Narrating Missed Attacks


Since D&D is a combat-driven game, a lot of our storytelling actually happens in the middle of combat. Critical Role DM Matthew Mercer’s famous phrase, “How do you want to do this?” signals to players that the player should narrate the killing blow. Indeed, combat benefits greatly from adding a little bit of narrative flavor. So it’s become commonplace at many tables for the DM to narrate the results of an attack or hand it off to the players. Sometimes, we even narrate the misses.

The Issue

I noticed that I have this habit when narrating missed attacks. When an attack misses a shielded target by 2 or less, I narrate that the attack hits the shield. I’ll often apply this same method for a player behind cover. If it’s a narrow miss, it hits the shield or the cover.

Why do I do this? Probably because the shield (or…

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