Reactions: The "Small Initiative"?

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    • Reactions: The "Small Initiative"?

      In the past, I had a few discussions with my players about the useage and feasibility of the Reactions System as explained in the Shard RPG combat rules.

      Generally, we were all confused as to what constituted a "proper" use of a reaction

      Before doing a small playtest with my players, relating to some proposals for rule modification they made, I re-read the Combat rules carefully.
      I came upon this:

      Basic Compendium, Page 214:
      Had the player been further away than a Half Move, he could only have moved up to the shooter (1 Combat Action) as his Reaction, and would have to have waited until the next series of Reactions to try and punch the NPC. Similarly, since the shooter has already reacted, he also has to wait for the next series of Reactions to react to the player moving up to punch him.


      So my questions are:

      Would players only be able to react to actions that they could perceive in the heat of battle?

      Could a reaction only be related to the active combatant's action?

      In the example, an enemy reacted to the dueler's initiative and entered combat. In reaction to this, the friend entered combat as well... but:

      Can you react to reactions directly?
      Or do you only take your turn reacting to the active combatant to take an action against another reacting combatant?

      So can reactions be considered a sub-initiative, a smaller initiative inside the main-initiative?
      And if so, is the way it's pictured in this graph correct?

      [IMG:http://i.imgur.com/C3I4B.png]
      Notice: Don't use this as reference! I am not sure if it is correct!

      I like the idea of reactions being a "sub-initiative" below the main initiative list, where only Single-Action skills can be used!

      Then again, I am also considering other alternatives!

      If everyone has other methods to handle initiative, fel free to share! :)
      I'd love to compare the different methods!

      Edit: Updated Image

      The post was edited 7 times, last by Sherbie ().

    • RE: Reactions: The "Small Initiative"?

      Oh my GOD, Sherbie,...I had just now finished typing out an AWESOME multi-stage answer to this, with numbered lists and everything, spending almost an hour doing so, and then at the very end I tried to type the word "Wow" and ended up typing "Ctrl W" instead, which instantly closed the window and deleted ALL MY WORK!!!

      I now want to gouge my eyeballs out with a GRAPEFRUIT SPOON!!!!! ;( :(

      OK,...Whew.... Let me try this again, but with fewer words this time...

      Firstly,...cool diagram dude! It took me a moment to wrap my head around it, but I totally get the visual now...

      Here's some helpful information up front...
      • It helps to think of things this way: The Initiative Roll determines the order all combatants take their Turns during a Round. When it someone's Turn because they have current Initiative (they are the current combat "initiator",...the Active Combatant), they can try to do as many things as they have Actions, either bundled together or as separate events. If the Initiator bundles ALL his Actions together to do one big "series" of things at once, then he could possibly only make one big Combat Action Roll to do everything during his turn. Or, if he wants to break it up and perform his Actions separately, he may instead end up making a number of individual Combat Action Rolls over the course of his turn.
      • During an Active Combatant's turn there are three different types of combatants, in this order of "importance"; (1) The Active Combatant...who gets to potentially expend multiple Actions to do things like attack, move, defend, etc.... (2) the Defender; the person or person(s) being attacked by the Active Combatant...who get to use one or more Actions to defend, plus gets an immediate potential Reaction using a single Action.... and then (3) the Reactors; all other remaining combatants...who may each React using a single Action each...in order of Initiative...
      • When a Round begins, whoever has Initiative (the Active Combatant) Declares the immediate action(s) he or she wants to take and makes a Combat Action Roll based on that Declaration (either a bundle or a single action)... Such a roll is always followed by a series of events in this order: (1) Any person being attacked by the Active Combatant is considered the Defender, and may defend (or be defended by other combatants),... (2) THEN the Defender may use a single Action to React directly to the Active Combatant (the attacker), and THEN (3) FINALLY, all other combatants (Reactors) may choose to React with a single action, in order of their Initiative... Any such "reaction attacks" from these Reacting combatants may result in Defense Rolls, but does not start yet another chain of Reactions... Only the roll of the Active Combatant creates a Reaction chain of events.
      • If a character is attacked, that character (the Defender) IMMEDIATELY gets to defend (with as many Actions as needed, assuming he has them)... This does not count as the Defender's Reaction... However, if other combatants (Reactors) have a higher Initiative than the Defender, they could step in and use their single Reaction to either attempt a defense roll FOR the Defender (assuming the Active Combatant's attack used a single Action) or could ask that their roll be used to Complement the Defender's defense roll (if a bundle was used to attack)... Essentially, to repeat, all remaining combatants (Reactors) must wait to React until AFTER the Defender rolls his defense and Reacts (with a single Action) to the Active Combatant, UNLESS (and this is the only exception) any Reactors declare they are either trying to make a defense roll FOR the target (only if they have a higher Initiative than the target, in which case they make their reaction roll before the Defender makes his defense roll), or if they are trying to Complement the Defender's defense roll (in which case the Reactor makes his reaction roll only after the Defender rolls successes on his defense roll, as per the Complementary Skill roll rules).
      • Once these Defense Rolls are made, then one being attacked may also IMMEDIATELY choose to React with a single Action, regardless of their Initiative... (this is stated on page 211 in the Basic Compendium, left column, about 3/4 of the way down, as being one of the essential elements of SHARD combat)... This helps make them feel like they don't need to "wait around" to respond to their attacker just because other combatants have a higher Initiative...
      • After this, only then do all remaining combatants (who have not already used their Reaction to help the defender defend) may now React with a single Action in order of their Initiative... Anyone attacked during these Reactions may defend normally (with whatever Actions they have), but can only React against their attacker if they haven't used their Reaction yet in this "set"...
      • Once this is done, the action now reverts back to the person who originally had Initiative (the Active Combatant), since it is still his turn (unless he has used up all his Actions, or unless he decides to end his turn, and save his remaining Actions to react or defend later)...


      Your table is essentially correct but with a few exceptions... (I'll explain these in a moment)...

      Let me answer your questions first, since that may clarify things a bit:

      Would players only be able to react to actions that they could perceive in the heat of battle?

      That's how I like to handle things, yes... Although I'm willing to let players try almost anything as long as it makes sense to me within the flow of the fast-paced combat. Generally, if they can see or sense it happening around them while someone is taking their turn, the other players can then React to it in some way that fits within that split second moment of time...

      Could a reaction only be related to the active combatant's action?

      Nah,...I tend to let players react to whatever's happening during that moment within their vicinity, as long as it revolves around the rapid chain of events started by the Active Combatant... So, for instance, an initial Action causes a reaction in a second person, which then inspires a reaction from a third person, which then triggers the reaction of a fourth person... As long as they are related in some loose way and make sense considering what's going on, I'll usually allow it... It's just important to remember that each time the current Initiator rolls (either for a bundle or a single action), and after anyone being attacked gets to Defend (with one or more Actions) and then also React (with a single Action), all remaining combatants could choose to React as well, if they wish, in order of Initiative, with a single Action each...(with the exception of the successful use of a Fast Draw, which allows them to draw their weapon and ALSO attack with a single Action if they succeed in their Fast Draw roll first)...

      Can you react to reactions directly? Or do you only take your turn reacting to the active combatant to take an action against another reacting combatant?

      You may React to whomever Reacted before you, or to the original person whose turn it is, as long as it makes sense that what you are doing could happen within the split second that all Reactions are assumed to happen in... It just needs to make sense within the context of the battle itself and what is going on at that exact moment...

      So can reactions be considered a sub-initiative, a smaller initiative inside the main-initiative? And if so, is the way it's pictured in this graph correct?

      Yeah,...you could think of Reactions that way, since they use the same order of Initiative as determined at the beginning of the Round... However there are two exceptions to that rule, as I mentioned above: (1) The person being attacked may IMMEDIATELTY defend, regardless of their Initiative... and (2) The person being attacked may also immediately React right after they defend (assuming they are still able) regardless of Initiative... This happens BEFORE the rest of the combatants get to use their Reactions in order of their Initiative...(unless they are helping the attacked person defend, in which case they get to use their Reaction right after the attack happens, as stated above)...

      So in the case of your graph...:
      • Player1 attacks NPC2 just as you describe...
      • NPC2 then immediately gets to defend (with as many Actions as needed, if he has them), which doesn't count as his Reaction... Defending yourself never causes you to give up your Reaction unless you have no Actions left to use... Additionally, a remaining combatant with a higher Initiative can declare that they are stepping in to defend FOR NPC2 (assuming that the attack can be defended by the single Reaction)... This usually happens when the one being attacked has few or no Actions left, and a nearby friend is trying to be a hero... NPC2's defense roll can also be Complemented (as per the Complementary Skill Roll rules) if any other combatant wishes to use their single Reaction to do so...
      • Once the defenses are attempted, NPC2 may also now immediately React to his attacker (assuming he can) with a single Action, regardless of his Initiative (again, based on the rule on page 211)
      • After this, all your remaining combatants (NPC1 and Player2) choose to React or not with their single Action (not a single Action Dice, as you mention for Player2,...I'm assuming that was a type-o... They get to use as many dice to roll that single Action as would be expected under the circumstances)...
      • As you mention, Reactions cannot prevent the Initiative-holder's rolled attempt. They can, at most, merely alter the outcome...



      There ya go! Hopefully that helped clear things up a bit!

      Sorry for any confusion...

      Scottie ^^
    • RE: Reactions: The "Small Initiative"?

      And since I couldn't fit this into the above giant answer, here's a bit of a more succinct summary:

      A Combat Round, is composed of as many Turns as there are Combatants. Each Turn's events should be inspired by the declared actions of the Active Combatant whose Turn it is in Order of Initiative....

      What we were hoping to accomplish with our combat Turn was an overall order of operation within that Turn that felt "good" to the players when they entered combat... And so we approached it from a belief that, although everyone involved in the general combat was "important", when it was a specific player's "Turn", his actions are the most "meaningful", followed by the defensive actions of his target (and anyone else willing to help defend him) as well as the target's specific Reaction to his attacker, followed lastly by everyone else's Reactions (and their defenses against each other, if necessary)...

      **PLEASE NOTE** If the Active Combatant (whose turn it is in order of Initiative), wishes to Delay his Turn, thus allowing others with lower Initiative to act before him, then it immediately become the next player's Turn in order of Initiative (see Delaying Initiative, page 212 of the Basic Compendium). A player Delaying in this manner may then choose to interrupt at ANY point in time later during that Round, even if it is in the middle of another player's or NPC's turn. Unlike Reactions, which cannot be used to stop another player from performing his Actions, when a Delayed player decides to begin his Turn, his interruption is assumed to happen BEFORE the actions of who he's interrupting, providing a slight advantage. Once the Delaying player chooses to interrupt, however, he must then take his full Turn, and may not Delay again that Round. Only AFTER the Delaying player takes his Turn may the interrupted player or NPC continue the remaining Actions of his Turn (though he may have Reacted to the Delaying character, as could any of the rest, during the Delaying player's interrupting Turn).

      So again:
      1. The Active Combatant's Actions/Attacks...each time he rolls his Action Dice based on any declaration of Actions during his Turn. This is immediately followed by...
      2. The Defender's Defense Roll (or the rolls of other Combatants' rolling Defenses for him) as well as the Defender's immediate single-action Reaction to his attacker (which could be an attack requiring the Active Combatant to defend). These are then immediately followed by...
      3. The single-action Reactions (in order of their particular Initiatives) of all remaining Combatants (plus any Defense Rolls they may need to make against each other)...
      4. After this "set" of events happens, if the Active Combatant still has Actions left, then this series of events can begin again, or the Active Combatant may declare his Turn as "done", at which point any Actions he has remaining become potential Reactions or Defenses to use later. If he declares his Turn "done", then it immediately becomes the next player's Turn in order of Initiative.
        [/list=1]
        This seemed like the most natural "flow" of events, and it just felt "right" to resolve the events surrounding the attacker and primary defender(s) first, followed by everyone else in order of initiative...

        And yes, as it finally gets down to asking all remaining Combatants if they'd like to React in any way, I do highly recommend suggesting to them that they should only React if they really feel a Reaction is warranted based on what they may have just seen or sensed of the Actions of either the Active Combatant, or those he or she may have attacked... These Reactions really do need to feel like they could reasonably occur in that split second after the actions of the Active Combatant took place...

        And may I say,....MAN I wish we had worded this order of operation in the Basic Compendium Combat Chapter as succinctly as this last attempt directly above... It would have saved a LOT of confusion... Luckily, I will be placing this in the Magic and Martial Art's expansion rules for combat, along with better, full-combat examples to help folks get used to the even more detailed Martial Styles we'll be offering there...

        Anyway,...hopefully all if this helps you guys!

        Scottie ^^