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I've had some thoughts about that "bolted-on stupid skirmish system" in regards to its relationship with skill challenges. I think it helps a fiction-focused 4E game immensely to make combats feel more like skill challenges and there's a few things I'm toying with in doing just that:So, I've let some of these ideas percolate in my mind for a few days and I'm leaning toward this current version:
- Totally dropping any kind of formal initiative system (similar to what Sandra is doing with her 5E game).
- Instead of tracking the opposition's individual hit points I'm thinking about tracking "successes" like I would in a skill challenge, with each creature of the same type sharing a "success pool" (similar to how mooks work in 13th Age). Minions require 1 success, standards 3 successes, elites 6 successes, and solos 12 successes. So a fight with 4 orc grunts (minions) and 2 orc warriors (standards) would have 2 separate "success pools": a "4 success pool" for the orc grunts and a "6 success pool" for the orc warriors. If a PC does damage greater or equal to 1/2 the creature's bloodied value, it counts as 2 successes instead of 1.
- Rather than having opposing creatures roll to hit, I am thinking about setting up their attacks as soft moves and give individual PCs a chance to respond. If the PC isn't able to stop the creature from doing what its trying to do, I'll have the attack go off as if the creature rolled a natural 10 on the d20 (but still roll for damage).