5E Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind Combat
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  1. #1

    Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind Combat

    INTRODUCTION

    "Theatre of the Mind combats are intense, exciting and very fast. They can bring a lot of emotion to your most violent encounters, in a way that is completely different from Grid combat. But D&D rules insist on focusing on minutious distances, and many combat tactics depend on exact positions, which are only satisfactorily adjudicated by using a Grid...

    Welcome to Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind! A simple set of rules designed to make combats even faster to track, fun to play, and with enough tactical options to make your decisions deep and meaningful. Gear up your weapons and be ready to Engage!"

    --

    Today, while taking a shower, I had some ideas about modifying a few things in D&D 5E combat to make it flow better in Theater of the Mind mode. These modifications are quite simple, and try to keep intrusiveness to a minimum. Some of them are loosely borrowed from other RPG systems. The goal is to fix some small things that bother me during play: mainly static combats and distance/position adjudication.

    http://www.dmsguild.com/product/224253

    It's only four pages and already had a lot of help from people on this board! But if somebody wants to give it a read, I'd really like your opinion as well. Mainly if this can be abused in any way, if something is broken or makes combat boring, or even if I simply forgot something.

    Thanks!

    --

    EDIT: Updated to version 1.4!

    If you're interested in the thought process behind some of the choices, it's located in this post:
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...=1#post7255919

    If you're interested in reading a nice review about this system, try this post:
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...=1#post7303684

    Last edited by volanin; Tuesday, 19th December, 2017 at 04:12 PM.
    XP OB1, The Old Crow, Inglorin, robus, Satyrn and 3 others gave XP for this post

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by volanin View Post
    Today, while taking a shower, I had some ideas about modifying a few things in D&D 5E combat to make it flow better in Theater of the Mind mode. These modifications are quite simple, and try to keep intrusiveness to a minimum. Some of them are loosely borrowed from other RPG systems. The goal is to fix some small things that bother me during play: mainly static combats and Range/AoE adjudication.

    http://volanin.com.br/files/totm1.0.pdf

    It's only two pages, but if somebody wants to give it a read, I'd really like your opinion. Mainly if this can be abused in any way, if something is broken or makes combat boring, or even if I simply forgot something.
    Thanks!


    This looks awesome. I only looked over it briefly at this points, but from what I can see, I would change only two things:

    1. The phrase "engaged to" concerns marriage proposals. You want "engaged with."

    2. I would take the of targets for AoE spells somewhat random. Perhaps 1 target translates into 1d2; 2 targets in 1d3; 3 targets into 1d4, etc. If you roll too many targets, you're going to hit your allies instead of the enemy.
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  3. #3
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    Lots of very good stuff here! I've been messing with similar concepts for over a year and am still refining.

    I love love love the AOE concept of charging extra targets to avoid hitting engaged allies (I rule that an AOE effects a target also effects every creature engaged with that target, this speeds gameplay in both TOM and Grid). Consider that stolen.

    I would consider spelling out distance costs for the types of movement to account for classes that get speed boosts. These don't represent actual distance, just relative movement cost. Perhaps something like

    Engage - 20 feet
    Dash - 40 feet
    Intercept - 20 feet (near) 40 feet (far) distance taken first from remainder of last turn then from your next turn.

    So someone with 30 speed could dash to get to someone far and still have 20' remaining to intercept another near creature.

    I'd also consider only allowing someone to attempt to hide from creatures that are currently Far from the hiding creature.


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  4. #4
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    I think it is very elegant. I like the simple designation of Near or Far, and the simple way range is handled.

    I take it an Evoker wouldn't have to count extra for engaged allies.

    So speedy characters don't lose out on the benefit of their speed, perhaps the chance of using a reaction to intercept can be keyed off speed. The simple way would be to not allow anyone to be intercepted by by someone with a slower movement rate. Or the creature with better speed could get a roll to see if they slip by.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by WayOfTheFourElements View Post
    1. The phrase "engaged to" concerns marriage proposals. You want "engaged with."

    2. I would take the of targets for AoE spells somewhat random. Perhaps 1 target translates into 1d2; 2 targets in 1d3; 3 targets into 1d4, etc. If you roll too many targets, you're going to hit your allies instead of the enemy.
    1. Fixed, thanks!

    2. This is another very good way to do that, and I indeed playtested it! But at least in my table, the wizards usually prefer predictable outcomes. So I went with the "official" solution in DMG 249. You can still hit your allies in order to target more monsters (it's described in the last paragraph), but in a much more controlled way.


    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    I love love love the AOE concept of charging extra targets to avoid hitting engaged allies (I rule that an AOE effects a target also effects every creature engaged with that target, this speeds gameplay in both TOM and Grid). Consider that stolen.

    I would consider spelling out distance costs for the types of movement to account for classes that get speed boosts. These don't represent actual distance, just relative movement cost. Perhaps something like

    Engage - 20 feet
    Dash - 40 feet
    Intercept - 20 feet (near) 40 feet (far) distance taken first from remainder of last turn then from your next turn.

    So someone with 30 speed could dash to get to someone far and still have 20' remaining to intercept another near creature.
    1. Thanks a lot, really!

    2. About the distance costs, while I can clearly see the intention there, this is exactly the kind of calculations and bookkeeping that bothers me during the action. I am trying to avoid numbers wherever I can!


    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Crow View Post
    I think it is very elegant. I like the simple designation of Near or Far, and the simple way range is handled.

    I take it an Evoker wouldn't have to count extra for engaged allies.

    So speedy characters don't lose out on the benefit of their speed, perhaps the chance of using a reaction to intercept can be keyed off speed. The simple way would be to not allow anyone to be intercepted by by someone with a slower movement rate. Or the creature with better speed could get a roll to see if they slip by.
    1. Thanks! And you're right: although it's not spelled out (I tried to keep the PDF capped at 2 pages), the intention of charging extra targets was exactly because of the Evoker and it's ability to protect Engaged allies.

    2. Actually, I really like this idea, as it keeps Speed relevant. The Monk would be very hard to Intercept (which I like), but the Dwarf would have a hard time Intercepting others (which I quite don't like, because I tend to think of Dwarves as protectors)... but I'll definitely think more about that! Great idea!
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  6. #6
    I would use the terms,

    ‘melee’ (body space, hand to hand)
    ‘close’ (upto 30 foot move, thrown weapon, close range, close quarters combat)
    ‘distant’ (beyond 30 feet)
    ‘short distance’ (upto 300 feet, distance of an arrow shot, city block)
    ‘long distance’ (beyond arrow shot, upto 3000 feet)



    I would radically simplify all spell ranges and areas. Ranges are either melee, close, short, or long. Area of effects are either ‘melee radius’ (catch upto five clustered Medium targets) or ‘close radius’ (catch upto 50 clustered Medium targets). For example, Burning Spray can catch upto five targets. Fireball can catch upto 50 targets.

  7. #7
    One thing that is a bit lacking is the fact you can't really methodically move through the battlefield.

    Since you have to dash to go far away, it means you have to give up an action at some point. While an actual battlefield your cleric might continue to cast spells and just take 2-3 turns to get to a far away encounter.

  8. #8
    I really liked your ideas! It looks similar to how Numenera handles distances too.
    Just some observations:
    1) having no limits to how many engaged enemies you can have is a bit weird to me... there should be a limit, either fixed or dependent on class and/or size.
    2) there is no way to break an engagement in your rules. Maybe a character can use his movement to either engage another enemy or to break an existing engagement on him. This way ranged characters can sort of keep their distance from melee, if there was only one enemy engaging him.
    3) there was nothing as the intercept action at the original game rules. I liked it, but this point should be stress-tested. For example, what happens if more than one character wants to intercept the same opponent? Can I intercept another character’s interception attempt?
    4) even though you are trying to avoid numbers, there should be any point to character speed, in order to keep balance to the game, and that some magic items or spells are still valid. I liked the approach by OB1, but following his line of thought the “dash action” (spend your main action to double your movement) should be different to the “move to far distance by spending X feet of movement”.

  9. #9
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    Once you have engaged an opponent, how does that end?

    In your example, where the fighter intercepted the goblin, would the goblin be able to engage the wizard on its next turn? Could the fighter intercept again?

  10. #10
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    Nice stuff @volanin - I've not been happy with the arbitrary distances I've been using for TotM combat: "Oh that's about 30ft away, that's 50ft away..." etc etc being able to just say "it's nearby or far away" would make things a lot more natural IMHO.

    Looking forward to trying it out when we shift campaigns.
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