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  #61  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 12:19 AM
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Meh, personally I am here to improve my writing skills and combat scenes is something I need a lot of work on. I don't see it as effecting balance. Allow me to explain.

If the dm tells me that the dwarf is wearing full platemail and carrying a heavy steel shield. I know as a player that my the dwarf has either a 21 AC or a 22 depending on if he has that +1 dex bonus with some variations thrown in by possible magic items. Which can be determined based on the description of the quality of the platemail.

My character knows that he has to get past the massive shield and look for weakpoints and creases in the armor such as at the arm pits or base of the neck etc to strike at in order to strike a telling blow.

Now if a halfling is wearing studded leather and just picked of a perfect shot with a crossbow at the parties wizard. I know hes got somewhere between a 17 and 18 AC depending on how high our acurate little snipers dexterity actually is.

My character knows he just took out his buddy the mage and it's time for some payback.

That knowledge, both player and character, does not effect the outcome of the roll in anyway. It is still up to the dice whether or not a hit is scored.
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  #62  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 12:37 AM
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This is true. For the Dwarf in Plate Mail and carrying a Heavy shield example, yeah, you know you've missed if you roll less than a 20. That much is obvious. But, the thing is? In this system, the 21-22 thing DOES matter. If you roll a 21, and write a post about how you just barely hit, but said dwarf has a 22? Unless you wrote a really awesome post and the DM decides to give you the extra +1 for good roleplaying, then suddenly your post is wrong.

At the same time, GrassMonkey, you do kinda have to think in those sorts of terms when writing the in character post. If your character hit, did they just barely breach the foe's defenses? Or did they handily strike a telling blow, with the opponent putting up little resistance? Or did they get lucky, and roll a 20 on something they had little chance of hitting?

And the opposite is true, as well. How does your character know that the halfling sniper is actually much of a threat? After all, no matter what protective spells the wizard puts up, you've always got a small chance to hit. He may be a level 1 rogue who just got a lucky shot off on what he thought were ordinary travelers. After all, PCs and NPCs can't see levels, or HP, or anything of the sort. Unless the wizard is wearing a giant pointy hat with WIZARD stitched on it, and flashy robes and ioun stones, how is the halfling to know he just shot at a powerful wizard and not, say, a regular old hermit wearing a burlap robe and carrying a walking stick?
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  #63  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 12:47 AM
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All true, but in both cases the points are mute.

The 21-21 hit miss can easily be corrected by the dm stating so either in OOC chat or an ingame post and the mistake can be corrected and we now know exactly what the to hit AC is. Or it can be avoided alltogether by simply posting the enemies AC and HP to begin with.

In the second case, none of that information is relevant. It doesn't change the face that the halfling just took out the mage and he's in for some punishment. Not knowing his AC isn't going to stop a character from attacking, however knowing it right from the get go allows us to avoid many of the problems that slow down pbp combat.


Anyways time for work!
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  #64  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 01:20 AM
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It might be nice to know the AC so that you can RP proper hits, but I believe it's better to RP attempted situations rather than absolutes, regardless of whether you think you know that you're going to succeed based on the information presented to you.

A few simple examples demonstrate why role playing in absolutes is a problem:
- Abilities that force rerolls
- Immediate actions
- Attacks of opportunity

If you focus on making RP posts about what you're trying to do rather than what you actually did, the DM can then summarize all of the results at once wherein any secret information you aren't privy to plays out.

"You swung your absolute bestest swing ever but. . . the wizard blinked away at the last second! He waves his arms about as flames leap out towards the party! (Tooltip or OOC text: Ref save DC 99)"

OR

"You charged a baddie but oh no, a trap! You fell into a pit!"

In either situation, if you RP'd a post where you hit the listed AC and dealt enough damage to kill the listed monster, the following players would RP posts under the assumption it was dead. If the DM doesn't post in time (entirely possible) to correct this mistake the combat round is borked anyways.

If you're taking an action you REALLY don't want to waste, you can simply OoC a backup plan or conditions in a spoiler below. A good example is casting a fireball as the wizard. If all the monsters are dead that's rather pointless.

I'd vote for a combat system similar to the following:

(Surprise Round) > Party Round > Monster Round > Repeat

Your initiative roll would determine whether or not you can act in the surprise round. Then the party states their attempted actions. Then the DM states the results of those attempts followed by the attempted actions of the monsters. Some elements of strategy are lost, but the DM can adjust monsters and situations to get the desired environment.

Ultimately, a single round of combat is 6 seconds long. It makes sense that each participant is going to start to do something, but the likelihood that every one of them will be able to realize something has happened and adjust without missing a beat is very low.

I'd rather have players waste actions here and there (if they don't provide a backup in OoC for simple things like basic attacks) than everyone wait most of the day for the next person in the initiative order. I am, as always, flexible though. I'll do whatever the majority wants.
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  #65  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 03:33 AM
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I like what you wrote

Indeed, the "roleplay attempts" solution is a good one. It does take away a little dramatic ability from the player's hand (to describe [bi]how exactly[/i] the bad guy dies) - but it becomes more foolproof.

the Initiative idea I do like as well. We can go away from pure tactical play into a more free-form style this was, making all player actions at one initiative count, with backup actions (the dm then makes a nice coherent sequence out of that, swapping order of action when needed etc)

sounds good.

We would need some way to represent very high initiative boni in this system though.
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  #66  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 07:06 AM
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Initiative has always been about determining order of action in combat. Give how powerful the first turn is, that's what it's best optimized for.

I'd suggest the following Combat Order:
  1. Determine Roles
  2. Surprise Round
  3. Reactive Turns
    --
  4. Attackers Turn
  5. Defenders Turn
  6. Repeat
(Step 1) Identify who is attacking and who is defending. Usually the monsters will be attacking, but sometimes the party will sneak up on evil-doers.

(Step 3) Surprise round, if applicable, is resolved for the attackers.

(Step 2) Roll for initiative. Each player rolls individually, the monsters roll as a group (average their bonus rounded up and separate into 2-3 groups if desired to split minions from cohorts from BBEG).

(Step 3) Defenders with higher initiative than the attackers act first in a normal turn. Monsters must beat ALL of the player rolls to act as a group while party members can individually beat the monsters. This favors the party, but the DM (sethdot) can adjust if needed to avoid us steamrolling faces. This is also why separating the BBEG out from his underlings is important.

(Step 4) Attackers declare their actions and any interrupts.

(Step 5) Defenders declare their actions and any interrupts.

(Repeat) Alternate steps 4 and 5 until the combat is over.

Rolling a 1 means you skip your first turn

-----

An example of how multiple monster groups would pan out:

Attackers:
{24} BBEG (+10) rolled a 14
{21} Minions A(+3)/B(+3)/C(+4)/D(+4) rolled a 17
{11} Cohorts A(+6)/B(+7) rolled a 4

Defenders:
{23} Rogue (+6) rolled a 17
{16} Fighter (+4) rolled a 12
{13} Cleric (+3) rolled a 10
{10} Ranger (+5) rolled a 5
{01} Wizard (+2) rolled a 1 (misses first turn!)
TURN ORDER
(nobody is suprised)
Reactive Turns
[A] BBEG (24) - Opening post
[D] Rogue (23)
Attackers (Round 1)
[A] Minions A/B/C/D (21)
Defenders (Round 1)
[D] Fighter (16)
[D] Cleric (13)
[D] Ranger (10)
Attackers (Round 2)
[A] BBEG (24)
[A] Minions A/B/C/D (21)
[A] Cohorts A/B (11)
Defenders (Round 2)
[D] Rogue (23)
[D] Fighter (16)
[D] Cleric (13)
[D] Ranger (10)
[D] Wizard (1)
Determining when everybody acts:
  • Monsters that beat ALL party members act during the DM's Opening Post
  • Players that beat ALL monster groups NOT in Opening Post act in Reactive Turns
  • Monsters that beat ALL party members NOT in Reactive Turns act in Attackers Turn
  • Players that beat AT LEAST ONE monster group act in Defenders Turn
  • Monsters that lose to AT LEAST ONE party member NOT in Reactive Turns act on round 2
  • Players that lose to ALL monster groups act on round 2 (1's are auto loss)

By round two, everyone is acting on their side's turn block. The start of combat would be a little slow while waiting for reactive turns, but, once out of the way, it's smooth sailing.

For added flavor, perhaps rolling a natural 20 could give you an extra swift action in the first round?

Last edited by IDentityCrisis; Sep 5th, 2013 at 07:21 AM.
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  #67  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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That sounds pretty good, like the little extra from 20 and the fail at 1

+1
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  #68  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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Sounds like an exceedingly complicated processes for and already complicated process of PBP initiative.....


Well, ok in all honesty i gave up reading after a little bit.
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  #69  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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Well it DOES become simple from round 2 on , but whatever, lets see what our DM says.
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  #70  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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OK, now I've read it all. Well thought out,... but dang complicated

Edit: Yes, until round 2 that is

Last edited by GrassMonkey; Sep 5th, 2013 at 02:01 PM.
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  #71  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 02:30 PM
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Definitely a bit complicated. I had to read it over a few times before I got it. I like the crit ideas. I'm quite the fan of being all "Oh Yeah!" or "You've gotta be kidding me". The only thing I would possibly add is on the player's turns initiative comes on a first post basis, that way the Cleric isn't waiting on the Rogue so they can heal the Fighter. Basically the posting order would be the initiative order. Initiative would still serve it's purpose, which is pretty much determining who gets to act first. I think I'll give this a try during the first encounter and see how it goes. Very nice work IDC.
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Last edited by sethdot; Sep 5th, 2013 at 02:31 PM.
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  #72  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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Oh, apologies, I probably should have clarified: Anyone can post in any order within each block. (my OCD led me to keep them organized by initiative within each block Xp)

Monster Reactive Turns are lumped into the opening post (so no waiting)

Player Reactive Turns are taken in any order (almost always going to be less than full group)

Everything else happens as a block (party free-for-fall then DM summary + monsters)

It will certainly seem really complicated, but in reality, it will feel much less so than normal combat wherein people are waiting on others to post. That was also the most complicated example that's possible. If there is only one group of monsters, it's fairly trivial. . . at least in my head :S

DM: "You enter the room, nobody is surprised to see 4 goblins, but one of them >9000 to hit! [2dmg]shoots at the Fighter! Cleric and Rogue, you've qualified for Reactive Turns"

Rogue: "I turn invisible and step through the door before moving along the right side of the room!"

Cleric: "I step into the room and to the left before Bless on the Fightercasting a spell!"

DM: "The remaining 3 goblins charge the party! One swings wildly at the Cleric while the other two 14 [3dmg] & 21 [5dmg] to hit!jab once at the Fighter! Anyone who hasn't acted yet may now do so."

{Remaining Party Members - no particular order}

{Monsters - DM Post}

{Party Members - no particular order}

So if half the party qualified for a reactive turn, they can post in whatever order they choose. Basically, people will more or less be "holding my action" until their block is up at which point they don't have to wait on anyone so long as they don't post more than once.

(Side Note: if you're interested in trying this once, sethdot, just to see how it suits you I can help establish action orders)

Last edited by IDentityCrisis; Sep 5th, 2013 at 04:07 PM.
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  #73  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 04:41 PM
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Yep, that's exactly what I was talking about. I'm pretty much sold. I'll look it over a bunch of times and probably use it at the first encounter. If it works out do you mind me adding it to the house rules?
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  #74  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 08:27 PM
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  #75  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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Very interesting stuff here guys. I'm excited to try this combat method out. Thanks for suggesting it IDC.
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