[MUD-Dev] A new combat system

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 17 13:34:22 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Friday, July 14, 2000, 6:04:14 PM, adam at treyarch.com <adam at treyarch.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Jul 2000, Travis Casey wrote:

[snip stuff on initiative and action point systems]

> There's another system, one which I'm sure has been used in a number of
> places (wargames, maybe?), but which I recall most fondly from the computer
> game Wizardry.  (At the moment I'm thinking of 6 & 7, the two I played the
> most, but they probably all use something similar.)

> At the begining of a round you assign actions to your characters.  This
> can be attacks (slash, chop, thrust, shoot, etc depending on the type
> of weapon they are wielding), defend (there was just one generic catch-all
> for simplicity), casting a spell, hiding, doing a surprise attack (if
> you're already hiding), reloading your weapons, changing equipment, using
> an item, and so forth.

> Once all actions had been assigned for all combatants, the round begins.
> Combat proceeds in timeslices very similar to a realtime game (eg, the
> Diablo system that started this thread), except you have no input over
> what happens.  The order in which things happen is based on the speed of
> the characters and what they are trying to do.  So a fast character with
> a fast attack is likely to get off their attack close to the begining of
> the round, and vice versa.  Some actions were inherently very slow - changing
> equipment, for example, almost always happened towards the end of the round.
> This meant that if you encountered a bunch of fire-breathing creatures and
> decided that you wanted to change into your Cloak of Fire Protection, they
> had a very good chance of roasting you at least once before you could
> switch.

This is pretty much what several paper RPGs do -- they use a system
like I described before, but require the player to "declare" a full
round's actions before the round starts.

Such a system is sometimes used in a sort of mind game, by varying the
order in which actions are declared.  A common method is to have
actions be declared in reverse order of speed -- so that the faster
characters not only have the chance to go first, but their players
also already know what the slower characters are going to do when they
declare their actions.

(Note:  my previous description of an action-point system specified
having an action take place, and then the next action take place after
this action's "delay time".  Some systems reverse this -- an action
*begins* at the current time, but is not *completed* until after its
"delay time".  The second version is more realistic, but the first
version is popular because it gives more immediate involvement with
the character.)

> I liked this system because it retained the turn-based feel for
> control, but the actual resolution was more like a real-time game.  That is,
> if your mage was in the middle of casting a large spell to roast all your
> enemies, but he got hit by a successful "paralyze" spell before he finished,
> it simply meant that you didn't get to cast the spell.

Yep.  The main thing it prevents is cases where players alter what
their character is doing based on what's happening during the round.
For example, let's say that a player is playing a mage in a
second-edition AD&D game.  His character has an initiative of 8.  On
initiative 6, the character is struck by a sword.  The player was
originally planning on casting a spell on 8.

If declarations are being used, the character's action is wasted --
the spell can't be cast now.  If declarations are not being used, the
player can simply decide to do something else when his initiative
comes up.

Some paper systems mix the two -- requiring declaration up front, but
allowing it to be altered later, with a penalty to whatever the "new"
action is.

> I think this system could fit into a mud with some work.  You would
> have to put a time limit on the "decision" time for each round to keep
> someone from stalling indefinitely, of course.

       |\      _,,,---,,_    Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
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