Content of the article: "How do you run talking in combat?"
Fargrim the barbarian has just hit an extra large orc in the face, again, with little to no damage done.
“Let me do the talking here Grok,” says a voice, & the orc suddenly holds back from striking.
“We have your elf,” says the strange sorcerer as he strolls out of the last room yet to be explored. “…and I assume that’s your wizard there on the floor. Good show, my friends. Valiant effort all three of you. But now it must come to some conclusion. I am Glasstaff, the terror of Phandalin. If you wish to live, follow me & I’ll introduce you to my, even more terrible, master.”
Fargrim’s player says, “Ok, I’m not going to say anything—I’m going to knock the lantern off the wall, & just at the same time, throw flour in the air in the hopes of creating a dust explosion.”
I don’t mind letting this dust explosion idea play out (last-ditch effort, probable suicide, but might even save the rest of the party), but what I’m really hung up on is the initiative order. Now am I just being pedantic?
It’s Glasstaff & Grok’s turn, & rather than moving forward on what is almost certainly going to be a tpk, I had Glasstaff offer a way out. Grok could be holding his action while Glasstaff talks, & he could also be holding his action to cast a spell. After them—& before Fargrim’s turn!—are more orcs. I could say the orcs too, are holding their action to wait while Fargrim responds to Glasstaff, our of respect to their wizard master. But this means that everybody basically ends up going at once.
In whatever example you have, how do you manage stopping the combat for conversations, but then restarting again? – Hold actions from everybody like above, & then try to carefully detail what actually happens according to what they were holding it for, or who started holding it first, as best you can while trying to make it fair?
Restart initiative & let the dice say who comes out on top & ride it from there?
Pause for the one character to speak, let others speak in response, but then since combat wasn’t fully stopped, just continue initiative order with the first speaker where you left off & basically proceed like nothing happened?
Pause for conversation, & then wing it. (I'm thinking this would go in favor of whichever player is the best improviser, or just the fastest to speak up.)
Stop for conversation? Not on my watch! You talk—I punch!
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