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    Default Faster combat in D&D

    So, I had an idea for faster combat in D&D. I think combat takes way too long in the game myself, so consider this; all monsters and players have only 1 hp, and all weapons deal 1 damage (no damage roll, just a flat 1 damage.) I would probably adjust the AC of certain monaters given this system. What do you think?

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Sounds good. Only fools play melee classes anyway.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    How is this different than your table learning BFC and DPT optimization?

    Edit: I mean, when my group learned these things existed, we eventually had to agree that combat sessions were boring now that we were just oneshotting things.
    Last edited by Alent; 2016-10-23 at 06:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    To make this work, you would have to redesign and completely rewrite such large parts of the game that you could just as well be playing a completely different game.

    Consider the sheer amount of feats, class features, spells, items, ... that are designed around dealing (large amounts of) damage. Such a system would invalidate all of this at once.

    On the other hand, there is the assumption that smaller amounts of damage are not as deadly as large amounts. Based on this are abilities and spells that deal a small amount of damage to many enemies as opposed to those that pile massive damage on single foes.
    Suddenly, these abilities are no longer on the same power level at all.

    Summed up, if you do this, adjusting "the AC of certain monster" is by far not enough, as you would have to rewrite the majority of the material in the game (regardless of edition).

    If you want to speed up combat for D&D, there have been tons of threads and blog posts around this topic, with lots of good advice.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    So, I had an idea for faster combat in D&D. I think combat takes way too long in the game myself, so consider this; all monsters and players have only 1 hp, and all weapons deal 1 damage (no damage roll, just a flat 1 damage.) I would probably adjust the AC of certain monaters given this system. What do you think?
    First off, rocket tag combat can be fun, but you're in some ways focusing on the wrong aspect.

    The two areas that slow down combat the most are battlemats and spellcasting.doing everything in theatre of the mind makes turns resolve a lots faster, and spellcasting gives players a lot of options in D&D.

    Focusing on just physical combat, because you can make a decent mundane-focused d20 game, you want it so attacks can down opponents in a hit or three, and only one roll is needed per attack. For this I recommend fixed weapon damage plus a bonus based on how much you beat the enemy's AC.

    Bare in mind that lots of things can change the speed of combat. For example, in CofD two normal people punching each other takes a long time, as they each roll 1-2 dice for attacks. Have them spend willpower and attacks are much more likely to inflict damage. Use the Beaten Down rules and most characters don't attack after a small amount of damage. Start using weapons and not only is damage increased but characters get Beaten Down after a single point. Use firearms and most attacks should hit. Dropping everyone to one hit deaths does speed up combat, but will cause a lot more player death unless monster attacks are weakened.

    Fast combat mainly remains fast by giving everyone a small but decent number of options, rather than have one guy have 20+.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Fair points all, rather than this, do you guys have any other ideas for optimized combat in D&D?

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Use initiative per side instead of per character. Use morale rules, so monsters and NPCs will be likely to run away or surrender when they start to lose the fight. Impose a time limit for each player to decide their action.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    Fair points all, rather than this, do you guys have any other ideas for optimized combat in D&D?
    To me the only answer is 'don't play D&D'. I own a lot of games, some with faster combat, some with slower combat, some with more flexible combat, to the point it's not worthwhile to update D&D combat.

    However to answer the question, I'm planning a game called 'Simple Fantasy' which works as a very simplified d20 system, and they key combat changes are:
    -to-hit and damage are one roll. You deal damage equal to your Attack Total+Weapon-Defenders AC, assuming a hit.
    -hp totals are small compared to D&D. A high-level fighter (assuming I use levels, I'm undecided) might have 30 hp.
    -Single target damage is large relative to hp, a good hit might deal 10 damage.
    -No battlemats as an assumed element, to stop 'is this within short/mid/long range'.
    -No matter the source, if it does Y it uses the same rules as everything that does Y.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Ditching D&D entirely is probably the best move - you're proposing a drastic change that just wouldn't work to solve a problem that most other systems don't have.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    Fair points all, rather than this, do you guys have any other ideas for optimized combat in D&D?
    Well, first off never, ever use the houserules of ''maximum hit points per level'' or ''average hit points'' or anything else other then rolling for hit points per level...and yes, even if a one is rolled. You also want to eliminate the ''houserule'' that every character ''must'' have an 18 or more in constitution.

    But the best way is a simple time limit. Give each player something like five seconds to take a combat action. If the player stumbles or takes to long just have the DM say ''your character stands there and does nothing for the round''.

    As DM it does help a bit if you avoid complicated combat actions that take time or are confusing. Sub-systems like grappling are a good example. Even more so if others are not clear on the rules.

    Making sure everyone knows the rules is also important.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    If combat is boring then just focus less on combat and more on something else.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    But the best way is a simple time limit. Give each player something like five seconds to take a combat action. If the player stumbles or takes to long just have the DM say ''your character stands there and does nothing for the round''.

    As DM it does help a bit if you avoid complicated combat actions that take time or are confusing. Sub-systems like grappling are a good example. Even more so if others are not clear on the rules.

    Making sure everyone knows the rules is also important.
    I'm not usually so hard-nosed that I force a character to do nothing for a turn when they have the option to act defensively, but I've started with a new group of players recently and am slowly lighting the fire under them that they have to act fast in combat. I find this also helps with focus - people pay much closer attention to the field and their own options when they know they've only got a few seconds to tell me what they're going to do.

    While I try to make sure my players know their rules, I'm realistic enough to realize that even when I tell them weekly that they need to read the whole Combat chapter if they haven't yet, they probably still won't. So instead of avoiding complicated rules, I review them until I have them down pat, then I implement them with monsters - if you had to deal with being grappled last week, you'll know better how it works when you grapple something this week. I do run 5th Edition for the most part, though, so the really complicated rules are far fewer than they used to be.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    -Snip-
    What's taking so long at the moment?
    How long is too long?
    Details, man!
    Last edited by Kane0; 2016-10-24 at 01:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    I'm just finding that in an inexperienced group, an encounter can take an hour while story stuff takes five minutes, even though I think story is more important than combat; but I really like the time limit idea that you guys have floated so I'll try that

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    I'm just finding that in an inexperienced group, an encounter can take an hour while story stuff takes five minutes, even though I think story is more important than combat; but I really like the time limit idea that you guys have floated so I'll try that
    If the group is experienced, don't hit them too hard with the time limit. I give them a little while - maybe 30-45 seconds - then tell them that they have 5 seconds left. I also don't require immediate action statements - if a player is, for example, asking for clarification on something, I count that as being engaged, so I don't put the crunch on, but once things are running smoothly I don't allow more than 10 seconds without a response, including after they've started asking for clarifications, and I'm hoping to trim that down with my current group.

    To keep people from getting too upset, I'd definitely recommend that you tell them they're doing something defensive instead of just standing around gormlessly; in 5e that means dodging, in 3.x that means fighting defensively, not sure about other editions. But it teaches people to pay attention and be engaged without getting them killed and making them resent you (too much).

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    d20 Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    So, I had an idea for faster combat in D&D. I think combat takes way too long in the game myself, so consider this; all monsters and players have only 1 hp, and all weapons deal 1 damage (no damage roll, just a flat 1 damage.) I would probably adjust the AC of certain monaters given this system. What do you think?
    I know D&D isn't supposed to be all that realistic, but still....

    Having all weapons deal the exact same amount of damage makes weapon choice irrelevant. The various weapons of the past were all invented for a reason, and thus some are more effective than others. It just doesn't make sense for a dagger to inflict a wound the same severity as a zweihander. A lot of players' concept of their character involves what weapon do they use, and they may not appreciate the "same-ing" of the choices (I know I wouldn't) since it detracts from the flavor of the arsenal.

    If you want combat to run faster, you're probably better off imposing a time limit on decision making, especially if some of your players seem to tend to min/max their options every round.

    If you want RP encounters to run longer, you might try actually acting them out in character if that's not what y'all currently do. Actually RPing a negotiation takes more time than just rolling for an outcome.
    Last edited by Batou1976; 2016-10-24 at 03:54 AM. Reason: st00pid monkey >:\
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Hit Point Inflation, and only some PCs having damage inflation, is a major issue in 5e. You might try an earlier edition such as 1e or 2e, or earlier.... or Low Fantasy Gaming ;)
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    But the best way is a simple time limit. Give each player something like five seconds to take a combat action. If the player stumbles or takes to long just have the DM say ''your character stands there and does nothing for the round''.
    You can get the same effect with a much less harsh penalty. I have occasionally said, "OK, your character stands there for a second unsure what to do. I'll get back to you at the end of the round. If you have no action then, you'll lose your action this round."

    That means it's just a loss of position on the initiative order for a first time, and only loss of an action if they don't come up with an action after that occurs.

    [And it's never led to a loss of round. Everyone will just attack the closest goblin rather than lose a turn entirely.]

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    So, I had an idea for faster combat in D&D. I think combat takes way too long in the game myself, so consider this; all monsters and players have only 1 hp, and all weapons deal 1 damage (no damage roll, just a flat 1 damage.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord View Post
    Hit Point Inflation, and only some PCs having damage inflation, is a major issue in 5e. You might try an earlier edition such as 1e or 2e, or earlier.... or Low Fantasy Gaming ;)
    In original 1974 rules D&D all weapons did 1d6 damage, and all 1st level PC's had 1d6 hit points. I think 1 HP is over doing it, and I like variable weapon damage (otherwise everyone just uses cheap iron spikes) but you have the kernel of a good idea. Psikerlord has it right, hit point inflation has slowed the game down, and made combat drag, so reducing hit points and/or increasing damage is a solution, but I think 1 and 1 puts to much emphasis on. AC.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord View Post
    Hit Point Inflation, and only some PCs having damage inflation, is a major issue in 5e. You might try an earlier edition such as 1e or 2e, or earlier.... or Low Fantasy Gaming ;)
    Granted I haven't played much over level 10, but I haven't noticed this in 5e much. Especially compared to 4e's padded-sumo combats that could run three solid hours. Combat typically moves almost as fast as, say, level 5+ in 2e (or any arbitrary point past the earliest levels where 1-hit death was a frequent thing in 2e). Everybody's damage scales in 5e. Casters get cantrip damage increases and higher spell slots to use; Rogues get better Sneak Attack, Monks get more ki and class features, other classes get Extra Attacks. There are a few stretches between scaling points, but they tend not to bog down too bad. It's a little slower than 2e (again, earliest levels excluded, since nearly any hit can kill a low-level 2e character who didn't roll well on HP), but not by a huge amount. That's assuming the 5e players know their abilities and aren't flipping through the book constantly or taking forever to decide what to do, granted. Indecisive players or players who don't know their characters can slow down any system.

    Average damage for enemies, spell cards, and attack-roll tables can speed things up. Something that can slow the game down is players who are bad at mental math. I am one, so I'm familiar with it.
    I make a table that runs 2-19 (since a nat 1 always misses and a nat 20 always hits) and applies my modifier to my die roll. I just look at the die, check the table, and get a result of what AC I hit, instead of the slight pause as I try to figure up some really simple math (that I should really be able to do instantaneously in my head, but can't do quickly because my brain is slightly borked when it comes to numbers) by counting on my fingers. Making the table works really well in 2e, btw, where it really speeds up the THAC0-bonus-roll calculation.

    Average damage for spells that use fistfuls of dice like Fireball or class features like Sneak Attack can speed things up considerably if figuring out the damage totals is where things bog down.

    Spell cards take a huge amount of the "looking stuff up" part out of it. Make each caster build themselves a spellbook that has their spells in order by level, with all pertinent text and information. Then they don't have to go flipping through the alphabetized but otherwise unorganized spells chapter in the book looking for the spell text.

    HP itself should not be a huge part of the issue in 5e with a diverse party covering enough roles and with balanced encounters, generally speaking. Most enemies drop in a few rounds between levels 1 and 10. AoE is important, too--clear off the weak enemies quickly. Try to encounters with many weak or middlin' enemies and a couple decently strong ones instead of a small number of really strong ones. If you still decide HP is an issue, look up the Massive Damage rules.

    Giving casters chances for more long rests so they can more freely burn spell slots for damage will really speed things up too, but can unbalance things in their favor compared to noncasters.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    One idea that i've seen is put a die on the table after the first round. It starts at 1 and goes up, tell the players "bad things happen when it after the top number". And have all normal attacks deal extra damage equal to the die number. The round after the die hits the top number, the monster run away.

    I'm fairly certain that the idea was stolen in part from 13th Age.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    D&D's problem isn't slow combat, it's uninteresting combat. as long as people are on the ball,

    For the most part the monster design is such that after 2-3 rounds, they've blown their load and have nothing left to really show you... after that it's just repetition.

    Every time I hear people wanting D&D combat faster, it just sounds like the RP equivalent of "get on with it, we don't care" when a scene occurs and everyone at the table doesn't really care for it or aren't being engaged with the scene.

    If they're not engaged, don't force the scene. Either find a way to skip it entirely and focus on something the players are engaged with or find a way to make it engaging so you don't need to skip it.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Why not play a different game that has faster combat instead?

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Here are some combat rules I've formulated from experience that I plan to use in my next game.

    1. No cross-talk: You're bored because it isn't your turn? TOUGH. Keep quiet. You can continue your DC vs Marvel argument with the Cleric at another time.
    2. No stalling: When your turn in the combat order comes up, you act. You may ask one question- with reasonable follow-ups for clarity- and once per combat you may get a 60 second timestop to look up a rule, but when the DM tells you to act you must decide upon a course of action quickly and roll. If you can't or don't choose, your character has forgotten their training in the chaos of the situation and will simply defend this round, gaining advantange on saving throws and giving disadvantage to enemy attacks.
    3. NO COACHING: This is corollary to the rules above and the one I'm particuarly emphatic about. PLAY YOUR OWN CHARACTER. If the other guy doesn't know how to play a wizard you don't play it for him. You're in face-to-face combat and you're going to start calling out directions to the guy across the room? It's possible to create a mechanic for this- "Make a Perception roll at disadvantage to notice and an Intelligence roll at disadvantage to yell out a message of 2 words plus 1 word/point of INT bonus and and the enemy gets an AoO, and you attack at disadvantage and..." but it's much simpler and just as realistic to impose the hard NO. It saves a lot of time and spurs players to get serious about learning game-mechanics. Under specific circumstances you may be exempt from this rule, to wit:

      IF you are explicity disengaged or hanging back for the purpose of directing the others: AND you are playing a character class that would know in-game what to suggest to the nervous young Sorcerer or Paladin; THEN you may make (1) brief in-game suggestion per combat round; BUT your target will incur an in-combat penalty for trying to multitask fighting and listening.

      Otherwise, no. It is the responsibility of each player to know how to play their class. Ask questions, read books, make notecards.

    4. No rulebooks on the table: When cold steel spills hot blood, your character knows what you know, with the above exceptions.
    5. No devices at the table: You're on your phone/tablet/phablet/laptop? Your character is suddenly struck with a vision of a wondrous future rife with instrumentalities beyond the imaginings of the most visionary sages. Roll WIS save at disadvantage not to be stunned by the vista of limitless possiblities that has unfolded before you or lose your next turn.


    If this sounds hard-assed it's because it's meant to be. I've seen far too many games peter out because too many sessions go off the rails because combat takes too much time because too few players are focused on the table. If I'm taking the time to make a (hopefully) good game I expect my players to return the courtesy by paying attention and getting into the world I've made for them. That said, I'm not going to bellow these out like R. Lee Ermey when we play but unless someone can make a compelling argument to the contrary they will be in force.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    I'm just finding that in an inexperienced group, an encounter can take an hour while story stuff takes five minutes, even though I think story is more important than combat; but I really like the time limit idea that you guys have floated so I'll try that
    Ah well then theres a couple things you can do. First I recommend not changing rules, especially if your guys are still learning. Better to start with changing the atmosphere at the table.
    Here and here are some similar threads, i think most suggestions will be relevant.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2016-10-24 at 05:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norren View Post
    How is this different than your table learning BFC and DPT optimization?
    It saves you from having to spend months memorizing the rules for your net-build. That's more time to spend gloating about how you kill everything in one hit.

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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    D&D's problem isn't slow combat, it's uninteresting combat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    Why not play a different game that has faster combat instead?
    In the D&D I used to play, combat was very fast, very interesting, and very much to be avoided, because it was lethal.
    While I'm still enjoying the novelty of most PC's surviving to reach 2nd level, I think the main problem of 5e may be from hit point inflation.
    As usual I feel that the solution is not to make 5e more like other 21st Century versions of D&D, but to instead make it more like 20th century D&D, especially low level old D&D.
    One or two hits was usually enough to kill a Goblin or a 1970's 1st level PC, and nothing makes combat more exciting than the possibility of quick PC death.
    They'll be too much resistance from players to make their hit points less but the DM could tweak the PC's foes, so that they have less hit points but do more damage, and of course the players probably wouldn't object to their PC's doing more damage.
    You could also implement the old "morale" rules, so the goal becomes scaring off the enemy, not just killing them. That should speed things up and make it more exciting.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    In the D&D I used to play, combat was very fast, very interesting, and very much to be avoided, because it was lethal.
    While I'm still enjoying the novelty of most PC's surviving to reach 2nd level, I think the main problem of 5e may be from hit point inflation.
    As usual I feel that the solution is not to make 5e more like other 21st Century versions of D&D, but to instead make it more like 20th century D&D, especially low level old D&D.
    One or two hits was usually enough to kill a Goblin or a 1970's 1st level PC, and nothing makes combat more exciting than the possibility of quick PC death.
    They'll be too much resistance from players to make their hit points less but the DM could tweak the PC's foes, so that they have less hit points but do more damage, and of course the players probably wouldn't object to their PC's doing more damage.
    You could also implement the old "morale" rules, so the goal becomes scaring off the enemy, not just killing them. That should speed things up and make it more exciting.
    Goblins average 7 HP and deal an average of 5 damage. That's one or two average hits to kill a goblin for a lot of starting characters, and two or three average hits--or one average crit--for a lone goblin to drop most starting characters to 0HP (goblins are also sneaky, which can give them Advantage, and rarely work alone). This is a slight buff to starting characters, but not a tremendous amount--a round or two. They also don't immediately die at 0HP (death saves and automatically getting max HP at 1st are the main reasons they live longer, at first level).

    PC damage at low level has also increased due to attribute bonuses working differently--the goblin now does d6+2 instead of d6, and PCs do weapon+2 or weapon +3 at first level instead of typically doing weapon+0 or weapon+1, barring exceptional rolls. Casters can now do cantrip damage, too, instead of relying on crossbows and a horrible THAC0. A typical starting character with +5 to hit (+3 mod, +2 prof) hits a goblin on a roll of 10 or better; back in the AD&D days, a typical starting character (again barring exceptional stat rolls of 17 or 18, which would grant +1, and a chance for percentile strength for warriors on an 18) could hit a goblin (AC 6) on a roll of 14 or better (THAC0 20, 20-14= AC 6).

    The HP inflation is not that bad, and is significantly offset by the damage gains and increased to-hit chance. You'd get similar results if you let 2e characters make death saves and gave them max HP at 1st. Where they start to pull apart from the old days is after 10, where AD&D characters only got a pittance of HP per level afterward. Although some high level enemies in 5e can hit like freight trains.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by oudeis View Post
    Here are some combat rules I've formulated from experience that I plan to use in my next game.

    1. No cross-talk: You're bored because it isn't your turn? TOUGH. Keep quiet. You can continue your DC vs Marvel argument with the Cleric at another time.
    2. No stalling: When your turn in the combat order comes up, you act. You may ask one question- with reasonable follow-ups for clarity- and once per combat you may get a 60 second timestop to look up a rule, but when the DM tells you to act you must decide upon a course of action quickly and roll. If you can't or don't choose, your character has forgotten their training in the chaos of the situation and will simply defend this round, gaining advantange on saving throws and giving disadvantage to enemy attacks.
    3. NO COACHING: This is corollary to the rules above and the one I'm particuarly emphatic about. PLAY YOUR OWN CHARACTER. If the other guy doesn't know how to play a wizard you don't play it for him. You're in face-to-face combat and you're going to start calling out directions to the guy across the room? It's possible to create a mechanic for this- "Make a Perception roll at disadvantage to notice and an Intelligence roll at disadvantage to yell out a message of 2 words plus 1 word/point of INT bonus and and the enemy gets an AoO, and you attack at disadvantage and..." but it's much simpler and just as realistic to impose the hard NO. It saves a lot of time and spurs players to get serious about learning game-mechanics. Under specific circumstances you may be exempt from this rule, to wit:

      IF you are explicity disengaged or hanging back for the purpose of directing the others: AND you are playing a character class that would know in-game what to suggest to the nervous young Sorcerer or Paladin; THEN you may make (1) brief in-game suggestion per combat round; BUT your target will incur an in-combat penalty for trying to multitask fighting and listening.

      Otherwise, no. It is the responsibility of each player to know how to play their class. Ask questions, read books, make notecards.

    4. No rulebooks on the table: When cold steel spills hot blood, your character knows what you know, with the above exceptions.
    5. No devices at the table: You're on your phone/tablet/phablet/laptop? Your character is suddenly struck with a vision of a wondrous future rife with instrumentalities beyond the imaginings of the most visionary sages. Roll WIS save at disadvantage not to be stunned by the vista of limitless possiblities that has unfolded before you or lose your next turn.


    If this sounds hard-assed it's because it's meant to be. I've seen far too many games peter out because too many sessions go off the rails because combat takes too much time because too few players are focused on the table. If I'm taking the time to make a (hopefully) good game I expect my players to return the courtesy by paying attention and getting into the world I've made for them. That said, I'm not going to bellow these out like R. Lee Ermey when we play but unless someone can make a compelling argument to the contrary they will be in force.
    Wow, every single one of those sounds terrible and not conducive to a fun gaming experience.
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    Default Re: Faster combat in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    In the D&D I used to play, combat was very fast, very interesting, and very much to be avoided, because it was lethal.
    While I'm still enjoying the novelty of most PC's surviving to reach 2nd level, I think the main problem of 5e may be from hit point inflation.
    As usual I feel that the solution is not to make 5e more like other 21st Century versions of D&D, but to instead make it more like 20th century D&D, especially low level old D&D.
    One or two hits was usually enough to kill a Goblin or a 1970's 1st level PC, and nothing makes combat more exciting than the possibility of quick PC death.
    They'll be too much resistance from players to make their hit points less but the DM could tweak the PC's foes, so that they have less hit points but do more damage, and of course the players probably wouldn't object to their PC's doing more damage.
    I will emphatically disagree, and I grew up and cut my gaming teeth on 2nd ed in the '90s.

    Adding lethality by itself is the least interesting way to make something interesting and the novelty of quick death quickly loses my interest... I have no reason to get invested in the character, especially if I basically have to start from scratch when it comes to integrating with the party, getting my character involved in the storyline, etc...

    Sure combat is quick, but if i'm not interested in my character you can bet your bottom dollar my RP will suffer. After losing a few characters I simply stopped caring: "why should I try getting invested if we're very likely to just up and to die"?

    And if i'm not invested in the story, and the mechanics are uninteresting... well, there's little keeping at the table.

    As a sidenote: the whole "old ed lethality" is doubly hilarious as if you go read 2nd ed's description of the fighter class it gives Hercules, Perseus, Hiawatha, Beowulf, Siegfried, Cuchulain, Little John, Tristan, and Sinbad as examples and fails spectacularly to emulate them, especially the likes of hercules, beowulf, siegfried, cu'culain & perseus, who are supernatural in nature and would not be expected to die in the ignoble methods the average 2nd ed character bit the dust.

    You could also implement the old "morale" rules, so the goal becomes scaring off the enemy, not just killing them. That should speed things up and make it more exciting.
    Or the GM could just be aware enough of the enemy's motivation for attacking and understand what lengths they would go to fight and when cutting their losses and running is a better option.

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