Monday, 15 June 2015

A Thought On Combat Actions

As mentioned previously, I have decided to begin trimming some of the rules from Pathfinder. Well trim and alter and add. Game design and world building are two of the key reasons I enjoy DMing so much. As such I have decided to target the combat system, where the rules bloat is greatest. It is also the reason I enjoy Pathfinder combat so much, as it allows you to be very detailed in your actions.

Now, while detail is important, I believe that play ability is more important. And more streamlined combat rules are a huge deal for many players, or so I've heard from everyone who has tried 5E.

Most of the time in combat comes from communication and deciding on actions. My previous post here tells of my simple and as yet untried solution to the communication problem. Once I try it out I will let you guys know how it works. The other problem of deciding on actions is a larger problem to tackle.

For those unfamiliar with Pathfinder, each round a player gets a move, a standard, a swift, an immediate and, unlimited free actions. Or they can take a full round action at the cost of a standard and a move action. An immediate action can be taken at anytime in combat, even in the middle of another characters turn. Players can also ready actions to prepare an action to happen under certain conditions or simply delay their turn until later, permanently changing their spot in the initiative order.

So, there are really too many possibilities for actions here. Especially considering the character only has 6 seconds in a combat round to decide all of this.

The one action of those listed above that sticks out the most is the Delay Action. All the other actions set up some form of commitment to a course of action, either by carrying out the action on the spot or by preparing a specific action for use in the near future. On the other hand, delaying is simply saying "I will sit and wait for a better opportunity to decide what I want to do". There is no commitment, only avoidance. And the worst part is that delaying generally happens after all other courses of action have been examined and decided to be sub-par.

So my solution to this is to remove the ability to use the delay action in combat. Every turn you must commit to something, even if it is simply to commit to doing nothing this round. There will be no wait until a better moment option, that is what readying an action is for.

Hopefully this will help remove some of the waiting in combat and bring a bit more action oriented spirit back to it. Hopefully it will make more "screw it i'm going to do this" moments happen, since the one thing that most players seem to hate the most is doing nothing.

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