After reading thru your blog posts, Anthony, I was very intrigued by your take on segments, initiative, and psionics. A couple of questions:
1. On your combat tracker for round 3, why does the mage get to start his Fireball spell on the first segment? Shouldn't he be delayed, like the other players, until initiative changes sides?
2. Section V.C. of ADDICT seems to suggest psionic combat takes place every segment until mundane combat interrupts it or the round ends. This would mean that (using your method) a winning init. of 6 vs 4 would have two segments of uninterruptable psionic combat (barring missile fire, etc) until the losing party could possibly disrupt it. Such would eliminate the need for an extra segment at the beginning of the round. What say you regarding this?
3. In your psionic post, am I to understand that there is only one psionic exhange in the pre-segment of the round?
4. How do you handle surprise segments and psionics?
I look forward to your reply. As an aside, I have purchased everything you have created to date and love them. I even bought NWI and Mortuary Temple of Esma for my nephew and he immediately incorporated them into his campaign. Thanks for sharing your amazing talent!
I've gone back and forth on psionics over the years, waffling and flip-flopping like a career politician. It's shameless ;) My most-recent thinking is that some form of psionics needs to exist for creatures that are defined by them---the mind flayer and intellect devourer immediately come to mind there, of course, but there must be others I'm forgetting---but I'm leaning toward converting most psionics capabilities into at-will spell-like powers (including attack/defense modes, disciplines, sciences, and arts), I'm not at all sure this is really a good idea or, more importantly, worth the effort required to recalibrate all psionic creatures with new and/or equivalent powers. But it's what's been running through my backbrain the past few years when I keep returning to the topic (see http://knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?p=245829#p245829 if you're curious for more along these lines).
That's still not really a satisfying solution to me, since I like the distinction of psionics vs. magic, and the uniqueness of the many attack/defense modes we've homebrewed. But, they may still just need to go. We'll see....
Thanks! I definitely like your fixes to psionics, they make them workable. Gary Gygax later wrote he regretted them, and for years I have been struggling to make them workable, so thumbs up!
Caveats: I will explain HOW we do it, without telling you that it's BTB correct. I can tell you that what we do is easy to track.
1. IF casters don't move, use an item, etc. all spells fire at the END of the segment dictated by their casting time. If a caster opts to move, use an item et.al. then yes, it's as you say. They can't move/use item until initiative changes and then casting would start AFTER that. When casting begins that late in the round a multiple-attack-per-round routine that hits the wizard auto-interrupts if it hits. One of the advantages of the way we do it, that might not be immediately apparent, is that the losing initiative roll is penalized incrementally the worse they roll. Rolling a 1 is a disaster because your enemies run amok for 5 full segments. But if you lose on a 5, your enemies only get 1 segment before it's your turn...meaning they might not even reach you, and casting times of 2 seg+ are certainly in danger of being interrupted. This is tactically interesting for casters. They have to declare before the dice are rolled what they want to cast. But many times, the Fireball is wasted NOT b/c the wizard gets hit, but b/c the enemies won initiative and moved during the segments the spell was being cast. I presume you might believe that casters gain too much advantage by allowing them to start casting at beginning of round, but in my experience that is not the case. Hope that helps a little, even though there are certainly more examples we could discuss.
2. Regarding Psionics, I admit whole-heartedly that BTB is categorically broken if you follow the speed-of-thought examples. If you go to the source, there are some contradictions on how fast psionic combat resolves. Note (a) top of DMG p79 indicates you should just let'er rip until the whole mental battle is mopped up, which is not only horribly boring for everyone else but makes psionics in general OP beyond fixing. This is why I stick to one ATT/DEF exchange per round (regardless of segments allotted by the dice). This exchange happens in its own right, at the very beginning of the round, simultaneously, and even prior to swords of quickness and the like. I also allow 1 discipline to be used per round, after that exchange, but this would be subject to waiting for initiative to pass to the psionic character's team (just like a special ability).
3. Yes. And hopefully my answer above helped clear up why I do it that way. If not, simply imagine 4 Mindflayers with 3 segments, psionically blasting the entire party 12 times before the round starts. Yay! Let's not play with this DM anymore! ;)
4. Psionics are not front and center in my games. I use them like sane people use pepper on their eggs. Because of this, I haven't actually run into a surprised psionic exchange. However, I can tell you what I would do. I'd rule that surprise means hesitation, uncertainty, momentary mental paralysis, general confusion and uncertainty about where, who and how many opponents you face. So, if you are surprised, you won't be using any psionics during surprise segments. If you're the one doing the surprising and you are also psionic, I'd follow the rules that each segment be treated as a round (so 1 psionic attack per segment). My view of DEF modes is that they are reflexive, happening simultaneously with the attack like a flinch. So even a surprised psionic character would still get to choose a DEF mode. If the surprise exchange lasted 2 full segments, I might even allow the surprised psionic to attack back on the second segment b/c, again, this is speed of thought, he's already defended against the first attack and now knows there's someone there.
Thanks so much for buying my stuff. I'm glad you like it. It means a lot to me that people are still willing to play AD&D, try to sort out even its more Byzantine systems, and give them an honest try.
peace and happy gaming!