Action Points

Copyright Tim Dugger © 2006

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Using this optional system, combat will be more fluid overall."

Under the normal rules in HARP, a round lasts 2 seconds, and a character may only perform one action per round normally. All actions in a given round are considered to be happening simultaneously, and initiative is used primarily for the purpose of deciding in what order to resolve those actions.

Using this optional system, combat will be more fluid overall, and allow for a greater variance in when an action is actually happening in a given round. This can add a lot of excitement to combats as it helps to increase the tension.

The Basics

Using this system, each round is divided into 10 segments or action points. Each action that a character performs requires that a certain specific number of action points be used to accomplish that action. Once the required amount of action points have passed, the action is resolved, and the character may then start another action on the next action point.

There are several actions that are resolved at the beginning of their action points, rather than the end. This is because the results of these actions may affect other actions that resolve within the duration. They are marked on the table later in this article and noted within the action descriptions themselves.

Unlisted Combat Actions

One thing that you might notice is that not every Combat Action is listed on the table. This is because certain Combat Actions are variations on the base attack of a weapon. Therefore, if a specific Combat Action is not listed, just use the appropriate attack action as listed on the table.

How It Works

To use this system, initiative is rolled for as normal. Each character then declares their actions as per normal, and the declared action is resolved upon reaching the appropriate action point. They then declare their next action and go on from there.

Surprise

If one or more characters are surprised, they may declare their actions in segment 5 and they will then continue on from there as normal.

Multiple Round Actions

There are a number of actions that take, or can take, more than 10 segments. These are known as multiple round actions. Such actions will be resolved in the same segment that they were declared during the round that they are completed.

Round-Based Damage

One benefit of this system is that it is easier to track round-based damage such as stuns and bleeding. Since each effect is based on rounds, you just mark that as 10 segments.

Stuns

For Stuns, if a character receives damage in segment 6 that indicates that he is stunned for one round, and he fails the Resistance Roll against the stun, then he is stunned beginning in segment 7, the first segment after he received the stun. On segment 7 of the next round, he will no longer be stunned and may make another attack action. During the period that he is stunned, he may not make any attack actions, but may perform other actions with the normal modifiers for being stunned.

Should the character be in the process of making an attack action when he receives the stun, he will be unable to complete that attack unless it would normally be resolved in the segment that the stun takes effect. In that situation, the character gets to complete his attack before the stun affects him.

Bleeding

When a character receives damage that indicates that he is bleeding, he will receive the bleeding damage on the segment that the attack is delivered. Using our example from the section on Stuns, if the attack also gives 2 hits per round of bleeding, then the character receives those first 2 hits on segment 6, the segment in which the attack against him was resolved. On segment 6 of the following round, he will take another 2 hits of damage, and so forth until the bleeding has been stopped.

Action Points Table

Action Descriptions

This section will give a quick description of each of the possible actions, found on the above table, that a character may take during combat.

Magic

Casting a Spell -- Casting a spell takes 1.5 action points for each power point used in casting the spell. This does not include instantaneous spells. Under this system, the caster must wait at least 3 segments between resolving his spell and declaring his next spell. Using these rules, the caster may be able to cast more than a single spell per round.

Instantaneous Spell -- These spells may be cast at any time without interrupting other actions, except for casting a Spell. This action is resolved as soon as it is declared, and the caster must wait for 1 segment after the spell is cast before declaring another action in order to recover. Thus, if the caster declares an instantaneous spell in segment 5, it is cast and resolved in segment 5 and the caster must spend segment 6 recovering, and can then declare another action in segment 7. However, if the caster is in the process of performing another action when he declares and instantaneous spell, he must then add 1 action point to the number required for the action he is still performing. Thus, an action that would normally take 6 segments will take 7 segments for that one instance.

Use Magical Item -- This is how long it takes to activate and use a magical item.

Activate Rune -- This is how long it takes to activate and use a rune. It does not matter how many power points are involved in the rune.

Base Melee

Attacks using XX Weapon Group -- This is how long it takes for a character to make an attack with a weapon that he has at the ready. In the case of missile and thrown weapons, this amount of time does not include the time it would take to draw or load the weapon in question.

Attacks using Multiple Weapons -- When making attacks with multiple weapons, such as when using the Two Weapon Combat style, to determine the length of time required for both attacks you add the action point cost of the primary attack (the largest action point time) and one half of the action point cost of the second attack (rounded up) to get the total time required for both attacks. The first attack will be resolved at the half-way point of this total time (rounded up), and the second attack at the end of the total time required.

Multiple Attacks with a single Weapon -- When making attacks with weapons that allow multiple attacks with the use of certain combat styles, such as the quarterstaff, you add the action point cost of the weapon group attack type plus one half (rounded up) of that number again. The first attack is resolved at the half-way point of this total time, and the second is resolved at the end of the total time. If a character is allowed more than 2 attacks in a given round, possible with certain Combat Actions, then the additional attacks increase the overall time required just as the second attack does.

Other Melee

Charging -- This is how long it takes to perform a Charging action.

Dodge -- When a character declares this action, it is resolved on its first action point, not its last like other actions. The bonus to DB then lasts until the full number of action points has passed or until he declares another action, whichever comes first.

Full Parry -- This action is resolved when it is declared, on its first action point, not its last. The bonus then applies to DB for the whole duration given on the Action Point Table. The character may not declare any other action, except for Sudden Dodge until the action is complete.

Hold at Bay -- This is how long it takes to perform a Hold at Bay Combat Action.

Knockdown -- This is how long it takes to perform a Knockdown Combat Action.

Move & Attack (per every 10'- rounded up) -- This is the number of action points added to the base action points required when performing this Combat Action.

Multiple Parry -- This is the quantity of action points added to the number required for the weapon being used. It is resolved when declared just as Full Parry is and the bonus towards DB against each foe is applied immediately and for the duration of the action.

Parry -- Parrying is considered to be part of the base action points required by the weapon being used. It does not increase the number of action points required.

Pommel Bash -- This is how long it takes to perform a Pommel Bash Combat Action.

Power Strike -- This is the number of action points added to the base number needed to make a normal attack.

Press & Melee -- This is the number of action points added to the base number needed to make a normal attack.

Reload Heavy Crossbow -- This is how long it takes to reload a heavy crossbow.

Reload Light Crossbow -- This is how long it takes to reload a light crossbow.

Reload Sling or Bow -- This is how long it takes to reload a bow or a sling.

Shield Bash -- This is how long it takes to perform a Shield Bash.

Shield Parry -- This action is considered to be taking place at the same time as a normal attack, so it does not require extra time. However, it is required that this be declared when the regular attack is declared or it cannot be used.

Sudden Dodge -- This action is resolved on its first action point, rather than its last. The character then applies the bonus to his DB for the duration of the action. The character may interrupt any action, except another Sudden Dodge, to declare a Sudden Dodge. If the character declares the Sudden Dodge on segment 5, it goes into effect on segment 6, thus it needs to be declared no later than the segment before an incoming attack is resolved in order to be effective.

Weapon Bind -- This is how long it takes to perform a Weapon Bind Combat Action.

Miscellaneous

Activate Chi Defense -- This is how long it takes a character to attempt to activate his Chi Defense, whether he is successful or not.

Climb (1/2 BMR) -- This is how long it takes to climb a distance equal to 1/2 of his base movement rate.

Combat Perception (-50 to roll) -- This action has 2 different numbers. The first number is the number of action points added to another action if this action is performed at the same time as the other action. The second number is how long it will take to perform this action by itself, while not performing other actions.

Controlled Drop to the Ground -- This is how long it takes to perform a controlled drop to the ground.

Disarm Trap (per Difficulty Rating) -- This is how long it takes to disarm a simple trap based upon its difficulty rating. More complex traps could take longer.

Draw Weapons (or drop/change weapon) -- This is how long it takes to drop something being held and to draw a weapon. This does not include resheathing a weapon already being held.

Mount Riding Animal -- This is how long it takes to perform

Move (1/10th BMR x Pace - per increment) -- This is how long it takes to perform

Pick Lock (per Difficulty Rating) -- This is how long it takes to pick a lock, based upon its difficulty rating.

Quick Perception (-20 to roll) -- This action has 2 different numbers. The first number is the number of action points added to another action if this action is performed at the same time as the other action. The second number is how long it will take to perform this action by itself, while not performing other actions.

Rapid Dismount -- This is how long it takes to perform a rapid dismount from a riding animal.

Search 10 Sq. Area -- This is how long it takes to search a given area for secret doors and/or traps.

Stand up (from prone position) -- This is how long it takes to stand up from lying on the ground.