Single Round Combat

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Many combat encounters are preludes to a final showdown and as such full fledged combat may not be desirable. For example an encounter with guards while sneaking through a city is not worth a full combat scene, while a showdown with a mad wizard moments from unleashing the full fury of the lower planes on an unsuspecting world is well worth an extended combat scene.

So for those times when full combat is not desirable I have an idea too resolve a 4e combat encounter in a single round. The intention is too speed combat and allow the story to continue.

Single Round Combat

To conclude combat in a single ‘round’.

  1. Encounter is set-up, goal for encounter is set.
  2. Opponents are described and their ‘intended outcome/objective’ are put forward. This will either be ‘committed’ or ‘probable’.
  3. Initiative is rolled
  4. Players put forward their action (with rolls), with an ‘intended outcome/objective’.
  5. Opponents actions are put forward (with rolls), with actual ‘intended outcome/objective’.
  6. Players can substitute their action if allowed.
  7. All actions are compared and resolved in order of initiative. All participants must indicate how they believe their action should be interpreted.
  8. Encounter is resolved using attack results damage and conditions.
Title Faceoff ”...Your price was high if that will console your corpse!”
Opponents Goal To kill you all The assassins have been contracted to kill you and have come prepared.
Player Goal To drive off the assasins Despite their initial bravado it is likely the assassins will break and run if they feel they are out matched or loosing
Opponents 2 soldiers, 2 skirmishers, 2 artillery The heavily armoured soldiers advance directly towards your melee defenders with the intention to engage and hold your defenders. The skirmishers shadowing them seams to be looking to flank your defenders. The archers look like they are set to target those that stray from the central melee.

All actions present the actions spanning the entire duration of the combat. This is represented by the typical actions of a single round with an additional ‘skill’ action.

Typical Round Action
1 Standard Action example, an power
1 Move Action written as objective sequence, eg. ill go there then there
1 Minor Action as per minor actions, this can include powers
Free Actions this can include a few options and what ifs
1 Skill Action this additional action allows for a use of a single skill with the aim being to affect the encounter. In some cases, such as traps, the objective may be predetermined.

Rolled by the DM. This is rolled individually for players and by monster type.

Intended Outcome/Objective

This is the stated outcome of the chosen action. Both players and opponents have an intended outcome/objective. Examples could be:

  • ‘Hold enemy in place and defeat it’.
  • ‘Defeat all these craven looking characters by quick attacks.’
  • ‘Pin down that guy over there.’
  • ‘Protect this guy from harm.’

Opponents present an initial objective, depending on whether that objective is ‘committed’ or ‘probable’ determines the likely hood of that objective changing. If it is a ‘committed objective’, such as a charge then it will not change and only the action stands to be revealed. A ‘probable objective’ could well be a ruse and may change once the players have presented their actions. Along with their actions the opponents reveal their actual objectives.

Generally, standard opponents will use at-will powers if they are presented with ‘probable objectives’.

More examples of Intended Outcomes


Along with the intended outcome is a chosen encounter power. There are a few rules concerning which one is used.

Power Types
  • At-will Powers; can be substituted for other at-will after opponent actions are put forward.
  • Encounter and Daily Powers; are fixed and cannot be changed after opponent actions are put forward.
  • Utility Powers; a basic attack/action can be added to a utility power and they can be substituted for other utility powers or basic actions.

Damage is determined normally, however once damage is determined it is rounded up to the nearest value of recipients healing surge value (quarter of max hp). If damage would take a creature to ‘bloodied’ it makes a save versus the last type of damage (fortitude default) or is defeated.

This in essence gives each player and opponent 4 hits before being defeated. Exceptions to this are minions which still take 1 hit before being defeated and elites and solo monsters. Elites do not make a save if bloodied. Solo monsters damage is rounded to half a healing surge, effectively allowing 8 hits.

Degrees of success and Status Effects

Both players and monsters may wish to achieve their objectives by describing a desired condition.

Test Scenarios

Single Round Combat

Exile Labareda