[MUD-Dev] A new combat system

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 17 13:39:01 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Friday, July 14, 2000, 6:07:52 PM, J C Lawrence <claw at kanga.nu> wrote:
> Travis Casey <efindel at earthlink.net> wrote:

>> This "I can't move for a while, then I'm just as fast" method
>> makes it seem as if the slower characters are periodically
>> "freezing" or "idling".

>> If everyone starts acting at the same time, then uses the same
>> number of action points to do things, you get the reverse effect
>> -- namely, that the slower characters "freeze" at the end of each
>> round.  Either way, it doesn't feel right.

> You can alter this apparancy by making the rounds very short, and
> then its is not the number of actions a character may make per
> round, but either the fraction of an action they can compleat, or
> the probability that they will be able to do a certain action in a
> given round.  Players then have an indirect input in instering
> "actions to attempt" into the queue for their characters.

Yep... in a paper RPG, this is called "roundless initiative".  As you
say, it does involve rounds, but those "rounds" are so short that it
takes multiple rounds to do an action.

Some paper RPGs mix the two -- having "roundless initiative" that uses
other timing units (often "phases" or "ticks") and having rounds that
consist of a fixed number of those units.  In such systems, the rounds
are used purely as a bookkeeping thing.

> The latter form has some interesting effects on the unpredictability
> of combat, especially in subjectively bad PRNG streams (you can't
> even swing a club an inch for some reason, and just stand there like
> a lummox while he wails on you).  One could attempt to detect such
> fringe value sets and explain them away at runtime as "surprise,
> overwhelm, fudges and stumbles, etc.  This gets interesting when
> both or all parties in a combat are sitting at the edge of the bell
> curve (Bubba and Boffo just look mean and kinda stand there and
> twitch, deperately wanting to disembowel each other but somehow
> unable to make the first move).

Yep.  A series of such rounds could be combatants circling or other
such activity.  The same sorts of explanations are often invoked in
abstract paper RPGs when neither side makes a successful attack in a

       |\      _,,,---,,_    Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
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