Alternate initiative rules

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Rhialto
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Alternate initiative rules

Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:19 pm

Since I am not completely comfortable with how initiative works in the core rules, I tried to write down some alternate rules based on my personal preferences.

The guiding design principles (copied from the document) were:
  • Initiative is determined per side, not individually.
  • There are no simultaneous actions.
  • If you have the initiative, you usually have the chance to strike first in melee, even if you must wait for your opponent to approach.
  • The actions that can be readied to interrupt an opponent are (mostly) limited to melee and missile attacks triggered under specific conditions.
Criticism and comments are welcome.

Edit: new version, much simplified.
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Last edited by Rhialto on Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rhialto
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Re: Alternate initiative rules

Post Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:30 pm

I thought about my first draft and made the rules much simpler.
The rules not playtested, tough.
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Rhialto
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Re: Alternate initiative rules

Post Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:40 am

And a few more changes:
  • Removed combat actions unrelated to initiative.
  • Split readying attacks into melee and missile with slightly different rules for movement in each case (fighting withdrawal + ready melee action is now possible).
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orobouros
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Re: Alternate initiative rules

Post Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:30 pm

One of the benefits of the individual-style initiatives is that a group of enemies, all else being equal, will act interspersed with the player characters. Player characters, at least a few of them, will have some opportunity to do something before the all of the enemies move on them. When fighting a single big bad monster this may not matter, but imagine a whole party of four losing initiative to a party of 10 low-level monsters. The PCs might not have a chance to escape intact at all. Sure, this can still happen with the core rules method, but it's unlikely. It's also unlikely that by luck of draw the PCs will all be able to move first and wreck the monster party. But most often combat will start off to some degree without much advantage -- traps, ambushes, etc. excluded.

But if by rule it's always either one side or the other, the battle may often come down to just that one dice roll. Of course, it really comes down to how the GM plays it all out. It could work out, and if you're playing a dungeon where combat is only a secondary or tertiary aspect over role playing and puzzle-solving, such a group-by-group initiative may speed things along.
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Rhialto
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Re: Alternate initiative rules

Post Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:58 pm

That is a good point, but I was going for simplicity first (not the least to make PBP games run faster) and tracking individual initiative is more cumbersome.
I think it will work given that group initiative is the default or at least an option in all editions of the classic game that I am aware of.
The rules are a blend of old (e.g., group initiative) and new concepts (e.g., spells are not declared in advance but a roll is required to cast in melee) that I personally like.

Also, using individual initiative for a large number of monsters vs. a small band of PCs means that it is very likely that a monster will go first.
This can be devastating to spellcasters under the core rules initiative if the monsters bother to delay their attacks.
Under the alternate rules, your chance to be preempted is usually 50 % no matter how many opponents you face.
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