How fast is combat?

Game systems have varying mortality levels. There is a complaint about high level D&D combat that it takes a long time to resolve – a “grind”.

I think it’s a different style of combat.

In D&D, high level characters feint and parry and dodge. Eventually they get worn down and stagger around worried about the next sword thrust. That is, that’s how it goes in “all HP are 1d6 per HD and all attacks do 1d6 damage” games. In post-OD&D, a 7th level Thief who gets pounded by an Iron Golem for 4d10 damage can get flattened in one blow.

Then take Shadowrun, where a character can be stabbed by a Troll and take no damage if he wears good armor, some damage if he has lame armor, or possibly die if he has no armor. It all depends. But this assumes the same attacker and defender, just a change in armor.

I think any of these are legitimate. The OD&D way of doing things means high level PCs will be heroic and fights will take a little while. There are also interesting magic items and spells to use in combat and a longer combat gives you more time to use them. Low level combat is simpler, with fewer choices, and it goes much faster. I think that’s a feature.


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