View Full Version : 4E combat system rework

2010-12-28, 10:50 PM
I've disliked the 4E base combat rules for a long time and have finally taken steps to write up an extensive list of houserules to bring it a bit closer to 3.5's more lethal combat.

In particular, I've sorely disliked the way 4E's tactical positioning has very little impact on the battle. It has SOME impact, but these are often local and a general positioning strategy is often not worth the effort to work out.
Ambushes are also lackluster IMO, so this also aims to alleviate some of it.

This set of modifications is intended to split attacks into two categories.
Fortitude and Will attacks are more reliable. They are hard to increase defense against by positioning. Likewise they are hard to increase attack for by positioning.
Area AC/Reflex attacks are somewhere in the middle. They bypass more protections that single target AC/Reflex but at the same time, combat advantage is less useful for them.
AC and Reflex attacks are more situational. Superior positions can grant bonuses to hit / defense that take it out of the RNG. (hard to do but possible when at massive tactical advantage)

I would like to know if anyone spots unforeseen problems or massive imbalances (+-2 is meh, consistent 5 or more difference is significant)
This has not been playtested. I would just like to know if there's any glaring omissions. As well as other suggestions (things I missed and so on)


Counting Distance
When counting distance. diagonals count as 1.5 squares
The total distance from of a route from one square to another is rounded down to the nearest whole number of squares

Attack Rolls
The attacker may use a lower attack bonus for any attack than his/her maximum (minimum 0)
The target may use a lower defense score for any attack than his/her maximum (minimum 10 - relevant Ability bonus)

Combat Advantage
Combat advantage now stacks as long as it is gained from more than one source
Combat advantage does not add to attack rolls against Fortitude or Will defenses
Combat advantage stacking is capped at +8 to attack rolls
Combat advantage stacking is capped at +2 for Area attacks
- With respect to sneak attack, combat advantage from any one source allows sneak attack
- The bluff skill to gain combat advantage can be applied at will instead of once per encounter

Attacking prone enemies from range with single target attacks grants the enemy one step higher cover.
No cover -> Cover -> Superior Cover -> Total Cover (not possible to target)
Cover only imposes penalties on attacks vs AC or Reflex

In addition, the following areas on top of granting combat advantage:
Unable to see the attacker
Unaware of the attacker
These also cause the attacker to lose their ability bonuses (Dexterity or Intelligence) to AC and Reflex defenses for that attack the situation applies to.
This applies regardless of whether attacker has combat advantage on the target or not.

You cannot see. Any Perception checks based on sight automatically fails
-10 penalty to perception does not apply.

You cannot hear. Any Perception checks based on hearing automatically fails
-10 penalty to perception does not apply.

Does not daze
The dominating creature chooses all your normal available actions on your turn. There are no restrictions on that action(s) but the dominated creature must know what actions you can perform and can only order you to perform actions that it knows of
- It can force you to talk, but must control all parts of that speech (ie. cannot force you to say something that it doesn't know like what attacks you have)
You can be subject to a Coup De Grace from the dominating creature or anyone it chooses

Combat advantage granted does not stack with combat advantage granted from Immobilized
You cannot take actions that involve any movement (including attacking or casting spells)
- Second wind is possible, some purely mental actions might be possible
You lose the normal 1/2 class level bonus to AC and Reflex defenses
You have a -5 penalty to AC and Reflex defenses
You are Immobilized

You grant combat advantage (does not stack with Helpless's Combat Advantage)
If you were flying, you start falling
- This does not apply if your method of flight does not require movement (can be used when helpless)

Does not give +2 vs ranged attacks
If you are flying, you cannot be prone
-2 penalty to attack rolls only applies to melee attacks
Dropping prone is a Reaction or a free action on your round

Your movement speed is reduced by 3 squares (instead of to 2)
- If this reduces your movement speed to less than 1, your movement speed is 0 and you are Immobilized
Slowed imposed by different sources stack

You can use Interrupts provided you are aware of the imminent effect
You can use Reactions
You cannot use Opportunity Attacks

-5 penalty only applies to the Will defense

Your attacks vs AC and Reflex that are weapon based deal half damage
Attacks that are single target and not weapon based have a -4 penalty to attack rolls
Area attacks do not have penalties

Special circumstances and modifiers
Total concealment disallows single target attacks unless you can guess which square the opponent is in. (then suffering -5 penalty to attack rolls)

You can use any type of attack into a square you think contains an opponent.

Ongoing Damage
Same type of ongoing damage stacks
Ongoing damage from the same source overlaps
Saving throws are made against each source of ongoing damage. Successful saves only removes ongoing damage from that source

Overlapping same effects all remain in effect but their effects overlap and are redundant (unless it is ongoing damage)
- Removing these effects require the removal (or expiry) of all of these effects

Forced Movement
Catching yourself section does not apply
Forced movement can move targets into the air. Slides are not allowed to do this.
- Often, push and pull will not move targets into the air as upwards/downwards are not "away" or "towards"

You can continue to take actions after charging
Charging requires both your move and your standard action
You can use any at will power after charging
The +1 bonus to attack roll only applies to melee attacks that target AC or Reflex defenses

Coup De Grace
Your attack automatically hits and scores a critical
You must use a single target attack to coup de grace

You can delay after taking actions or when you are dazed
- Those actions are not available to you on your next turn
Sustained effects do not end if you sustain them before delaying
Saving throws are made immediately after delaying

Each method of escape applies to how the Grab was initiated (see below)

You must be able to attack with a melee basic attack

You can also opt to make a Dexterity vs Reflex attack in order to grab
If you do this, Escape must be done with an Acrobatics check vs Reflex

Strength vs Reflex attack is changed to Strength +2 vs AC
If you do this, Escape must be done with an Atheltics vs Fortitude

Opportunity Attack
Can be a Reaction instead of an Interrupt
- ie. you can choose to take your attack after the action that triggered the opportunity attack
You can only take as many opportunity attacks in one turn as your Dexterity score
You can make as many opportunity attacks against each combatant as they provoke
- You can only make 1 opportunity attack per action that triggered opportunity attack(s)

Retrieve/Stow an Item
This is now a move action

Ready an Action
Instead of an Immediate Reaction, a readied action is an Immediate Interrupt
- it happens *before* the action that triggers it
You can trigger it as a Reaction if you want (going after the action that triggered it)

Ignoring a trigger does not prevent you from using your readied action on another trigger later in the same turn

Penalty to attack rolls only applies to non-area attacks made against AC or Reflex defenses
Penalty is reduced to -3
Move up to your 1.5 times your speed, round down to the nearest square

Second Wind
Instead of +2 to all defenses, you gain +4 to only AC and Reflex defenses and +2 to Will defense
The healing from Second Wind applies only at the start of your next turn

Penalty to attack rolls only applies to non-area attacks made against AC or Reflex defenses
Penalty is reduced to -3

Total Defense
Instead of +2 to all defenses, grants +4 to AC and Reflex defenses and +2 to Will defense (Fortitude defense does not increase)

You continue to regenerate even when you are below 0hp

Death Saving Throw
Result lower than 10, you lose hp = 1/3 your bloodied value (rounded up to nearest whole number)
- Three failures before rest does not kill you
Result 10 or higher, no effect
Each 1/5 of your bloodied value that you are below zero (round to nearest whole number) imposes a -1 penalty to your death saving throw

Natural 20, you spend a healing surge and heal as if you used second wind
- This does not count towards the 1 per encounter limit of second winds
- You do not gain the defense bonus of second wind

Heal from negative hp. Do not reset to 0 when healed
Yes, this makes dying a very real prospect if you can't heal enough after the battle