Combat and Initiative

We’ll be using a time-unit combat system. This system begins combat at Time Unit (TU) = 0 and counts up. There are no “rounds”, only times when characters and monsters act. Each battle is an ongoing activity with no pauses.

The Basics

Under the normal rules:
– One turn = 10 minutes.
– One round = 10 seconds.
Thus, one minute is 6 rounds long, and one turn is 60 rounds long.

Under the time-unit combat system, one TU is approximately equal to 1 second. Therefore:
– One round = 10 TU’s
– One minute = 60 TU’s
– One turn = 600 TU’s

So, if a spell, effect, or poison has a duration of four rounds, it lasts for 40 TU’s. It’s that simple.

The Encounter Sequence

1. When a monster is encountered, a d6 roll is made for both the monster and the party. Whichever side rolls lower has the initiative.

2. The Labyrinth Lord (that’s me!) will roll 2d6 to determine the monster’s initial reaction and action. The party gets to determine its own reactions. Maybe it’s a cute lil rabbit! (With sharp, pointed teeth! Nyaaaaaa!) The winner of initiative acts first in determining the next step in the encounter. If combat is initiated, see below.

The Time-Unit Combat Sequence

First, players (and monsters!) declare their movement or actions.

Next, initiative is determined for players and monsters by rolling a 1d10 and adding or subtracting appropriate modifiers. For example, if you have a high dexterity, you will go sooner. Example: A thief plans to move into the shadows and hide on her turn. She rolls 1d10 and comes up with a 5. Her dexterity is 15, so she has a +1 bonus to initiative checks. She therefore subtracts 1 from the initiative roll (to go faster!). Players will announce their initiative when they announce their movement or actions. Once their action is complete, a new initiative roll is made with appropriate modifiers and added to the existing TU to determine when their next action will occur.

Modifiers include the following:
– Automatic expense of 5 TU’s to choose an action;
– Addition or subtraction of TU for low or high dexterity;
– Addition of 1 TU per spell level for spell casting (this is the casting time); and
– Special modifiers for multiple attacks (Fighters and monsters).

Example of combat: We are at the very beginning of a battle (TU = 0), and Bolog wants to throw a magic missile at an orc. His initiative roll is 8; he adds the action cost of 5 for 13, he adds a dexterity penalty of 1 TU for having a low dexterity for 14; he adds a spell level casting time of 1 TU (for a 1st level spell) for a total of 15. When TU = 14, Bolog begins casting the magic missile. When TU = 15, Bolog throws his magic missile at the orc. If an attack hit Bolog at TU = 14, the spell would be ruined. Bolog then decides to attack another orc with his quarterstaff. His initiative roll is 7; he adds +5 for the action cost for a 12, adds a dexterity penalty of 1 TU for a total of 13. Bolog will attack the 2nd orc at TU = 28 (13 TU’s after TU = 15).

Note the following:
– Players may change their mind at anytime about what they want to do. You simply make a new initiative roll and add any appropriate modifiers to determine when your new action occurs.
– Halflings subtract 1 TU from all initiative rolls from being so racially dexterous.
– Fighters with two attacks make the second attack 5 TU’s after the first.
– Fighters with three attacks make the second attack 3 TU’s after the first, and the third attack 3 TU’s after the second.
– Fighters with four attacks make each attack on successive TU’s (1 TU apart).
– When two actions occur at the same TU, missile attacks occur first, then spells, then melee attacks.
– Surprised creatures add their first initiative roll to TU = 10 rather than TU = 0. It’s possible for a surprised creature to get pegged several times!

Combat and Initiative

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