D&D General Half Formed Thought On Martial Control

Tony Vargas

Legend
I was teasing Tony.
S'ok. I'm fine with a game going very rulez-lite by offering relatively few mechanical options and just letting you dress them up in your imagination - so long as it does so consistently. D&D, to be clear, currently doesn't do that. It gives hundreds of detailed/powerful mechanical options for spells, and then says "oh, don't just say 'I attack' like it's the only thing you can do, imagine something supper cool for your attack hitting or missing!"
IOW, it's hard to offer ideas that would be relevant/useful/what you're looking for, without having a better sense of where that dial falls for you.
Not offering ideas you don't have is perfectly fine. No need to announce you have no ideas.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So I do think it’s valuable to have thingns other than just walking to do with movement, I think costing things in small increments is too fiddly. @Quickleaf made a good point about combat slowing due to a lot of movement stuff, but I think that 5e is simple enough that being able to do one per turn, that always costs either half or all of your movement, will be fine.

The other key thing would be that you aren’t standing still and doing a move, the move involves moving. If you change someone’s position you can also move x feet to a different space within reach of the same creature, for instance.

Some might gamble with movement by allowing you to intercept and attack as a reaction by spending half your movement now, in a “defend an ally” move, while others would be basically special moves you actively use to change the state of the battlefield.
 

Experienced combatants having more combat move is certainly do-able. We already know that the combat move, and even Dash are not the limit on how fast a person can run, but rather how fast they can move whilst retaining situational awareness and ability to react to threats. (Actual sprinting would be something like three times human Dash speed.)
Therefore it makes sense for an experienced warrior to be able to move faster while still being alert and aware in a fight.

As to how to use this, the first thing to come to mind is a "Give Ground" option, getting an AC bonus by moving away from an opponent, but the opponent has the option of following up and remaining engaged with them as they move rather than on the opponent's turn.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I think as a balancing/gauging mechanism you can try to interpolate the value of various quantities of movement based on existing rules... that can give you a foundation to build off of. For example...

Using half of your Speed = Rising from Prone OR Mounting a Mount/Vehicle

Then you can break it down, asking what does Prone mean?
  • The creature must crawl (half speed) while Prone.
  • The creature has Disadvantage to attack.
  • An attack against the creature has Advantage (if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature). Otherwise, the attack roll has Disadvantage.
Being able to remove those three things together is worth about 15 feet (for now, assuming typical character speed is 30 feet - there are problems with this due to extreme speed PC builds, but I have limited time and just want to illustrate the concept now).

For example, broadly negating Disadvantage to attack might be worth 15 feet (half speed), while negating Advantage on melee attacks against you might be worth 15 feet (half speed). I don't know, just spitballing, your own estimates are what will matter for your design.

You can also ask what is roughly equivalent to Mounting a Mount/Vehicle?

Maybe using certain pieces of equipment that usually require an action, such as anchoring yourself with a Climber's Kit - that seems, at least narratively, to be cut from the same cloth. Then you can look at other equipment action options similar to the Climber's Kit, such as lowering the hood on a Hooded Lantern, or even setting a Hunting Trap, etc. Maybe those things could be worth 15 feet (half speed)?

At least that gives you a framework to work off of.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think as a balancing/gauging mechanism you can try to interpolate the value of various quantities of movement based on existing rules... that can give you a foundation to build off of. For example...

Using half of your Speed = Rising from Prone OR Mounting a Mount/Vehicle

Then you can break it down, asking what does Prone mean?
  • The creature must crawl (half speed) while Prone.
  • The creature has Disadvantage to attack.
  • An attack against the creature has Advantage (if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature). Otherwise, the attack roll has Disadvantage.
Being able to remove those three things together is worth about 15 feet (for now, assuming typical character speed is 30 feet - there are problems with this due to extreme speed PC builds, but I have limited time and just want to illustrate the concept now).

For example, broadly negating Disadvantage to attack might be worth 15 feet (half speed), while negating Advantage on melee attacks against you might be worth 15 feet (half speed). I don't know, just spitballing, your own estimates are what will matter for your design.

You can also ask what is roughly equivalent to Mounting a Mount/Vehicle?

Maybe using certain pieces of equipment that usually require an action, such as anchoring yourself with a Climber's Kit - that seems, at least narratively, to be cut from the same cloth. Then you can look at other equipment action options similar to the Climber's Kit, such as lowering the hood on a Hooded Lantern, or even setting a Hunting Trap, etc. Maybe those things could be worth 15 feet (half speed)?

At least that gives you a framework to work off of.
I hadn’t thought of equipment use. That’s interesting.

I think gaining or negating advantage/disadvantage is a good benchmark, with a little wiggle room for small bits here and there.

I think forced movement also makes sense, but there is a balancing act where I don’t want to negate things like shoving as an unarmed strike in the 2024 rules.

I do think you could have a rule change packaged with this, that any “spend half your movement” action instead spends 15ft of movement, so fast characters don’t get hosed.

Also, I think you can package movement, but less than 15ft and more narrowly defined than normal, with a lot of abilities using this idea. So you can move up to 10ft, as long as it takes you within 10ft of the ally you’re protecting, or you move 5ft and move your adversary 5ft, changing positions and potentially putting them in a bad situation or putting you closer to an ally or whatever.

The more I think about, the more I think the level of definition should be more “4e skill description” and less “Battlemaster manuever or spell description” prescribed specificity. That may just be my bias toward that design dynamic, though.

Eg, you’d have an ability that lets you trade 15ft of movement on your turn to be able to use put to 10ft of movement when an enemy moves 10ft or more toward an ally you are protecting, and if that movement puts you in a position to use a reaction ability you can do so immediately. So this allows moving to use Protection Fightingn Style, or an OA that stop the enemy getting to your ally, or the sentinel reaction attack when the enemy attacks your ally, etc.

More thoughts later.
 

Staffan

Legend
I think the idea has merits but would need a lot of work. That said, I think treating movement as a pool to spend on various stuff would be too granular, but using "stand up from prone" could be the basis of a half-move mechanic. I think lesser versions of battlemaster maneuvers could make interesting things you could do. For example, battlemasters have a "Pushing Attack" that deals extra damage and forces a Str save or the target gets pushed 15 ft. For a more basic version, I could see:

Drive Back
When you hit a target no more than one size category larger than you with a melee attack, you can expend half your movement to push that target 5 ft. If you do, you can move into the space vacated.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the idea has merits but would need a lot of work. That said, I think treating movement as a pool to spend on various stuff would be too granular, but using "stand up from prone" could be the basis of a half-move mechanic. I think lesser versions of battlemaster maneuvers could make interesting things you could do. For example, battlemasters have a "Pushing Attack" that deals extra damage and forces a Str save or the target gets pushed 15 ft. For a more basic version, I could see:

Drive Back
When you hit a target no more than one size category larger than you with a melee attack, you can expend half your movement to push that target 5 ft. If you do, you can move into the space vacated.
A big part of the idea is to decouple it from “when you hit a creature with an attack”, where possible. I think spending 15ft (see upthread) to push a creature 5ft and move 5ft yourself is fine, regardless of whether you’ve hit them.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay. Not in formal rules language yet, just rough drafts.

My working idea is that any feature that uses half your movement now would change to using 15ft.

Your save dc is based on a skill which is listed after the name. It’s just 8+stat+skill proficiency bonus.

I think maybe Fighters get the ability to use 5ft less to activate these moves, and at a later level they can use more than one per turn.

Shift - You spend 15ft of movement to move 5 feet without provoking OAs

Fool’s Stance - (Deception) You adopt a stance by spending 15 feet of movement. Until the start of your next turn, enemies within 20 feet that can see you must make a Charisma saving throw or believe that they have advantage to hit you. If they attack you, you can spend your reaction to attack them. If they miss with thier attack, your attack has advantage. (This one I could see costing all your movement, but the short span I think makes it fine)

Manipulative Footwork - (Deception) A creature within 5ft of you must make a Cha save or move up to 10ft in a direction you choose. If you only have them move 5ft, you can also move 5ft at the same time.

Imposing Movement - (Athletics) A creature within 5ft of you must strength save or move up to 10ft directly backward (away from you in as straight a line as possible).

Wallbreaker Push - Don’t know yet, but I want one to specifically be good for disrupting shield walls, in opposition to the next one.

Hold The Line! - (Athletics) You take a strong bracing stance, using 15ft of movement. Enemies treat spaces within 5ft of you as difficult terrain, and you have advantage against forced movement.

Protective Stance - similar to hold the line except you use 15ft movement to stand within 10ft of an ally and declare that you are protecting that ally. If an enemy moves toward the ally or attacks them while within 10ft of you, or 15ft if you are wielding a reach weapon, you can move up to 10ft to attack that enemy as a reaction.
An enemy Marked by you treats the area within 10ft of you as difficult terrain.


Some of these might need to use 30ft of movement or have some other cost like a bonus action.


Perhaps these could be called Skill Moves, and be part of having proficiency in a skill. Depending on how the 2024 PHB looks, might need to also just explicate some things skills can do in general, like noting that Acrobatics can allow you to ignore difficult terrain or reduce falling damage.

Tools got some boosts in XGtE, but could use more “in the moment” stuff, as well.
 

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