September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Order of combat

Gents I need help

Interesting game last night where the party was attacked by a pursing goblin warband lead by a Hobgoblin.

During the combat, I declared that the Hobgoblin will charge the Elf. The player responded he will move back and fire his bow at him.

Looking at the order of combat

  • Action Declaration Phase
  • Move Phase
  • Spell Phase A
  • Ranged Phase A
  • Melee Phase

So, I ruled it would be a contest of athletics to determine who would act first. Unfortunately for the Elf, the Hobgoblin wins and engages him in melee.

My initial ruling was to consider the charge by the Hobgoblin to be a full action i.e Move and attack, therefore occurring as part of the Move phase (not as a Move phase, then Melee phase)

On reflection is this right?

I have considered various scenarios of this and I’m getting confused.

As the Elf intended to move and fire as the Hobgoblin charged him. According the rules he should have performed a 1/2 action (1/2 move) with a full action (Bow attack), both at -20

A contest of Athletics would still occur but the Elf at -20 because of the 1 & ½ actions to be performed.

With the Hobgoblin engaging the Elf. How would that effect the Elf declared actions?

Would this prevent his move action? As a disengage is a full action? If this did stop his move action could he still attack with his bow at -20? Would he incur a further penalty of -20 for using a 'missile in melee' even though its not the Melee phase yet?

In the end my real question who would attack first. The elf or the Hobgoblin?

Comments please

I think your ruling was perfectly fine here, this was clearly a situation where it was important to determine who acts quicker, so a Conflicting Action is the way to go.

As for the outcome, I think we should look at the character's intent: the elf wants to get away from the hobgoblin, while the hob wants to attack before the elf gets away. So, if the hobgoblin wins, he gets to attack before the elf moves.
OTOH, I'd resolve the actual hobgoblin attack during the Melee Phase. Charge already lets you do two things at once, letting also you attack before anyone else would be too much.

So, basically:

Move Phase: hobgoblin wins, he closes in before the elf can move. The elf is now Engaged, so he doesn't move at all.
Ranged Phase A: the elf can shoot at -40 (-20 for the half action, -20 because he's Engaged).
Melee Phase: the hobgoblin (if he's still with us) attacks.

Had the elf won, he would have moved away to safety (as Charge only allows you to move half your MR) and shot the hobgoblin in the face. Vae victis.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

At least my Players elf survived (just) as I ruled the Hobgoblin would attack first (an unfortunate in game decision)

Lucky the Hobgoblin was pounced upon by both fighters and nearly severed both arms at the shoulder (both rolling  same crit, a massive 20 hits loss per round - ouch!)

Thanks for the help 🙂