Strategy, Tactics, and Operations (Dec 4, 2012)
Tactical Roles and Secondary Effects (Dec 4, 2012)
Roles and Magic Combat (Feb 24, 2012)

There were a couple things bothering me about the strategic combat roles and what their effects were, and that prompted me to look at a few related things. One of those was the ‘secondary’ effects classes will have that can be used to give players a direction or some motivation in combat. Each is based entirely on timing.

First Strike, Second Wind, Action Surge, Critical Hit, Take Down

Everyone gets a first turn in combat, and classes that focus on the first turn of combat need little else to make them dangerous. Their powers follow a quick-strike philosophy that’s about taking down the enemy as quickly as possible.

One example would be the “First Blood” feature.

First Blood: Once per encounter, when you hit at least one undamaged opponent with an attack during your first turn, you can forgo damage to immediately bloody one target of your attack.

That’s an example of a striker power. It’s all about the big, single-target damage. Even at first level, your typical striker is going to be able to unload a ton of damage, but their ability to immediately bloody a target isn’t as great. It’s a feature that only gets better as they advance in level. The language is specific though: only once.

This might seem overpowered to pretty much anyone who reads it, so let me point out a few things you probably missed: you forgo damage, which means if you hit multiple targets with the attack, none of the others take damage at all. Also, you bloody the target, not deal damage. Therefore two uses of “First Blood” won’t kill a creature.

“Second Wind” is another once-per-encounter type of thing, that’s generally used as a “last resort.” It usually isn’t quite as effective as an attack, but it depends on who’s using it. “Passive” strategies will focus on off-turn powers, which means they rely less on their own turn’s actions and derive greater benefit from Second Wind.

Like the “first turn” though, you only get one. The main difference is that it might well be possible to gain an additional Second Wind, or to recharge it, or maybe use it at some point other than your own turn. Maybe you grant it to an ally on your turn – the point is, like First Strike, it’s an advantage gained by carefully timing your actions.

Look for future posts about timing … in the future!