Author Topic: Running high level combats  (Read 1550 times)

rejectedreality

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Running high level combats
« on: July 05, 2015, 02:43:06 AM »
Hi, everyone. This question's probably been asked before, but oh well:

I have 2 groups that I'm running Legend for, and while they're only level 3 right now, I want them both to level pretty high. However, after reading some of the capabilities from some of the newly released tracks (and reviewing old ones), I'm wondering how to run combats at hight levels.

Specifically, I'm trying to figure out the whole "mat and minis" thing. I've always used figures and such to give a visualization, and to eliminate spacing disputes. However, when it is possible to get melee ranges of 85 feet at 20th level, I worry that I simply won't have a mat of a sufficient size to run things.

Are mats meant to be done away with at that point, and use theater of mind? Or do you make every square on a map count as 20 ft instead of five? How does that interact with 5 ft steps? Any other problems to bring up? Tips to give?

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Re: Running high level combats
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 08:59:22 AM »
I've always ran high level combat on virtual tabletops like roll20, so I could lay out as large as a map as I felt like. The problem of the scale inflation has been discussed a lot, and it is tricky in a irl game. One way to  handle it is by not having battles in wide open spaces; if the battlefield is tigheter and narrower, it can limit the ability of people to run half a mile away and shoot back; a typical dungeon layout may be the beattleground, with the battle sprawling across large sections ofit rather than being focused on one room. If you do need a large space, having each square represent multiple can work in most cases. If people do get close, you can create a smaller grid that handles the specific positioning for cases where that matters.
An alternative idea, if you want to keep the fine-grained part of it, is to have each player keep a 4x4 grid which represents their position within the 20ft grid. 5ft steps can move them within that grid, and crossing the border allows them to move a grid on the main battlemap.
Another approach is to have the battlemap represent the melee brawl, and hence is at teh normal scale, but people can be X feet of the map in such and such a direction. The distance to a character is generally the most relevant concern when they are that far away, and you can generally assume characters that far are also scattered enough to avoid AoEs hitting multiple. If needed, you can shift the focus of the battlegrid if the combatants shift around. Have a general description of the souroundings, and the ranged combat can take place in the theater of the mind. IF desired, you can draw out the area at a small scale on a map, and use that for long range where squares don't matter so much.
Another option is to draw a finer grid over your battlemat, and use smaller markers. The main grid lines can still be used for times when ou don't need the extra size, but the smaller scale can let you fit a larger battle on the table if needed.
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rejectedreality

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Re: Running high level combats
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 03:44:30 PM »
Wish I had one of those tables that is actually a touch monitor. :p

I like the smaller spaces requirement, but yeah, it's not always possible to avoid battles in the open (especially since my current campaigns are rather exploration focused). It also sounds like it would make ranged attacks rather difficult to use, since melee ranges become so large. Not really my problem as DM, but I have several ranged/spell focused characters.

That 4x4 grid idea sounds pretty cool, actually. I rather like it. I'll need to find some graph paper, but it's a great way to keep the details while having a larger representation of proportion. Would take a while to get used to, but that's fine.

Might use the third option if I don't have the graph paper at hand. At the ranges that Legend has, letting ranged characters be off the map is pretty reasonable.

Fourth one would take too long, sadly, since I also use my mat for 3.5 or other games. Having to erase and redraw smaller lines would be really tough.


Thanks for the ideas, they will probably help a lot. I would like to hear about the implications of large melee range vs. spellcasters and ranged characters in small spaces at high levels. Are those characters just forced to eat AoOs? I haven't really seen a way for characters to "cast defensively", or "shoot defensively", unless I've missed something.

Grue

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Re: Running high level combats
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 04:33:30 PM »
there is the "Fight Defensively" combat maneuver, which increases your AC by 2 as a move action. the only restriction is that you can't charge in the same round.

Mystify

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Re: Running high level combats
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 05:18:31 PM »
Fourth one would take too long, sadly, since I also use my mat for 3.5 or other games. Having to erase and redraw smaller lines would be really tough.
You don't have to, if you do it right. You know how some pieces of grid paper have thick lines on some of the grids, and thinner lines on others? Its similar to that, where the normal grid remains visibile and usable, and  smaller grid is overlayed on top.
Thanks for the ideas, they will probably help a lot. I would like to hear about the implications of large melee range vs. spellcasters and ranged characters in small spaces at high levels. Are those characters just forced to eat AoOs? I haven't really seen a way for characters to "cast defensively", or "shoot defensively", unless I've missed something.
You can shoot for a happy medium. Things can still  have enough open space to shoot down corridors or whatever, but still have enough going on that running hundreds of feet away isn't useful.
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