Simple Fights

Another Detect Magic episode, this time on how to quickly, simply, and cinematically resolve fights.
I probably should have mentioned it in the episode, but, another (and probably better) way to do the damage PCs receive is to have them lose hp = HD roll of the monster.
This method of resolution admits of multiple implementations. You could say it’s polymorphic.
Here’s the outline, for reference:
  • Set DC of the fight (or have standard DC and assign modifier)
  • Have a player narrate action up to the moment something could go wrong
  • Make the check
  • Hit: great, player does what he wants, fountains of blood, &c.
  • Miss: PCs lose hp and/or spells; ref updates fiction (goblin strikes back)
  • Repeat, but, each round, you can have the failure consequences escalate, losing an additional die of hp


Fighter is facing a goblin in a cave. ROUND 1. FIGHT!

GM sets DC at 15, with a modifier of +3.

Player: I rush the goblin with my spear; I’m gonna skewer him.

Ref: Okay, DC 15; you’re at +3.


Ref: You got it. What happens?

Player: [disgusting, gory narration enthusiastically recounted]


Ref: Lose d8 hp. Have any left?

If 0 hp

Ref: Sorry buddy, the goblin lunges for your legs, and the next thing you know he’s chewing on your throat. GG.

If hp left

Ref: Sorry buddy, the goblin lunges for your legs, and the next thing you know he’s got his fangs an inch from your throat. What do?


I’m going to list a ton of variants now.

Check Variants

  • d20 vs gestalt DC
  • d20 vs static DC with gestalt modifer
  • with or without PC ability score and THACO / proficiency bonus mods
  • Die size vs DC of 4
  • 2d6 vs DC of 7
  • 3d6 vs DC of 10
  • 2d6 reaction roll:
    • 9+: party wins
    • 6-8: the party does damage, then (or simultaneously) suffers damage, repeat
    • 5-: party suffers damage, repeat

Damage Variants

  • take damage = your HD
  • take damage = monster’s HD
  • take damage = monster’s normal damage routine
  • take damage (on non-d20 check type) = one of the dice results, e.g.:
    • For the die size check variant, rolling a d8 vs DC of 4, all failures will be 1-3—take that much damage each time, optionally escalating each round
    • For the reaction roll or 2d6/3d6 variant, take one of the die rolls each time: lowest, middle, highest, perhaps escalating each round
  • do not escalate consequences each round
  • do escalate consequences each round

Narration Variants

  • players narrate up to the point where damage can be done (but no stabbing yet!)
  • players can narrate damage to monsters before checks so long as not debilitating or fatal
  • ref can’t narrate lingering injuries or consequences to players before hp 0 or round 2, 3, or X
  • ref can narrate all kinds of injuries or consequences to players each time a check fails, perhaps from a monster-specific random table


Music Credit: OurMusicBox (Jay Man)
Track Name: “Wonder And Magic”
Music By: Jay Man @
Official “OurMusicBox” YouTube Channel:
License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Music promoted by NCM

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s