To follow my last post, with “Suddenly Craft Powers,” there’s this idea I’ve been working on to better integrate a concept of movement into abstract-platform combat. See, I was watching cookiemonger play Uncharted and thought how cool it would be to integrate actual tactical movement into an RPG, rather than using a convoluted grid system.

Looking to platform games for inspiration, I replayed Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and then CM showed me Assassin’s Creed 2. Now, I’ll actually talk about AC2 in a separate post, but let’s just say that now was the right time for me to try it out. I got exactly what I needed from it in terms of inspiration. And not just free-running stuff, either.

Part of this came out of my desire to revise/clarify some movement rules for players new to Fourth Edition by expressing all movement as a single “maneuver” power.

Basic Maneuver
You dash forward, carefully adjust your stance while keeping an eye on your enemy, push yourself off the ground, or worm your way across the floor.

Effect: Choose one of the following effects:
* (Move) Move a number of squares equal to your speed.
* (Climb) Move at half-speed on a rope, ladder, or ledge.
* (Crawl) Move at half-speed while prone.
* (Shift) Move 1 square.
* (Stand) End the prone condition.

Special: Shifting or standing doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.

To clarify things somewhat, I revised Opportunity Attacks to be a function of the Melee Basic Attack, functionally removing an extra power and several lines of text from the book. Anything that says “can’t make Opportunity Attacks” should be revised to say, “blahblahblah can’t make Melee Basic Attacks as an Opportunity Action.”

It makes more sense with the addition of this line to Melee Basic Attacks:

Special: Once per turn, if an enemy in an adjacent square uses a basic maneuver, or makes a ranged or area attack, you can make a melee basic attack as an opportunity action.

Anyway, the combination of this work, and playing Assassin’s Creed 2 instilled this idea of the “Contextual Move Action.” You could think of all moves or maneuvers as working most of the time, but more than attacking, they’re effected by the terrain in which the battle is taking place. Important though, is making sure those actions still have a use.

One of my gripes with Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons is, should your Standard attack miss, you’ve wasted your entire turn. A character may technically have three actions per turn (Standard, Move, Minor), but most have no use for them (most don’t use Minor actions). Your Standard action attack is pretty much your everything.

So, I’m working on the “contextual move.” Do you need to push, pull, climb, or crawl? You have one power that covers all these things, and it will be your “Basic Move.” Everyone can do it, it’s amazing. You can solve the sliding block puzzle while your allies fight off the swarm of undead. It’ll be awesome. Better than block puzzles.