OSR How do you run your combat? (B/X, BECMI, OSR)

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
It is always a choice of what you want in your game. So it really does come down to personal taste.

I want my players to be immersed in their own heads instead of looking at minis and a battle mat. I've played both styles and I like both styles for variety. In my own campign I do not want a player pointing at a figure out there and thinking, that is me.

There are tools you can use that blend styles. I make the players use a standard marching order. For complex situations I draw room diagrams on paper. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and my players remind me where they are and what they are doing. I think the real beauty of evocative make believe play is that the players have to trust their referee and the referee has to trust the players. I've rarely had people cheat, this is due to the trust relationship at the table.
Well, sometimes it's a matter of personal taste. But as you allude to by referencing the other tools you use, going "no minis and pure make believe" is sometimes making things harder on yourself and your players than it needs to be.

You don't have to use a grid map with minis, but using notes or minis or poker chips or some other kind of visual aid WILL make it easier for everyone to be on the same page in a complex encounter, and involve fewer forgotten details and reminders.

Even in a mostly TotM game, I still like minis for marching order and to show relative positions. Having "am I in reach of so and so?" or "is the cleric getting ganged up on right now?" be questions people can immediately see the answers to (and not have misunderstandings about) is example of, as the old saying goes, a picture being worth a thousand words.
 

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Well, sometimes it's a matter of personal taste. But as you allude to by referencing the other tools you use, going "no minis and pure make believe" is sometimes making things harder on yourself and your players than it needs to be.

You don't have to use a grid map with minis, but using notes or minis or poker chips or some other kind of visual aid WILL make it easier for everyone to be on the same page in a complex encounter, and involve fewer forgotten details and reminders.

Even in a mostly TotM game, I still like minis for marching order and to show relative positions. Having "am I in reach of so and so?" or "is the cleric getting ganged up on right now?" be questions people can immediately see the answers to (and not have misunderstandings about) is example of, as the old saying goes, a picture being worth a thousand words.
I just have my own way of doing things. You would need to experience how I run to understand it.

I run groups as big as 15 PCs sometimes. Combat is fast and furious. (Why I do not use initiative in my games as it slows things down.)

My preference is to have everything on paper so the player made maps, movement orders, combat situations, etc, can be handed around for people to hold and see.

Been doing it like this since 1977. I think it is important for every DM to create their own system for how they run.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I just have my own way of doing things. You would need to experience how I run to understand it.

I run groups as big as 15 PCs sometimes. Combat is fast and furious. (Why I do not use initiative in my games as it slows things down.)

My preference is to have everything on paper so the player made maps, movement orders, combat situations, etc, can be handed around for people to hold and see.

Been doing it like this since 1977. I think it is important for every DM to create their own system for how they run.
I think we're probably not all that dissimilar in how we like to run. I like the mobility of minis over sketches, but I am also fond of some quick sketches with a marker to establish the positions on the table where everyone can see at the same time. :)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I play how I've always played and use Parallel Actions.

I had a chance to sit in with Bob Meyer running his version of Blackmoor and he claimed he ran his game like Arneson. He too used Parallel Actions.

It goes back to the 1 minute combat round idea of OD&D where everyone can do something meaningful in each combat round. You just remove all the granular detail and make it epic. It also makes it so players can do a big combat in about 10 minutes and move back to exploring. It's nice to get in 12 to 15 encounters in a game session.

It is not for everyone though. No minis and pure make beleive requires players who can think more abstractly. I have some programmer types I play with who just can't grasp it fully, they always grumble for using combat grids and figures. ;)
Judging by your user name I’ll assume you were involved in the Blackmoor film. Thank you. It was a fantastic watch.

Just to be sure, by parallel actions here do you mean simultaneous?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I use the B/X rules for individual initiative with some slight modifications. I usually separate the roll for surprise or the start of an encounter from the rest of actual combat with some description and telegraphing of enemy intent. This gives the party a chance to do something else (parlay, whatever) and not feel quite so forced to move to whacking things with pointy metal sticks. This is somewhat based on the initiative in Dr. Who where talkers go before fighters.
 

Geekrampage

Explorer
We play side-based d6 initiative and turn phases.

We play on Foundry so there's always a map and always tokens, but if we were in person there'd be a map and minis and some terrain on the table.

Before initiative: any spells being cast?
Each side rolls 1d6 initiative.
Side with initiative:
1. All characters check morale (NPCs only)
2. All characters move (advance or withdraw only, no fancy maneuvers)
3. All characters resolve missile fire
4. All characters resolve spell casting
5. All characters resolve melee attacks
Side without initiative repeats 1-5 above.
On a tied initiative, all characters (PC and NPC) go through 1-5 together

It tends to sound like this:

"Movement phase - GO! Okay, everybody where they want to be? Missile phase - GO!" and everyone rolls to attack and I apply damage. Then I say: "No spells. Melee phase - GO!" and everyone rolls to attack and I apply damage.

The only time it gets bogged down is with tied initiative. Then I have to proceed through each phase, character by character with the NPCs/monsters mixed in. I could just move monsters at the same time as player characters in one big group, but it can become chaotic, so I proceed down the list alphabetically or however characters are ordered in Foundry.
 

Judging by your user name I’ll assume you were involved in the Blackmoor film. Thank you. It was a fantastic watch.

Just to be sure, by parallel actions here do you mean simultaneous?

Everything happens at once and everyone gets their shot in.

Combat attacks all happen and spell results are applied at the end of the round. Very simple and fast.
 
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