If you think we’re going to introduce swashbucklers and not do any chandelier swinging, you severely underestimate our tropesmanship. Death-defying acrobatics aside though, I think we can all stand to learn something from Swash and Buckle. And I’m not talking about their personal finance skills.

When you’re dropped into an imaginary environment and told to fight fantasy critters, you want every advantage you can get. You want the high ground. You want cover. You want energy barriers, deadly traps, and slippery banana peels standing between your precious hit points and certain doom. I’m talking about battlefield control, and it’s a skill that everyone can learn.

Take your typical BBEG. If you happen to be an evil skeleman, turning the environment to your advantage is your your whole MO. That’s why dungeons exist after all. Same deal with PCs and their strongholds. When you put the time and effort into building a base, you secretly hope that a rampaging army will try to assault the walls of Fort Kickass. How else are you going to test out those murder holes and trebuchets?

It’s fairly obvious stuff, right? Everyone wants favorable battlefield conditions. But when you’ve got to improvise and build your own battlefield on the spur of the moment, there’s this weird tendency to say “that’s the wizard’s job.” Sure they’re better at it, what with their hungry hungry Hadars and painbows and such. That’s no reason for the rest of us to ignore the environment though. I’m talking about turning tables over for makeshift barricades. I’m talking about spiking doors so that reinforcements can’t show up. Grapple builds can shove dudes off parapets; roguish-types can reset traps; archers can see to their own high ground. Even if you’re a bog standard big dumb fighter, you can plop your heavily-armored butt into a narrow opening and make yourself a wall. It may not be as obvious as “I cast wall of stone,” but these are all elements of battlefield control. And even if battlefield control isn’t your job, that’s no reason to ignore it.

So for today’s discussion, what do you say we share some of our finest battlefield control moments? When did you turn the mundane environment to your advantage? Did you set up a sniper’s nest? Maybe you went nuts bull rushing dudes into industrial equipment? Or perhaps you stuck to the classics and actually pulled off the chandelier swing. Whatever you genius play, let’s hear all about it down in the comments!


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