Hello all just a quick question, how long in real time do you give players to move in combat ?
I ask because I've seen on a number of occasions players literally take 3/4 minutes to work out the route to avoid aoo's difficult terrain etc .
Now personally I find this a pain as I believe that combat should be fast paced and the characters would not have time to ponder there route , now I'm not saying they shouldn't have a little time (say a minute at most) .
How do you run it what's your normal way of handling it
I haven't really had a problem, except when there are misunderstandings about events taking place in which case I've had someone change their actions as they learn they've misunderstood the situation (things their characters would definitely be aware of even when the players aren't). However, if you are having this problem I suggest you tell you're players you're instituting a new rule:
Decide what you will do before you're turn arrives. You have 1 minute to execute your turn, after which point if your turn is not complete your character "delays" the remaining actions of their turn until after the next person's turn is complete.
For measuring the time I suggest getting a sand timer (or something similar). You can also change the time to fit whatever you think is fair.
I don't impose hard limits. Rather I...
... announce the next player, like 'The wizard please, afterwards the ranger'. This encourages thinking about your next move.
... give hints what actions are possible and make sense, if they are stuck.
... do a quick ruling if a rule is unclear and make them look it up after their turn.
... forbid tactical discussion outside your turn. This is (as I understand it) a houserule, but avoids lengthy discussions - and makes fellow players give their suggestions at their turn, resulting in some time to think about them.
Hard limits have their benefits, like really ensuring an upper limit and contributing to a tense atmosphere, but I'd rather keep the stress level low and address the root of the problem.
I always announce initiative order and TBH expect players to work out what they're going to do while everyone else is playing their turn.
I've set a hard "5 sec or I'll assume that you're delaying your turn".
Harsh? Maybe but after a year of 4 hour scenarios going on six it needed doing with my players.
Right, cause sports players don't figure out their best route off of the knowledge they have instantly. The issue is figuring out that as the player, and that's harder to make sure you know what's going on.
Like if you had a basketball player and showed him the court and he could clearly see places of difficult terrain and the enemies standing there ready to reach out for his ball and tell him to get to position X I bet they'd be able to do it super fast. But not all players are that skilled, so it takes them a bit longer to do what their characters would actually be doing.
....Now personally I find this a pain as I believe that combat should be fast paced and the characters would not have time to ponder there route...
They aren't the character, though. They are playing the character which is slightly different. Tactical decisions work a little slower and they don't have the instinct that a fighter would have to make those decisions quickly.
Not saying you should give them forever but I can be forgiving in most circumstances. Make it known that players should be planning their turns before they come up.
I don't have a hard and fast limit, but I generally expect people to figure stuff out within a minute or so. If someone seems to be taking an inordinately long amount of time, my players usually respond fine to a simple "All right, mate, let's keep things moving here. What is [PC] doing?"
Honestly, six seconds is a long time in melee. Plenty of time to plan. :)
Time constraints are not about the fiction, they're about you and the players and how long you have. Pacing is hard and varies from group to group. I know a guy who always plays magic users and always takes too long thinking about what spell he's going to cast on his own init. after not paying attention during other people's. But... on the whole, I think literally three minutes is a long time just for moving.
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We went from one round every 30-45 minutes followed by a smoke break to 10-minute combats when I started running APs. I'm not gonna complain if someone gets stuck, though I do get frustrated if they aren't paying attention and delay because of that.
Honestly, this isn't really an issue at my table. I run a tight grip on initiative and keep things moving. My players are old hands at this like I am so don't take much time deciding. If a player is taking 3-4+ min on a single turn, its usually because its going to decide if a character lives or not. In that case, I'm fine with them taking the time.
This doesn't come up often in my group but we have a rule where if you act within 6 seconds of your turn you get a +1 to attack and damage. Most of us forget the rule but it can get combat moving when that slow player is reminded.
We once had a player who was always on his phone until his turn and that slowed down his turn drastically. My brother was able to solve this by keeping the player invested through dialogue and in combat role playing.