Cover, Concealment, and Crawling (Nov 30, 2012)
Firearms and Magical Implements (Nov 27, 2012)
Abstracting Distance (Jul 21, 2011)

Was that really a month ago? I hope I had fun, ’cause the time sure flew by…

With the help of a couple of my regular D&D players, I’m developing a Star Wars “mod” for Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons, which we hope to have ready to play by Summer 2013. I don’t think I’ve actually come out and said it before now, but there you have it. The study of firearms and particle physics being related.

I recently sent them (for review) the following write-ups for revised concealment rules (also cover and drop/stand), which includes basic “contextual” movement as well. I’m particularly proud of the Dune reference. I hope cookiemonger approves.

Conceal Self
“You crouch in the grass, hold your breath underwater, or walk without rhythm to avoid detection by your enemies.”
Standard action
Requires You must be within a concealing zone or effect.

Effect Until the end of your next turn, prevent half of the damage you take from melee and ranged attacks.
Sustain Standard The effect persists until the end of your next turn.

Take Cover
“You duck around a corner, press yourself against a wall, or lean behind an outcropping to evade enemy attacks.”
Move action
Requires You must be adjacent to a covering feature.

Effect You gain Defensive Advantage until the end of your next turn, or you’re no longer adjacent to a covering feature.
Sustain Move The effect persists until the end of your next turn, or you’re no longer adjacent to a covering feature.

Dodge Roll
“You reflexively leap out of the way of an incoming attack, dive for cover, or drop to the ground.”
Minor action
Requires You must have a hand free.

Effect You gain Defensive Advantage and are considered “prone.” You are immobilized while prone. You can voluntarily end this effect (“stand up”) as a move action.
Special You can use this power to “stand” an adjacent ally, even if they don’t have a free hand.

You’ll notice a couple of things here. First, I make reference to a concept I’m calling “Defensive Advantage,” which is intended to complement “Combat Advantage.” In this case, utilizing any of the Total Defense (not included), Take Cover, or Dodge Roll powers, will provide the character with a Defensive Advantage that doesn’t stack.

Basically, a player can make use of cover, they can drop prone, or they can assume “total defense,” all to the same effect. This effect can be modified by various features (from races, classes, or themes) or in some cases, other powers. With any luck, this will help make defensive options more appealing on a tactical level.

Next, you might notice I’ve added some strange new requirements to each power, “concealing zone or effect,” “covering feature,” and a “free hand.” There is some precedent for requiring a free hand when it comes to effects like grabbing and grappling, but the other two are relatively unprecedented.

I’m suggesting with Conceal Self a highly conditional, somewhat transitory effect (given its steep requirements) with substantial benefits. Take Cover comes with a more traditional dependency upon terrain, but leaves more actions available. The Dodge Roll power should empower lightly-armed, lightly-armored characters.