Running a Combat Encounter
A combat encounter is used anytime that a physical altercation occurs between one or more PCs and one or more other creatures. While this focuses more on how to run a combat as a Gamemaster, more information on the mechanics can be found in the Combat section. While most combat encounters feature a physical fight between creatures, a combat-like Initiative is also used whenever time is a factor to completing a task (such as when a creature is poisoned, or when trying to disable a trap with limited time, etc).
Preparing for Combat
Combat begins when one or more creatures have the intent to attack another (before an attack actually begins). At this point the Gamemaster calls for all players to roll Initiative and rolls Initiative for any Opponents, frequently referred to as monsters. When running Simple Monsters, the Gamemaster typically rolls a single initiative for the entire monster group. As the Gamemaster, you are responsible for determining if either side of the combat is Surprised, and adjusting initiatives as appropriate. Also, you will determine Tide of Battle for the start of the encounter.
As Quest of Destiny usually involves the use of miniatures and some sort of battle map to represent gameplay, at this point the Gamemaster is responsible for laying out the area for the combat encounter. This may be done by drawing on a battle grid, using terrain tiles, or simply drawing it out on a few sheets of paper. It should include any major features of the area, such as trees, boulders, and streams for outdoor encounters or furniture, doors and windows, and stairs for indoor encounters. When the combat area is laid out, PCs then arrange their figures as appropriate and the Gamemaster will place any opponents on the board that the PCs are aware of.
As the encounter begins, the Gamemaster calls out each segment in initiative, starting with segment one and progressing to segment 10. When a PC or opponent's initiative is called, that creature will then take its turn. Any effects of that creature's action are resolved (including attacks) before the initiative count is continued. If more than one creature is acting in the same initiative, the order of the turns occurs in Initiative Order. At the end of the segment, any creatures wishing to utilize an Immediate Action may do so, and then the initiative count is resumed.
At the end of the first round (i.e. the end of segment 10), the Gamemaster announces the end of the round. At the transition point between rounds (sometimes called segment 0) a number of things happen. End of round effects occur first (such as Fast Healing or Regeneration). The Gamemaster next reminds players to pay the upkeep costs of any expiring effects (if applicable). At this point, the Gamemaster should evaluate the numbers on each side in combat to see if there has been a shift in Tide of Battle (any other shifts in Tide of Battle, such as from demoralization or power effects, should have occurred immediately). After all this is completed, the initiative count continues to the next round, starting in segment one of round two (any Aura effects occur at this point). The initiative count continues in this way until the combat ends.
Taking the Monster's Turn
As the Gamemaster, you are responsible for determining the actions of any of the PCs opponents, also called monsters. When the initiative for an opponent is called, you will take the turn for that opponent (or group of opponents), determining their actions and resolving the effects of any attacks, powers, etc. After the opponent has taken its turn, you add the recovery of the action they took to the current segment, determining the segment of that opponent's next turn (this is described in more detail in Combat).
For the most part, a monster can do anything that PCs do: move, attack, use powers, use the Recovery Action, etc. Complex and Legendary monsters follow the same rules as PCs, taking one action at a time and having a recovery for that action. Simple monsters on the other hand have a single recovery time for each turn and can take multiple actions on a turn (along with other rules to make them simpler to run). Simple monsters are also typically run in the same initiative as a monster group, instead of rolling initiative for each simple monster separately. See Running Monsters for more details on how to run each of the monster types.
Ending the Combat
The combat ends when all the opponents have been defeated, the PCs have been defeated, or all of the creatures on one side of the encounter either retreat or surrender. At this point, the initiative count ends (as long as there are no damaging ongoing effects) and the Gamemaster can move to resolve the end of the scene. If the PCs emerge victorious (which should usually happen), the Gamemaster typically grants Rewards for the encounter at this time (i.e. Experience, Treasure, information, etc).
Back to Puzzles
Back to Designing a Combat Encounter