Sprucing Up Combat

Oh yeah..  Dual Wield Action.

Oh yeah.. Dual Wield Action.

*Viewer feedback wanted*
I’m contsantly looking for ways to improve myself as a DM/GM. 2 ways I sometimes tend to fall short, especially if I’m really tired, or the energy in the room has died, either my fault or other source, is combat and NPC personalities.

The NPC personalities I’ve actually been able to spruce up more, but I’ll be posting tomorrow, looking for more feedback and suggestions from people on that.. Today is combat.

When I do combat I have the characters describe their actions, going off the wall and it is fun. I also use traps in the combat or challenges, like a magic missle turret that fires every 3 rounds that the rogue needs to disable, to keep combat interesting. Sometimes it lacks flavor, I feel, or I forget the nifty things an enemy can do.

What do you do, dear reader, to make combat spicey, exciting, and keep it fresh? I’m really hoping through discussion to generate some great ideas, not only for me, but for fellow readers! Thanks!

Yes this is a WoW pic, but still looks cool!

Yes this is a WoW pic, but still looks cool!


About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

2 responses to “Sprucing Up Combat

  • Storyteller

    If you don’t already do so, I strongly suggest using a soundtrack – not just for your battles, but for your whole game. Combat especially climbs to a whole new level when you turn on your “battle playlist” – injecting energy and flavor into any game almost instantly.

    To help you ensure utilization of all your enemies special moves, sticky notes go a LONG way. Tacking a sticky note right onto the stat block with a few notes to remind you about specific abilities you want them to use in the battle will help remind you in the heat of the fight. Notes like “Fast Healing 3. Improved Grapple Feat – USE IT” will keep you from forgetting important stats and cool options open to your monsters.

    Along the lines of using the more fun abilities of your monsters – if they don’t have fun abilities to use, plan ahead and give them some! Nothing dulls a battle more quickly then a basic orc with a short sword and the “alertness” feat pulled right out of the monster manual. Do some legwork before the session starts to give that orc a spiked chain or whip to fight with – maybe even swapping out a couple feats for more unique ones. Do the random treasure rolls ahead of time so your orc has a neat magical trinket to play with! Taking some time to make sure your monsters aren’t just cardboard cut-outs who will give the PCs a varying set of challenges to face should keep things interesting for them AND for you.

  • Kimyou

    I humbly suggest one of my earliest post (originally on ChattyDM’s blog) : “The Michael Bay school of Roleplaying” (found here : http://www.doomsday-gaming.com/?p=9 ). Property destruction always makes combat better. ALWAYS!

    Also, the popular Old-School Primer (it’s somewhere online) as a few pretty smart tips that can help DMs from any era. It did help me, in any case.

    Also, give the players opportunity for Awesome ™ like wobbly statues they can push on bad guys, pits and things. Traps are nice but players can rarely use them. By having a lot of (flamable) props, you’ll be encouraging player creativity. Also, make critical hits and killing attacks gruesome, if the PCs don’t mind. They’ll feel empowered.

    Good luck, buddy!

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