I was chatting with cookiemonger about something tangentially related to what I’d like to talk about. I’ll try to hit the highlights of my thought process.

The design I was working on centered around four “emotion-themed” tags: charm, daze, fear, and rage. Charm manipulates the target’s joy, daze works through despair, fear manipulates fear (obvious?), and rage manipulates anger.

Rage and fear seemed straightforward in their application — rage causes the target to lash out at the nearest “enemy” (generally determined by the caster) while fear causes the target to move away, provoking opportunity attacks and such.

The problem I was faced with then, was how to define charm and daze so they would be unique and yet mechanically related. I reasoned to the point where I would give them action-denial effects to contrast the action-granting effects of rage and fear, when I hit a bit of a “thematic snag.”

I had already decided to split the 4e “dazed” condition into its component parts — dazed grants combat advantage, denies all but one of the target’s actions, and denies all of the target’s reactions — immediate and opportunity alike.

The question then, was which denial to give each “emotion” tag.

Does despair block your ability to act, or react? Does hope slow your reflexes? I tried thinking about it from both psychological and mechanic perspectives.

I asked CM because I really couldn’t make an informed decision.

We discussed action denial for a time, particularly with regard to opportunity attacks. It seems like adding insult to injury to deny them outright when they already tend to be a rarity at the table.

I explained my intent to modify, drop, and/or reassign a number of combat maneuvers to speed up combat and make certain effects “more special-er.”

I’ll elaborate on that a bit now:
– Opportunity attacks divided into two categories:
> “Counter attacks” are triggered by ranged/area powers.
> “Opportunity attacks” are triggered by movement.
– Shift stops being a power and becomes a movement type.
– Strikers will tend to have shift- powers. (25% of classes)
– Flanking is based on proximity, not on positioning.
– Only “field marshal” classes grant flanking. (3% of classes)

These changes will have a far-reaching impact on tactical combat. Flanking becomes a class feature held only by field marshals — which will reduce the need for positional adjustment via the “five-foot step” or shifting. Faster. Better. Flanking and opp attacks become significantly easier to explain and rule.

I tried to explain some of this — but it’s hard to imagine all the ramifications these changes will have on the flow of combat even if you’ve had as much time to think about them as I have. There’s a lot of information to process.

So, to come back to where I started and close the loop — charm might deny reactions, and daze might deny actions. But I still haven’t decided.