Liran Sterling

2017-07-12, 09:00 PM

Okay, so I've been thinking about Initiative, especially in 5e. It sucks. It's either too complex, or too dull. There's no simple yet dynamic way of doing Initiative.

I'm running a campaign this fall and I've come up with two possibilities of changing it up. The first I call Adjacent Initiative, and is the one I will likely be using. The second I'm referring to as Reaction Speed Initiative. Tell me your thoughts on both. I think Reaction Speed Initiative is mildly unfair and would result in too many unhappy players.

Adjacent Initiative - Very similar to the default 5e Initiative system. Essentially everyone rolls initiative like normal. Then, all players who rolled "adjacent" to each other in the initiative order go together. Let's say Alice rolls a 15, Bob rolls a 13, Clint rolls a 7, and Devin rolls a 3, and Orc 1 rolls a 10, Orc 2 rolls an 8, and Orc 3 rolls a 5. Alice and Bob would go at the same time, and Alice the orc fighter chooses to throw Bob the gnome rogue directly at the orcs. Their combo attack allows Bob do deal bonus damage at the discretion of the GM. Next Orcs 1 and 2 go. They choose not to work together and instead split up and attack separate targets. Next Clint shoots a fireball at an orc, then Orc 3 attacks someone, then Devin shoots an orc with his bow. This method keeps the simplicity of the base system but encourages teamwork and creativity, which I, as a GM, will reward.

Reaction Speed Initiative - This is where things get... confusing and possibly broken and unfair. I likely won't implement it for fear of making my players hate me. Here is is. Essentially it is a time based system, not turn based. Each unit of time is equal to one unit of what I call Reaction. Instead of Initiative being based on DEX and adding to your Initiative roll, you have a new stat called your Reaction Modifier. This score is whichever is higher, your DEX modifier, or your INT modifier, representing either reflexes, or fast mental processing. Any other factors such as feats that add Initiative get added, too. Now, at the beginning of combat, you roll your d20 like normal, then SUBTRACT your Reaction Modifier from the d20 roll. This resulting number is your Reaction Speed. Each unit of Reaction Speed (14 would have 14 units) represents a unit of time that is equal to .3 seconds. 20 units equals the traditional 6 second turn. 200 units represents a minute.

If that wasn't confusing enough, let's lay it out more. The lower your Reaction Speed, the fewer units will be between your turns. This means that if someone rolls very low, they could go more than anyone else, and potentially break the game.

Let's give an example. Alice rolls a 13 Reaction Speed, Bob rolls 19, Clint rolls 5, and Devin rolls 8. The two goblins roll together and get an 11. The units and turn order would be as follows:

1, 2, 3, 4, Clint, 6, 7, Devin, 9, Clint, Goblins, 12, Alice, 14, Clint, Devin, 17, 18, Bob, 19, Clint, 21, Goblins, 23, Devin, 25, Alice, and so on.

Basically it places you in at each unit which is a multiple of your Reaction Speed. Clint took 5, 10, 15, and 20. He went FOUR times before the goblins could go twice, because their turns fell on 11 and 22.

So here's what I'm wondering. Is there a way to take my concept of Reaction Speed or Units of Time to make a more dynamic system than what is in place? What I've come up with is nonfunctional and broken. While it would likely balance out over the course of many battles, with people swapping out for the broken positions that are all numbers lower than 10, but certain, max DEX or INT characters would have a distinct advantage and everyone would resent them and which they chose Rogue or Wizard too.

So what's up GitP? Got any hot tips for me?

I'm running a campaign this fall and I've come up with two possibilities of changing it up. The first I call Adjacent Initiative, and is the one I will likely be using. The second I'm referring to as Reaction Speed Initiative. Tell me your thoughts on both. I think Reaction Speed Initiative is mildly unfair and would result in too many unhappy players.

Adjacent Initiative - Very similar to the default 5e Initiative system. Essentially everyone rolls initiative like normal. Then, all players who rolled "adjacent" to each other in the initiative order go together. Let's say Alice rolls a 15, Bob rolls a 13, Clint rolls a 7, and Devin rolls a 3, and Orc 1 rolls a 10, Orc 2 rolls an 8, and Orc 3 rolls a 5. Alice and Bob would go at the same time, and Alice the orc fighter chooses to throw Bob the gnome rogue directly at the orcs. Their combo attack allows Bob do deal bonus damage at the discretion of the GM. Next Orcs 1 and 2 go. They choose not to work together and instead split up and attack separate targets. Next Clint shoots a fireball at an orc, then Orc 3 attacks someone, then Devin shoots an orc with his bow. This method keeps the simplicity of the base system but encourages teamwork and creativity, which I, as a GM, will reward.

Reaction Speed Initiative - This is where things get... confusing and possibly broken and unfair. I likely won't implement it for fear of making my players hate me. Here is is. Essentially it is a time based system, not turn based. Each unit of time is equal to one unit of what I call Reaction. Instead of Initiative being based on DEX and adding to your Initiative roll, you have a new stat called your Reaction Modifier. This score is whichever is higher, your DEX modifier, or your INT modifier, representing either reflexes, or fast mental processing. Any other factors such as feats that add Initiative get added, too. Now, at the beginning of combat, you roll your d20 like normal, then SUBTRACT your Reaction Modifier from the d20 roll. This resulting number is your Reaction Speed. Each unit of Reaction Speed (14 would have 14 units) represents a unit of time that is equal to .3 seconds. 20 units equals the traditional 6 second turn. 200 units represents a minute.

If that wasn't confusing enough, let's lay it out more. The lower your Reaction Speed, the fewer units will be between your turns. This means that if someone rolls very low, they could go more than anyone else, and potentially break the game.

Let's give an example. Alice rolls a 13 Reaction Speed, Bob rolls 19, Clint rolls 5, and Devin rolls 8. The two goblins roll together and get an 11. The units and turn order would be as follows:

1, 2, 3, 4, Clint, 6, 7, Devin, 9, Clint, Goblins, 12, Alice, 14, Clint, Devin, 17, 18, Bob, 19, Clint, 21, Goblins, 23, Devin, 25, Alice, and so on.

Basically it places you in at each unit which is a multiple of your Reaction Speed. Clint took 5, 10, 15, and 20. He went FOUR times before the goblins could go twice, because their turns fell on 11 and 22.

So here's what I'm wondering. Is there a way to take my concept of Reaction Speed or Units of Time to make a more dynamic system than what is in place? What I've come up with is nonfunctional and broken. While it would likely balance out over the course of many battles, with people swapping out for the broken positions that are all numbers lower than 10, but certain, max DEX or INT characters would have a distinct advantage and everyone would resent them and which they chose Rogue or Wizard too.

So what's up GitP? Got any hot tips for me?