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Re-vitalising the speed chart


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I'm a fan of the speed chart. I think it is something that makes the system stand out from a lot of the others - a method of regulating actions and delivering initiative all rolled up into one package.

 

What surprises me is that so many people dislike it and the answer is more often than not to accept it grudginly or replace it completely. Has no-one ever thought of using it differently?

 

My thoughts have drifted this way because I am in the process of developing a Glorantha HERO game. RQII uses a 12 click turn and actions take place within that turn based on how long they take to occur. For example, if it takes 2 clicks to fire an arrow then the archer fires an arrow on 2 (+5 for generic readying time, +2 for another arrow) then 9 and there is not enough clicks left for a third arrow. If it only took 1 click then the archer would fire on 1 and 7.

 

Movement was click based. A human had a move of 8 (each move represented 3m) and each 3m moved added 1 to the time the arrow fired. So in the example of the 2 click archer if he moved 6m inbetween firing the second arrow then the arrow would have flown on 2 and 11.

 

Now this doesn't fit exactly into the Hero way but its made me think that perhaps I could present the spd chart differently.

 

In most fantasy games SDPs are going to be 2,3 and 4. Given the way that most players react to the SPD chart that means that actions will be taken on segments 3,4,5,6,8,9 and 12.

 

In a few games I've run I told players that a round was split into two parts in which each person would get one action (SPD 2), some characters would get a bonus action in the second part of the round (SPD 3) and some characters would get bonus actions in both parts (SPD 4).

 

I realise that I've changed the chart a bit here but the players took to it better than when they knew I was using the SPD chart. It also felt fairer.

 

For example, Captain Quick of the City Guard (SPD 4) is fighting Slow Joe (SPD 2). Using the chart the captain attacks on 3 and 6 before Joe gets to retaliate and then again on 9 and 12 before Joe retaliates. In my rough example then the captain would attack then Joe then the captain twice and then Joe before a final attack by the captain.

 

I was wondering if it was worth reversing the actions so that everyone went on 1 rather than 12 and combats could, more intuitively begin on segment 1 rather than segment 12.

 

SPD 2 would then go on 1 and 7, SPD 4 on 1,4,7 and 10 (even as I type it the numbers feel wrong but the prinicple feels right). This would give the same pattern as I used in my two actions plus bonuses.

 

In the Glorantha HERO I was thinking of making everyone a default SPD 1 and then building weapons that would add SPD. So a bow, for example, might add2 SPD while a broadsword added 1 and a great axe added nothing. Thus everyone would attack on 1, the archer would fire his second arrow on 5, the broadsword would swing again on 7 and the archer would fire his third on 9.

 

A final point is that when using the spd chart I almost always see players go immediately that the first segment of their phase comes up. I think I need to emphasise that for a SPD 4 character, the advent of segment 3 doesn't mean he has to act then, it simply means he is now able to act and may do so in that segment or either of the following two segments before he loses that action.

 

Long post - not sure if I was coherent but I am looking for people that have used or have considered using the SPD chart in a different way from that presented in the book rather than simply deciding to ditch it.

 

 

Doc

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

I always though that they way you suggested about 'Clicks' is how 'It' should be done. Only no actual combat rounds, just one continous sequence of actions.

AS long as you can work out 'how long' something takes, and make allowances for different speeds.

As Hero has no real cap on maximum SPD there seems to be no minimum time that you could set for doing something that would then be the base 'Click'.

 

After working on something like this for a while years ago, I decided I wasn't up to it and players would probably hate it though..........

 

But I envisioned something like:

A combat between One moderate speed player and two slower Orks

Phase 1,

Player Draws Sword ( 1 Time Unit )

Orks Draw Swords..

Phase 2

Player Starts to Move at SPD 3 run 7 - ( 7" per Time unit )

Orks Start to Move at SPD 2 run 6 - ( 3" ??? per time Unit )

 

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5 ( Player Reaches First Ork ) ( both parties arrive at same time point )

Player acts first because of higher DEX

Player does One Simple attack ( 1 TIme Unit )

Luckily Killing First Ork...

Second Ork does Simple Attack ( 1 Time Unit )

Phase 6

Player 'Recovers For Next action' ( ??? Time Units )

Ork 'Recovers For Next Action' ( ??? + Time Units )

 

Phase 7

3rd Ork Enters Stage Left

Phase 8

Player does 'Simple attack' and only wounds Ork 2

Ork2 is still waiting for 'Action Recovery' but loses a Time Unit for getting wounded

 

Phase 11

Player Attacks again, slightly wounding Ork

Phase 13

Ork 2 Gets his attack

Ork 3 is advancing.....

 

And so on...

 

Phase

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

SPD 2 would then go on 1 and 7, SPD 4 on 1,4,7 and 10 (even as I type it the numbers feel wrong but the prinicple feels right). This would give the same pattern as I used in my two actions plus bonuses.

 

Ooh! Just had a thought. The same thing might be effected and the current numbers retained by indicating that "an action must be taken by segment..." rather than "an action may be taken as of segment..."

 

This will be how I run things until I make it better! :-)

 

I think this might take away some of the problems people have with the SPD chart. A SPD 4 character has phases on 3, 6, 9 and 12. That means that when the turn starts on segment 1 a SPD 4 character must take an action by segment 3, by segment 6 etc or else they would not get all four actions in a turn.

 

It can be amazing how a different emphasis can make a huge difference in approach.

 

 

Doc

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

I always though that they way you suggested about 'Clicks' is how 'It' should be done. Only no actual combat rounds' date=' just one continous sequence of actions.[/quote']

 

This is an interesting approach. You would have to keep a track of total time and where everyone was on that timetrack.

 

It would mean that SPD 3 characters would act every four seconds but it does make it more difficult for those SPDs that don't have good relationships with 12 second turns....

 

Perhaps a different approach missing out some SPDs

 

SPD 12 acts every segment

SPD 10 acts five segments in every six

SPD 9 acts 3 segments in every four

SPD 8 acts 2 segments in every three

SPD 6 acts every other segment

SPD 4 acts every third segment

SPD 3 acts every fourth segment

SPD 2 acts every sixth segment

SPD 1 acts every twelvth segment

 

 

Have to do more thinking.

 

 

Doc

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

Ooh! Just had a thought. The same thing might be effected and the current numbers retained by indicating that "an action must be taken by segment..." rather than "an action may be taken as of segment..."

 

This will be how I run things until I make it better! :-)

 

I think this might take away some of the problems people have with the SPD chart. A SPD 4 character has phases on 3, 6, 9 and 12. That means that when the turn starts on segment 1 a SPD 4 character must take an action by segment 3, by segment 6 etc or else they would not get all four actions in a turn.

 

It can be amazing how a different emphasis can make a huge difference in approach.

 

 

Doc

That would be interesting. I think you'd have sudden rushes of action early in turns and often lots of holds given players need to act "by" instead of "on" a segment. Neat idea.

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

I like the idea of multiple actions, but found the SPD chart both too wargamey and too time consuming for combats involving multiple characters.

 

OTOH, I love SPD as a concept.

 

What I've done is (sorta) randomised the SPD chart, by simply determing phases with a dice roll. On average a SPD 4 wil get twice as many actions as a SPD 2, and 2/3r'ds as many as a SPD 6. They'll get the same number of actions between recoveries (which happens when I roll "top o' the chart").

 

I like the way it makes combat a little more chaotic and as a GM, I like it because all I have to recall is who's holding actions, not who went when, what phase are we now, etc.

 

It also gets rid of "I'll hold until 7 then haymaker, because I get to act on 8 and can recover, unless he moves on 6, in which case I'll..." Players can still game the system, but it becomes much more a calculated risk, not a cert.

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

Thanks MarkDoc

 

I've seen these alternatives over time. I have toyed with the idea of getting a card holder, like in the casinos, and using the cards for phases - obviously all of the phases will come up at one point or another over time - just not in any predictable fashion (unless you are a card counting genius).

 

I was never sure what to do about the kings - take em out or use them for random events...

 

 

Doc

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

I was never sure what to do about the kings - take em out or use them for random events...

 

One approach I've seen uses A to Q = Ph 1-12, and K = PS 12. ie the Post Seg 12 rcovery is "unlinked" from happening after a specific phase.

 

This avpoids "Haven't used much END - may as well go full out this phase since I'll get a recovery."

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

This is an interesting approach. You would have to keep a track of total time and where everyone was on that timetrack.

 

It would mean that SPD 3 characters would act every four seconds but it does make it more difficult for those SPDs that don't have good relationships with 12 second turns....

 

Perhaps a different approach missing out some SPDs

 

SPD 12 acts every segment

SPD 10 acts five segments in every six

SPD 9 acts 3 segments in every four

SPD 8 acts 2 segments in every three

SPD 6 acts every other segment

SPD 4 acts every third segment

SPD 3 acts every fourth segment

SPD 2 acts every sixth segment

SPD 1 acts every twelvth segment

 

 

Have to do more thinking.

At one point I came up with an initiative system that looked like this. I mostly did it so that I could introduce (semi-)random starting times and (semi-)random adjustments due to things like being knocked down or Stunned. The way I did it was to come up with rotating schedules for each Speed, rather than fixed Segments for their Phases. This probably isn't exact, but it went something like:

Speed  Schedule
-----  --------
1     12
2      6
3      4
4      3
5      3, 2, 3, 2, 2
6      2
7      2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1
8      2, 1
9      2, 1, 1
10      2, 1, 1, 1, 1
11      2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
12      1

The player would simply keep track of the last Segment in which his/her character got a Phase and where in the schedule they are. For example, if my Speed 5 character acts first on Segment 3, he will then act on Segments 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, (note: starts over), 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, etc. For ease, I would not restart the Segment number at the end of a Turn, and would give, "Post Segment 12 Recoveries," just before each Segment that was a multiple of 12. At any point you could call for a restart of the Segment number, which would just entail having everyone subtract the current Segment (best if it is a multiple of 12 for keeping track of Turn boundaries) from the next Phase in which they would take an action.

 

If a player loses track of where in the schedule their character is, they have to start at the beginning (which is slightly disadvantageous for some Speeds) and/or if they forgot when they last acted they would have to add the current Period to the current Segment. I had certain events add delays and/or re-start a character's action schedule.

 

Maybe I'll look up the specifics at some point. I never actually play-tested it.

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

I quite like the speed chart the way it is, but I also like a lot of the ideas presented here.

 

One thing I have experimented with quite successfully - to remove some of the predictability of the speed chart - is random speed.

 

That is, at least one point of speed, possibly more, is bought with an activation roll.

 

Say your Speed 7 charcter has 11- activation on 2 points of speed. He'll most often move at speed 6, sometimes speed 7 and sometimes speed 5. You only roll and apply the new speed PS12, so there is no real difficulty in changing speed.

 

The other thing you might like to try is removing the PS12 recovery. Keep the turn as it is, but you get NO automatic recovery PS12 - all recoveries you want to take have to be taken as an action, with the commensurate dangers of doing that in combat.

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Re: Re-vitalising the speed chart

 

Just as a comment, personally, I like the predictability of Phases due to the SPD Chart and "gaming" the system this way, because I think it offers a certitude to the players in opposition to the randomness of other aspects of combat and is in keeping with some degree of control for the characters, particularly PCs. Not suggesting others should feel that way, but that's what I do like about it. It reminds me of the smarter characters in comics figuring out precisely when to perform something.

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