This began as a tinker with creating B/X rules that incorporate weapon speed. For better or for worse I didn’t stop until I had re-imagined B/X combat. I am sure it owes inspiration to many sources; even Alexis. I hope it adds strategic choice to combat without being overwhelmingly crunchy, though I suspect crunchy is the adjective most will choose.
Re-imagined Combat Sequence
All combat is based on 1 round, which is made up of 10 segments. Combat order is determined by personal initiative.
At the start of combat each character and NPC roll for personal initiative on a 1d6 and the DM rolls one initiative roll of 1d6 for each group of similar monsters.
Initiative is modified by:
- dexterity bonus / penalty
- halfling bonus +1
- flying +1
And at DM discretion:
- charging +2 (lose dexterity bonus to AC)
- larger than man size -1
- giant size -2
- any monster the DM feels is especially quick or agile (+1 to +3)
- higher level fighters will gain bonuses instead of increased numbers of attacks per round
Additionally encumbrance has the following penalties:
as determined by feet/turn
-1 personal initiative
-1 personal initiative and - 1 AC vs missile weapons
-2 personal initiative and - 1 AC vs missile weapons
-2 personal initiative and - 2 AC vs missile weapons and - 1 AC vs melee
Once personal initiative is determined the DM calls for actions able to commence at segment 10 and then moves down 1 segment until segment 1, after segment 1 actions the combat round ends. No personal initiative can ever exceed 10.
A combatant can act on the segment that is determined by their personal initiative minus the Speed Factor of the action they are attempting. Any actions by any number of combatants occurring on the same segment are considered simultaneous.
Speed Factor (SF)
Fist, open hand, claw, move 10% allocated movement for the round, drop item/weapon
Dagger, shield (1d2 damage), access belt, brace to receive a charge with spear or polearm, crossbow (still takes a full round to reload), pummel with sword or weapon hilt (1d2 damage)
Short sword, bite, throwing an object, bow
Normal sword, battle axe, access sack
Two handed sword, attack with polearm, access back pack
For example Brian rolls a 4 for personal initiative modified by +1 for dexterity 13 = 5. He is wielding a normal sword (SF 4) so that he could attack only when the DM declares actions for segment 1 (5-4). If he was wielding a dagger he could have attacked on segment 3.
Any injury received before the combatant has carried out their action results in the loss of 2 from personal initiative.
So if Brian was hit on segment 6 his personal initiative will have been reduced to 3 meaning that he would be unable to attack even with a short sword (3-3=0) but if armed with a dagger he will still be able to attack (3-2 = attack on segment 1).
A combatant can take as many actions as their personal initiative allows ie multiple attacks are possible. This is modified by: each successful hit reduces personal initiative by 3 and each miss by 1. Missile weapons are unaffected by this modification and suffer no penalty for a successful hit or miss.
Dual weapon fighting – unless the combatant has an extremely high personal initiative the main advantage of dual weapon wielding is that it allows a choice between two weapons with different SF.
Shields – not only do shields confer an AC bonus, shields can also be used as a weapon (1d2 damage for standard shield) with SF of only 2. A successful hit upon an opponent might result in the opponent losing the ability to attack that round.
Pummelling with sword or weapon hilt - allows a combat option for weapons when the personal initiative does not allow enough time for a full attack.
Brian is armed with a normal sword and shield. He again has a personal initiative of 5. He could attack on segment 1 with his sword but could choose to attack on segment 3 with his shield. If he elects to attack with his shield if he hits (-3) he will now have a personal initiative score of 0. If he misses it will be 2, allowing a possible remaining action/s.
If a combatant carries out no action for an entire round and additionally has received no damage, they are +2 personal initiative for the following round only.
Spell casting is slightly different. Personal initiative is determined as above but spells take time to cast. Spell casting time in segments = Spell level*2.
Such that spell casting can commence on the segment corresponding to the determined personal initiative but must be vocalized over a number of segments equivalent to the spell casting time, and only then does the spell effect takes place. Any damage received before spell casting commences means that spell casting cannot commence that round. Any damage received during spell casting results in that spell being lost. A spell caster may only ever attempt to cast one spell per round. As can be seen high dexterity becomes important for magic users attempting high level spells. Unlike weapons and other actions however, spell casting can continue over onto the next round, commencing at segment 10.
Bryony, wishes to cast magic missile (casting time = 2 segments). She has a 5 for personal initiative. She can commence casting on segment 5 and the spell takes effect (magic missile released) on segment 3. Any damage she receives in segments 5 or 4 will disrupt the spell. If Bryony was casting a 3rd level spell (casting time 6 segments), and provided she had not received any damage before commencing casting (which not only would result in the loss of 2 from personal initiative but prohibit spell casting that round), she could commence casting on segment 5 and the spell would continue into segment 10 of the following round (Bryony does not roll for personal initiative) taking effect in segment 9 of the new round.
If my alternate staff and wands house rules is used (see My Stuff) staves have a SF 5 and wands SF 2.
Anyone care to try this out?
PS: sorry for the lack of posts, still here, still reading my daily fill of OSR blogs, just haven't been inspired to write.