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Denver, Colorado, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Actions, Reactions, and Bullet Time

Characters in Phoenix receive, by default, one Action and one Reaction each round.

Action
The Action is along the lines of casting a spell, moving, or something like that.  This is the normal sort of activity that players of most RPGs expect in a combat round (although there is only 1 action per round, not 2 or 3 or 12).

Reaction
Reactions are in response to a trigger event.  For instance, trying to parry a sword attack, block with a shield, or halt an ally's fall over the cliff.

The design idea with Reactions is that a player can keep "playing" even when it isn't their active turn to play.  Aside from granting various defensive counterplay, this also makes combat feel more involved.

Of course, it also opens the doors to effects or knowledge that allows extra Reactions in a turn.  For instance, a master swordsman might be able to parry more than once in a round.  This yields more of the cinematic style of combat that I'm trying to achieve.

Magic
Everyone is familiar with Haste-like spells like that grant additional actions in various systems, so why not magic for extra Reactions?

Here's an example low-level spell in the current draft, for those who wield Dimensional magic.  The study of Dimensions is complex and esoteric, with powers over time and space itself.

Dimensional Mage.

Bullet Time (Dimension Support)
Difficulty: Very Hard (this is for learning the spell, not casting it)
Mana: 10
Affects: Ally, Ranged 10 + INT’
Duration: Encounter

You grant an ally a small reserve of temporal power.  When this spell is cast, roll 1d4 + half-level.  During this encounter, the ally gains that many extra reactions to use, at their discretion.  They can use the extra reactions during a single round, or spread them out among several rounds.  Once the reactions are spent, the spell ends.

You cannot cast this on any character more than once per encounter, but you can cast it on different characters within the same encounter.

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