Critical Hits Podcast #27: The Out

Mike Shea, guest writer here and head honcho of Sly Flourish, interviewed me once again, this time about “The Out,” a method for shortening combats by defining alternative ways that the battle can end instead of one side or the other being wiped out. We discuss why to use it, how to implement it, planning it, some potential pitfalls to using it, and more.

Further Reading:

The Combat “Out” (50 minutes, 24 MB)

[Download MP3 versionPodcast FeediTunes Link]


About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, their three dogs, and two cats.


  1. Excellent, detailed discussion surrounding the ‘The Out,’ very much enjoyed listening to this.

    Between ‘The Out’ and DMG2’s alternate victory condition and Encounter as Story ideas, there’s a lot of inspiration for DM’s to go beyond “Just Kill Everything!” in combat encounters and make them a much more engaging and memorable D&D experience.

    Great podcast!

  2. This is one of the aspects of encounter design that Masterplan uses.

    When you generate a random encounter in Masterplan, it will often generate a randomised ‘out’ (or alternate victory condition).


  1. […] Critical Hits Podcast #27: The Out […]

  2. […] #4) Alternate Victory Conditions. Also when designing encounters, include more dynamic changes to or alternate victory conditions for the encounter (i.e. killing the leader ends the encounter, time limits, the dragon flies away at bloodied, etc.).  For more on this check out DMG2 (an outstanding book chock full of brilliant storytelling advice), or visit Critical Hits and Sly Flourish for their detailed and helpful articles and podcasts on The Combat Out. […]

  3. […] truly interacting with the monster. This can easily be used as a less arbitrary variant of the combat out, and activating these traits only after the monster becomes bloodied allows us to avoid their […]