It was Ravenloft. It was legendary gothic horror / fantasy mashup Ravenloft, and I was stoked. Count Strahd von Zarovich lurked somewhere in the fog-shrouded night, heroes from across time and space assembled to oppose him, and legacy characters from my group’s original run of Ravenloft (1983) were set to join the fray! No doubt our band of stalwart companions would be the ones to take him down. Working as a well-oiled combat machine, we would stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the tides of darkness, and so let that dread wave break upon our indomitable wills! Of course I was going to be a paladin. Good deeds shine most brightly in the darkest etc. etc.

As you may have guessed however, the discipline exhibited by The Anti-Party in today’s comic was lacking in my own. War games are chaotic at the best of times, and that’s if you’re plugging along in 40k or similar on single-player mode. Getting a table full of PCs to march in formation is damn near impossible. Whenever the werewolves or giant mutant war pigs attacked, my stalwart companions would inevitably scatter in all directions. And when that happens, it’s either quarterbacking time or deciding to grin and bear it.

If you’ve ever gone raiding in an MMO, you know how hard it is to keep dudes from standing in the fire. The same applies to standing inside AoE buffs, and the problem exists on the tabletop just as much as the digital world. Usually it comes down to telegraphing your info. If you’re on Roll 20 and can turn on a visual aura, you’re covered. If you happen to own a bit of bent wire with a 10′ radius, you can repeat the effect in meat space. Even a few standees listing your bonuses can help. Gods know that’s how I like to play my support bards. Of course, these strategies are all a little beside the point.

When you approach TTRPGs like they’re tactical games first and foremost, you’re going to get frustrated. That’s because it’s a team sport, and your personal idea of perfect play isn’t likely to happen. The big takeaway is to adapt to your teammates rather than insisting that they adapt to you. Sure formation marching and standing in the optimal spot might come together every once in a while, but running around the grid like chaos elementals is fun. Lawful good alignment or no, my paladin’s blood pressure went way down once she learned to accept the chaos.

How about the rest of you paladins? Have you ever struggled to apply your auras effectively? Does your group coordinate tactics like a well-oiled machine? And if you’ve got any tips for wrangling PCs into appropriate grid coordinates, please don’t hesitate to share down in the comments!


ARE YOU THE KIND OF DRAGON THAT HOARDS ART? Then you’ll want to check out the “Epic Hero” reward level on our Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Like the proper fire-breathing tyrant you are, you’ll get to demand a monthly offerings suited to your tastes! Submit a request, and you’ll have a personalized original art card to add to your hoard. Trust us. This is the sort of one-of-a-kind treasure suitable to a wyrm of your magnificence.