Over in an unrelated discussion, @NickWedig
makes a good observation about one pitfall which can take place in D&D combats:
D&D fights often feel like a slog, because people use limited resource attacks early in the fight and then the pace slows down as they are reduced to using lesser attacks and the battle spends more time in the endgame where the outcome is clear but the HP totals haven't hit zero yet. So the curve of combat flattens out exactly when you would want it to spike toward one side or the other. (Some versions of D&D work to mitigate this issue to varying amounts of success.)
I've definitely seen this happen a lot in D&D games - and particularly in modern editions of D&D, where combat seems to be increasinly power/ability-based.
What are some other games where this kind of thing happens?
What are some good techniques for designers or players to reverse this effect?
I'm thinking, for example, of how in Tales of Entropy
(a game some of us are playing right now), a character's Shadow meta-trait tends to grow over time. The "Shadow" trait makes a character more powerful in conflicts - in D&D terms, you might say they "hit harder" - but also makes them more fragile, and more likely to "fold" out of the story (not exactly the same as losing a conflict in Tales of Entropy
, but it's at least partially in the same ballpark).
Someone recently posted about a house rule they were considering, where D&D characters in a fight accrue a +1 to hit for every round that goes by.
I *think* 4th Edition D&D had some rules where creatures could gain or lose abilities below a certain HP threshold, and, where those made the monsters more dangerous, that would fit this model.
It's interesting to consider some possibilities for design where uncertainty, danger, or "hitting power" increases as you approach the end of the conflict/fight/resolution.