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  #1  
Old Jan 30th, 2022, 12:23 PM
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Legendary Actions in PbP

Question: How do you handle legendary actions in play-by-post?

I'm asking in the context of D&D 5e but maybe other systems have this same mechanic and the method of dealing with it might be similar.

In a live game with a set initiative order, a creature with Legendary Actions can take those actions at the end of any player's turn. But in a game where initiative is just determined by the posting order, and the DM updates include actions from all the bad guys in a lump, this seems to make the Legendary Actions into just extra actions. Is there a better way to handle this? I guess that interrupting the round of posts with actions between players would be the most obvious way to do it, but I'm just looking for advice from experienced PBP GMs who have managed this flow. Thanks for any input!

Note to my players: this is entirely irrelevant to the fight you are currently in.
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 09:31 AM
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You didn't get any responses to this, and it was about an ongoing fight, so I imagine responses now aren't super useful. All the same, it's a useful discussion for PbP, so I'll give some thoughts now that I'm seeing the question again.

I've only run one fight in PbP with legendary actions. I did not do anything fancy. For the most part, I just treated them like supplements to a multiattack. If your legendary dragon already has a multiattack on their turn (with two claws and a bite), plus three legendary actions (a claw for one action and a Wing for two) then I'd give the dragon five attacks on their turn.

This has the advantage of simplicity, and it keeps the monster putting out the DPS they deserve, to be a level-appropriate threat. It's not a perfect workaround. That Wing action allows movement, and so the movement SHOULD have happened on a player's turn, making the combat more dynamic from one player action to the next. You don't get that, with my method.

IIRC, when I ran my legendary fight, at one point there was a lull in player posting - two players posted within a day of my GM post, and then three days later there were no further player posts. So while we were waiting for the remaining player posts, I stuck a legendary action or two into the downtime. Something like that is the ideal, alternating players and GM. But I don't think there's a great way to inject GM responses after every player post without drastically slowing down combat. If your game was posting once or more per game, I think this would be less of an issue. If you've got a once-per-week game (as mine usually are), I think legendary actions are hard to run in their reaction-based way, without grinding the game to a halt.
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 03:54 PM
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personally I don't run initiative based on posting order- everybody posts their plan and I summarize how the combat goes by putting them in order.
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 09:40 PM
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Thanks for that response, Wynamoinen! This time I did as you said and just gave the enemy more to do on his turn, but I think next time I will try inserting legendary actions between player posts and see how that goes.

silveroak I've never done combat that way but I know it's a popular way to do it. It seems too difficult to predict what would happen in the round before you, if you had a low initiative roll. I would imagine people would be waiting for the people higher on the order to go first, which might slow things down. What do you like about doing it your way?
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Old Mar 15th, 2022, 12:41 PM
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I've only witnessed Legendary Actions in combat once as a player and have yet to try it as a pbp-DM for 5e. Here was the one fight I saw it in, the DM just simply posted in-between player posts. Granted we handled OOC via discord so adjustments could be made quicker if it was stepping on any toes or caused a conflict in course of action.
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Old Mar 15th, 2022, 09:10 PM
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You ca always make a conditional action "I shoot whichever one looks the most injured", "I cast cure wounds on whomever looks hurt the most". What I like is that because people *don't* wait on teh people ahead of them the combat goes faster, plus the initiative bonus for the character doesn't wind up being wasted.

Last edited by silveroak; Mar 15th, 2022 at 09:10 PM.
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Old Mar 15th, 2022, 10:09 PM
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It's hard to make blanket recommendations when the manner in which each game is run can vary greatly. Some games are run as plain language affairs similar in form to an actual tabletop, where others are more literary/cinematic. The latter can make flexible actions less viable. Different folks value different aspects of the hobby, and in play-by-post, frequently some are sacrificed in the interest of others.

Instituting a system where a player posts OOC while composing their post and then having a minimum time interval before any other player may post could give the DM time to review and chime in regarding legendary actions, but that requires a lot of regular time investments for said DM. There's no perfect or universal answer, unfortunately. It all comes down to what's most important to the particular DM/game/group.
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