Archive for the ‘Combat’ Category

On The Edge: Implications of the D&DNext Advantage mechanic

Only a short article this week (at least in terms of word count) because there is easily five times as much work beneath the surface! A few weeks ago, I read a really interesting analysis of the mathematics of the D&DNext advantage mechanic by the Online DM. And yet, there was a disconnect between that […]

Comments (10)

11 Table Rules For Speed

Slow combats kill games. This hard truth frustrates you and I because, as GMs, we feel it’s our responsibility to facilitate fast, sleek and exciting sessions. When combat grinds, you end up with fewer encounters in a session. Fewer encounters means less story told, less adventure and less fun. Combat grind also saps your players’ […]

Comments (5)

An Empty Death, An Empty Life: Making PC Death Matter

An empty Death is a terrible thing When Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) died in Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was an outcry amongst fans. Not because the character had been killed off so much as because she died what was later described even within the series as “an empty death” – a death without […]

Comments (17)

A Rational Intuition

I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between intelligence and instinct as expressed by different game systems. Most systems have an INT or IQ score of some kind, but the handling of the other side of the equation varies considerably. D&D and Pathfinder have a WISdom score, the Hero System has an EGO score, my […]

Comments (6)

Evil GM Tricks For Over-Resting PCs

Have you heard of the five minute adventuring day? The characters blow their powers in the first combat each day and then choose to rest so they are fully charged tomorrow for the next challenge. This is not only boring, it’s terrible storytelling. We just posted a new lesson in the Faster Combat course for […]

Comments (3)

Running the Game III: Rules and Combat

This entry is part 10 in the series GM Toolbox

This entry is part 10 in the series GM ToolboxWritten by Michael Beck, with contributions and editing by Da’Vane. GM’s Toolbox, looks at tools, tips, and techniques you can use to improve your games. Toolbox offers you a skeleton for running a campaign, rather than fleshed out tips. This series is presented in a discussion […]

Comments (1)

Draco Inadequatus: Beefing Up 3.x Dragons

Ian Gray was going to be providing a second guest post for us today, but he’s had computer problems during the week and seems to have run out tof time. Fortunately, I had this post in reserve, just in case… A Sad Truth Dragons are supposed to be the most awe-inspiring, iconic creatures in D&D […]

Comments (23)

A potpourri of quick solutions: Eight Lifeboats for GM Emergencies

Sometimes GMing is flashy, and fun. When everything is ready, and you’re in the groove, when you know what is going to happen and can lose yourself in the game, and simply present the PCs with the consequences of their actions and concentrate on your performance in the guise of NPCs and on the delivery […]

Comments (8)

Starting In The Middle

I have a friend, with whom I have gamed for many, many years, who has never read The Lord Of The Rings; he found the slow pace of The Fellowship Of The Ring so completely off-putting that he was never able to gather enough interest to finish the trilogy. I never had that problem – […]

Comments (8)

Fastest Pathfinder Combat Ever – How We Did It

Two weeks ago I reported on my combat timing and discovered I was taking the longest turns at the table. I vowed the fix this, and Friday’s session bore great results. Here’s the lowdown on how we did so well. Fight To The Death To Lift A Paladin’s Curse The PCs had just finished exploring […]

Comments (5)

Speed Up Combat By Building Your Own Combat GM Screen

What is the number one way to make combat go faster? For D&D type games, it is mastering the rules. When you can make decisions based on accurate rules knowledge, not only do you have more options available, but you play with more effectiveness and confidence. You also need to make fewer rules references on […]

Comments (5)

Taming The Time Bandits: Some time-saving combat techniques

Synopsis Of The Problem In Johnn’s last blog post, “My Group’s Time Thief Revealed,” he described his discovery that the chief drag on the pace of his combat was the GM, despite his expectations to the contrary. While he did not track the components of his activity, he was able to dismiss a couple of […]

Comments (20)