Movement in combat

The dungeon & wilderness exploration game

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Post by cbarchuk » Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:25 pm

Movement in combat

Hi there. I'm quite new to Oe. I started with BX and BECMI. But I'm very interested in learning this system. Can you move and attack in combat? I noticed there are no encounter movement rates as well. Does that mean your normal movement applies both in and out of combat? I'm assuming this is meant to be vague and open ended. As I said I'm approaching this from a BX/BECMI mind set. Thanks!

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Post by acodispo » Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:10 pm

Re: Movement in combat

Hello cbarchuk and welcome to Delving Deeper and to 1974-style rules! I'm very excited for you -- my first few years reading & digesting & learning about this era of play have been highly entertaining in the best of ways, and I continue to get a lot out of it.

I'm going to assume that you're asking about the Delving Deeper v4 rules, because they are the current "stable" ruleset, with v5 still in development. Correct me if I'm wrong. DD v4 is the ruleset contained in the hypertext version and in the Rules Reference Compendium hardcopy available on Lulu.

I should state at the outset I'm by no means an expert in the details of this stuff, but I can speak from the point of view of running a campaign using the Delving Deeper rules over the course of the past two years (first with the v4 rules, and for the past year with the v5 rules). Also, I should note I don't have much background in BX/BECMI -- I started playing with AD&D 2nd Ed., stopped with 3rd Edition, and eventually circled back around to the (very) beginning having skipped over anything else. So that's where I come from! :)

One more disclaimer (and you're aware of this already), is that the Delving Deeper rules tend to (intentionally) leave a lot of space, even requirement, for the referee making rulings on how things work in their game. I wouldn't call them vague, but definitely open-ended, and definitely they are leaving space for you (the referee) to make a ruling.

Now, I should say there's an easy way to answer your simple question. When I was starting out refereeing these rules, in cases like this where I couldn't easily figure out a rule based on the text as written, I would "backport" a rule from a later ruleset. In my case I'm quite familiar with combat mechanics from 3rd Edition, so when encountering the sparse DD combat rules for the first time, I just assumed that a character could take two actions per turn: move and move, move and attack, move and something-else, etc. I don't play that way any more, but I think it's a perfectly reasonable approach to take when you're starting out. You could also backport the movement rates from your preferred edition, there you have your answers! You may want to stop there. But I like to delve deeper (heh) when I'm working with these rules, and see what mysteries of interpretation I can find. In this case there are answers in the text, but you will have to dig a bit, and you will have to interpret and make a final ruling.

Assuming you've decided to try and find an answer by sticking to the v4 rules-as-written, here's a relatively simple ruling (and this is how I would adjudicate the rule if I were running v4), based on two quotes from the rules.

One of the first things the Combat section of v4 tells us is:
For the purpose of underworld combat 1" represents 10ft and each turn is one minute in duration. A lot can happen in one minute of combat and any turn can be decisive.

With a bit of investigation, that gives us our movement rate (see below), and it tells us there's plenty of time in a combat turn for melee and movement to happen.

The Melee section states:
Any character within 1" is eligible to attack or be attacked in melee combat.

Now, if I've properly cleared my head of what I know about how later editions work, I realize that this says nothing about whether you can move and attack in the same turn, and it doesn't need to. This just says that if you're within 1" (i.e. 10ft) of an enemy, you can engage them in melee combat. Any character, whether they are otherwise moving or not, may "attack or be attacked" in melee during a turn. The directions in the melee section are pretty clear on how that happens.

So the answer to your question is yes, a figure may move, and also engage in melee, if they are within 10ft of an enemy.

That's simple enough, but of course it can get deliciously complex if you want it to. :twisted:

For instance, regarding movement rates in underworld combat:

As you've probably noticed, Table 1.2 Strength Adjustments gives us our movement rates in inches based on load carried, and the Common Terms section tells us:
Distances, Ranges, and Movement Rates are given as inches. An inch represents a real distance according to the scale of play. At the dungeon combat scale 1" represents 10 feet. At the wilderness combat scale 1" represents 10 yards. At the overland and ocean exploration scale 1" of movement represents 1 mile per day.
For example, a figure of average Strength carrying 80 lbs of gear would have a movement rate of 9" according to the Strength table. Moving around the dungeon (including in combat), that scales to 90ft. But how many 90ft moves per turn? :shock:

Underworld Exploration is clear about this:
Exploration is conducted in turns of 10 minute duration with 1" representing 10ft. Thus a movement rate of 12" is reckoned to be 120ft underground with two such moves allowed per turn of cautious progress;

So our example figure could move twice while cautiously exploring a dungeon, at a rate of 90ft per move (up to 180ft per 10 minute turn). That doesn't help us with combat in the dungeon, though, since the Combat section doesn't have any equivalent text saying how many moves you get per turn. And the combat turn is 1 minute, not 10 minutes. You might make a ruling that carries the movement rate from the exploration scale to the combat scale, dividing by 10 (since the combat turn is 1/10th as long). This gives you a ridiculous 9ft movement rate, though.

A sensible ruling here might be that actually combat movement is a totally different kind of movement, not at all the cautious exploration movement (which, according to the text, involves mapping, stops to listen, watch corners and shadows carefully, etc). We can continue to assume 2 moves per turn (since the combat chapter doesn't contradict the exploration chapter in this regard), but we might take the new movement scale of 1" = 10ft and apply it to the 1 minute turn. So our example figure gets 90ft per move, and up to 2 moves per turn, for a total of 180ft in a minute (they are moving potentially ten times as fast as they would in cautious exploration turns).

Now, given some investigation and a couple of rulings, we've arrived at combat movement rates, and we know that figures can always engage or be engaged in melee if they are close enough.

There are some follow-up questions that may have arisen: e.g. do I move & then engage in melee? or vice versa? what if I reach melee range (10ft) in the middle of my move?

The easy answer to all these (drawing from the text of the Initiative section) is:
The referee resolves all actions for the turn in whatever order [they judge to be] fair.[/url]

Again, you could backport a turn sequence from a later edition.

Or: this might a good time to turn to Delving Deeper v5, the development version, available from the downloads. There you will find a combat section with a full turn sequence, laying out the order in which movement, missile file, and melee are resolved.

Hopefully the above answers your question while also giving you an idea of how much room their is for interpretation, exploration, and imaginative rulings. In case it wasn't obvious, I've found it helpful during my own journey through these rules to try, as much as possible, to let go of my preconceptions based on years of playing later rulesets. Delving Deeper (and the rules it emulates) were really their own thing, and could be played in a variety of ways, quite different from how e.g. the Advanced game that was published a few years later was played.

There are others on this forum much more knowledgeable than I, and hopefully they too will chime in, but I hope the above is helpful to you!

Finally, If you're curious and think it would be helpful, I can put together an example of the way I adjudicate combat these days. This might or might not be of interest -- you're going to be finding your own way into these rules, and finding your own preferred way of playing. But I got a lot out of reading others adjudications back when I was starting out, even if I didn't follow their path precisely or even remotely, and I'm happy to expound further without much provocation. :D

Edit to add that you'll find many examples of various ways of running combat in the play-by-post section on this forum!
[f=32]Wiglaff the Elf, F3/MU2 (M 12", AC 9, HD 4+1, hp 14/14, N) cloak of elvenkind, battle-axe; light, colour spray (map)[/f]
[f=47]Wilibald "Willie" Whitfoot, F1/T1 (M 12", AC 6, HD 1+2, hp 9/9, L) gambeson+helm, shield+warhammer[/f]

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Post by cbarchuk » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:56 pm

Re: Movement in combat

Thanks for the wonderful explanation. I appreciate you taking the time to help me understand the overall vibe of 1974-style rules and how truly free form they are. I've been wanting to dive in for a while a now as DD is something that's been on my radar a while. As far as combat movement goes I've just been playing like it is in BX:

12" = 120'/turn (combat movement: 40')
9" = 90'/turn (combat movement: 30')
6" = 60'/turn (combat movement: 20')

I also LOVE how different the classes are compared to later editions including BX/BECMI. They are all very interesting in their own unique ways.

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Post by multiarms » Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:44 am

Re: Movement in combat

cbarchuk wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:56 pm
As far as combat movement goes I've just been playing like it is in BX:

12" = 120'/turn (combat movement: 40')
9" = 90'/turn (combat movement: 30')
6" = 60'/turn (combat movement: 20')
I believe that the movement rates in B/X are based on a 10 second combat round, whereas OD&D and AD&D assumed a 1 minute combat round.

12" combat movement in AD&D was the full 120' per round and you could still attack. I am referencing AD&D since there are not explicit rules for combat movement in OD&D.

Also, the 1" square is 10' in OD&D and AD&D, but 5' in B/X usually. So there are other differences.

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Post by waysoftheearth » Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:59 pm

Re: Movement in combat

Wonderful reply @acodispo!

FWIW, I have been doing a bunch more research around movement rates for V5.
I posted some of it in a blog post on movement rates, which may be of interest. See here:
[f=32]Golgildir the Elf Medium (MV 12", AC 9, HD 1, hp 1/1, AL N) great cloak, lantern; spells: color spray; scrolls: sleep, sleep, charm person
Hirelings: Georges; torch[/f]

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