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Monday, February 15, 2016

(A little bit of this and a little of that) Segment based initiative and some other combat rules. Here we go again.

Initiative: Who Goes First?

Let's start things off with one of the most contentious topics in role playing games. Not alignment, which for the most part is only a thing in D&D, Palladium and the 'World games. I'm not even talking about encumbrance. No, I'm talking about the real most controversial topic in most if not all RPGs. I'm talking about initiative, what others have called the Kobayashi Maru of D&D.


So let's get down to the nuts and bolts here. I'm drawing from a mix of 1st Edition AD&D, Hackmaster and Exalted in which the lowest initiative roll goes first and then you count up. At the start of combat, and only at the start of combat, roll a 1d10 for each combatant, or block of combatants. The lowest roll is then subtracted from all rolls, including itself, going first. This should result in a starting initiative of 0 for the fastest character, counting up one segment until you reach the character's initiative. Then you count up to their action's speed and add your character's Dexterity bonus to initiative, a plus +x low Dexterity and a -x for high Dexterity.

Under this rule the DM then counts up from 0, with each character starting on his or her initiative count and finishing on his or her action speed. After a character finishes their current action, including attack and damage rolls and saving throws against that potential attack, the DM starts counting up again until the next character can act. And so on and so forth until the battle/encounter is over.

So for a recap:
  1. Everyone rolls a 1d10, with the lowest going first and subtracting itself from all rolls, starting at 0.
  2. Add your character's chosen action's speed to his/her initiative.
  3. Add your character's initiative bonus from Dexterity to your current subtotal. Higher than average Dexterity actually subtracts from initiative. This is for your character's first action in the encounter.
  4. The DM counts up from 0, with whomever is ready to act on that segment starting their action and finishing it on their plus action speed.
  5. Count up to the action speed for your character's next action.
  6. Repeat step five until the battle is over.

Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Battle Wheel.
Action speed
  • light one-handed melee weapon: +3
  • medium one-handed melee weapon or light two-handed melee weapon: +4
  • heavy one-handed melee weapon or medium two handed melee weapon: +5
  • heavy two-handed melee weapon: +6
  • slings, pistols and throwing knives/darts: +3
  • short bows and chakram: +4
  • longbows, thrown spears and long guns: +5
  • combat spell: +5 +1/2 spell levels
  • use of active mutation: +5
  • movement: +1 per 1/10 of base speed, concurrent with melee attacks and at least some missile attacks
  • running: +1 per 1/5 of base speed, but can only attack at the end of the run/charge
  • miscellaneous: +5
Example


Our Heroes
  • Bran Ó Caoindealbháin, a low level druid (magician) wielding sling, staff and sickle
  • Meadhbh Ó Fithcheallaigh, a young princess (noble) well versed short sword and knife fighting and possessed of a voice that can bewitch and enthrall those who hear it. Deadly knife thrower.
  • Saoirse Ó Fithcheallaigh, Meadhbd's older sister and protector. Huntress (scout) and skirmisher more accustomed to the woods than life at court. Expert archer, tracker and spear fighter.
  • Léonard Tolbert, a young knight (fighter or warrior, whatever you would like to call him) in shining armor and near spotless virtue. Armed to the teeth and doesn't believe in such a thing as "overkill".
  • Jeanne Pelletier, young witch and seer (magician), romantically involved with Léonard. Hides a stilleto dagger in her garter.
  • Louis Renard, occultist and summoner (magician), good friend to Léonard but foolish and inept summoner. Tends to mistakenly summon demons due to his sloppiness and overconfidence.
  • Trevor Bucket, agent in his majesty's secret service (thief or operative, your pick) in an occult war for survival. Armed with a pair of brass knuckles, a cane sword and a pistol.
  • Lilly Haversham, underground boxer, back alley brawler and bar fighter (warrior/fighter). Mostly uses her fists and elbows, but will occasionally bring out her sledgehammer or twin pistols.
  • Zhū Yuanjun, a junior government functionary and emissary (noble) from the Golden Phoenix Empire. Wields a jian (normal sword) for self defense with some skill. He also carries a small pistol with adjustable sights built in.
  • Takaki Sakura, middle child and eldest daughter of shogun Takaki Yasuhiro of the Divine Sun Empire, and personally tutored in the way of the samurai (warrior) by him. About as heavily armed as Léonard but with a composite bow and four quivers of arrows stashed on her horse. 20 of those arrows have explosive black powder heads.

The Enemy
  • The local goblin king and his five elite knights
  • 60 goblin troops, divided into 5 units of 12 led by one knight each.
  • Three ogres the goblin king controls.
The ten players (yes all ten of them) and the DM roll their initiatives with the following as the results:

Party
  • 7 (Bran)
  • 10 (Meadhbh)
  • 5 (Saoirse)
  • 1 (Léonard)
  • 9 (Jeanne)
  • 2 (Louis)
  • 8 (Trevor)
  • 7 (Lily)
  • 1 (Yuanjun)
  • 6 (Sakura)

Goblins and ogres
  • 6 (king)
  • 3 (knight and unit)
  • 6 (knight and unit)
  • 7 (knight and unit)
  • 9 (knight and unit)
  • 6 (knight and unit)
  • 6 (ogre)
  • 9 (ogre)
  • 2 (ogre)
Initiative Count, Not Including Actions and Dexterity
0 Léonard and Yuanjun
1 Louis and ogre #3
2 goblin knight and his unit #1
3 no one
4 Saoirse
5 Sakura, Goblin King, goblin knight and unit #2, goblin knight and unit #5 and ogre #1
6 Bran, Lily and goblin knight and unit #3
7 Trevor
8 Jeanne and ogre #2
9 Meadhbh

Reach Weapons

Reach weapons are weapons the allow their wielders greater than natural reach in melee. That's basically it. I have a small list of weapons that I consider reach weapons and another list beneath it that might be possible possible reach weapons too.

Reach Weapons
  • Longspear
  • Sledgehammer
  • Lance
  • Pollaxe
  • Meteor hammer
  • Two-handed axe
  • Greatclub
Potential Reach Weapons
  • Greatsword
  • Bastard sword
  • Glaive
  • Halberd
  • Bec-de corbin 
Reach weapons are long enough to avoid most melee counterattacks and backlashes. They can also be used for attacks of opportunity/free attacks against foes with light or no weapons and no shield.