In order to try and improve the speed and clarity of combat, I am going to try and implement a more strict order of action during combat turns. Hopefully this will both make turns quicker to process, and also make the action of combat clearer, allowing me to get across important information about the enemy(ies) more easily.
This order might be tweaked if, in practice, it turns out to cause issues, but in theory this order makes the most sense.
Phase 1 - Emote phase Edit
This is the "action" phase, which will happen immediately at the start of your turn. This is the most interesting (and time consuming) part of your actions. This is where you will decide how and where your characters moves, and who they attack.
The emotes will all happen before any rolls are made, and so therefore all emotes must be made as an "attempt", as you will not know your success until after. Consider it as the same process you would follow when dueling another player.
Emoting first also allows me to clarify if you need a different roll to normal, in case you choose to attack in an unusual way. When all emotes are done, I will then collect rolls.
(Note: If you can do more than one "thing" on a turn (such as Metamorphosis granting two attacks), you are not forced to move before attacking, or vice versa. You can act in any order you wish - you could move a bit, hit one enemy, then move again and hit another. If you need to make multiple rolls, however, they will still all happen after your emote, so consider that when emoting.)
Phase 2 - Rolling to hit/for success Edit
This will be a quick phase for everyone to roll a d20 and tell me their total hit roll (d20+ability modifier+proficiency modifier) so that I can react accordingly.
Once all rolls come in I will write a quick raid warning to describe how the enemies react. This will mainly be to describe attacks that miss, while indicating the attacks that do hit ready for the damage phase.
This is notably different from before where I would simply OOCly state "you hit" or "you miss." This is for two purposes. The first is to make sure people are reading the raid warnings so they don't miss information about an enemy (for example, if I describe it as looking close to death.) The second reason is to make sure that I actually write my raid warning properly and don't forget to include those important details.
Phase 3 - Damage Edit
After I have raid-warned the result of the attacks, I will ask for the players whose attacks succeeded to roll me their damage.
After rolling your damage, write a brief message in raid stating your damage and your target (for example, "10 damage to RED" or "12 damage to triangle.")
I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it makes to the speed of processing a turn when people list their damage and their target in the same message. Even though I am asking for emotes first, which will include your target, it is extremely time consuming to scroll up in the chat to re-read an emote to make sure I remembered the right target. It is much easier for you to remember and state one target each than it is for me to remember 7 or 8 different people's targets.
It is easy to forget this, so I will remind people if they forget. However if you consistently forget to include your target after repeated reminders, your attacks will start to be disregarded. I don't like to do things like that, but making sure turns flow smoothly requires participation on the players' part.
After all damage comes in, if need be I will write another short raid warning for instances where the damage number changes things (mostly if an enemy dies) in order to clarify the state of the battlefield.
Phase 4 - Reactive actions Edit
This is a phase that shouldn't need to be used often, but sometimes your decisions can be crucial and making them based upon how things pan out can be important.
Sometimes during your emote phase you might want to act differently depending what happens. In these cases, you may choose to emote with a conditional requirement, e.g. "I raise my blade towards the demon (RED) but hold for a moment, waiting to see if the others are able to strike him down."
You will then skip the phases where you roll to hit or roll damage (unless you have multiple attacks and only held some of them.)
After the damage comes in and the state of the battlefield is updated, you will then be able to react to take your action before the enemy turn kicks in. When this phase is used it will be very brief, in order to not hold up the turn for too long. Try to have an emote ready where possible, and if it isn't then just try to be ready so you can start emoting as soon as possible.
Enemy Turns Edit
Generally speaking I think enemy turns work fine as they are. I will emote an enemies action and call for defensive rolls, then roll for damage your take or any other effects depending on the result.
The only change I will make here is how to deal with people being AFK/not noticing when I call for them. In these cases, unless the attack order is extremely important, I will simply skip the attack on you and move onto the next person. Once I am done with everyone else I will call for you again, and if at this point you still do not notice I will simply assume you fail on whatever defensive roll I would have asked for.
If you are busy/distracted/need to AFK Edit
I don't want the above to sound intimidating to anyone who might need to AFK or otherwise be busy or distracted during an event. Roleplay is, after all, just a hobby we all do and it should be relaxing and not stressful. Other things in life come first.
In these cases, so long as I am made aware (I don't need to know details, just a simple "Hey I might reply a bit slow tonight" will do), I will make necessary allowances. Even so if the distractions/AFK are very extreme in some cases I may be forced to skip your turns if it is holding up the event a lot, but generally speaking most people do not mind waiting when they know in advance.
If you cannot stay for the whole event Edit
While not directly effecting turn-time, people leaving mid events does cause some disruption in terms of having to adjust planned encounters on the fly to not be too hard for less people.
Again, I do not want roleplay to ever feel like an obligation, but at the same time if you choose to come to an RP event you should do so knowing you will likely be doing so for the next few hours.
Generally speaking my events last on average about 4 hours, as this is usually how long I can DM before fatigue starts to kick in. If before you even arrive to an event you do not think you are likely to be there for at least half of it, I would prefer if you simply told me and then chose not to come.
I can understand after two or three hours sometimes people need to drop out, but when somebody shows up and then leaves after just half an hour it can be quite disruptive for the sake of your character not really achieving very much.
I would also ask that you make it clear to me at the start of an event if you expect you won't make the whole thing. Again, I do not need to know details, but a simple "I might have to drop out in a couple of hours" will suffice. This helps me plan for the long-term of an event, instead of suddenly having people leave right before a boss and having to think very quickly on how to re-balance it properly.