A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default A New Way to Handle Actions and Timing

    So this is a system to handle timing in combat. It was mainly designed to remake the action economy so that it was easier to modify in the sense of what you could do on your turn, because anything that granted specific types of actions has always felt clunky to me.

    This system was designed with 3.5 & Pathfinder in mind; I've never played 4e or 5e. I would imagine that it can be ported to other systems. I also mentioned something like this before in another thread, and people linked me lots of other systems for handling actions, but I have yet to come across anything quite like this, AFAIK.


    Anyway...
    Time in combat is measured in"tics" (name pending, feel free to suggest something else). Each time your turn comes up in the initiative order, you spend your tics to act. The base amount is 5 tics.

    A Standard attack takes 3 tics. A standard move takes 2 tics.
    A Full attack takes 5 tics. A Full move takes 5 tics.
    Free actions take 0 (zero) tics, but as a general rule of thumb I usually limit players to a max of 6 per round, and "talking as a free action" is a few words, not an entire monologue.
    The first Swift action you take each turn costs zero tics, but each Swift action after that costs 1 additional tic, cumulatively (i.e. your second Swift action is 1, your third swift action is 2, your fourth swift action is 3, etc).
    Attacks of opportunity cost 1 off-turn tic, and normally everyone starts with a single one of those.


    So, that's basically it for the new rules. The point of this, though, is that now you can use anything at all- spells, feats, items and of course special class abilities to mess with the action economy in all kinds of interesting ways.

    For example, suppose the spell Haste now gives you one additional tic each turn, bringing you up from 5 to 6. You can now take 2 standard actions, you could take 3 move actions (not sure why you would, but it's there; maybe for something that is "move equivalent"). If you pile more tics on top (say, for example, you stack a Ring of Speed plus a Haste Spell) you could take a move action and then follow it up with a Full attack.

    It works the other way to- say for example the spell Slow decreases your base amount from 5 tics to 4. Now you can't make Full actions, and you have to choose between a Standard move and a Standard attack, but you could, for example, take 2 Standard moves.

    And you can get even more specific with this- imagine if (again, just for an example) a Fighter had a class feature that reduced Full attacks from 5 tics to 4. Or a Wizard had a class feature that reduce any Evocation spell by 1 tic (that's possibly OP, but I'm just throwing out examples). You can make certain actions require more or fewer tics depending on the circumstances. And you can use anything to increase or decrease the number of tics someone has.

    Overall I feel like it adds a lot of flexibility to combat, but I'd love to hear some feedback, or if anyone finds it confusing.


    Update: I feel like there should be a specific number of limited types of actions, such as "move", "attack", "spell", "skill", and may be "untyped" aka everything else. And you can have standard costs for each type of action- a standard attack is 3, a full attack is 5, etc. But then you can have abilities, feats, items, and all the rest affect certain action types. For example, something could give you a plain "+1 tic", but it could also be something like "+1 tic that has to be used on attack actions". Or "reduce spell actions by 1 tic".
    And then you can list things as "action-like" as much as you want. Have things that are "move action equivalent" and anything that would affect you move can affect this, whatever it is, but it won't be affected by a bonus that improves your attack-like actions.

    There's so much flexibility and opportunity with a system like this that frankly I'm surprised some game system hasn't tried out something like it.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2018-08-17 at 07:09 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A New Way to Handle Actions and Timing

    Well, I'd have preferred 6 ticks baseline, with Swift Actions always taking one tick. The knock-on effects of this are that Standard Action attacks have to be redefined as half the attacks of a Full Attack, which are probably doubled for granularity. Meaning a new table of BAB has to be made to reflect this. One attack every four BAB, with each consecutive attack being a -4 penalty, and having two attacks at 1 BAB makes it so you have 6 attacks at level 20 for full BAB classes, just enough for an attack each tick.

    On second thought, the best way to work this would actually be to re-define everything in ticks. Movement being re-defined to per-tick, BAB resulting in reduction of ticks per attack, having rounding be done as things like 2 attacks for 3 ticks and 3 attacks for 4 ticks with the iterative penalties backed into all sources of extra attacks, specify what actions correspond to how many ticks and generally rework it for full granularity and doing away with the basic foundations of the action layout as much as possible.

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    Default Re: A New Way to Handle Actions and Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The knock-on effects of this are that Standard Action attacks have to be redefined as half the attacks of a Full Attack, which are probably doubled for granularity. Meaning a new table of BAB has to be made to reflect this. One attack every four BAB, with each consecutive attack being a -4 penalty, and having two attacks at 1 BAB makes it so you have 6 attacks at level 20 for full BAB classes, just enough for an attack each tick.
    Why? I mean, why do you need to have all that unfolding from this one change? I actually like the way a round of D&D plays out, I just wish it was a little more flexible. A Standard Attack is a specific type of action. As is a Full Attack. You could have some ability or maneuver that was a "Full Attack equivalent" despite that fact that it never required and attack roll.
    The whole point of this was that, all other things being equal, a "Full Attack" always takes 5 tics no matter how many attacks that is. And then you could say anything like "gain an extra attack any time you make a Full Attack" and/or "under X circumstances a Full attack only takes 4 tics" and/or "this character only has 4 tics this round with which to act".

    Tics are essentially just a resource that you expend like HP or spell-slots, and every character can decides for themselves how best to spend that resource each turn.

    Well, I'd have preferred 6 ticks baseline, with Swift Actions always taking one tick.
    Yeah, I'll admit that there are some things the old system handles better (or at least less complex), like Attacks of Opportunity, but I believe that overall this is pretty workable to. The problem with 6 tics is that if a standard action is 3 tics then you're giving every 2 standard actions right off that bat, and I feel that leads to other imbalances unless you redefine a standard action as 4 tics.

    If you liked the system but felt the numbers where to small and hard to balance, you could do something like increase it to 10 tics, doubling the "cost" of most actions, but that allows you to buff and nerf in smaller increments, so that stacking buffs wouldn't have such a huge effect.

    On second thought, the best way to work this would actually be to re-define everything in ticks. Movement being re-defined to per-tick, BAB resulting in reduction of ticks per attack, having rounding be done as things like 2 attacks for 3 ticks and 3 attacks for 4 ticks with the iterative penalties backed into all sources of extra attacks, specify what actions correspond to how many ticks and generally rework it for full granularity and doing away with the basic foundations of the action layout as much as possible.
    You could definitely do that, although I feel like you'd have to end up defining some activities, mainly some spells, as taking more than one tic anyway. I probably won't go this far because I think it actually makes this to different- its scrapping the idea of actions completely and operating entirely in tics. It might feel more realistic (or if you dislike that term, then "it maintains a better atmosphere of verisimilitude") but it would also require reworking a lot more game mechanics I think, and it would be harder to get people to convert because they have to learn the new system from the ground up.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2018-08-17 at 05:57 PM.
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    Default Re: A New Way to Handle Actions and Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Yeah, I'll admit that there are some things the old system handles better (or at least less complex), like Attacks of Opportunity, but I believe that overall this is pretty workable to. The problem with 6 tics is that if a standard action is 3 tics then you're giving every 2 standard actions right off that bat, and I feel that leads to other imbalances unless you redefine a standard action as 4 tics.

    If you liked the system but felt the numbers where to small and hard to balance, you could do something like increase it to 10 tics, doubling the "cost" of most actions, but that allows you to buff and nerf in smaller increments, so that stacking buff wouldn't have such a huge effect.
    How about 7, with a standard action taking 4, full taking 6 and swift taking 1 (with additional swift action costing 2)... and Haste granting 2 ticks?
    There are very few official swift actions that would end up broken in such case - and those could be handled on a case-by-case basis.
    The only potential problem I could think of would be the Celerity line, because now you can't explain why mages can't use those to abuse action economy ("you can't tell me what to do with my bonus ticks").
    Last edited by nonsi; 2017-04-18 at 01:34 PM.

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    Default Re: A New Way to Handle Actions and Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    How about 7, with a standard action taking 4, full taking 6 and swift taking 1 (with additional swift action costing 2)... and Haste granting 2 ticks?
    There are very few official swift actions that would end up broken in such case - and those could be handled on a case-by-case basis.
    I'm sure there are lots of different ways you could do it, the 5/3 combination just seemed the most straightforward IMO. One thing I'd like to do to with my homebrew is offer more options for swift actions. They wouldn't have to be an every-turn kind of thing, like Standard or Full actions, but for some stuff they could be a neat little extra bonus when you can work them in.

    The Haste spell thing was just one example, I'd probably want to raise it's level at least.

    The only potential problem I could think of would be the Celerity line, because now you can't explain why mages can't use those to abuse action economy ("you can't tell me what to do with my bonus ticks").
    Does spellcasting's ability to mess with the action-economy become less broken when it's no less exclusive to them? One of my goals here is to make the AE something anyone can modify, not just spellcasters, and to paraphrase "when everyone's super, no one will be". If players are getting to many actions against your enemies, you could even whip up something like Monster-only feats that boost tics, or add in a mechanic that allows RHD to boost tics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
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