Friday, February 17, 2012

Detailed Combat Posts - Movement

I've been thinking lately of a series of posts which would simplistically explain, piece by piece, my combat system.  I've put forth demonstrations, and there have been combats shown on the campaign blog, but it is evident that people don't quite get the whole concept.  This would take a long time to crystallize, but I suppose that if I don't do it, the whole notion is going to die with me.

Therefore, let us start with movement.

Albert (white) is wearing no armor whatsoever. A round is considered to be 12 seconds in length, and Albert, an ordinary humanoid, is considered to have a “normal” movement of 5.

A hex is 5 feet in diameter.

Albert’s move is 2.4 seconds per hex, or 0.48 seconds/ft. This is slow—a total of only 1.42 miles per hour. However, the pace is slowed to consider caution, fatigue and the likelihood that Albert has been walking/marching all day while carrying more equipment than simple armor.

However - and has always been a bugbear with movement - it is entirely possible for a young human in good shape to run 100 yards in 24 seconds or less.  100 yards is 60 hexes ... which should mean that an unarmored Albert should be able to run six times his ordinary speed over two rounds.  When I was in high school, I could run 100 yards in just over 13 seconds.  What gives? 

The problem is usually handwaved.  I usually handwave it.  The problems are that wide-ranging movement like this would require an immense map board and it does not add much to the fundamental combat interaction.  So, for convenience, we're all assumed to be moving slower than we are actually moving.   The matter could be resolved, obviously, by shortening the round or enlarging the hexes; but lets recognize that so long as everything moves at the same comparative "rate," the whole question is moot.

Let us return to Albert.  According to my system, his speed is determined by his armor and his strength.  I could concoct a table that would calculate all his carried weight to determine his speed, but for the present I am satisfied with the simplification of armor + strength = speed.  The table for this is below, or can be clearly read here:

The table is very simple ... though there's a column missing.  Presume a column on the left headed "Strength - 3 to 7" in which all armor besides the helmet is slowed 1 point from what's shown under 8 to 11.  I should fix this some day.  I trust subtracting 1 is not too difficult for the gentle reader.

Very well.  Your strength is 15.  You are wearing chain mail & shield.  You can move 3 hexes per round.  Your strength is 12.  You are wearing plate mail and shield.  You can move 2 hexes per round.

We'll say that Albert has a strength of 17.  He is not wearing armor.  He can move 5 hexes per round.

Every other imaginable task that takes place during a combat round is measured not in seconds, but in moves equivalent to hexes per round.  If an individual is able to move 5 hexes per round, he has a movement of 5 with regards to everything.

An attempt to categorize all this possible movement during a combat round was made here.  I shall try to reproduce the table below (can't say how well Blogger will do with it):

This looks complicated, but it isn't.  It is a LOT to remember.  It is also boring and pedantic, but for absolute clarity, I'll go through the entire list to describe what the actions are.

Activate a magic item.  This would not include a potion or a scroll, which would take a longer period of time to consume or read than 1 movement.  It refers to things like pointing a wand or using a ring, flipping a switch on a rod or initializing a given power in an artifact.  In effect, anything that can be accomplished by a simple hand movement or finger, biting down or performing a quick jerk.

Apply poison to weapon.  This presumes the character has the poison in hand at the start of the round, and that it is not still in a pocket or hanging from a belt or otherwise buried on the person - it also presumes the poison isn't being handed to the user in the same round.  The previous round the user should indicate, "getting ready to apply poison to weapon" by finding the poison, uncapping the bottle or otherwise opening it.  The entire round, with no other movement whatsoever, must be used to apply the poison to the weapon.

Applying healing salve to a recipient I have a healing salve which can be purchased, which heals 1-4 hit points.  It is somewhat magical, and can be swallowed or poured into a bleeding wound (qv).  The rule about the salve is similar to that of the poison above.  The salve must be in hand at the start of the round (though I am often relaxed about the rule, as it often means life and death for a character, and I'm inclined to be lenient (qv).  Often the medicant and the recipient are the same person, but sometimes circumstances require another individual to perform the administration.  The effect of the salve is taken to be immediate.

Awake from sleeping.  Requires full movement, and does not guarantee full awakedness.  Most carnivorous animals and a wide range of monsters are presumed to automatically achieve their "wisdom check" as the nature of these animals is to respond quickly to danger.  A few herbivorous animals will also wake up quickly.  A DM must use their judgement.  Humanoids, sorry to say, often wake up very groggily.  The wisdom check is made to see if it will take one, or two rounds to wake.  No other actions can be performed while waking up, whether over one or two rounds - which includes drawing weapons, casting spells and so on.  Awakening persons retain their full armor class, however: a naked person with a 16 dexterity is still AC 8.

Awaken someone else from sleeping.  3 movement points presumes time taken to move to their exact location, reach over, what have you, kick them awake, shout at them, and make sure they are woken up before moving on.  It presumes automatic success - though the awakening person will not actually perform the "waking up" until the round after being awoken.  Thus, in round 1 Albert wakes up Bertrand.  Then, while Albert performs some other action, Bertrand wakes up.  Assuming Bertrand is successful, the following round Bertrand can take another action also.  Bertrand does not wake up the same round he is woken up.

Note that if your movement is 2, it will not take one and a half rounds to wake someone up.  It is presumed that all movement requirements equal to and above your movement require one full round, and no more.  Exception: see "break from combat."

Bestow beneficial spell effects.  In effect, "discharging" the spell.  This presumes that your character has already cast the spell, and possesses the power of the spell through concentration.  See "cast spell" below.  This is, in effect, the spellcaster placing a hand on the willing recipient, or discharging the spell from a distance at a desiring recipient, for spells such as aid, cure light wounds, remove curse, bless, etc.  The caster can complete their normal movement after discharging a spell.

Bestow detrimental spell effects.  Because there is a natural resistance in others against attacking magic, it requires twice as long to overcome that resistance in discharging the spell.  Thus, charm person, curse, cause light wounds, fireball, meteor swarm or any other harmful spell requires two movement points to discharge.  The caster can complete their normal movement after discharging a spell.

Break from combat.  This I think needed more explanation than could fit on one line.  There are two possible actions here - withdraw and flee.  (For the record, I'm just realizing this has never been as clear a rule as it ought to be, so I am fixing the rule here and now).

To withdraw, the character moves back one hex and keeps his or her front to the opponent.  In this case, to move back requires 2 points of movement (one to remain ready and one to retreat the necessary hex).  After he has separated himself from combat, he may move normally.  See figure 4.

Albert and Bertrand (blue) are in combat.  Bertrand has a 16 strength and is in leather armor, and so he moves 4.  He requires 2 movement points to break from combat, and thus retains two movement points.  He might throw an axe (if he had one in hand), or any other action taking two moves or less.  He might also turn to run away:

Note in the above example, that if Albert (still white) is moving 5, he is able to move forward three and attack Bertrand from behind.  However, while this is true, Bertrand (if not stunned) would be able to double his speed the next round, while Albert, having attacked, would not.  See "flight".

There are a multitude of ways that this particular movement rule affects combat, but for a further discussion, see "melee"

Cast Spell.  Regardless of the character's movement, this requires the complete round (or rounds), allowing the player to move one hex, if desired.  It does NOT allow the spellcaster the opportunity to take any other action while casting besides movement.  The spellcaster is presumed to be in a state of deep concentration, so a slow shuffling of feet in a given direction is all that's allowed.  As some spells in my world take two or more full combat rounds to cast (a method of reducing the power of high level spellcasters), the caster may move 5' in any direction each round of casting.  Please note that casting a spell and discharging that same spell do not take place in the same combat round.  see "bestow."

Change Form.  This applies regardless of the method of changing form (druid ability, spell, magic item, etc.), and requires the full round.  Note that while a spell may be discharged in one move, the actual time of change requires the entire round (at the beginning of which the spell is bestowed upon the recipient).  If the spell is bestowed/item activated at any time except the beginning of the round (before the recipient takes some other action), then the entire NEXT round is taken up with changing form.  Potions which are drunk, note, tend to require 2-5 rounds before they activate; they will always activate at the beginning of a given round, before any other action can be taken by the imbiber.

Charging, 2nd Round.  Presumes that the charger has applied their full movement the round before to travelling forward an equal number of hexes (move of five, runs forward five hexes). 

Where it reads, "double the cost of all other actions and penalties," this could have been worded better. Take all other actions to have the same movement requirement - please count each hex at one half movement point.

The charger can move up to double their speed - however, take note that the charger must retain enough movement in order to still attack.  The attack is not considered a "charge," however, unless the charger has already spent one full round moving beforehand.  The attack is presumed to take place before the end of the second round.  See Figure 6:

Albert, charging Bertrand, takes his movement of 5 hexes the first round.  The second round, he is able to move six hexes using only three movement points.  This leaves him 2 move left in order to charge Bertrand.  If Bertrand had been one more hex away, the charge would be assumed to take place in the third round of charging (see below).

Charging is changed from the DMG.  When charging, just prior to contact, player characters make wisdom checks; NPCs and mounts roll against their morale.  If both succeed, initiative is rolled - regardless of the length of the weapon.  The charging side gains a +1 to their initiative roll.  The side that wins initiative attacks at +1 to hit; if initiative is simultaneous, both sides attack at +1 to hit.

IF the charger fails their wisdom check (player characters) or morale (NPCs), they are considered to have A) lost initiative and B) lost 2 points of armor class when they are attacked,and as long as they continue to be stunned (qv).  Thus, when the defender attacks a charger who has "broke ranks," the defender gets +3 overall "to hit" (initiative and failed charge).  If the charger is then stunned, the defender gains +2 for that next round, and every round until the charger is not stunned.

If the defender fails their wisdom check or morale, they are considered to have A) lost initiative and B) lost 4 points of armor class when they are attacked, and for as long as they continue to be stunned.

Overall, this balances the odds in the favor of the charger if both succeed morale, and very much balances the charge in the favor of those who stand firm in the face of those who panic at the last moment ... with the charger getting the better end.

Charging, 3rd round.  It is presumed the charger has already moved two rounds at no less than their full movement rate, plus at least 1 hex.  Thus, in the example above, Albert moves 11 hexes in two rounds, and would have to move 12 if Bertrand were one hex further away - which satisfies the requirement.

Otherwise, if the charger had moved at full double speed the round before, each hex this round may be counted as a 1/3rd movement point.

However, for the attack to remain a charge (the charger potentially becoming fatigued), the charger cannot be more than 80% encumbered, or be wearing scale, chain, banded, splint or plate armor.  Otherwise, the charge bonuses do not apply and normal melee ensues when contact occurs.

Charging, 4th round.  Like the third round, it is presumed the charger has already moved three rounds at no less than their full movement rate.  The charger cannot be more than 50% encumbered, or be wearing ring, studded leather, leather or padded armor.  Otherwise, the charge bonuses do not apply and normal melee ensues when contact occurs.

Otherwise, if the charger had moved at full triple speed the round before, each hex this round may be counted as a 1/4th movement point.

Please note:  The method to get around the charge fatigue rule is for a party of attackers to move forward at an enemy at normal movement until the last necessary round, when they give a last rush and charge.  They wouldn't be running across hundreds of yards of country.

Please also note that this rule applies to mounts differently, as mounts can retain double movement with respect to charging for up to a distance of 132 hexes (an eighth of a mile).

Climb downwards.  Movement rate is considered to be one third normal movement, and one half for slopes between 45 and 75 degrees, discounting fractions.  Thus, a climber in leather armor is able to climb down at a rate of 5' (1 hex) per round.  Additional unused movement may be applied to other actions.

Climb upwards.  Movement rate is considered to be one fifth normal movement for vertical walls, and one quarter for slopes between 45 and 75 degrees, discounting fractions.  Thus, a climber with a movement of 4 cannot climb a wall unassisted.  This rule is to disallow thieves from climbing walls while wearing armor.  Unfair and indecent of me, I know.

Concentrate to maintain spell.  If a spellcaster casts the spell, magic is such that the spell can be retained for as long as the caster can concentrate upon the spell, and is in no way disturbed or distracted.  The spell remains in full potency until it is discharged.  During this concentration, the caster may move one hex per round; like in casting a spell, the caster cannot take any other action at this time, except to sit, stand up or turn.

Control a frightened mount.  If the mount has been upset to the point where it has become frightened, the individual in charge of the mount must spend three successful rounds (36 seconds) calming the beast and bringing it back under control.  No other action may be taken at this time, including giving orders or speaking to anyone else.  It presumes that a check is made to determine success - typically a wisdom check on the part of the rider, but in the case of some intelligent animals, a wisdom check on the animal's part may be substituted (whichever is higher).

Arguably, a similar rule could apply to any non-magically frightened person or creature ... but there are no rules that indicate a person becomes frightened (that I know of).

Dismount a horse.  Applies to any mount, generally.  Presumes the rider wishes to dismount the animal by setting feet upon the ground, in the usual way.  Leaping from a horse to attack while still in the air might be considered a movement of 1 + 2 for attacking; some might consider this still to be a movement of 2 + 2.  DM's privilege.

Dispel a working spell.  My personal belief is that any spellcaster ought to be able to dispel their own magic (assuming it is ongoing, and not instantaneous like a fireball) at will.  The time for a spellcaster to dispel their own magic is the same as bestowing a beneficial spell.  Dispelling another caster's magic would be considered bestowing a detrimental spell, and would require 2 movement points.

Draw weapon.  Weapons are divided into two-handed and one-handed weapons.  It does not say on the list, but a light two-handed weapon, weighing less than 10 lbs., requires two movement to draw.  Some might dispute these times; I argue that the seemingly lengthy time necessary includes more than unlimbering the sword.  A period of time is also necessary for limbering up the arm and the grip, plus taking a proper stance, before expecting to cause any damage with the weapon.  Remember that 3 movement points are typically 7.2 to 12 seconds.  Not very long.

Drink from Item.  This requires one's full attention and movement; I think a lot of people assume that a potion can be drunk at a walking speed, given that we drink from bottles of water and coke and whatever else while moving around.  I have problems with this - one, a medieval bottle has an odd shape and isn't a nicely balanced, or possessing of the same perfect opening as a modern bottle; and two, the potion being drunk tastes bad ... or weird ... or highly disconcerting.  In other words, it will strip one of concentration.  Finally, you don't want to take a chance a trip while sucking down your precious liquid.  I might be willing to concede that you could move a hex and drink water or wine.  But a potion?  Never.

Drop an Item.  Seriously, no movement.  Oh, it might take one movement to set an item down, nice and neat, but if you're pulling an axe, and you have a sword in your hand, you drop your sword at no penalty.  That only seems fair.

Drop prone to the floor.  Two movement points seems fair.  Players hardly ever do this in combat; its usually done long before combat occurs, in order to avoid combat ... but if you're going to fall down to the ground in armor, and carrying weapons, 4.8 seconds seems a reasonable time to me.  I wouldn't want to make it longer, and shorter is ridiculous.  A player arguing the point might convince me to make it one movement - so long as I can do 1-4 damage to him for falling on his mace.

Dumping a bag or a back pack.  One of my pet peeves is the tendency for players to think that pulling something from a medieval backpack is exactly similar to taking money from a wallet.  To empty a back pack, to let everything fall out, would require at least three good solid shakes - thus, two movement.  See "retrieve an item from inside backpack"

Eat an item.  Here I'm willing to make a concession.  I'm willing to let a player eat something while doing whatever action they can with the other hand, so long as it doesn't take more than one movement.  The difference is, I suppose, that a whole object can be put in one's mouth and chewed, while a potion requires holding the bottle steady and swallowing.  If you don't hold the food steady between putting in your mouth, even if you drop it - no problem.  It can be picked up again and eaten.  Not so a potion.

Escape from Entanglement.  This would where the character was pulling themselves free of some non-magical, non-alive restrictive situation:  a net, complex vegetation, a rope that has been untied but is still wrapped around the body, bolas, a sucking mudhole, etc.  A 'dexterity check' would be rolling equal to or less than the character's dexterity upon a d20.  Thus, if a fail occurs on the first round, the second round 4 is subtracted from the die; upon the third round, 8 is subtracted from the die and so on.  Obviously, some situations would guarantee success; it's the DM's judgement.

Extinguish a candle.  Again, not simply a matter of blowing; candles tended to drip something awful, given they were made of tallow and beeswax, and the matter had to be done carefully.  Assumes 2.4 seconds.

Extinguish a lantern.  Probably requires a sequence of actions to put out the lantern; of course, the lantern could be simply dropped to the floor, and that would put it out ... but the ideal here is that the oil within is not tipped over so it can be relit.  Assumes 4.8 seconds.

Extinguish a torch.  More difficult, in that the torch produces a lot of flame which must be snuffed by suffocating the flame, probably with a cloth or blanket.  A torch cannot be 'blown out.'  Of course, dousing it in water, or by some other method, would take less time.

Fall back from combat.  This is a rather poorly written entry, referring to the movement point penalty explained above; obviously, the point of movement would not be expended if one did not also move at least one round back.

Feint.  I've had this listed on this table for a couple of years, and I have yet to have a single character take advantage of it.  It does not increase armor class ... it is merely designed to make an opponent shift to the left or right as desired, presumably so the player can either lure the opponent into a better position, or get around the opponent.  See below:

Supposing that Albert has put on some chain mail, and now has a movement of 3.  He attacks Bertrand, expends one movement to feint to his right, then remains where he is.  Bertrand makes an intelligence check (d20, equal to or less than intelligence to succeed) and actually moves to his left, or Albert's right.  Note that this feinting action must be the last thing done, as it immediately precedes Bertrand's turn.  Note that it also tricks Bertrand into using one of his movement points, which could also work in Albert's favor.

This is effective against low intelligence creatures, if you want to maneuver them so their back is to the thief hiding in the corner, or for some other reason.  It is also important in that if you move one adjacent hex to a combatant, you must expend the extra point (see "break from combat" to move from that hex, even if you are not in combat.  This is because you must dodge, perhaps parry, or otherwise avoid the general melee, if you are crossing next to the melee:

Calvin (green), wishes to get past Albert and Bertrand while they're fighting in the room above.  He starts behind Albert, moves one forward, and from that point on he must move 2 points to escape each hex adjacent to Bertrand, until he's free.  In this case, if Calvin moves 4, he can't do it this round ... but if Albert were to successfully feint, Calvin could get past Bertrand easily.

Flight, 2nd round.  The argument here is that you can increase your movement while running IF you drop your weapons and carry nothing in your hands - and this is aided by not having your heavy weapons banging against your middrift while you are hurrying away.  It also presumes you've dumped your weapons (while running) - all at no movement penalty.  This reflects the first discussion, above, about how the contrived movement rate is much lower than what is possible.  Distance travelled in the second round would be 250% of normal movement.

Flight, 3rd round.  Like the above, only now you've dumped your backpack, belts (those with scabbards and such) and bags.  Distance travelled is 400% of normal movement.

Heavily encumbered.  I confess, I don't generally challenge a party's encumberance.  this is easier online, where everyone has time to measure, but real life parties tend to hate and resent encumberance rules to the nth degree.  I have never gotten very far with promoting them.  Still, if in my judgement you're carrying more than is reasonable, I'll knock off a point of movement with regards to your total possible actions.

Laying hand upon a willing/unwilling recipient.  The times for these actions are basically the same as bestowing a beneficial spell or a detrimental spell (see above).  The action assumes the willing recipient spends one movement point.  Laying hands upon an unwilling recipient is treated as an attack.

Leading a mount, first round.  Assumes the mount is willing to move; simply describes the loss of one movement point in encouraging the mount to begin moving forward.  Note that a full movement is lost in encouraging the mount to double, triple or quadruple its speed, at each level.  Thus, if you are moving 4 hexes while leading a mount, and would normally move 8 hexes upon doubling your speed (1/2 a movement point per hex), the lost movement point counts as 2 hexes - so leading a willing mount would cause you to move 6 hexes the second round.

The rule isn't listed, but compelling an unwilling mount to move forward requires a successful morale check on the animal's part.

Light a torch from an existing fire/tinderboxIt is presumed somewhat that torches light as though they are coated in gasoline, but such is not the case.  I argue that the torch must be applied to an existing flame for a round before it can be considered lit, and three rounds where a tinderbox is employed.  And yes, you must ready the torch (or tinderbox) the previous round before starting to light it.  Most items weighing less than 5 lbs. can be readied with 1 movement.  Success is guaranteed, unless other conditions are judged to apply (a high wind would usually mean that a lack of success is guaranteed, unless a windbreak is available ... then I suppose the time might be doubled).

Load a bow, patiently/rapidly.  That is, taking a full round to take arrow, nock, draw bow and decide upon a target.  I know this gets a bad rap; I know that most argue a bow can be fired a lot more often than this.  One of my offline players is a competitive archer, however, and he has no real problem with it.  Once again, it's a question of playability ... and at any rate, it is easier to shoot at targets than to shoot at people in the middle of a melee.  Quite often, bowmen are firing through crowds - one will have to wait for a convenient shot.  Firing the bow (not shown) takes an extra 2 moves, which must be accomplished in the round after loading.  Loading cannot be done over two rounds ("I take two moves of the this round to load, then two moves of the next round ...").

Loading the bow rapidly was a concession I made, however; it can be done so that the bow is fired every round, provided one has a movement of four or more.  The to hit penalty is -4 ... which isn't that bad once a fighter has reached 5th level.  It's not much of a penalty at all when the shooter has a 17 or 18 dexterity - which we must assume competitive bowmen have, right?

Load a heavy/light crossbow.  The times indicated - 2 rounds for a light crossbow, 3 for a heavy - are the rounds of loading apart from firing.  Firing is done in a separate round, and as always, requires two movement.  This movement is not merely pulling the trigger; it is balancing the crossbow and reacting to the the shot as well.  This cannot be accomplished faster unless the character has an unusual skill with a crossbow - something that is possible as part of my character background system.

Melee.  One might ask why I did not simply change the table posted above with all these actions upon it.  I suppose I shall have to do so after this post - because it does seem to have a few holdover points on it that I haven't played in years.

Melee, for example.  So please ignore the description under "Melee additional attacks..."  That's been improved.

The basic requirement for attacking is 2 moves.  This does not mean that if a player moves four, they may automatically attack twice per round.  It means that 2 moves must be expended before there is a chance of attack.  A character who normally gets one attack per round still only gets one attack - how they expend the rest of their movement is up to them.

However, if a character attacks with two weapons, they must expend 2 of their movement per weapon they use.  Thus, a thief with an 18 dexterity attacks with two daggers - if he wishes to attack twice in that round, he must use four movement points to do so.  If he does not have four movement, he cannot attack twice per round.

If the character gains multiple attacks on account of their level, however - whether a fighter against zero levels or gained attacks by fighters and monks, then those additional attacks are accomplished with only 1 movement point extended.

Thus, if a 7th level fighter gains 3 attacks every 2 rounds, the round in which he makes a single attack requires 2 movement points; but the round in which he makes 2 attacks requires, again, 2 movement points.

It is assumed that during combat, weapons are flashing around and hitting one another - the increased ability in fighting is not increasing the number of times one swings the weapon, but in the number of times that swing means something.  A first level swings and swings without getting a chance "to hit" ... a higher level makes those swings count.  Thus, the time required to hit is shortened.

Consider the following scenario:

Bertrand (blue) is fighting Albert (white) and Calvin (green).  Bertrand has a move of four and is 2nd level for the purpose of this example.  Albert and Calvin are zero level.  Thus, Bertrand gets two attacks.  Because this is inherent to his being a fighter, and not due to a choice he makes about using two weapons, each attack requires 1 movement.

Bertrand is therefore able to attack Albert (1 move); break from combat from Albert (1 move); enter the hex to his left (1 move); and attack Calvin (1 move).

This can be quite effective when we are talking a high-level monk that is able to move 8 hexes per round, and attack 4 times per round.

Mount a horse, saddled.  This presumes a great many things beyond just a willing animal.  It presumes it is the rider's horse, that the horse is calm, that the rider is on the correct side, that the rider is not in melee and so on.  Given a situation where the rider is fully able to climb aboard the animal, yes, 3 movement points.  Of course, there are those who will want the sort of Zorro-inspired leaping aboard a horse from a wall or even from the ground ... in which case I suppose one or two movement points might be all that's necessary.  But for that to work, the conditions, athleticism and method of approach would need to be quite exact.

Open a door.  Seriously, three movement points?  In this case, we are not talking about an ordinary door.  To open a simple hut door, one could argue one movement point for kicking it open would be all that's necessary - and I agree, so long as another movement point must be used to move forward.  But here we're talking a standard thick heavily reinforced wooden door.  And for that, 3 movement.

Overrun opponent.  This is the movement penalty in addition to the movement required to move through the hex as well, and does not include the movement required to attack.  Thus, to overrun a completely healthy opponent who is defending, and thus must be attacked, a total movement of 5 is required.  However, if the attacker is moving at double speed, then the hex requires only half a point of movement, and the overrun requires only 1 point of movement (thus requiring 3 1/2 movement overall).  The overrun penalty does not improve for moving at triple or quadruple speed.

Note that if the opponent is stunned (qv) or otherwise cannot defend, an attack does not need to occur in order to move through the hex.  It can be effective if, as front attacker, you move through the hex containing the stunned defender to attack someone in the second defensive rank, while a second attacker behind you attacks the stunned defender.  Does that need a figure?  I'll say not for now.

Ready an unstrapped shield/remove a shield's straps.  I'm just seeing now that these two headings are reversed.  It should be 1 movement to remove the straps, and 4 movement to ready them.  Damn, I have to rewrite this table.

Assumes the shield is in hand (which will take an additional movement point).  It must be stated that individuals cannot carry a shield strapped to their arm perpetually, and that ordinary walking would be made exhausting by having a heavy shield in one's hand (no matter how Hollywood depicts Romans marching).  Yet when was the last time you heard a player announce they were taking their shield off their back before a battle?  To be honest, I often forget myself.

Ready any light object for use.  I've already stated that objects less than 5 lbs. DO require a one movement.  (I really MUST rewrite this table!)

Remove back pack for dropping/searching contents.  This DOES require 1 movement ... unless one is fleeing combat (see "flight").

Replacing a back pack.  Presumes the back pack has been made ready (which would be equal to 1 movement point per 50 lbs. of backpack weight).

Retrieve an item from inside backpack/saddlebags.  I have modified this, and it no longer needs a wisdom check.  It does require the full movement of the searcher, and it presumes that any object, regardless of what it is, will be found within 3 rounds.  Typically, I roll a 33% chance of getting the object (and freeing it from the backpack, if its large) the first round; a 50% chance the second round; and guarantee the object desired at the end of the third round.  Note that large objects are easy to find, but often difficult to extract from back packs.  Includes movement cost to making an object ready, but does presume the backpack has been made ready (untied and opened - 1 movement point per 50 lbs. of backpack weight).

Retrieve an item from place on body.  Assumes the player has made note of the object being on the character's belt, in pocket, hanging from a strap or some such.  Includes movement cost to making an object ready.

Sheathe a weapon into a back scabbard/waist belt.  Simple enough.  Pretty much what it says on the table.

Slowing from quadruple/triple speed.  "Half movement" means that you cannot slow to less than double normal speed (half of quadruple) unless you wish to crash to the ground and tumble.  This causes 1d4 damage.  Slowing from triple speed requires that you cannot move slower than normal speed without tumbling, which causes 1d3 damage.

Speak.  Yes, I charge movement for speaking.  Arguably, you can speak while fighting, and you can listen while fighting; but cognizance requires a certain amount of thought process in order to give and interpret orders, and this is reflected in the movement penalty.  What this might mean is that while you're hammering at the enemy with your sword this round, to keep your enemy from hammering you, you lose you chance "to hit" your opponent if you spend it telling your compatriot to get his ass around to the left and attack the mage.  So it goes.

As far as 4 words per movement, try to say four words comprehensibly and loudly in less than 2.4 seconds.

Special ability employment.  Perhaps not the clearest term to describe this.  What's meant is anything a humanoid or creature is able to do that isn't a spell, but is like a spell.  Many demons, for instance, can cause darkness at will; or gate; or teleport.  A learned character in my world has a chance to know things about the world if they take the time to think about them; this would apply to that, too (though I usually don't penalize the players).  The beneficial or detrimental time period for such an employment against others is the same as for a spell.  See "turn undead."

Stand up from a prone position.  This is the time required to get into a fighting stance from a position of lying down ... for most humanoids, it means that if you are woken up, you spend one round doing nothing (you're waking up) and most of the following round standing up.  Most carnivorous animals require less time (2 rounds, and sometimes 1 round, depending) and have more movement to spend than the average humanoid.  A character able to "kip up" (see "tumble" is able to stand in 2 movements.

Tumble to a stop.  This is different from the above tumbling (see "slowing from"); here we mean pulling the Captain Kirk maneuver and actually wanting to stop.  Note that if it is done successfully, the character can stop from quadruple speed and not take damage; if a dexterity check is made, the character does not suffer damage.  However, the character is considered "prone" (see "stand up from a prone position) the next round.

Recently I've added a number of gymnastic abilities to characters (random character generation), including handwalking, round offs, side aerials, kip-ups, a back walkover, the splits,  frontbending, front aerials, corde lisse, hand springs, full backbending and enterology; I'm not certain at the moment how those would apply - some of them would certainly allow beneficial modifiers for dexterity checks in tumbling.

I don't use tumbling rules found in the Unearthed Arcana or later editions for thieves.  A higher dexterity results in a higher likelihood of gymnastic abilities.

Turn Undead.  I don't consider this to be an innate "ability" of the cleric.  I consider it to be a favor which the cleric asks of the god, and therefore this asking takes one whole round.  Unlike a spell, the cleric does not enjoy the ability to move; the cleric's whole faith and being must be focused upon the favor asked.


Kent said...

In passing I like your video blog posts, you don't come across as an ass at all!!!

I haven't fully digested your movement rules which seem ok but I have to say it is ignorant to shift away from the 1 minute round in ad&d as so many do. The irreconcilable problem, at least in every working out of the consequences that I have read so far is the conflict introduced by increased missile fire rate that turns bows into machine guns against the moving/closing enemy. Answers to this have included crazily imo increasing the move rate six-fold - see delta's blog.

The movement rates in ad&d are judicious as is the round length.

Giordanisti said...

You haven't gotten to the attacking section yet, but is it assumed that someone can spend their movements to perform multiple attacks, even if they aren't a fighter of high enough level? I note that a fighter's second attack takes only half a movement, which to me implies that fighters aren't the only ones with the privilege of attacking twice, but they are advantaged when doing so because of the decreased cost.

All in all, I appreciate the simplicity of the system, there being only one "resource" to spend on all actions during a round. The standard model of "one move, one attack" has always seem clunky and counterintuitive, especially when dealing with grainier actions than those two broad categories would support.

Kaspar said...

Is there a way to react to opponent’s movement? A problem with such huge movement rates is that you can run circle around the enemy, whereas in a real battle there would be lots of simultaneous maneuvering.

Also, people would probably ‘get it’ quicker if you called them ‘Action points’.

@Kent: And for a DD3.5 / Gurps4d player, one minute rounds sound incomprehensible. Seems way too abstract for my tastes.

Alexis said...


You go ahead and make the rounds any length you want.


You go ahead and call the movement points any name you want.

It's of course possible to 'stagger' movement so that it is more nearly happening simultaneously. I'll be talking about this later.


I'd argue that just because there's time to attack twice, doesn't mean you're able to attack twice. Level limits on the number of attacks per round still apply. I'll be talking about this later also.

Andrej said...

Yay! Will be keeping this one in its eventual entirety for the archives.

Arduin said...

I always enjoy hearing more about your modifications to the game. Since you have, to my recollection, opted for total ownership/operation of the wiki, will you be reposting this material there?

I've rather enjoyed browsing through it, even if it is mostly just a map collection at the moment. The mass/HD rules have been especially enlightening.

Butch said...

I like your point about the possible ramifications of dropping a lantern... but what about dropping a candle, rather than spending time to carefully blow it out?

Alexis said...

Would save time.

Butch said...

I ask about Turning Undead, because I have a feeling it just might come up in the online campaign.

Can turning undead be disrupted, like a spell? I wouldn't think so, but "the cleric's whole faith and being must be focused" had me wondering.

What if the cleric turning undead is attacked, and takes enough damage to be stunned? Does the turning "fire" before he gets stunned?

Alexis said...

Because D&D is a turn-based game, and because there is no discharge of the cleric's turning undead, the cleric doesn't have to 'hold over' the effect until his next round of movement. The cleric turns, and during the monster's movement the turning is resolved. So once the cleric has spent the whole round attempting to turn, the next round he is completely free to do whatever else he wants (turn again, if he was successful, or attack, or whatever).

So no, it can't be disrupted any more than a sword attack can be.