AD&D weapon speed vs 5e turn based combat?

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
Hmmm.... I don't actually recall. I tried to do "everything" by the book and expressly didn't have House Rules™ but maybe I misread something.

By the time we started using Weapon Speed Factors, I was the only regular DM still running--so I didn't have another DM around to tell me "This is not normal."
 

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Staffan

Legend
Initiative was a d10. If you rolled over a ten (die roll plus weapon speed) you didn't get to go in the current round; your total rolled over.

But "natural weapons" from most monsters, had a Speed Factor of plus zero.

That meant most monsters attacked more often than PC's. My players really, really didn't enjoy that.
As others have pointed out, there was no "max 10" thing about 2e initiative. Also, natural weapons had a speed factor based on creature size. I think it boiled down to +3 per size category above Small, but I'm not sure and can't be hedgehogged to look it up.
 

cavetroll

Explorer
How about instead of rolling for initiative, everyone declares their intended actions and target, and there is just a predetermined order of actions e.g.
1) Readied missile weapons triggered (first attack)
2) Melee (first) attacks if no distance to travel (melee weapons have their own order e.g. long reach goes first)
3) Fast spells
4) Melee (first) attacks with movement to get there
5) Medium spells (plus movement)
6) Melee remaining attacks
7) Slow spells
8) Any remaining attacks/actions if you didn't get to do yours
9) Any remaining movement
etc.

There would be some method to break ties (maybe dex based)

Durations would have to be careful to either be long (so the turn it ended on didn't matter) or based on the targets turn so that the caster deciding to use a slow spell in round two doesn't prolong a condition that ends on their turn.

The benefits of this is
a) No initiative rolls to be tracked and so a bad initiative roll doesn't relegate you to last forever.
b) More realism since fast actions occur before slow actions
c) Multi attacks broken up so they don't insta kill due to a good initiative roll
d) More depth to decision making since weapon or spell speed makes a difference
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
How about instead of rolling for initiative, everyone declares their intended actions and target, and there is just a predetermined order of actions e.g.
1) Readied missile weapons triggered (first attack)
2) Melee (first) attacks if no distance to travel (melee weapons have their own order e.g. long reach goes first)
3) Fast spells
4) Melee (first) attacks with movement to get there
5) Medium spells (plus movement)
6) Melee remaining attacks
7) Slow spells
8) Any remaining attacks/actions if you didn't get to do yours
9) Any remaining movement
etc.

There would be some method to break ties (maybe dex based)

Durations would have to be careful to either be long (so the turn it ended on didn't matter) or based on the targets turn so that the caster deciding to use a slow spell in round two doesn't prolong a condition that ends on their turn.

The benefits of this is
a) No initiative rolls to be tracked and so a bad initiative roll doesn't relegate you to last forever.
b) More realism since fast actions occur before slow actions
c) Multi attacks broken up so they don't insta kill due to a good initiative roll
d) More depth to decision making since weapon or spell speed makes a difference
That's ... very close to replicating 1E's turn order.

It's complex enough that you probably want to do some playtesting. For example, I think you'll see a lot more archer rogues since they'd always get sneak attack first in a round (provided favorable conditions, like a melee buddy next to the target.) Also, sneak attack is balanced against fighter features like Extra Attack, so the former could still do early round "insta-kills" while the latter might make individual attacks feel more underwhelming if they're spaced out.

Overall, though, the big "Nope" for me is the pre-turn declarations. The ability to decide what you're going to do on your turn based on the current battle conditions, not what they were at the start of the round, is what actually makes for more tactical play IMO. And without declared actions, the rest of the proposal falls apart.

If you're really interested in tactical fantasy combat, I recommend checking out The Fantasy Trip (TFT). It was written explicitly in response to what the author saw as the lack of that type of combat in D&D 1E. The turn order is very similar to what you're proposing but has the advantage of already having decades of play. I played it alongside D&D in the 80's and took part in the Kickstarter a couple years ago for the new edition, because sometimes I do like more tactical RPGs.

TFT started as a couple of "micro-games" - Melee and Wizard. The Melee game presents the base combat system for TFT, presented as an arena duel game. It's available for free in PDF if you want to check it out.
 

cavetroll

Explorer
That's ... very close to replicating 1E's turn order.

It's complex enough that you probably want to do some playtesting. For example, I think you'll see a lot more archer rogues since they'd always get sneak attack first in a round (provided favorable conditions, like a melee buddy next to the target.) Also, sneak attack is balanced against fighter features like Extra Attack, so the former could still do early round "insta-kills" while the latter might make individual attacks feel more underwhelming if they're spaced out.

Overall, though, the big "Nope" for me is the pre-turn declarations. The ability to decide what you're going to do on your turn based on the current battle conditions, not what they were at the start of the round, is what actually makes for more tactical play IMO. And without declared actions, the rest of the proposal falls apart.

If you're really interested in tactical fantasy combat, I recommend checking out The Fantasy Trip (TFT). It was written explicitly in response to what the author saw as the lack of that type of combat in D&D 1E. The turn order is very similar to what you're proposing but has the advantage of already having decades of play. I played it alongside D&D in the 80's and took part in the Kickstarter a couple years ago for the new edition, because sometimes I do like more tactical RPGs.

TFT started as a couple of "micro-games" - Melee and Wizard. The Melee game presents the base combat system for TFT, presented as an arena duel game. It's available for free in PDF if you want to check it out.
Yeah I agree. Looking at TFT it looks pretty cool. The one thing that stands out in the combat order is that you move, then the next person moves, and you can opt to go last. That means as a ranged hero potentially you could forever move out of range. One of the nice things about 5e is you can move and attack before they can run away on their turn. Anyway I will study it more perhaps something in there I can pull out.

Overall it doesn't seem like there is much improvement to do on 5e combat sequence, except perhaps simplifying durations to not stop in quite so many places.
 

One of the great things in 1e/2e was weapon speed/factor which was added to the initiative roll.
In those days you would decide what to do each round first, resolve initiative adding the weapon speed or spell casting time to the init roll and then do it on your turn.
This made for both a wonderfully chaotic battle and added depth to the decision making of choosing fast weapons and quick spells (which interrupt spell casting).

However in 5e there is something to be said for streamlining combat by not having to wait for everyone to decide on their action (before a round can start).
Each person resolves their turn then can sleep until their turn is up again.

Or did that create an environment less engaging?
I certainly remember in AD&D combat was very much a "all hands on deck" scenario with people coordinating their moves.
The downside was that it didn't really account well for a changing battle.

Do you think there is a "best of both worlds" combat sequence? If so what would it look like?
The best of both worlds would probably be Perrin's initiative list. It was something like*

1- Archery, Power Words
2- Polearms, Spears
3- 1st Level Spells
4- Swords, Axes, Maces, Wands
5- Daggers
6- Spells
7- Scrolls

Your initiative determined the order in which segment you went. With the exception of scrolls, you could go a segment, maybe two, faster than your peers if you rolled high and had a high Dex. Reach was most important, but if you were able to survive closing you might be able to negate their weapon (dagger vs spear, for example).

*I can't find his list instantly, but found my own adaption.
 

nevin

Hero
That's ... very close to replicating 1E's turn order.

It's complex enough that you probably want to do some playtesting. For example, I think you'll see a lot more archer rogues since they'd always get sneak attack first in a round (provided favorable conditions, like a melee buddy next to the target.) Also, sneak attack is balanced against fighter features like Extra Attack, so the former could still do early round "insta-kills" while the latter might make individual attacks feel more underwhelming if they're spaced out.

Overall, though, the big "Nope" for me is the pre-turn declarations. The ability to decide what you're going to do on your turn based on the current battle conditions, not what they were at the start of the round, is what actually makes for more tactical play IMO. And without declared actions, the rest of the proposal falls apart.

If you're really interested in tactical fantasy combat, I recommend checking out The Fantasy Trip (TFT). It was written explicitly in response to what the author saw as the lack of that type of combat in D&D 1E. The turn order is very similar to what you're proposing but has the advantage of already having decades of play. I played it alongside D&D in the 80's and took part in the Kickstarter a couple years ago for the new edition, because sometimes I do like more tactical RPGs.

TFT started as a couple of "micro-games" - Melee and Wizard. The Melee game presents the base combat system for TFT, presented as an arena duel game. It's available for free in PDF if you want to check it out.
usually the more complicated you make combat the less fun and the more a pain in the ass it is. Pathfinder 1e is the shining star of that kind of game. I'm playing in a pathfinder game with friends now and at 11th level it sometimes takes an hour and a half to get through a combat round. a couple of our players love the tactical turn, move act etc. I just find it tedious. I really miss the old move attack move attack bing bang done. But I've always been more of a big picture roleplayer. If I want a tactical game I play battletech, or risk.

Make sure your players want that much longer to resolve kind of combat.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
usually the more complicated you make combat the less fun and the more a pain in the ass it is. Pathfinder 1e is the shining star of that kind of game. I'm playing in a pathfinder game with friends now and at 11th level it sometimes takes an hour and a half to get through a combat round. a couple of our players love the tactical turn, move act etc. I just find it tedious. I really miss the old move attack move attack bing bang done. But I've always been more of a big picture roleplayer. If I want a tactical game I play battletech, or risk.

Make sure your players want that much longer to resolve kind of combat.
You probably should have quoted CaveTroll, because I completely agree. 5E is just "tactical enough" that it satisfies that itch for my players who like that aspect, and not too much for those who want to focus on other things.

As I mentioned, The Fantasy Trip is one I'm familiar with that is very tactical, but it's a little lower power, not the fantasy superheroes game D&D can become at higher levels. It still plays pretty fast once you're used to the rules. (Plus imagine if in D&D your hit points never exceed your CON score... fights tend to go faster when you're easier to kill.)

At the other end of the spectrum are a lot of the OSR games, which often have almost no rules for tactical combat other than how you attack. I'm currently getting into Mörk Bork, which all the combat rules fit on a single page with large font. Even the rules for movement are "you can move about the distance of an average room and to something else". That's it.
 

nevin

Hero
wow players never exceeding con score reminds me of a straight roll 3d6 per stat in order game we tried once. made it about 4 session we had fun but it was brutal and the table decided to go back to something more heroic.
 

cavetroll

Explorer
Make sure your players want that much longer to resolve kind of combat.
I think you misunderstood the thread. I'm looking trying to find ways to improve 5e combat, including streamlining it to be faster while at the same time examining alternatives to making the combat so linear.

I can't speak to other peoples experiences, but our 2e battles were far faster than 5e to complete each round, but we weren't just picking up 10th level characters, the players played characters they knew intimately from level 1.
 

nevin

Hero
honestly the only thing i've found since 2e to speed up games is a trick one of my old DM's used. 2 min hourglass. He'd tell us to roll initiative, start going around the table. number one what do you do. if they couldn't decide in 2 min, they went to the bottom of the round and next guy up. If they couldn't decide the second time around in 2 min they lost thier combat round. It is amazing how much this speeds up any edition.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
wow players never exceeding con score reminds me of a straight roll 3d6 per stat in order game we tried once. made it about 4 session we had fun but it was brutal and the table decided to go back to something more heroic.
Well, The Fantasy Trip is actually one of the first to have point buy character creation in my recollection, so that wasn't too random in that regard. Advancements do include the ability to increase your actual abilities, like STR (which was also your hit points), but still unlikely to be over 20, and that's after a long period of play.

Weapons do about the same base damage as D&D equivalents, and armor mitigates damage (at the expense of movement and Dex, which is your attack roll.) And magic can help, too. On the other hand, a lucky attack roll (using 3d6) could do double or triple damage.

This makes the tactical aspect more important, because the characters are so fragile.

Mörk Borg, on the other hand, leans heavily into the random nature of old school games. It's not uncommon to have a starting character with 1 hp. But it's also a darkly humorous game where character deaths are pretty much expected if you're not extra careful. And sometimes even if you are. But it's really easy to roll up another character (aka, a scumborn) and get back into the action.

And I've had a lot of fun playing all these games. Which is why, rather than complicate 5E D&D initiative, I'd just play something different if I have a taste for something more or less complex.
 

cavetroll

Explorer
Overall, though, the big "Nope" for me is the pre-turn declarations. The ability to decide what you're going to do on your turn based on the current battle conditions, not what they were at the start of the round, is what actually makes for more tactical play IMO. And without declared actions, the rest of the proposal falls apart.
The issue though is that with 10 people in battle in 5e its like chess, everyone move is stopping to think about every single possibility based on positioning, and everyone is waiting on that one person.

In 2e the DM could poll everyone for their action and collect them as each person decided, all players are thinking at the same time, a much more efficient use of time.

Look at any movie with general melee, everything is happening at the same time, two people might stab the same enemy simultaneously.

But I agree 5e is more tactical/strategic, which is preferable over realism.

Perhaps a compromise is rolling a d6 for initiative (plus modifiers) and everyone that has the same initiative roll, act simultaneously, creating more chaos and confusion (potentially two combatants can kill each other on their turn).
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
What if you speed up each round, so instead of 6 seconds, its 3 seconds and on your turn you can either
1) melee/ranged attack
OR
2) move up to half your speed
OR
3) cast a fast spell/other action
OR
4) start a slow spell that completes on your next round
OR
5) complete a slow spell/action that you started last round

that way you can't do kiting as easily and people are less overwhelmed by too many things to do on their turn.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
honestly the only thing i've found since 2e to speed up games is a trick one of my old DM's used. 2 min hourglass. He'd tell us to roll initiative, start going around the table. number one what do you do. if they couldn't decide in 2 min, they went to the bottom of the round and next guy up. If they couldn't decide the second time around in 2 min they lost thier combat round. It is amazing how much this speeds up any edition.
For, say, a four person party, that’s up to 8 minutes per round. Plus the time it takes to resolve all of those actions. Plus all of the NPC actions. That does not sound like a quick combat to me. In any edition.

Nevermind that some players simply will not be put on a clock like that. Or will not be able to think past their stress if they are. In my experience, timers actually make analysis paralysis worse. Although, admittedly, I’ve never tried it with such a generous limit.

The main slow-down of combat is the character sheet. In olden days, most of what you wanted to do (if you weren’t a spell-caster) came out of your imagination and built upon a few pretty basic abilities.

Nowadays (and, really, since Skills & Powers/Combat & Tactics), players are encouraged to find their answers on the character sheet. That takes time. They must decide between options. That takes time. They must be filled in on what they missed because they were scanning their character sheets and trying to decide between options. That takes time.

Frankly, that’s not going away without a major overhaul. But here’s an easy thing that does speed things up (through a general streamlining and by encouraging players to pay attention):

Opposed initiative checks. And only when it’s relevant.

Combatants do what they’re going to do and if the timing of it conflicts with someone else’s thing, the dice decide which happens first. It’s simple. And it works. (Also, it’s less predictable than cyclical initiative, but that’s an unrelated bonus.)
 

Staffan

Legend
How about instead of rolling for initiative, everyone declares their intended actions and target, and there is just a predetermined order of actions e.g.
1) Readied missile weapons triggered (first attack)
2) Melee (first) attacks if no distance to travel (melee weapons have their own order e.g. long reach goes first)
3) Fast spells
4) Melee (first) attacks with movement to get there
5) Medium spells (plus movement)
6) Melee remaining attacks
7) Slow spells
8) Any remaining attacks/actions if you didn't get to do yours
9) Any remaining movement
The Swedish game Eon does a similar thing, but not quite that detailed. In Eon, each combat round has three phases: Ranged, Melee, and Magic. At the start of each round, everyone involved in combat chooses which phase they will act in, but the exact action comes later.

In the ranged and magic phases, turn order is handled via a simple opposed roll for the Reaction stat (basically the same as an initiative roll). In melee, it works a little differently. Instead of looking at the whole battle as one thing, each engagement is treated separately. When two combatants enter melee with one another, they roll Reaction to see who becomes Attacker and who becomes Defender. These designations affect what options they have. Notably, only the Attacker(s) can attack, and only the Defender needs to defend. Normally, a successful defense leads to becoming the attacker next turn, but a defender can choose to be extra defensive which gives them a bonus to their defense roll but they need to score a better than normal success in order to take over the attacker role. A defender can choose to counterattack, which is harder than a normal defense but automatically leads to becoming the attacker the next turn.
 

The correct use of weapon speed in AD&D (1E) was just to break initiative ties - which, because the initiative roll was a d6, was only going to happen 1 round in 6. It was also used in a really clunky way to decide initiative when a melee weapon was comparing to a spell being cast. It wasn't like every round you roll initiative, add weapon speed, and lowest result goes first. It was more complicated and less influential than that.
 

aramis erak

Legend
That sounds like an evil home brew rule.
It isn't. It's how it worked RAW. Which is why almost everyone ignored it. It slowed things down, made PCs engaging in combat take bigger risks.

It's different but not nicer in AD&D 1E... (DMG 66)
Lowest intiative+WSF goes first.
If A faces B and A's initiative is half or less of B's, or at least 5 under, they get 2 attacks. Under by 10? 3 attacks against B. BEFORE B can attack back.

DOesn't apply when charging, tho.
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
Btw is 5e combat a rip off of Dark Heresy 1st edition which came out in 2008? The combat round seems almost identical.
 
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