View Full Version : Battlefield tactics

2010-05-25, 12:29 PM
please help with moves you make in a battle, how does your group deploys when the battle encounter starts.
How the fighter moves, how the rogue tries to flank the enemy etc etc.
Also, suggest tactics according to what you battle(boss, many enemies who flank you etc).

2010-05-25, 12:33 PM
The wizard casts a spell.
The encounter ends.

Next time on encounter tactics: How to stop the party from being angry at you.

2010-05-25, 12:58 PM
The wizard casts a spell.
The encounter ends.

Next time on encounter tactics: How to stop the party from being angry at you.


No, but seriously, in a fight with lots of enemies usually some people move close to the caster(s) to protect them, while the quicker ones try to close in on the opposing glass canons to take them out, before they could do some serious damage. Meanwhile the caster spams buffs, summons, or whatever helps the most.

In a fight with few enemies usually everyone tries to kill what's nearest to the best of his powers, with no regard to what others are doing. That's why I like multi-opponent fights better.

2010-05-25, 01:13 PM
On a dungeon corridor, or narrow road, we put the melee characters in the front, the next toughest in the rear, and the really squishy characters in the middle. So in a party of

fighter, barbarian, cleric, rogue, bard, wizard

You'd go


If you're tracking you need the tracker in front. If you're relying on one character to make the spot checks, then it's worth putting him near the front.

In an open area you can afford to spread out a bit more. In that case the melee characters take front centre, other fighting or tough characters can take the flanks, and the squishy party members take the middle. It's less important to defend from behind because if you're travelling reasonanly quickly, a rear attack is harder to justify. Even in open terrain, however, it's not worth getting too far away from eachother. Area effect spells are almost never lethal to a fully healed party, but being split from the rest of the party can be, so in generaly it's worth staying reasonably tightly together, so that you can help eachother at need.

Once the fight starts, it gets more complicated. You need to work out if you want to close with and engage the enemy, or if you want them to close with you. Generally speaking it's worth charging enemies that have an advantage over you at range, so archers, spellcasters, rock throwers, and so on.
Conversely, if your party is stuffed with spellcasters and archers, then it may be worth forming a defensive line and letting them come to you.

Anything that relies on a single devasting hit (rhinos, mounted lancers, barbarians) will be better off charging. Anything that relies on multiple attacks will be quite ineffective on the turn it charges, so it can be worth allowing enemy two-weapon fighters, tenctacle monsters, and monks to close with you first, so that the first full round attacks come from your own side.

The key point is that characters need to work together. If your barbarian charges off on his own, without knowing whether the rest of the party will follow, he may not last very long. Similarly, hanging back and buffing or readying actions may be a waste if everyone else is charging in, trying to kill the enemy before they get a chance to act. There's no point forming up to protect a wizard who relies on touch spells, or a cleric who's actually harder to hit than you are. Melee rogues in particular rely on a cooperative party to help them set up flanks, and to ensure that they aren't left as being the only one in contact with the enemy.

2010-05-25, 01:16 PM
1 High level Bloodstorm Blade FTW

Give him that javelin with Distance enchant and he can hit everything in 60ft as a full round action.

Lord Vampyre
2010-05-25, 01:27 PM
If your on a battlefield, who's fighting? An adventuring party of 4 vs an army? The tactics really depend upon who the party is fighting and what who they're fighting. Does their opponent have archers/ranged attackers? Does the opponent have aerial capabilities? It also depends on how the party is built and what level they are. The final item that needs consideration is the terrain. Is it a mostly open battlefield or in a dungeon? Can the party bottleneck the combat to minimize the number of attackers at one time? Do they have the uphill advantage?

Let's say for this exercise we have a standard 5th level party with a fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard. Let's say they are fighting a small army of fairly low level combatants, with a few mid-level leaders.

In this situation, I would have the party find the most defensive position possible. Start with the Fighter and Rogue using ranged weapons, until the army got into melee range. Use the mage to do as much mass destruction as possible with fireball, ect. Keeping the mage out of melee as much as possible. Once melee broke out, use the fighter and cleric to defend the mage as much as possible. Letting the mage pull out the last few tricks up his sleeve. The rogue would need to be the most mobile, skirting around or through the combat to get the advantage as possible.

Now, three things can happen. One the party is totally descimated. Very possible. Two, the party kills the entire force arrayed against them. And three, party is able to take out the leaders first there by routing the army before they even get close (This one I've done with a bladesinger back in 2nd edition).

Mark Hall
2010-05-25, 01:55 PM
General tactics are pretty simple, and you have 3 basic roles in D&D... artillery, meatshields, and skirmishers.

Artillery is anything whose main job is doing damage or messing things up from a distance. Wizards and archery rangers are examples of this. Their basic tactic is to stay out of melee range and rain down their specialized brands of misery.

Meatshields are fighters, clerics, and the like. They're bags of HP, usually with decent defense against attack. Their main job is to do some consistent, if lower, damage, and keep the fight focused on themselves... preventing people from getting past them and to the squishy underbelly of artillery.

Skirmishers are rogues, scouts, and melee rangers. Generally, they do a good amount of damage (via sneak attacks, skirmish, or TWF), but are very vulnerable to attack.

Ideally, your meatshields will guard your Artillery, while your skirmishers harry the foe. For best results, your skirmishers will be able to grind the foe against your meatshields, letting them get hit from behind whichever way they face, while your artillery pounds on them, out of reach.

By and large, these tactics don't change in D&D, they just have a mess of codicils. As mentioned, wizards can often end things very early (though, so can artillery). Skirmishers aren't as effective, especially with pre-4e's more limited mobility options, and the designers somewhat funny ideas of balance and difficulty.