Speeding Things Up
Getting into fights
What's a game element or procedure that bogs down your table?
For a lot of DMs, it seems to be a number of things centered around combat.
First off is the dreaded initiative tracking. The time between "roll initiative!" and actually swinging the first greataxe is critical - the shorter, the better. I've tried oodles of digital options, and simple paper is still fastest for me, with the exception of a VTT that has things already fully integrated.
I slot in monsters & players onto a piece of paper in roughly the right spot as they're called out/rolled. I put the monsters’ AC in a circle, and their max hp right after their abbreviated name (I’ll often just use PC initials, too). Once it's been damaged, I cross that max hp number out, and then start adding up damage done—it’s easier than subtracting. Once the critter is dead, I draw a line through the entry.
Here's what all that usually looks like for me:
Quick & easy.
If you want to get real wild and crazy and know some encounters ahead of time, you could even pre-roll initiative for monsters, slotting them in roughly where they'll end up. Or (the horrors!) use passive initiative and say their initiative is 10 + their Dexterity modifier.
If I have enough prep time, I'll also often take a monster and make an "abbreviated stat block" for my notes, just enough to tell me what I need during combat and save me from flipping through books. I save all these in a large "abridged bestiary" doc for later use, too, so the actual work is only done once:
And finally, there's no reason not to roll monsters’ attack & damage at the same time!
Silvery Barbs: Snatch a Victory from the Jaws of Your Enemies' Defeat - DnDBeyond (apparently a pretty controversial spell? I’ve not seen it in action yet.)
Where to Begin with Third-Party D&D Content - Flutes Loot (Some awesome resources linked in here!)
Spotlights In Focus: Plot Structure Impacts - Campaign Mastery
How To Create Engaging Session Recaps To Get Players Ready To Play - Roleplaying Tips
Treasure Maps - Thalian Musings
Now get out there and tell a story!
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