Same for the GM as well.
There is also a new variant rule in SW Saga edition called:
Variant Rule: Free Actions Aren't Free: Each round, a character can perform a number of free actions equal to 1 plus his Charisma modifier or Intelligence modifier (whichever is more), with a minimum of one free action allowed each round. This encourages characters with a higher Charisma or Intelligence -- the leaders and planners -- to coordinate the group even when they don't have any talents that can come into play. Conversely, it encourages the heavy-hitters to "shut up and shoot" instead of trying to over-plan their actions, thereby keeping the tempo of the fight moving along.
I will be using that as well.
In any RPG I have ever played, it is rare that a combat will exceed about 10 rounds or so, and next to unheard of for a combat to exceed 15 rounds.
In Star Wars D6, considering multiple actions and such, it probably takes an average of 1 minute per player to declare, roll, and resolve. So 5 players means it would take roughly 5 minutes per round. Let's aim high and say that an average combat will take 13 rounds. This translates to about 65 mintues of play. If, however, the combat is pretty straightforward or the players aren't taking multiple actions, that time would probably be cut in half, taking 30 seconds per player per round, or 32 minutes. Since most combats fall somewhere inbetween the two, I would say, in theory, that we would spend about 49 minutes to resolve a significant combat encounter. These are some rather liberal estimates as my actual experience with Star Wars D6 combat tells me that these numbers are high. I think in reality, our combats probably last about 30 minutes.
I have great fondness for a number of "rules-lite" RPGs that take a much looser approach to the flow of "game time" in combat. Risus, Wushu, FATE...all stress that the amount of time for a given action is "as much or as little time as is appropriate for the scene and action description". Thus, if one character just wants to aim a gun and shoot someone, that can take 1 second or even less of "game time". But if the character wants to do a backflip off of a nearby table, land on an enemy's shoulders, use the momentum to fling him against the wall and finish with a low sweeping kick to knock two other goons to the floor, that will take as many seconds as seems necessary given the circumstances of the scene and the description by the player.
d20 combats (other than what I've experienced thus far of Star Wars Saga) generally take too long for my tastes. Most significant combat encounters I've been in take a minimum of 2 hours and more often 3 to 4 hours to resolve. If D&D 4e cleans up combat the way Star Wars Saga seems to, I think the game will definately benefit from it.
I play D&D and an average combat for 5 people should last between 30-45 min. Of coarse archenemy battles usually take up an entire session of 5-8 hours :)
Usually there is the initial contact with the Archenemy where there is lots of evil laughter and threats.
Then he will throw some minions at us then retreat,*with evil laughter*.
After that we get caught in a crazy trap that takes forever to get out of while still fighting more minions while the Enemy taunts us from a distance.
When we finally catch up to the baddie we are pretty banged up so it comes down to alot of strategy instead of brute strength to try and get the upper hand.
My brother had a fail safe tactic for these situations though. Sneak up behind the enemy,throw the Enemys own cloak over his head, then commence beating the guy over the head with his helmet.:lol:
The most deadly move in D&D:)
And to answer your question: Yes, the entire time is actual combat.
I believe the Evil Overload List addresses the matter of capes. While useful for dramatic moments, they should be avoided for exactly this kind of thing.
Cloak of drama; black with a red lining. It billows dramatically even without a breeze. +1 to bluff and intimidate checks, -1 to any stealth efforts.
my favorite magic items are those that generate various items and or have a varity of uses-intended or not. ^^