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D&D 5E Weapon and Spell Speed Factor Module

gweinel

Explorer
Mike Mearls in a yesterday's tweet:

@ Lawngnome4hire Will there be a module that lets you add weapon and spell speeds to emulate 10 segmented combat similar to 2e.
@ mikemearls doubtful, but I can always add it to the book...

Weapon and Spell Speed Factor is one of my favorite features of the 2nd edition. The above tweet rekindled my hopes to see it again as a module in the 5th edition.

Here is an Ad hoc module imitating the 2nd edition weapon speed factor and spell speed factor rules.

Weapon and Spell Speed Factor Module

  • Every weapon category gets a -3 to the iniative. So Light Weapons get a -3, Medium Weapons -6 and Heavy Weapons -9.
  • Each spell get a minus for each spell level to the iniative. So, a 1st lvl spell gets a -1, a 2nd lvl spell gets a -2, ..... a 9th lvl spell gets a -9.
  • If the weapon's wielder iniative is greater than the spell caster and the attack hits the caster then the spell is disrupted.


What to you think?
 

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GX.Sigma

Adventurer
Weapon and Spell Speed Factor Module

  • Every weapon category gets a -3 to the iniative. So Light Weapons get a -3, Medium Weapons -6 and Heavy Weapons -9.
  • Each spell get a minus for each spell level to the iniative. So, a 1st lvl spell gets a -1, a 2nd lvl spell gets a -2, ..... a 9th lvl spell gets a -9.
  • If the weapon's wielder iniative is greater than the spell caster and the attack hits the caster then the spell is disrupted.
Does this imply that every round begins with action declarations, then an initiative roll? Because that in itself would be a pretty significant change to the core 5e combat system.
 

gweinel

Explorer
Does this imply that every round begins with action declarations, then an initiative roll? Because that in itself would be a pretty significant change to the core 5e combat system.

I wasn't sure that's the reason I had not mention it in the original post. The more I think about it i come closer to the impression that having every round an iniative with the declaration of the players action is something that suits to 5th edition. At least i think it fits more than 3rd or 4th edition. 5e having pretty quick combats can support the extra roll each round with the appropriate calculation of the iniative.

However, I am not aware of the last playtests so I don't know how it contradicts with other rules.

On the other hand, taking the most moderate path, the one that the players doesn't reroll each round the iniative how would it fit in the game? Does it has any impact? Gives the feeling of intense and unpredictability? Leads to different strategic approaches for the fighters and the casters during combat? If not then it does not worth it.
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
I wasn't sure that's the reason I had not mention it in the original post. The more I think about it i come closer to the impression that having every round an iniative with the declaration of the players action is something that suits to 5th edition. At least i think it fits more than 3rd or 4th edition. 5e having pretty quick combats can support the extra roll each round with the appropriate calculation of the iniative.

However, I am not aware of the last playtests so I don't know how it contradicts with other rules.

On the other hand, taking the most moderate path, the one that the players doesn't reroll each round the iniative how would it fit in the game? Does it has any impact? Gives the feeling of intense and unpredictability? Leads to different strategic approaches for the fighters and the casters during combat? If not then it does not worth it.
In my experience, just rolling initiative once takes way too long. Of course, that's assuming each character rolls initiative and the DM has to write it down. How about this:

Each round consists of 6 one-second "segments". At the start of every round:


  • Announce actions
  • Each character rolls 1d6 for initiative and remembers their result. The DM starts the round by announcing "1," and each player who rolled 1 can resolve their action. The DM then announces "2," and so on. It is not the DM's responsibility to remember the players' initiative rolls.
  • If you're using a reaction or bonus action, you can do that whenever appropriate.
  • Otherwise, your action happens on the segment you rolled.
    • Optional: If your action is to attack with a weapon, your initiative result is modified by weapon properties (cumulative): Light (-1), wielding in two hands (+1), reach (-2).
    • Optional: If your action is to cast a spell, and you take damage before the segment you rolled, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell.
    • Optional: If your action is to cast a spell, your initiative result is modified by spell level: Cantrip (-1) 2nd-4th level (+1), 5th level (+2), 6th-9th-level (+3).
    • Optional: Against large numbers of monsters, the DM can decide to divide them equally among the segments rather than rolling initiative for them. (e.g., against 24 kobolds, 4 of them act each segment).
 
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KidSnide

Adventurer
Weapon Speed has fans? Huh.

As much as I prefer faster initiative systems, the weapon speed system did have the advantage of creating meaningful dramatic tension, especially with respect to spell timing. It was a big deal whether the wizard could get her spell off before the monster went and there was some nice rhythm to a round: (1) quick PCs go (2) spell casters and monsters race (3) slow heavy PCs get off their attacks.

I don't think the extra bookkeeping is worth the effort, but I think the outcome is more fun and less predictable than the now standard D&D initiative cycle.

-KS
 

I love round-by-round initiative, but it works better with group initiative. If I start every round with an initiative roll for every PC and every enemy, we get a lot of confusion built in. Once initiative is rolled, each player modifies the die roll with his own (reaction adjustment + speed factor) or casting time. It works. Combat in 2E has the benefit of feeling very fluid, specially with extra attacks only happening after everybody gets the chance to attack once. Fixed initiative makes it too orderly for me.

I should stop now before I give up on my 5E preorder and just keep playing AD&D. :cool:
 

I'm a fan of round by round initiative with action declaration. I would go with -2, -4, and -6 instead, because I feel with works better with spell levels (a fireball is not as fast as a dagger, for example). The DM could easily give a modifier for improvised actions, ranging from 1-9.
 

rjfTrebor

Banned
Banned
you should go read the game before you try designing for it. Dexterity is the only thing that ever goes into initiative so some of these numbers are going to be too big (and that's just the beginning of the issues).
 

Squeakula

Villager
I like a modified system found in Swords and Wizardry.
10 segment round, everyone rolls a D10 for initiative. Start at segment 1 and move forward from there.

Everyone gets to do a standard action every 6 segments (yes, if you roll low enough you can go more than once in the first round). This 6 segment action is modified by Armor (+1 for light, +2 for medium, +4 for heavy, +1 for shield), weapon (+2 for Heavy), spellcasting (+1/level of spell) and subtract dex modifier. Plus any miscellaneous modifiers you care to add.

It can be a pain for the DM though...
 


howandwhy99

Adventurer
Openly supporting House Rules for any version of D&D is a good idea.

My own preference is Weapon Length / Reach matters more than Weapon Speed. But I don't have Dexterity modify Initiative rolls either because combat is done in 1 minute rounds. Disrupting casting is done another way, so it isn't dropped.
 

dd.stevenson

Super KY
This should be pretty easy to house rule, I would think. A spitballed example:

Weapons that do d2-d6 damage have a weapon speed of 1.
Weapons that do d8-d10 damage have a weapon speed of 2.
Weapons that do d12 + damage have a weapon speed of 3.
Most non-attack actions have a speed of 2.
Single action spells have a speed of spell level.
Swift action spells have no effect on initiative count.

Declare actions; then roll a d6 (or whatever) for individual/group initiative, have everyone modify it, and then the DM starts counting down.

I don't think I've missed any curve balls here? I ran something similar to this awhile back and had no significant problems (other than the issues that normally accompany this pattern of combat.)
 

gweinel

Explorer
Although I don't use any electronic aids during my sessions I could see an application where each round every player clicks his modified iniative roll and then the dm gets his iniative lists.
 

Valetudo

Explorer
While I dont see myself going back to round by round iniative. I would think it would be a easy enough option to include in 5th edition. I think you would have too stick with casting times, bacause of instant spells like the power word spells.
 

Lawngnome4hire

First Post
Having spells use their level for speed doesn't really cut it, some spells by their nature should be faster or slower based on what they're trying to accomplish. For example summoning spells should be slow, even if it's only summon monster 1, but power words should be very fast, even though they were always higher level. A simple blanket rule just won't do the system justice, it needs more though and planning behind it.

While I doubt they'll ever add this in, and honestly I don't know for sure if I'd use it if they did even though I'm the one that asked about it. But having the option adds a whole new layer of tactics into the existing combat system that some people will enjoy. Once they took it out combat started to get pretty bland. Counter spells became a joke, and there is very little reason to take lower damage weapons that would normally be faster. Everyone just goes for the biggest stick, and the system offers very little encouragement to try something different.
 

Mike Mearls in a yesterday's tweet:



Weapon and Spell Speed Factor is one of my favorite features of the 2nd edition. The above tweet rekindled my hopes to see it again as a module in the 5th edition.

Here is an Ad hoc module imitating the 2nd edition weapon speed factor and spell speed factor rules.

Weapon and Spell Speed Factor Module

  • Every weapon category gets a -3 to the iniative. So Light Weapons get a -3, Medium Weapons -6 and Heavy Weapons -9.
  • Each spell get a minus for each spell level to the iniative. So, a 1st lvl spell gets a -1, a 2nd lvl spell gets a -2, ..... a 9th lvl spell gets a -9.
  • If the weapon's wielder iniative is greater than the spell caster and the attack hits the caster then the spell is disrupted.


What to you think?

I think that this makes the same mistake weapon speed did in the original rules. That mistake is quite simply bigger (balanced) weapons are faster. If I want to hit you on the thigh then in the head with a dagger I need to move my entire arm about three feet. If I want to with a halberd, it's about six inches of moving my wrists. And If I have a dagger and you have a halberd, and I don't throw the dagger, the halberd attacks first. I need to get far enough beyond the point that I can reach out and stab - and to do that I need to first make it past the point then the edge. Halberd acts before dagger in just about every possible way. And certainly can reach out and touch a spellcaster from further away.

And that's before we get to the fiddliness that they add to the rules.
 

gweinel

Explorer
I think that this makes the same mistake weapon speed did in the original rules. That mistake is quite simply bigger (balanced) weapons are faster. If I want to hit you on the thigh then in the head with a dagger I need to move my entire arm about three feet. If I want to with a halberd, it's about six inches of moving my wrists. And If I have a dagger and you have a halberd, and I don't throw the dagger, the halberd attacks first. I need to get far enough beyond the point that I can reach out and stab - and to do that I need to first make it past the point then the edge. Halberd acts before dagger in just about every possible way. And certainly can reach out and touch a spellcaster from further away.

And that's before we get to the fiddliness that they add to the rules.

Although i might i agree with the most of the things you say i think you miss the point here. The reintroduction of this rule has not much to do with the realism as much with the game style and the tactics that this rule made available and necessary during 2nde. It has to do with a nostalgia too.

Returning now to the content of your post have in mind that the 2nd edition round lasted 60 seconds, so the attack rolls does not represent a single attack but attempts and maneuvers and feints to harm an opponent. If you put two persons one vs one and have them fight for a few seconds then the thing you write might be true but in the context of a minute in a fluid battlefield i can see that someone with a dagger has better maneuvrability and possible to be able to hit first than one with a halbard. In any case this is secondary issue for me.

As for the rules I made, I know they are not perfect. As I said they were ad hoc thoughts and I wanted to ask the opinion of the community since i had not the chance play the last playtest packets. Many inputs like the [MENTION=6690511]GX.Sigma[/MENTION] are actually better than mine although i would prefer it to be more streamlined.
 

What to you think?

D&D 5E puts on water skis and goes flying over a watery enclosure containing a carnivorous fish.

There may be other weapon speed fans out there, but I suspect there aren't enough of them to justify putting thee back into the game even as optional rules. This is good house rule territory.
 

Unwise

Adventurer
I'm a bit disappointed to see the otherwise sensible Mike Mearls entertaining this idea. It won't matter to me personally, as long as they don't try and balance anything around it. I don't want them changing the base damage on weapons to make up for the fact that they are light or heavy.

Weapon speeds always seemed rather non-sensical to me. Not just for the effect they had on the game, but the fact that they (as [MENTION=87792]Neonchameleon[/MENTION] said more elequently) generally speaking get everything backwards. They often represent the fastest weapons as the slowest and the slowest as the fastest.

If I am carrying a broadsword, I definetly do not think "gee I am at the disadvantage in getting the first hit against that guy with the tiny dagger". If speed is hitting first, then reach is far more important than weapon weight. Not only that, but reach weapons are not just "reachy", they are often very fast. The simple leverage on a long weapon means that a small fast hand movement makes the end move at huge speeds. I am no Musashi, but in me experience, speed wise, I always feared the quarterstaff, spears and lighter two handers like the Katana. To me, a dagger does not even make sense as being faster at landing a strike than those.

The local SCA group here actually banned quarterstaves from tournys. They were too quick to compete with and without the the fact they were blunt rather than sharp really coming into it, swords could not compete. Quickness also meant that they were substantial lumps of wood travelling at very high speeds with little way to judge how hard you were hitting the other guy. They were not overly safe compared to a practice sword. Same with long-chained morning stars.
 

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