View Full Version : Heroic Dives

2005-08-21, 02:26 AM
Many great action scenes end with the hero, or one of the heroes, runnng and diving to catch some important item. In another thread there was a discussion about catching. I believe the conclusion was that catching should be a free action, melee touch attack. Working with those rules and the standard rules for jumping one never gets the heroic dive. If the jump check succeeds then the character lands on his or her feet. If it fails you just don't make the distance, unless you don't have any ranks then you must succeed by more than 5 over the DC, or be prone. Also you can never go beyond your available movement in a round.
So, what if by making a jump check that will always leave you prone despite ranks or success you can gain an extra 5 feet to a movement, as long as its part of a 10 foot jump.
A halfling rogue with light armour has a speed of 20 feet per round. With a single move action the halfling can move 20 feet, 40 with a double move or 80 with a run. So lets say a BBEG hurls an urn and after a check makes it 85 feet. The halfling moves 75 feet as a run but can make a jump check at DC 10 to move a full distance of 85 feet. The halfling then makes the free catch check and ends the round prone with no chance to stand until his or her following turn in the next round.

Thoughts and opinions? Anything I'm missing or may have left out?

2005-08-21, 09:41 AM
The mechanics of the dive sound good, but the halfling rogue in your example would have had to have readied an action to be able to attempt to catch the urn. Otherwise, the BBEG would throw the urn 80', it would hit the ground and shatter, then the rogue's initiative would come up.

2005-08-21, 10:33 AM
Perhaps a reflex save could be incorperated so that it could be a reactionary movement. If a player could ready an action to catch they could have simply used the action to take the item. Also, the action of throwing the item is supposed to be an act of desperation. An unplanned, last ditch attempt to distract the heroes so an escape can be made. Perhaps a save DC of 15 could be added, or should the DC be based in some way on the thrower? A base of 10 + BAB?

2005-08-21, 10:51 AM
I second the readied action. Those hero types are always waiting for the BBEG to make his move, then abscond the urn/break their chains/rescue the princess in their own... heroic... (idiom, sir) idiom!

It's not powerful enough to warrant a feat (though perhaps an "improved" feat-worthy version could exist)

I think that being prone is important to keep this set, but I think an increase in Jump DC would be necessary, as well. Let's look back at your halfling rogue. He's got a running start, so DCs are standard, not doubled, but his heroic "Sey Hey" Willie diving catch is going to be harder. I would increase the DC of any jump that would include the heroic dive by 5, simply because the overextension that you are trying to accomplish is the same as what olympic long jumpers are doing, and that ain't easy (and they end up prone usually, too, to boot!), trying to get that extra foot or two.

Rogue readies action (move and try to save urn if BBEG throws it)
BBEG, makes nefarious monologue, detailling all of his evil plans, outlining the only escape route, and laughing in the face of the rogue (free action)
BBEG throws urn
that activates the rogues readied action, so he takes the move, with a 10 foot jump at the end with a DC of 15 (instead of 10).
He makes a free melee touch attack against the urn, succeeds and finishes his readied action, lying prone near the BBEG.

The way the combat rules work, it would really, by necessity, need to be a readied action, because initiative totally stops simultaneous actions.

2005-08-21, 11:11 AM
It's not powerful enough to warrant a feat (though perhaps an "improved" feat-worthy version could exist)Now your thinking! Which is funny since it was YOUR GAME that got me thinking about this. Restless night man, Restless....Nights.... But not really. Me and a fellow DM/Player worked this out over a few beer a few days ago. Anywho, I like the Imp. Feat idea, but I'm not sure where to take it.

I think that being prone is important to keep this set...Absolutely its the only way this isn't simply the dash feat for free.

... but I think an increase in Jump DC would be necessary, as well.I love it. It fixes that funny spider-sense type feeling I was having about the action.

I can see many players not using this becuase they have to ready an action for something that may never happen, but I like having it there for someone who would use it.

2005-08-22, 05:21 PM
Maybe instead of having to ready their action, you could allow this (and other last-ditch, heroic types of actions) to happen if the character makes a (difficult) Reflex saving-throw. Basically how you'd adjudicate it is, the character
a)makes a difficult Reflex throw
b)must have at least one 'un-spent' attack of opportunity available
they can then
c)use part or all of their actions from the coming round NOW, to perform an heroic action, such as the run-and-jump, which
d)follows the rules you've laid out, including the jump check and the free catch check, winding up prone
e)after which, they've burned part or all of the following round's actions, so they'd better have friends around or the villian is going to make good his escape while you lie there/kick you in the ribs while you lie there/use the opportunity to cast Flesh to Stone on the king while you lie there, etc.

Because otherwise, if you have high initiative, you can get up from being prone the next round before the villian has a chance to do anything.

This ruling would basically substitute the need for readying actions, with the ability to burn future actions if you make a reflex check. It'd apply in a lot of other heroic last-ditch effort type situations, too. And, to my mind, THIS would be big and flexible enough to qualify as a feat (say, "Heroic Initiative" or something).


2005-08-22, 05:26 PM
I think it sounds good, but as the Improved Heroic Dive feat CC suggested above leaving it as a move action any one can take at any time.

2005-08-22, 06:29 PM
Why Heroic? can't a dive just be a dive? Are we working with the movie cliche, or reality, here?

2005-08-22, 06:35 PM
Its just a working title, and only because the I'm basing it on a cross between a PbP game I'm in and well... bad cliche action movies the likes of which the Evil Overlord List gets its ideas from. If you wish to use this in a game, feel free to call it what you wish.
However, I want a cookie everytime someone does it. Got that! Cookies. And none of this "with nuts" stuff either. Throw in those chocolate chunks.
Um... I'll bow out now.

2005-08-22, 07:11 PM
The lack of simultaneous actions in D&D combat really hampers a lot of cool things you could do, like a heroic catch. It's very unlikely that someone is going to prepair an action to catch something thrown, and even less likely for someone to take a feat for it. I like the idea of someone who hasn't taken a move action being able to make a reflex save to run after the thrown object and catch it. Certainly there would have to be appropriate DC's involved, but giving your PC's a chance to catch it is more fun, and fun is what the game is all about.

2005-08-22, 07:15 PM
Simu-acts is one of the things I like about the storyteller system WW uses over the d20 system.

2005-08-23, 03:35 PM
Is it just me, or does throwing something 85' sound a bit unlikely?

In any case, if someone throws something, it should only be catchable by those who can reach it in a single move action. None of this "I use a run action and move 4x base move" to catch something. The thing is, a thrown object should move faster than a running person. That's just how my sense of reality works.

But that's just my two cents.

If you allowed something like this, I'd wonder if perhaps someone could ready an action to block the BBEG by dashing in front of a fired missile or knocking out of the way the target of a melee attack. I mean, after all, if you can ready an action to RUN and CATCH something that was thrown, then why not run and perform some other action? Or just run and put yourself in the path of a launched missile, instead of a thrown urn. What's the difference, really?

Meat Shield
2005-08-23, 05:06 PM
Something else you may want to do is only allow it if the player (not the character!) says he is going to try to make the catch in a very brief period of time.

For instance, DM says "BBeG laughs maniacally, and throws the <whatever> off to the side." DM would then count in his head to five. If player within range of catching says in that five count that he is going to make the catch, then allow the chance. If not, then 1-2-3-4-5 and "the jewel holding the ancient demon explodes upon hitting the floor, releasing world-destroying evil. Blah-blah-blah."

2005-08-23, 05:17 PM
Watched much football? (the American kind...)
85 feet is only about 28 yards. You are unlikely to ever see someone throw an anvil 28 yards, but a twelve year old child can easily throw a baseball that distance.

Also, watching football, I get a sense that if the throw is over a very long distance, it 'hangs' in the air for at least two or three seconds... and the reciever (and his coverage) can often run 20 or 30 yards in that time, to catch up with where the ball will fall. Your high-dex Rogue is somewhat analgous to a wide reciever, in that he's got the dexterity and low encumberance to be able to see the throw, cover 60 feet (a double-move, on the run, taking half a round, or three seconds, but losing dex bonus to AC in the process, and drawing an AoO from anyone threatening the square he left or any square he passes through), and make a diving catch for the 'ball'.

Even leaving realism aside, though, this IS a game of heroic fantasy. I agree that it rubs the wrong way for the cackling villian can wait for his turn in the initiative count, then rant a bit about his evil plan, and chuck a baby towards the furnace, and nobody in the room can do anything about it unless they anticipated his action and took a delay action. Surely, surely, someone with quick wits and ninja-like reflexes can leap to catch the airborn kid before he is engulfed by the hungry flames? At least they should get a chance to do so, in a heroic fashion.

Has anyone here played Axis and Allies? In that boardgame, when you have a combat, there is an Attacker and a Defender. The attacker makes their attacks first, and you resolve 'casualties' by pushing the defender's pieces that are destroyed back into a 'casualty' area. Then, the Defender gets to make their assault... and the pieces that were Casualties get to fight too! Then both the attacker and the defender remove destroyed pieces from the board, and the next combat round starts.

Granted, this works because destruction in Axis and Allies is an all-or-nothing prospect, all combats are two-sided, there is no combat/tactical movement, no concept of surprise, and the use of game peices and a special combat-board helps to keep everything clear and organized.

I'm thinking that this special rule proposed by Dalcassius, or something similar, goes at least some of the way towards allowing for the realism of real-time, simultaneous combat, while not making the game too complicated to work out combats.


2005-08-23, 05:32 PM
No, I don't watch any professional sports except horse racing, and that's just because I like horses. ;)

It just seems pretty odd to me though that the bad guy could drop something in his square and you're right next to him, you couldn't react, but if he throws it a long way away, you can. Is there a minimum distance involved? Can you start intercepting objects that he chooses to drop? I'm imagining here that he drops his fancy STR bow to draw his sword when you rush up to him, so you just grab his bow as it falls, weather the AoO, then run away with the expensive bow and call it a win.

I dismiss the "let him do it for heroic reasons" argument. If we're going with that, then why have fricking rules in the first place? We can all just go diceless and let the DM decide things based on what's good for the story, blah, blah, blah.

I also take issue with the five second rule. I've been in a game where the DM pulled that crap. One round it was "I don't want anyone talking out of turn, because we have so many players" and the next round it was "whoever says something first goes first." Half the time, whoever jumped in there and said something first would get rewarded. The other half they'd get punished because they interrupted the description or tried to act out of initiative order. I really disliked that.

So if you're going to adopt a rule like that, be damn sure you're going to stick to it. Also, make sure that all your players know the rule before you use it. None of this "DM says X, then looks around to see if anyone reacts, then tells them they're screwed because they were politely waiting to see if he was done."

2005-08-23, 05:37 PM
Because I liked this idea and was working on creating a few feats for my campaign world at the time (Which I may well be looking for a few players to play in once its finished) I whipped this up, now I don't know if its balanced or what not, but what the hey, thats what you people are here for, lets have your thoughts. Also could you let me know if the wording is clear, I was unsure.

Instant Reaction (General)

Prerequisites: Improved Initiative, Combat Reflexes, Dex 17

Benefit: At any point in a round you may respond to someone elses action with an instant reaction. This reaction happens simultaneously with their action. To do this you must make an initiative check (1d20 + Initiative modifier) against DC 20, if this is successful you may make one move equivalent or standard action as well as up to one free action simultaneously with their action and after their action has been declared. You lose all your actions when it is next your initiative. You may only use this ability a number of times per day equal to your Dex modifier and no more than once per round.

Normal: A character may only act out of initiative order if they ready an action.

2005-08-23, 05:58 PM
I quite like it (but how many times can you fit the word action into one paragraph ;D.
It's pretty complex tho

2005-08-23, 06:17 PM
Xvos, that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for too. Except I kind of like the idea of anyone having a chance to do it, instead of requiring a feat.

In fact, to my mind, it makes initiative a bit more important (right now, initiative matters during the first round of combat, and after that it's basically irrelevant). Which is good.

Gamebird, I agree the rule should allow a lot more than just the diving catch. Although if you are in a combat stance, trying to defend yourself and get in a blow, actually catching a sword as it drops two and a half feet from the hand of your enemy seems kind of a stretch. But that's just one example. For sure there should be lots of cases where you can react to something going on without having anticipated it... and the same goes for your enemies.


2005-08-23, 06:17 PM
Yeah that was my problem with the wording too much reuse of the word action and that it sounds complex, although the actual mechanic in game isn't it plays like this

DM: BBEG throws baby

Player: I make an instant action (Rolls Initiative, beats 20) and run over and catch the baby (Makes unarmed touch attack to catch baby)

DM: OK you get no actions next round, next initiative.

Hmm for the idea of anyone being able to do it, it feels like too much of an advantage, perhaps make it something anyone could do once per day, plus they can only make one move equivalent action plus one free action, no standard actions (so no attacks or anything fancy)? Then make the feat Improved Instant Reaction.

Some thing like this.

Instant Reaction, general rule: Once per day a character may make attempt to take an Instant reaction as follows:

At any point in a round you may respond to someone elses action with an instant reaction. This reaction happens simultaneously with their action. To do this you must make an initiative check (1d20 + Initiative modifier) against DC 20, if this is successful you may make one move equivalent action as well as up to one free action simultaneously with their action and after their action has been declared. You lose all your actions when it is next your initiative

Improved Instant Reaction (General)

Prerequisites: Improved Initiative, Combat Reflexes, Dex 17

Benefit: You may make an Instant Reaction as normal, however you may take Standard Actions instead of just Move Equivalent actions and you gain a +4 bonus on the check. In addition you may use this ability a number of times per day equal to your Dex modifier and no more than once per round.

Normal: A character may only make one instant reaction per day and may not take standard actions.

2005-08-24, 02:43 AM
Simple. Object may not be in a position where it will wind up in one of your 8 squares (currently surrounding you. The squares in a 5' radius around your space for anyone bigger than Medium) at the end of the round. You make an Initiative check vs the person throwing the object(Both roll. This does not change the initiative order in any way, it only applies to this action/reaction.) If you succeed, you then make both a Jump check followed by a Tumble Check. If the Jump check fails, you fail to reach the item, the Tumble check is to see if you can still manage to roll far enough to break the object's fall(take 1d6 per 200 pounds/10 feet travelled by the object. subdual if object is under 50 pounds). You end your turn for this round prone and dazed. If the Jump check succeeds, the Tumble check is made to see if you land on your feet. Otherwise, you end your turn for this round prone.

Reference to "your turn this round" means that you use up your turn that immediately follows the thrower's, whenever it is(whether it's next round because you acted before the thrower in this round, or this round, because your initiative was less at the start of combat).