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General GM's are you bored of your combat and is it because you made it boring?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Your looking at Character Creation as a one and done act.
It is. It's also sometimes known as character generation.

The term you're looking for to represent the rest of it is character development. This happens in-game when the character interacts with the other PCs, the NPCs, the setting, and the adventures; and learns about itself in the process. Or dies trying.

Every time I play my character creates changes to the world, the world creates changes to the character, and the characters create changes in each other. There is a social aspect to it both in game and between player/the GM outside the game. On forums and posts. I rarely show up with character that has all their backstory on sesson one or having any real idea of the identity of my characters. ...
Unless the game is play-by-post I certainly don't see forums and posts as representing any part of play whatsoever. :)
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Might agree with you, except there are rules for character creation and leveling in the rules of the game. There aren't any rules in football governing training camp and pratice.
Check again, old chap. :) Most football leagues have fairly strict rules surrounding training camps and practices, mostly regarding length, frequency, and what may be done there for how long.
 

I don't think a GM should be using fiat to help or hinder PCs.
You're misunderstanding the issue. Things like nets don't work without DM fiat. There are no rules, or things close to rules, which remotely represent such a thing. Ultimately it will be entirely in the hands of the DM as to whether such things work, or stand a chance to to work, whether it's by simply saying if they do/don't based on the specifics of the situation, or assigning some sort of values to them (which will again be a matter of fiat).

I don't disagree with anything you said but you missed my point entirely. #1 if your current style of play is not working try different things. #2 if your complaining about dragons being simple easy fights that are not worth their CR and your 100% of the time ignoring that they can fly and fight in rage stupidity then your whats making them easy not the design of the dragon. Sure intelligent creature do dumb things sometimes but isn't making them that way all the time the same mistake? #3 If your doing it with dragons, your likely doing it with just about every thing else.... see #1.

Am I wrong on any of these points?
I'd say you're wrong on all three.

#1 - Trying new things should be done in a rational, considered way, looking at the specifics of what's going wrong.

That means generic prescriptions like those you've outlined are not typically useful unless it's impossible to work out what is going wrong. It's kind of a desperation move to just "try something different" rather than to consider the exact circumstances. Much of what you've outlined could make problems worse, not better.

#2 - "If your complaining..." - Well I'm not, and I haven't, so why are you even saying that? It's like you're responding to someone else. So that's wrong.

#3 - You seem to be trying to suggest that portraying dragons as making mistakes means that you play all combat encounters as dumb slugfests. That's both insulting and wrong, and frankly irrational as an argument.

I didn't list a lot for non-casters?
I'm talking about PCs, not enemies, re: limited tactical options in 5E.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But the creaky boring old "oh dragons should just strafe the party and never engage and always try and fly away!" thing (which has been around since like, the late '80s) is ridiculous nonsense that I've seen lead to extremely boring sessions, or ones, again, reliant on DM fiat.
How is this 'ridiculous nonsense' from the dragon's point of view?

And isn't the DM in theory supposed to play her intelligent monsters intelligently, and with a halfway-decent sense of self-preservation?

If what the dragon does makes for a boring session, then so be it. What did you do to get it to strafe you in the first place, and maybe don't do that next time.
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
It's encouraging the GM to find away to be as interested in tactical combat as the players are so they don't run from it while the players are a having fun.
If this is the case, that the players have fun and the GM doesn't, then the GM needs to:
A. Power through. It might become fun again.
B. Switch games that offers a ruleset that peaks the GM's interest.
C. Use less combat, therefore making it more meaningful.
D. Try some new techniques (although the techniques I have seen outside of the usual, like terrain, seem to be metaphysical lessons on GM'ing styles.)
E. Be a player. (In my opinion this is by far the best remedy for people who are non-judgmental. Those that have a hard time giving up control of the table should avoid this one.)

If none of those work, maybe stop gaming for awhile. Devote energy into writing, game creation, music, cooking or anything else that gets your creative juices flowing. Then after a year or two, step back into the fray. ;)
 


5ed is as bad as tactical combat as the DM and Players want it to be. Once you start using non stat bloc tactics that all characters and monsters have, it suddenly change a lot of things. Shoving, grabbing, pushing PCs is part of what changes a lot of the combat. In addition, you can always use the optional rules in the DMG to enhance the "tactical" even more if it suits you.
I don't agree at all. 5E has the same issue as 3E, in that people who aren't specialized in these tactics via class/subclass/feats are not strong with them and the opportunity cost for using them is extremely high. There are times when they make sense, but it's not comparable to 4E, where every combat was tactical.

Yes, it was. But do not confuse "daily, encounter and at will powers" with tactical options. Tactical options are always available to every opponent. A special manoeuver only certain characters have should be treated as spells. They do open up possibilities but tactical options should always be opened for everyone, monsters, foes and players included. Some elements should be better at some options than others, but all tactical options should be opened to all. 5ed does that. If you take this into consideration, 5ed does a similar job as the 4ed if you take the optional rules, because those rules are exactly the same as fourth.
I disagree. Dismissing spells, powers, etc. as being part of tactical options means your definition of tactical options is so askew as to be meaningless.

I fully agree on that, especialy the first part. But take this into consideration. Very old dragon (ancients) did not survive by being stupid.
I think that depends entirely on where they are in the ecosystem of your world, and what threats they've faced.

I think the mistake people make is to equate a massive top-predator with flight and significant magical capabilities to some sort of villainous human. Every comparison I ever see to a dragon is Moriarty or Xanatos or whatever, but to me that seems to be completely anthropomorphizing dragons in a bizarre way. A dragon criminal in a society of dragons might have to be "The Moriarty of dragons" or whatever, sure. But a dragon in the typical D&D world? It's more like "Where does the 800lb gorilla sit? Wherever it likes." Very few creatures can oppose a dragon, especially once they're a couple of hundred years old. They're huge, powerful creatures, who generally are accepted to have "arrogance" as part of their typical psychological make-up.

Obviously, they are individuals. Their experiences will vary. One dragon, who has perhaps tangled with a lot of dangerous adversaries (powerful wizards, nations with troops who specialize in hunting dragons, other dragons or other intelligent flying monsters, and so on), may be extremely canny and cautious. Particularly if they've faced adventurers a lot before, and particularly if they're not arrogant. Another dragon, who has been in a location where they face fewer threats (less developed human/humanoid societies, or ones which have a relationship with the dragon, few other dragons), may well be lazy, thoughtless, and not put its intellect to any good use.

My issue is with the oft-repeated canard that because a monster has a high INT, it's always going to do the smart thing, and should have elaborate plans. This should be disproven by your day-to-day experience of highly intelligent humans, who frequently have NO plan and whilst they can think on their feet better, may well panic, see red, or make very bad decisions in the heat of the moment! Yet I've seen it repeated, as it it were some genius approach to monsters, since at least the early 1990s. Sure, if a monster is smart, it may have a smart plan, especially if it's on the offensive, or in its lair and it is frequently attacked. But dragons have "I can leave the door unlocked" neighbourhoods (or the equivalent thereof) and levels of complacency too. Or they might panic, or try something superficially smart but actually not. High INT means they have the potential for very elaborate tactics, not that it's necessity.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
It is. It's also sometimes known as character generation.

The term you're looking for to represent the rest of it is character development. This happens in-game when the character interacts with the other PCs, the NPCs, the setting, and the adventures; and learns about itself in the process. Or dies trying.

Unless the game is play-by-post I certainly don't see forums and posts as representing any part of play whatsoever. :)
I start character development as a joint act with my party and GM during character generation. Also, we use emails and posts to a private server for all downtime activities. This means that between sessions we still have "play by post" to a degree. What your calling character development is what I am referring to character creation. I just also add character generation to that because I sit down with my D&D books I go through the rules and follow them to make a characters. My definition of character creation is the combination of your character generation and development as one larger idea. I don't separate.
Since you do consider character development as and in game action then knowing this is what I am speaking of means you recognize and are aware this is very much part of the game. As part of the game I consider Character development to be a pillar of D&D of often called the social pillar. The only think I am saying is that combine that with character generation and call it the Character creation pillar. Why? Because I love making characters. I help my friends with their characters if they have issues concerns or complainants. I have a folder with 16 alts maid from different ideas I have had and if my character dies I find one of my idea that I like that I think would be a good fit as a replacement bring them to the table and develop them in game.

That said if you don't want to group those things as one pillar thats fine.I include everything in the D&D rules as falling into a pillar character generation for me falls under character creation with character development. If some parts of the D&D rule book are not D&D to you ... I don't get why but I do agree and except you are in titled to that opinion. But I think we are clear at this point what we both mean. We just define things differently.
 

How is this 'ridiculous nonsense' from the dragon's point of view?

And isn't the DM in theory supposed to play her intelligent monsters intelligently, and with a halfway-decent sense of self-preservation?
I addressed this at length in another post. Dragons are people and should be RP'd as people. People make mistakes, including highly intelligent people. Sometimes they make very bad mistakes in the heat of the moment.

It's outright bad RP to continually equate intelligence to brilliant plans or not making mistakes, and it leads to extremely boring sessions if the DM simply sees a monster having INT 15 or more and then RPs it as if it were calm, rational, and always took the best possible decision.

It's not an uncommon approach, sadly. But it's hysterical that DMs say this whilst not even blinking when an INT 18 PC makes some ghastly tactical mistake.

If what the dragon does makes for a boring session, then so be it. What did you do to get it to strafe you in the first place, and maybe don't do that next time.
And we're full circle. This sort of attitude is why threads like this exist.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
You're misunderstanding the issue. Things like nets don't work without DM fiat. There are no rules, or things close to rules, which remotely represent such a thing. Ultimately it will be entirely in the hands of the DM as to whether such things work, or stand a chance to to work, whether it's by simply saying if they do/don't based on the specifics of the situation, or assigning some sort of values to them (which will again be a matter of fiat).
PHB p148
Net. A Large or smaller creature hit by a net is restrained until it is freed. A net has no effect on creatures that are formless, or creatures that are Huge or larger. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the net (AC 10) also frees the creature without harming it, ending the effect and destroying the net. When you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to attack with a net, you can make only one attack regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

I'd say you're wrong on all three.

#1 - Trying new things should be done in a rational, considered way, looking at the specifics of what's going wrong.

That means generic prescriptions like those you've outlined are not typically useful unless it's impossible to work out what is going wrong. It's kind of a desperation move to just "try something different" rather than to consider the exact circumstances. Much of what you've outlined could make problems worse, not better.
Nothing I said can't be done in a ration way. You observer your bored in combat. You make a change. If its better you keep the change if not you return to your nomral play style and make a different change. You do this until you find what works for you. My list is just a group of suggestions of changes to try. The right change for you might not be on the list, which is why I asked for suggestion and got many.

Your saying I am making assumptions but I am not. All I said is, if your having the problem of being board as GM, other are having this problem too (this is fact, I have multiple GMs who have had this problem) and here are some suggestions that helped others and might help you if you try them.
I did not say you or anyone else is bored only that I know some poeple are they told me so and number of people on this thread said they were having this problem. I did not say these answer are all knowing and will fix your problems. They are recommendations from those who have had this problem and had some success fixing it at their table. My best hope is that it gives poeple a place to start and leads them to a solution that works for them.

#2 - "If your complaining..." - Well I'm not, and I haven't, so why are you even saying that? It's like you're responding to someone else. So that's wrong.
I am not saying you specificly are complaining. I mean "you" as in the meteorically you. Meaning this for those who are complaining. I did not intend to say what is specificly going on at your table. Your write the post if in response to others. The Dragon's being dumb weak HP problems was brought up as problem and I was just using as an example of "A GM has complaint, we are recommending possible fixes." You are not the only GM here and these fixes may not be relevant at your table. This thread is not about you. Its about help GMs who do have these complaints and problems. Why are you taking personally?

#3 - You seem to be trying to suggest that portraying dragons as making mistakes means that you play all combat encounters as dumb slugfests. That's both insulting and wrong, and frankly irrational as an argument.
I am saying my GMs did this. They have admitted as much and I have seen happen more than once. Dragons can make mistakes but what happens when a GM always plays his dragons as dumb slugfests? I have seen this. If your bored in combat is is a consideration that your doing something like this and if your doing with Dragons then its likely something your doing with all your big baddies. That is what I have seen with several GMs and I did not understand this was painful for them until recently.

However, let me be clear. I don't know you. I don't know your table, and I am not making personal judgements off you or your table that I do not know and can not make. I am saying to those players that after reading the original post think that it might apply to you, the me and a number of other GMs have come up with ideas you can systematically and rationally try to fine a way to make playing fun again for you as GM. GMs who love making characters this if for you. I don't mean you Ruin Explorer unless your like making character and your interested in the discussion that follow.

You Ruin Explorer have decided to apply personal intent and attack do a general take it or leave discussion to be come insulted personally. Please know I am not talking about you. I will gladly discuss this topic and take suggestions to help anyone this does apply to and they exist by their own words. I am one of the GMs who did not understand this and writting it and some of the suggestions I got because I wrote this post will help me.

I'm talking about PCs, not enemies, re: limited tactical options in 5E.
This is a thread to help GMs having problems with being bored while their players are still having fun. I have thoughts on players and tactical options, but that is not this thread. If you want to talk about the lack of player tactical options in 5E, you might consider making a thread about it. If I see it I might even join the discussion. This is totally up to you but not at all what we are talking about here.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
If this is the case, that the players have fun and the GM doesn't, then the GM needs to:
A. Power through. It might become fun again.
B. Switch games that offers a ruleset that peaks the GM's interest.
C. Use less combat, therefore making it more meaningful.
D. Try some new techniques (although the techniques I have seen outside of the usual, like terrain, seem to be metaphysical lessons on GM'ing styles.)
E. Be a player. (In my opinion this is by far the best remedy for people who are non-judgmental. Those that have a hard time giving up control of the table should avoid this one.)

If none of those work, maybe stop gaming for awhile. Devote energy into writing, game creation, music, cooking or anything else that gets your creative juices flowing. Then after a year or two, step back into the fray. ;)
Well I can't say those aren't all solutions to being bored with fights. However the intent of the thread is D.

A. Its D because I don't want my GM who has continued to push through or me as GM to suffer if we can avoid it.
B. Its D because we like 5e as a whole, we have tried other systems but actually this problem of boring combat came up in all of the because of GM/player information disparity and a number of other factors that lead to this exist in other games.
C. Its D because less boring combat or more boring combat means your still not enjoying yourself as GM. Its better to find ways to make combat enjoyable if we can and generally we don't have complaints from the players so players don't want less combat. Making combat enjoyable for the GM so they are as happy to do it as players is more ideal.
D. Trying new techniques one at a time to see what we can do to bring the joy back to the GM will take some time to work out it represents a more univeral fix though it will take time to work out for each GM but even my GM was not aware of the problem before so only now are able to try and address it. I haven't quit a campaign because if it as a GM but I see now that I was on the path to the same thing so this is also a lesson for me as I learn to GM more.
E. Its D because my GM tried that answer first and realized the GM we were playing under was doing the same thing but worse because it was also painful for the players sometimes. He is GMing to be apart of a D&D game where we find these problems fix them and grow instead of putting our heads in the ground. If you have good GM that does not have these issue this is perhaps the second best answer. My GM is actually the on that convinced me to GM a few games so that I could learn and doing so was helping me as a player and a GM... but life happened. Hopefully I will get a chance to GM again but I will only GM for now with people I trust and I don't know enough people that I trust and are willing to play to do that at the moment. This is part of why I am trying to help my GM because I can't GM for him at the moment to lighten his burden.

We do play video games together on the side and we were meeting once a month before but I am still in favor of self improvement over avoidance when possible.

Again. All your answers are functionally correct. I just think D is what I want to keep the thread focused on because its the only suggestion that means facing a problem we discovered with what we love and fixing it so that we love it again. All the rest are technically avoiding the problem instead of fixing it. There are times when that has merit. I just hold that as a last resort.
 

If combat is interesting no one complains about how long it takes because they are having fun. The very fact you are saying combat takes too long implies that its not fun for you and you want it to end. If you don't mind playing D&D your obviously enjoying some part of D&D. If you have ever played other war games and enjoyed them then your aware that combat short or long can be fun without anything else. If your players are enjoying combat and your cutting them short, I highly recommend trying out some of these suggestions to see if you change combat so that its enjoyable enough that its length is not a problem for you. If your players don't like combat ether then making combat as short as possible is not a problem for your table and some of these suggestions. Considering enemy motives that are not about depleting the parties HP can help open up roleplay options to avoid or shorten combat. Where reducing the number of enemies while using a little more terrain and tactics preparation can reduce how long fights take because the HP grind is shorter requiring less damage and their for less turns without sacrificing threat level and story tension for which you put the combat in to create.

Ether way ... these suggestions can be used to help you achieve your tables need. I hope you consider them and find something useful to your table that perhaps you didn't think of, had forgotten, or just had not been using lately. Best wishes for you game.
No. People sometimes just have different taste. I've played every flavor of combat, and it is just a matter of preferring shorter, more fast paced fights in games. I have been playing for decades. I just know what I like: short combat. I basically want combat to play about as fast as it would play in real life or a movie in an RPG. I do enjoy strategy and war games, but I see those as totally different things. When my RPG suddenly becomes a war-game in the middle of play, I just find that dull. This is one of the reasons I don't prefer some of the later editions of D&D (I lean toward the earlier editions with quicker combat----can't comment too much on 5E, but 3E and 4E were way too long with combat for my taste).
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
..snip..

And we're full circle. This sort of attitude is why threads like this exist.
You know I actually agree with you there. I understand what Lanefan means and where he is coming from but despite you and me seeming to disagree with just about everything else... I don't consider excepting boredom as a valid option. Sure players will avoid that in the future but its like I said before, what ever habbit your doing to make your dragon fight boring no doubt makes other fights boring. So players my avoid dragon fights but then they are starting a list of things to avoid. This is also a problem if its just the player and/or the GM that is bored

I do think boredom is a larger problem for GMs because of the player/GM information disparity and players having a larger investment and therefore greater fear of PC death to make fights more meaningful. That is not to say it doesn't effect players, just that I created the thread because I feel like GM fun is often overlooked and under rated. As a result GMs end up ending campaigns or restarting them alot in my expirance which effects everyone.
 

If your players are enjoying combat and your cutting them short, I highly recommend trying out some of these suggestions to see if you change combat so that its enjoyable enough that its length is not a problem for you.
I am happy to accommodate players and shift style to fit a group. But I am not going to torture myself. When I am a player, I definitely vastly prefer short combats. When I am a GM, I also prefer shorter combat. The idea of running another 3E campaign with those 30+ minute battles, is of zero interest to me. I wouldn't enjoy it. A GM does need to be flexible and fit their style to the group, but they also need to find the game they are playing fun. If there is a big mismatch of styles (like I prefer my combats under 10 minutes, and my players want tactically driven 45 minute combats) that just isn't going to make anyone happy.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
Interesting thread!

I’m an experienced wargamer and so very familiar designing scenarios and missions for war games, as such, putting together a well crafted combat encounter is something I absolutely love doing and one for my favourite parts of D&D.

For me, the most important thing is to design an interesting terrain layout. No battle needs to take place in an empty chamber. Fill it with anything from tables to pillars to a roaring bonfire or spinning mechanical platforms. Dynamic elements (like the room filling with water) are great. As is verticality (having higher up spots that are hard to access).

Interesting doesn’t have to just be about combat tactics too. Designing somewhere jaw-dropping, mysterious and memorable can all be fun things to create too. Perhaps the battle is on the precipice of a waterfall, or perhaps the back wall is a Rosetta Stone of a lost language to the ancient ruins they are exploring.

You can learn a lot from video games with both these aspects, and they are a great pool of inspiration.

Once I have the layout designed, I think of exciting and cunning ways for the enemies to use that layout to force the players into making decisions.

Another rule I have for myself is never for the party to fight the same selection of enemies more than once. This doesn’t mean you can’t have recurring bad guys, but that a new element should be added in for each fight. For example, in my current campaign the players fought some goblins riding on wolfback in their first session. Two got away, and now they have tracked them to their lair. The wolves will be penned in cages elsewhere, but they’ll have an enraged Yeti waiting for the players instead and the goblins will be hiding up top in the shadows with bows. There’s so much cool stuff in the Monster Manual I don’t see the need to make 2 encounters ever be the same.
Welcome to Enworld and what a great post!
 

I don't agree at all. 5E has the same issue as 3E, in that people who aren't specialized in these tactics via class/subclass/feats are not strong with them and the opportunity cost for using them is extremely high. There are times when they make sense, but it's not comparable to 4E, where every combat was tactical.
That is not what I have seen in my games. These are sound tactics. It is not because you fail at something that it was not worth trying. IRL, any tactics has risks. Auto success would mean that the choices would be pretty boring in a game context. Of course if you want to be better at something, you better put chances on your side. But contrary to 3.xed you don't need to specialized. The Help action will give the best character for the job advantage on the roll.

4ed was not as tactical as you make it sound.


I disagree. Dismissing spells, powers, etc. as being part of tactical options means your definition of tactical options is so askew as to be meaningless.
Then do not dismiss the options of 5ed either. I was a fan of 4ed. But it had flaws and was not as tactical as you make it sound. The powers and "spells" of 4ed were redundant to extreme after a while. You had to rely entirely on them and a lot of higher powers were simply a stronger take on a lower one. Up to some point, that was logical, but it was this aspect that made a lot of people compare 4ed to MMORPG. I know you disagree with this comparison, but it stood the test nonetheless. Even I, a fan of 4ed, still consider 4ed to be very close to MMORPGs.


I think that depends entirely on where they are in the ecosystem of your world, and what threats they've faced.
Completely disagree with you on that.
An ancient dragon survives by being devious, ruthless and experimented. It has made its mistakes and survived to mate. It is as simple as that. Just like in the real world, the best dragon predators are... Dragons! They fight each other for treasure, mates and territory. If a dragon survives this, in addition to fighting puny humans, elves and other humanoids for treasures (for rights to mate) then that dragon as experience, knowledge and a cunning that is a testament to its ability to survive by planning and having contingencies for extreme cases.

Evertything you bring below just proves my point. Only the best and fittest dragons survive to the Ancient age. This also means that some of the adult dragons are of the stuff an Ancient dragon is made of. So some dragons will have a better tactical appreciations of the puny little 2 legged primates and the power they can wield.

I think the mistake people make is to equate a massive top-predator with flight and significant magical capabilities to some sort of villainous human. Every comparison I ever see to a dragon is Moriarty or Xanatos or whatever, but to me that seems to be completely anthropomorphizing dragons in a bizarre way. A dragon criminal in a society of dragons might have to be "The Moriarty of dragons" or whatever, sure. But a dragon in the typical D&D world? It's more like "Where does the 800lb gorilla sit? Wherever it likes." Very few creatures can oppose a dragon, especially once they're a couple of hundred years old. They're huge, powerful creatures, who generally are accepted to have "arrogance" as part of their typical psychological make-up.

Obviously, they are individuals. Their experiences will vary. One dragon, who has perhaps tangled with a lot of dangerous adversaries (powerful wizards, nations with troops who specialize in hunting dragons, other dragons or other intelligent flying monsters, and so on), may be extremely canny and cautious. Particularly if they've faced adventurers a lot before, and particularly if they're not arrogant. Another dragon, who has been in a location where they face fewer threats (less developed human/humanoid societies, or ones which have a relationship with the dragon, few other dragons), may well be lazy, thoughtless, and not put its intellect to any good use.
My issue is with the oft-repeated canard that because a monster has a high INT, it's always going to do the smart thing, and should have elaborate plans. This should be disproven by your day-to-day experience of highly intelligent humans, who frequently have NO plan and whilst they can think on their feet better, may well panic, see red, or make very bad decisions in the heat of the moment! Yet I've seen it repeated, as it it were some genius approach to monsters, since at least the early 1990s. Sure, if a monster is smart, it may have a smart plan, especially if it's on the offensive, or in its lair and it is frequently attacked. But dragons have "I can leave the door unlocked" neighbourhoods (or the equivalent thereof) and levels of complacency too. Or they might panic, or try something superficially smart but actually not. High INT means they have the potential for very elaborate tactics, not that it's necessity.
On this part I agree. Up to a point. An Ancient dragon has seen it all. It will take a lot to surprise him. Would you play a lich stupidly? Not I and neither should you. An ancient dragon will not be prone to panic and instead will flee, take a long rest, heal up and try to fight the thieves to get back its treasure. Being pursued by an ancient dragon is not something players like a lot.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
No. People sometimes just have different taste. I've played every flavor of combat, and it is just a matter of preferring shorter, more fast paced fights in games. I have been playing for decades. I just know what I like: short combat. I basically want combat to play about as fast as it would play in real life or a movie in an RPG. I do enjoy strategy and war games, but I see those as totally different things. When my RPG suddenly becomes a war-game in the middle of play, I just find that dull. This is one of the reasons I don't prefer some of the later editions of D&D (I lean toward the earlier editions with quicker combat----can't comment too much on 5E, but 3E and 4E were way too long with combat for my taste).
People do have different tastes. I find it hard to understand why battle length is a problem if its as fun as the rest of the game... but its not a requirement that I do because I can conseed that this is possible. That said, if your not bored of combat and combat is not painful for you then the suggestions are not intended for you.

If your looking for ways of speeding up fights, like I said, fewer enemies at lower CR for small HP pools using more tactics and variation to keep the difficulty and objective based fights that don't require fighting to the death are really the only things I can think of just for faster matches. I am not saying that is "the solution for you" or that your not already doing these and fights are still too long for you. I am just trying to be helpful if your saying you have a problem with long fights. If your bearing with it, but just want to vent that is fine too. If your trying these or don't like it, so you are looking for suggestions, maybe someone smarter than me has another idea.
 
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I find it hard to understand why battle length is a problem if its as fun as the rest of the game...
This is strange logic to me. It is like saying I don't understand why you find nuts delicious, but dislike like them in a chocolate bar. Something can be fun on its own as its own thing (a war game for example) but not fit the experience you are looking for in a particular medium (like an RPG). I don't like when the game suddenly shifts from a faced pace, roleplaying game, to a waiting to take your turn board game. I want the game to have a certain flow. And I've just learned from years of playing, I can't stand long combats (not matter how 'fun' they are). I am not trying to be rude at all here. I am just being clear about what I like in an RPG, and what works for me. For me, I am much better off, if I am going to play D&D, doing so with something like Moldvay. But usually I prefer games that, just by the nature of their systems, have faster combats.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
This is strange logic to me. It is like saying I don't understand why you find nuts delicious, but dislike like them in a chocolate bar. Something can be fun on its own as its own thing (a war game for example) but not fit the experience you are looking for in a particular medium (like an RPG). I don't like when the game suddenly shifts from a faced pace, roleplaying game, to a waiting to take your turn board game. I want the game to have a certain flow. And I've just learned from years of playing, I can't stand long combats (not matter how 'fun' they are). I am not trying to be rude at all here. I am just being clear about what I like in an RPG, and what works for me. For me, I am much better off, if I am going to play D&D, doing so with something like Moldvay. But usually I prefer games that, just by the nature of their systems, have faster combats.
I believe you. My mind just does not work that way. People sometimes just have different taste. as you said. I get that. My logic is strange to you, and your ability to want less of something your having fun doing is strange to me. I can except that this is a product of who we are even if I can not wrap my head around that logic because it doesn't work that way for me.

If I like it I want more of it. I like nuts. I don't like nuts on my brownies. I love snickers. I don't eat less brownies because some have nuts. I don't like nut on my brownies so I pick the nuts off or some nuts off and add some caramel now its a mudslide brownie. I love it brownies without nuts and mudslide brownies with nuts and caramel. The thought of just not eating the brownie or eating half a brownie with nuts on it is not something I would do or consider because I know I can change it to something I love. ... we differ here but I am not saying you are wrong. I just don't understand its. Seems like wasting brownies. That does mean it is. Generally brownies don't go to waste so I guess there could be a D&D equivalent to that..
 

PHB p148
Net. A Large or smaller creature hit by a net is restrained until it is freed. A net has no effect on creatures that are formless, or creatures that are Huge or larger. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the net (AC 10) also frees the creature without harming it, ending the effect and destroying the net. When you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to attack with a net, you can make only one attack regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.
Thank you, exactly - there are no rules for a net suitable for a dragon, you need DM fiat.

I am not saying you specificly are complaining. I mean "you" as in the meteorically you.
Okay, but it seemed directed at me. I'll ignore it I guess. I think your auto-correct or auto-translate is on the blink though, because it's hard to work out what "meteorically" would be meant to mean in this context? Metaphorically? But it's not a metaphorical use of "you", it's just the "impersonal" or "generic" you.

That is not what I have seen in my games. These are sound tactics. It is not because you fail at something that it was not worth trying. IRL, any tactics has risks. Auto success would mean that the choices would be pretty boring in a game context. Of course if you want to be better at something, you better put chances on your side. But contrary to 3.xed you don't need to specialized. The Help action will give the best character for the job advantage on the roll.
I've heard this argument before, and it's one which I feel completely fails to either understand or account for opportunity cost. Anyone touting the Help action as a good idea above about level 5, in combat, using your main Action, is definitely not understanding opportunity cost outside the more niche of a niche situations. It's the True Strike of Actions.

Completely disagree with you on that.
An ancient dragon survives by being devious, ruthless and experimented. It has made its mistakes and survived to mate. It is as simple as that. Just like in the real world, the best dragon predators are... Dragons! They fight each other for treasure, mates and territory. If a dragon survives this, in addition to fighting puny humans, elves and other humanoids for treasures (for rights to mate) then that dragon as experience, knowledge and a cunning that is a testament to its ability to survive by planning and having contingencies for extreme cases.

Evertything you bring below just proves my point. Only the best and fittest dragons survive to the Ancient age. This also means that some of the adult dragons are of the stuff an Ancient dragon is made of. So some dragons will have a better tactical appreciations of the puny little 2 legged primates and the power they can wield.
This is Nietzschean nonsense. I studied archaeology, and was interested in paleontology, and the idea that only the fittest creatures survive to the oldest ages is absolute gibberish. It's especially not true for intelligent creatures like humans. Dragons don't have a society, but their sheer size and power means they can and will have other creatures do their bidding.

We're not just talking about "ancient" dragons, either. There's a whole spectrum of dragons, and the general prescriptive advice is to play them all like they're tactical geniuses. Which is just ridiculous. They're people with personalities, flaws, dumb fixed ideas even though they're smart, and so on. Some ancient dragons will be war-scarred veterans you describe. Some will be fat, lazy, and even fading, their best days long past them, even if they're still getting larger like a crocodile. No-one but top-rank adventurers can even challenge an ancient dragon, pretty much. No army can. No single Wizard. Other dragons are unlikely to mess with most dragons, just like most top predators don't fight each other, particularly not to the death - why? Because they might kill/injure themselves in the attack. It's potentially lose/lose. Smaller dragons will simply flee larger ones, because they don't stand a chance. Only extreme circumstances or the Good/Evil thing are ever likely to lead to dragons fighting each other, cool as it may conceptually be. It's even less likely with dragons being intelligent and able to communicate. If some elder wyrm descends on some young dragon and says "give me your stuff", the young one may puff and hiss but unless he's real dumb he's not going to fight. I admit that in some cases time would weed out dragons who were really, really dumb, but not those who were kind of just sorta-dumb.

The dragons you'll have a real problem with are those who actively attack human cities, who hit hard targets, who study those targets, and take them down. They would be an incredible menace. You could build an entire campaign around fighting one of those (and its minions, and dealing with the results of its attacks - they might cause unconnected raiders or unscrupulous nations to war on half-burned cities and so on, or necromancers might be having a field day).

But you can't make me believe that's most dragons. It's not most dragons in fiction (Smaug uses no tactics, for example, simply assuming he is so tough he is unstoppable, despite clearly being very intelligent), and it's not most dragons in D&D lore, who are typically slightly cowardly creatures, who hang out in some backwater, and raid lightly-defended or defenceless farmsteads, caravans, and so on.

On this part I agree. Up to a point. An Ancient dragon has seen it all. It will take a lot to surprise him. Would you play a lich stupidly? Not I and neither should you. An ancient dragon will not be prone to panic and instead will flee, take a long rest, heal up and try to fight the thieves to get back its treasure. Being pursued by an ancient dragon is not something players like a lot.
So you think some Lich which has literally been locked in a tomb for 4000 years, going slowly completely and totally insane, is going to be a rational and cunning opponent? I very much doubt it. Older isn't better. Older can mean outdated and stupid. I notice some fantasy authors have some fun with this (Steven Erikson does with Malazan - some ancient stuff is terrifying - but some of it just thinks it's terrifying and is actually a joke). An ancient tomb-lich may well be extremely powerful, but he's also extremely likely to walk face-first into a trap, or fail to understand what a cannon is and why it's a problem that it's pointed at him.

Liches are in fact particularly likely to be smart-but-morons. The trouble is they're so powerful and they have a backup which can be hard/impossible to find - they only had to be clever/sane when they did the phylactery and became a Lich, not after thousands of years of wandering around a tomb mumbling to themselves.

Ancient dragons will run the gamut too. Some will be basically terrifying gods-on-earth. Some will be Smaug - i.e. foolish, tactic-less, and prone to walk face-first into something which might kill them without even thinking about it.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned though is that ancient dragons and liches will typically be staggeringly familiar with their surroundings (even without magic), and so if met on home terrain, will have some huge advantages even if they don't have a lot of traps (and some bonkers lich probably does have a lot of traps). Hundreds of years will give you something beyond familiarity.
 

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