D&D 5th Edition There should be an option for 1 minute rounds.





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  1. #1

    There should be an option for 1 minute rounds.

    Why? What do they bring to the game?

    • They emphasize the abstract nature of the combat rules.

      This would facilitate the description and execution of vivid stunt-based play by de-emphasizing simulationist concerns of what can be accomplished in a round.


    • They would streamline the action economy.

      Related to the above point, the Move action would no longer be a needed construct of the combat round. In fact, a character's movement speed would only matter when it mattered (in a pursuit, for instance, or a race). A character would be able to traverse most skirmish-scale battle fields in a single round, thereby emphasizing incentive over ability (although, presumably, the DM might still call for checks for style-based movement--chandelier swinging, for instance).

      Additionally, the importance of a grid is diminished, so play without such is easier.

      Similarly, the need for a distinction of Swift, Minor, or Free Actions is completely done away with. Anything that can reasonably happen within a minute can reasonably happen within a minute.


    • They would increase the DM's flexibility in encounter design.

      Let's face it, with combat rounds lasting 6 seconds each, most combats are over far before any reasonable chance for reinforcements could arrive to swing things (that is, any reinforcements that weren't already just on the other side of that door.

      Returning to a one minute round returns an important tool to the DM's toolbox--the ability for DM's to adjust almost any combat with reinforcements, or to set up a combat in waves through use of the same. Yes, these are possible with 6 second rounds, but verisimilitude takes a hit (and, yes, I talked about emphasizing the abstract nature of combat before, but "abstract" and "verisimilitude" are not mutually exclusive).


    Any other thoughts on why an option to return to one minute rounds might be desirable?

 

  • #2
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    ° Ignore Yora
    How would that work?

    Simply saying a round is 60 second and not 6 seconds wouldn't change anything by itself. What else do you propose? What do you actually propose?
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  • #3
    I think the length of rounds should be selected by the DM. In my last 4e session I ran a string of 'encounters' that started in 6 minute rounds, zoomed in to 3 minute rounds, then to 1 minute rounds, then to 'standard' combat speed.

    It went well and showcased the 'run away until cornered' feel I was looking for.

    In other words, add a side bar about the length a 'round' and how changing that can alter how the encounter feels.
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  • #4
    Some days ago I also thought along that line.
    With 1 minute rounds, you either have to track exact movement, and there can happen a lot more things in a single round. Also opportunity attacks are much more reasonable.

    But there are problematic things like what happens, if you are helpless at the front rank? an enemy should just be able to kill you.

  • #5
    Frankly, I do think that scaling combat rounds can be done mostly without mechanical ramifications (and I do like the idea of sliding that scale situationally).

    There are a few areas which would need some consideration. Particularly, some spell effects might be affected (or might be less effective--five minute buffs, I'm looking at you!) and, as mentioned in the OP, movement rules.

  • #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rune View Post
    Why? What do they bring to the game?
    They bring in my experience precisely two things.

    1. They disengage the players by taking their ability to react to situations out of their hands so you can get combat out of the way faster
    2. They make entering combat less desirable and so encourage it to happen less.

    • They emphasize the abstract nature of the combat rules.

      This would facilitate the description and execution of vivid stunt-based play by de-emphasizing simulationist concerns of what can be accomplished in a round.
    1 minute rounds do not themselves emphasise the abstract nature of the combat. They force you to put the combat on autopilot. In actual combat I can't predict more than a few seconds ahead even in general terms. And I now need to decide what I'm doing for an entire minute? I'm only able to do that in the vaguest and most general terms.

    And it doesn't reduce simulationist concerns. It if anything emphasises them - you have an entire minute to go on and you don't even have player input into that for most of it. Which means you more or less have to default to a sim-approach.


    • They would streamline the action economy.
      Related to the above point, the Move action would no longer be a needed construct of the combat round. In fact, a character's movement speed would only matter when it mattered (in a pursuit, for instance, or a race). A character would be able to traverse most skirmish-scale battle fields in a single round, thereby emphasizing incentive over ability (although, presumably, the DM might still call for checks for style-based movement--chandelier swinging, for instance).

      Additionally, the importance of a grid is diminished, so play without such is easier.
      Similarly, the need for a distinction of Swift, Minor, or Free Actions is completely done away with. Anything that can reasonably happen within a minute can reasonably happen within a minute.
    You mean rather than "it would streamline the action economy" that it would take the actions entirely out of the action economy, and take the player's points of contact with the world out of the game. You'd be playing very slow stop-motion theatre of the mind with the stops in the stop motion only updating once every minute. Yeah, I suppose stop motion with the motions a minute apart makes the video easy to produce.

    And you haven't done away with minor/swift actions. You still need them for some forms of spellcasting and maintaining spells.


    • They would increase the DM's flexibility in encounter design.


    Let's face it, with combat rounds lasting 6 seconds each, most combats are over far before any reasonable chance for reinforcements could arrive to swing things (that is, any reinforcements that weren't already just on the other side of that door.

    Returning to a one minute round returns an important tool to the DM's toolbox--the ability for DM's to adjust almost any combat with reinforcements, or to set up a combat in waves through use of the same. Yes, these are possible with 6 second rounds, but verisimilitude takes a hit (and, yes, I talked about emphasizing the abstract nature of combat before, but "abstract" and "verisimilitude" are not mutually exclusive).
    This is actually a good point.

    Any other thoughts on why an option to return to one minute rounds might be desirable?
    Because you want to revert to "Combat must be avoided" as the mantra of D&D? That's one. To appeal to rubberneckers who want to watch a train wreck of a game is a second.

  • #7
    Quote Originally Posted by UngeheuerLich View Post
    But there are problematic things like what happens, if you are helpless at the front rank? an enemy should just be able to kill you.
    Some might say this is a feature, not a bug.

    Even so, I suspect that, most of the time, this won't be much of a change from how things play out, anyway. In general, a helpless character stranded on the front line is in a bad situation in any edition of D&D.

    Sure, a coup de grace might effectively be a free action, with one minute rounds, but doing so while keeping your defenses up might still cost a the killer an attack--so guarding a fallen ally could perhaps force someone to choose between spending a turn killing a helpless foe, or provoking an opportunity attack for doing so.

  • #8
    The sliding scale is basically adjusting the size of your grid, but yes.. there are some mechanics that would need to be tweaked some. Its also a sliding scale from grid-centric to gridless.

    In 4e I use a modified Zone combat borrowed heavily from Runeward's blog that handles the changes in spell areas and flanking, etc. The main assumption is that each character gets the chance to do something important only once per round, no matter how long that round represents, due to the distances between them and the target. If the PCs close on the enemy, then 'zoom in' to a shorter round with smaller grid-squares.
    You can even have the group 'separated' on the same battlefield with two groups in melee combat on opposite sites of a gulf of skirmish combat.

    If it can be done with 4e's very grid-centric combat mechanics this should be easier with 5e's abstractness.


    ...and having read Neonchameleon's post.. I agree. Changing the time scale without changing the distance scale is a very bad idea for the reasons he mentioned. However, keeping the action economy and sliding distance and time works quite well.

    YMMV
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  • #9
    I get what you're going for, but a full minute feels too long and too abstract. But, I would consider lengthening the round some. Perhaps 10, 12, or 15 seconds. Now, I'm not saying I endorse this, but I do want to think it out a bit.

    Some advantages I see:


    1. Lengthy Actions: There are many actions that realistically take longer than six seconds, but that I would like to be viable in combat. Picking a lock, searching through a pile of stuff, etc. Extending the round some makes it easier to suspend disbelief for these.
    2. Combined Actions: In D&D Next, actions like drawing a sword or pulling something from your pack are considered part of making an attack or using an item. Again, this becomes more believable with a longer round.
    3. More Movement: This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on style of play, but I think more movement provides more options. Thirty feet has always proven limiting.
    4. External Events: Longer rounds allow for more things to happen that aren't part of the action economy. That could be changes in the environment, an ongoing ritual, reinforcements, or what have you.
    5. Attempt more complex stunts: It's not uncommon for a player to suggest a really cool, in character, and reasonable set of actions that they really can't pull off because it would take to long to accomplish in one round and isn't as much fun to do across several.

    Disadvantages I see:

    1. Further Divorces Actions from Maneuvers: In a 15 second round, attacking is definitely notjust a single sword swing. It never was, but with a six second round it was closer.
    2. Absurd Ranged Combat: With melee combat, it's easier to abstract out attacks into a series of blows and defenses that wear your opponent down, perhaps with a single highlight moment of the round. With ranged combat, one arrow either hits and does physical damage, or it misses and does nothing. Any other description defies credibility. This problem already exists to an extent with the six second round, but it would get worse.
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  • #10
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    Not one time in one game in over 30 years has any player or DM I game with said that a round takes 6 seconds or 60 seconds. A round is just an arbitrary mechanism for saying when someone can do the next thing they can do (just like seconds and minutes, really).

    Make it whatever you want. Not sure why this matters at all, really.

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