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The Continuous Combat System

by Jim Bobb

A bit complicated, but this is the system we use for our combats our games. It borrows some from AD&D, using speed factors for weapons and casting times for spells, but after adjusting to it my group has been happy with the system. Now everyone stays at the table during combat, even those two-handed sword wielding crazies that had to wait for everyone to finish in the core system. It also makes players think ahead a little more than "when do I swing", especially the mages. What are you going to do after you attack or cast?

TCCS Definitions

There are no rounds or turns in TCCS. An infinite timeline, consisting of small 6 second intervals is used instead. Each interval is called an Initiative. As with the AD&D and OD&D rules, this is a metavariable - it does not exist. In real life, things could happen in the beginning, at the end, or even between initiatives - but in TCCS they can't. As the time aspect is cut into fixed fragments, and rounds and turns aren't used, TCCS introduces a more of a 'real-time' like experience. Each character or creature's set of actions is called an Initiative Phase. Most characters and creatures will be doing things at various times in the combat and this is the measurement of how long it takes a combatant to complete his or her set of actions

TCCS Initiatives = AD&D or OD&D Initiatives
1 Initiative = 1 Initiative or Segment
10 Initiatives = 1 Round
100 Initiatives = 1 Turn

Combat Sequence

1) Determination
First the Player/DM decides what to do. Note that contrary to standard AD&D rules, this is not a locked decision. Players/DMs are free to change their minds and roll for new initiative at any current initiative.

2) Roll Initiative
The Player/DM rolls 1d6 for his initiative base.

3) Add Modifiers
The Player/DM adds his initiative roll and modifiers, according to his actions. This number is added to the current initiative the combat is on to find the initiative the action is going to be resolved on. All combats begin count at an Initiative of 1.

4) Resolution
This is when the Player/DM performs the action he has determined to do. When this is done, the whole combat sequence repeats itself, continuing from the current initiative. If two or more Players or the DM ties, each rolls a d6 to determine which second of the initiative the action goes. Any ties results in simultaneous actions.

Weapon Speeds

Each weapon has its own weight and quickness with which it can be used. Smaller weapons are lighter and quicker to bring to bear against enemies than large weapons that need lots of strength and space to be properly wielded. In TCCS this is measured by a weapon's SF (Speed Factor). This is added to the player's initiative roll to determine when his attacks will take place. Magical versions of weapons have half the speed factor of their normal versions. So a magical sword (size M) would have a speed factor of 2 and a magical pole-arm would have a speed factor of 5. Cursed versions of weapons are half again as slow as normal ones, making a cursed sword's (size M) speed factor 6 and cursed pole-arms would have a speed factor of 15.

The Two-Handed category is for any melee weapon that requires two hands to properly wield. Because of the difficulty of wielding these types of weapons they are slightly slower to move to the attack. More so with Pole-arms because of their great size, they are naturally slower and more difficult to defend with. Regardless of size, any two-handed melee weapon except pole-arms use the Two-Handed category and all pole-arms use the Pole-arm category.

Weapon Size SF
Tiny 0
Small 2
Medium 4
Large 6
Two-Handed 8
Pole-arms 10

Multiple Attacks and ROF

Multiple Attacks
Characters with multiple melee attacks make the first attack when the combat gets to their initiative. Each additional attack after the first takes place 1 initiative after the first until all attacks are resolved. Missile weapons add their speed factor to the initiative of the first attack to determine when the second can be fired.

ROF (Rate of Fire)
Players/DMs with slow ROFs must spend 10 initiatives to rearm their weapon for each round they would spend using the standard AD&D rules.


Spellcasters using spells in combat may have their spells interrupted if they are struck while casting. When casting a spell, the player adds the spell's casting time to the initiative roll to determine when the spell will be cast. A spellcaster can be interrupted and his spell disrupted only during the actual casting time of his spell. If hit before the spell is actually being cast, the spellcaster may still elect to cast it, but with a 5% chance of a backfire per point of damage taken during his current initiative phase. Spellcasters that elect not to cast after being hit or have their spell disrupted may actively defend until their current initiative phase is over and they roll for their next actions. In OD&D, the spells have no casting times. For the purposes of this combat system, unless a casting time is mentioned a spell has a casting time equal to its spell level.

Spell Durations
The durations of spells are unchanged and can be easily figured out, using the conversion table at the beginning of the TCCS description.


Haste/Slow Effects
Characters functioning under a speed enhancing/reducing spell or effect (Haste spell, Potion of Speed, Slow spell, etc.) function as the spell/item description with one exception: attacks. Characters under a hastening effect gain the next rank of attacks (1 attack/round becomes 3 attacks/2 rounds in AD&D, 1 attack/round becomes 2 attacks/round on OD&D, etc.) while those under a speed reducing effect attack as one rank lower (3 attacks/2 rounds becomes 1 attack/round in AD&D while 1 attack/round becomes 1 attack/2 rounds in OD&D, etc.).

Weapons of Speed and Quickness allow the wielder to strike on his initiative roll (instead of on 0) in addition to any other attacks he normally possesses.

Magical Item Activation
Activating a magical item that creates a spell or spell-like effect has an initiative modifier as on the table below unless stated otherwise in the item's description.

Other Actions in a Combat
Characters can do more than attack and defend in combat. Other actions taken by a character are calculated separately if it has no bearing on a character's main course of actions during his initiative. The initiative cost of such actions are determined by the DM and depending on the situation. The modifier for these actions are largely determined on the complexity of the action, ranging from simple (+1) to hard or complex (+10).

Initiative Modifiers

Action IM
Breath Attack +3
Natural Attacks
          Tiny +0
          Small +2
          Man-sized +4
          Large +6
          Giant +10
Innate Ability +3
Magical Items
          Misc. Item +5
          Potion +1
          Ring +3
          Rod +4
          Scroll, Spell Casting time of the spell
          Scroll, Prot. +4
          Staff +4
          Wand +3