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How long do you like combat to take in real time?


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What is your preferred time spent per combat encounter in real time?

Some games do combat encounters pretty quickly, such as Call of Cthulhu where combat is lethal and has a tendency to be very fast. Most combat encounters are 15 minutes max in my experience.  This is what I really prefer...fast and deadly.  This is one of the main draws for BRP to me...fast combat.

On the other end we have games like D&D 3rd Edition where combat encounters can last hours.  I can tolerate this only as long as my character can do something other than wait for my turn.  Other games from fast to slow are Cyberpunk (pretty fast), White Wolf (if you know what you are doing), Shadowrun, Champions (kinda slow).

So, what is your general time for combat encounters to last. This is not crunch, as you can add in a lot of optional rules to make combat longer, just as you can strip out huge amounts of rules to make combat very fast (as I usually do with Palladium games...).

If you have some games where you want combat to go long or just be done as fast as possible, feel free to explain why that is so.

Thanks in advance!


Edited by sladethesniper
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If the fight is entertaining, it can last for hours if needed.

If it's just rolling dice and marking HitPoints off, even 5 minutes will be too much.

It's IMHO more a matter of how quick a turn is resolved. If there is a constant need to look at the rules because they're too complex or players don't know their abilities well enough, or they spend too much time planing or thinking, that's when I will think the fight is too long.

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Personally I hate long combat encounters, and I usually deem combat in general the part that I like least about RPGs, but well played combat can be amazing too of course.

About time, I agree with you, 15 minutes, if the rules are well known by the players and gm should be enough, if they are still getting to them it can get about half an hour, for exemple me and my players are not yet fluent with RQ, so we waste much time looking at spells and tables, which is a shame but with time we will improve. More than that seems like too much time for me, and yes that's also one of the main reasons why I love BRP systems so much. 

But even more important than length is the context, the combat has to serve a purpose and create a threat to the players, and also it should never be just railroaded into the players face. Killing goblins, bandits or wolves for sport is incredibly boring, even if it's 10 mins, but if you manage to integrate the plot into a fight, in a way in which the story develops with the combat, that fight can take hours and be interesting, but this is a very hard thing to do.

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