Last session we tried a new player role - combat coordinator.
I've found that in large, long combats I have a hard time keeping track of who is up next. I've been known to skip people, skip ahead when a Wait is triggered, and otherwise muck with the turn order due to distraction. That is only exacerbated by large parties and by players who don't really pay close attention to combat until it's the start of their action.
One of our players tried his hand last session at being Combat Coordinator.
The job has two basic responsibilities:
- keep track of who is up now and up next;
- track the passage of time overall for the combat.
We've had all of one combat so far, but here is what I noticed:
- overall, it's a positive. Off-loading the mental load of tracking everything related to combat - the enemies, the actions of PCs, the interaction of everything, and keep track of who is next is a great benefit to me.
- we had some trouble sorting out the role of the Combat Coordinator. All I really needed the CC to do was alert the next person to get ready and ensure we went in order. Our CC often asked what the character was doing, which isn't really necessary or helpful. That tapered off once that became clear.
- As the fight went on, even the CC started to lose track of who was next. I briefly had to step in to re-assert the order. And even the CC got confused when an enemy attacked and the PC defended, and then asked the next player - after the defender - what he was going to do.
Even with a CC, we're really hampered by players who get distracted and don't keep close attention on the fight. I get why - fights can be long. But I also don't get why - I am one of those people who can't wait for his turn, is on the edge of his seat the whole fight, and doesn't have enough time to get everything done. I've yet to wander off because I'm two people down the chain of combatants. Seeing that it's not just me slowing things down makes me think we need a "you aren't ready, you Do Nothing" or more generously "You All-Out Defend, +2 to Dodge" default for people who aren't ready.
All of that said, I like the off-load. When a small group is six players, it's helpful if it's my job to resolve things but not to manage people's attention and turn order.