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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Each turn took only a few tens of seconds, except the wizard (who kept having to look up spells) and the DM (who doesn't always play fast).
    Players of long rest casters can definitely take the longest to make decisions, especially as they go up in levels and have more prepared/known spells & spells slots. I mandate some form of spell cards to cut down on that. It also speeds up as the adventuring day goes on, and they start running out of slots for specific levels, and flipping over spells that can't be upcast. (Technically they can be, just without benefit, but most players don't unless it's an emergency.) They definitely aren't as new player friendly in terms of learning curve & time to make decisions.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Players of long rest casters can definitely take the longest to make decisions, especially as they go up in levels and have more prepared/known spells & spells slots. I mandate some form of spell cards to cut down on that. It also speeds up as the adventuring day goes on, and they start running out of slots for specific levels, and flipping over spells that can't be upcast. (Technically they can be, just without benefit, but most players don't unless it's an emergency.) They definitely aren't as new player friendly in terms of learning curve & time to make decisions.
    Yeah. This player in particular is the weakest (rules-wise) and the most often distracted (because we play at her house and she and her husband, who also plays, have an 18-month-old daughter). That doesn't help. I use spell cards for my school groups, but we're all on app-based character sheets (which include the spell descriptions). But she, due to child duties, often can't pay total attention to what's going on, so it takes her a bit to get caught up and figure out what she'll do. Fortunately her character is basically just a pyromaniac, so throwing fireballs or firebolt (or occasionally shatter or scorching ray) and backing away from melee is about as far as her tactical needs go.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
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  3. - Top - End - #33
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    I'm honestly suprised how many posts there are about "people not liking combats" :O

    there is only 1 grp i play in (we only play face to face, exceptions mainly ppl going abroad for a semester, which join on skype) where some (2 out of 8) People dont like Combats in general.

    the other 3 Groups (D&D, Pathfinder, Mage, Shadowrun, Das schwarze Auge, warhammer 40k) love fights - even if they go on for hours. as Long as Players are invested and having fun, there is no such Thing as "to Long"

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    mephnick's Avatar

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyHobbit View Post
    I'm honestly suprised how many posts there are about "people not liking combats" :O
    This is where "you're playing the wrong system..but that's ok." comes in.

    I can't imagine not liking combat and still using DnD when there are hundreds of amazing systems out there.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    i know taste differs a lot, just suprised to see so many "non-combatants" in any of the listed Systems (except mage) - all of them are tabletop rpgs. and honestly whats the Point of tabletop if there is no tactics - or in other words Combat - ? ^^"

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by TyGuy View Post
    What do you use, stop watch on a phone?
    How much time do you give for each player? What happens when time's up and they're truly not ready?
    Do you give yourself, the DM, unlimited time or a limit as well?

    I've been wanting to implement this, so I'm very interested in what's working for you.
    When I DM combat my expectation is that the player is ready with their action when their turn comes. They can get clarifying info if they need, but I heavily discourage folks who have tuned out (looking at their cell phones, etc) from getting much time at all. I also don't appreciate players who sit there for minutes balancing a bunch of options looking for an optimal one and dragging the combat out.

    So usually I am tolerant of those who are ready to execute their turn and not so much with those who are unprepared or indecisive (unless they're new to the game). With the latter I'll start prompting them with, "Well, what are you going to do?" after a minute or so, followed by a, "Make up your mind" a short while afterwards, if needed. If they are completely flummoxed I'll finish with a, "So you're taking the Dodge action, then?", letting them know that it's really time to fish or cut bait or that's what they'll be doing. That seems to get the job done.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    To elaborate on my earlier post.

    Out of 100s of games played, only like 3 times did we ever have more than one combat per session.

    Only once out of all those games did we ever have more than one fight between rests.

    Only 2 fights lasted more than 4 rounds and one of those was only because one of our PCs would not stop concentration on a fog cloud spell and the whole fight happened with everyone blind essentially.
    The other one that lasted more than 4 rounds was the very last fight in a long running campaign where all players were level 16 by the end and the fight lasted a while because the main villain had a burrow speed and used it correctly to the point that the only way anyone could attack him was to ready an action. Needless to say the martial classes felt pretty worthless and the melee martial character just said forget it and walked out of the fight.

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misterwhisper View Post
    To elaborate on my earlier post.

    Out of 100s of games played, only like 3 times did we ever have more than one combat per session.

    ...
    I would posit that your experience is an outlier. I have certainly had sessions where there wasn't more than one combat but it certainly isn't under 3%.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by darknite View Post
    I would posit that your experience is an outlier. I have certainly had sessions where there wasn't more than one combat but it certainly isn't under 3%.
    I've certainly run combat-lite campaigns where less than 1/4 of gameplay was combat, which probably translates to approximately 1 incident of violence per session. However, I think I agree with Mephisto that 5E is not a good system for those campaigns--I had to invent almost everything about those campaigns because 5E has no real rules for anything but combat. After last night's 5E game I am seeing more and more advantages to AD&D/OD&D--none of the new-to-5E players wanted to care about bonus actions and concentration economy and lists of powers. They wanted to figure out what the statue was and where the tufts of hair were coming from and if there was any way around the githyanki guards. They got zero value out of 5E's various mechanical bells and whistles. 5E is probably the wrong system for them.
    June 17, 2019: No longer on GITP due to frustrations with forum technology and culture. Find me on Reddit as hemlockR.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I've certainly run combat-lite campaigns where less than 1/4 of gameplay was combat, which probably translates to approximately 1 incident of violence per session. However, I think I agree with Mephisto that 5E is not a good system for those campaigns--I had to invent almost everything about those campaigns because 5E has no real rules for anything but combat. After last night's 5E game I am seeing more and more advantages to AD&D/OD&D--none of the new-to-5E players wanted to care about bonus actions and concentration economy and lists of powers. They wanted to figure out what the statue was and where the tufts of hair were coming from and if there was any way around the githyanki guards. They got zero value out of 5E's various mechanical bells and whistles. 5E is probably the wrong system for them.
    Switch to Pathfinder.

    Customization and skill use is massive.

    All to combat bells and whistles are great but you don't really have to care about them.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misterwhisper View Post
    Switch to Pathfinder.

    Customization and skill use is massive.

    All to combat bells and whistles are great but you don't really have to care about them.
    ...you're kidding, right? I don't see any blue text but you've got to be joking. Massive amounts of customization, powers, and skill lists is exactly what these players don't care about. They found even the short list of 5E skills distracting and intimidating ("what do all these numbers mean?")--would be much more comfortable with the OD&D/AD&D approach of, "Use your head, not your character sheet."

    DM wanting rules for non-combat activities != players wanting lists of abilities.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-05-20 at 11:40 AM.
    June 17, 2019: No longer on GITP due to frustrations with forum technology and culture. Find me on Reddit as hemlockR.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    AD&D / OD&D werent exactly heavy on non-combat rules.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    AD&D / OD&D werent exactly heavy on non-combat rules.
    And yet, I can open up my AD&D 2nd edition Monster Manual and see noncombat information in every single entry, and almost every encounter started with a noncombat decision supported by noncombat rules (parlay/threaten/fight? + reaction rolls) and most of the game structures I've had to invent for 5E would fit smoothly into an AD&D campaign and some of them are inspired by it. 5E doesn't even have rules for sprinting outside of combat, crazy as that seems. AD&D (2nd edition) does, so when I need sprinting rules in 5E, I steal and tweak the AD&D rules.

    What 5E does have rules for is lists of special buttons you can press to activate limited-use powers under complex constraints about which powers are usable how quickly and in what combinations, and those constraints are designed around the assumption that you'll be using them in combat. (Everything is an action or a bonus action.) It's a good game at what it does, don't get me wrong. It is lots of fun to make character builds, tweak them to be highly-effective at what they do, and run them through combat grinds. 5E makes a terrific basis for a hack-and-slash campaign a la Gold Box CRPGs, and that's why I hang out on these forums--to inspire me with ideas for those types of games. But it didn't have anything to offer my players last Saturday that wouldn't have been done better by a TSR D&D.
    June 17, 2019: No longer on GITP due to frustrations with forum technology and culture. Find me on Reddit as hemlockR.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    And yet, I can open up my AD&D 2nd edition Monster Manual and see noncombat information in every single entry, and almost every encounter started with a noncombat decision supported by noncombat rules (parlay/threaten/fight? + reaction rolls) and most of the game structures I've had to invent for 5E would fit smoothly into an AD&D campaign and some of them are inspired by it. 5E doesn't even have rules for sprinting outside of combat, crazy as that seems. AD&D (2nd edition) does, so when I need sprinting rules in 5E, I steal and tweak the AD&D rules.

    What 5E does have rules for is lists of special buttons you can press to activate limited-use powers under complex constraints about which powers are usable how quickly and in what combinations, and those constraints are designed around the assumption that you'll be using them in combat. (Everything is an action or a bonus action.) It's a good game at what it does, don't get me wrong. It is lots of fun to make character builds, tweak them to be highly-effective at what they do, and run them through combat grinds. 5E makes a terrific basis for a hack-and-slash campaign a la Gold Box CRPGs, and that's why I hang out on these forums--to inspire me with ideas for those types of games. But it didn't have anything to offer my players last Saturday that wouldn't have been done better by a TSR D&D.
    Maybe my memory is failing me, I haven't played 2e in almost 20 years now, but IIRC combat as a martial boiled down to movement + attack, there was little if anything to do besides that, 5e gives a bit more options in combat however few they are. I've never played with players options though, maybe that changed things.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rukelnikov View Post
    Maybe my memory is failing me, I haven't played 2e in almost 20 years now, but IIRC combat as a martial boiled down to movement + attack, there was little if anything to do besides that, 5e gives a bit more options in combat however few they are. I've never played with players options though, maybe that changed things.
    They weren't interested in complicated in-combat actions. When I tried to explain to the warlock why he could cast Hex and Eldritch Blast in one round, and which of his spells he could cast without losing Hex, his eyes glazed over. But he was happy to just take my word for it that if he cast Hex, he could roll at +7 to hit for d10+d6 damage (twice per round) in order to kill The Blob that was trying to eat the party, and that made him happy because arrows weren't working on it and neither were rapiers.

    But the big star of that fight was the fighter who grabbed a gargoyle that they were also and bum-rushed it over to face-plant right in front of The Blob to try to get them to fight--a tactic which AD&D and 5E handle about equally well. I put that together with other out-of-the-box thinking that the players engaged in (trying to distract giant rats by capturing starving cats to feed to them) and the lack of interest in actions/bonus actions/reactions/jargon, and I conclude that it was a mistake to choose 5E as the system for these new players.
    June 17, 2019: No longer on GITP due to frustrations with forum technology and culture. Find me on Reddit as hemlockR.

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    They weren't interested in complicated in-combat actions. When I tried to explain to the warlock why he could cast Hex and Eldritch Blast in one round, and which of his spells he could cast without losing Hex, his eyes glazed over. But he was happy to just take my word for it that if he cast Hex, he could roll at +7 to hit for d10+d6 damage (twice per round) in order to kill The Blob that was trying to eat the party, and that made him happy because arrows weren't working on it and neither were rapiers.

    But the big star of that fight was the fighter who grabbed a gargoyle that they were also and bum-rushed it over to face-plant right in front of The Blob to try to get them to fight--a tactic which AD&D and 5E handle about equally well. I put that together with other out-of-the-box thinking that the players engaged in (trying to distract giant rats by capturing starving cats to feed to them) and the lack of interest in actions/bonus actions/reactions/jargon, and I conclude that it was a mistake to choose 5E as the system for these new players.
    Fair enough, that about sums it up.

    Regarding the example in particular, I think 5e in trying to "balance" magic has ended up with the most complex magic system of any edition that should be the next fix.

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    well i played AD&D for About 20 years before Picking up pathfinder.
    what you are describing sounds more like your Players would prefer a System like MAGE or FATE instead of AD&D - btw my 5e Monster Manual provides a few noncombat Details About the creatures, and volos does provide even more...

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    I'll go with my four most recent sessions from oldest to most recent:

    Level 1 Adventure with three PCs (Paladin, Sorcerer, Fighter): all brand-new players. The entire adventure was able to fit into an hour and a half and had four combats and one prolonged social encounter (though one of the combats only lasted half a round due to some lucky rolls for the players). The first fight was the most interesting involving a goblin in a bell tower and a wolf on the ground. The PCs managed to kill the goblin right before he was about to ring the bell as an alarm. All combats were run theater-of-the-mind and role-played more so than tactical (all combat rules were followed, but the in-combat decisions were made by thinking what the character would do rather than what was objectively the best tactics according to the rules). Combat was "sport" rather than "war" and the adventure was fairly linear. Theater-of-the-mind rather than grid. Had just read the book-version of this article: https://theangrygm.com/manage-combat-like-a-dolphin/
    Combats: 1 wolf + 1 goblin archer in tower; 1 wolf; 3 goblins behind flipped tables as cover; 2 goblins + 1 goblin boss

    Level 2 Dungeon Crawl with three PCs (Paladin, Cleric, Rogue) part 1: Four combats (and a fifth one that was trivial): 1 animated armor in a doorway; 1 vine blight, 1 needle blight, and 2 twig blights ambushing in a courtyard; 4 kobolds and 2 urds ambushed by the party in an atrium; 3 kobolds that ambushed party in tunnels. Session was 3 hours, the party explored about 7 out of 10 areas in the dungeon, but solved only two minor puzzles. Combat was grid-based.

    Level 2 Dungeon Crawl with three PCs (Paladin, Sorcerer, Rogue) part 2: two/three combats: 3 kobolds and 1 kobold inventor (party had to retreat and thus encountered twice); 2 kobolds, 1 kobold inventor, 1 kobold scale sorcerer. Session took three hours. Party explored all non-hidden areas in the dungeon, and solved two more puzzles. Combat was grid-based. The first revisited encounter rolled into the second encounter and thus felt extra long. Combat was more tactical.

    Level 1 Mystery adventure in a fishing town with four PCs (Rogue, Warlock, Bard, Monk) part 1: four combats: 1 reef shark after PC fell into the sea while trying to balance across a keeled-over mast, 1 giant octopus on the deck of a derelict ship; 1 sea hag that the party caught off-guard on the ship; 10 octopuses in the sunken part of the ship as they tried to retrieve treasure. 3 major social encounters: dockmaster; handsome/scar-face Daniel who encountered the sea hag and just barely got away; sea hag. Combat was theater-of-the-mind. Session took three hours.

    Overall thoughts: the first adventure's first combat was the best out of all of them. The latest adventure's combats were bearable but at least a little boring except for the reef shark. The second adventure's combats were a little more dry and felt less urgent (except for the atrium fight). My goal is to from now on give fights more urgency, always have one interesting set-piece, and to generally run theater of the mind with at most 4 enemies (unless they're really weak and mob-together well like the octopuses, since I have 5 d20s I can roll all at the same time).
    Last edited by Puh Laden; 2019-05-20 at 05:44 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by PiperThePaladin View Post
    For complex fights, I roll up a cheat sheet ahead of time and it is a lifesaver.

    I pre-roll a table of to-hit and damage rolls for each unique attack that a monster uses, adding in all of their bonuses.
    I also use a preprint for dice rolls. Mine is an excel sheet with three hundred d20 rolls. It speeds up the unofficial "waiting to die" phase of the game, as I know the target PC AC, know the plus to hit, and know what numbers are needed for hits. I cross em out and can announce the total, throw dice for damage, look up, grin, and say, "your turn!" Time elapsed for six monster attacks, like 10 seconds. Its so much faster than rolling actual dice when determining monster saves, too. Just read the numbers then cross them off. As a bonus, you know what you rolled and have an initiative tracker on the paper for each fight.

    Folks, realize that rolling then interpreting dice brings the action to a dead stop. I encourage my players to include damage dice in the cup/hand they roll with. Crits add an amount of the maximum dice roll, so no need to roll that.

    I've had two new players that liked too much the attention they got then rolling dice. They'd do a martini shaker routine for 3-4 seconds before releasing the dice. I had to talk to them. One player I lost because of how I handled it. DMing for a spouse is so problematic.

    IMO, combats need to be intense, not a lot of time for considering all your options, and as short and brutal as possible. I lead by example, and that's why I use massive lists of pregen d20s.

    Try it, you'll love it. Worst case, you're back to fumbling with lots of dice behind the screen.
    Last edited by Kurt Kurageous; 2019-05-21 at 10:56 AM.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: DMs: How long are combats running, and are you ok with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puh Laden View Post
    (all combat rules were followed, but the in-combat decisions were made by thinking what the character would do rather than what was objectively the best tactics according to the rules).
    ...ups… i thought that's a given - my bad^^"

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