The D&D Action Pyramid

So when I jumped into 4E, all my players were new to the game. One had dabbled a bit in a 3.5 game but his experience with D&D was limited. I will be the first to admit that 4E combats can get a little overwhelming. The game takes a very tactical turn with structured melees. My group loves it. It has a lot of interesting decisions and maneuvering. We all have tons of fun.

But there is a bit to keep track of. There’s a lot of little bonuses and effects for marking, combat advantage, etc. When I was teaching the ins and out of combat, sometimes my players would get a little muddled on the number and type of actions they could take during their turn. Especially as you could switch out actions for other types, but only ones of a certain type.

So I began to explain player actions by describing an inverted pyramid. Players had 3 actions a turn. At the top of the pyramid is the standard action, underneath it is the move action, and at the bottom is the minor action. You can opt to switch out one action step for other actions below it.
It’s a pretty easy way to visualize actions a player can take during their turn. And I think the simple visualization helped tons. Now that the PHB 3 is out, and I think the WotC D&D Encounter events will be going into full swing, having some tools to help explain the game to new players would be helpful. So what other little tricks have folks used to help explain D&D to new players?

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