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Old 10-04-2019, 11:37 AM
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Fast/Easy Combat Question

So, I am pondering how other DMs handle this situation in pbp format or if any could offer tips to have it go a bit more streamline since combat always slows down a game.

Team of four run into a building and find a lone goblin and decide to engage. Goblins on average have 7hp (2d6) and can be dropped with relative ease with the exceptions of bad luck on the players' side.

Do you guys still have your players roll initiative for that encounter? What if its an area where there is numerous situations like that (1-2 gobs in a room). Do you just keep rinsing and repeating despite it slowing things down? Or are there alternatives that I'm overlooking?


Thank you for your time
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:35 PM
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I know that combat is slow, but I also believe that for many of us, it's the dice rolling and chance that make the games exciting. I try to not take that away from players, and let them roll (ie, combat) as much as possible.

That said, if the game is slowed because it's waiting on one or two folks to roll and post, then I will do what I learned from Ronar... Move along, and give the "lagging" player two rounds of action in the following round (within reason).

In your case, it's likely the goblin is dead, and the lagging player(s) don't get a shot at it, but... in a bigger scenario, they would still be able to do something, perhaps, and get back into the game if they post.

I have also, at times, done a "mop up" post, at the end when the big bad guy is done for, and finished. I just summarize the end of the battle, with the bad guy going down and "the team mops the floor with the remaining minions" or something (ie, the good guys win, let's move along). I don't need to make my players roll for two months, to finish the guards in the castle, or the orcs in the camp, or the minions 3 levels below their level (unless there's a plot point/story that needs it). People want to game/roll dice, but I don't think they want to roll dice when there's no real challenge. If I hit on a 2 or higher, let's just wrap this up and move on, eh?
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:23 AM
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I agree and have done with the things Admin Dirk has done - e.g., wrapping the combat when it is obvious the PCs will win, even not starting, a combat that the PCs will obviously win.

My take is that every ‘scene’ in a story has a purpose. So, every combat should have a purpose. Why is there one goblin in the room? Why are the PCs attacking the Goblin? The Goblin could be a sentry and failing to take it out in the first round would allow it alert its comrades. In this case, initiative and the combat are important to later events.

If it is simply a Goblin in room between the PC and their objectives, you need to ask yourself the purpose for having a single Goblin in the room. Also, think creatively, a single goblin will likely hide if/when they here the PCs coming, perhaps hiding to pop out at a later date when the PCs are fighting something else.
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Old 10-07-2019, 01:36 PM
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I've had decent luck having people roll initiative, throw out their actions at the same time. Then as the GM compiling them all into a narrative.

Especially for your goblin rooms it doesn't really matter if the fighter attacks one over the other and if the rogue says he moves into flank but then the target is dead you can just assign the hit to another critter. If they would have held their actions so a fireball could go off first then that is fine, just let it happen that way.

Give people however long your expected post rate is and if they don't post then just have them do a basic attack if it happens a few times then you should talk to them.

You do need to tell people this is how you are handling things or they will try to wait their turns.

This all works better or worse depending on your edition/game system.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:52 PM
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I, personally, would have everybody roll initiative, especially in a situation like the one you're describing. Not because I don't care whether or not it will become a rinse and repeat thing, but because not all monsters will react the same.

Using your example, given the chance, a gobbo in my game would run as fast as its legs can carry it, preferably in the direction of the nearest hiding spot or reinforcement, and probably scream its little legs out the whole way. An easy kill suddenly becomes a chase scene or even an unintentional ambush simply because that goblin rolled a 19 for initiative and none of the PCs rolled higher than a 14.

Or, if there are two or three goblins, they might be a little bolder. If one or two of them happens to beat the PCs in initiative order, two goblins could easily drop a PC or trigger a trap, and suddenly the cleric is down, the paladin is fighting frantically to survive, and your rogue and wizard are simply uncertain.

So the real question here is whether or not you feel your players can keep up with post rate while staying in initiative order. This is something that I've struggled with myself, which is why in my games, I use a group system: everybody rolls, and this determines who moves first (assuming there's no surprise round), and makes the first round a lot more integral to the battle (as it should be). For example, the Rogue rolls a 15, Goblin 1 and Goblin 2 roll a 12, and everybody else rolls below that. The Rogue will act, then the goblins, and from then on everybody gets to go as a group, PCs then Goblins, so on. It lets the fast players post fast and generally keeps the slower players posting at a reasonable rate, rather than having losing momentum because everybody is waiting on the Fighter, who has three kids, two jobs, takes college courses online, and just generally cannot prioritize a quick and timely post simply because they rolled an 11.
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