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Hangman
10-04-2010, 10:48 PM
Continuous combat allows battles to progress in a free-flowing manner, without the limitation of fixed number of actions per round. Actions therefore occur more frequently, and faster weapons and spells strike more often.

I have been playing with this continuous combat house rule to AD&D for a couple of years; I believe most of the bugs are worked out of it, but I would like to hear your comments. It was originally based on the Weapon Speed Factor rules in AD&D 1st Ed (page 66) which state that a faster weapon strikes twice or even three times depending on the difference in WSF.

Initiative is a running total that starts at zero. Combatants declare their actions, and for each a die is rolled and added to the speed factor of the action resulting in the action’s initiative. The lowest initiative acts first. After completing the action, a new action is declared, and initiative is rolled and added to the running total.

Speed Factors
All actions have speed factors. Weapons have WSF, spells have CT, and all other actions have a speed factor that reflects the number of seconds required to complete them. The maximum speed factor is 12 (12 seconds is the new round, based on the Combat & Tactics player’s option). Longer actions are parcelled out into groups of 12.

Combat actions include all actions with a hostile enemy. The speed factor is based on the weapon or spell used. The minimum WSF is 2, unless hasted.

Interactions include external actions that do not directly involve an enemy. This includes moving, binding wounds, picking up a dropped weapon, casting spells with no hostile target, and delivering a coup de grace to a helpless foe. The speed factor is the duration of the action, usually 6 or 12, or half the WSF for readying a weapon or delivering a single blow (e.g. to cut a rope).

Immediate actions include all actions that affect only the character himself. This includes dropping an item, drawing a ready item (not a weapon), speaking a command word, crouching, and hitting the dirt. The speed factor is always 1, and can usually be done concurrently with other actions at no penalty.

Ready items are small items that are easily accessible, either worn on the belt, in a pocket, or anywhere accessible. These items are very quick to draw, but also highly visible and easy to lose, damage and pick pocket.

Initiative Die Rolls
To simulate the chaos of combat, a die roll adds a random amount of time to the speed factor. This simulates cautious progress and unforeseen events. The minimum die roll is d2.

Combat actions use a die type based on the level of the character: d10 for 1st-6th, d8 to 12th, and d6 at 13th+. It is affected by ROF and specialization. When using weapon without proficiency, increase to the next higher die type. For monsters, the die type is based on either morale, HD and number of attacks.

Interactions use a die type that depends of the speed factor. A full round (12 seconds) for a thief looking for traps actually takes 12+d10 while in combat. Removing an item from a pack and lighting a torch each take 6+d6 (half the speed and half the die type, rounded up), but these related actions can be combined to take 12+d10.

Immediate actions have no die roll added.

Concurrent Action
Multiple actions can take place at the same time, such as moving and firing a bow or attacking with two weapons. In these cases, calculate the initiatives independently. Add 2 to the speed factor of each action and increase the die type by 1.

Readying an Action
Half of a missile weapon’s initiative is readying the weapon, such as notching an arrow, loading a crossbow or drawing a throwing dagger (for a heavy crossbow, it is ). This readying can be preformed separately from an attack, even outside of combat. Once a missile weapon is readied, its initiative is cut in half for the first attack ( for heavy crossbows).

Thrown weapons that are being used as melee weapons are considered readied for throwing at all times. This includes axes, clubs, daggers and spears. Drawing a replacement weapon requires a readying action.

When a bow or crossbow specialist readies an attack, the entire initiative can be transferred to the readying stage, reducing the attack initiative to 0 with no die roll.

Aborting an Action
Changing your mind about an action can be done at any time. The current action is simply stopped and a new action is declared – any time spent on the aborted action is not recovered, but a portion of the aborted action may be completed. It is bad form to immediately abort an action simply to re-roll a bad initiative.

Multiple Attacks per Round
Multiple attacks per round affect both the WSF and the initiative die roll. The base rule is each additional attack per round lowers the initiative die type by 1 (no lower than d2) and the WSF is divided by the attack rate (no lower than 2). Multiple attacks can be normally gained in these ways:
• All classes drop the die type rolled for initiative by 1 step at levels 7 and 13. Only warrior classes gain the added bonus of reduced WSF (2/3 at level 7, and 1/2 at level 13).
• Expertise and specialization grant a fighter both a lowered die type and WSF for that one weapon. For daggers and darts, specialization only adds attack per round.
• Missile weapons with a ROF greater than 1 modify the WSF and die type as normal. Very fast and very slow weapons are an exception: Darts (ROF 3) reduce the die type by 3 (not 4), and heavy crossbows (ROF ) roll two dice and have a WSF of 14.

For example, a 7th level fighter specialized in dagger. When thrown, the dagger gives him a ROF of 2/1. His level increases that to 5/2, and his specialization increases it to 3/1. The die type used is d3, and the WSF is 2 (the lowest possible).

Surprise
When a character is surprised (rolls 1, 2 or 3 on a d10 check) he can do nothing until the initiative running total reaches the surprise roll + 4. At that point, the character is no longer surprised and declares his action.

Dropping your Guard
While the initiative die is being used, the character’s guard is considered up. He gains the following bonuses:
• He is never caught unawares
• Attacks are never fumbled
• Missile attacks never risk hitting an ally
• Spells are never interrupted

Whenever a character acts outside of combat (or in rare instances where he chooses to ignore enemies around him in an act of courage or desperation) the initiative die is not used, and the character’s guard is considered down. If his guard is down while an enemy can attack him, he can be caught unawares. While his guard is down, all initiative die rolls result in a 1.

Sacrifice
It may become unclear when to raise or drop your guard. The survival instinct of the character chooses to remain on guard if there is any threat, including visible archers and spellcasters. If he is convinced that there is no possible way harm could befall him, he may drop his guard.

He may also choose to sacrifice himself to perform an action if that action is more important that his safety. For example, immediately casting feather fall to stop a boulder from crushing an ally, or running heedless to the aid of a fallen comrade.

Caught Unawares
A character that is acting with his guard down will occasionally be caught unawares by an unexpected enemy. He suffers a +2 AC penalty, loses dexterity and shield bonuses, is vulnerable to backstab, and has a -2 penalty to all saving throws.

A character with his guard down will be perceived as vulnerable by all within eye shot. Any enemy within range may abort his current action to make an attack against the vulnerable character. He is vulnerable to attacks of opportunity.

If hit, the unawares character aborts his action and loses d6 seconds while he recovers from the onslaught and gathers himself for battle.

Other Changes to Combat
In order to balance this pretty radical new house rule, some other changes need to be made. I encourage the Heavy Weapons and Light Weapons rules in any situation, even without continuous combat.

Weapon Balancing
Some modification to weapon stats must be made to balance weapon potential:
Axe, 2-handed: Removed (use Bardiche)
Bow, long: WSF 9 (with 2/1 attack rate, cut in half to 5)
Crossbow, heavy: WSF 14 + 2 initiative dice
Dart: Reduce normal initiative die type by 3
Spear: WSF 7 (2-handed)
Sword, bastard: WSF 7 (1-handed) / 8 (2-handed)
Sword, short: WSF 4
Trident: WSF 8 (2-handed)

Engaging and Passing Attacks
When engaging in combat, the larger weapon becomes a boon. If one combatant has a larger weapon than the other (i.e. large vs. medium, medium vs. small), he does not add a die roll to his initiative and uses half the WSF for the first attack.

For passing attacks, initiative for both attacks is 0, but the larger weapon’s attack is rolled first.

Heavy Weapons
Heavy weapons rely on their weight to do damage. When a strong arm is wielding these heavy weapons, they become faster. For weapons of 10 lbs or more, reduce the WSF by the character’s to-hit bonus, to a minimum of 5.

Light Weapons
Light weapons do not rely on strength as much as speed. The strength damage bonus that they can carry cannot exceed the WSF/ROF (minimum of 2). A dagger, for example, can have a +2 damage bonus maximum due to strength.

Two-handed Specialization
The effects of specializing with the two-handed fighting style are slightly reduced. When using a large-size weapon, WSF is reduced by 2. When using a medium-size weapon with two hands, WSF is reduced by 1.

cplmac
10-05-2010, 01:11 PM
Wow Hangman, you have put quite a lot of thought into this. I am presuming that you are using this in your game. How is it working for you? I actually run my games using AD&D second edition (2E), so I am not up on the older version (especially since I don't have the books for it). It seems like there is quite a bit of figuring that has to be calculated, but then without actually using it, I cant' really say if slows the game down or not. I will take your word on that since you have experience in using this house rule mechanic.

I do like the idea of lighter weapons are able to make more attacks than heavier ones. Do you have something in place that will allow a character with a very high strength to have the extra attack bonus with heavier weapons since they are able to swing those weapons easier than most other characters can?

When you say that the minimum Weapon Speed Factor is 2, am I correct in presuming that is before any adjustments due to racial abilities and stat (strength, dexterity, etc.) bonuses? I ask this due to the fact that in our group, we have a Dwarf Wayfinder that with a good die roll, he can have an initative that is a negative number.

If a character would get more than one attack on their turn, does a miss on the first swing end the attack or does the character still get to make the second (or more) swing(s)? I have had this happen in our game. My Dwarf Fighter gets 2 attacks on the even number turns. Have had sometimes where the first swing missed but the second swing hit. Our explanation for this is that the opponent was able to dodge the first swing but isn't able to get out of the way of the second.

I look forward to read your reply.

wizarddog
10-05-2010, 02:44 PM
1. Can an unaware target be backstab more than once in a round provided the attackers has multiple attacks and utilizes a fast weapon (i.e. dagger)?

2. How do you calculate the Speed factor on monster's natural attacks, improvised weapons, and improvised weapons the monster may be proficient in (like hurling boulders)?

outrider
10-05-2010, 08:28 PM
I used something similar many years ago. You rolled intitiative and added the weapon speed or casting time. You went at that count. Monsters had variable weapon speeds. If you were hit before you cast the spell was ruined. If you had multiple attacks it all went at the same time. You rolled intitiative each round.

Hangman
10-05-2010, 11:30 PM
I am presuming that you are using this in your game. How is it working for you?
It completely changes the game mechanic, but I like it. On one hand, you have more precision and control; on the other, the DM has to track the rolling initiative total, and the initiatve of each NPC/monster, like a second set of hp.


...without actually using it, I cant' really say if slows the game down or not.
It does slow things down a bit, at the very least by tracking the rolling init total. Most of the slowdown comes from the initial learning curve. First-level characters start using the d10 for initiative, so it eases them into the changes. Also, characters really need to put the die type in with the WSF, and some find it handy to have a chart. For example, a 7th level character: Full-round = 12+d8; Half-round = 6+d4; Third-round = 4+d3; Quarter-round = 3+d2. Most interactions should use one of those.


Do you have something in place that will allow a character with a very high strength to have the extra attack bonus with heavier weapons...?
Sure do. It's a little unrefined, but check the Heavy Weapons section near the bottom. With this modification, the mace and flail become real contenders for a Conan-type.


When you say that the minimum Weapon Speed Factor is 2, am I correct in presuming that is before any adjustments due to racial abilities and stat bonuses?
Actually, 2 is the minimum (haste can bring it down to 1). I only use Strength for heavy weapons (and this can't reduce the WSF past 5). Dexterity has been a problem, but I have some ideas: 1) You can spend your reaction bonus once during the combat; 2) You can apply your reaction bonus to the die roll portion only, which never drops below 1; 3) You can apply your full reaction bonus only to actions requiring a total of 12 or more seconds (an 18 dex gets +2 for a 12 speed action (after die roll is added), but only +1 for 6-11, and none for a very fast action of up to 5 seconds).


If a character would get more than one attack on their turn, does a miss on the first swing end the attack or does the character still get to make the second (or more) swing(s)?
Since there aren't "multiple attacks" in this system, you just end up attacking faster after you miss. Hit or miss doesn't affect it. A fighter with a broadsword has an initiative of 5+d10. When he specializes, instead of getting 3/2 attacks, his WSF goes down to 4+d8 (5 divided by 3/2, and reduce the die type by 1). At level 7, instead of 2/1 attacks, his WSF goes down to 3+d6 (5 divided by 2/1, and reduce the die type by 2).


Our explanation for this is that the opponent was able to dodge the first swing but isn't able to get out of the way of the second.
I find it's best not to think about them as single swings of a weapon - more like the culmination of a round's-worth of severe butt kicking.

Hangman
10-06-2010, 07:40 PM
1. Can an unaware target be backstab more than once in a round provided the attackers has multiple attacks and utilizes a fast weapon (i.e. dagger)?
Once attacked, the target's guard is back up, even while he is reeling (delayed for 1d6 seconds).


2. How do you calculate the Speed factor on monster's natural attacks, improvised weapons, and improvised weapons the monster may be proficient in (like hurling boulders)?
The speed factor for monster natural attacks are covered in the rules, table 56. The minimum WSF 2 still applies. I also improve/penalize the WSF based on movement rate (a 9 gets a +1 WSF, while an 18 gets a -2; inimum WSF is still 2). The die type rolled for monsters is based on HD and morale. Take the worst result from this chart:

Unreliable morale = 2d8
Unsteady morale / HD 1-1 or less = 1d12
Average morale / HD 1 to 4+ = 1d10
Steady or elite morale / HD 5 to 8+ = 1d8
Champion or fanatic morale / HD 9 to 12+ = 1d6
Fearless morale / HD 13 or higher = 1d4

For improvised weapons, improvise a WSF. :biggrin:

SDJThorin
10-07-2010, 06:05 PM
First very interesting system!

I also run a 2e game and think I'll try this out to see what the players prefer.

Now I have a question, how do you determine when a spellcaster's spell is ruined/disrupted?

Normally, it is if he is hit before he casts the spell in the round, but with this system there is no beginning of rounds.

Taking a guess, I would assume that if the caster is hit during the count from the beginning of casting to the end of the initiative rolled for the spell, it is ruined... or do you have some other mechanic?

Also, we use weapon styles, from the Fighters HB, so to add to this for large weapons, I would add that if you have specialized in the Two Handed style then your weapon speed would still drop by 3 (to a minimum of 2)

For the multiple weapons attacks, do you still apply the to-hit penalties or are they ignored?

Hangman
10-17-2010, 12:30 PM
Now I have a question, how do you determine when a spellcaster's spell is ruined/disrupted?
One of the benefits to keeping your guard up (cf Dropping Your Guard) is that your spells never get ruined. There need to be obvious advantages for accepting the initiative die roll to initiative. If your guard is down and you take damage, the spell is disrupted and possibly ruined.

If you want to keep the risk of having your spell ruined while your guard is up, I would suggest a period of vulnerability equal to the casting time that occurs immediately before the spell is cast. For example, the initiative is 33, and a 3rd level spell with CT 3 and an initiative die roll of 6 is cast (total of 9): If the caster takes damage from 33 to 39 (the die roll), the spell is not affected. If the caster takes damage from 40 to 41 (the casting time), the spell is interrupted. Finally, the spell fires on initiative 42; if the caster takes damage here, it is simultaneous and the spell is not affected. Spells with CT 1 cannot be interrupted as a result.

You still need a clear advantage to keeping your guard up. I suggest a saving throw to determine if the spell is interrupted, and don't wipe the spell from the caster's memory.


Also, we use weapon styles, from the Fighters HB, so to add to this for large weapons, I would add that if you have specialized in the Two Handed style then your weapon speed would still drop by 3 (to a minimum of 2)
In my opinion this is too great a benefit, which is why I changed it to a reduction of 2 (for L weapons) or 1 (for M). I haven't played it with the original rules (reduce by 3) so you might try this by-the-book. I just keep thinking about a long sword with a WSF 2.


For the multiple weapons attacks, do you still apply the to-hit penalties or are they ignored?
To-hit penalties for two-weapon fighting and off-hand fighting still apply. The extra penalty for two-weapon fighting (increasing the speed factor and initiative die type) is meant to balance the fighting style - two-weapon style still does plenty of damage. Personally, I only let specialization in this style reduce the penalty to -1/-1 (two proficiency slots removes it entirely).

Hangman
12-14-2010, 07:17 PM
Quick note: I tried adding Dex RX bonus to the initiative die roll, but it was either too unbalanced, or I allowed the die to be modified no lower than a "1", in which case combat got too confusing. Dex has enough contributions to combat - it doesn't also need this.

Niel_Pencil
07-24-2014, 08:00 AM
Hello. :)

Isn't checking initiative the same as ending/beginning a new round?