Answering how many rounds per minute you can have in DnD 5e is both difficult, and easy.
It’s easy because the game clearly states how long rounds are per average. Yet, it’s difficult because the things that guarantee how long an encounter is are different every time.
This article will be a continuation of sorts to previous articles we’ve done. Specifically, the ones in which we discussed Rounds and Turns. If you want to know more about the mechanics I highly encourage you to read those beforehand.
Today instead we will be only briefly referencing the previous articles if applicable to the argument. Instead, we will be looking at answering the broader question.
So, to answer the question of how many Rounds you can have per minute in DnD 5e; we have to begin with.
Table of Contents
The Mechanics Behind Rounds
Thankfully, the Player’s Handbook comes to our rescue here.
On page 189 it clearly states the following:
“A round represents about 6 seconds in the game world. During a round, each participant in a battle takes a turn.”
Now, having read this it’s easy to think to yourself.
“Ah hah! So if that’s the case, there should be 10 rounds per minute in DnD 5e.”
You’d be right in most cases…but.
Here’s the thing with combat in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. Nothing guarantees how long that specific combat will last. As the game, after all, is based on a luck system. You roll your dice, you do the calculations that are required, and you repeat this process till you win or lose.
That is why this question is both an easy one to answer and hard at the same time. You have clearly stated mechanics – but no guarantees.
The Typical Progression of a Round in DnD 5e
This part will be more of an example, to give a scope of how much things can be done in a single round.
In the previous articles, we discussed about the actions you can take during a round. These actions were: Attacking, Casting, Dashing, Disengaging, Dodging, Helping an Ally, Hiding, Readying, Using an Object, and Searching an Object.
Now, let’s put all of that in an example, shall we?
Here’s the scenario. Your party is comprised of 4 members: A Fighter, a Paladin a Bard, and a Cleric. You’re beset on by a party of orcs. Combat has begun at this point.
After everyone has rolled for initiative, you perform your turn orders.
The fighter in this situation has the highest Dexterity, so he goes first. He chooses to move at the front of the group so as to guard the Bard and Cleric behind him. The Paladin follows him and stands next to him so as to form a battle line. The Bard stands behind them and casts Bardic Inspiration on the Fighter – granting him another d6.
The Cleric going last chooses to move farther behind so as to be out of danger.
Those actions are all done in a single round – and that is without describing the actions of the enemy group as well. My point here is the following. A single round in game time might last only 6 seconds, but that does not mean that it will last the same amount of time in real life.
What’s more, all we’ve just discussed only covers one round. Now multiply that by 10, and you’ll easily get a scope of how much can actually happen in one minute of game world time.
Conclusion on how Many Rounds per Minute in DnD 5e
That basically answers the question about how many rounds you can have per minute in DnD 5e.
It’s one of those cool trivia questions that are cool to know – but don’t really serve a purpose other than that.
Generally, keep in mind the things that we’ve said in the previous two articles; and the things we mentioned in this one as well.
A round can be comprised of so many elements and actions that it’s easy to lose track of them. Especially when you’re stuck in and immersed into the encounter, and the time starts flying in real life. Only when it’s over do you realize that only 42 seconds of game world time have passed – while you were fighting the encounter for half an hour IRL.