Posts by Basheer Ghouse

Art of Skirmishing: Synthesis

While manipulating the encounter difficulty chart is a simple way to indicate how factors affect combat difficulty, it’s also imprecise, doesn’t have many gradations, and can be misleading. It still has its uses in adjusting the broad overview of an encounter but is less useful for dealing with more granular modifications, like how NPC roles …

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Art of Skirmishing: The Map is Not the Territory

Fire lanes are a concept from skirmish wargaming that describe concrete areas of line of sight that allow attacks to be performed at range. Line of sight blockers describe terrain elements that block line of sight and therefore attacks and abilities. Movement blockers describe terrain elements that block or impede movement even if they don’t …

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The Art of Skirmishing: The Role of Creatures

A troll in a field is dead. A troll under a bridge is dramatic. A troll in your privy is terrifying. The danger of enemies in 5th edition is based heavily on the circumstances in which they are encountered. Skirmishing doesn’t change this fact but does change the nature of those circumstances. Previously, you’d have …

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The Art of Skirmishing: Bailing Out

Selim’s dagger came free, the high priest’s corpse slumping over the altar. “That’s it then,” he said. “Let’s see what we’re getting out of this mess.” “Boss,” said Faridah, “we may want to nix the looting.” “Why would—” As he turned, Selim saw the ritual turned loose. The temple was falling apart, tendrils of noxious, …

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The Art of Skirmishing: Why We Fight

The first step of creating any successful skirmish is to set compelling stakes and objectives for that skirmish and to communicate them clearly to the players. The worst-case scenario for a skirmish is the players not caring about the outcome of the fight or not understanding what they need to do to effect that outcome.

Tools of War: NPC Allies

NPC allies are a reasonably common feature in home campaigns and published adventures. While a decent way to showcase the allies that characters are invested in, characters who are important to the plot, or just friendly combatants too important to be represented as some sort of disposable minion, they can be annoying to use.

Tools of War: Commanding Minions

You’re playing a necromancer, and you’ve finally got animate dead. Your last battle leaves you with a small hoard of corpses, and careful spell selection and treasure hoarding has given you the resources to raise, equip, and transport all of them. 

Tools of War: Formations and Hordes

Enormous battles against overwhelming odds are a staple of the fantasy genre, of the books and movies and games that inspire so many campaigns. Trying to bring that experience to the tabletop, though, is difficult with the increased bookkeeping, time, and attention that such combats require.

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