Tag Archives: combat

Fastest Pathfinder Combat Ever – How We Did It

Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth Two weeks ago I reported on my combat timing and discovered I was taking the longest turns at the table. I vowed the fix this, and Friday’s session bore great results. Here’s the lowdown on how we did so well. Fight To The Death To Lift A Paladin’s Curse The PCs had just finished exploring parts of a mission dungeon. (A mission…

Speed Up Combat By Building Your Own Combat GM Screen

Photo courtesy of sdobie What is the number one way to make combat go faster? For D&D type games, it is mastering the rules. When you can make decisions based on accurate rules knowledge, not only do you have more options available, but you play with more effectiveness and confidence. You also need to make fewer rules references on or between turns. You help other…

Taming The Time Bandits: Some time-saving combat techniques

Synopsis Of The Problem In Johnn’s last blog post, “My Group’s Time Thief Revealed,” he described his discovery that the chief drag on the pace of his combat was the GM, despite his expectations to the contrary. While he did not track the components of his activity, he was able to dismiss a couple of factors out of hand – …

My Group’s Time Thief Revealed – Chronology iPad App Review

Chronology for iPad helps me time combats I was curious to see how long combat encounters last in my Riddleport campaign , and how long my group takes on each turn to do our actions. I surfed around for a long time, looking for the right timer software, and then I finally found it, for the iPad. This is a review of how long we took to play out our…

The Nth Level Of Abstraction

During the last week, the RPG Bloggers Network brought an interesting post to my attention: “Discussion: Time Gaps” at Reality Refracted . This got me to thinking about the hierarchy of abstraction, and how often we (GMs) move from one level to another in the course of a typical game session, and how we can use a seemingly inappropriate level of …

Too Much Life for The Living: March 2011 Blog Carnival

One more article for the Blog Carnival! Next time, I’ll get back to the series on Pulp Genre Conventions, if everything goes according to plan… A Variant Combat System for D&D 3.x Is healing too easy in D&D? Sometimes it seems like Clerics are little more than magical drip bottles, especially in more tactically oriented campaigns and adventures, like the typical dungeon. Only when adventures …

Rules Mastery For Dummies & Busy GMs Part 5: Rules Touchstones – Combat

In the course of part 2 of this series, which was all about overcoming a resistance to studying rules for their own sake, I suggested that the GM learning a new set of rules should watch for patterns, and use them to make understanding the rules a little easier. Starting in this part of the series, I’m going to start explaining some of those patterns. and how…

Bring a little 1e lethality – and some background- to your new 4e character

The AD&D module “Treasure Hunt,” published in 1986, can prove instructive in bringing the lethality and tension of the game's first edition to the game's current edition. Years ago, when opening the fourth edition Player’s Handbook for the first time, this writer discovered some good news and some bad news. The good news was that, since heroes…

The Ubercharacter Wimp: Plotting within your PCs limitations

This week I thought I would describe a tool that I came up with to help me create quick and easy NPCs, called The Ubercharacter Wimp, or TUW. Three into TUW The concept is really simple: in a document of some kind, I list the highest and lowest scores for each of the stats, as well as the group’s average. I follow that with an alphabetical…

The Ubercharacter Wimp: Plotting within your PCs limitations

This week I thought I would describe a tool that I came up with to help me create quick and easy NPCs, called The Ubercharacter Wimp, or TUW. Three into TUW The concept is really simple: in a document of some kind, I list the highest and lowest scores for each of the stats, as well as the group’s…

Making a Fight Dynamic and Memorable

By my estimation, I’ve run about 150 to 200 encounters in D&D 4e in the two years since it came out.  Maybe one tenth of those are truly memorable.  When I say “remember that gnoll fight?” I’ll get a deep groan from everyone in my party, and when I say “how about the fight with the larva mage with the masks?” I’ll get a…

Putting the Swing Back in D&D

Some time ago, I experimented with lowering the hit points of monsters and increasing their damage in an attempt to speed combat along.  In the process, I learned an important lesson.  Swing is fun! I define “swing” as the unpredictability of a conflict, and the ability of a single roll to shape the entire outcome of the conflict. …

D&D Basic Set part 10

MAGIC WEAPONS: The brief treatment of magic weapons given here in the combat section matches fairly well with the OD&D rules. We’ll see if that’s still the case when Holmes gets into more depth in the magical items section. As for magical armour, Holmes is going for the simpler system introduced in Supplement I. In OD&D, the shield’s magical bonus only…

D&D Basic Set part 9

Melee Combat: Combat in Holmes is much the same as all forms of old-school D&D; roll 1d20, look on a chart to see what Armor Class you hit, and roll damage if you landed a blow. All melee damage for weapons is rolled using 1d6, which is a throwback to OD&D. The variable damage by weapon type that was…

Break Down The Door – 5 Encounter Seeds

In my article about how to be a confident game master , I mentioned I have encounter seeds ready during games that I categorise as break down the door. Campaign Mastery reader Will asked to see what these were, so here they are. Thanks for the request, Will! If gameplay slows, or if I get stuck for an idea when the NPCs do something, …

The Critical Threshold: A brief debate on the Merits of Extreme Results

This is not the post that I expected to make this week. I simply ran out of time and could not finish either the article I had intended to post this week [about time travel] or the one for next week [the long-awaited followup to last year’s Pillars of Architecture article], in time. Instead, I have had to reach into my …

Ask The GMs: How to GM solo PCs (especially in combat)

Campaign Mastery was asked, GM Brian: “I’m trying to run a D&D 3.5 Eberron campaign that will mostly be a solo campaign for my friend. I’m just looking for tips on how I can run a well balanced solo campaign that can still have a good amount of combat.” Johnn’s Answer: This is a great question, because not all of us can…