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Fast 3.5 PbP combat

Fast 3.5 PbP combat

I've been playing with some of the alternate PbP systems in several combats via PbP, in the hopes of finding a fast, exciting combat. Combat can drag in regular 3.5, but it's such in integral and, frankly, exiting part of the process. The wound/vitality system has great merit, and so do alternate massive damage systems. Has anyone found a set of rules that they liked best? My ultimate ambition is to have combats go 5 rounds, no more, with everyone doing something interesting every time.

It really depends on the encounter setup. As well as the ecl of the party. Higher level play tends to take less time with PCs who know their character really well, and can make succinct actions based on the encounter.

If the party is fighting a roomful of mooks, I could see the potential that it wouldn't take more than 5 rounds to clear them out with enough AoE.

The same goes for a fight vs a BBEG. While it shouldn't be over that quickly, one NPC does not have the capabilities to stand up to 4+ PC actions per round. (not counting potential cohorts, animal companions, etc.)

The downside in pbp is that you have to wait for everyone to post their actions. And that can potentially take time.

Simplifying intiative is one way to speed things up. The group could have the person with the highest modifier roll, and then the whole party goes on that count. As well as having everyone post a "...if my first target dies/etc put these actions on the second target..." So that way they aren't wasting actions when the fighter gets a lucky crit and the first target goes down in one round.

I prefer to let people post actions in advance of their place in init and then resolve everything later. I guess it can get messier, especially when things start invalidating each other, but it's better than making everyone post in order because then the waiting times get way bigger (it's easy to see when you consider that someone later in the init might have been ready to post on time, but after waiting for someone else, we then might have to wait for them as well).

If everyone is missing everyone else, the combat is going to take a lot longer. However, anything designed to chance the pace could also drastically affect balance.

There's also the fact that you do want fights to last a couple of rounds, ideally. If they're over too soon, nobody gets to do their cool stuff and it's a bit unsatisfying.

I think in all my years of playing D&D, I've only had two combats that even reached 5 rounds, and only one of those exceeded it. Really, outside of tons of mooks versus a caster-less party, most combats are going to go rather quickly.

Well one thing I like to speed things up is just have it as a houserule that everyone takes 10 on initiative, makes feats increasing initiative more worthwhile aswell.

As for the rest of the combat? I really don't have any suggestions there.

Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
I would just roll init for people, tbh.
This. In fact, the character sheet system here has a host of GM-only functions. A GM using the SHEETDICE tag makes the specified roll for every sheet in the game. Works wonderfully for initiative. And group skill checks (like Spot or Listen).

It helps to go by group initiative and have player characters act in the order of posting.

Although most of my fights last longer (and I prefer it that way), if you are looking for quick battles that last only a few rounds, encounter design is the main factor, I'd say. It involves avoiding battlefield control effects that slow down either side or both sides, having a small number of powerful enemies rather than a large group of targets and building both PCs and NPCs for high impact.

Sucks if you're a high-init rogue or similar, though, especially if you are built around being able to go first and hit people flat-footed.


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