View Full Version : movement point system for combat actions (WIP)

2012-01-02, 03:08 AM
I'm pondering the use of alternate systems for handling actions in combat; instead of the standard/move/swift paradigm.

(aside - I hate that they used action points for something in UE, despite it being not that related to actions, thus using up what would be the correct word for this for something which has dozens of alternate words, like hero points)

So i'm trying out various point based systems to see what they do; all quite troublesome i'm afraid; and most would only truly work in combination with other rebalancing to the system.

The first system i considered was 5 movement points a turn.
Standard actions cost 2; moves cost 2; swift actions cost 1.
Given that a standard action can be used as a move action, it makes a lot of sense to have them use the same number of points.
It also makes sense that you can forgo standard and move actions to do a bunch of swift actions.

This gives the same amount of base actions/turn; but it also allows two standard actions a turn, which leads to a lot of problems.
Two spells a turn is too much; changing spells from a standard action to costing 3-5 movement points would work; though it would change how they interact with action economy; i'm not sure anyone really minds.
It also changes how attacks work a fair bit.
However it does also suggest an alternate paradigm: having the full attack/one attack system has oddities of its own. With full attack offering no benefit until you're higher levelled and/or have multiple weapons; and with iterative attacks feeilng a bit cumbersome by some;
one could instead use a system wherein an attack costs 2 movement points; so you can get two a turn if you don't move, or one if you do; and remove iterative attacks; this would make more sense; but it would require a number of tweaks to other areas of the game for balance. Improving damage at the higher levels wouldn't be hard to do; the hard part is figuring how to make low level combat work under such a system. Low level combat is already very death-prone;

On another note; for action economy purposes; it may be good to add a new swift action (which would be 1 movement point); that gives an attack at -10 or some other substantial penalty; and that attack is unable to crit. This represents less careful swinging that might be done either simply to use the extra movement points; or to represent attacking foes that aren't worth using proper attacks on (like when fighting large numbers of much lower level monsters).

While 5 is the lowest number that allows the above movement point system to maintain standard/move/swift; consideration must be given to two other points:
6, since each round is supposed to represent 6 seconds, having 6 movement points has a great deal of elegance; while fitting standard/move/swift is harder under this, the value of the elegance and ease of use of it must be considered; especially when used with APPENDIX A below.

The other point value would be variable; starting at something in the 4-6 range, and slowly increasing as players level; this would help address the low level survival issue; though it would create some very large jumps in power level whenever extra movement pionts become available; Such a system might give out extra movement points to fighter types more readily than caster types; thus allowing fighters some resemblance to the iterative attack growth.

one other issue is that of optional granularity -
many movement point systems still keep the 10 rounds/minute system; and cannot be easily shifted from that.
However if players get one movement point per sec, and all values are normalized against that; it allows play groups to choose whether they want lots of small turns, or smaller numbers of big turns.
They could have turns be just 3 movement points, or be 10, or 12; and the system could easily support that;
How many groups would actually choose to have turns represent different amounts of time? I ask because I really don't know and would like input on that. Perhaps the time used for a round is already at such a sweet spot that enabling alternatives isn't necessary, as so few would actually use them.

2012-01-02, 02:25 PM
like when fighting large numbers of much lower level monsters

That's what either Cleave/Great Cleave or evocation spells are for. (What, you thought evokers were useless?)

I'd say you probably want 15 points/round; and a standard action costs 8, a move action costs 6, and a swift action costs 1.

2012-01-02, 04:23 PM
My particular fix is that a character has 8 Movement points; a Standard action is 5, a Move action is 3, and a Swift action is Free, but only once a round; it can be performed at any time, unlike the other actions, which must be bought at your place on the initiative count.

Why? Swift action equivalent abilities are balanced around the fact that you only get one in any given round; there is a reason why Ruby Knight Windicator is so brokenly awesome if used to its potential.

Another idea is to start everyone off at an Initiative count= to their Initiative Modifier; different actions drop their initiative, thus meaning that they move at different points. The round is reset, as it were, when initiative hits 0.

Example: You have Speedy, with a mod of +7, and Slowpoke, with a mod of +3.

Speedy goes first, and uses a Standard action, which drops him down to, say, a +4. He then attempts to move, which would take him down to a +2; in this case, Slowpoke could either interrupt Speedy (which would mean that their actions take place simultaneously, possibly giving Speedy a penalty to his Initiative), or could wait until after he goes.

Then you could have stuff that would change Initiative modifiers from round to round; by reducing an opponent's Dexterity, for example, you could drain their ability to take actions. Or you could Aid Another someone, sacrificing a little bit of Initiative now to give an ally a little boost to their Initiative score for a round (or possibly longer, with feats).

Now that I think about it, it feels like that would make the game feel a lot more dynamic, as long as it was done carefully...

[I am aware that would necessitate changing how initiative works, but hey, you ARE talking about changing the structures of rounds, so there.]

2012-01-02, 07:10 PM
Potential problem: multiple swift actions can get really broken, really fast.

2012-01-03, 03:03 PM
hmmm, not having all the splatbooks is making it harder to assess these things.
Which abilities are you referring to gkathellar? and for which setup would it be a problem? the 5 movement points one or one of the others?

What does the ruby knight have? A swift action should logically take less time than a standard action; it would make little sense to balance them around being one a turn when it should be possible to use a standard action as a swift action at the very least; they should be balanced around their overall action economy value.

2012-01-03, 08:31 PM
The Ruby Knight Windicator, as it is referred to, has the ability to spend turning attempts to get extra swift actions. It is the ONLY ability I know of that does so.

The thing is, when the developers wanted to make some neat ability, and didn't know where to shove it, and didn't want it to stop you from attacking, they made it a Swift action. I mean, even in Core you have the unfortunate fact of Quickened spells; looking at ToB, for another example, you could get a bunch of Boosts off, which stack rather quickly...

2012-01-03, 08:57 PM
I'd probably go with something like...15 points. Standard costs 6. Move costs 4. Swift costs 3. But, each additional use of a given action type in a round doubles the cost.

So your basic combinations (Standard/Move/Swift, Move/Move/Swift, Full Round/Swift) are there. You also get the possible Move/Swift/Swift, so Arcane Spellsurge may be somewhat more powerful. It would take +3 points to be able to pull a Double Standard or Triple Swift.

2012-01-03, 09:21 PM
Which abilities are you referring to gkathellar?

Off the top of my head: Arcane Spellsurge. Any eased use of Quicken Spell. Any swift or immediate action spell (especially Celerity).

2012-01-04, 01:34 AM
well then, alot of the problem simply stems from several poorly balanced splatbook things; but celerity is a spell that should just be deleted and or houserule fixed anyways.
How do movement points work if you set aside some of hte more broken splatbook stuff?
For instance, is quicken spell a problem under a new system if you don't use all the metamagic level reducers? (which only exist cuz most metamagic was miscosted in the first place)

2012-01-04, 09:20 PM
You can only cast one Quickened spell per round anyway. Arcane Spellsurge would still be an issue, I think, or does it specify any such limitation or refer to Quicken Spell for it?

2012-01-04, 11:52 PM
In my opinion, if you are getting rid of having actions be discrete, you might as well discard the notion of having Standard/Move/Swift actions, instead coming up with costs for X. So, for example, moving 10' could cost a point, an attack could be 2 points, and so on and so forth.