Content of the article: "Soulless Combat"
Maybe this might seem like I'm nitpicking, but I've had a party of four players for over a year, and for the most part they are very good role players. The Barbarian, however, started off as a frustrating lone wolf character, and even though he's gotten much better with roleplay and team work, when it comes to combat, he loses all sense of "character."
He obviously enjoys combat more than any other aspect of DnD, but seems to view it as a mathematical problem and forgets that his character is actually engaging in it, it's not just a string of numbers. The rest of the party gives me short descriptions of their spells or attacks, and I try to make them feel badass with my descriptions of hits and misses. The Barbarian gives me nothing, the worst being a simple "I would like to rage," which I understand is a Critical Role reference, but the thoughtlessness is in sharp contrast to what everyone else at the table is doing. The other four of us are working to make combat interesting, and even though he praises our descriptions, he doesn't take part. I've tried to coax him into giving more detail, starting by doing it for him ("after seeing your comrade overwhelmed by the beast, your vision blurs and you let out a roar, thundering towards him in your rage.") and moving onto asking for more information ("What about the situation triggers your rage? How does your rage affect how you look/feel?") but he won't do it by himself.
My other players have made comments to me and it seems that him shutting off his character during combat and just rolling dice makes them feel self conscious about their roleplay or they lose interest during his turns because it's boring. What can I do to encourage continued roleplay during combat, even a simple "I'm going to run towards him, screaming, and swing my first sword, 18 to hit" rather than "I'm going to use my first sword, 18 to hit, now my second sword, 20 to hit." I know different people have different comfort levels when it comes to roleplay and he's done really well so far outside of combat, I just want to coax him this little bit further to keep the energy during combat up rather than grinding to a halt. Thanks!
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