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I haven’t written about combat roles in a while. Some things have changed. I’ve learned some things. I’ve made some changes. Focus has shifted slightly.

Controllers are hard to define, but you tend to recognize one when you see them. I think the thing that started to get me after a while was how difficult it had become to try and define a controller as a role that dealt out status effects.

I think status effects are best left to games that don’t use a battle-map and miniatures. Blind, dazed, confused — especially in a tabletop game — are needlessly complicated. In many console RPGs, they fill a gap in tactics.

Pushing and pulling a target is a bigger deal than even 4e let on — during a fight, that push or pull can mean the difference between a Fighter or Rogue being in the right place to deliver an opportunity attack or back-stab.

With a battle-map of course.

And there’s the problem of status effects being context-sensitive. Position on the battlefield is also context-sensitive, sure — but when combat revolves around the battle-map, it’s more plain to see how and why those positions are relevant.

So, that’s why I’m thinking seriously about adopting a wound-slash-injury system-slash-condition rating (see: Vampire, Mage, Werewolf, Star Wars Saga Edition, etc.), while leaving movement-oriented conditions in place.

When your character sustains a serious injury, there’s a good chance you’ll start taking penalties to doing things — namely attacks rolls and saving throws (dice rolls based on the d20) — reflecting a penalty to actually making stuff happen.

This really isn’t new or different or crazy or original — I’ve been talking about this for a long time — it’s just now I can see how it could really happen.

You can still be pushed, pulled, slid, knocked down, slowed, immobilized, and restrained — those are all movement-based conditions and effects.