I’ve been working on the next chapter summary, but it’s been a pain to distill the information and relevance of the particular chapter into something legible. Anyway, since it’s taking so long for it to come together, I’m going to write about something else for a bit. …And that’s why I have so many projects going on at once. Duly noted.

Last night I did some shooting for the Scales of War, and I completed the next two episodes (there were no “action” sequences, so I made it a short session) but it gave me reason to consider why the combat sequences took so long to play out. One of my friends shared a link on FaceBook to an image macro making fun of Fourth Edition:

“…Is a game where four hours of walking takes five minutes to describe, and five minutes of combat takes four hours to play.”

It doesn’t really, not at low levels, and not when you know what you’re doing. Well, not all the time. *sheepish* Well, maybe it does. I mean, even when you know what you’re doing, it does seem to take a while. To be fair though, Third Edition was the same bloody way. It would take hours to slog through a fight with distractions.

But there’s still a point here: it does take an obnoxiously long time for combat to be resolved. I mean, maybe you’ll wind up with shorter game sessions if you remove the combat, or maybe you’ll just do more “other” stuff. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed the tactical aspects of a well-crafted combat encounter. What’s missing though?

You know what tabletop roleplaying games will never be good at? Simulating realistic combat. I mean, there’s no way to install physics processors in all your players, so you’ll never get the same effect of bullets whizzing by and explosions lighting up the battlefield that video games can achieve. So what, then? What is the tabletop niche?

I think what a lot of us (who play DnD anyway) want is an engaging tactical combat experience. The ability to “just shoot him” when the villain engages in a lengthy monologue. Or at least the opportunity. But the combat system doesn’t necessarily allow for that, so much as the game master doesn’t have to allow it.

So what good is combat anyway?