I’m struggling with the flow of combats.

I’m struggling with the flow of combats.

I’m struggling with the flow of combats. Some of the combats devolve into what feels like hack and slash marathons – lots of 10+ rolls for minimal damage. This is particularly manifest when one character is fighting a singular monster.

I’ve been playing these combats as “okay character keep pressing the initiative…you’ve got free reign.”

Should I be making soft moves in between a successful hack and slash?

12 thoughts on “I’m struggling with the flow of combats.”

  1. I love, love, looooove environmental hazards! Give everyone stuff to navigate, avoid, or turn to their advantage.

    Break stuff, blow stuff up, move stuff around, burn everything.

  2. So I would take this to mean that you would advocate not only a creature to combat but environmental challenges that also should not be ignored?

    Continuing to successfully “hack and slash” a monster is one thing…but while on a conveyer belt this could result in being unceremoniously dumped into the lava?

  3. That’s a perfect example. If he doesn’t do something to stop the belt, or even simply get off, that’s another hazard. What’s this, another 7-9? You gave that ogre a good smack but a beam just broke and is now pinning you down as the ogre takes a few slow steps forward, preparing to finish you.

  4. Take away the environmental hazards that are in motion.

    A character is on the tower fighting a creature.

    GM – Ashen tendrils erupt from the guard’s facial orifices and lunge toward you; what do you do?

    Player – With my sword, I slash at the tendrils keeping them at bay.

    GM – Sounds like hack and slash.

    Player – I roll a 10. And do 2 damage.

    What would be a good follow-up be at this point? The player has addressed the tendrils but hasn’t killed the creature outright.

  5. Jeremy Friesen the move you describe sounds more like “Defy Danger” than “Hack and Slash” to me. He’s not trying to kill the guard he’s trying to keep the tentacles from getting him.

  6. Always be making soft moves. Soft moves are just you talking, and you should always be talking about what’s going on. A character can’t always, endlessly press the initiative: monsters will try to break their momentum, and slip past their sword-swings! And when the monster does, the character will likely be left Defying Danger instead.

  7. The tendrils recoil from the cold steel of your blade, and seem to hesitate as the guard jerks around like a string puppet, then the tendril snake up into the support beams holding the tower’s roof aloft, and the wood quickly begins to crumble. The roof above your head about to cave in!

    What do you do?

  8. Nick Pilon said what I was thinking. The example of the tendrils sprouting from the guard’s face sounds like a Defy Danger, not a Hack & Slash. The player specifically says they’re trying to keep them at bay, not simply do damage to them.

    Remember, a 6- isn’t the only time the GM makes a move. They also make moves when the players ignore a soft move, or when the players hand them a golden opportunity. That being said, the monsters aren’t going to stand there and do nothing just because the players keep rolling 10+es and the GM doesn’t get to make moves. Monsters follow thier instincts and act accordingly.

  9. Thank you everyone for responding, I appreciate the consideration.

    In the example I gave, I can easily see Defy Danger being the triggered move. But, my question is related to the follow-up of a successful move; in particular Hack & Slash.

    Adrian Thoen your example helps clarify. I’m going to spend a bit of time re-reading the GM section.

  10. Looking at your example again Jeremy Friesen, your follow up move is to narrate what the PC’s attack looks like. The player narrated that their PC was slashing at the tentacles, and did a few points of damage. So what does that look like fictionally? What does the monster do?

    If I were the GM, I’d narrate the PC slicing off a tentacle and the thing reeling back in pain. Then I’d look at the creature’s instinct and description to help inform me what it does next. Is the monster aggressive/crazed/violent? Then maybe it gathers itself for another full-out attack regardless of the pain. I narrate what the imminent attack looks like and ask the player what they do in response. Is the creature intelligent/cautious? Maybe it retreats up the steps to set an ambush point, or it tries to get behind the PC to attack from an unexpected angle. Again, I narrate what that looks like and ask the player what they do. Is the creature someone’s minion/creation with a specific task or purpose? Then the monster sets itself up to try and achieve that goal, which again gets narrated.

    Monsters can still do things “off their turn”. In fact, as GM if you don’t constantly give the players situations that they have to react to, things can grind to a halt.

  11. Jeremy Friesen the follow up to something like a successful attack is generally a soft move.

    Specifically, per pg 166, the GM makes a move when “everyone looks to you to find out what happens”, which is basically always the result of a 10+. You can then look back at the moves on pg 165 and, as a “soft move” (ie, something they get to respond to before consequences actually hit) do any of the things on that page.

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