Dynamic combat?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Starting a new game. I have a design goal of having combats, battlefields, and encounter spaces being dynamic as possible for this campaign. I already have many ideas (which I will share later in these posts because I am sure at least one of my players is reading this) but was wondering what the most complex and dynamic encounters or combats you've played or ran was? Any ideas for battlefield secrets?


Huh.
So is everyone fighting hundreds of combats over the weekend and they are all on normal terrain? 10x10 rooms?

Players better not read this. Here is some of what I have planned.

A combat against a red dragon on floating stone platforms in a sea of lava.
Ghoul and ghast monks in a stone maze
a fight on an airship that is falling out of the sky
a fight against a giant construct that has men on it and a charging cannon with two arms, one that heals and one that attacks a'la final fantasy
a trap filled multi-level room with constructs and convayer belts
a fight against mounted opponents on a road in the middle of a forest
escaping a lava flow by grappling and jumping flying opponents
a combat against waves of demons while the players are falling miles
and two seperate three form/stage boss battles.

Someone please tell me they have more interesting encounters than dungeon corridors and the occasional patch of rough terrain.


Your encounters sound truly epic but also make me ask what levels are your players and what typr of resources do they have that alow jumping and grappling flying opponents over lava? Or surviving falling from what must be an enormous height while still fighting demons.

That being said, one of my favorite encounters was a stationary tornado over the only rope bridge between two tall cliffs. While a sorcerer and his wyvern friend (imuune to this magic) attack from above.


In my experience, there are two different "tiers" of mobility. At low levels, non-standard movement is generally restricted to the occasional Acrobatics/Jump, Swim or Climb check, with maybe a movement spell tossed in there on occasion (e.g. Spider Climb, Levitate, Jump), and at higher levels, pretty much everyone can fly.

With regards to low levels, I can't speak for anyone else, but I dislike encounters that require a bunch of checks to move around (whether they're Climb checks, Acrobatics check or Str checks, it doesn't matter). They always sound like fun to the GM, but in practice I find they tend to drag on:

"Nope, failed my Swim check yet again. O.K., my turn's over. <snore>"

So my advice is to go easy on that sort of thing. Just adding a bunch of die rolls usually makes a battle less interesting, not more.

Silver Crusade

Even your standard dungeon fare room can be exciting. A overturned table, mugs of ale that get spilt, making a slightly treacherous surface, the old chandalier-dropping-when-you-cut-the-rope trick...

But as far as epic battle sites, that's for my epic heroes. I'm a fan of 3-D battles, had one on the back of dragons as armies clashed below and underwater combat.

Spoiler:
In a 3rd edition adventure "Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave", we had several great battles near the end (around level 6). The setup was a large rift where the swamps of the Plane of Shadow poured into. The bad-guys navigated through bridges and tunnels that criss-crossed the rift. Several great and unique encounters there. The finale involved a standard dungeon room with a dragon and cages around the room where the dragon was siphoning life from prisoners. When he'd get weaker, he could kill one for a boost of energy (the party would get it too, leading to a major dilemma for the party that finds out the death of prisoners might save their lives...)


Kyle Schmaing wrote:

Your encounters sound truly epic but also make me ask what levels are your players and what typr of resources do they have that alow jumping and grappling flying opponents over lava? Or surviving falling from what must be an enormous height while still fighting demons.

That being said, one of my favorite encounters was a stationary tornado over the only rope bridge between two tall cliffs. While a sorcerer and his wyvern friend (imuune to this magic) attack from above.

it's a modified e6 game. There is a certain force that will grant them investments to assist.

It's not about having to make a bunch of checks to move. It's about a dynamic shifting battlefield. One that affects the combatants in different ways, or possibly one where the goal isn't just kill a bunch of mooks.

More please.


My go-to for dynamic combat
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To expand, Iron Heroes focused a lot on the "mundane" since magic was not a big part of the setting. As such, the Combat section details Zone for Interactive Environments, Terrain Effects (for Arctic, Arcane, Marsh, Urban, etc.), Mobile Terrain, Weather Effects, as well as Combat in Darkness and Underwater. While some of this simply builds from the standard d20 mechanics, others provide some pretty nifty frameworks for making the environment much more interesting than the standard square room. While it is specifically written for an Iron Heroes game, I can say with confidence that the mechanics work equally well in PRPG games. I'll be using them in the upcoming "big battle" in the monastery for Legacy of Fire.


nexusphere wrote:
It's not about having to make a bunch of checks to move. It's about a dynamic shifting battlefield. One that affects the combatants in different ways, or possibly one where the goal isn't just kill a bunch of mooks.

That's good to know! It's just that when I read about "floating stone platforms" and "grappling and jumping [on?] flying opponents", I had some flashbacks of disappointing combats that sounded cool in theory ("failed another jump check... failed another jump check... yawn").

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