I designed a character sheet for my very first 4e character to help facilitate the process of maximizing actions. It worked awesomely and helped me quickly select my actions and be effective. My table-mates, though, weren't quite as quick and bogged the game down in trying to find the combination of actions that would be most effective. It was really slow.
I am working on a hypothesis that the game would operate more quickly if actions did more reliable things. Naturally, something will always break the mold and exceptions are part of the fun of D&D, but if most actions fall into reliable routines, it might help people choose by smoothing out the selection process.
Here's the outline:
- Standard actions. This is the most important of the actions. The majority of the round's output is tied up in the standard action. It is the attack or spell or whatever that *defines* the round and it is enhanced by the other actions. Most standard actions require a check to resolve.
- Move actions. Move actions provide access and effects. By access, I mean that they often allow you to move, bringing a target into range. Effects can be a bit more broad and is stuff like providing flank, ending the Prone condition, or similar. Because move actions serve a less important function than standard actions, move actions shouldn't jeopardize standard actions.
- Minor actions. Minor actions should be declarative, but still be a source of power. Minor actions could be powers ("I use Warlock's Curse"), usages of items ("I apply Viper Venom to my blade."), interactive with the environment ("I cut the rope on the chandelier"), or interactive with characters ("I pick his pocket").
Alright, so that's the general direction I'm headed. What do you think?