Dungeons&Dragons combat does not have to consist of rolling dice to hit until either the monsters or PC’s are dead. They can be so much more! In a previous blog I explained how to make it more interesting by playing the enemies smarter. But besides a balanced party and the enemies there is a third component, the environment.
The options of players during combat usually consists of running and attacking. But by giving them surroundings they can use they can feel like bad-ass action heroes when they flip a table for cover, swing from the chandeliers and use the stacked barrels and burning braziers as makeshift weapons. And naturally you can use those against them as well.
Especially at later levels the magic-users gain amazing powers which could rival even the gods. You can make it feel like that when a Wall of Force cracks them ancient ruins around them, or when a fireball not only takes out the Goblins, but also sets the entire wooden building ablaze. This makes players feel powerful, the world realistic and creates consequences for their actions.
Besides making it a playground or creating consequences you can also create huge stakes by making the environment dangerous. They might be in an active volcano or the room might be filling up with sand or water. What if the platform they are on keeps crumbling away until they would fall to their deaths. Besides making it an awesome arena to fight in, it also gives the players an extra objective besides mowing down enemies. They need to pull a lever, get away or solve a riddle within a time limit or they might face certain death.
However you do it, make the battles about more than just standing face-to-face until either party is dead.
Looking for the right monsters to use? Try using this Random Encounter Generator.
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