5e "tapping" to keep track of action econ

edited May 31 in Make Stuff!
So there's messy and there's too messy. That system is definitely deprecated, it was way too much for me to try to keep in my head.

Here's what I'm doing now:
Write every character's name on a portrait index card. Not landscape.
Also put in other stuff on there about them that you care about. I just have their passive perception right now but there's room for more. Keep these cards behind your screen.

Put enemies and other combatants on their own cards (index cards or just use playing cards or paper scraps). You can track HP on them if you want — I don't because I have another method for tracking HP + I personally want the HP to be public info and the initiative to not be).

Then, dear DM, just fucking freestyle it as if were Dungeon World. That's right, you can fiat it as you want. Now to the trick:
People and monsters who have used their "main action", turn their cards sideways as if it was like tapping lands in Magic the Gathering. Turn your questions to the people who haven't acted, and once everyone has, "untap" it all. I keep this behind the screen, one of the few things I have back there.

This freestyling is awesome, I can ask two people "As the two of you see the wasps stinging your employers, do you do anything?" and whoever speaks first can act first. It... actually worked!?! For once!!!

Weave it into the narration, never say "it's your turn", restate the situation and ask them what they do.

If-and-only-if there is actual bullshit at the table where two people (could be two players, could be a player and DM) actually argue about who's fastest, a la "we both reached for the gun", have them roll off dex to see who grabs that gun first. Weave that into the narration too. But only if neither of them is "tapped", if one of them is tapped then bam you have your answer right there.

Edit:

I’m still using this but with a tweak:

I start out by announcing the monster’s actions! Like “OK, five goblins head toward [NPC friend], what do you do, [PC name?]” and then they can intercept, create a melee group with some of the goblins so that if they want to get to PC name they have to take OA etc etc. Introduces way more predicate space and choice in our game play. Now that I have cards it’s even easier to keep track of melee groups.

So a nice timing is now…

  1. Decide whether there can be surprise (was either side stealthy?)
  2. Announce some number monster actions.
  3. Turn to one or two PCs and ask what they do. Their actions here can intercept the announced monster actions.
  4. Then do monster action – they don’t have to obey what the originally announced
  5. PCs that haven’t acted? Ask one or two of them what they do.

etc etc keep on using monster actions reactively or proactively as you wish. The action econ truly becomes an econ. Each monster and PC has one main action and then once everyone is out, you untap it all and keep going. There’s no “New Round” announcement so keep running tab of timers like a 10-count for 1-minute-spells etc tied to that person not to the “round”, there’s not really “rounds” everyone is just untapped immediately as the last PC or monster is tapped.

PS the rule isn’t changed, this is just a way of applying that rule that I have found is good and agential.

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Comments

  • edited April 25
    Now it's good to have separate cards for the monsters (it's not mandatory, I mean, we do fight some super big mobs) because then you can group and ungroup them as you wish just by stacking their cards and tapping them at the same time. So I'm going to get a deck of playing cards and sort it out by suits so I can just grab a whole bunch of the same type.

    You can also keep track of "light groups" (a la Veins) and mêlée groups (a la me) by rearranging the cards.

    The cool thing about this method is that it separates the physical position/grouping of cards from who has acted or not.

    I've tried various colored wooden disks, go pieces etc etc but this was such an improvement, being able to easily tap/untap them.
  • That's quite cool!

    Do you believe that has to happen behind a screen? How would it change the game if those things were centerpiece, in public view?
  • I’m not sure whether behind a screen or public view is best.

    My reasoning for doing these first tests with a screen is because I hope that helps everyone to get away from the “waiting for my turn”, “turn order” boardgamey feeling that an explicit initiative order tends to have. Instead I want everyone engaged because they might be pulled into the action at any time, a sort of “everything is simultaneous” kinda feel.

    This is also why, as DM, I’ve noticed that I tend to hold back the pretties’ monsters’ actions in the round, so that I can have them available to react to what the PCs are doing, and why there haven’t been as many “both reached for the gun” moments. Everything tends to make sense diegetically.

    Like it doesn’t need to be super-hidden or under wraps.

    Hmm also I need to come up with a name for this initiative system even though it’s super derived from Kutulu and AW… and something that reminds me that it’s tapping. How about “tap card initiative”.

  • I've had GMs who were for all intents and purposes doing this in their heads (less about explicit "action economy" and more about managing focus but they're ultimately mostly the same thing) and it made for some really nice "kinetic" game experiences.

    Rafu: As much as I applaud transparency I think this might be a situation where drawing attention to the mechanical procedure can break the desired effect on flow/focus/tension/energy at the table. Just a guess though, and I can't say for sure if that's what Sandra is actually getting out of it. To me it feels more like an "aid" for one of those more traditional GMing skills than it does an explicit game mechanic, though there's no reason it can't also be the latter.
  • I think you're spot on.

    Having it written down as a rule that I am allowed to freestyle it DW-style has been a big sigh of relief for me ♥
  • edited April 25
    I strongly disagree. You want to keep the players engaged and fear they don't pay attention if they look at initiative order ? My answer is certainly not to equip them with blinkers.
    Ad absurdum : If there's interaction or compelling kinetics how could the players not pay attention.
    So maybe, if everyone in a fight is doing their thing and there's not much interaction, I'd say it is polite to prepare in advance and not waste everybody's time. Boardgamey as hell, but really adequate.
    Alternatively, focus their attention assigning tasks, like counting weapon and armor wear, hit/swing stats, etc.
  • DeReel, this comes out of my own testing with what has worked for me (open HP, open encounter rolls) and what has been a complete disaster (boardgamey turn order).
    Now, other as-of-yet undiscovered factors about my particular DMing style -- and/or the people I play with -- might also be confounders there.
    DeReel said:

    Ad absurdum : If there's interaction or compelling kinetics how could the players not pay attention.

    If they don't pay attention, there can't be interaction or compelling kinetics.
    DeReel said:

    So maybe, if everyone in a fight is doing their thing and there's not much interaction, I'd say it is polite to prepare in advance and not waste everybody's time. Boardgamey as hell, but really adequate.

    Completely soul crushing compared to the rest of the game. Like the boardgameyness makes the game completely die when fights start. The life just pours out of it.

    I've tried many of non-boardgamey, non-turn-ordery initiative systems and they make it much more alive and engaging for me.

    The more your turn is preparable in advance, the less dynamic it obviously is since preparation depends on stasis. People thinking about their own next turn is almost as bad as people with their phones up. I want your mind to be in the action of what's going on right now. Split second decisions.

    I've also tried a static initiative order and have everyone sit around the table in that order. To maximize the effect you're going for -- full awareness of when your turn is coming up. So I have tested your suggestion. And I've tested this. And this worked better. So far. For me. Will test more. And report.
  • DeReel said:

    Alternatively, focus their attention assigning tasks, like counting weapon and armor wear, hit/swing stats, etc.

    Have someone who can barely keep their attention here focus on something completely irrelevant?
    I want them to be focused on the god damn killer wasps stinging the eyes out of their best friend who has 2 failed death saves already. That's the problem they need to solve.
  • edited April 25
    It's not bad, but seems overly complicated. The point of cards and tapping is to make it "shared information" that everyone can see at a glance, but since you're doing it all behind your GM screen, why not just write down everyone's name and put a check or an X or whatever after them when they act so you can track who is 'behind' on actions? If your handwriting is a mess (guilty) and it gets hard to eyeball, graph paper will fix that in a hurry.

    All the notecard stuff seems superfluous and space wasting by comparison since you're not doing anything with the cards, really. The alternative is to do something with the darn cards, like write critical stats on them, but even that's kindof annoying because then you turn it all sideways and it gets harder to reference, and I can't even think of what stats you'd write down since you're doing HP publicly and you've done away with AC.
  • Airk said:

    why not just write down everyone's name and put a check or an X or whatever after them when they act so you can track who is 'behind' on actions?

    That's what I used to do! (As depicted in the "messy" thread.)
    This evolved out of that because faster, can do it with my fingers and not have to be holding a pen, and:
    Airk said:

    you're not doing anything with the cards, really.

    I can group them and then re-split the groups. I can have two of the skeletons act once and then three other skeletons act later. (In the example in Kutulu it just says "Cultists" but here I can grab six heart-suited playing cards and I can split them and join them or/we, way more dynamic.)
    Airk said:

    I can't even think of what stats you'd write down since you're doing HP publicly and you've done away with AC.

    Combat stats, yeah, you're right, none. (Also: awesome that you know my house system so well by now♥) But I can put traits and stuff in there. They're only getting tapped in the fights but maybe the cards can have other uses. Like things I need to remember re some character.
  • I don't see the benefits over graph paper ("grouping" can be handled by the not especially onerous task of checking multiple lines if needed) but if it's working for you and not excessively cluttered, enjoy. I feel like it could easily run into space constraints though.
  • edited April 25
    You might be right on that space thing. It worked well enough last night.
    Keeping track of multiple skeleton lines turned out to be tricky for me and also I kept losing the pen in the heat of the moment #livingroom_larping

    Edit: Oh I have A7 index cards, about playing card size. one eight A4 is A7 right? #math
  • Oh, and how does this address the issue you had with the checkbox method not tracking the different action types?
  • I figured out a way for the checkbox method to track main action (forward slash) and reaction (backward slash) and then you'd use your move and bonus in conjunction with the main action.

    That ended up being overkill, I can sorta keep track of reaction use without it. It's main action that I really need to track and I needed to simplify, the messy system broke down after like one session.
  • Give each player a reaction token. If they use it, they give it to you and you put it on the card. Return at end of turn.

    Really, I'd put the cards out where the players can see them. I'd arrange them to show who is attacking what. Conan's card next to the orcs. Sonia's card next to the dragon.
  • I also hate the slowdown for initiative.

    When I run tabletop games (not on Roll20, which handles it very fast), I write PC names on cards and hand them out. When combat arises, they roll initiative and write their number at the top of the card, then hand them to me. I quickly sort and work my way through the stack. I cross out the number when they are done with their turn and hand the card back.

    It's very fast and doesn't have any player-side sorting -- "20+? 15-20? 10-15?" -- that yanks people out of the fun.
  • Adam_Dray said:

    I'd arrange them to show who is attacking what. Conan's card next to the orcs. Sonia's card next to the dragon.

    I want to be super careful so that the map doesn't become the territory and the cards become the characters. We abstain from miniatures in order to have the fights feel like they're happening to you directly, first person view, not to your ant-sized representation. I mean maybe I'm the only person in the whole world that works like that, psychologically, and my players are just saddled with my quirk
    Adam_Dray said:

    It's very fast and doesn't have any player-side sorting -- "20+? 15-20? 10-15?" -- that yanks people out of the fun.

    A faster way to do that is to mentally number a paper from 30 to 0 and then go around the table ask them their number one at the time and if they say 15 write them in the middle of the paper, if they say 1 put them at the bottom of the paper etc. I had small scrap paper with ten ruled lines so I mentally divided it into three columns. For the brief couple of weeks in 2014 when I still did initiative by the RAW.
  • Adam_Dray said:

    I'd arrange them to show who is attacking what. Conan's card next to the orcs. Sonia's card next to the dragon.

    I want to be super careful so that the map doesn't become the territory and the cards become the characters. We abstain from miniatures in order to have the fights feel like they're happening to you directly, first person view, not to your ant-sized representation. I mean maybe I'm the only person in the whole world that works like that, psychologically, and my players are just saddled with my quirk
    Adam_Dray said:

    It's very fast and doesn't have any player-side sorting -- "20+? 15-20? 10-15?" -- that yanks people out of the fun.

    A faster way to do that is to mentally number a paper from 30 to 0 and then go around the table ask them their number one at the time and if they say 15 write them in the middle of the paper, if they say 1 put them at the bottom of the paper etc. I had small scrap paper with ten ruled lines so I mentally divided it into three columns. For the brief couple of weeks in 2014 when I still did initiative by the RAW.
  • Yeah, them writing their position on a board serializes the data collection problem and makes it I/O-bound. Mine parallelizes it and makes it CPU-bound. The sorting is super fast if done on cards, so it doesn't matter if that part is single-threaded.

    Somewhere I have a small initiative board (a lot like your piece of paper, with 1-25 positions) that is dry erase and has magnetic pieces. You write each PC on a magnetic piece and then place the PC on their numbered spot. Either the GM can do it (but then she has to collect each initiative score from each player) or you can pass it around the table.

    It's still a serial IO problem though.
  • Same experience here Sandra, I came to a really similar procedure from reading World of Dungeons and finally understanding some AW with a review I found somewhere. I was amazed at how fast, intuitive, organic and interesting combats became by treating them as out of combat interactions.

    People in small groups naturally handle their own talking initiative and stop to hear others as they speak or as their names are called out. When a name is called everyone will remain silent and focus their attention on that person. So, people with interesting ideas naturally go first, people who become the focus of the action go naturally in their turn and all the time spent by players hesitation practically dissapears.

    Often in D&D and RPGs with boardgamey combats somebody in our group of players will naturally lose focus and fidget their phone or start a conversation while their turn comes, instead of paying attention to the action or thinking their strategy. It doesn't happen to everybody but someone will eventually do it. However using this procedure it has never happened to me. People keep their focus naturally as the conversation never stops and things keep happening.

    Which takes me to the other main improvement to my preferred gaming style, which is making the monsters act whenever a player misses a roll in AW style. Except that then I never interrupted the game to check for the moves, but go with whatever sounded reasonable, cool and/or fit the world better. I Didn't dare to try all this in D&D since it makes action economy feel the less organic part of the game and everything in D&D is linked to it (class features, spells, attacks, actions, etc) But to me it sounds like you managed to fix 5e combats :D yay!

    Also, the less eye contact you have with the players while using this trick, the worse, more messy and slower it becomes. Looking down to write or check things not only makes your brain switch gears from action in the fiction to bookkeeping but it's also distracting for the players, so next you will all need to switch your focus back to the fictional world. It's barely an effort and you can say that it takes no time compared to usual boardgamey roleplaying, but it's enough to add road bumps.

    That's why tapping works much much better than keeping track of things by writing in this playstyle. Whatever you can do without looking at it directly or lowering your head so much that it completely breaks eye-contact is the way to go in this playstyle.
  • I dont understand how anybody wouldn't grab the gun first but if y'all say it works, I'll try that and report.
  • DeReel said:

    I dont understand how anybody wouldn't grab the gun first but if y'all say it works, I'll try that and report.

    In PvP they would. This works best for PvE
  • Adam_Dray said:

    Yeah, them writing their position on a board serializes the data collection problem and makes it I/O-bound. Mine parallelizes it and makes it CPU-bound. The sorting is super fast if done on cards, so it doesn't matter if that part is single-threaded.

    So if we count ops and see which are parallelized in the two implementations, noting parallelizations with [brackets], and random-order (which is faster than serial but slower than parallel) with (parentheses). (Random-order) can't be simultaneous, but [parallel] can.

    1.
    (You hand Alice her card.
    You hand Brute her card.
    You hand Conan his card.
    You hand Devil her card.)

    [Alice rolls her number and writes it on a note.
    Brute rolls her number and writes it on a note.
    Conan rolls his number and writes it on a note.
    Devil rolls her number and writes it on a note.]

    (Alice hands you her card.
    Brute hands you her card.
    Conan hands you her card.
    Devil hands you her card.)

    You sort the cards.
    You're done, it's sorted.

    2.
    [Alice rolls her number.
    Brute rolls her number.
    Conan rolls his number.
    Devil rolls her number.]

    (Alice says her number and you write it on that number's line.
    Bob says her number and you write it on that number's line.
    Conan says his number and you write it on that number's line.
    Devil says her number and you write it on that number's line.)

    You're done, it's sorted.

    Looks faster to me.

    Well... this doesn't tell the whole the only way to see which is fastest is to test with some sorta clock. What feels fast can sometimes be just as valuable as what is fast, as long as it's the groups feeling that is taken into account rather than the DM.

    Anyway, I've done neither of these since 2014. But I really prefered the second method then.
  • The whole countdown/calling method is way worser T_T
    "anyone on 20-25" etc
  • They get their cards back after combat. That bit of IO doesn't slow down initiative. And you're adding a synchronization step that isn't there. I don't wait for everyone to write their initiatives on cards before collecting cards.

    And it's more:

    A.
    DM calls for initiative.

    B.
    [Alice rolls her number and writes it on a note and hands it to the DM.
    Brute rolls her number and writes it on a note and hands it to the DM.
    Conan rolls his number and writes it on a note and hands it to the DM.
    Devil rolls her number and writes it on a note and hands it to the DM.]

    C.
    You sort the cards.
    You're done, it's sorted.

    D.
    Run combat.

    E.
    DM drops the four cards on the table and pushes into the next bit of play.

    F.
    [Alice takes her card.
    Brute takes her card.
    Conan takes his card.
    Devil takes her card.]


    Each individual execution of (B) is the slowest part here. People are looking up their initiative modifiers, rolling, writing. Let's say a player takes 5-30 seconds to do it.

    The handing of cards to me is part of that. The total time of step (B) is the duration of the slowest player. The time for handing of the cards for the other three players is basically eaten up by that.

    (F) doesn't slow down combat at all, since combat is over. Also, this step overlaps with the continuation of the game. I don't wait for people to take cards before continuing play. They can pick up their card at any time between the end of this combat and the beginning of the next.

  • I'm really enjoying this discussion.

    Don't have much to add... just listening/reading!
  • Adam, if you have timed it out then that's great. As fast as my method was, I dropped it for a static initiative score as soon as I got the idea and then when the DMG came out I was like "oh yes vindicated". And then later I dropped even that. I dunno, I don't like initiative orders I guess
  • DeReel said:

    I dont understand how anybody wouldn't grab the gun first but if y'all say it works, I'll try that and report.

    I'd say that's part of the technique too, I mean, if the goal or course of action in a fight isn't clear, does that make it a fight yet? By the same reasoning, if a player isn't sure about what to do she will keep quiet for a while. If she's got a good idea she will be enthusiast enough about it that everybody will keep quiet to pay her attention.

    We all read faces all the time, so it's usual that the person with the better idea ends up talking first. In the worst case you will have three players trying to talk at the same time, but even then you will see them take a pause to read each other faces for a moment and let one of them go first.

    Once these players are done the GM asks to whoever hasn't participated yet, so the spotlight gets distributed equally and everyone feels like they got enough of it on their own personal pacing.

    I like this "conversational initiative" more than any other method I've tried. It doesn't interrupt the flow of the fiction at all, so the whole fight feels like an uninterrupted part of the whole fiction, instead of a separate game. On the table, it doesn't feel like any tactical component is lost. You're not forced to think faster or drop the strategy. Coordination between players becomes easier and more natural, as you don't have to wait until the other player's turn.

    Add the AW mechanic of making the opposition move whenever the players miss a roll and combat gets even more awesome: everything can go smoothly if the PCs plans run perfect, but as soon as someone drops the ball (by rolling low) the enemy catches up and counterattacks. But believe me, drop moves and fiat as fiction and your prep demands. The result feels a lot more like an action movie without roadbumps than your usual D&D, perhaps even a bit faster than DW without losing anything.
  • WarriorMonk,

    I'm confused by your last two sentences there. Can you explain?
  • The scarce resource is player attention, not GM time.
  • Ah, perhaps it's a perception I have since I haven't tried AW as it is, but from APs and comments here it seems to me that whenever the players and the GM haven't interiorized the moves, these slow down the interaction a bit, as players have to check their playbooks. Again, it's a road bump more than a sudden stop or anything, but if you really want fast gameplay I figure that you can drop the moves as they are and go a bit freeform.

    After all you and your group already have interiorized a few methods to deal with situations like these. All you would need then is a single move to use as a principle: Whenever a player rolls the dice, either if it's a sucess or a miss, something happens. And when it's a miss, it's a GM move.

    In play it feels like when a group of D&D veterans plays without using the books and with improvise character sheets, and so the GM handwaves things, fiats some others and asks for rolls to determine how some forgotten rule is adjudicated. The result makes sense and keeps coherence because everyone is on the same page.
  • Sorry. What'd you say, @DannyK? I was checking Facebook on my phone.
  • For the last time, @Adam_Dray: Get off my lawn!
  • Playtesting this it really works better than anything I've ever had before, wow. Better than expected too. Second session there weren't any real fights but this third session I got a lot of use out of it. We were flowing in and out of fighting and doing other things like I've never seen before. Grouping the cards by mêlée groups also worked well. Seamlessness grail finally found? I hope so!
  • edited May 5
    Paul's question from my old system. Like some systems back:
    Paul_T said:

    That sounds cool, Sandra.

    How do you handle the "moving around" quandary from your earlier post? Just static initiative, or do you have a rule for trying to "act before your turn"?

    What happens when two characters are rushing forward to grab the statuette?

    So it's actually been pretty common that when two people want to act at the same time, one of them is "tapped" and then obviously the other goes. Or I'll have a vague remembrance of who it's been longest since they acted -- and my bad memory only adds to the chaos and variance of the fights — and choose them. Or one of them will be an NPC and I'll want to hold off on them in order to be able to use them to react to what the players do. So far we haven't seen the need to dex off. I mean over four years, over my various systems, I haven't seen it. But the situation you describe — "we both reached for the gun" — is a case that dexing off would solve.

    Edit: Uh, I guess I already wrote that in the OP. I've been repeating myself a lot today… just found myself writing an email to a player with pretty much the same stuff that I already wrote on our campaign page, I had forgotten that I had already written it.
  • This sounds really excellent, Sandra!

    In this method do you make sure players take their entire turn (action, move, bonus action) at the same time? Or is there a gimmick where tapping the card in different was indicates that, say, John's still got his move left?

    And does it get cumbersome for larger fights?
  • edited May 6
    Jeph said:

    This sounds really excellent, Sandra!

    Thank you♥
    Jeph said:

    In this method do you make sure players take their entire turn (action, move, bonus action) at the same time? Or is there a gimmick where tapping the card in different was indicates that, say, John's still got his move left?

    My last system where I used pencil & paper I used a forward slash for action-bonus-move (as a whole) and a backwards slash for reaction. But here the tapping means main action and then I'll just have to try to keep track of reaction in my mind. Using a gimmick like flipping the card over-- naw, we'll see. Probably won't do that. As far as splitting apart bonus/main/move? Not sure, maybe that can be cool. I'll use the tapstatus to denote main action.
    Jeph said:

    And does it get cumbersome for larger fights?

    Oh, I hope not but so far the largest fight have been, hmm, we had a 6 v 4 fight but we also had an even messier fight where there where 6 people in a chaos of shifting goal and sides. They were trying to wrestle a guy and then he started running away some of them started shooting him which made others try to save him. It was amazing.

    I know in Magic the card game we've had like hundreds vs hundreds (those Homarid Spawning Beds can get out of hand) and that works well, so… not scared of big fights here. But we'll see.
  • Hi Sandra, I just wanted to say thanks for posting this and the follow-up comments and clarifications. I've been prepping for a new D&D campaign I'm planning on running and this fits with my style of running very well. :)

    ~ Trent
  • That means a lot to me Trent, I was grumpy today so it's good to see something like this


    Today one of the fights we had was an iffy fight with a lot of hesitation, "I hold off and see if it does anything" mixed with other party members who did combat actions etc. And this system worked great for that.

    We also had a fight with 7 zombies, 5 skeletons and 1 ghoul vs 3 PCs. it was easy to take a whole bunch of undead at once and be like "they all move closer to you". I used clubs for the skellies and diamonds for the zuvembies zombies
  • Hi Sandra, very cool. Remember if you're using a AW/DW type of initiative procedure, one of the times you as MC can make a move is when the players look to you for something to happen ("golden opportunity").

    If a player told me "I'm gonna wait to see what happens" I take that as a perfect chance to escalate the situation. *evil grin*

    ~ Trent
  • Yep, did that♥
  • I’m still using this but with a tweak:

    I start out by announcing the monster’s actions! Like “OK, five goblins head toward [NPC friend], what do you do, [PC name?]” and then they can intercept, create a melee group with some of the goblins so that if they want to get to PC name they have to take OA etc etc. Introduces way more predicate space and choice in our game play. Now that I have cards it’s even easier to keep track of melee groups.

    So a nice timing is now…

    1. Decide whether there can be surprise (was either side stealthy?)
    2. Announce some number monster actions.
    3. Turn to one or two PCs and ask what they do. Their actions here can intercept the announced monster actions.
    4. Then do monster action – they don’t have to obey what the originally announced
    5. PCs that haven’t acted? Ask one or two of them what they do.

    etc etc keep on using monster actions reactively or proactively as you wish. The action econ truly becomes an econ. Each monster and PC has one main action and then once everyone is out, you untap it all and keep going. There’s no “New Round” announcement so keep running tab of timers like a 10-count for 1-minute-spells etc tied to that person not to the “round”, there’s not really “rounds” everyone is just untapped immediately as the last PC or monster is tapped.

    PS the rule isn’t changed, this is just a way of applying that rule that I have found is good and agential.

    (I’ll also edit the OP in this thread adding this in.)

  • Very cool, Sandra, and welcome back. :)

    So it sounds like you start each "round" with a soft move, yes? And then let one or more of the players respond to that?

    After that's been resolved, how do you decide when the monsters who haven't acted yet will make their "soft move"? Immediately after or do you let the players who haven't acted yet go before?

    Appreciate the updates. Good food for thought.

    ~ Trent
  • Trent_W said:

    Very cool, Sandra, and welcome back. :)


    Not really back yet (still sulking) but I just wanted to update some of these old threads because I don't have this stuff documented anywhere else
    but appreciate the greeting so much ♥♥
    Trent_W said:

    So it sounds like you start each "round" with a soft move, yes? And then let one or more of the players respond to that?

    to clarify two things: not each round, but the combat as a whole. and sometimes after that when there are significant changes "the 100 orcs switch their target to River, what do you do, Tanyl?"

    and also this isn't the rule, the rule is still "do w/e", it's just shown itself to be a very good practice♥
    (I'm finicky about following rules that I make for myself)
  • A great writeup, and so fun to see what you've evolved/developed after all those experiments.

    Great to see you posting here again (even if it may be temporary)! You're always the catalyst of some fascinating discussion, and you bring an honesty and critical mind to your own play which is totally refreshing.
  • edited June 3
    What's cool with this is that it makes a lot of other timing issues easier:
  • 2097 said:

    How can I help my GM with this problem player? - Role-playing Games Stack Exchange

    I’ve seen a plethora of responses for problem players, but my buddy’s style is one that I’d like to get more specific about.

    The issue is his play style. Our DM and I have been trying to work with him on his character. Now, in our same campaign, he’s played a Rogue character that really didn’t gel with the rest of our party. We were okay with this because that can be interesting if you play it right. But my buddy is atrocious at it. He included a ton of metagaming, out of character choices, and bizarre combat decisions that were totally unnecessary. An example would be announcing “I nock an arrow”. He’s not readying an action, he’s not trying to be alert, or making an attack. Then he’ll try to jump over a barrel, throw a knife, then shoot two arrows.

    The question was closed there but I have been thinking about this since I saw it on Stack Exchange. Not sure whether to put it here or in Glossary of key phrases while DM:ing. But this isn’t a problem player. This is the awesomeness of players who don’t know D&D.

    I’m gonna use goblins as an example. Love them♥

    I nock an arrow

    Flash the thumbs up and then ask the next player what the do. Nocking arrows and other nop actions are cool. The player is being generous. Also if you are using this initiative system you don’t even have to charge them an action.

    Alternatively, if the player is getting ready to shoot someone specific, the DM can use the “arrow threat” house rule and ask for an aiming roll (same as attack roll vs AC, followed by damage roll).

    • If they fail the aiming roll, don’t “klutz” them, say something like “it’s taking you some time to find your bearing” and move to next player
    • If they make the aiming roll and it’s enough to kill the goblin, say “you find an opportunity for a perfect killing shot – do you let the arrow fly?”
    • If they make the aiming roll and it’s not enough to kill the goblin, subtract HP from the goblin. Its position/fortune is severely weakened

    I jump over a barrel, throw a knife and shoot two arrows

    Never mind the barrels, that’s just cool. That’s just “difficult terrain” worst case scenario (e.g. costs 5’ of movement) and just cool flavor best case scenario.

    For the attacks, two options:

    1. Nod approvingly and say “For the knife, make an attack roll”. Then after that, move to the next player and then go back to the player. “The knife landed, and now the situation is [this, because other things happened], do you still want to shoot those arrows?” or
    2. Have the player roll one attack (use best stats, bow&arrow or knife) and if it succeeds, on damage roll, and have the knife and other arrows just be fluff.

    (With “arrow threat” house rule, you can recover all arrows minus one-per-kill. So the “wasted” knife and arrows will be retrievable later.)

    You could also combine it so that the knife is one attack, then the other players&monsters do their thing, then the bow&double-arrows are another. So either three, two, or one attack, depending on how you split/combine it.

    Like, I usually don’t do stuff like this because we don’t describe combat actions in that sort of detail. We don’t need it for “clarity” [uh another 2097 concept mixed in? so we have 1. the init system, 2. the “when you…” key phrase for dealing with multipart actions, 3. the “arrow threat” house rule and now 4. the clarity/zoom/pacing-control. But that is how it is.] so we tend to gloss over and just stick to what we’re attempting within the action econ, since we are so familiar with it. We don’t do the Mercer blow-narration thing

    but

    if a player starts doing stuff like this? This is one way to respond. Good luck have fun



  • edited July 4
    So I've usually been giving the first actions to players. But here is another opportunity to, eh, "be inspired by" the One Ring.

    Basically the attackees (the defenders) get initiative unless there's an successful ambush.
    I like that
  • edited July 4
    What does it look like if the defenders get initiative?

    Will players try to goad their enemies into attacking first, for example?

    And what is the concept of "clarity"?
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