Keeping Combat Moving and Players Engaged

Recently in the ThreadRaiders TableTop RPG Classroom Discord channel, the question came up asking for methods to deal with players who tend to wait until their turn in combat to plan out their strategy, movement, and action for their turn. The overall issue focuses on dealing with out of character delays during combat which tend to pull players out of the immersion and intensity of the moment/encounter.

One of the first suggestions shared by Festive Jordan focused on using a physical “turn timer”, such as an egg timer or 1 minute sand timer, and then took it a step further by offering an in-character/in-game method reasoning for use of the timer.

“'For the legends say that too much time spent in the cavern will cause a person to lose their mind. Why, I once knew an adventurer that was in there only 5 minutes before starting to hear things. She came out  a changed woman.”

This is a great example of coupling an out-of-character tool to enhance in-character immersion and engagement. By limiting the time player’s have to think during their turn, it enforces the idea that turns should be quick, and that combat has a natural cadence and flow in, and out of, character. Jordan also noted this method can reduce the amount of table talk, which also can speed up combat fairly significantly.

Another experienced DM, TK, suggested adding in out-of-character timed in-character elements.
“My party last week almost lost their only tank because of quicksand. Their first reaction create or destroy water. I gave them 2 minutes to figure out how to save him in real time, because 140 lbs of armor 30ft cube of water in a 15 foot deep hole that's 2 feet wide, he gonna die.”

What this particular suggestion does is help enforce the concept of urgency in combat, and also in terms of character interactions. Two minutes is a very short time for everybody in a party to yell at each other, all the while one poor PC is sinking deeper and deeper. The next time combat comes up for this party, I suspect the players will be far more aware to be quick with their turns and consistently plan for the unexpected and the unknown.

The point was also raised by Psychotic Monk in the Discord channel about having players roll both attack and damage dice simultaneously in an effort to expedite combat turns even more.

“I for one try to always remember to roll my hit rolls along with my damage rolls at the same time. It saves some time and I have tried to group my dice, even different colors for difference modifiers.. since i am playing a fighter/Brute (UA experimental class).”

Lastly, try to remember as a DM it is your responsibility to set clear expectations about how you expect and desire combat to flow. Just as you can’t read player’s minds, they can’t read yours. If you share your expectations, you’re much more likely to have players try to meet them.
What methods do you use to keep your combat flow moving, and your players engaged during combat? Join the ThreadRaiders Discord today and jump into the TTRPG Classroom channel to share and discuss your methods, or send us a tweet @ThreadRaiders on Twitter.

Also, if you like the content of this post, do us a favor and share it on your favorite social media platform. You can also hit me up on Twitter over @SeanRingrose. Stay tuned to this space, as well, for future posts similar to this one.

--Sean Ringrose

The Thread Raider Extra Life Event Is Fast Approaching!

Can you believe that in less a month, we'll be knee deep into  48 hour Extra Life streaming extravaganza!  Not only that, here at Thread Raiders, any donation made to the Thread Raiders and its member's Extra Life Page will go to Children's Hospital!  If that isn't a good cause, I don't know what is!

You'll be able to find our channel at, where we will be streaming the two day event!  The following is the general run down of what's going to be happening during the Thread Raiders Extra Life:


 Date: Friday Nov 2nd
 Time: 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm Eastern
 Game: Dueling DMs! (Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition)
 DMs: @Daquine and @ChaoticAnarachy

 Javier The Mighty, the old and dying Warforged Conquest Paladin, has lived a long life full of battle, fighting and conquest.  However, all warriors must  at a ripe old age, he is dying.  Javier’s last wish is to die and be laid to rest at the resting place set for the highest level of his order of paladins, the Temple of Tempus, which is the temple and deity he pledged his life to.

 Two Dungeon Masters compete against each other in a marvelous rendition of Alice and Wonderland. Daquine and Chaotic will take us on a horrifically enchanted journey into a much darker version of wonderland. Will you be able to keep your sanity? Let's find out! 


 Date: Friday Nov 2nd
 Time: 9:00 pm – 12:00 am Eastern
 Game: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition : Rebels of Cloudberg!
 DM: @Metzgirl

 Nobles in the town of Clouberg have been having an increasing number of thefts of a specific type of valuable property, and they know it's the thieves’ guild. However, they have no evidence and the town's police won't stir up trouble unnecessarily. The nobles have had enough, so they're hiring a group outside the law to come take care of things.



 Date: Saturday Nov 3rd
 Time: 12:00 am – 8:00 am Eastern
 Game: Tales from Aud Bin Chuur
 DM: @Murasakininja

 The adventurers have tracked a rash of disappearances across Chuur, down into uncharted miles of the Deep Below. They’ve come across the unknown at every corner, both wondrous and terrifying. As the search comes to an end, what they find might just blow their minds! 


 Date: Saturday Nov 3rd
 Time: 9:00 am -12:00 pm Eastern
 Game: Honey Heist: Elder Scrolls Theme
 DM: @Dire Foxicorn

 Four adventurers are summoned by Sheogorath to obtain an item for him. Because he likes the look of them. For now. As a reward, he will gift them with something ... golden, glimmering, and beautiful. More beautiful than cheese? Well, maybe. Depends on how they do.


 Date: Saturday Nov 3rd
 Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern
 Podcast: Nerds from Nowhere!

 What is a nerd? Someone who loves D&D, sci-fi, fantasy, and video games? While we at Nerds From Nowhere may love all of these things, we like to think of a nerd as someone who is passionate about something. So whether you are a sports nerd or a Star Wars nerd, a fishing nerd or an anime nerd, a music nerd or a science nerd, we want to share that passion and excitement with you. Join us as we discus all facets of nerd culture, even the ones you wouldn't normally associate with nerds.


 Date: Saturday Nov 3rd
 Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm Eastern
 Game: Truckin’ Turtles!
 DM: Bisonic

 “An action packed adventure with ninjas, ghosts, superbeings, mutants, and danger in the Palladium Megaverse”!


 Date: Saturday Nov 3rd
 Time: 7:30 pm -11:00 pm Eastern
 Game: Vampire the Masquerade - Emerald City Nights
 DM: @SoMattyGameZ

 Seattle, the Emerald City, bastion of the Grunge movement, lays quiet in 1996 after the unprecedented growth in the mortal population. All the while, the Kindred have seen their numbers dwindle after a string of assassinations and corresponding death sentences. As the long serving Prince struggles to retain her power, a new batch of leaders ascend to bring a new world order to the City on the Sound.



 Date: Sunday Nov 4th
 Time: 12:00 am – 3:00 am Eastern
 Game: Hallway
 DM: @Maxine_Baughman

 There is a hallway, with a bunch of doors, all you have to do is go through a door complete the challenge and exit the room. Each room is completely different, but having to do with each type of and counter one may find in a full campaign.

 Date: Sunday Nov 4th
 Time: 4:00 am – 8:00 am
 Game: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition : Desert Heist Theme
 DM @David Steele

 Wazen Al-Shamuri has had enough of the competition damaging his business and so he has turned to the rogues of the Golden Song to ruin his enemy.

Your goal: rob the famed Lounge of a Thousand Whispers, a pleasure salon that caters to the rich and powerful. Your reward: everything you can carry away before the executioner's blade finds you!


 Date: Sunday Nov 4th
 Time: 8:30 am – 12:00 pm Eastern
 Game: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition : TPK THEATRE
 DM: @TK (Kanthos88)

 The TPK Theatre, a set of one-shots guaranteed to delight with death and destruction. Made for 1-6 players with interesting ways to role-play and potentially die in fun and interesting ways.


 Date: Sunday Nov 4th
 Time: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM Eastern
 Game: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
 DM: @ChaoticAnarachy
 Sponsored by @TabletopLoot –

 The game where the donations change the fate of the characters!! Donate to add dice rolls, monsters, change alignments, and more!

 Fools March a well-known village located on the material plane, where travelers from all realms and worlds far and wide would come to visit and feel accepted. A place known for its charisma and acceptance of all races and class has been cursed and the people have suffered greatly. With no way to hunt for food and water becoming scarce, they have learned to grow radishes, potatoes, and rhubarb to live on. Many, if not all, suffer from malnutrition and most face certain death. The buildings are worn down and need rebuilding. People, who were stuck here during their travels, have no homes and sleep on the streets in groups to keep warm during the cold nights. People have started to lose hope, yet the bond between them is still strong. Will these adventurers be able to lift the curse??? Come find out!


 Date: Sunday Nov 4th
 Time: 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
 Game: Broomsticks and Wands RPG
 DM: The creator himself, @DeathByMage

 Get your wands and spell books ready! The players each get a chance to tell their tale of what happened that day, but who didn’t survive? Find out Sunday night!

To find out more, you can find us here on the following platforms:


Dungeons and Dragons and Magic The Gathering Have Finally Crossed Over

After so many years of both Magic and Dungeons and Dragons being around, these two worlds are finally coming together in the form of a new book, entitled Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica.

In this book, D&D players will have access to everything they need to know in order to play in the world of Ravncia.  This setting has been deemed a "fan-favorite" Magic setting.

"Fans of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic The Gathering have been asking for years when these two amazing brands would play together," said the director of D&D, Nathan Stewart, "With the huge surge in popularity of D&D and Magic's commitment to bring the lore and storytelling to life, the timing seemed perfect.  Ravnica is full of adventure possibilities and I can't wait for fans to jump in to embody a member of one of the iconic guilds.  I will personally be making a new character for Rakdos."

Aaron Forsythe, Senior Design Director for Magic The Gathering said this:

"We're excited for fans to dive deeper into the robust world of Ravnica as they adventure as a member of their favorite guild.  Picking up Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica is a great way for D&D and Magic fans alike to tell a part of Ravnica's story with their friends around the table."

The release date for Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica is November 20.  Keep a look out for it!

Demystifying the Clunky Episode 1 Shadowrun The world

Thread Raiders has a new video out for you all today!  Hot off the presses is the first of a three part series from Thread Raider, TK (@Kanthos88 on Twitter), where he takes a look at the tabletop RPG, Shadowrun.

We've all heard that Shadowrun is a clunky system to play, but here, TK demystifies the system, and shows us how the game is supposed to be - fun.

Fallout 76 Is Coming!

Ever since its reveal at the Bethesda presentation this year at E3, Fallout 76 has been getting a lot of buzz around the title.  For those who don't know, Fallout is a series that centers around what would happen if America went through nuclear war, and the residual fallout taking place afterwards.

Fallout 76 is the first game in the series since its inception that is going to be an online MMO.  Now, you can survive the wasteland together with friends.  And I have been able to get the game pre-ordered, and now I'm waiting to get into the beta of the game.

As you can see, after completing my order, I received an email from Amazon, where I ordered the game from, and I followed the instructions.  Now, I'm simply waiting for the time in which I can finally get further instructions on how to get my hands on the juicy little beta of Fallout 76.

For a while after the presentation, there had been rumors and speculations on the game, such as the spamming of the new nuke option, which allowed other players to destroy other player's hard made settlements.  Bethesda came out and said that that shouldn't be an issue, as it would take those players a while to find the code necessary to detonate the nuke anywhere on the map.  On top of that, if by chance a player or a group of players discovers that their settlement was destroyed while they were away, rebuilding will be easy.  The settlement will be blueprinted, and the cost to replace your settlement will be cheap.

The map of Fallout 76 is, according to Bethesda, four times larger than that of Fallout 4.

UPDATE: As of July 3, I got an email with the following message:

Bill And Ted Fans Rejoice! The Most Excellent Duo WIll Face The Music

According to an announcement today, Keanu Revves and Alex Winter will finally reunite on the same screen after 27 years after they last appeared as Bill and Ted in a third installment of the Bill & Ted series entitle, Bill & Ted Face the Music!  There's even the possibility that William Sadler could reprise his role as Death.

Here's the official synopsis:

"When we last met Bill and Ted they were time-traveling teenagers trying to pass history class and win the battle of the bands.  Once prophesized to save the universe with their rock and roll, middle age and the responsibilities of family have caught up with these two best friends who have not yet fulfilled their destiny.  They've written thousands of tunes, but they have yet have to write a good one, much less the greatest song ever written. With the fabric of time and space tearing around them, a visitor from the future warns our heroes that only their song can save life as we know it.  Out of luck and fresh out of inspiration, Bill and Ted set out on a time travel adventure to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe as we know it.  Together with the aid of their daughters, a new crop of historical figures, and some sympathetic music legends, Bill and Ted find much, much more than just a song.  The film is currently in pre-production."

Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, the original creators of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, have returned to pen the script, while Dean Parisot was confirmed to direct the film.


Micrsoft, Nintendo and Sony Get A Warning From FTC Regarding Warranty-Voiding Restrictions

You know those little stickers that you see on the back of your consoles that warn you that sending it in for third party repair voids the warranty of the system?

Well, it turns out that, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned companies, some that include the likes of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony that this policy is actually illegal.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request from Motherboard found that six different companies were given letters on April 9.  Other than the three companies mentioned above, the three other companies sent these letters were Asus, HTC and Hyundai.

The letter stated that the companies have 30 days to change the warranty policies on their websites, or else legal action will be taken by the FTC.

Reportedly, the letter said,

"Warranty language that implies to a consumer acting reasonably under the circumstances that warranty coverage requires the consumer to purchase an article or service identified by brand, trade or corporate name is similarly deceptive and prohibited."

In the letters, it was cited that specific language that violates the law warns against using a sticker as a "seal" to prevent users from opening up the console.  This method, according to the FTC, is particularly concerned" about it.

The FTC is specifically citing the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which doesn't all repair restrictions n warranty for any manufacturer that charges over $5 for a product.


Retroverse Released And In The Wild!

Last week, we interviewed Chris Lock, of Lasers and Liches, who bought the Tales of the Retroverse to us, a retro 80's style twist to the D&D universe.  The details of Kickstarter campaign setting can be found by going here.

Following the initial interview, which took place on Twitch on April 7th, and can be watched in the video below, the Kickstarter was then launched on April 10th, and within just a few days, got over 60% funded!
Stop on by the Kickstarter and join the world of Retroverse!

34 Things I Learned From Video Games

  1. There is no problem that cannot be overcome with violence.
  2. You can overcome most adversaries simply by having enough quarters.
  3. If it moves, KILL IT!
  4. Piloting an vehicle is simple and requires no training.
  5. One lone “good guy” can defeat an indeterminate number of “bad guys.”
  6. “Bad guys” move in predictable patterns.
  7. Except for “Bosses,” most “bad guys” can be dispatched with one hit.
  8. You often fair better against a large mob of “bad guys” then against a “boss” in one on one combat.
  9. “Bosses” always hire henchmen weaker then they are to do their ‘muscle work’.
  10. If you see food lying on the ground, eat it.
  11. You can smash things and get away with it.
  12. Smashing things doesn’t hurt.
  13. Many nice things are hidden inside other things.
  14. Cybernetics are our friends.
  15. When driving, you can knock other vehicles off the road and get away with it.
  16. If someone dies, they disappear.
  17. Money is frequently found lying on the streets.
  18. All shopkeepers carry high-tech weaponry.
  19. If you get mad enough, you can fight even better than normal.
  20. If it’s on the ground, you should get it.
  21. Repulsive ugly, cannibalistic, evil beings have just as much right to be loved as heroic fighters.
  22. The operation of a weapon is a simple and obvious procedure.
  23. You never run out of ammunition, just grenades.
  24. No matter how long you fight, you can always fight again.
  25. Death is reversible (but only for you).
  26. Ninjas are common, and fight in public frequently.
  27. Whenever huge fat evil men are about to die, they begin flashing red or yellow.
  28. When you are born, you drop out of the sky (a stork?) and are completely invincible for a short time.
  29. Although the enemy always have more aircraft than you, they fly in elaborate patterns which make it easier for you to shoot them all down.
  30. All martial arts women wear revealing clothes and have great bodies.
  31. All martial arts men have rippling muscles and angry expressions.
  32. The enemy always leaves weapons or power ups lying around for no reason other than so their bitter enemy can pick them up and defeat them with it.
  33. Shoot everything.  If it blows up or dies, it was evil.  If it doesn’t, try and pick it up…it was probably a power up or bonus.
  34. Carpe diem!  You only live three times!
  35. The most powerful fighters always wait until you have achieved a near impossible, flawless win record and/or killed a certain number of opponents before they appear in your presence and beat the crap out of you.
  36. You sustain injury if you shoot the innocents.
  37. 200-1 odds against you is NOT a problem.
  38. Gang members frequently all look the same, and often have the same names.
  39. When racing vehicles, do not worry if your vehicle crashes and explodes.  A new vehicle will appear in its place.

ThreadReview: Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realm

ThreadReview: Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realm

Note: At time of review this game is still in early access, so some of the criticisms and features may not be reflective of the final product.

I currently live in rural England. Rural England, for those who do not know, is deprived of some of the now basics of modern life; such as a solid internet connection, cash machines and public transport that arrives more than once a month. Among many things it means the ability for me engaging in online games is utterly limited. I saw a few developers playing through Idle Champions and thought it might be a good game to download and play on my own.

The premise of the game is simple: It’s an idle clicker game set in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons and Dragons. You recruit champions such as Bruenor Battlehammer, Minsc and Nayeli Goldflower to go through side-scrolling adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Defeated foes yield gold that is used to recruit new champions and level up the existing parties’ abilities. Like in adventure parties around the world, your champion’s abilities can impact the damage of fellow champions. That, however, is dependent on where they are positioned in the battlefield in a system called “Formation Strategy”.

Despite the game being in early access there are frequent events and content updated weekly: from damage bonus weekends to special events to earn new champions. In particular, there have been a few events based around recruiting members of Force Grey, with only at the time of writing there being hints that you’ll be able to recruit Strix from “Dice, Camera, Action” in the near future. There is also some DLC already available on the Steam Store for more champions, equipment and chests (This games version of loot crates).

Yes…there are loot crates. These chests can be purchased for gems, which can be found in game as rewards for defeating bosses (every 5 levels) and from completing quests. There are two levels of chests, silver and gold, which drop gold, consumable items and equipment for your champions. 
While I do have issues around the use of loot crates in games, the way they are implemented in this game if fairly balanced and doesn’t enter into any kind of pay to win formula.

Since starting this review there has been a major update of sorts to the game. Familiars are basically auto-clickers that can be assigned to fulfil three different tasks: Clicking Monsters, Levelling up Champions and Click damage and finally using Ultimates. There are six different familiars currently available to buy and use; three of which are only available to be purchased with actual money.

I’ve logged over 224 hours into this game already and loved every second of it. The only issues I’ve encountered have been down to connecting to the server for online save. That is something I hope 
may change down the line as this game develops. Bottom line: If you love Dungeons and Dragons, free games and new content uploaded weekly then this is a game you must play!