Capturing movement in combat more realistically


Homebrew and House Rules

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Another thread got me thinking about this, in Pathfinder, while in combat, all the combatants are really considered to be in constant motion. But the abstraction of combat has you occupying one square for the time between your action. I was trying to think if there were a way to improve the mechanic to better capture the simultaneous nature of all of this, and what came to mind is the Fantasy Flight X-Wing game.

For those whose haven't played the game, the turn order is as follows. First each ship is moved from lowest Pilot skill to highest pilot skill, then shooting happens from highest pilot skill to lowest pilot skill. Abstractly the better your skill your movement allows you to move and use your movement related abilities to be best positioned relative to the lower skill pilots, then take your shots before them, again reflecting what a better pilot you are. It is further complicated (or better said a facet of skill / complexity of the game) that you must decide your macro movement before any ships are move, so there is an element of chess to guessing where your opponents will go.

So sort of two questions, 1) is there an RPG that captures this dynamic better for melee combat?
2) What do people think of something similar for Pathfinder?

So the GM jots down what each opponent will do in a round, the players do the same. In reverse initiative order people take their move actions, then in forward initiative order they resolve their non-move actions. (I know that full round actions can severely thwart this, but I was thinking that if you took a full attack action your first attack and 5-ft shift is resolved in the move phase and the rest in the action phase.) It would probably also mess up Attacks of Opportunity.

Thoughts?

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I don't really see what it would add to the game to warrant the needless complication. In the end, ranged fighters would have an even greater advantage.

That setup works in X-Wing because it helps simulate a dog fight and the only thing units can do is move and shoot.


Cyrad wrote:

I don't really see what it would add to the game to warrant the needless complication. In the end, ranged fighters would have an even greater advantage.

That setup works in X-Wing because it helps simulate a dog fight and the only thing units can do is move and shoot.

Gonna agree with Cyrad on this. The lack of "realism" in the game exists for game balance. With a system like that you are proposing, melee martials become game-breakingly bad options to the point that being one is tantamount to a suicide by kiting. Melee is bad enough without needing to nerf the only thing it can do well (which is kill small numbers of targets at short distances).


As Cyrad & Brotato said, directly injecting this new rule in the PF Ruleset will create problems, by making ranged martials (who are almost always DEX-based, and thus with an high initiative) able to constantly kite melee martials, even if they have with higher speed.

To have such a change without destroying the shaky balance of PF, you'll need to change the way initiative is gained in order to prevent kiting, which probably means removing the Dex bonus, and possibly tie it to movement speed.
It would also means changes in the rules of charge, and probably in some of the classes features.

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Playing around with the way turns works has numerous consequences, since pretty much all the combat-based features are designed for the "standard turn system".
That said, it is also a really interesting experiment, so don't hesitate to try anything that goes through your mind, but ensure that your players understand that it is an experiment, and may evolve from game to game. If they come in expecting a fixed, balanced and fair system, you'll have issue with them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, hadn't really thought through the ranged combatants, since without facing even if their move was tactically sub optimal, they still would get to fire.

I recall fondly, and I can't say it was how the rules said the game should be played, but when we played second edition we would declare our intended actions, and then resolve them in initiative order, so it was possible to not do something because it wasn't possible anymore, but we also didn't exactly have a grid and I think we used facing rules, all and all a very different game.

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