ranged attacks Your players employed good tactics to deal with a particular challenge. Using ranged attacks is such a great advantage in combat that in real life, ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
39 votes
Accepted

What countermeasures protect against Power Word Kill?

Simplest first, good old counterspell Counterspell is the first thing that comes to mind and just needs a reaction, a 3rd level spell slot, and a PC to make a 19 DC ability check. Not a guarantee, but ...
Dom's user avatar
  • 3,621
37 votes
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Do I get advantage if I have the high ground?

It is in the hands of the DM. You usually gain advantage or disadvantage through the use of special abilities, actions, or spells. [...] The DM can also decide that circumstances influence a ...
Szega's user avatar
  • 61.6k
36 votes

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

The rules allow this, but... There's nothing in the rules that prevents this from happening. However, there are a few things to consider about this tactic before employing it. It can be immersion-...
Dacromir's user avatar
  • 10.3k
34 votes

How hard is too hard for monster tactics?

Effective does not require Intelligence (and vice versa) Creatures can use effective, even devastating tactics without relying on intellect. A simple example is Wolves, which have an Intelligence of ...
Gandalfmeansme's user avatar
33 votes

How to deal with sniping spellcaster PCs?

The problem isn't that your players have found an exploit to trivialize the game. The problem is that your tactically-minded players have already found an optimal strategy that works for every ...
starchild's user avatar
  • 3,132
32 votes
Accepted

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?

If you're using dice, this is a roughly 50-50 fight With the same statistics and abilities, and randomness in the form of Dice, cards, or something else, you have a roughly 50% chance of a TPK, and ...
Randomorph's user avatar
  • 6,455
32 votes

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?

As long as the fight is solely about killing the enemy before they kill the PCs, focussing is a strong tactic. So look for ways to make it about something other than just attrition. For example, one ...
GB supports the mod strike's user avatar
32 votes

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

You might have "My Monster Syndrome". One of the highest scoring Q&As on the stack deals with something called My Guy Syndrome. Alex P diagnoses and treats My Guy Syndrome in this answer:...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
31 votes

How to break the "Death Loop" resulting from unfortunate initiative order

You can't For the situation you've described and based upon the motivations of the enemies involved, you cannot practically escape the loop you are in. For thematic story reasons, the orc will ...
Pyrotechnical's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

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

Beating an encounter can include the enemies fleeing or surrendering. Role playing NPCs or enemies where murder or death are not the only options is an effective way to mitigate the tendency toward ...
GcL's user avatar
  • 34.3k
30 votes

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

There are a number of tactics but it boils down to creating situations where the other actions are necessary to continue to fight effectively. Here are some examples. The Dodge action: "On the far ...
David Coffron's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

How can I GM for more tactically-minded players?

The least tactical conflict possible is one that presents a single goal and affords essentially only one route to reach that goal. For instance, imagine that the big bad the townsfolk have hired the ...
Edward's user avatar
  • 680
25 votes

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

If you want your players to stop using hammers, then don't make every obstacle look like a nail. Most challenges in D&D are combats, which consist of killable things that want to kill the players....
MikeQ's user avatar
  • 31.5k
25 votes

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

If you've got a group that are using creative combat solutions you are going to need to do the same thing to challenge them. In general, a slow melee monster needs to contain or immobilise faster ...
Darren Rogers's user avatar

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