I did some reading after my post about adapting Fourth Edition to use a more abstract, Magic-style battle system. In particular, I was curious how my static damage chart would hold up if used for streamlining said battles.

Then I got on the mental tack of how Fourth Edition’s character roles would work, particularly those dependent on battlefield positioning. How would a Defender’s Opportunity Attacks work, and what does a “turn” mean, when you have ongoing magical (or mundane) effects that last until the end of a turn?

Finally, there was a question of how much punishment characters could take if they had several enemies bearing down on them at once, dealing damage regardless of whether they hit or miss. What advantages does a full party have that a single character lacks? What does using different character roles together do for them?

Well, the first thing I figured was I needed to look at Defenders and Leaders. Defenders tend to get an extra attack when “defending” an ally, and Leaders have powers to grant attacks to those of their allies who tend to deal more damage.

That’s actually where the question (see above) of how often players should get Opportunity Attacks really came in — should a Defender get one for each of their allies who’s attacked, or just one per turn? How do you determine proximity to one another, or how do you replace that sort of detection method?

Ogre Battle for SNES came to mind. I was thinking that simple “front row” and “back row” designations for characters should work, but even with something so “simple,” there are bound to be big problems. No, there should be no consideration of position whatsoever, with the possible exception of teamwork powers, or stances.

Basic attacks, damage, defenses, hit points, and saving throws.

I scribbled something in my notebook on the way home last night, about how characters in different roles do damage, and what should be expected of each of them. “Defenders use basic attacks, and deal extra damage when they hit with Opportunity Attacks in defense of their allies. Strikers use basic attacks, and deal extra damage when they hit with one of their focused attacks.”

“Leaders use basic attacks, and deal extra damage by enabling one of their allies to make an attack in their stead. Controllers use basic attacks, and deal extra damage by spreading it around to other targets.” Is that how you want to define them? If so, excellent, we have what we need to get started and can move to the next step.