View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Simultaneous Combat System for D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder

2015-10-01, 05:46 AM
I use my homerules for simultaneity in 3.5 D&D combat.

Why I want it in my games:
- due to a turn-based initiative a spotlight moves from you to another Player completely. You may lose interest in the battle, check your phone, etc;
- turn-based initiative encourages individualism and independent actions in battle that are harmful to the party's command work;
- extremely unrealistic battles, as characters are quietly waiting for their turn or fate (For a simple example, the sorcerer casts color spray to knock an orc unconscious and rogue that adjacent to orc performs a coup de grace. Casting color spray takes standard action and a coup de grace takes round, but this combo only took six seconds total);
- changes on the battlefield force you to reconsider your actions again and again, especially just before the turn. It's time consuming and annoying for other players;
- due to the fact that casters can make more troubles by standard action than non-casters there is an imbalance of magic and brute force;
- due to shift from player to player the narrative style of combat description becomes poor, causing to lost integrity sense, beauty and madness of battle.

Alternative Simultaneous Combat System (SCS) is a set of rules:
● No initiative checks. Round is 2 phases. All actions within it occur simultaneously.
● Phase includes move action, standard action or a part of full action (standard and the rest).
● Swift action occurs between phases. Free and immediate actions occurs at any time.
● If triggered action hasn't occur, "Ready" action becomes "Delay" action, which is nonaction.
● In first combat round, flat-footed are those whose initiative is lower than yours.
● At the start of each round, for 1-2 minutes, Players determine PC intentions and Master - NPCs.
● Effects of standard action occur between phases simultaneously, but effects of attack - within phase.
● Pursuers, whose initiative is lower than yours, don't make AoO, if you have taken 5 foot step.
● Those who approach you without spending all his speed, can make AoO if you triggered it.

Wording isn't good but I tell you more and show examples:
1. "All actions within it occur simultaneously." - in 1-st phase PC and NPC makes his action together. So if you want to cast Bullís Strength on Fighter and he wants to jump in battle, Fighter should wait for you casting a spell and then (in 2-nd phase) charge.
2. "Phase includes part of full action (standard and the rest)." - usually any full-round action can be divided at standard action and the rest. Due to that full-round action can be interrupted. Examples: Full attack is a 1 attack and all others attacks; Spring Attack is a charge (without bonus or penalty) and movement; Whirlwind Attack is attack of one-half of enemies and attack of others; Coup de Grace is a Regular Attack and critical hit.
3. "flat-footed are those whose initiative is lower than yours" - if you hit someone in first combat round DM should compare your and enemy initiative modificator. Enemy is flat-footed to you only if his initiative is lower than yours.
4. "Players determine PC intentions and Master - NPCs." - Despite that Players can quickly change his action in SECOND phase.
5. "Effects of standard action occur between phases simultaneously" - hit-points changes and effects of spells starts on creature together relying on condition that it had in last phase. Example 1: two clerics cast "Doom" and "Hold person" on orc. All these spell start working together, not one-by-one, so "Doom" and "Hold person" uses normal stat for orc's Will save. Example 2: cleric start casting "Heal light wounds" on mage (+7 or +9 hp). Mage with 2 of 4 hp stands in full defense. Orc hit (12 damage) a mage in 1-st phase. Mage fall on ground with -1 or stands with 1 hp in result.
6. "but effects of attack - within phase" - most controversial but elegant element. In all 20 levels of game wizard can cast only 1 spell per round (two with swift spell), but fighter can make several attack with advancement and AoO. So attack is a much quicker than casting and also it is not require concentration. Any non-quick spell of careless mage should have huge chance to be disrupted. It's what we see in movies, books and games. Example: mage casting "Scare" on adjacent ocr. Orc making a regular attack and AoO forcing mage roll Concentration check twice.
7. "don't make AoO, if you have taken 5 foot step."- it makes initiative still useful and helpful in SCS. It just transfers benefits of initiative from original system to SCS. Example 1: mage with high initiative fighting melee with fighter. Mage take a 5 foot step out of enemy to cast a spell. Fighter take a 5 foot step too. This little delay forces fighter to spend his time on movement which helps proactive mage to start concentrating on casting a spell without provoking AoO. But then Fighter makes his regular attacks. If he hit mage makes Concentration checks as much as needs. If there was a ranger instead of mage and he wants to pick up an item, he do this as usual. Example 2: Troll engaged in combat with fighter and wizard, whose are adjacent to him both. If wizard take a 5 foot step and cast a spell, he will provoke AoO form troll cause of his reach. Otherwise if troll set a wizard as a main danger and don't want to let him leave his reach, he will take a 5 foot step with the wizard, but he don't be able to make an AoO in case if the wizard have a higher initiative. But wizard still will be suffer cause of regular troll's attack.
8. "without spending all his speed, can make AoO in this phase"- usually it happens in 2-nd phase when evil mage trying to cast a spell and PC had spent his attack in 1-st phase. It can happen in 1st phase when PC approach (not all speed) to foe which adjacent to mage or moving near casting mage.

Solving movement towards each other or at one point:
All creatures moves equally but faster one get a vantage on destination square.
If some speed exceed other speed in times - it passes that number of squares per 1 square of slower creature.

I tested it in my 30+ games and it's really speeds up combat and make it more bright and cinematic.
Players are satisfied with lightness, wizards have learned how take care of themselves.
Fight now looks like 2-sided vivid confrontation. And remind me old games: Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate

p.s. English is not my native language