Continued from yesterday’s post.

It was while I was working on the character vignettes for Rumors of War. I’ve written out descriptions inspired by turn-based combat before, but because I didn’t have a battle actually rolled up (using dice and such), I was making up the turns from scratch. And I got to thinking about readied actions, especially because most of the enemies the characters were facing weren’t particularly important. (Most didn’t have names.)

I realized that there were very few benefits to actually readying actions in Dungeons & Dragons, and that thought kind of bothered me. Yes, there are practical applications for the Readied attack, except when you use them, it changes your initiative order and there’s bookkeeping — which is annoying to everyone, especially the game master. (Or whomever is keeping track of turn order.)

I thought that readied actions should have greater strategic value, rather than just being able to interrupt another character’s action when triggered — I thought that it should confer some additional bonus. Then I thought of how a charge attack allows a character to move and get a +1 bonus to attack, though they’re restricted to making a “basic attack” when they do so. Why shouldn’t readied attacks work similarly?

The “Total Defense” action gives you a +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of your next turn at the cost of your Standard action. I think a for a Standard action, you should be able to make a “Readied Attack” should grant you a +1 bonus to all defenses until the start of your next turn, with the restriction that you must make a basic attack with it (as though you were charging). Also, it shouldn’t change your initiative order, because that’s more work than it’s worth.