Let me explain: There’s a long-running debate about one-minute melee rounds vs. shorter rounds of six seconds or less. One argument for one-minute rounds, put forward by Michael Mornard (Old Geezer/Gronan from the various forums) is that each round of OD&D combat takes about a minute to resolve, so using one-minute rounds makes combat practically real-time.
Psionic combat is supposed to be fast, over in the blink of an eye. It all happens in the first round before the first physical actions are resolved. I imagine part of the reason for not using die rolls for the psionic combat exchanges was to speed it up relative to melee combat. But the system really isn’t fast enough to reflect that.
If you really want psionic combat to be that quick, it should be a one-and-done system. During character creation, instead of recording a single psionic attack strength and defense strength, record one for each attack and defense mode. When psionic combat begins, the combatants secretly pick which modes to use, then reveal their attack and defense scores and compare. Side A can have an attack score that is higher than, lower than, or tied with Side B’s defense score, and can have a defense score that is higher than, lower than, or tied with Side B’s attack score, for a total of nine outcomes:
- High/High: Side A exhausted, Side B defeated.
- High/Tied: Side A dazed, Side B defeated.
- High/Low: Both sides defeated.
- Tied/High: Side A exhausted, Side B dazed.
- Tied/Tied: Both sides dazed.
- Tied/Low: Side A defeated, Side B dazed.
- Low/High: Both sides exhausted.
- Low/Tied: Side A dazed, Side B exhausted.
- Low/Low: Side A defeated, Side B exhausted.
- An exhausted psychic can’t use psionics until they rest, but are able to take other actions, like melee combat.
- A dazed psychic can’t take any action for at least a round (perhaps there is a die roll based on attack mode?)
- A defeated psychic takes the full effect of the attack mode used against them.
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