Gaming My Way

16 Oct

Spice Up Your Game With These Battle Locales

Tired of the same bland battles over and over again? Want to shake them up a bit so your players need to look at the battlefield in a new way, perhaps even make it part of the combat? Well then, this is the post you’ve been waiting for! Here are some new, and possibly some clichéd, battle scenarios you can try out in your games. And yes, they are slanted towards fantasy games in most cases. Feel free to adapt as necessary.

1) On the ice. Or perhaps on a bunch of icebergs. Ice is fun because it’s slippery, and that can make for some interesting changes in the combat dynamics. In addition, if there’s some thin ice around, it could make things tactically interesting in trying to force your opponents to that area. Perhaps if you fail a charging attack, you’ll find yourself moving further past your enemy than you hoped you would. And then there are other tactics, like blowing a hole in the ice below your opponents… and hoping it doesn’t cause enough damage to get the ice under you too.

If you’re doing battle on icebergs, you likely won’t be breaking enough ice to drop your opponents in the drink, but forcing them over the edge is an option. So is a chase from iceberg to iceberg if you’re looking for a non-standard chase scene. Also, fire spells to melt the ice followed by ice spells to refreeze it might be useful in binding your opponents… or a way for the enemies to stop the PCs in their tracks for a few rounds.

2) While on a floating island crashing to the world below. Yeah, I totally ripped this off from Sonic games, but so what? It could be an interesting scenario. If you don’t want an island, it could just as easily be a flying castle or fortress, or anything sufficiently large that can fall. While this likely won’t change the battle dynamics much, it will add quite a bit of tension to the battle. In addition, if the battle doesn’t end in time, you’ll have the fun experience of crashing into the ground and watching the island/fortress break apart… with you still on it and likely feeling the effects of a crash landing. Perhaps the battle even continues after that point to keep things interesting.

3) Flying through the Astral Plane. On the Astral Plane, all sorts of things are different. Everyone already has a good deal of mobility. They’re also incorporeal, though it’s likely their opponents are as well, so it’s unlikely that will effect much. However, since the Astral Plane is heavily shaped by thought, it’s entirely possible that the thoughts of the PCs and their enemies reshape the battlefield. For instance, a character remembering that time he fought a dragon might bring an astral dragonlike entity into existence to breathe fire on friend and foe alike for a turn. You can have some real fun with this, as anything from the past can become a temporary battlefield hazard. Of course, this will depend heavily on the campaign you’re running, and how the Astral Plane fits into it.

4) “In the middle of a rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.” Perhaps this is true if you’re an evil overlord, but to me, it sounds like a fantastic battle. Limited movement for anyone stuck on the ground, a shaky battle platform, and a hot fiery end below for anyone who makes a misstep during the battle. Severely limits the heavy artillery, since if the bridge goes, so do any allies on it. Then again, a cut the bridge down and run strategy could make for a fun escape if done successfully. But there’s something to be said for fighting this one out traditionally until the bridge buckles from being overused. Of course, that’s only a couple possibilities out of many, and the bridge suspended over lava will certainly add to the atmosphere, no matter where the battle goes from there.

5) It’s a dark and stormy night at sea. And then your ship capsizes. Then you see the giant krakken (or other appropriately challenging sea creature). Now, part of the fun in this battle is that the players are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to mobility starting out. Naturally, casters will even the odds in a round or two, but that’s what casters are for. With flying, water walking, water breathing, and countless other possibilities, including just swimming and fighting, the battle could go any number of ways. Water can really mess with a combat too.

For those in the water, they have to maneuver through stormy seas while fighting. For those walking on top of it, it will be hard to keep their footing as the water is constantly shifting. For those flying above it, they have to get their attacks through the water somehow. This will nullify a lot of casting options from the start. Fireballs tend to stop when they hit water, unless they were cast while underwater… an undertaking that, though possible, has it’s own issues. Lightning spells will be interesting too, given the way water conducts electricity. Archers will also have issues, as water resistance will make their arrows difficult to aim. The warrior types will find their bulky armor more a burden than a help at this point in time, unless they receive some timely magical aid.

So there you have five battle scenarios you can try out in your game if you need a new combat scene to change things up a bit. Have any favorites you’d like to add to this list? Tell me about them in the comments!


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One Response to “Spice Up Your Game With These Battle Locales”

  1. 1
    CruelCleric Says:

    The Colony Drop moment is one your players will never forget, especially if you remember one inconvenient little fact: Since the floor is getting further away from you at the same pace as the world below is getting closer, you’re fighting in zero-g! Time for the melee classes and their grapple-related feats to really shine!

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