Combat Sequence

The Combat Sequence

In real life, combat is one of the closest things to pure anarchy there is. Each side is attempting to harm the other, essentially causing disorder and chaos. Thus, combat is filled with unknowns—unplanned events, failed attacks, lack of communication, and general confusion and uncertainty. However, to play a battle in the game, it is necessary to impose some order on the actions. Within a combat round, there is a set series of steps that must be followed. These are:

  1. The DM decides what actions the monsters or NPCs will take.
  2. The players indicate what their characters will do, including spell casting.
  3. Initiative is determined.
  4. Attacks are made in ascending order of initiative.
  5. To streamline combat all attacks from a player character in a round occur on the same initiative.

DM’s NPC action determination

First, the DM should decide what the NPC’s (read monsters) are doing.

Player Determination

Next, the players give a general indication of what their characters are planning to do. This does not have to be perfectly precise and can be changed somewhat if the DM decides that circumstances warrant. However, a change in action results in loss of initiative

If the characters are battling goblins, a player can say, “My fighter will attack” without announcing which goblin he will strike. If the characters are battling a mixed group of goblins and ogres, the player has to state whether his character is attacking goblins or ogres.

Spells to be cast must also be announced at this time and cannot be changed once the initiative die is rolled. In any situation where the abilities of a character could make a difference, a clear description must be given. If a player begins casting a spell and decides not to finish it, the spell is not lost. However, the player has lost initiative and will have the opportunity to act at the end of the round.

Modifiers to Initiative

Situation Modifier
Hasted -2
Attacking with weapon Weapon speed
Breath weapon +1
Casting a spell Casting time
Creature size (natural weapons)
Tiny 0
Small +3
Medium +3
Large +6
Huge +9
Gargantuan +12
Innate spell ability +3
Magical items
Miscellaneous magic +3
Potion +4
Ring +3
Rods +1
Scroll Casting time of spell
Stave +2
Wand +3

Spellcasting and Initiative

Casting times for spells can modify initiative rolls, creating a realistic delay for the spellcaster. When a spell’s “casting time” parameter is given as a number without any units (e.g., rounds or turns), then that number is added to the caster’s initiative roll to determine his modified initiative. A spell caster is considered to be casting the spell the entire round. If the spell is interrupted for any reason, the spell is lost. Subsequently, the caster may choose to move or draw a weapon to attack/defend themselves.

Combat Sequence

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