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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Arkansas, U.S.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    How can I streamline dungeon combat so that we aren't spending months on end to get through a single level of a dungeon?

    This dungeon I'm building is intended to give the players two character levels (Minimum) and a mythic tier... Currently, they're all Tier 1 level 8 characters.

    ((This is a pathfinder game))
    Last edited by MonkeySage; 2016-06-19 at 03:06 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeySage View Post
    How can I streamline dungeon combat so that we aren't spending months on end to get through a single level of a dungeon?

    This dungeon I'm building is intended to give the players two character levels (Minimum) and a mythic tier... Currently, they're all Tier 1 level 8 characters.

    ((This is a pathfinder game))
    I've been in that boat.
    I tried a lot of different solutions. I even spent a couple of sessions noting down timing for everything we did.
    In the end, we switched to 5e as it was basically the only solution that could cut times drastically.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madeiner View Post
    I've been in that boat.
    I tried a lot of different solutions. I even spent a couple of sessions noting down timing for everything we did.
    In the end, we switched to 5e as it was basically the only solution that could cut times drastically.
    Switching systems is probably the only viable method to get any real speed, but there's lots of options regarding what to switch to.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    3.x ain't a fast system.

    Use strict timers, or switch systems. Those are really the options.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    There are many reasons your combats can be slowed. 3.x is indeed not a fast system, but the problem could always just lie in the players if they constantly over-plan, second guess each other and themselves, get off topic, and such.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    How many players do you have? Try cutting down, splitting up, or getting co-DMs to help with calculations.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    erikun's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    • Bunch your NPCs together in initiative. Have all your Orcs attack together on one initiative, have all your Skeletons attack together on another, etc. This can massively cut down on the DM time required to take turns, because there is far less "Who's turn is it?" and far less "And then Orc 4 attacks the fighter, swing and a miss." Just roll the dice for each one quickly and paraphrase what happens overall on the enemy group initiative. ("Three of the Orcs charge, two swinging at the Paladin and the other at the Wizard. The fourth Orc fires an arrow at the Rogue.")
    • Combined with that, consider a single "PC" turn if rounds need further speeding up. Have the players discuss what they want to do, then each player lists off their action in the order they want. Might not work as well, as players like their individual turns, but can speed things up greatly.
    • Plan general tactics for each group of monsters. The "three orcs charge, one orc fires bow" example above, for instance. Have an idea of when the NPCs keep attacking and when they try to retreat, and who they go after first. Then write it down with the monster entry. It prevents the bad case of "charge and attack again" while allowing for interesting tactics, but keeping everything moving quickly.
    • Tell players to get their next action ready during the downtime, rather than browsing their phones. Have casters look up/get the information for their next spell ready for their next round.
    • No takebacks. If somebody forgot a modifier or forgot to do an action on their turn, and it is someone else's turn, then don't rewind back to the forgetful player's turn. This includes the DM. Remind everyone that you're trying to keep things moving, and that you'll remember it from then on out.
    • If there is a rules argument, give everyone a minute to present their case/look up the ruling, then make a judgement. Let everyone know that if you get information that contradicts the ruling, then it will apply to NEXT game session, but this one is using what you decide. Keep options open for the other players at the table (I typically use "Is everyone fine with this for now?" in these cases) but keep things moving. You can make it a hard 1 minute limit for looking stuff up.
    • Learn everyone's names (or at least character names) and toss out a "You're up, Robert" or whatever if players frequently forget their turns.
    Thank you to zimmerwald1915 for the Gustave avatar.
    The full set is here.
    Quote Originally Posted by darthbobcat View Post
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    I stopped doing detailed combat maps to speed stuff up. Just use a dry erase board you can quickly sketch on. Use coins or dice instead of minis and don't worry about exact scale.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Denmark

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    Warn players that their turn is coming up by saying " Tom its your turn, Brian you are next". It cuts down on the time spent thinking.
    This really helps at my table.

    Roll multiple dice together, and color code them.

    If someone dont know the rules for what they are trying, they cant do it. They have the entire round to check rules, their turn is for acting not for books. It shouldn't be set in stone, but be a general rule.
    English is my second language, but I will be more than happy to explain myself in Danish.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGirl

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Incorrect View Post
    .
    If someone dont know the rules for what they are trying, they cant do it. They have the entire round to check rules, their turn is for acting not for books. It shouldn't be set in stone, but be a general rule.
    In my experience the books typically come out when Person A announces their action, and Person B says "I'm sorry, but I don't think you can do that. The rules don't work that way."
    Non est salvatori salvator,
    neque defensori dominus,
    nec pater nec mater,
    nihil supernum.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Bronx, NY
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Dungeon Combat help: Single Encounters take whole sessions.

    Why do the combats take so long now?
    Are the players unsure what their characters can do?
    Do they get hung on doing the math for attacks?
    Do they dither, discuss, or argue over specific actions?
    Do they obsess over tactical movement?
    Is AC and HP simply too high to allow monsters to get killed quickly?

    Narrow down the problem and it will be easier to come up with a relevant answer.

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