Gotta chill myself. I have a great response that I will save for now.
Just one clarification. I am not seeking a change per se, though I do now understand that this is a change from the pov of those that came before. I am approaching this thing with the thought that this is the way it should have been all along, and am perplexed why it is not. I know little about Valarian, and would think a good hoplite should be like this already. So it alters nothing of what I percieve of him.
Also, I am not trying to force a HR. I honestly think this is RAW. For reals. It has only been a short time since any other interpretation has been presented to me. So really, this is new territory to me. This is what I have been doing all along, for years and years, in several games run by others. Never has anyone batted an eyelash.
Keep in mind, from my experience, this rarely comes up or makes much of a difference. I understand your rabbbit hole. All I can say to that is it is not as big an impact as you are worried about. From my experiences anyway.
Backbto Valerian. I devised a way to beat him that has nothing to do with speed or initiative. I have a cunning plan . But I am playing my cards close to my chest for now. Just like my cunning Dimicatio strategy .
Basically, to show you the corner of one card' I have been paying close attention to what you say we can and cannot do. That means my advesary has the same limits, limits I can use to my advantage. And your list of "can-do" gave me an idea I never before considered.
So screw Valerian, screw Dimicatio, and all that jazz. I know how to triumph anyway.
My real remaining concern is action sequences in future stories that have nothing to do with either one. I like combat and action sequences, plaing this magus or any other. I do not like playing lab rats or political characters. I enjoy being an SG for such characters, just not as a player. I also like Mastered spells. I am a spell-mastery junkie, and think this is the single greatest innovation of ArM5. Not a fan of sponts. They confuse new players and inhibits acclimation to the game. For old hands like us, they do not slow things down. But there is a minority midset out there that sponts are somehow superior than Formula spells. I have the opposite view.
As for complicated PbP combat, I can help with that. I am the only guy I know of that could make ArM4 combat exciting and fun .
Perhaps I could run an action scenario for you? Not involving Roberto. Someone else in someplace else. Not to show off or say I am better. I actually suck. But I have developed instinctive techniques for efficiently managing combat and action.
One last thing. I myself also tend to flesh out my advisarial NPC's as full characters. And I give them every advantage players have. IMO, players still have the advantage, forbthey are many minds each focused on an individual. I am but one mind distracted by multiple characters.