Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Delayed Actions in Combat

   The work on the Reference Sheets has been a long time in coming, and I've finally found that window of motivation to throw myself into. The major changes so far have centered on removing the Spell Casting in Combat table, as it is no longer relevant, and revising the Combat Round Sequence, and subsequently, the Order of Events section in LBB.

   But lest I forget, the biggest change in the LBB was to split it into two sections - the Characters and Combat Section and the Magic Section. Both sections weigh in at around 47 to 50 pages now, and my OS seems to be handling them a lot smoother. I will post them at some point after this series of revisions; hopefully I will find a bit of temporary art to put at the head of the Magic Section. I am still working on a few penciled pieces, but they are nowhere near what I want for the book(s). 

   One detail that struck me while I edited the Combat Round Sequence was the usefulness of Delayed Actions. Basically, the initiative winner of the Surprise, First & all Subsequent rounds has the option of delaying a specific action until later in the round, and it occurred to me that I want to expand on the idea to make it more palatable to players and point out the usefulness of a delayed action.

   Combat in LBB is primarily Dex based, as Holmes Basic combat is; the character, NPC or monster with the highest Dexterity goes first, however, I have put in the option of rolling a 1d6 for each side or individual, as each group will have their own preferences.

   However, a Delayed Action is specifically designed to be very advantageous for those characters with high Dexterity, it is a common sense thing to see it codified in LBB. I don't even recall where I picked up the Delayed Action rule, but I thought it would open up combat in unexpected ways if players know about it, and could possibly use it when the Initiative is theirs. (Of course, the Referee should use it too when the Opposing Side has the Initiative!)

   To clarify who can delay an action in combat, in the case of 1d6 per side style initiative, the Initiative Winning side combatants each may delay their actions; Individual 1d6 winners and Dexterity based Initiative, anyone may declare a delayed action IF that action is used against an opponent with a lower Dexterity.

   The first useful thing I thought of in using a Delayed Action is to delay one's attack until a specific action by an opponent happens. Examples include triggering a trap set by the party (pull rope "A" to trigger deadfall of rocks and lumber at "B"), firing a nocked arrow at an opponent if they reach for the Gold Maguffin, or running to block a melee opponent attempting to charge the party's spell-caster who is attempting to cast a spell.

   Are these adequate examples of player strategy for your groups? Besides really flumphing the attack roll, is there any drawback to declaring a Delayed Action in combat? Is there anyway to encourage 'thinking outside the box' by offering more concrete examples of Delayed Actions?

   This topic has the possibility of being another useful Sidebar topic in the LBB. :)