A quick rule mod for 4th ed combats.

So, your players are taking forever to make decisions in combat because they are trying to make optimal use of their broad array of resources. I’ve seen suggestions from “build your combats differently” to “use essentials characters, they have fewer choices to make.” Now I for one like the tactical depth of the more complex characters in 4e core, and while I’m all in favor of developing combats to achieve your play style goals, I want to speed up this combat, not create a whole new combat.

One idea I’ve been batting around is sand timers.
Grab a 60 or 90 second sand timer and before your game starts. You’ll also want some sort of tokens you can hand out. I personally have a stack of poker chips I bought for gaming.

Explain to your players that you want to encourage quicker decision making in combat, and at the beginning of each character’s turn you are going to flip the timer. If they have chosen all their actions before the timer runs out, they receive a +2 on all dice rolls until their next turn. (1d20 becomes 1d20+2, 3d6 becomes 3d6+2) If they haven’t, they get a token. Any character who ends the combat without any tokens gets an action point. They can spend an action point to get the timer flipped back over if they really need more time but still want the bonus. (A player in this system can bank action points and spend more than one per round.)

This system encourages quick decision making without penalizing people for non-optimal tactical decisions without reducing the characters’s choices and without forcing them to never stop and think through a decision.

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