[RPG] Narrative Combat versus Use of Miniatures


When I first started playing D&D, my DM did not use battlemaps or miniatures to describe combat. Everything was described to us, and questions to the DM were part and parcel of the experience, such as:

  • "Do I have Line of Sight? Can I take a Move action and get Line of Sight this turn if I [jump into the trees/move to the left/run forward]?"
  • "Who is [enemy] facing? That means I can Sneak Attack!"
  • "What would provide cover? Trees, rocks, tables?

I've used this style of combat for all the games I've run myself since, but I've been thinking about using a battlemap, since the players of my current game are prone to thinking about complex battlefield strategy.

What are the pros/cons of using miniatures, as opposed to a narrative-style combat system?

Best Answer

If combat is a more minor element of your adventures then using narrative combat can keep the game flowing in the same manner as other types of encounters rather than switching to a separate type of "mini game". If combat is the major element of your game the greater tactical options of using miniatures can be more enjoyable to a lot of players.

It really depends on what aspects of the game you and your group find the most important.