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5E How many rounds do most of your combats last?

How many rounds do most of your combats last

  • 1-2

    Votes: 4 3.6%
  • 3-4

    Votes: 61 55.5%
  • 5-6

    Votes: 35 31.8%
  • 6+

    Votes: 10 9.1%

  • Total voters
    110

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I know they don't all last the same, but I'm curious if many combats go past round 5.....This isn't for a research paper, just go with your gut.

thanks!
 

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Draegn

Explorer
Time in our game is different; we have 1 minute combat rounds, each round has six 10 second combat phases. There are two weapons tracks. Melee attacks per phase, ranged attacks per round.

This was done to better simulate the rate of fire for missile weapons when compared to how many times a melee weapon could be wielded.

It is with the opponents faced that determines the length of combat. Goblins 1 or 2 phases, a dragon multiple rounds. Also theatre of the mind is applied.
 


Probably in the 3-4 range. For a while one of my tables had about 8-10 people, depending, and combat only lasted 1-2 rounds (and still took over an hour). So glad that that table eventually shrunk to a sane size.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I voted 5-6 but it's all over the board. Depends on the goal of the encounter, number and type of opponents.

Maybe the biggest is the players, if they split up and don't focus fire it takes longer. Some groups are just more efficient than others.
 


Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
My gut says 5-8. Never understood or enjoyed all these 2-3 round encounters people talk about. They don't sound like very interesting stories to me. (except occasionally when you run across the mook in the alley who pulls a knife on someone they shouldn't!)
Not every single fight I have is the story of a lifetime. They're interesting but I don't want them overstaying their welcome. If I have a fight where the gimmick is the enemy can fly, it's interesting up until the party is still in combat an hour and a half later where they feel they should just continue.

The BBEG fights, though, last long because there's plenty interesting stuff each round.

When the enemies are doing the same thing they did last turn, things have started to slow down.
 

the Jester

Legend
It really depends. I often have waves of bad guys join a fight after several rounds. But last game, we had a couple of one round fights, as well as a 3-rounder and a 5-rounder.
 


Not every single fight I have is the story of a lifetime. They're interesting but I don't want them overstaying their welcome. If I have a fight where the gimmick is the enemy can fly, it's interesting up until the party is still in combat an hour and a half later where they feel they should just continue.
You need to work on getting your turn/round speed up!
90 minutes would easily be 20-30 rounds at my table with my regular group. With a new group I would expect it to be at least 10 rounds. That's way more than the 5-8 rounds I normally see/plan.

I've found that if you let rounds slow down, they get even longer and slower because people just are not paying attention, so then they have to turn their attention back to the table and figure out what's going on and then decide what to do. But if you keep a character turn to 30-60 seconds, it's only 5 minutes or less before the next time a player has to act, they stay engaged. They figure out what's their going to do on their turn as it happens. When their turn comes they state their intention, roll their dice and I (if needed) state any outcome. Next!

When the enemies are doing the same thing they did last turn, things have started to slow down.
Absolutely. So why would the DM have the enemies do exactly the same things each round? That's boring!
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I voted 5-6 but it's all over the board. Depends on the goal of the encounter, number and type of opponents.

Maybe the biggest is the players, if they split up and don't focus fire it takes longer. Some groups are just more efficient than others.
What difficulties do you usually use?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
What difficulties do you usually use?

It varies by group and what I have planned, how many long rests and so on. Sometimes I'll just have a handful of hard or deadly fights with every once in a while doing just 1 big deadly encounter (possibly with multiple waves) so people can have fun going nova. Most of the time I use medium encounters with maybe one or two hard.

Most of the time I don't use easy encounters unless the goal is complex and something other than "fight off or kill the monsters".

But my current group is ... well let's just say I have a lot of fun but I have to constantly remind myself they are not tactically oriented. At all. Just threw a medium encounter with a thick blinding fog. Everyone was literally running around in semi-random directions, provoking opportunity attacks, spending turns doing stuff with no tactical benefit. Took 6-8 rounds I guess?

I think part of it was that I was using Roll20 and turned everybody's vision down to 10 feet ... and then there were issues with light (on part of the PCs), etc. It's one thing to look at a mat and minis and say you can't see stuff and another to only have a very small part of the screen visible while fellow PCs are being pummeled.

Don't get me wrong. We had fun. Dropped half the group to zero at one point or another, but still fun. One of my previous groups (unfortunately we moved out of state) probably would have taken out the big bad in 2-3 rounds.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
You need to work on getting your turn/round speed up!
90 minutes would easily be 20-30 rounds at my table with my regular group. With a new group I would expect it to be at least 10 rounds. That's way more than the 5-8 rounds I normally see/plan.
It's the pace my players perfer. They like to flourish and describe their every actions and everyone is on-board with it, so I am too.

I also don't like having a player do the same thing more than twice in an encounter. Some encounters aren't worth more than the at-will stuff like cantrips but I don't want combat to just be cantrips.

I should also mention I do the 6-8 encounters a day and I like to get the whole adventuring day in a single session if I can.

I also have some easy encounters or even trivial encounters so the party gauges their strength with a reference. "Wow, 4 goblins used to be a nightmare at level 1 but now we've killed them in a round without even taking a hit!"

You do those sparingly, though. Don't want them having to feel like they're not in danger.
 

Depends on level. At low level, they tend to go longer (5-6 rounds), because the players don't have as many resources to draw upon, relying on basic attacks and cantrips. At higher levels they often can blast through an encounter only only 3 rounds.
 

By design, 5E combats are intended to last 2-3 rounds, in general, according to the actual game designers.

Interesting that some people are reporting figures wildly off from that. I would love to have a robot audit those sessions and see how long combat actually lasted, and if it did last a long time, what was causing that. I know one of my players was once "We're on what, round six?" and I was like "Round three..." so I know some people have warped perceptions here.

Realistically anything between 1 round and about 8 does happen, but I actually keep track of this and we definitely center around 2-4 rounds. As Shiroiken says, at higher levels combats go a bit shorter more reliably. I see plenty of 3-round fights at L3, say, but also plenty of 5-round ones, because a few misses can really draw them out.

Easy 1-2 Rounds
Medium 2-3 Rounds
Hard 4-5 Rounds
Deadly 6-7 Rounds
Deadly+ 8-9 Rounds

I shoot for 18-22 rounds in a day if I'm looking to push the PCs to their limit

I don't find that it reliably matches up that way, myself, at low or high level. Plenty of Hard encounters can be over in 1-2 rounds, for example, and mediums with a large number of enemies who are spread out can easily go on for a while, especially if its not a good idea to AOE a lot (fireball in a dry-season forest etc.). Deadly and Deadly+ encounters rarely go on for more than 5-6 rounds in my experience, at both low and high levels, because Deadly+ doesn't necessarily mean tons of HP and AC, it often means tons of enemy damage output.

I do kind of agree that the number of rounds determines the resource-damage, often, though. So if you mean you can back-figure difficulty from that you sorta can, though I dunno - I just went through and checked and my party survived 27 rounds of combat in my L3 game, in one adventuring day (but that was waaaaaay more than intended and honestly one bad round at the end and it could have been a TPK - also everyone but me used all their HD already, and we still haven't got to a long rest - we've also done what are, according to the encounter calculator, two deadly+ and one deadly encounter together with several hard and medium). One short rest in there.

The biggest factor in how long stuff takes is often how spread out it is and what the physical situation is, and obviously how many resources the PCs are willing to blow can factor in too. At lower levels a few bad rolls can really drag stuff out too.
 
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Iry

Hero
I aim for 4 rounds and rarely more than three combats a day. It depends on the narrative of course, but I lean more towards political games with more skill challenges to fill out my 6-8.
 

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