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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    I mean, I get why say rogues are fast and dexterous so they tend to go first. But usually the tank should go first to draw fire and attention. Yet they usually have the lowest initiative except for dex tanks. Just thinking about giving all tank like classes free imp initiative.

    Now of course its good for rogues to go first for SA, but often I find myself having the monsters go just after me, which leaves me in a precarious condition.

    It just seems like there should be a better way to do initiative. Like the slowest goes first, and the fastest gets to decide how to react to the situation. I dunno.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Initiative makes perfect sense. High-dex characters, with their good reflexes, react fastest to situations and go first.

    It may not be Optimal for every strategy, for example a Wizard might want to go first, to hit the enemies with an AOE before the Meleers charge in, but that doesn't explain why the wizard goes before the guy who is fast enough to dodge fireballs.

    Your logic could be used to justify, say, removing the movement penalties for heavy armor, because it's better for the people who wear it to move faster.

    It could be used to let rouges SA on foes who still have their dex bonus, because you want to apply SA to every attack.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    You could delay your action. Wait until the tank does his thing and then go for the kill, though then you would get stuck in that order.
    Last edited by NeutralAwesome; 2011-01-28 at 01:59 PM.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    It just seems like there should be a better way to do initiative. Like the slowest goes first, and the fastest gets to decide how to react to the situation. I dunno.
    There are a few systems that do it that way, yes. This has the result of slowing down gameplay even more than initiative already does.

    If you think init doesn't make sense, I recommend playing without it.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    But how would the tank in big shiny armor draw fire if the foes are intelligent, and if his tanking ability is to keep foes from reaching his allies then all he has to do is march in front before the fight. The rogue needs to go early to get sneak attacks, and can stay safe in round 1 with a bow.

    For that matter improved initiative is a pretty lousy feat for melee. Going 1/4 to 1/2 a round early in a 5 round fight doesn't really help all that much compared to the damage, AB and etc. you get from other feats available. Heck in D&D you need to play crusader or such to be a real tank; otherwise most classes can protect themselves pretty well or even sitting behind the melee buys you a round and an attack of opportunity before foes reach you.

    I mean:
    wizard: billion defensive spells and crowd control spells to reduce damage, and can do this at range behind the melee
    cleric: is also heavily armored melee
    rogue: Quite fragile but can fight at range, tumble away when hurt, or use many sneak attack triggers as defense as well. Also if they're melee a tank can't help them anyway.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2011-01-28 at 02:10 PM.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by NeutralAwesome View Post
    You could delay your action. Wait until the tank does his thing and then go for the kill, though then you would get stuck in that order.
    This. If you are worried about initiative rolls messing up your strategy, then delay actions. If the enemies mess up your delayed strategy, that's what they are supposed to do.

    Just because the rogue was the first one to realize what is going on and react to it does not mean he has to visibly act right away. If he is in no danger it would make perfect sense to wait for more favorable conditions.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Just because you can go first doesn't mean you must go first, you can just wait for the tanks to move and then make your move.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Sometimes you can get your DM to go along with some fluff that helps the tank out here. If the tank is an ex-soldier or has any kind of positive Wisdom modifier I'd roleplay it as walking point in a very alert way--maybe a listen/spot/perception check means the tank gets an action in the surprise round, which would at least allow them to get into position.

    It isn't really a mechanical solution by any means, but if your DM digs on fluff it can be fun--and if you don't remember to RP it, well, way to stop being alert, tank!

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    I guess it feels weird is all. It should feel like you're working as one cohesive team. But instead it feels more like you take turns dueling the monsters.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    I guess it feels weird is all. It should feel like you're working as one cohesive team. But instead it feels more like you take turns dueling the monsters.
    That's a problem with the players and/or the DM IMO. The group I am playing with now actually has strategies and battle plans, and roughly sticks to them.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    I guess it feels weird is all. It should feel like you're working as one cohesive team. But instead it feels more like you take turns dueling the monsters.
    Like Choco said, develop party tactics that you can implement regardless of the party's relative order. This may mean that a lot of people are taking delay actions in the first round, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    If you want to see this idea play out, have someone play a focused transmuter and/or have the cleric/druid memorize primarily buff spells for a couple of sessions. This will provide a vivid demonstration of the value of planning as a team.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    But how would the tank in big shiny armor draw fire if the foes are intelligent, and if his tanking ability is to keep foes from reaching his allies then all he has to do is march in front before the fight. The rogue needs to go early to get sneak attacks, and can stay safe in round 1 with a bow.

    For that matter improved initiative is a pretty lousy feat for melee. Going 1/4 to 1/2 a round early in a 5 round fight doesn't really help all that much compared to the damage, AB and etc. you get from other feats available. Heck in D&D you need to play crusader or such to be a real tank; otherwise most classes can protect themselves pretty well or even sitting behind the melee buys you a round and an attack of opportunity before foes reach you.

    I mean:
    wizard: billion defensive spells and crowd control spells to reduce damage, and can do this at range behind the melee
    cleric: is also heavily armored melee
    rogue: Quite fragile but can fight at range, tumble away when hurt, or use many sneak attack triggers as defense as well. Also if they're melee a tank can't help them anyway.
    That is a standard problem in 3e for tanks in that there are very few abilities out there that compels enemies to attack you. Heck even if the tank goes first why should the enemy attack you anyway? Unless you are a lockdown build or you have similar incentives enemies can just ignore you and it is probably a better choice since spellcasters are more dangerous and are better targets from any group that follows orders or have even average levels of intelligence.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Initiative is designed to create a structure that mimics what a "real" battle would like like given the constraints of a turn based gaming system. It is a game mechanic meant to logically construct the battle atmosphere. It is not the responsibility of the structure to conform to your party's optimal strategic advantage.

    Work in the initiative order to your best advantage. If you don't want to get tied up in melee before the fighter gets out there, walk with an armed crossbow in hand. If the monster is flat footed and within 30', you still get a sneak attack without moving yourself to be surrounded. Even if they're not flat-footed, you still get an attack before they move up on you. Drop the crossbow after your shot and draw your melee weapon. Who cares if it gets broken or lost, they're not that expensive.

    Furthermore, you can move somewhere with cover and hide. You could pull out a tanglefoot bag and toss one at a spell caster. You could ready a shot with your crossbow for when a spell caster starts to cast to disrupt their spell. This is just to say that there are other things that you can be doing while waiting for the tanks to move ahead of you. This in addition to delaying your action to follow your melee fighters, as has already been mentioned.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    I mean, I get why say rogues are fast and dexterous so they tend to go first. But usually the tank should go first to draw fire and attention. Yet they usually have the lowest initiative except for dex tanks. Just thinking about giving all tank like classes free imp initiative.

    Now of course its good for rogues to go first for SA, but often I find myself having the monsters go just after me, which leaves me in a precarious condition.

    It just seems like there should be a better way to do initiative. Like the slowest goes first, and the fastest gets to decide how to react to the situation. I dunno.
    Remember that tanks and tanking are relatively new terms. I'm not sure if the fighting men from older editions had a tanking role, but I think not. D&D 3.5 is not really build around the concept of tanking, but you're free to create some house rules. Whatever makes your game more enjoyable.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    I guess it feels weird is all. It should feel like you're working as one cohesive team. But instead it feels more like you take turns dueling the monsters.
    There's a cool article about that here. The author suggests that after the first round of combat, the DM ask the players collectively "what do you do" rather than asking one player at a time in initiative order. He makes a strong argument for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    Remember that tanks and tanking are relatively new terms. I'm not sure if the fighting men from older editions had a tanking role, but I think not.
    They tanked, just not by AoO-tripping or taunting or marking. It was a lot easier to force enemies to attack you when D&D happened in dungeons and you were the one blocking the doorway.
    Last edited by stainboy; 2011-01-28 at 03:45 PM.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    The issue and probably cause of weirdness is, how does a game system handle simultaneous actions? In a "real" melee, people are changing what they're doing second by second, or less, based on what everybody else is doing, who change what they're doing based on ... and so on. There's no easy way to do that in a game system without bogging it down horrendously.

    In 3.5 a turn is 6 seconds. Everybody is theoretically performing actions in those 6 seconds at the same time. But you have to break reality at some point and let them go one at a time. At that point, it's ruled that the more dexterous people have a slight advantage thus the dex modifier on the roll. Does it accurately portray reality? No, but then neither does a 10' x 10' x 10' cube of clear goo oozing its way down a corridor slurping up organics.

    If you want the tank to go first to draw fire then, if you know a battle is forthcoming, let him lead the way, everybody else holding back far enough that they're considered out of the battle to the point of not rolling init yet or they all hold their actions. Although the whole "tank" concept is alien to me, and my players. (Even if I played Eve-Online for years and used that tactic in group NPC runs.) We tend to focus attention to where it needs to be. Yes that fighter decked out with the best armor and HP buffing and standing out front shouting "look at me!" is a tempting target, but that sorcerer in the back is the clear and present danger and typically gets the attention.

    Now back in my 2e days I used the optional rule that if you rolled the same as somebody else, then it was simultaneous actions. That lead to interesting stuff like double kills. I.E. the fighter and orc have the same init and both attack and kill each other. I've toyed with bringing that into play in 3.5.

    The only system I've played that tried to pulled off simultaneous actions is Star Fleet Battles where a turn is divided into 32 sub-turns called impulses. A ship's movement is divided by 32 and can move only 1 hex on the appropriate impulse. Faster moving ships thus get to move more frequently. The player can fire whenever the enemy is in range. (Leading to unfortunate "me too" firings.) This, along with other stuff, also leads SFB to being termed the Tax Forms in Space game. It also was maddeningly slow too, especially if there were more than 3 or 4 ships/players involved.

    ... umm, I'm not sure this post had a point to it ...

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    Remember that tanks and tanking are relatively new terms. I'm not sure if the fighting men from older editions had a tanking role, but I think not. D&D 3.5 is not really build around the concept of tanking, but you're free to create some house rules. Whatever makes your game more enjoyable.
    Previous editions did have warriors tanking as in warriors were supposed to get in the monster's faces and prevent them from getting to your spellcasters in the back. The old players handbooks had good examples of that in a combat with trolls and orcs. The way it worked then was an assumed '"f I am in melee with a warrior I would stay in combat with him until I retreat or die". That was essentially the only mechanic at work. 3e suffers from the same problem but for some reason it comes up more. Perhaps it is the extra emphasis on tactical movement and opportunity attacks and the like but it does seem to come up more in 3e.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
    The issue and probably cause of weirdness is, how does a game system handle simultaneous actions? In a "real" melee, people are changing what they're doing second by second, or less, based on what everybody else is doing, who change what they're doing based on ... and so on. There's no easy way to do that in a game system without bogging it down horrendously.
    Plenty of game systems handle simultaneous actions just fine, with varying levels of crunch. In the case of Burning Wheel, everyone scripts 3 sub rounds of very small actions, then plays them out against each other. This prevents one person from reacting to the next, to the next, and so forth, instead having everyone reacting to each other. One can change the script mid round, but the character hesitates as they work through the new tactics. Its simple, its elegant, and the only reason its rules heavy is because there are a lot of very specific actions, all of which have interactions between them. Its still lighter than D&D if spells get brought in. On the lighter side, Fudge handles this by having everyone plan actions and if they are fighting stances (general tactics that model how cautious the character is being), then has opposed rolls. One then reads the rolls of everyone fighting each other, and determines who hits how hard. If people are, overall, fighting cautiously it may well be nobody is hit. If people are, overall, fighting aggressively, it may well be everyone is hit, all of them for a significant injury.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2011-01-28 at 03:57 PM.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Right, but it seems to me like fast reacting characters,should actually go last, after everyone has declared what they're doing, so they can do the most effective action. Or perhaps any order they want. Granted that takes longer to do initiative. But perhaps highest initiative gets an extra standard action to represent this. Only usuable after at least one person has gone.


    I know you don't *have* to go first if you role first initiative but it usually means your less effective if you hold.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    Right, but it seems to me like fast reacting characters,should actually go last, after everyone has declared what they're doing, so they can do the most effective action. Or perhaps any order they want. Granted that takes longer to do initiative. But perhaps highest initiative gets an extra standard action to represent this. Only usuable after at least one person has gone.
    The flat footed mechanics give an advantage to simply going first, as makes sense. If you are the first to react, then you should be the first to act, as you don't get an opportunity much better than an opponent who still hasn't registered the fact that combat is on. To take the example of a spagetti western pistol duel, whoever reacts first gets off the first shot, and have already won.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tankadin View Post
    Sometimes you can get your DM to go along with some fluff that helps the tank out here. If the tank is an ex-soldier or has any kind of positive Wisdom modifier I'd roleplay it as walking point in a very alert way--maybe a listen/spot/perception check means the tank gets an action in the surprise round, which would at least allow them to get into position.

    It isn't really a mechanical solution by any means, but if your DM digs on fluff it can be fun--and if you don't remember to RP it, well, way to stop being alert, tank!
    That's already built into the rules. High Wis means higher Spot/Listen mods which means more likely to ambush foes or not be ambushed. IIRC the DMG even has a blurb about using perception to determine encounter starting distance and possible surprise rounds.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    The thing is, intiative doesn't entirely favour those with high dex. Even with a decent dex bonus and a feat like improved initiative, you still have to roll a d20 to determine who moves in what order. Having +8 to initiative won't help if you roll a 1.

    I do think the 2nd edition system was a bit better. IIRC you rolled a d10 each round, then added the initiative value of your action. A fast action like stabbing with a dagger would likely go before a wizard getting off a fireball spell for example. Initiative was rolled before every round of combat which made things more tactical as you might switch to a quick weapon hoping to stab an enemy spellcaster before they can get a spell off.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Ah yes, was that the edition where walking around holding a dagger makes you faster?

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    It still just seems....odd. I can't explain it but there feels like there's an inherent problem with the way we think of as iniatiative.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Edited*
    Quote Originally Posted by randomhero00 View Post
    It still just seems....odd. I can't explain it but there feels like there's an inherent problem with the way we think of as iniatiative.
    I think the problem is your still focused on turns.

    its not representing your readyness or your willingness to act first.

    it represents that in that split second when everyone realized **** was going down, that character was first to react.

    in real combat that person might stutter and fall on their ass. they might freak and scream, they might draw there weapon and shout a warning. they might look for more enemies in case its an ambush, they might (as is the case with experienced adventuerers) react immediately and choose to attack the foe or protect an ally.

    either way, that represents only 6 seconds. 6 seconds can definately be long enough to run 30 feet and attack at the end of that, but its still only 6 seconds. if you look at any fight scene in movies often the first 1-3 or more rounds are wasted with characters moving into position, telling each other to run, reloading. finding cover. ect. Heck, i kinda hate how everyone in DnD is fight or die. i was proud of myself when some hobgoblins decided to run for it when they realized half their group was killed. in said real or movie situation while the main characters are wasting their rounds making sure they arent in a deadly situation (such as by finding cover) so are the "monsters" a guard might fire his shots first, but as soon as the "PCs" fire back hes gunna run or take cover. he's not going to run into a group of PCs and start meleeing the first one he comes across.

    you got to remember, no one takes turns going first. rounds represents 6 seconds. So if the fighter and rogue run up to an enemy and attack it. its not "The fighter runs up and hits him, then the rogue runs behind him and backstabs him" its "The fighter and rogue run up to him, the fighter gets there first and attacks and the rogue gets there a half second later and backstabs him"

    all of combat is going in at the same time. however because stuff like getting stabbed in the chest, or having a wall manifest in front of you, hinders people who react a second slower, then the whole "turns" thing is applicable.

    So a rogue who wins initiative doesnt magically stay at the top of the turn. after the last guy goes initiative doesnt matter exept for what order turns are done. the rogue still goes after the slowest guy. thats cus turns are all happing at the same time. a rogue spends 6 seconds doing this, and the slow guy does 6 seconds doing that. a rogue doesnt magically start at the front of a turn based system. everything happens at the same time, but the rogue started a split second earlier so everything he does resolves first.

    really initiative only matters in the first round of combat.

    If you wanted a more "realistic" way of doing things you could have each round represent 3 seconds and everyone only gets on action. this would be more realistic and representative because the rogue might run up to an enemy, and as he runs up there he realizes its a bad idea (cus maybe the enemy manifested tenticals out of his face as his first action)

    So while in the current system the rogue runs up and backstabs him, then the badguy manifests tentacle-face defensively and attacks with it; you would have the rogue run up to the enemy, then tentacle-face is cast, then the rogue runs away and tentacle-face hits the fighter (instead of possibly the rogue)

    --------------------

    Either way, anytime you decide to turn real life mechanics into a game you are going to lose some form of realism. and when it comes to fairness, alot of realism is lost. if your group was fine with it, you could play the game 100% with no stats whatsoever and keep it all based on your judgment and own sense of fairness and sensibility. but most people (if anyone) can do that . so thus we have a game with rules for most situations.
    Last edited by Cerlis; 2011-01-30 at 05:09 PM.
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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by ffone View Post
    Ah yes, was that the edition where walking around holding a dagger makes you faster?
    Define faster. I don't think it changed your movement speed, but you could potentially act earlier as a dagger was a faster weapon to use than a broadsword for example.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by ffone View Post
    Ah yes, was that the edition where walking around holding a dagger makes you faster?
    Wasn't initiative determined by the action you took in 2e? So yes a dagger was faster if you used it but if you wanted to do something that did not use the dagger then it did not help you. So if I cast a spell the casting time determined my initiative not the dagger I held in my hand.

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    Define faster. I don't think it changed your movement speed, but you could potentially act earlier as a dagger was a faster weapon to use than a broadsword for example.
    yeah the speeds dont really match up logically. You'd have:
    combat experience (so you don't lose time freaking out at all)
    weapon speed
    reflex speed
    thought speed (analyzing and then acting)
    and move speed
    And probably one or two more...

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    Define faster. I don't think it changed your movement speed, but you could potentially act earlier as a dagger was a faster weapon to use than a broadsword for example.
    Which doesn't make actual sense if you start outside of melee combat range. All other factors being equal, the guy with the broadsword/halberd/two-hander is going to get to swing before dagger-guy.

    I vaguely recall early D&D running initiative differently; I think there was a missile-fire phase that explicitly went before melee combat, for example.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Swordguy's Avatar

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    Default Re: initiative, kind of doesn't make sense...

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    Define faster. I don't think it changed your movement speed, but you could potentially act earlier as a dagger was a faster weapon to use than a broadsword for example.
    You could act faster when using a dagger...as long as you were actually ATTACKING with the dagger, not just casting a spell.

    The old trick people tried to use was that a Wizard, with a dagger with a low weapon speed, could apply that weapon speed to his initiative during a round in which he was casting a spell.

    What was actually supposed to happen was that everybody declared their actions for the upcoming round, and then rolled init to determine in what order the actions resolved. So if you declared you were casting a spell, you couldn't apply the dagger's weapon speed modifier to your initiative - you had to apply the "casting a spell" modifier.
    Last edited by Swordguy; 2011-01-30 at 05:10 PM.
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    Thus, knowing none of us are Sun Tzu or Napoleon or Julius Caesar...
    No, but Swordguy appears to have studied people who are. And took notes.
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