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 Post subject: Speeding up combat
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:50 am
Posts: 485
Location: Tampa, Florida (temp.)
In the home game I'm running, combats take too much real-world time. Some of that is player inexperience, and they're slowly getting better/faster. We've tried a few different approaches at making combat faster.

In our most recent game, we tried a new idea of lowering everyone's stamina. For this first experiment, we went with 2/3 of official stamina. Both PC Heroes and NPC adversaries have stamina lowered to 2/3 (rounded up for PCs). Minions are unaffected. All other rules are the same. (Long-term, what we'd do is use all the rules for calculating and increasing official Stamina but then use 2/3 of that value for being vanquished.)

It worked out ok. The adventure we played had three combats: one was easy for PCs, one was a moderate challenge, and one was difficult for PCs. I am pretty sure it did speed things up, especially in the last tough fight, but one already-conservative player admitted that it made her more hesitant to engage in hand-to-hand combat.

Has anyone else tried this sort of stamina-lowering for the sake of real-world time in combat? How'd it go? Any thoughts from the peanut gallery as to whether its a decent idea or how far to take the decrease? (I've also considered 3/4 or 1/2 stamina, but no lower than that.)

Any other general ideas on speeding up combat?

David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler

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 Post subject: Re: Speeding up combat
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2491
Location: Central Alberta
The easiest ways to speed up combat is to reduce the options in combat, which for some people lowers the fun of combat since there are people who get off on calculating massive numbers of bonuses. One way around this is to have everyone come to the table with a sheet for their various abilities, including spells with adaptations. It reduces the 'variability' of the system, but massively speeds up the time.

I also agree that that decreasing total Stamina speeds up combat, but from my experience with low-level 5e play, it also tends to make people super paranoid and sometimes feeling cheated ("I have this great move, but I took 2 hits before my initiative and now I'm on my 2nd death saving throw. . . ).

Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage

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 Post subject: Re: Speeding up combat
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:09 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 2093
Location: Portland OR
No perfect solutions to be found. :?

Lower stamina/HPs puts a higher premium on defenses. Either higher Avoidance/AC, more AR/Damage Reduction or both. Leadership & other healing also becomes more important. Thats not necessarily bad. But if neither side has an easy time hitting and doing significant damage, then again combat can slow down.

In a home game you have the option to run simpler fights. Four thugs with shortswords attacking from both ends of a 10' wide alley is A LOT easier to process than:
Eric's Fiendishly complicated scenario! Take THAT you cocky players!!! wrote:
...A running fight through a burning building filled with traps, while trying to beat a doomsday clock ticking down until something BAD happens, AND battling furiously with an enemy group that consists of an arcane spell caster, a divine spell caster, a stealthy Ghost Scale Assassin bowman no one can reliably keep in sight & a mobile tank who has passing attack + juggernaut's hammer & keeps knocking PCs into fire or out windows & stairwells. And oh yeah, all of them have leadership and Die Hard to keep themselves on their feet... :P

It sounds like you have players who are new to role-playing. in addition to a a "roll" solution, maybe think about a "role" solution. Talk to your players about Roll-Playing. I have this one friend who doesn't get scary movies, she always goes on and on about never going off alone or going into the basement, attic and/or cornfield. Of course most scary movies NEED to get someone off alone. Its part of the tropes of scary movies. Similarly one of the tropes of roleplaying games is that conflict is resolved with swords.

IME a lot of new people think about what THEY would do in any given situation rather than what their CHARACTER would do. Eric Gorman (mostly) lives in the real world, and despite doing a lot of martial arts training, does not resort to violence to solve problems. Tukufu, often chatty and not particularly violent by PC standards, "solves problems" with guns and steel (and magic) on a regular basis (like repeatedly on 5 different missions last June...). So you know, if you have a player who has a "Barvarian Fire Wizard" and dreams of knighthood in Milandir the mental question they should be asking themselves continually is not "what would I do?" but something like ... what would the Knights of the Round Table do in this situation if they had flamethrowers?"

Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen

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