Combat and the rewards of your various adventures are a major part of any Dungeons & Dragons game, so, it's only fair that everyone knows ahead of time some rules and suggestions that will help everything regarding those things go along a lot more smoothly. For the most part, the following list is more suggestions than rules, but, I find if people make use of them, combat goes a lot more smoothly.
- Leaving the Table – No one is going to force you to sit at the table the entire time we play; being tethered to a chair for hours on end is something you should be getting paid for (no, I am not giving you money to play). But, sometimes when you leave the table, especially during combat, things can grind to a halt. So, if you have to leave the table, the player sitting to your left will make decisions for your character in combat. That being said, if you leave the table, write a quick note as to what you'd like your character to do – if you have time, note any attack bonuses or damage for the player, so they don't have to eyeball your character sheet trying to figure out what does what. And if you're especially annoying to the person to your left, and don't leave a note, don't be surprised if your character suddenly succumbs to crushing depression, and throws himself off of a cliff.
- Roll All of Your Dice – Pretty straightforward here – when you roll to attack, assume you're going to hit, and roll your damage dice at the same time. It shaves a little time off of your turn, but, in the long run, it makes things go by a great deal faster. Just have all your dice ready when making the roll!
- XP/Leveling Expectations - XP will be given out at the very end of the game session, instead of at the end of each opportunity to gain XP; if you have enough XP to gain a level, you can level up your character at your next extended rest. This allows the game to keep moving without math sessions between the action, and gives a nice, fat reward at the end of the day. Any XP gained by the party will be given to absent players as well, but, will be put on 'hold' – see below, under 'Catching Up'.
- Catching Up - Even if your character didn't participate in one day's session, you'll still be rewarded the XP, but only after attending as many sessions as you missed. For example, if over the course of three games, the party is rewarded 1000 XP, and you join during the fourth session, you'll get that held XP at the end of your sixth game. This will allow players who are always able to attend to stay at the top curve of power, but, it won't leave less frequent players completely in the dust.
I'll add to this as is needed, but, for the most part, I feel that should cover it, and keep the game moving smoothly.