Combat in RPGs

Tyler Provick

Tyler Provick is a writer and a gamer that likes to combine his two interests and share them with the community.

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3 responses

  1. Penemue says:

    I think some players may have problems with the tactical issue because they’re more into the role-play aspect. That should be fine, but in D&D of all stripes, it’s really not. Your players really -need- to be into the combat aspect of it, or they will check out and/or “sit still and hit.” I think it’s a gaming paradigm issue: when I play RPGs with tabletop gamers, everyone tends to be into the tactical aspect. When I play with people who don’t tabletop (folks who are more into story-driven games), though, the tactical aspect seems to be a chore. Who cares about whether you’re striking someone on the right or the left when you’re more interested in life-defining choices and character interaction?

    Not to disparage D&D and games like it, though. It has its place, like every other game. The problem arises when GMs expect players to be RPG generalists rather than having specific RPG interests.

    On the topic of minis in gaming, I only use them if we’re playing something to deliberately indulge in combat i.e. a bank heist, a medieval adventuring party, etc. For any other game, we just use imagination and signalling of intent. Minis are definitely important in larger combats, but larger combats generally only occur in systems where characters can sustain a large number of wounds (because they’re willing to engage in large combats, unlike games where characters are realistically fragile).

    • I say that if the players are bored during combat because they aren’t interested in it the GM shouldn’t be making them fight. There are lots of stories which can be told in a fantasy world that don’t require fighting.

      I wonder if there are games which can interestingly hand-wave fighting to a couple of interesting jump-cuts to let the RP-focused players make a couple of in-character actions and then move on.

      • Penemue says:

        Good point!

        I’m not sure about that last bit. I’m sure there are very rules-light systems that allow that, but as we said in other comments, those may not be super-appealing.

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