Saturday, November 2, 2013

Facilitating Combat

I was supposed to be starting a new game last night with some friends, but because of a medical thing it didn't happen. I'm hoping to reschedule soon, but it really sucks when a first session doesn't get off the ground.

How do you facilitate combat? Any tips, tools, or cheats?

I actually don't do a whole lot to "facilitate" combat in any of my games. Early on for my 4e games I kept a cheat sheet of standard combat modifiers available for me and my players but that's about it, at least on the players side of the screen. I've got enough to deal with on my end of things without having to worry too much about them.

As a DM for my 4e games, I use these encounter sheets to keep things moving. With space for each of the monsters, a spot for initiative and a bit to keep notes about what happened (so I can blog about it later) it's just about perfect. The monster tracker includes not just a place to keep track of wounds, but also for the various conditions they'll suffer.

In my old school games I tend to just make notes on whatever adventure I'm running directly. There's a lot less to keep track of, so a lot less space is needed to keep track of things. Mostly just hit points.

Aside from that I try to keep things moving quickly. If my players are taking too long figuring out what they're going to do this round I start counting down, and if I get to zero, they miss their turn. I don't think I've ever gotten to zero.

1 comment:

  1. Those are interesting sheets, I had not encountered them before.

    For 4E I still use index cards for intiative, and notebook paper for hit points. I started doing it back in 2E and kept it all through 3E and it's just "muscle memory" for me at this point. We track marks/quarries/curses and bloodied status by putting pipe-cleaner rings in different colors on the affected miniature. We also have some labelled wooden discs that go under the miniature to track conditions like slowed/stunned/staggered, etc. It's not as complex as it sounds, makes it easy to see who is affected by what, and it works pretty well for us after years of play.

    For the Pathfinder game I've started up I am trying to go all 21st century and I'm running it completely on the laptop using HeroLab and Pathfinder Combat Manager. I do keep a notebook and make notes on what's happening in each session, but all the combat stuff happens on the computer. It's working pretty well so far but we're only three sessions in.