Binomial Dice Pool OSR RPG: The Game Round

In my previous post, I laid out the basics of the system. Now let’s get into a combat round.

No Initiative

That’s right, no initiative, or at least no individual initiative . It was an internal struggle on whether or not to remove initiative. After all, it’s a common mechanic and it allows differentiation among characters. But as I tried variations of the mechanic, I kept coming to the same conclusion: It’s a pain for the GM and it slows the game down. It creates some record keeping–even if it is only a one-time thing per battle–that I just wanted to get rid of. Luckily, I came across Shadow of the Demon Lord.

Fast and Slow Turns

SotDL has rounds of combat broken into Fast Turns and Slow Turns. All combatants must choose one or the other. If a Fast Turn is chosen, the combatant may take one action, be it move, attack, change weapons, drink a potion, cast a spell, etc. If a Slow Turn is chosen, then the combatant gets two actions. In my version, that could be two moves, two attacks, one movement and 1 attack, etc.

The tactical element comes from combatants who choose a Fast Turn go before combatants who choose a Slow Turn. Furthermore, players characters always go first in each type of turn. So players have a choice: Take a Fast Turn and give up an action, but guarantee going before their enemies, or Take a Slow Turn to get two actions, but accept the possibility enemies may do something first. It’s a simple mechanic, but adds quite of bit of tactical decision making. In addition, players choosing the same type of turn may vary the order they resolve their actions as they see fit. Enemies may do the same. In this may, there isn’t much record-keeping, other than keeping track of who has and hasn’t had a turn.

I am not 100% convinced “Fast” and “Slow” are the best terms for the turns, but I ended up going with it after I found these nifty token made by Campaign Coins.

I pass these out to players, and when combat breaks out, they flip the token to the type of turn they wish to commit to. After the round is complete, everyone chooses Fast or Slow again on their token again, and so on.

The next post will be about Movement and Zones.

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