SlyFlourish wrote a short article about Status Effects over at his blog, and it’s good, so you should go read it. Status Effects are one of my favorite parts of the 4th Edition experience; they’re one-word, easily groked effects that happen to your character or to a bad guy. It’s a solid design element stolen from console and computer role-playing games (Final Fantasy, I’m looking at you!), and they provide a level of threat that straight-up damage simply doesn’t. Damage does not effect your character’s ability to perform. Being Dazed really does.
Part of what Mike is trying to do with his article is clean combat up, make it faster and remove some of the more frustrating aspects of Status Effects. Which is an admirable goal, no doubt. It inspired me to do something a little different with them, though, and find ways to spice combat up. Being Dazed is annoying, but mostly because it happens all the time. With a greater variety of status effects, GMs have the opportunity to throw new wrenches into the combat machine, lending some novelty to each battle.
At the beginning of your turn, choose an action.
You control that action this turn. The possessing creature controls your other actions this turn.
Obviously a variation on Dominated, Possessed simulates your character’s attempts at throwing off the shackles of the possessor. You get one action, move, minor or standard, and the rest of your turn is controlled by the possessing creature. If you run away from your comrades, you can’t attack them, but you might end up switching out your standard for a minor and running off a cliff. If you attack the bad guy, he might move you deeper into his hordes of minions. Or he might just make you drink all of your potions…
Your attacks deal zero damage.
Crippling for strikers, frustrating for defenders and inconvenient for leaders, this Weakened variant takes you out of the fight and into a support role until it goes away. Used too much, it could completely disable a party, but as an encounter power (save ends) or as a recharge (end of the monster’s next turn) pacifying enemies is a powerful survival technique.
You grant combat advantage.
On a 3 or 4, make a melee basic or ranged basic attack against the nearest ally as a standard action.
This was one of my favorite Final Fantasy status effects. It would just automatically fight for you, and it would attack someone completely at random. Sometimes it was a friend, sometimes an enemy, and it always made fights more interesting.
You cannot use Encounter or Daily powers.
It always amazes me that the good folks at Wizards miss things like this. I have to assume that they decided against something like this on purpose, or they wanted to make it into a power or something. It’s a simple, elegant design that works well on an “until end of monster’s next turn,” or “save ends” ability, effectively conveys that a character has forgotten something important, and keeps the character involved in combat without hurting their ability to move or act in any way.
Also, go read Mike’s article for interesting ways to exchange Status Effects for stuff that sucks just as bad, but doesn’t fuck with your game.