I'm currently running a Vampire chronicle and a Savage Worlds campaign. It wasn't until I played SW, and saw how fast and exciting combat is, that it really nailed home how dreadfully slow Storyteller combat is. Now, in Vampire I don't mind this so much, because I'm not running an action oriented game. We have maybe one fight every three or four sessions, and the fact that combat takes so damned long just helps deter it to me.
However, in Orpheus I can see myself running a much more action oriented chronicle, especialy after Crusade of Ashes starts. PCs on the run, shootouts with enemy mercs and feds, desperate fights with legions of angry spectres, that's the sort of thing I want to do in my Orpheus game. Sort of a 28 Days Later meets Aliens meets Pitch Black meets all those other movies Orpheus mentions.
So my question to you is, how the heck do I speed up Storyteller combat? I thought for half a second of converting everything over to Savage Worlds, but that would probably be more time rewriting everything than I'd save in game. I thought about perhaps converting over to Unisystem, which would be considerably less work than going to Savage Worlds, but might change the flavor of the game too much. Plus I don't actually own Buffy, and I doubt my buddy wants to loan it to me indefinately.
I thought about coming up with something like they mentioned for WoD 2.0, where your attack and damage roll are one roll, and perhaps your soak roll is automatic.
With the help of a few people elsewhere online, I've got a few ideas for what I might do:
Initiative - I like ditching Declaration phase. To make up for this though, I'd allow high iniative people to hold their action to later, interrupting someone else's action with a contested Wits roll. (this is how Savage Worlds does it)
Attack = roll as normal. Instead of every suxx over the first adding to your damage pool, every other success adds 1 Health Level of damage.
Damage = Static number, based on half the weapon's listed damage, round up.
Soak = Static number, based on half Stamina + Armor + Kewl Powerz, round up.
Optional Rule: (Well ok, all these rules are optional, but you know)
Additionally, PCs can spend 1 Willpower Point to attempt a Soak Roll, if they really need it. The freebie soaks wount count as automatic successes on this roll.
Alternately, have every success add 1 Heath level of damage, as well as Damage and Soak not being halved, and give all characters double the amount of Health Levels.
Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.