What is the average amount of rounds that a combat lasts?


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What is the average amount of rounds that a combat lasts?

Does anyone know?


It depends on the difficulty of the opponent.

If a party of four fought 5 x 1HD human zombies, combat would be quick. But if the same party fought 5 x 2HD human zombies and their 4th level necromancer master, combat could be a lot longer.

I would say that 5 to 10 rounds is a decent combat, and 1-5 rounds is an easy to medium combat.


Thank you.


I believe it was determined on these boards that a well balanced encounter should end up averaging 5 rounds or so, and that the game is balanced around 4 encounters a day.


5 seems an accurate average to me, however, be aware that the length of combat varies from group to group depending on playstyle and tactical ability.


That depends on how you measure. Are you measuring until the fight is won or until all enemies are dead? In the former case? 0-3 rounds. In the latter? Probably more like 5.


Viletta Vadim wrote:
That depends on how you measure. Are you measuring until the fight is won or until all enemies are dead? In the latter case? 0-3 rounds. In the former? Probably more like 5.

???

How can it take only 0-3 rounds for the enemies to die, but 5 rounds till the fight is won?

I'm sure you must mean the opposite...


Really depends on playstyle. If you go with the relatively standard 1-2 monsters of CR = Average Party Level without too much tactical complexity then combats are pretty short. In contrast if your game tends towards EL+3 or 4 with a boss monster and lots of Party Level -2 minions in a tactically challenging location then a fight can last a lot longer.

A lot also depends on whether your playstyle encourages the party to engage in scry and fry tactics where the PCs are going Nova every combat because they know the adventure day will be 2-3 encounters. If the PCs can pre-buff and have no reason not to expend their best spells and other finite resources then combats go fast. If the PCs are fighting somewhat blind and are pulling their punches so that they don't get counter-attacked then combats can take a lot longer.

Sovereign Court

Our group usually take 5-10 rounds to finish a combat. We have very few "set-piece" battles and encounters are sporadic (there may be 2 a day, 4, or none) so we don't "go nova (i.e. full MMORPG mode)" very often.


Our combats average less than 5 rounds with the occasional outlier 15-20 round combat (these are rare, but do happen once every other module or so; they usually involve several encounters chained together). And our group really doesn't nova at all -- it's very rare for our sorcerer to even cast a spell, between his reserve feats and his breath weapon, for example. When he does, it's very rarely anything but a 1st level spell (commonly magic missile although he has several wands of that as well) or a 2nd level spell (web gets used to great effect) even though he has access to 4th level spells.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Mirror, Mirror wrote:


How can it take only 0-3 rounds for the enemies to die, but 5 rounds till the fight is won?

In the first 0-3 rounds, the outcome of the fight can be already decided. If the Players kill the Boss Monster on the 3rd round, then the minions are really no threat. It might take a few more rounds to mop up, even though the outcome of the battle is already clear.


Zurai wrote:
Our combats average less than 5 rounds with the occasional outlier 15-20 round combat (these are rare, but do happen once every other module or so; they usually involve several encounters chained together). And our group really doesn't nova at all -- it's very rare for our sorcerer to even cast a spell, between his reserve feats and his breath weapon, for example. When he does, it's very rarely anything but a 1st level spell (commonly magic missile although he has several wands of that as well) or a 2nd level spell (web gets used to great effect) even though he has access to 4th level spells.

Seems kind of silly to almost never cast a high level spell...I mean, thats the fun isnt it? Even if scorching ray will get the job done every time, every once in a while you want to break out enervation for effect.

Sovereign Court

Depends....

Iron Golem last Monday ran 4 rounds but ended when a secret door was shut.

Massive bbeg battle with thoon hulk, MMIII earth minotaurs, evil priests and halflings, undead etc., near final chamber went up to 12 rounds with much happening all at once.

Also depends on how you measure the total encounter... are we including surprise round? Is the battle assumed to be the average encounter?

There is NO limit to the number of encounters my players can get in a day. Very much naturalistic depending on their choices. If they choose to continue pursuit though depleted it is their perogative. If they are locked into a dungeon with no escape, monsters keep coming until either wisdom or TPK prevails. lol., e.g. hiding in a rope trick, Daerns instant fortress, etc. Party's must know their limitations. But i realize number of encounters is a digression from the OP's thread.

In short, 5 is average, though I would make that between 5-7 for a good battle amongst a large party of 6 players. Reason for extension, is usually there are multiple tactics to sort through with larger play groups i.e. a few will take on the masses while leaders charge for the minions and bbeg. so it depends.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Seems kind of silly to almost never cast a high level spell...I mean, thats the fun isnt it? Even if scorching ray will get the job done every time, every once in a while you want to break out enervation for effect.

Since they blow through almost every encounter in less than 5 rounds, I'd say he's doing things right. I didn't say he never cast the higher level spells, just that he mostly uses his renewable abilities. He'll use magic missile every once in a while for variety (or when facing enemies with Evasion) and makes great tactical use of web. He rarely casts any other spells in combat because he rarely needs to (he does cast other spells out of combat, like mage armor, expeditious retreat, and so on). Every party member can cast spells to some degree of effectiveness, so it's not like they're lacking for magical might.

To be honest, I'm not even sure which 4th level spells known he has, aside from the automatic Draconic Bloodline spell (fear, which to my knowledge he's never used). EDIT: I take that back, he used fire shield last session in the fight against the Lamia Harridan.

Sczarni

depends on the group, but about 5 seems right.

in our Second Darkness game, there have been quite a few long-round-time encounters, but those are mostly when we bypass an earlier challenge, fail to kill the boss fast enough, and his reinforcements show up.

there have been plenty of "Surprise Round, Sneak Attack, Failed Fort save vs. Drow Poison" encounters also, however.

In Council of Thieves, they are running right about 4-6 rounds for each fight.

-t


What amazes me is the time involved. I agree that it's an average of five rounds per combat. 5 x 6 = 30 seconds. Yet sometimes it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to resolve depending on the tactics taken and the amount of combatants present. It's like the very fabric of time had a hiccup. I must confer with Misters Einstein and Hawking on this.

The Exchange

4-6 rounds when somebody doesn't do something stupid like run into the adjoining room, and catch the eye of two more guards and a spellcaster, and then another two guards appear behind us... That one took forever...


Tamago wrote:
Mirror, Mirror wrote:


How can it take only 0-3 rounds for the enemies to die, but 5 rounds till the fight is won?
In the first 0-3 rounds, the outcome of the fight can be already decided. If the Players kill the Boss Monster on the 3rd round, then the minions are really no threat. It might take a few more rounds to mop up, even though the outcome of the battle is already clear.

No, no, no, you missed it. Read again. I know exactly what was trying to be said, but couldn't help pointing out that is not what was ACTUALLY said.

If the enemied are dead at round 3, but the fight lasts till round 5, what happened on round 4??

Sovereign Court

Urizen wrote:
What amazes me is the time involved. I agree that it's an average of five rounds per combat. 5 x 6 = 30 seconds. Yet sometimes it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to resolve depending on the tactics taken and the amount of combatants present. It's like the very fabric of time had a hiccup. I must confer with Misters Einstein and Hawking on this.

Admittedly, duration of combat is both a matter of taste, a function of play style, dependant on number of players (i have six regulars), and depends on whether PCs are roleplaying during combat.*

For example, if one sometimes enjoys the minutae of combat. Some encounters I run without the grid, some with. And if with, I do the full set up with Combat Tiers, Dungeon Tiles, 3d Terrain, line of sight indicators, and accurate minis. With 6 players this takes time, but is also very fun.

*Some of us do a lot of roleplay during combat, and I don't wish to debate how much one can "say" in a round. I don't really care. Usually players keep it realistic, but when they don't I try not to stiffle it. Some of the most memorable battles also included back-and-forth dialogue with villains, or interchange dialogue between players.

That said, I'm never sure why some folks even care how long it takes? Sometimes, combat is swift, or sometimes it can be a lot of what the evening is about. For example, in caverns and dungeons, once I set up the ecology, the environ behaves naturally. That is, if the players go marching in, banging gongs and dropping explosives loudly - - - much of the environ may join the battle. I refuse to "parce" out encounters as though balance supercedes natural reactions. If the ogres down the hall hear you, they will come, so will the goblins, the drow, etc.

5 rounds in 30 is doable - so is 5 really great simulationist rounds in 60 minutes. Again, groups generally identify their thresholds of the above, so I'm not sure about any ideals. Depending on the intensity/importance to story, some encounters can be swiftly done, whereas others should last a while and be much more complex.

Finally, if the party has split even by 1 person, sometimes one combat doesn't fully finish before another begins.


I'm personally much more bothered by the in game time that average combats last rather than the real life time they take up. A knock-down drag-out fight with a dragon should last more than 18 seconds, even if 3 rounds is the length you're aiming for mechanically.


Zurai wrote:
I'm personally much more bothered by the in game time that average combats last rather than the real life time they take up. A knock-down drag-out fight with a dragon should last more than 18 seconds, even if 3 rounds is the length you're aiming for mechanically.

I'm inclined to agree with you. Who's ever watched a massive climatic battle in a film that lasted 18 to 30 seconds?


Urizen wrote:
Zurai wrote:
I'm personally much more bothered by the in game time that average combats last rather than the real life time they take up. A knock-down drag-out fight with a dragon should last more than 18 seconds, even if 3 rounds is the length you're aiming for mechanically.
I'm inclined to agree with you. Who's ever watched a massive climatic battle in a film that lasted 18 to 30 seconds?

I'm sure 18 seconds of getting hacked at by a greatsword seems like it's taking a lot longer. Really combat should not take very long if people are just duking it out, if they're running and taking cover, that's a different story.


Eyolf The Wild Commoner wrote:
What is the average amount of rounds that a combat lasts?

James Jacobs has stated that when they plan encounters in Pathfinder (granted, IIRC he put out this info in a Dungeon Editorial in the original AP days) they found that "average" Encounters last about 2 rounds and "major" ones about 4 rounds, and so they began designing around that.

I'd go with 3 +-1 and 5 +-1 if you wish.

I tend to run large-scale combats and fights with minions, mooks and reserves of opposing forces arriving in waves, so they last longer. Still, I find these numbers accurate for most "static" encounters like you might find in most published material.

HTH,

Rez

Sovereign Court

good point.

/// and i trust JJ's estimates, they're good

Wanted to add that even my own designed encounters run the same length. I skew results of that slightly when I attack the players in waves i.e. The first large chamber initaites combat, then a secondary reinforcement arrives, then the last room contains more powerful and protected leaders etc. I think we're all saying the same thing generally. In this case, due to my "timed" layout, its almost like 2 battles in one, but i do it because there IS NO TIME TO REST in-between by design. As a game master I try to get casters to blow big spells early on, or folks to use up some extra magic resources first.... yes, i know its devious, but creates quite the epic spectacle when they finally defeat the bbeg.

I like this thread. good idea.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:

No, no, no, you missed it. Read again. I know exactly what was trying to be said, but couldn't help pointing out that is not what was ACTUALLY said.

If the enemied are dead at round 3, but the fight lasts till round 5, what happened on round 4??

All the mobs in Viletta's campaigns must be self-animating after death. Devious.


Sarandosil wrote:
All the mobs in Viletta's campaigns must be self-animating after death. Devious.

Aha! The answer is self-animating monsters!

Seriously, I plan encounters to try to run at least 10 rounds. That's extreme, I know, but I hate short combats. If the combat was so easy that you finish it in 3 rounds, I wonder why we even bothered rolling the dice. I should have just asked what each person did, tell them what the monsters do, and have them all take some portion of damage, erase a few spells, and go on. With a 10+ round encounter you have time for effects to run out, situations to change, and even things like summons to have a greater effect.

And long combat does not mean over CR'd. Enemies hide, skirmish, try to break up the party, withdraw and attack again from a different direction. Mindless enemies will still get trounced, but anything that can plan and reason becomes more annoying and harded to kill; even if they ARE doing less damage than they would if they just stood and fought.

I don't always succeed, because no plan survives contact with the enemy, and I plan out the creature tactics before hand so the players get a bonus for thinking creatively, but my combats are generally longer, and I almost never have a combat solved with a single spell...


7-10 seems to be normal for my group. Definetely had some go well over 20. Anything less than 5 I don't generally consider a combat.


Sarandosil wrote:
All the mobs in Viletta's campaigns must be self-animating after death. Devious.

I do have this lich in the wings that I've been wanting to whip out. She punches people in the face, has insane damage output, and no defense, and if she goes down, she'll just rez wherever her phylactery is to return to the fight a few days later.

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Seriously, I plan encounters to try to run at least 10 rounds. That's extreme, I know, but I hate short combats. If the combat was so easy that you finish it in 3 rounds, I wonder why we even bothered rolling the dice. I should have just asked what each person did, tell them what the monsters do, and have them all take some portion of damage, erase a few spells, and go on. With a 10+ round encounter you have time for effects to run out, situations to change, and even things like summons to have a greater effect.

Just because it's fast doesn't mean it's easy. Just because a battle between masters is decided in a single stroke doesn't mean it's easy to get that single stroke in. The difference in a one-round fight is that every roll of the die means something, every attack (be it from friend or foe) can take someone completely out of the fight. It's quick, it's brutal, and one bad roll can change everything. That ain't easy. Length and difficulty are, in fact, completely unrelated.


Viletta Vadim wrote:
Just because it's fast doesn't mean it's easy. Just because a battle between masters is decided in a single stroke doesn't mean it's easy to get that single stroke in. The difference in a one-round fight is that every roll of the die means something, every attack (be it from friend or foe) can take someone completely out of the fight. It's quick, it's brutal, and one bad roll can change everything. That ain't easy. Length and difficulty are, in fact, completely unrelated.

Fair enough. I retract the "easy" part of my statement. I still prefer combats take a long time. In the case that they are very deadly, I would prefer to not kill characters because of single good or bad rolls. Unless that IS the idea, like a samurai or pistol duel.


Eyolf The Wild Commoner wrote:

What is the average amount of rounds that a combat lasts?

Does anyone know?

It really depends upon the party.

Some parties are designed to blast quickly, and others are more designed to shutdown the bad guys/weather the storm.

You could run the exact same combat with 2 fairly optimized parties and have both soundly defeat the bad guys with one taking 2-3 rounds and the other going for 10+. In both cases it could be the case that the optimized parties were in little to no danger.

One size does not fit all. One playstyle does not encompass everyone. That's what I love about 3e/3.5e/pathfinder and what I disliked about 4e.

-James


Having played in 2 homebrew campaigns over the past several years and been the "keeper of the combat round chart" I can confidently say that most of the combats we faced were concluded in 2 rounds. Sure, the occasional outlier took 4 or 5, but for every one of those was a combat that only took 1 round of actions to conclude.

Having just run Crypt of the Everflame for a party of 4, combats generally ran about 5 rounds. The BBEG at the end took closer to 8 rounds iirc.

I prefer combats that last more than 2 rounds personally, so long as players can act and move fairly quickly. Our group can get bogged down in determining actions and interpreting rules, and even a 2 round combat (with a party of 5 PCs) can take an hour to run.


I'm kinda mixed sometimes I like combat to be like the combat in the Bourne series with opponents engaging in a furious melee that leaves someone dead or crippled in a handful of seconds. It's over before the combatants really know what's happening. I often use this style fight for routine encounters where the EL is roughly comparable to the PCs

I also like combats that involve a lot of tactical options for "stunting" and interacting with the scenery. The typical swashbuckler movie where the duelist is trading blows and words with an evenly matched opponent while occasionally being distracted by onrushing minions that he's forced to slaughter.

Foes that use minions to distract the PCs while they withdraw to heal up, encounters that trigger staged responses from additional units, hit and run tactics, rampant use of transport magic, enemies that use terrain features like being across a pit of lava, etc all make for very intense and interesting combats. They tend to take a decent number of rounds to resolve. You obviously can't use this every encounter or you'll be forced to limit your encounters to just a small number per gaming session but this can be very fun for Boss fights or even Sub-Boss fights.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
No, no, no, you missed it. Read again. I know exactly what was trying to be said, but couldn't help pointing out that is not what was ACTUALLY said.

I went back to look. Vitella's post and your quote don't match. I think an unannounced [edit] sneaked in :-)

R.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Yeah, I would say 3-5 as well. Things drag out when you have environmental effects or spells (*cough* web *cough*) that increase AC or offer concealment.

Sovereign Court

I would say 4-5.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
If the combat was so easy that you finish it in 3 rounds, I wonder why we even bothered rolling the dice.

The "easy" party of this has already been covered, but from my RL experience if a no-hold-barred to-the-death fight between two combatants isn't decided in 5-10 seconds then something is seriously wrong.

Granted, you may be looking at a case where two heavily armored knights are banging away on each other for a minute or two, but in D&D they would have magic buffs or enchanted swords counteracting the plate-armor AC that RL doesn't, so even this example does not held up.

Life-or-Death fights are fast and furious.

Ranged combat is another matter entirely.

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
In the case that they are very deadly ... like a samurai or pistol duel.

RE the first part, what's the difference between "deadly" and "very deadly"? Is that like "pregnant" vs. "very pregnant"? :-)

Seriously, unless you have the monsters run away from the fight it's "deadly" for someone and they should approach it that way (yes, I do have monsters and villains flee or surrender with great frequency once the fight is "won" and before they are dead).

As to the second part, most of the Japanese sword fighting moves I've learned are either draw-and-kill or block/counter-and-kill. That would be over quickly. European pistol duels are another matter entirely. The weapons were so inaccurate that most often the participants shook hands and walked away afterwards. The guy who was offended felt better because the had the chance to shoot at his offender, while the other guy "proved his manhood and honor" by standing up to the shot, much less having the chance to shoot back.

Once pistol technology and accuracy advanced to the point that duels were reliably lethal, they were quickly outlawed nearly everywhere.

FWIW,

Rez


Rezdave wrote:
Mirror, Mirror wrote:
If the combat was so easy that you finish it in 3 rounds, I wonder why we even bothered rolling the dice.

The "easy" party of this has already been covered, but from my RL experience if a no-hold-barred to-the-death fight between two combatants isn't decided in 5-10 seconds then something is seriously wrong.

Granted, you may be looking at a case where two heavily armored knights are banging away on each other for a minute or two, but in D&D they would have magic buffs or enchanted swords counteracting the plate-armor AC that RL doesn't, so even this example does not held up.

Life-or-Death fights are fast and furious.

Ranged combat is another matter entirely.

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
In the case that they are very deadly ... like a samurai or pistol duel.

RE the first part, what's the difference between "deadly" and "very deadly"? Is that like "pregnant" vs. "very pregnant"? :-)

Seriously, unless you have the monsters run away from the fight it's "deadly" for someone and they should approach it that way (yes, I do have monsters and villains flee or surrender with great frequency once the fight is "won" and before they are dead).

As to the second part, most of the Japanese sword fighting moves I've learned are either draw-and-kill or block/counter-and-kill. That would be over quickly. European pistol duels are another matter entirely. The weapons were so inaccurate that most often the participants shook hands and walked away afterwards. The guy who was offended felt better because the had the chance to shoot at his offender, while the other guy "proved his manhood and honor" by standing up to the shot, much less having the chance to shoot back.

Once pistol technology and accuracy advanced to the point that duels were reliably lethal, they were quickly outlawed nearly everywhere.

FWIW,

Rez

Keep in mind that live-action Japanese movies with Iajitsu masters are a stylistic choice favored by many Japanese film makers. They are typically resolved in a quick draw/ strike. They reflect the samurai "ideal" of one blow, one kill.

In contrast the long extended duel between equally matched opponents seems to be favored in many pre-modern western movies. Sword duels between swashbucklers are notorious for this however they do allow the participants to engage in witty banter throughout the fight.

Wuxia films seem to borrow many of the same conceits, swordmasters use brilliant swordplay and wire-fu to extend combats into long drawn out operas. Gracefully parrying your enemy's blows while balanced in the top of a tree.

In both cases the swordsman is the big damn hero and they typically chop through the minions of the BBEG without much difficulty. Some more recent movies attempt to include greater versimilitude but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

If you are trying to simulate the Iajitsu master style of play then short deadly combats are great. If you want elaborate set-piece affairs where the BBEG lasts multiple rounds and gets to trade insults with the PCs then being able to drop the opposition in 1 round can be anti-climatic.

Sovereign Court

Its only natural that cinematic epic battles take a very long time. Mostly because of all the inter-cuts, or cut-aways to other party members.

For exmaple, wasn't there always someone sneaking in through the sewers while the more powerful force took on the champions, even while the wiley crazed old wizard attempted to thward the vile villian in the tower?

Whatever floats your boat.

As for my humble fleet. I don't like to do the same thing all the time. I switch things up ALWAYS. Players never know if it will be short or long. Variety in this way is a good and compelling strategy. Hard to say what the perfect duration of combat is, without the context, AND its context over the course of a full campaign.

-Pax


Rezdave wrote:
The "easy" party of this has already been covered, but from my RL experience if a no-hold-barred to-the-death fight between two combatants isn't decided in 5-10 seconds then something is seriously wrong.

How do you figure? I mean, fights happen all the time, sure, but unless someone pulls a weapon and gets a "surprise" round, the combat could take quite a while. Consider the great shoving-matches of the ancient world, the jousts of the medieval world, and the drawn-out firefights of the modern world. Even Billy-the-Kid took longer than 3 rounds to break out of jail, and he ahd the drop on ALL his opponents.

Rezdave wrote:
RE the first part, what's the difference between "deadly" and "very deadly"? Is that like "pregnant" vs. "very pregnant"? :-)

Actually, more like "deadly" is "this could eventually kill me", like smoking. "Very deadly" is "this could kill me outright", like jumping into shark-infested waters with a massive nosebleed. Deadly, therefore is like a kobold cave filled with traps. Very deadly is like a dragon lair.

Rezdave wrote:

As to the second part, most of the Japanese sword fighting moves I've learned are either draw-and-kill or block/counter-and-kill. That would be over quickly. European pistol duels are another matter entirely. The weapons were so inaccurate that most often the participants shook hands and walked away afterwards. The guy who was offended felt better because the had the chance to shoot at his offender, while the other guy "proved his manhood and honor" by standing up to the shot, much less having the chance to shoot back.

Once pistol technology and accuracy advanced to the point that duels were reliably lethal, they were quickly outlawed nearly everywhere.

The Duel at Ganryu Island, Musashi's last duel, was a longer affair, with multiple swings taken, and that was between perhaps the two best duelists of their time. In fencing, you can sometimes score on the first fletch, and sometimes score off the first reposte, but that does not mean ALL fencing duels are decided this way. Quite the opposite.

As for the pistol duels, I was thinking more the latter period, like in the Ridley Scott movie "The Duelists". They played a good game of hide-and-stalk, but the actual principle of the duel was very deadly (see above).

Overall, quick battles can be fun, but I prefer making my players work for it a bit more. FWIW.


vuron wrote:
Keep in mind that live-action Japanese movies

Keep in mind that I was discussing real-life, actual fights, not movies. I know the difference, since I study Japanese martial arts for fun and make films and TV for a living. They are very different. We prefer to hire "dancers" for fight scenes rather than martial artists so we can slow them down and make things "look pretty". Real martial artists in realistic fights would finish too fast and not look impressive on-camera.

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Rezdave wrote:
from my RL experience if a no-hold-barred to-the-death fight between two combatants isn't decided in 5-10 seconds then something is seriously wrong.
How do you figure? I mean, fights happen all the time, sure, but unless someone pulls a weapon and gets a "surprise" round, the combat could take quite a while. Consider the great shoving-matches of the ancient world, the jousts of the medieval world, and the drawn-out firefights of the modern world. Even Billy-the-Kid took longer than 3 rounds to break out of jail, and he ahd the drop on ALL his opponents.

Fights happen all the time, yes, but we're talking about fist-fights and shoving matches. D&D fist fights would take forever to resolve as well. Plus, when a couple guys get drunk in a bar and "feel like starting a fight" they are not interested in getting into a lethal, life-or-death encounter. There's a big difference between a fight with an expected outcome of a couple black eyes and bloody lips vs. bodies lying on the floor being coup de graced. I'm also not talking about giving two untrained, uncommitted "Commoners" swords and saying "go at it" (did anyone see Season 2 of Rome when Antony had the girls fight in Egypt) or even two untrained men who know one has to kill the other but both are scared. Consider two medieval armies rushing at each other fighting to the bitter end (Braveheart or Highlander ... sorry for the Scottish theme) where every soldier is committed to the fight. Yes, the "battle" will take some time to resolve, but the individual clashes are over very fast. Small-scale combats by adventurers would be resolved that quickly.

Let me put it another way ... if you do draw a knife on me then I may feign shock and surprise and terror, but when I move (i.e. when we "roll initiative") if you're not dead within 2 seconds then I've done something seriously wrong.

Note that I'm not talking about "shoving matches" or "jousts" ... neither are intended to be lethal by design. I'm talking about I'm going to kill you mentality fights by all participants. Otherwise it's just murder.

I already threw out the All-bets-off-Ranged caveat, so I think that covers firefights.

A jail-break is an extended situation rather than a single fight. Again, take out "ranged" combats and only include HtH/melee stuff and I'll bet on an individual fight-by-fight basis they were over pretty fast.

Not to be snarky, Mirror, but I think you need to read a little more closely.

BTW, I know I remarked on the difference between RL and movies above and then gave several movie examples, but I was careful about my selections.

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Actually, more like "deadly" is "this could eventually kill me", like smoking. "Very deadly" is "this could kill me outright", like jumping into shark-infested waters with a massive nosebleed. Deadly, therefore is like a kobold cave filled with traps. Very deadly is like a dragon lair.

A kobold cave filled with traps is "very deadly" by any stretch. If you die it will be within a matter of minutes, not decades. I've thrown some nasty Kobolds at my players over the years. Don't mock the little guys, or I'll summon Cleaver on over to this thread.

Your comparison is totally off-base.

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
The Duel at Ganryu Island, Musashi's last duel, was a longer affair, with multiple swings taken

Accounts differ, but among historians and martial artists it is generally accepted that the duel was very short or at least relatively short.

Long duels make for better stories. Short ones are more realistic.

FWIW,

Rez


Rezdave wrote:
Keep in mind that I was discussing real-life, actual fights, not movies. I know the difference, since I study Japanese martial arts for fun and make films and TV for a living. They are very different. We prefer to hire "dancers" for fight scenes rather than martial artists so we can slow them down and make things "look pretty". Real martial artists in realistic fights would finish too fast and not look impressive on-camera.

Ah, so that explains it. Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Von Damme are dancers. ;)


Urizen wrote:
Rezdave wrote:
Keep in mind that I was discussing real-life, actual fights, not movies. I know the difference, since I study Japanese martial arts for fun and make films and TV for a living. They are very different. We prefer to hire "dancers" for fight scenes rather than martial artists so we can slow them down and make things "look pretty". Real martial artists in realistic fights would finish too fast and not look impressive on-camera.
Ah, so that explains it. Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Von Damme are dancers. ;)

As are Jet Li and Bruce Lee!

All snark aside, I have studied aikido, fencing (foil/sabre), and kendo. I still think a fight would take a bit longer than 2 seconds to be decided, assuming equal opponents. If you are saying "3rd lvl fighter vs commoner", I agree things will be over fast, but "3rd lvl fighter vs 3rd lvl fighter" SHOULD take some time.

If, however, you have seen deathmatches between equally skilled opponents, and so have actual contradictory experience, I will defer to your judgement.

I won't split any hairs on "deadly" vs "very deadly" anymore, only to say that you must agree that some things are deadlier than others, correct? Jumping off a 3 story building onto concrete vs a 30 story building?

And considering medieval/antiquity armies, you DO know that most battlefield casualties resulted not from the initial clash, but from the withdrawing/retreating action by the loosing party, correct? Commentators of the Napoleonic Wars often bring up morale as the single biggest determinor of battles, and that was AFTER the advent of firearms/field artillery.

As for Ganryu Island, it is true that accounts differ, and the histographer at the duel may have been biased, but contemporary accounts make the duel sound longer. Musashi says it was short, as did some of the witnesses, but what can you do?


Urizen wrote:
Ah, so that explains it. Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Von Damme are dancers. ;)

They're sure not martial artists ... not serious ones, anyway. Both have very poor reputations here in the LA martial arts communities, and I mean among people who know them personally, not just people jealous of them.

The guys are movie-stars and businessmen ... that's about it.

R.


Rezdave wrote:

They're sure not martial artists ... not serious ones, anyway. Both have very poor reputations here in the LA martial arts communities, and I mean among people who know them personally, not just people jealous of them.

According to this, Jean Claude is BOTH. And what do you mean he's not a "real" martial artists? The European Championship isn't "real"?


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
And considering medieval/antiquity armies, you DO know that most battlefield casualties resulted not from the initial clash, but from the withdrawing/retreating action by the loosing party, correct?

Makes sense ... get them while they're down and/or have their backs turned.

Of course, most deaths in historical armies were cause by disease while the armies were camped or trying to get to the battle. So much for the glory of war.

Here's a shocker ... I once saw some figures posted by a historian specializing in feudal Japan. Because the whole honor and death thing was so important to them, they kept detailed records of battles and mortal injuries (you needed to prove that your departed family member died honorably, and not with an arrow through the back while running away).

The most common form of injury resulting in death was not swords or spears or arrows, but rather it was rocks. I presume falling from above in a castle, but also picked up by hand and smashed over the head once you have your opponent on the ground. Death on the battlefield is swift, violent and nasty.

Then again, for our purposes we're talking about fantasy RPGs here. I'll stick to my longsword for some good old hack 'n slash, thank you :-)

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
According to this, Jean Claude is BOTH.

Getting too far OT into the realm of hearsay and opinion, so I'll close this down and admit all of the aforementioned movie-star martial artists have skills and, honestly, I really don't want to get caught in a dark alley with any of them taking a dislike to me. Moreover, I'm certainly not comparing my own ability to theirs. Finally, I admit, in retrospect, post #42 was a little over the top.

Going to a late lunch now. Hopefully it will last more than 3-5 rounds.

:-)

R.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Ok, now you guys have put me in the mood to watch "House of Flying Daggers" again.


dulsin wrote:
Ok, now you guys have put me in the mood to watch "House of Flying Daggers" again.

heck yeah! house of flying daggers!

what about hero? forbidden kingdom? iron monkey? crouching tiger, hidden dragon? once upon a time in china? or other sweet chinese movie goodness?


Interesting that this should come up. I had a big, climactic encounter with a homebrewed magical beast tonight -- just about an hour ago, in fact -- and it lasted all of 2 rounds. I spent an hour working out its stats precisely, and a slew of special abilities and the battle lasted for two .... dadblasted .... rounds.

The PCs spotted the creature earlier than intended, because I rolled a natural 1 on its Stealth check, and since I play fair by the dice, I ruled that it had completely failed to hide and they were able to see and judge its intentions.

I also ruled, for simplicity's sake, that when it rushed them from its hiding place, they were able to shoot at it 1 round, then have time to draw melee weapons immediately before it reached them, since they could pretty much judge when to down bows.

Round 1. Magical beast charges. A hurricane of arrows and spells meets it. Loses 2/3 of hit points in a matter of seconds.

Round 2. Beast has lowest initiative (naturally). Paladin acts first, hits it with his two-hander, crits, reduces beast to 1 hit point. Fighter goes next, sneezes on beast. Beast dies without doing anything whatsoever.

So, that was an exciting 2 rounds .... not. It should have been a 'challenging' encounter by the CR system.

General conclusions:

If you use a single opponent, and that opponent is melee, count on it dying almost immediately in a hail of arrows and spells. Ranged is FAR stronger than melee in this game, and I'm going to be designing all my encounters as long-range 'gunfights' from now on. Maybe something interesting will actually happen, instead of everyone sitting there, dice in hand, and saying .... "That's it?"


Carnivorous_Bean wrote:
Beast dies without doing anything whatsoever.

This is where you arbitrarily need to make it an "Advanced" version OTF. "Have fun" is the most important rule, and neither you nor your Players actually did, even though you "played by the rules" and "played by the dice".

I'd have given it back 1/2 its HP at least, called it advanced, given the party bonus XP for an "advanced" monster and then cut their total an equal amount for a "fumble" on Stealth. IOW, an XP wash.

Ultimately, having fun is most important.

R.


There were some excessively generous rulings in there, though. Giving the players the surprise round on a monster that was actively stalking them to begin with? That really doesn't make sense. There shouldn't have been a surprise round at all. Rather, it should have been initiative, volley, beast attacks someone, then they probably finish it off. Or, alternately, the beast realizes it's been spotted, gets spooked because it's lost its advantage, turns tail and runs away.

Also, you have to understand that 'challenging' is something of a joke in the CR system. A CR10 creature against a party of four level 10 PCs is defined as 'challenging.' For comparison, a level 10 party member is a CR10 creature. If you have a level 10 party with 5 PCs, and then everyone dogpiles on the Bard, the CR system defines that as a 'challenging' encounter.

And solos are always a crap shoot. A few lucky rolls and they're done, pretty much no matter how badass they are. Generally, expect solos to go down very fast. If a solo can't kill someone or close to it in a single round, it's probably not a threat.

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