dnd 5e – How do I help a player terrified of their character dying in combat?

Call them on their bull****

D&D is a game about heroic characters risking their lives several times a day, I personally always play characters who want to survive, and will concentrate on staying alive, but there is a difference between being cautious and spoiling the game by not participating in combat encounters with the rest of the players.

I would say that there is a place for that style of play, but clearly not in your game, so you just need to tell them to knock it off.

I don’t suggest handing out items to make their life easier, or making up new rules, or anything to gently ‘encourage’ them. This player has made a commitment to play a game with other people and their responsibility is to participate with the rest of the players. Remind them of that.

Maybe this player just doesn’t like the style of game you play, and would prefer if everyone else ran away and was far more cautious too, but the quicker you identify that the quicker you can get on the same page – even if that page doesn’t include your player who refuses to join in.

You can then help them build the right character for them

As an example I currently play a wizard with 19 AC, a druid with 19 AC, a paladin with 21 AC and a monk with 22 AC. Both the wizard and paladin have access to the shield spell, my paladin prefers shield to smite, and my monk has defensive dualist taking his AC to a potential 27! My casters will stay at the back, use spells to increase defence, hide behind trees and keep out of line of sight, but they don’t run away. My paladin will use his slots to stay alive rather than dishing out damage, but will put himself in front of the squishy characters. My monk will look for the easiest targets to stun and let the barbarian take the damage, but all of them contribute.

This is active defence. Running away is not.

Rogues are notoriously squishy, especially if they are melee for some crazy reason, this probably doesn’t help your player feel very safe because everything hits them. You could help create them a character who won’t be so vulnerable after the conversation about participation.

dnd 5e – PC terrified of dying in combat

The first question you have to ask is why is the player fleeing: does the player fear death, or the character? If they’ve made a character that is a coward, then you may have to find a way in story for them to overcome there fear: perhaps a dramatic moment where they are the only person able to save another’s life, but they have to risk there own (or one of the things below may be enough to assuage them). If it is the player, they may need something more concrete mechanically to overcome this phobia. There is a few ways to handle this; you know your players and your party better than I do, so you can decide which seems like the best fit.

Immersion Therapy: Knock them out.

Dying always sucks, no one likes having to make a new character. However, 5e is very gentle with death for players. If the player is knocked out in a way that seems unlikely to happen again (“I can’t believe I rolled a 7 for damage on a crit! That’s crazy!”), they can experience first hand how they have lots of ways to survive the damage:

  • Roll 3 successes: statistically more probable than 3 failures (1-9 = 9 faces of the die, 10-19 = 10 faces of the die)
  • Roll a 20, pop back up
  • If they have been had bless cast on them by another party member, they have a bonus to their saving throws, making death saving throw odds further in their favor
  • Be stabilized by another party member (DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check, or the party member uses a charge from a healer’s kit)
  • Be healed by a party member: even healing 1 hp is enough to bring them back to consciousness, so any healing spell/ability can bring them back to consciousness (8 classes have ways to get access to healing spells, in addition to the Aasimar racial feat, and the Healer feat)

Magic items to make staying alive easier.

While not anywhere in the original Dragon of Icespire Keep campaign, if you are willing to make some changes you could easily have a Periapt of Wound Closure fall into the characters lap; this item makes any unconscious character automatically stabilized. This should alleviate some fear of dying, as most attacks are unlikely to outright kill a player.
You could also give them access to more healing potions: Adabra Gwynn sells them at Umbrage Hill, and if the players seem unlikely to head to her, she may have someone bring potions to sell on her behalf to Phandalin.

Homebrew something else?

Maybe in their lineage they have some amount of orc, giving them the Half Orc’s Relentless Endurance ability. Create a feat that allows them to flee as a reaction, when another creature finishes moving within 5 feet of them. Create a magic item that gives them access to cure wounds when only used on themselves. Endless possibilities when homebrewing, however be careful not to focus too much on helping this character, as your other players may feel shorted.

Talk to the Player

This one is probably the hardest to do because talking to human beings is difficult, but try to help them understand the balance of how they are only taking away from the fun of the game for everyone, including themselves: the party is at a disadvantage, fighting against a challenge meant for one more player than is present. The DM now has to worry about how to make sure these odds don’t result in an unfun TPK (or something close to it with the rogue running away). And the player is now hiding from combat, typically the part of TTRPGs that players get the most fun out of! If you can help them see how their choices are affecting the game (even if it’s because of My Guy Syndrome) without blaming them or making them feel at fault, they may be more willing to make a change for the sake of the game night.

Monk Level Advancement Combat Competitive Advantage

Is there a fair way to give a character monk an advantage in the monk’s combat to advance a level in AD&D 1st edition? What has worked for you?

A Fair Competitive Advantage would be some inherently, built-in advantage like more hit points than the opponent. Or it could be an unarmed combat choice of skills per attack. But it does not allow a magic item which would violate the Lawful code of the Monk’s combat.

  • Unearthed Arcana (UA) describes Vanquishing as non-lethal combat on p109.
  • Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) describes Pummeling Grappling Overbearing on p72-73. It states,

“Monks: Even if grappled, pummeled, or overborne, monks are able to conduct open hand combat normally until stunned or unconscious.”

  • The Player’s Handbook (PB) pages 30 to 32 PHB says

    “The monk must find and defeat in single combat, hand-to-hand, without weapons or magic items…”
    “The loser of these combats loses enough experience points to place him or her at the lowest number possible to attain the level just below the new level.”

    “the monk has a chance to stun, or even kill, an opponent. An opponent is stunned by a monk for 1-6 (d6) melee rounds if the score of the monk’s ‘to hit’ die score exceeds the minimum number required by 5 or more.”

The combat tables show a 15% to 25% chance of stunning from levels 8 through 17. By level 9, a monk attacks twice per round or more. A monk could stun and then attack the stunned opponent up to 12 times at level 9 . This means the winner is effectively decided by the first one to stun.

Things I thought of as a Fair Competitive Advantage so far are:

  1. The character has a 16 CON, but the NPC has <= 14 CON. The character would get 2 extra HP per level. But any NPC that made it through 2 or more combats would likely have a 16 CON anyway.
  2. Module X2 Castle Amber has encounters that reward a chance for permanent +d4 hit points or a permanent bless ( +1 hit +1 damage +1 save ). This is not enough to overcome an unlucky stun or 2 stuns.
  3. Some combination of pummel, grapple, overbear and monk hand to hand. Does a monk get multiple pummel, grapple, overbear attacks per round as the monk advances levels? For example, do you overbear once and then attack hand-to-hand the rest of the combat?
  4. Oriental Adventures (OA) The book contains differentiated martial arts styles, damage and AC. This question is about advantages or style differences not in the OA. It’s fine if that is the best solution, just wanted to know about other alternatives too.
  5. Is there some ability, module, monster, or encounter that provides a permanent Save vs Paralyzation when stunned instead of automatic stun?
  6. Can a monk self-heal (Special Ability E) while stunned?
  7. Something else you have used.

Without an advantage, the monks have the same probability of hit points, same AC, same to-hit, and same damage. The winner is a coin toss, effectively doubling the experience needed for a monk to advance beyond level 8. What have you tried that allowed you to advance a monk through the higher levels?

dnd 3.5e – What are the fastest mundane ways to heal out of combat?

Extraordinary healing to full in 1 round, every round

You mention Tome of Battle, but note concerns with recovery. I note that stances don’t need recovery, and martial spirit conveniently lacks rules about the attacks being against “threats” or “opponents” or “aggressive creatures” or whatever:

While you are in this stance, you or an ally within 30 feet heals 2 points of damage each time you make a successful melee attack. This healing represents the vigor, drive, and toughness you inspire in others. Your connection to the divine causes such inspiration to have a real, tangible effect on your allies? health.

Each time you hit an opponent in melee, you can choose a different recipient within range to receive this healing.

That’s 2 hp/attack, and you can keep it or give it to a friend.¹ More attacks you have, more hp you can heal. And best of all, it just says “successful melee attack”—absolutely nothing about an enemy, a threat, or anything else. So it probably works best as some kind of barbarian/chaos monk with Two-weapon Fighting² whaling on a training dummy or something (could be a brick wall or the ground for all the rules seem to care) maximizes our results, but ultimately it isn’t terribly important. A decent 20th-level barbarian has maybe 336 hp during a rage,³ so you can fully heal up about the beefiest target available in just over two minutes.⁴

But, of course, that’s just one feat,⁵ a single 1st-level stance. We haven’t even finished getting through Devoted Spirit yet, because your single best bet here is probably Tome of Battle’s aura of triumph:

While you are in this stance, you and any ally within 10 feet of you both heal 4 points of damage with each successful melee attack either of you makes against an evil target.

Note that it requires an evil target, not necessarily a threatening one. So while you can’t attack the ground itself,⁶ you could attack, say, an evil item. Of which there are many, whether we’re talking about cursed objects or just stuff like unholy weapons or whatever. And attacking objects is explicitly a thing in the rules,⁷ and they are “targets” of your attacks, so, cool. Better yet, magic items are damnably⁸ difficult to destroy, so you’ll be able to make successful melee attacks against that item for a long time before you have to worry about replacing it.

Anyway, access is somewhat less trivial than just “take Martial Stance any time you like,” but warblade has only extraordinary class features,⁹ so it’s easy enough to take levels of that for the sake of reaching initiator level 11th. Then just pick up Martial Study (crusader’s strike), Martial Stance (martial spirit), and Martial Stance (aura of triumph) at your convenience. You can have all 3 by 12th level if you want.

Non-warblade levels, as usual, count half towards meeting the initiator level 11th requirement on aura of triumph, so up to two of them are “free” for this exercise (they won’t delay aura of triumph since you don’t get a feat at 11th anyway so you get it at 12th either way). And of course, delaying things would be allowed and we could always pick up aura of triumph at 15th or 18th level, or even at 20th if that level was fighter, or got a fighter bonus feat. The bare minimum number of warblade levels here is 2, though that forces a level of fighter at 20th. To hit IL 11th by 18th, you need warblade 3rd.

Probably the ideal thing to do with the rest of the levels is, again, to rack up extra attacks. The “melee” requirement actually winds up being kind of meaningful, because ranged attacks are way easier to come by, plus throwing weapons could combine those with two-weapon fighting for the best of both worlds. But anyway, still plenty of options for melee attacks too. Maybe pick up avalanche of blades along the way, and grab Stormguard Warrior so you can make all of those attacks as touch attacks—and deal no damage. Boom, you might get 100 hp out of that every other round.

But ultimately, that optimization is probably wasted—because that’s not the real gold here. The real advantage of aura of triumph is that your allies’ attacks count too. They can’t heal each other, but they can all heal you (and themselves at the same time). So really it’s more like, everybody get in a huddle and kick this evil monolith, and you’ll heal me to full in a round, easy.

  1. Switching who you’re healing, amusingly, might require an actual “opponent,” due to the last line of the stance.

  2. Or just “two-weapon fighting,” that is, without the feats, since you don’t really need to care very much about your attack bonus when your target can literally be the broad side of a barn. Since city-brawler barbarians get both Improved Unarmed Strike and Two-Weapon Fighting (for unarmed strikes), though, at basically zero cost, you’ll probably have the feat, and it allows for yet more attacks as BAB increases and you take ITWF and GTWF.

  3. Assumed average HD rolls and 30 Con, which might be low if you’re actually a single-classed barbarian and have mighty rage, but realistically almost no one does that so it’s probably just rage and for rage it might be a bit high, so I call it a wash and say it’s a reasonable ballpark figure.

  4. I assumed full BAB, whirling frenzy, and the Two-weapon Fighting line, for 8 attacks per round, for 16 hp/round, for (exactly!) 21 rounds to heal 336 hp. That’s 2 minutes, 6 seconds. As noted, with chaos monk or whatever you can do better than 8 attacks per round, but that math gets uglier and it’s kind of besides the point.

  5. Well, one feat doing the healing; a bunch of class levels and feats getting the attacks you want to fuel it.

  6. Most places, though if you find yourself in the Lower Planes you should totally give it a try.

  7. Sundering; it’s plausible for people to forget it’s a thing players can actually do since it’s so rare that they’d ever want to, but you can.

  8. I’m not even sorry at this point.

  9. There are some really dubious extraordinary abilities among warblade maneuvers—earthstrike quake is my personal choice for greatest offender—but if we were worrying about something like that we couldn’t use martial spirit or aura of triumph to begin with.

combat – Interaction between Telemechanics and a Glitter Boy Power Armor, what would happen?

A Mind Melter finds a functioning and unattended suit of Glitter Boy Power Armor. The Mind Melter decides to use Telemechanics on it in order to pilot it.

The Glitter Boy OCC states that non GB pilots can only operate the suit at a Basic level of proficiency while GB pilots default to the Elite proficiency. However, the Telemechanics power states that a Psionic can operate any machine at 80% scholastic skill expertise… but not which skill specifically, and all skills seem to be lumped under “scholastic” as per the general description in the Skills section.

The Mind Melter gets into a Hand to Hand fight while piloting the Glitter Boy and using the Telemechanics power.

Does the Mind Melter use the Basic as per the GB OCC description, the Elite skill somehow, the 80% “scholastic skill” as per the Telemechanics power (and if so, which skill does that translate as), or something else?

In short, what happens… and what level of proficiency does the Telemechanics power result in for the Mind Melter in Hand to Hand combat in the Glitter Boy?

pathfinder 1e – Mounted Combat: Ride-by attack + Overrun possible?

So the question is as follows:

Can a Cavalier declare a Ride-by attack and then use their mount to overrun the target (thus continuing the movement through the enemies square)?

  1. Is it enough for the Cavalier to have the Ride-by Attack? Would the mount need Charge Through?
  2. Who makes the overrun attempt (check)? The Cavalier (with his own stats), or the mount?
  3. What happens if the overrun attempt fails? Does movement end in front of the target, and does the target get an AoO since Ride-by failed?

Ride-by Attack states:

When you are mounted and use the charge action, you may move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge). Your total movement for the round can’t exceed double your mounted speed. You and your mount do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that you attack.

Overrun states:

As a standard action, taken during your move or as part of a charge, you can attempt to overrun your target, moving through its square. You can only overrun an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Overrun feat, or a similar ability, initiating an overrun provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. If your overrun attempt fails, you stop in the space directly in front of the opponent, or the nearest open space in front of the creature if there are other creatures occupying that space.

Charge Through states:

When making a charge, you can attempt to overrun one creature in the path of the charge as a free action. If you successfully overrun that creature, you can complete the charge. If the overrun is unsuccessful, the charge ends in the space directly in front of that creature.

My interpretation so far was:

  1. Declare Ride-by attack
  2. Charge
  3. Attack when in range (10 feet with lance)
  4. Continue movement (Ride-by Attack)
  5. Attempt overrun as part of mount’s charge action (or free with Charge Through)

So as follows (C = Cavalier, T = Target, x = empty square)

Cavalier attack:

x x x
x T x
x x x
x C x

Overrun CMB

x x x
x T x
x C x 
x x x 

When overrun succeeds, continue moving through enemy square as per Ride-by attack (not taking any AoO).
When overrun fails, stop movement in front of enemy, and take 1 AoO (as Ride-by failed) if AoO is applicable.

As Ride-by Attack is worded, nothing stops the Cavalier from doing a Charge, attacking with a lance (reach), and then using the Ride-by Attack to continue the movement for 1 more square (thus being adjacent to the enemy). The mount is then in melee range and should be able to make an overrun attempt and thus continuing the movement through the enemy square, if successful?

Am I missing some ruling, FAQ or errata here?


Bonus question!

Am I correct in my understanding that, with Ride-by Attack, I can:

Charge -> Attack with Lance -> Move 1 more square -> Have mount make 1 attack?

dnd 5e – Can I use Zephyr Strike outside of combat to increase my running speed?

The spell Zephyr Strike, from XGE, has the following text:

You move like the wind. Until the spell ends, your movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks. Once before the spell ends, you can give yourself advantage on one weapon attack roll on your turn. That attack deals an extra 1d8 force damage on a hit. Whether you hit or miss, your walking speed increases by 30 feet until the end of that turn.

Clearly this spell was written with combat in mind. I’m curious what support, if any, exists for using it outside of combat for the purpose of increasing a character’s movement speed, for instance in a foot chase.

What I would like to happen:
I cast Zephyr Strike, waive the attack, and immediately trigger the bonus 30 feet of speed (say, to 60 ft). Since Zephyr Strike’s casting time is a bonus action, I then take the dash action, doubling my speed to 120 feet. I have this speed for 6 seconds.

My interpretation of the spell as written:
The bonus to speed requires the player to take the attack action. The extra speed only lasts until the end of the turn. So to gain the speed benefit, a player must attack something, which uses their action and prevents the use of the dash action while under the effect of the spell.

Obviously the DM can rule however they want, but I’m curious what support the rules might have for my preferred outcome.

fate 2.0 – How can I adjudicate more-lethal combat?

So, in FATE 2.0, characters take a lot of hits to remove from combat. This presents a problem when lethal weapons are used in situations where failure doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

For example, when a character with “Long-Range Rifle Combat XXX” attempts to fire on a stationary generic mook from a concealed position after taking time to aim, their average MOS is going be 6 (three base +1 surprise +1 for taking time to aim +1 for specificity in skill). A MOS of 6 results in an ‘Injury’ outcome, one less than what’s needed to actually take the target out of the fight. The generic mook takes a -1 to everything until receiving treatment for their injury, but isn’t going to be surprised by additional fire in further exchanges, so the outcome is basically a wash when it comes to the expected result of futher combat. If the mook can’t do anything to get themselves into cover or in some other way interfere with the sniper they will probably be taken out after two additional rounds of combat. If the mook can get into cover or otherwise garner a +1 on their next opposed roll the combat will drag on for another 4 exchanges (we assume taking the time to aim to get the +1 needed to keep the average MOS at 5 takes one’s turn). This means that even with three points in a specialized combat skill a PC will routinely fail assassination attempts on completely vulnerable targets in ideal circumstances and that a Legendary result when attempting to effect “I shoot him right between the eyes” is either an abject failure or somehow consistently fails to remove targets from fights. That is not what I want.

This is additionally problematic when one is attempting to neutralize targets without being noticed, or when there are numerous opponents, or when the opponents have the capability to respond with potentially deadly force.

While changing a character’s overall hp is appropriate in some cases, that is not something I’ve had success in doing here, as I don’t want to have to figure out everyone’s hp boxes for every fight (as doing so would take away a significant portion of player predictive ability) and I do want a more usual HP breakdown in situations where prolonged combat is more reasonable.

What can I do to adjudicate highly-lethal maneuver attempts in combat in a more satisfying way?

dnd 5e – Will it break the game, if healing in combat heals the max instead of rolling?

This answer is based on a few years’ experience playing and GM’ing DnD 5e, and I will assume that you’ll be able to treat “being in combat” in a loose but generally understandable sense that won’t be used to invoke this rule at will.

Probably not game-breaking

Don’t expect it to change much, though. While many people expect the “party healer” to be a significant role in DnD 5e – and while it somewhat is (more on that later), in-combat healing is generally speaking very weak and inefficient, and one should in the vast majority of cases concentrate on downing one’s enemies faster rather than trying to undo their damage.

There are circumstances where in-combat healing is worth it, but these are generally summarizable in one sentence: is the target at 0 hit points? If so, healing them to even one hit point will restore their consciousness, avert the immediate risk of the target dying, and allow them to take actions in combat on their next turn (barring other obstacles to that). But while the difference between 0 and 1 hit points is huge, beyond that it matters fairly little. A very high level healing spell might be able to make you able to survive a few blows at a considerable opportunity cost in spell slots.

As a rule of thumb, one could say that a little healing is a lot better than no healing, but a lot of healing is little better than a little healing.

Does this rule change that? Obviously a bit, but not much. The amount of hit points healed by healing magic is generally negligible, excepting very high-level magic that comes at significant costs. For low-level healing magic, the effect won’t be very noticeable, and while it might be for higher-level healing where many dice are rolled, upcasting healing will still remain a poor use of a slot in most cases.

I still wouldn’t do this

As a result of this change, in-combat healing will still be a weak strategy, although of course now it’s not quite as weak. But I’d argue against rewarding your players for micro-managing their healing resources (spell slots etc) for maximum impact, eg. by trying to squeeze extra healing during the final turns of combat. I would personally find that somewhat stressful, since I am somewhat prone to borderline compulsive micro-optimization, and I know many players feel the same.

In your shoes, I’d embrace the fact that in-combat healing is not very powerful in DnD 5e. Healing in combat moves the scene backwards instead of forward, it is reactive instead of proactive, it slows the action instead of accelerating it. Instead, let your “semi-healer” work their magic in emergencies and between encounters, and let your players have a few healing potions here and there if their other resources don’t carry them through the day.

As a closing note, you shouldn’t stress about it either way. You haven’t started the game yet, and trying to pre-empt everything by fixing house rules now will not work. Try it out, see what kinds of problems you encounter, and then using the shared experience, you can hash out the necessary house rules and rulings together with your players.

dnd 5e – Is it a game breaking house rule, if all in combat healing source heals the rollable maximum?

In the next week I will start a new campaign where I will be the DM. The players will be totally new to the DnD World, and because of that, I want to let them to freely choose the class and race which they want to play, but it seems like there will be no healer PC, just damage dealers and some kind of PC which maybe will have some healing.

I want to play with them in a relatively long campaign (I’m planning from level 1 to 20) and because of that, I really want to give them more opportunity to overcome the missing healing power. Will it break anything, if I let the semi-healer PC to heal the maximum roll-able number with any healing skill, which he/she uses in combat? For short rest I wouldn’t allow this house rule, so I really want to know, if it would be too powerful in combat house rule or not, and why?