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Encouraging Players to RP during Combat?


Gamer Talk


How do you encourage players to RP during combat? I'm interested in techniques that will get players to do more than just announce attack rolls and damage. Many of my players will do a little RP, and often describe their attacks and I encourage them to do so. I try to "lead by example" and always describe NPC attacks with a bit of flavor. However, there are a few players that just won't RP during combat at all.

Here's an example of a typical interaction with "Sam" during a combat encounter:

GM(Me): "...and the Goblin shrieks with rage after you deftly dodge his dogslicer attack at the last moment. Ok, Sam, you're up!

[Sam looks up from his laptop screen and rolls some dice.]

Sam: "23...16 points of damage."

GM: "OK...what are you doing?"

[Sam looks at the GM like he is stupid.]

Sam: "Attacking."

GM: "With what?"

[The look intensifies.]

Sam: "Longsword."
*************

You all get the point. No role-playing, no descriptions, just dice and damage. This player _is_ having fun. He keeps coming back and requests that I run more scenarios. The funny thing is that outside of combat, "Sam" is a pretty good role-player. I just can't find a way to get him, and a few others, to RP the combat.

Does anyone have advice that's worked for similar types of players?

Cheliax

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we've stopped using names of feats/spells/abilities during combat. Only names of weapons are allowed(*).
This is surprisingly difficult to get used to, but even if you only think of it half the time, it's always better than "I hit him with my swords". A fireball becomes "I point my finger at the first goblin, and a bullet flies at his head where it explodes in a great big ball of fire!"

*unless they're called Sword / Weapon / Thing.

also, if everybody's having fun, there's no problem :)

Andoran

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You can't make people do those kind of things. The best approach is to model what you like to see. If a player is using a longsword and hits, describe it. Go into great detail on killing blows and criticals.

They will either come along or they won't.


Let "Sam" play his character how he would like.

My players often do the same thing. I don't really mind it. Though, I'll often describe how their attack connected and how badly injured enemies become.

When I ask them to describe their attack, most often it's for the kill. One of my players always decapitates his foes.

Note: There are only so many ways one can describe his attack. If you really want to encourage descriptive combat, one thing that's helped in the past (when I've had players interested in that sort of thing) was to act out the combat.


ciretose wrote:

You can't make people do those kind of things. The best approach is to model what you like to see. If a player is using a longsword and hits, describe it. Go into great detail on killing blows and criticals.

They will either come along or they won't.

Agreed. Better to set the example than be a slave driver. As a PC, I will call out game mechanics, but I still roleplay my character's speaking parts. The GM gets into it and describes my actions. All of the other players do what I do too. It makes for a fun group. So like ciretose said, set the example and I'm sure some of the PCs might follow.

Shadow Lodge

I don't think its that big of a problem. Very few games i've been in have had anyone getting descriptive about the hits aside from the dm.
People either want to keep combat moving, don't feel they have the right to flavor text the combat, or can only use the math OR english side of their brains at once.


I know I can't force a player to be more descriptive, and I would never try. I do encourage it though but I'm careful not to do it in a way that would make anyone uncomfortable. And, in the end, I do agree that players should be able to play their character however they like.

It just seems interesting that outside of combat, "Sam" will RP with the best of them. He's no introvert. In fact, he's quite the social butterfly. I wonder if his lack of combat RP is because he prefers to play that way or because he doesn't know how to describe his attacks.

Hmmm, I know him well enough, I should probably just ask him. :-)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Aside from the "as long as the players are having fun, everything's fine" and other points already made, here are a couple of other thoughts:

Some people don't like to think about the nightmarish things happening to the bodies of those who find themselves in combat. My wife, for instance, is much more comfortable with numbers ticking toward victory than with descriptions of gutsplatter - I've seen her flinch or gasp in reaction to combat descriptions on more than one occasion.

Some people are trying to be time-efficient. In some places, GMs are practically begging the players to take their turns more quickly so they can finish before the venue closes. That gets talked about here on the boards, as well. Players who can be done with their turns in 10 seconds flat are at many tables highly appreciated. Nothing wrong with trying to keep the game flowing, you know? :)

One other thing: I've heard horror stories of GMs playing "gotcha" with descriptive players. I.e., if someone decides to be descriptive with their longsword attack ("I thrust it violently forward") and the GM catches something in the description that they don't like (longswords are for slashing, not stabbing), then out comes the "circumstance penalty". (Same if you describe, say, searching for traps and your description makes it sound like you're searching a smaller area than your perception check actually works for.) Just from hearing these stories, I'm afraid one day I'll go to a Con and have a GM I don't know and get screwed for not matching their playstyle. If someone's actually gotten burned like this, even once, then they might be very disinclined to be descriptive. Yes, I know, this is something of a "corner case", but you never know where your player is coming from so I find it's best to give them the benefit of the doubt, you know? :)


rpgsavant, I'm definitely NOT a slave driver. :-)

You guys are all correct, of course, about letting players do their own thing. For the record, I have not tried to impose my will at the table and I've never tried to force RP in any way at all. I just asked the question here to get others' point of view and see if any techniques worked to encourage players to WANT to be a little more descriptive.


Another thing to consider is that roleplaying combat is harder than roleplaying social scenarios.

We can all imagine how our characters would act, but how would they fight? Well, most of us aren't all that experienced with fighting in the real world. So, it doesn't come natural.

Sure we've played videogames, watched movies, and the like, but we've never had to actually swing a sword.

Now, that might not be true for every player - but, it's pretty accurate for most.

One of my players was in karate for years and practiced kendo. He was the one that wanted to act out combat... so, we did - and it was fun! Still, it felt awkward for me, since I've had no experience with that sort of thing.

Qadira

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So many things to say...
If Sam is injoying the way he plays, why push him to change? Is he having "bad-wrong-fun"? Push him hard enough to play the way you want him to and you may find you push him right out of the game.

Perhaps he likes the RP, but not the combat (this would be me too). In the middle of a game once, I realized I had just ax murdered 6 people in thier sleep. Entrenching tool to the head, coupe. Splat. I was really getting into the game, and then it hit me. Wow... I had to take a brake to go throw up. After that, I am less discriptive in combat. Perhaps Sam is the same?

And I'm with Jiggy about "GMs playing "gotcha" with descriptive players" - been there, done that. With a PC falling off a bridge once I said "I'll cast feather fall when I see the ground." So the Judge required a Spot roll - which I missed. One dead character. So I can see some players being very careful what they say in combat...


I had a GM who, wanting to increase RP, gave us +1 to hit for a few sessions if we were descriptive about our attacks (not a PFS game, obviously).

Increasing the amount of roleplaying overall would probably bleed over into the combat.


Craig Stokes wrote:

rpgsavant, I'm definitely NOT a slave driver. :-)

You guys are all correct, of course, about letting players do their own thing. For the record, I have not tried to impose my will at the table and I've never tried to force RP in any way at all. I just asked the question here to get others' point of view and see if any techniques worked to encourage players to WANT to be a little more descriptive.

Wrong choice of words, I guess. Some people want to be more descriptive, but they don't want to be the first person to do it.


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First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for offering their opinions on this matter. As I read your responses I realized that I need to change MY expectations a little. A bit of RP during combat makes it more fun for ME but I can't expect everyone to feel the same way. I'm still learning and honing my craft as a GM so this kind of feedback is very helpful for my development.

I'm not a pushy GM, not by a long shot. I will continue to do my little bit of RP and just accept that everyone brings something different to the table and defines 'fun' in different ways. For me, as a judge, I get the most satisfaction out of knowing the players are having a good time. I enjoy laughter at the table and consider the game a success when I see smiling faces all around. As long as everyone else is getting what THEY want out of the game then all is right with the world. :-)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You're on your way to greatness, Craig Stokes.

Qadira

Craig Stokes wrote:

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for offering their opinions on this matter. As I read your responses I realized that I need to change MY expectations a little. A bit of RP during combat makes it more fun for ME but I can't expect everyone to feel the same way. I'm still learning and honing my craft as a GM so this kind of feedback is very helpful for my development.

I'm not a pushy GM, not by a long shot. I will continue to do my little bit of RP and just accept that everyone brings something different to the table and defines 'fun' in different ways. For me, as a judge, I get the most satisfaction out of knowing the players are having a good time. I enjoy laughter at the table and consider the game a success when I see smiling faces all around. As long as everyone else is getting what THEY want out of the game then all is right with the world. :-)

+1.

Wisdom in words.
"...get the most satisfaction out of knowing the players are having a good time..."

Shadow Lodge

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Kill them all in the surprise round and you won't have to worry about this.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
If a player is using a longsword and hits, describe it. Go into great detail on killing blows and criticals.

This. I also recommend as much NPC/Monster chatter as possible. Talk trash to the players. Engage them in conversation during battle.

Qadira

Kyle Baird wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If a player is using a longsword and hits, describe it. Go into great detail on killing blows and criticals.
This. I also recommend as much NPC/Monster chatter as possible. Talk trash to the players. Engage them in conversation during battle.

Carefully - I had someone leave a table in tears 'cause she couldn't take the Judges "trashing" her. The person most shocked at the table was the Judge - he never even noticed the effect he was having on her during play, and after she left it was to late.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

1) It's usually best only to "trash talk" when you're in a clearly losing situation. Trash talking and then actually killing a PC (w/o some fluke of the dice) is bad form. It's sad I actually had to write this.

2) Don't get me started on players who can't adjust to social situations. It's up there with attention seeking people who come on the messageboards and say they're quitting PFS because of some thread on here.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
I also recommend as much NPC/Monster chatter as possible. Talk trash to the players. Engage them in conversation during battle.

You mean like "Fee Fie Foe Fum !" etc. ?

I remember one big ogre who became quite frustrated trying to hit a character who was combat-expertising to beat the band. The GM would affect his "Ogre-Voice" and complain about "little dodgy-man" not standing still.

What I do is when I give an OOC suggestion to another party member, necessarily refering to mechanics such as five-foot-stepping or a feat or whatever, I'll then make an IN character declaration (thank goodness you can speak out of turn) to match.

Example: I may say "Stan, your character should five foot step diagonally back after your attack or that goblin is going to shoot the gap and attack the sorceror." Stan may agree or not, but assuming he does, I'll then say in character "Alaric ! On my right ! Mind the gap !"

Qadira

Kyle Baird wrote:

1) It's usually best only to "trash talk" when you're in a clearly losing situation. Trash talking and then actually killing a PC (w/o some fluke of the dice) is bad form. It's sad I actually had to write this.

2) Don't get me started on players who can't adjust to social situations. It's up there with attention seeking people who come on the messageboards and say they're quitting PFS because of some thread on here.

Mr. Baird - I was not suggesting YOU would drive a player from the table, you notice how your players are reacting in the game (this is a guess from what I have read of how you play, and the reactions of those persons playing with you). But not everyone understands this (and I agree it is sad to say it from experience).

.
"Trash talk" with a faux french accent? "Your mother wears Hellknight boots, and your father smells of SparkleBerries!" now that, that would make even me laugh.

#2 would be an entirely different picture, and would need it's own thread I think. (I think I'm agreeing with you here?)


Craig Stokes wrote:

How do you encourage players to RP during combat?

Does anyone have advice that's worked for similar types of players?

It is great you are leading by example; keep up the good work! Also, try chatting with him. Tell him what a good rp'er he is and then mention that you would really like to see what would happen if he rp'd a bit during combat and give him an example. Get his input on it.

You could also bring it up at the table to everyone...so you are not singling out anyone. Example, "guys, I want to try something different this game. During combat, lets try rp'ing a bit more. Maybe try commenting to the NPCs or Monsters or to each other as a Free Action. What do you think, you want to give it a try this game?"[Again, give a clear example or two.] Then at the end of the game, ask for feedback from them.

They may not want to RP during combat, don't know what they can say, or don't want to be the first one to break the norm. No way of knowing unless you ask.

Sounds like you are doing a great job. I wish you the best.


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I think RP during combat should be taught by example. (And honestly, I don't really call that roleplaying during combat, roleplaying is where your PCs personality is displayed, usually through talking.)

Like Kyle said, I always have my NPCs trash talking during combat. Or trying to make a deal. Or trying to plead innocence. Or whatever. Little 6-1 seconds snippets.

In a non-PFS game, you could promote it by adding attack bonuses or damage, if a description is included.

Personally, I've found the opposite problem more annoying. You know, the guy that feels the need to describe each and every blow with 20+ seconds of description. I had one GM like this. Sometimes, no description is fine.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've found that the "leading by example" method works, especially on newer players.

Describing the motions, actions, weapon type, mood, etc of the NPC/enemy combatants as they engage in combat "with feeling" has, in my experience, made players feel more "into" fights than just "it swings at you *roll*". Quite a few players who are regulars at my tables now describe "moves" their characters have found to be fun, one even who has "lucky" moves when he's on the ropes (rapier-wielding rogue who's had 3 scenarios of scoring critical hits when he was down to 1-3 hp to kill his opponent when he "twists his hilt as he stabs, aiming for the ____'s heart".

If you build it, they will RP? :)


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Typically we only ever RP out combat is when a critical hit is involved or a kill shot is made (I get the feeling it's become a contest to see who can RP out the most creative kill-shots; last night, a player using a homebrew class Portal Cut a Goblin in half for his critical hit).

While I can understand the appeal of always RPing during combat, I've always felt that doing so just slows the game down and makes other people wait longer for their turn.

Grand Lodge

If the players don't pick up on it when you make the example yourself or when you ask them for descriptions, start doing it for them but still iving pause for them to put in their own descriptions. You can't force it but if the flavor is lacking you can fill it in with your own flavor. Sometimes the best inspiration is if you describe everything they do as beyond awesome it will inspire them to give beyond awesome descriptions.


In a few weeks I might be taking over the GM duties (temporarily) from the guy who has been running our tabletop game for a while. If it ends up happening I'm going to start running Kingmaker for the group without actually telling them what it is.

This group after being together for almost two years is really just getting into RP overall. I'm considering allowing the players to just RP the first combat encounter of Kingmaker with only making d20 rolls and letting them make the call on whether they hit or not. I'll describe how the enemies are dressed and the player can make the call on whether they hit and based on that d20 roll how intense the damage is going to be.

All in the hopes that it moves along a fairly simple first encounter and interests them more in RP during combat.


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When they roleplay a strike you hand them a Smartie. When they don't you hold up the Smartie and eat it yourself.

Eventually you will need a bell and some way to measure salivation, it's very complicated.

Shadow Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:

1) It's usually best only to "trash talk" when you're in a clearly losing situation. Trash talking and then actually killing a PC (w/o some fluke of the dice) is bad form. It's sad I actually had to write this.[/url]

PFS characters aren't the only ones dumping charisma

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:

1) It's usually best only to "trash talk" when you're in a clearly losing situation. Trash talking and then actually killing a PC (w/o some fluke of the dice) is bad form. It's sad I actually had to write this.[/url]

PFS characters aren't the only ones dumping wisdom

FTFY, BNW.

Qadira

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In my younger days we would RP during combat. Over various editions of the game combat has become time intensive enough that we often just want to finish the combat and get back to the story.

In general, we find descriptive text in combat is best kept for outliers. Crits, fumbles, death blows, hints at fast healing/regneration/DR, etc. Describing every little attack adds far too much time.


Craig Stokes wrote:

A bit of RP during combat makes it more fun for ME but I can't expect everyone to feel the same way.

(...)

I enjoy laughter at the table and consider the game a success when I see smiling faces all around. As long as everyone else is getting what THEY want out of the game then all is right with the world. :-)

I don't think you can go wrong with that philosophy!

Still, I think you can encourage something without imposing it. At worst, players won't do it and keep having fun the way they did. Then it is up to you not to take it personal and move on, but as the DM you're allowed to (some would say responsible for) steer the boat.

'findel


Your can encourage RP during combat, but part of the issue is that the rules reward you for focusing your mental energy on the strategy and tactics.

A few things I think are help improve the story aspect of combat:

1) make combats about something more than just killing people.

Orcs are raiding the village. Instead of making the goal of killing the orcs the primary focus, make. It saving the villagers and their home. It doesn't matter if the party can kill all the orcs if the orcs manage to burn down the village. Goals and stakes are important to a good story, but so often in D&D style combat it can get a little lost.

2) reduce tactical elements.

Try playing a couple combats without a battle map. You have to play a little loose with some rules, like tactical movement. Just tell them, you can get their this round, but provoke an AoO, or you can play it safe and do it in two rounds. Ask for descriptions of things to help make it clear.

3) use fewer game terms

Similar to the last part of point 2, encourage the players to say "I try to grab him and wrestle him to the ground" instead, "I'll grapple, here's my CMB check.". There's a game that actually makes this a rule, Dungeon World. You aren't allowed to invoke game terms, you have to describe what your doing, and the game term that most naturally fits is used. Players quickly learn how to describe the different game terms, and that's fine, that's even good, the narration of what is happening is still effective and a lot of fun.


Give the PCs stunts, like from Scion or White Wolf. A description of something nets them +1 to their check, and if everyone at the table thinks it's really good, they get +2.

Grand Lodge

Xenh wrote:

When they roleplay a strike you hand them a Smartie. When they don't you hold up the Smartie and eat it yourself.

Eventually you will need a bell and some way to measure salivation, it's very complicated.

Sheldon, is that you?


I've tried to do this over the years with various levels of success
Now i tend to just describe the combat according to how well or badly the players do this seems to work ok allowing for good descriptions in combat while not slowing down the game to much
I also don't allow players to reference any game turns while having a conversation in character
So they can't just compare stats with each other


The thing that brings combat "alive" to me is having the NPCs I control roleplay. This usually involves taking non-optimal tactics as an NPC. It leaves an impression on the players as to the character of the NPCs, and encourages them to get involved in roleplaying too.

This is a great podcast about this topic.

Two examples from my recent combats:
1) I had a NPC pyromaniac wizard burning down a building. I described him as burnt on half his face, crazy eyes, and cackling while casting Dragon's Breath on the building. The rogue PC double-moves to threaten the wizard. The wizard continues to try to cast fire spells on the building, no 5-foot step, no defensive casting, and the rogue gets a crit on his AoO. The PC Oracle sees how nuts the NPC wizard is, and casts Create Water on him, drenching him (Not RAW, but I allowed it). Getting wet caused the NPC wizard to go (more) berserk, focusing on the Oracle while the Rogue killed him. Could this NPC been much more effective if he had played more strategically? Of course, but by playing in character, the players had a much more memorable combat, and the Oracle starting roleplaying in combat (The Oracle knew that Create Water wouldnt have a mechanical effect, but she did it anyway because the NPC was acting in character.)

2) An NPC Archer Ranger with favored enemy Human continually ordered his warrior lackies to stand between him and the party. His lackies would sometimes take AoO to get in position to protect the NPC ranger from a charge. This was both in-character for the ranger (he cares nothing about his minions' lives), and optimal strategy, as the ranger was able to dish out a huge amount of damage with his favored enemy bonuses, and his lackies were little more than HP with legs. The players were pissed in-character, and really wanted the ranger dead. Even more so after he fled on turn 4 after taking the half-elf summoner to negative hp, and and the human warrior (tank) to 4 hp. Now the players have a viseral hatred for this NPC, and when he comes back, the players will have no problem role-playing how satisfing it is to kill him. Now I just need to give him a name...


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For groups who do like to incorporate RP in their combat, I heartily recommend trying Paizo member Evil Lincoln's Strain-Injury variant rule

In a nutshell, E-L's Strain-Injury makes the difference between blows that a character has evaded/parried and blows that were absorbed/withstood, and how those are recuperated.

In other words, its a great narrative tool for combat, while keeping hp abstract (somewhere in between RaW and Vitality/Wound) and with no adjustment on monsters/NPCs whatsoever.

'findel


Talking to the NPC during combat is RP but in my mind going into much descriptions on how you swing your axe is not really .

For me , the DM is the only one who should describe the results of combat

Example : the player has just made an incredible nat 19 on his dice and max damage . He grow lyrical on how he just crippled the enemy.
The DM check and in fact the paltry thief has missed against the monster the PCS were NOT supposed to fight . Description fall flat after this

Other example : the PCs hit and causes 10 hp damage . Now for some monster , this might be 3/4 of his hp . Against other that just might be a scratch . How could a player know this and amend his description correctly (knowledge roll excepted) ?


Same here. As the GM, I'm the one who describes how the attack hit or missed completely or deflected off armour or shield or whatever, because I'm the one that knows the AC, touch AC and what makes up the Armour class.


I think that's a large part of the problem. It's hard to describe what happens unless you know what effect it really has, which the GM does and you don't.
Another part of the problem is that it's difficult to come up with an interesting way to describe every move in a fight. How many times in an average session do you swing at something? A few clever descriptions is all to the good, but dozens? On the spur of the moment, without slowing things down?

I'd also like to segue in a slightly different direction: Roleplay is about more than just description. It's really more about making choices based on your character's motivations and personality. Or that's how I see it anyway. How do you do that in combat? How much should you do it, especially if those choices aren't tactically optimal?


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thejeff wrote:
I'd also like to segue in a slightly different direction: Roleplay is about more than just description. It's really more about making choices based on your character's motivations and personality. Or that's how I see it anyway. How do you do that in combat? How much should you do it, especially if those choices aren't tactically optimal?

This,

Roleplaying combat isn't about describing the effects of your attacks; that's the DM's job.

For some groups, RPing combat simply means speaking in-character during combat, avoiding metagaming terms such as hit points, # points of damage, name of class and abilities etc.

Some go further and react in-character according to the narrative description of their DM and the psychology of their character, reacting to fear, hatred or confidence without saving throws and other game mechanics.

Some like to describe their attempts (attacks or movements), with the DM adjusting the DC based on how the description is "fitting" or not.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Laurefindel wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I'd also like to segue in a slightly different direction: Roleplay is about more than just description. It's really more about making choices based on your character's motivations and personality. Or that's how I see it anyway. How do you do that in combat? How much should you do it, especially if those choices aren't tactically optimal?

This,

Roleplaying combat isn't about describing the effects of your attacks; that's the DM's job.

Yes, but that doesn't stop players from adding some good description or flavor of their own. And as long as it doesn't go overboard to the point of slowing down combat, more power to them.

Quote:
For some groups, RPing combat simply means speaking in-character during combat, avoiding metagaming terms such as hit points, # points of damage, name of class and abilities etc.

I love this and wish I could get my players to do it more. I think it's the number 1 thing that can really add to the sense of immersion experience.

Quote:
Some go further and react in-character according to the narrative description of their DM and the psychology of their character, reacting to fear, hatred or confidence without saving throws and other game mechanics.

I've been known to do this before and so have a few of my players. I'll admit it's easier to do when you're playing a PbP and have a lot of time to think about it, but I've occasionally given myself a will save with a DC I pick myself and react accordingly.


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Sometimes, in the right circumstances, it just happens.

I'll always treasure the look of fury on my daughter's face when her wizard walked into a long-abandoned wizard's library and saw the phase wasp nest made out of chewed-up books and scrolls...

They were destroyed with extreme prejudice


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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Same here. As the GM, I'm the one who describes how the attack hit or missed completely or deflected off armour or shield or whatever, because I'm the one that knows the AC, touch AC and what makes up the Armour class.

You're approaching it backwards.

The players should describe what they trying to do.

"I roll to attack"

Becomes:

"I try to take the dirty goblins head off"

Taldor

Naedre wrote:
2) An NPC Archer Ranger with favored enemy Human continually ordered his warrior lackies to stand between him and the party. His lackies would sometimes take AoO to get in position to protect the NPC ranger from a charge. This was both in-character for the ranger (he cares nothing about his minions' lives), and optimal strategy, as the ranger was able to dish out a huge amount of damage with his favored enemy bonuses, and his lackies were little more than HP with legs. The players were pissed in-character, and really wanted the ranger dead. Even more so after he fled on turn 4 after taking the...

In a group I'm a player in, the GM uses this tactic quite frequently. We have one reoccuring NPC, a necromancer, who escapes in the nick of time every time we encounter him, but everytime he escapes it still surprises us. Last time we encountered him we wiped out all his minions and had him trapped. The GM put the taste of victory in our mouths ... only to snatch it away! We even deliberately ignored a different threat because we were so focused on getting him, that when he managed to get away (grrr) we ourselves had to make an escape. Everytime we encounter this NPC we gun for him even harder!


Irontruth wrote:
Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Same here. As the GM, I'm the one who describes how the attack hit or missed completely or deflected off armour or shield or whatever, because I'm the one that knows the AC, touch AC and what makes up the Armour class.

You're approaching it backwards.

The players should describe what they trying to do.

"I roll to attack"

Becomes:

"I try to take the dirty goblins head off"

Thanks, I might try this.


Stunt dice from exalted made for very descriptive combat. Most games I avoid combat like the plague, and turn off when it isn't my turn, cause well combat it pretty dull in most game.

Yet in exalted, I routinely play combat character, and spend the time between my actions in wrack attention, looking for details of the encounter to spin into my stunts, dreaming up cool attacks, essense displays and ways to use the environment to both my advantage and for awesome.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I use this house rule to prompt roleplaying during combat. We've used it so much that now, when it is invoked, I just say, "you may describe..." and the player will run with it--or not, if they're not feeling bloodthirsty.

Gibs: If you reduce an enemy from positive hp to –Con hp in a single hit, or if you fell an enemy with a critical hit, you may describe in as much gory detail as you like the gruesome manner of your foe’s demise.

And if a player is trying to do something exceptional that requires some ad hoc adjudication, like a swinging chandelier charge, of course they must describe to me what they're trying to accomplish so I can assign it a DC, effects, etc.

When players use a new, unfamiliar spell for the first time, I also ask them to describe it for the benefit of the group; I do the same with pretty much all NPC spells. PCs without Spellcraft may not be able to identify it, but most of the time they can tell something is going on.

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