Friday, April 3, 2009

Combat Actions

This old post includes rules that I no longer use for my campaign.  An upgrade of these rules can be found on the wiki, starting here.  -Alexis, 2015.

Here I offer an example of something I stole from 3rd Edition. I didn’t think very much of the table I found in the book (and I can’t remember which book, I honestly can’t), so I redesigned the table and fit it to my campaign.

I’m including it now as we are involved for the campaign in some combat, and it would be helpful. This is generally meant to be used with a hex map, which I haven’t been using for the online campaign (I’d have to post an update of the combat positions each round, which isn’t worth it for small combat tactics), but this still may help with comprehending what may be done in a six second round. Notes are below.

I’ll go through the table in order, for those things which seem to obviously require explanation. I’ll answer any questions as necessary.

Where it reads “maximum –x feet,” this means the distance the character may move. Thus, if the character’s move is normally 25’, and attacking at “maximum –10’” the character may move 15’ and still have time to attack.

Charging/running: as the character runs forward in a steady, straight line, they pick up speed. If they had a move of 5 hexes (25’, normal speed for an unarmored person), the second round they would be able to increase their speed by that amount each additional round. Thus, they could run at 5 hexes, then 10, then 15, then 20. If, however, for the second round they chose to run at 8 hexes, then the third round they could move no faster than 13 hexes, then 18.

Activating a magic item: refers to wands, rods, staves and various miscellaneous magic, but not scrolls or potions; potions may be found under “drink” and scrolls require as long to read as the spell would normally take. Most magic items don’t need activation.

Applying poison to weapons: like similar actions, this assumes the poison and the weapon are already at hand.

Bestow spell effects: this assumes the spell is already cast and needs to be deployed, such as with shocking grasp, cure light wounds, magic stone, chromatic orb and so on.

Concentrate to maintain spell: spellcasters may move a maximum of 5’ per round without losing their concentration. I play that spells, once cast, can be “maintained” before deployed, provided the caster does not lose his or her concentration.

Direct combat spell: the maximum move that may be made after the spell has been cast.

Dismiss a working spell: spellcasters may dispel any spell of their own casting at will. This is the maximum move that may be made after the spell has been dispelled.

Initiate charge: charges must be announced if bonuses are to be gained from them.

Load bow quickly: I play that the long bow may be fired once per round, but after the initial shot additional shots are performed at –4 to hit. If the character chooses to shoot every other round, there is no penalty modifier.

Loose a shield: remove it from the arm.

Overrun: movement is reduced from the character having to avoid tripping over the fallen body.

Ready a shield: “no movement” should read “no move” as elsewhere. This is just a typo.

Retrieve an item form a backpack: “replacing” the back pack means returning it to the character’s back.

Slowing from quadruple/triple speed: indicates the drop in speed that can be managed without tumbling for 1-4 damage. Characters cannot drop from quadruple speed to normal speed/stopping; likewise, they cannot stop from triple speed to a stop.

Speak: presumes the character has chosen to reduce other actions in order to convey the message; the penalty reflects the lack of concentration.

Spellcasting: maximum move possible while casting a spell.

Touching unwilling/willing creature: this does not include instances where the character is discharging a spell; accepted, other circumstances where a character may wish to touch another person for some other reason are rare, but they do occur.

Use special ability: like spellcasting, the maximum move a character may make while making use of some inherent power the character may possess.


Anonymous said...

That's really good info, thanks!

No questions right now, seems straightforward.

Alexis said...

I should add, for the benefit of the players:

Movement unarmored: 25'; movement in leather armor: 20'.

I don't believe anyone is in better than leather armor at the present.

Tiberius said...

So, if I understand your tables correctly, I can attack in melee and move back at my maximum - 10'?

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Yes, this is excellent (and might find its way into my home game...).

Just want to make sure I have this right, though, because my track record for reading comprehension hasn't been stellar in this game:

Anshelm can move 25' in a round.

Drawing a light weapon (sling) is move-10'. Firing a missile weapon is move-10'.

So I can draw and fire the sling in one round, and still move 5' if necessary?

Alexis said...


That is correct. You remind me there is something I kept meaning to update on this table, but which I forgot. The suggestion you make was done a lot by my offline party early on, and required a change in the movement rules.

Withdrawing from a combat (not on the list), meaning moving more than one hex away from an opponent, costs an additional penalty of -10'. Thus, you could attack and reverse 5', but it would require a total move of 30' to attack, break off from combat and withdraw 10' to a distance 15' from your opponent. This is possible only for monks or magically enhanced creatures.

Alexis said...

Hm. Noticing that it is the action "initiate flight" that needed to be changed from "-5" to "-10". Yeah, well, like I said, this table needed a little bit of updating.

As a DM, you get into a habit where you have the table, you know already the parts of it that have changed, but you forget to include those changes when you publish.

Sorry about that, people.

Alexis said...

Damn, damn, damn.

I am not thinking clearly today.

Anshelm, while it does -10' to draw the sling, and -10' to fire the sling, I am forgetting that it technically takes two rounds to fire a sling. Thus, you can draw the sling and ready it to fire, but you can't actually let loose the stone until the following round.

Ignore my previous answer, please.

Strix said...

Any chance you have something up your sleeve on poisons and specifically poisoned darts?

Alexis said...

To be honest, I've never sat down to produce a complex, detailed system of poisons. Someday I will have to do that. I'd probably start with wikipedia.

Scarbrow said...

Just in case somebody stumbles upon this post like I did (by the way, Alexis, I think putting a link to the new version on the top of this entry would be useful)

Alexis published an updated, longer (and IMHO, much better) version of this in 2012: