Eclipse Questions – Reducing Action Types

Today’s query from Jasper Merendino is about reducing the kind of action required for various actions in Eclipse d20 – most notably, reducing Full Actions to some other kind of action and with respect to the Enhanced Strike abilities.

This is one of the tricky ones, simply because most simple, generic, methods of reducing the time required for various actions destroy the game way too readily; you always get players who want to apply them to things like Movement (yes, I take full moves as free actions, why?) or Spellcasting or Full Attack sequences. That sort of thing tends to reduce a lot of situations to an initiative contest; whoever goes first wins.

For a more limited – and much less game-breaking – version of this I usually recommend Reflex Training (the “Get a free Standard Action so many times a day” variant), used to reduce a Full Action to a lesser one. Given that a Full Action pretty much equates to a Move Action plus a Standard Action, a use of Reflex Training can reasonably reduce something that requires a Full Action to a Move Action. That can be quite powerful and useful – but it’s also a so-many-times-per-day ability, which helps keep things under control.

If you do things this way, you’ll probably want to Specialize and Corrupt it. For example:

  • Specialized in whatever it is you want to do for Increased Effect to get it up to a full action.
  • Specialized in a smaller reduction – say to turn something that normally requires a Standard Action into something that only requires a Move Action.
  • Corrupted in that it can only be used as a part of a characters usual action, not as an interrupt.
  • Allowing it to be considered simultaneous (and thus stacking with) with the action that it’s “interrupting” is a reasonable Increased Effect Corruption.
  • Specialized or Corrupted to reduce the cost as usual.

The unlimited version of Reflex Training can be used in much the same way (“When I begin this particular action I get a free, immediate, standard action to finish it up in”) – but that one takes careful watching; and stern application of the “under particular circumstances” and “no more than (relevant attribute modifier) times in a round” part of the ability.

Still, the unlimited version is very handy for things like “When I go to attack with my Rapier, I get a free standard action to use to put an enhancement effect on it” or “I really hate Orcs, and go into a frenzy when facing them; I get (Dex Mod) extra attacks whenever I’m fighting an Orc!”.

If you want to go back to first edition days, and get loads of extra attacks when your warrior is “attacking opponents with less than one hit die each”, this will work for that too. That can be handy when a bunch of weak creatures are trying to swarm your spellcaster, even if low-level creatures are no longer serious threats to high level characters these days.

The Opportunist ability can work as well; it’s especially good for combining actions; “When I use Special Ability “A” I also have a chance to use Special Ability “B” and vice-versa” – basically saying that the character has learned an advanced, combined, form of the two base abilities.

While you can also use odd spell or psionic effects (Innate Enchantment) or a few other special abilities in particular cases, you can also use Immunity. The trouble with using Immunity is that this is an example of a Natural Law Immunity – requiring special permission from the game master. As a general rule, most game masters will let you get away with minor, tightly-focused, immunities along this line. For example, if you want to be able to get weapons out and put them away without it counting as an action of any kind – perhaps some innate knack just causes them to appear in your hands when you want them – you may be able to get away with taking “Immunity to the time normally required to draw or sheathe weapons”.

For more general speed-ups, there’s the Taskmaster section in an article on power packages over HERE.

In the specific case of the Enhanced Strike ability, some of our local settings – notably the Federation-Apocalypse game – allow more than one Enhanced Strike ability to be used simultaneously. That allows the people using knives to compete with the people using laser cannons and missile launchers relatively easily – but might break a lot of other games; that is essentially allowing combatants several free instances of the Opportunist ability.

2 Responses

  1. […] Reducing Action Types: Doing more in the same time. […]

  2. […] occasionally comes up as a way to make skills take less time or to combine them with other actions. That’s of limited use with most of the basic skills, but […]

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