Monday, December 28, 2009

9 Segments? Seriously?

This will be a short post.

I feel I have earned a short post, for having posted things of genuine substance all through the holidays thus far.

Here is my short post:

I never use casting times. Never even considered it.

(Thus the poll over on the right here----->).

I know there are many fine arguments for using them, but essentially my unfailing reasoning behind not using them currently in my own games is:

The rules of our current games of D&D essentially organically emerged from games based on whatever version of the rules our friend Craig remembered from when he played 15 years ago as a motorscooter-gang speed-addict metalhead.

Since we didn't use casting times in those first few games--and every game we've played since has been fun--adding them in later would just feel like an annoying burden to the spellcasting PCs at this point.

Plus, without them, I don't have to ever explain the difference between a "round" a "turn" and a "segment" to anyone.


  1. Tapeworms have segments - a round doesn't. In my book anyway. Spells happen when you cast 'em, on your turn in the initiative order. That is the way I have played for a couple of decades now and it has always worked for me!

  2. Depends: I require a declaration of intent for spell-casting and magic-item activation. As long as the PC does not move and is not engaged in melee after this declaration, the magic effect will resolve in the "Magic" portion of the round (there's still a chance for success if attacked based on the situation). I don't use segments or time during the round, just an order of actions: Morale, Missiles, Movement, Melee, Magic.

    I bend these rules constantly, though.

    This is how we did it for years and years, even with 1E.

  3. As my pal Dave said at our last session on Saturday, "Adam's D&D isn't D&D. Its Crazy Anime Fantasy Adventure Game." Everything but everything, from dialog to spells happens fast.

    A spell is cast on your action unless my custom spell rules denote it as a difficult spell (i.e. needs more time to cast). Otherwise, no casting time.

  4. I pretty much agree. A Magic Missile should be instantaneous as it's an offensive spell while a conjuring or summoning ritual should take more time.

    As logic goes for someting as illogical as magic, you shouldn't need to pull out a hair from a toads ass simply to cast a fireball.ect.

  5. This was a 1st edition-only thing, right? I've certainly never used it.

  6. Oh man this reminds me why I went to the warm hinterlands of Shadowrun & such odder ilk for so much of my gaming career...

  7. Personally, despite the gygaxiam ambiguity involved, I love casting times even though I have a hard time keeping track of them.

  8. oh wow, i voted "depends" and got 18/18/18 results... in our OD&D game it really does depend on the spell though: it's not written into the rules, but theoretically it's understood that SOME higher level spells will take longer to unload.

  9. I use them all the time. I like a regimented combat round where the initiative die only tells part of the story. And having players declare intentions before the round. Quickly.

    Plus, then your players need to weigh the pros and cons. Magic Missile? Segment 1. No problem. Ice Storm? Segment 5. You better hope the dragon rolls init poorly!

  10. I've adopted the old Champions combat rules to nearly every other game I run enabling the characters in combat to have full or half actions, hold their moves, etc. This way a Wizard with a high Dex may get initiative, hold his move and the cast a spell later at the appropriate dramatic moment. Also, if he or she holds their move for the entire 'round' they will get two moves in the next round (the one that have normally and the one they held).

    This makes some of the over-the-top comic book action you often see in my games possible.

    Before the fight starts, get behind cover.
    Hold your move in round one.
    Hold your move in round two.
    In round three, cast haste, cast bull strength and run into the fray beating the snot out of the opponents.

    "Dude that is some shiner! And a bloody lip! Who cleaned your clock like that?"

    "See that skinny mage over there?"


    "Yeah, him."

  11. I think the HackMaster Basic treatment of weapon speed/segments is pretty elegant.