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Originally, every action had a cost in the number of (phases) it took to perform. This was kinda weird, because the action took place immediately, and then there was a delay in the number of phases the character would be delayed before taking their next action. The game proceeded by advancing phases. On most phases, nobody acted, and it would skip to the next phase. For example, let's say Dirk has an action on phase 10. He swings his word, which took ten phases. The attack fires immediately, but his next action would occur on phase 20, allowing everyone else with an action between phases 10 and 20 to act.
Weapons had speed factors, which could be modified by certain feats and spells. So while a sword might have a speed of 10 causing a 10-phase delay a dagger might have a speed of 7 and have only a 7 phase delay.
While that's a fairly workable system, it had a lot of problems and inconsistencies within my approach. How about spell durations? Should they also be phases? Those can be kind of big and confusing numbers. What about non-combat actions? How much time do they take? Weapon and action speeds especially combined with abilities and spells that sped your actions were very hard to balance. The stiletto, a very fast weapon, was either the best weapon in the game, or was absolutely useless against an armored opponent, as the damage rating had to be cranked way back to make up for its speed. And then there was the whole weirdness of a slow action taking place immediately but causing a big delay before the next action.