• Justin Handlin

How to Run Dungeons and Dragons Combat that Flows

How to Run Dungeons and Dragons Combat that Flows

Do you want to know how to run amazing combat in D&D? Well thanks to our friend Zipperon Disney! We have some powerful tips that can help you deliver some of the best flowing D&D combat possible!

Dungeons & Dragons combat is arguably one of the best parts of the game. Of course, everyone loves exploration, lore, and roleplay. But, but building characters often comes down to the core of what it can do in combat. When we play D&D, we are trying to recreate these epic fantasy fight scenes from our favorite movies or books. Why does a Michael Bay action scenes seem to drag on, but forty minutes of the battle of helms deep keep you on the edge of your seat? The secret? Is pacing and flow of the combat!

Now, this isn't about making combat faster. We know combat can be slow. But this isn't the problem that most of us have. The problem that most of our games have is that they lack flow! In our interview, we learn that the goal of DM is to run better combat by keeping the action moving across the table. This is done by keeping a good rhythm from turn to. The building and releasing of tension and smoothing the transition between turns.

So, the big question. How do we do this? Zipperon introduces a fantastic statement that helps and reminds us of the best way to improve our flow is to...

"Dramatize transitions by creating exigency, then prompt activity and compress the resolution."

The scenes need to be treated more like a massive mural. Using fewer words allows the players to do what they do best, use their imagination. Keeping a consistent momentum is much more important than detailed descriptions, no matter how graphic they may be. This means keeping the story and narrative moving forward into the next action, where we prompt the next player in the scene with "Thorg lunges at the troll with a wide arching swing. Sorin places his hand upon his hilt. What is Sorin doing? Like looking at a massive beautiful architectural mural, you move from one side of the scene to the next, with seamless transitions. This takes the focus of narration off a player's turn and moves it to the transition between turns between characters. The reason for this is simple, it's arguably the best place to release tension and build drama. Watch the full episode as Zipperon shares his experiences and combat flow.

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Character Concept:

Hustler Charlatan

Pretends to be blind. Blind Seer

Provided by Zipperon Disney

A charlatan who has limited divination magic who pretends to be blind because they figure people would pay more money for a blind seer.

-Take Fighter, Eldritch Knight is a good archetype.

- Take Blind Fighting Style from Unearthed Arcana.

- Multiclass to Divination Wizard and walk around with a blindfold and a cane.

Monster Variant:

Earth Rage Battlebriar:

Origin: Xorn

Battlebriars are deadly living plants, similar in likeness to the shambling mound, but are purposefully grown to serve in military capacities. They can destroy massed formations of lesser troops, storm defended embankments, and bring down fortifications. This battlebriar likes to bury itself, use tremorsense to detect foes passing overhead, and erupt from the ground suddenly to catch them by surprise.

Lost Features: Treasure Sense, claw

New Features:

Vine Whip. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage and the target must succeed a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be pulled up to 10 feet toward the battlebriar. (works great with multiattack, as it can pull in multiple creatures for its spore attack if it missed during its ambush)

Rising Burst (Recharge 6). The battlebriar bursts out from underneath its victims. This sprays rock and dirt into the air and causes the ground around it to shake violently. Each creature standing within that 20-foot cube area centered on the battlebriar must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw. A creature takes 11 (2d10) bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone on a failed save, or half as much damage and isn't knocked prone on a successful one. Additionally, the ground in that area becomes difficult terrain until cleared. Each 5-foot-square portion of the area requires at least one minute to clear by hand.

Spores (2/Day). A 15-foot-radius cloud of toxic spores extends out from the battlebriar. The spores spread around corners. Each creature in that area that isn't a plant must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 24 hours.

Siege Monster feature. The elemental deals double damage to objects and structures.


Conflict Interrupted

The characters stumble into a battle between an adventuring party and a revenant who managed to claw its way back into the world to seek revenge against the one who wronged it. It wields a stormstrike weapon. (flame tongue but lightning damage (DMG)). Both the revenant and adventuring party request the aid of the characters.

Magic Item:

Face-Stealing Ring

Ring, Uncommon (requires attunement)

The wearer of this ivory ring sees the faces of others as potential disguises.

While wearing this ring, you can use an action to speak its command word. When you do so, you cast disguise self taking the form of a humanoid creature you can see. The ring imbues you with that creature's mannerism, voice, and speech patterns for one hour or until you end it as a bonus action. This effect grants you advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) check to pass yourself off as the creature you’re imitating.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Roleplaying is Choice

You express who you are through the decisions you make. When an adventure gives you a choice, the consequences of your choices shape your adventurer's life story. Get into character and let your character's unique concerns and motivations guide your decision so that the result is true to who you want your character to become.

Don't depend on the adventure to present your character with life-altering choices. Help the DM create meaningful decisions for you by clearly and consistently expressing what matters to your character, and take the initiative to set up your own choices.

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