Monday, December 9, 2013

Combat Example #1

For the purposes of these Examples, a cast is needed. We'll use Basic (Rules Cyclopedia because I have it handy) Rules, and these excellent Homesian Fantasy Names ( )

The Adventuring Party
Zefael  - Level 1 Lawful Magic-user
STR: 9, INT: 11, WIS: 12, DEX: 11, CON: 6, CHA: 15; Move: 90' (30')
HP: 3, AC: 9 (4), Melee: +0, Ranged: +0, Dagger (1d4)
Spells: Shield
Dodoraf the Morose - Level 1 Neutral Cleric
STR: 10, INT: 10, WIS: 12, DEX: 8, CON: 12, CHA: 8; Move: 60' (20')
HP: 3, AC: 3, Melee: +0, Ranged: -1, Mace (1d6), Sling (1d4), Turn Undead
Armor: Plate and Shield
Fallonos - Level 1 Chaotic Thief
STR: 11, INT: 6, WIS: 9,DEX: 16, CON: 6,CHA: 13; Move: 120' (40')
HP: 2, AC: 5, Melee: +0, Ranged: +2, Shortbow (1d6), Dagger (1d4)
Armor: Leather
Branpen - Level 1 Neutral Fighter
STR: 17, INT: 10, WIS: 11, DEX: 13, CON: 12, CHA: 12; Move: 60' (20')
HP: 3, AC: 1, Melee: +2, Ranged: +1, Spear (1d6), Normal Sword (1d8+2), Dagger (1d4+2)
Armor: Plate and Shield

The Adversaries
2 Crab Spiders (Charlotte and Itsy)
AC 7, HD 2*, HP: 7, 3; Move 120' (40'), Attacks 1 bite (1d8+poison [save +2 or die in 1d4 turns]), Morale 7, Int 0, Melee +2, Surprise on 1-4

  • No Surprise
  • Encounter Distance is 60' (Dim Light)
  • Reaction Rolls result in “Monster Attacks.”
  • Damage is resolved as it occurs.
  • Intention Declaration is Morale → Melee → Ranged
  • Actions are Ranged → Melee
  • When an order of operations is necessary, we will use the unmodified Attack Roll (High to Low).

Round 1
Party Intentions
Monster Intentions
Branpen has his Spear Out and wants to close with the Spiders, so he will be moving his full Encounter Movement (20') instead of running (x3) so he can still attack Itsy.
Dodoraf and Fallonos both wish to use their Missile Weapons if/when one of the Spiders (Charlotte) gets closer (Medium Range for Dodoraf's sling, Short Range for Fallonos' bow).
Zafael (holding the party's light source) stays back and decides against throwing her only dagger with the Spider's still at such a long range (her range is only 10/20/30).

The Crab Spiders skitter toward the Party at their full Encounter Movement (40') to Engage in Melee. They are not Charging, so Branpen cannot Set Spear vs. Charge.
Party Monster
Dodoraf rolls to hit Charlotte with his Sling 8 (Total Hit 7, -1 for Dex, no mod for range). Fallonos rolls a 13 (16 [Dex + Short Range]).
Branpen moves closer and rolls an 7 (9) for his melee attack.

Charlotte and Itsy advance to reach Melee Range with Branpen. Charlotte rolls 14 (16), Itsy rolls a 5 (7).
With Ranged attacks resolved first. Fallnos's arrow hits Charlotte first (1 point of damage). Dodoraf's stone misses.
Since all melee attacks are misses. There is no need for an order of resolution.

Round 2
Party Intentions Monster Intentions
Branpen wants to swing at Itsy again. Dodoraf draws his Mace and moves 20' to join the attack on Itsy.
Fallonos wants to fire again at Charlotte if he has a clear shot.
Zafael decides to draw her dagger and throw it at Charlotte if the Spider gets any closer.

Charlotte has to check Morale for taking damage (DM rolls 11) and fails. Itsy is going to try to bite Branpen.
Party Monster
DM rules that Charlotte is still in Range for Fallonos' arrow (Medium). Fallonos rolls a 17 (19).
Branpen rolls a 6 (8), Dodoraf rolls a 5 with his Mace.

Charlotte is running away from Danger (40' x 3 or 120' back). Itsy rolls a 10 (12).
Fallonos' arrow strikes the fleeing Charlotte for 6 points of damage! Charlotte does not escape and falls 100' away. Since all Melee attacks are misses, there is no need for an order of resolution.

Round 3
Party Intentions
Monster Intentions
Branpen and Dodoraf are engaged with Itsy in Melee. Fallonos doesn't want to risk hitting his allies with a stray arrow (DM rules that Branpen and Dodoraf provide Hard Cover, doesn't convey how much, but informs Fallonos that a miss by the margin of cover will lead to the arrow striking one of his companions), so he draws his dagger and can join his allies in melee with his (40') movement.
Zafael watches the door to make sure that the noise of battle isn't attracting any unwanted attention.

Itsy has to check Morale due to Charlotte's death and decides to fight on with a 4. He's going to try to bite Branpen again.
Party Monster
Branpen 11 (13), Dodoraf 20, Fallonos 12

Itsy 17 (19).
Since no Ranged attacks are taking place. We will resolve all Melee attacks in the order of unmodified Attack Rolls (Highest to Lowest).
Dodoraf rolled highest, and hits Itsy first (2 points of damage), Itsy hits Branpen for 1 point of damage, but triggers a save vs Poison (+2) which Branpen fails (he will die in 1d4 turns).
Fallonos is resolved next, and hits Itsy for 3 points. Killing the Spider. At this point both Spiders are dead and combat ends. There is no need to resolve Branpen's attack roll.

Here are some Alternative Resolution Methods for Round 3 (using the same die rolls)

Resolution (low to High)
Branpen's Spear attack Resolves first (5 damage). Killing Itsy, and ending the combat. Branpen escapes unscathed. Since combat is over, there is no need to resolve the other actions.

Resolution (Final Modified Attack Roll – High To Low)
Dodoraf still hits Itsy for 2, Itsy still hits Branpen for 1 and he's poisoned. However, this time Branpen's modified attack roll places him before Fallonos in the order of resolution, so it's his spear that defeats the Spider.

Resolution (Final Modified Attack Roll – Low To High)
Fallonos resolves first, killing Itsy with his dagger and 3 damage. No further resolution is needed.

Resolution (Modify the Attack roll by Something Else – High to Low)
Additional Assumptions:
Movement modifies (40' = +1, 30' = 0, 20' = -1) (since Encumbrance determines Movement rate, this factors in things like heavy armor).
Daggers and Natural Weapons are short (-1), but fast (+2), net bonus +1
Maces are medium (+0), but slow (-1), net bonus -1
Spears are longer (+1), neither slow/nor fast (+0), net bonus +1
Thieves can use their Dex bonus (Fallonos gets a +2)
Actions (and New Modified Rolls for Resolution Determination)
Party Monster
Branpen 11 (To Hit 13, Order 11 ), Dodoraf 20 (Order 18), Fallonos 12 (Order 16)

Itsy 17 (To Hit 19, Order 19).
The Assumptions above are just examples (to demonstrate that things like Weapon Speed and Length, unbalanced versus balanced Weapons, etc could be incorporated into this resolution system).
Itsy bites Branpen first (dealing 1 damage and poisoning him). Dodoraf then strikes Itsy for 2. Fallonos again has the killing blow with his 3 damage. Branpen's attack resolution is once again superfluous.

The simplest way to implement this is the simultaneous rolling of all d20 attack rolls when the Melee Actions are taken and leaving the dice as they lay so that the order determination can be made during resolution. This might not be optimal for every table/playing space. Tying individual Monster Attack roll dice to the originating foe could also be problematic in Melee combats featuring multiple adversaries.

With these alternate Order Resolution systems, since the rolls are made before any order of resolution is established, this can result in rolls being made but discarded. If the central drive of this system is to eliminate extra die rolls, this doesn't seem to meet the criteria, unless these extra rolls are somehow made useful.

Interestingly, testing revealed that on turns where everyone misses their melee rolls, there is really no need to determine the order (who missed first is not really important, and taking the table-time to iteratively narrate misses can be a little de-protagonizing). This side effect could potentially speed up combat a little more. Using a Low to High system would still iterate through the low rolls.

The testing did give me some additional thoughts: What are some other rolls that are typically made during/before combat that could serve double-duty to determine initiative? Brainstorming on the following:

Surprise Rolls, Encounter Distance, Reaction Rolls, Morale. If you're using these systems anyway (or even better, intending to use them, but forgetting them) they could be tied into each other and/or Initiative.

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