I’m interested in discussing possible house rules regarding movement in combat. The SW rules are, by design I believe, deliberately vague here to allow individual DMs to interpret them as they see fit. Here are the issues that strike me as most pertinent:
(1) The core rules state that a “character may both move and attack in the same round” (16).
Does a character’s attack have to come at the beginning or end of his or her movement, or can a character attack in the middle of his or her movement?
(2) Under what circumstances should a free attack be allowed? The core rules state that a character’s base movement rate “may be interpreted as the distance a character can move in combat without suffering free attacks from enemies or consequences a retreating character may incur” (14). Elsewhere, the rules state, “[m]ost referees allow the enemy a free attack if the character (or monster) moves away by more than its ‘combat’ movement of base movement rate in feet” (20).
This seems to imply that a character can move freely around and among enemy combatants as long as he or she does not exceed his or her combat movement rate or pass through the 3’ of space that an enemy occupies. Do we want to go with this?
(3) The rules also state that “[i]t’s only possible to make melee attacks when the two combatants are within 10’ of each other” (19).
This rule strikes me as a little odd, given that the core rules also suggest “[b]ecause most movement and combat increments are divisible by three, it is easiest to assume that a character ‘occupies’ an area about 3’ across for the purposes of marching and fighting” (20). Should not the maximum distance at which opponents can attack also be divisible by three?
Before offering my opinions about which house rule to use regarding these issues, I add the caveat that I have little experience actually playing SW. My ideas here are thus almost entirely theoretical. I therefore wholeheartedly welcome all suggestions and input from gamers with more practical experience.
I like a little tactical nuance, so my initially inclination was to allow characters to attack during their move. Thus, a character with combat movement rate of 9’ per round could move 6’, attack, and then move another 3’. In order to make things fair, opponents get a free attack if any character or monster moves out of an area that they threaten. The range at with characters can attack in melee should be reduced to 3’. After looking at this closely, I was struck by its similarity to 3.5. My instincts tell me that there might be all sorts of problems with this that might not reveal themselves except through game play.
Another option would be to rule that a character can either move and attack or attack and move. Free attacks are only allowed if a character or monster exceeds his or her combat movement rate or attempts to move through a space occupied by an opponent. This approach appeals to me because it seems more in keeping with the generally tactically light spirit of play implied by SW and old school gaming in general. While I have absolutely no qualms about taking liberties, even generous ones, with such implied assumptions, I am hesitant to do so without having first played the SW rules “straight.” In other words, I’m hesitant to get too fancy until I’m comfortable with the basics.
I’m not sure at this point. I always liked some of the tactical aspects of 3.5, but I’m hesitant to import them into SW where they just seem out of place.
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