Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 32
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Improving Initiative (updated)

    For the purposes of this discussion, assume that the order of initiative does not have any affect on class balance. (or that the classes are more balanced in general)

    In the RAW, Initiative is basically just a Dexterity check, which is good for some classes and less helpful for others. It also means that some very combat-oriented classes might fall behind, and the Improved Intiative feat is one of several that doesn't scale very well (confession time, I like things that scale).

    So I am proposing a new system for calculating an initiative bonus.

    Updates: After discussing the varius pros and cons, I now have several very different versions of the rules and feats. I would use any in a game over the RAW. Please feel free to PEACH as much as you like.


    Option A
    The new total Iniative bonus is equal to one half the character's BAB (rounded down) plus Dexterity modifier plus Wisdom modifier.
    Also written as: (0.5 x BAB)+Wis+Dex

    Further explanation- a character or monster's BAB represents their basic level of combat proficiency, and initiative is almost entirely about combat (I made it one half BAB so that the bonus does not entirely eclipse the actual roll at higher levels).
    The Wisdom modifier represents how aware a character is of their surroundings, and Dexterity modifier represents how quickly you can react (not much change there).


    Option B (inspired by Der DWSage's comments on creature-type)
    All characters recieve a bonus to their iniative roll based on their class and level instead of their dexterity score.

    Table: Initiative Bonus Progressions
    Level Poor Average Best
    1st +0 +1 +2
    2nd +0 +1 +3
    3rd +1 +2 +3
    4th +1 +2 +4
    5th +1 +3 +4
    6th +2 +3 +5
    7th +2 +3 +5
    8th +2 +4 +6
    9th +3 +4 +6
    10th +3 +5 +7
    11th +3 +5 +7
    12th +4 +5 +8
    13th +4 +6 +8
    14th +4 +6 +9
    15th +5 +7 +9
    16th +5 +7 +10
    17th +5 +7 +10
    18th +6 +8 +11
    19th +6 +8 +11
    20th +6 +9 +12

    The formula for calculating the bonus is as follows:
    Poor- 0+level/3
    Average- 1+level/2.5
    Best- 2+level/2

    Class levels stack to determine iniative, and you only gain the flat +X part of the formula once, from the class which has the best iniative bonus.

    I have listed suggested Iniative progressions for some of the most common classes here.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Poor
    Beguiler (PHBII)
    Druid
    Shugenja (CDiv)
    Sorcerer
    Spellthief (CAd)
    Spirit Shaman (CDiv)
    Wizard
    Wu Jen (CArc)

    Average
    Bard
    Cleric
    Dragon Shaman (PHBII)
    Ninja (CAd)
    Ranger
    Rogue
    Scout (CAd)
    Warlock (CArc)
    Duskblade (PHBII)

    Best
    Barbarian
    Favored Soul (CDiv)
    Fighter
    Hexblade (CWar)
    Knight (PHBII)
    Monk
    Paladin
    Samurai (CWar)
    Swashbuckler (CWar)
    Warmage (CArc)


    Examples:
    1. A character with 10 levels of Fighter would have an Iniative bonus equal to 2+(10/2)=2+5=7 , or a +7 bonus
    2. A character with 10 levels of Wizard would have an Iniative bonus equal to 0+(10/3)=0+3.3333=3.3333 , bonus rounded to +3
    3. A character with 5 levels of Fighter and 5 levels of Wizard would have an Iniative bonus equal to 2+(5/2)+(5/3)=2+2.5+1.6667=2+2+1=5 , rounding down the numbers to +5
    4. A character with 5 levels of Fighter and 5 levels of Barbarian would have an Iniative bonus equal to 2+(5/2)+(5/2)=2+(10/2)=7 , +7 bonus, NOT +8 which is the number you would get if you simply doubled the best progression at 5th level



    Creatures without class levels instead recieve a bonus based on their CR and creature-type.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Type Progression
    Aberration Average
    Animal Average
    Construct Poor
    Dragon Best
    Elemental (Air) Best
    Elemental (Earth) Poor
    Elemental (Fire) Average
    Elemental (Water) Average
    Fey Average
    Giant Poor
    Humanoid Average
    Magical Beast Best
    Monstrous Humanoid Best
    Ooze Poor
    Outsider Best
    Plant Poor
    Undead Poor
    Vermin Average


    Feats
    Here are a few alternatives; pick the one that you think will work best for your game.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Improved Initiative [General]
    Benefit: You gain a bonus on initiative checks dependent upon your ECL or CR, according to the following chart.

    ECL/CR Bonus
    <1 +2
    1-6 +3
    7-12 +4
    13-18 +5
    19-24 +6

    Spoiler
    Show
    As I mentioned, I like things that scale, but please let me know if you feel this is unbalanced.

    Also, I intentionally left off the "fighter bonus feat" part. I feel that this feat would be good for almost any character, and that is does not feel like the fighter should gain any special benefit as compared to other classes.


    Improved Initiative [General]
    Benefit: You gain a +3 bonus on initiative checks.

    Special: You can take this feat more than once; the bonus stacks an additional +3 each time.


    Improved Initiative [General] (suggested by Amechra)
    Benefit: When you roll for Iniative, roll two d20 instead of 1. You may take any action you could normally take during either turn in the Iniative Order

    You still only have 1 round's worth of actions to use.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2015-01-12 at 04:51 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lohj's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Okay, that actually looks pretty well rounded. My only issue with it is that it will take a little scaling for that monsters that have this feat.
    I am an Oxymoron. Calm, cheery, deadly, furious.


  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Definitely a step in the right direction; the only question is whether it's too much or too little or needs a bit of tweaking.

    Also, I'm wary of any check that gets bonuses from two different ability scores.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Lohj View Post
    Okay, that actually looks pretty well rounded. My only issue with it is that it will take a little scaling for that monsters that have this feat.
    I'm not exactly certain what you mean.
    I was intending that ECL would be for PC's and other humanoids, and CR is for any monsters with this feat. My problem with using HD is that a large number of non-humanoid creatures get their HD turned up so that they can survive more than a single round when outnumbered 4-to-1.
    Theoretically, a 10th level wizard, a 10th level fighter, and a CR10 dragon should all be about equally powerful. (yes, I know one of these does not fit just roll with it) So I tried to design a feat that would give equal benefit to all of them by avoiding BAB or HD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Definitely a step in the right direction; the only question is whether it's too much or too little or needs a bit of tweaking.

    Also, I'm wary of any check that gets bonuses from two different ability scores.
    Yes, I admit that there is some potential for a class like the Ranger (with spellcasting, decent BAB, and favoring ranged combat) to get his bonus unusally high.
    Assuming, however, that we aren't playing at such a level of rocket tag that going first in initiative order is a guaranteed win, I don't really have a problem with that.
    The only other alternative I could see would be something like: Iniative bonus is equal to BAB OR Dex+Wis, whichever is higher. That would basically say your reaction time is effectively dependent upon either your natural strengths, or your combat expertise.

    I doubt I would switch to something like that though, unless some one was able to convince me that my method was very broken.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-10 at 04:22 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    I say leave it as Dex+Wis+Bonus.

    Wisdom and dexterity make sense since they give your reaction time. BAB might not be the case though. A rogue seems to be more likely to react quickly than an archer, yet he will have less BAB. A slow moving giant with lots of HD will have a high BAB, but the intend was not to make it react quickly. If you want a bonus then just keep it through a scalable improved initiative that can be based on BAB. Then the giant won't have it and a fighter type can still get a higher bonus than a non-fighter type with the feat.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ashtagon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    I think scaling this feat is a mistake.

    At it's core, any flat bonus is actually a multiplier on overall power, which is something few people seem to grasp. By making the size of that multiplier increase with power, you are giving a bigger multiplier to those who least need it.

    Generally, flat bonuses are rather boring anyway. What is needed are ways to actively use the feats characters have, rather than just giving bonuses that, at any given point in a character's career, are flat.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Der_DWSage's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Waargh! View Post
    I say leave it as Dex+Wis+Bonus.

    Wisdom and dexterity make sense since they give your reaction time. BAB might not be the case though. A rogue seems to be more likely to react quickly than an archer, yet he will have less BAB. A slow moving giant with lots of HD will have a high BAB, but the intend was not to make it react quickly. If you want a bonus then just keep it through a scalable improved initiative that can be based on BAB. Then the giant won't have it and a fighter type can still get a higher bonus than a non-fighter type with the feat.
    The man brings up a good point, and I also like things that scale. I also like simple things, so I'm loathe to add this in, but...

    Perhaps a clause that says anything with Sneak Attack or Flurry of Blows type class features add their class level, rather than BAB? Thus the speedy speedy quick classes that tend to focus in Dex anyway are likely to go first.

    And if you want to be truly mean, add in Armor Check Penalties, so the Fighter finally has a reason to care about them, and to further skew things in the favor of quick, speedy classes actually going first.

    So far as monsters go...hm. Perhaps it'd go easier if I list my recommendations in order.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Animal:HD rather than BAB.
    Elemental:Air:HD
    Elemental:Fire or Water:Normal
    Elemental:Earth:Penalty equal to 1/4 their HD (Effectively putting them even with those that have 1/2 BAB)
    Constructs:Penalty equal to 1/4 their HD
    Fey:HD rather than BAB
    Giant:Penalty equal to 1/4 their HD.
    Medium Monstrous Humanoids:Penalty equal to 1/4 their HD. (Ignore for class levels.)
    Plant:Penalty equal to 1/4 their HD.
    Vermin:HD rather than BAB.


    At least, that's the ones I can think of without going crazy. I'm not going to break down every template, every subtype, every half-dragon/celestial/demon/aberration/Illithid/Human/Halfling/Pie that's out there, but...this seems to be fair. Slow races and classes should go last more often than not.

    It also amuses me that with this, Mages that are so used to going first will suddenly find themselves playing Rocket Tag with the Monk that just got next to them...

    But yeah. Kudos for the idea, mate.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    I think scaling this feat is a mistake.

    At it's core, any flat bonus is actually a multiplier on overall power, which is something few people seem to grasp.
    I think I understand what you are saying; it boils down to something like: going first at level 20 is more powerful than going first at level 1, because you have more powerful abilities at level 20.

    I admit that I had not thought of it that way before, and there's probably some truth to it. Overall, however, I think that the there are other constraints that the game builds into play as you level up.

    Also, as you increase various modifiers, the relative effect of a single unchanging bonus is something that most players would see as becoming less important overall. IMO, a well-designed feat is one that both level 1 and level 20 characters would consider taking, and that the relative benefit it provides should be reasonably similar. In this case, imagine two characters that are exactly the same except for one having the feat and one not. My design preference is that the character with the feat should see a similar benefit to how often it improves his order in a round whether at low or high level.
    In order to accomplish that, the feat needs to scale. Otherewise you end up with the low-end benefit being to high, or more commonly the high-end benefit being to low.

    I would offer the same reasoning for improving another often-ignored group of the feats, the various +Will, +Reflex, +Fort saves. IMO, a character with the trait of an "Iron Will" should have a sizable bonus to shrugging off Will-related effects at levels 1, 10, 15, and 20. The options are either letting you take the feat multiple times and have it stack, or have it just scale once. I think it's more fun for players to just need to take the feat once, so I pick the latter option.

    If you can convince me that my alterations would be game-breaking in some manner I will reconsider, but so far my opinion is unchanged.

    By making the size of that multiplier increase with power, you are giving a bigger multiplier to those who least need it.
    I'm confused, I specifically designed the feat so that it would give the exact same bonus to everyone who took it, assuming they are at roughly the same level. If you are implying that gaining a better bonus from being a higher level is broken....I'm not really sure how to respond to that. 95% of the game is about leveling up to become more powerful.

    Generally, flat bonuses are rather boring anyway. What is needed are ways to actively use the feats characters have, rather than just giving bonuses that, at any given point in a character's career, are flat.
    I'm all for designing more feats that grant you new abilities, but not everyone wants to play a character with 1000 different options every turn, and some of the plain bonus or stat-buffing feats can be very helpful in both gameplay and character customization. IMO, most of the flat-stat feats aren't bad because of the benefit they provide, but because they don't provide enough of it. You are, of course, free to disagree.

    I started by reworking the default initiative bonus first, specifically so that more classes would get a decent multiplier without needing the feat. For some one who chooses to take this feat in exchange for any other number of good feats, I want them to see a noticable effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Der_DWSage View Post
    The man brings up a good point, and I also like things that scale. I also like simple things, so I'm loathe to add this in, but...

    Perhaps a clause that says anything with Sneak Attack or Flurry of Blows type class features add their class level, rather than BAB? Thus the speedy speedy quick classes that tend to focus in Dex anyway are likely to go first.
    Right now the calculation includes boosts from Dexterity (for the light, speedy types), BAB (for the burly bash-brother types), and Wisdom (for the casters). Almost everyone should recieve some sort of benfit to their Initiative bonus as they level up. If you really think a particular character deserves to go first more often in combat, have them take the feat. The whole point behind rolling for initiative is that certain classed do not always gets to go first all the time, and anyone can be caught off-guard. In general, I prefer the differences in gameplay randomness can add, so I would try to avoid spelling out exactly where everything fits in the order of combat.

    Individual classes, by quirks of their design, might benefit more from certain combinations, but that doesn't make it much different from the current game in some respects. I have less of a distaste for individual classes benefiting that I do for a whole group of one type. The whole reason to add it BAB and Wisdom was so that the Dex-boosting groups wouldn't alway have the biggest edge.

    And if you want to be truly mean, add in Armor Check Penalties, so the Fighter finally has a reason to care about them, and to further skew things in the favor of quick, speedy classes actually going first.
    It's funny you mentioned this. A while back I started a thread duscussing armor in 3.5, and ended up homebrewing some substanstial improvements. (You can find the link in my extended sig if you like)

    Now that I have a set of armor that is generally unequivocally better in the defensive stat-department, I've been thinking about some way to seperate the Fragile Speedster warrior builds (fragile being a relative term here) from the Mighty Gacier ones.

    Defensive fighting already gets a lot of flack, and tends to fall behind in the how-many-goblins-did-you-kill metric of measurement, but applying ACP to initiative might be just what I was looking for. Heavier armors already have established rules for reducing speed, so this seems like it would make sense, and it doesn't do anything to reduce a characters relative damage-dealing potential.

    So far as monsters go...hm. Perhaps it'd go easier if I list my recommendations in order.
    *snip*
    Slow races and classes should go last more often than not.
    Classes are one thing, but I don't know if I like the racial modifiers; that seems to be getting excessively complicated to me. I will need to think this over some more. It's an interesting idea certainly, but it might be the kind of thing that should be applied more on a case-by-case basis.
    The other thing that this makes me think of is size modifiers. Larger creatures frequently have faster speeds because of their larger limbs, but it would seem reasonable they they would be less able to respond quickly.

    You've got the gears in my head cranking away, but further brewing will need to simmer for a while, I think.

    Kudos for the idea, mate.
    Your welcome! If you use any variation of this, let me know how it goes.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-13 at 01:40 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    There is sort of precedent for making armor affect initiative, after all it effects almost every Dex-based skill check. Initiative, the core version at least, is just a dex check, so they fit together pretty well.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    I agree that the scaling feat isn't necessary. Improved init is already one of the better feats out there with the +4 to initiative. Letting that scale upwards is bad.

    But I do like the scaling initiative. In my games we just use BAB+Dex; personally I don't like the idea of giving any more reasons for a Melee Cleric to be better than a Fighter, which adding wis to initiative would do.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I agree that the scaling feat isn't necessary. Improved init is already one of the better feats out there with the +4 to initiative. Letting that scale upwards is bad.
    Ok, before I change anything, let me ask another question: what is it exactly that you find objectionable?
    Is it the fact that the feat scales at all?
    Or is it that you think it scales to high?

    Basically, I thought it was a good idea that as you gained levels and your BAB/Dex/Wis increased the feat increased it's bonus as well, so the same +4 that doubled your Initiative bonus at level 1 didn't become entirely inconsequential by level 15. Admittedly, it would be rare build where +4 is entirely pointless, but that's why I had it start at +2 and go up. If you are alright with the feat scaling, but just think that it gets too big at the upper end, give me some idea of what you think a reasonable cap is and I'll adjust accordingly.

    If you think that the feat just shouldn't scale, at all, then we may face a difference in fundamental game preferences that may be un-reconcilable.


    But I do like the scaling initiative. In my games we just use BAB+Dex; personally I don't like the idea of giving any more reasons for a Melee Cleric to be better than a Fighter, which adding wis to initiative would do.
    I included wisdom mostly for the non-melee based full-casters (in my magic fix all casters need a decent wisdom score) and because it seems like it's the next closest stat to fit well when we are talking about "reaction time". My goal was to have something in the Initiative calculation for (almost) everyone, so that while the high-level rogue or ranger might still have a signifcant advantage over a wizard, that same high-level wizard wouldn't be stuck waiting his turn behind 15 level-1 goblins.


    Assuming a melee-based cleric has to spend the same values in Str and Con that a fighter does, then it seems like the fighter can put any extra points in Dex while the cleric dumps them in Wis, and the fighter still gets a better boost from his higher BAB. If you are measuring this against the classes as they exist purely in the RAW, then there are so many other ways for the cleric to overwhelm a fighter it hardly seems worth mentioning. If you can get the cleric class balanced with the fighter, then I don't see why a melee-focused cleric should have any less of a shot at winning initiative.

    As I said in an earlier post, I'd rather some build had a slight edge because of what stats they prefer than try to dictate exactly where in the order every given class will fall.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-13 at 07:12 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    character or monster's BAB represents their basic level of combat proficiency
    It only governs some inferior forms of attack. Character level represents his combat proficiency, not his BAB.
    Why must a good Fireball-loving caster be gimped by such changes? If looking at kill count, he is far better battle specialist than any melee tank.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by SinsI View Post
    It only governs some inferior forms of attack. Character level represents his combat proficiency, not his BAB.
    Why must a good Fireball-loving caster be gimped by such changes? If looking at kill count, he is far better battle specialist than any melee tank.
    This is a fix thread; that means it's going to focus on how something should work rather than how it does due to broken features.

    Also, kill count is a horrible metric for combat skill, as it looks only at the offensive stuff. (It also ignores support roles.)

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Ok, before I change anything, let me ask another question: what is it exactly that you find objectionable?
    Is it the fact that the feat scales at all?
    Or is it that you think it scales to high?

    Basically, I thought it was a good idea that as you gained levels and your BAB/Dex/Wis increased the feat increased it's bonus as well, so the same +4 that doubled your Initiative bonus at level 1 didn't become entirely inconsequential by level 15. Admittedly, it would be rare build where +4 is entirely pointless, but that's why I had it start at +2 and go up. If you are alright with the feat scaling, but just think that it gets too big at the upper end, give me some idea of what you think a reasonable cap is and I'll adjust accordingly.

    If you think that the feat just shouldn't scale, at all, then we may face a difference in fundamental game preferences that may be un-reconcilable.
    Feats that provide a bonus to a d20 roll have no business scaling. On initiative it isn't so bad because there's not really a set RNG to stick to, but I'm still opposed to scaling feat bonuses on that sort of thing in general. For damage or hp or whatever, it's fine and probably necessary. But a bonus to a d20 roll means as much at level 1 as it does at level 20. Scaling comes primarily with level, dependent on class, feats and other options exist to give yourself an advantage on that roll relative to others of the same level/skill. Consider it this way: If you have two Fighters at level 1, and one has this feat, he has a 10% advantage. At level 20, the one with this feat has a 40% advantage. Compared to the status quo, where you have a 20% advantage regardless. There is no need to have that advantage to scale up. It's not like damage, where a +2 bonus to damage is worthless by level 20 so it needs to scale. A bonus on a d20 roll maintains its effectiveness no matter what.

    I included wisdom mostly for the non-melee based full-casters
    They don't need it.

    My goal was to have something in the Initiative calculation for (almost) everyone, so that while the high-level rogue or ranger might still have a signifcant advantage over a wizard, that same high-level wizard wouldn't be stuck waiting his turn behind 15 level-1 goblins.


    Assuming a melee-based cleric has to spend the same values in Str and Con that a fighter does, then it seems like the fighter can put any extra points in Dex while the cleric dumps them in Wis, and the fighter still gets a better boost from his higher BAB.
    Bad assumptions. The Cleric will have full BAB from Divine Power, and the Cleric will not have as much invested in Str or Con as the Fighter, he will use spells to supplement those and have a higher wisdom. The Fighter's dex is not going to keep up with that.

    If you are measuring this against the classes as they exist purely in the RAW, then there are so many other ways for the cleric to overwhelm a fighter it hardly seems worth mentioning. If you can get the cleric class balanced with the fighter, then I don't see why a melee-focused cleric should have any less of a shot at winning initiative.
    It depends heavily on how you are fixing the cleric. We have no idea what your other houserules are, and given the context of the normal rules, you are just giving another advantage to a class that does not need it.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quite simply there is no reason for any stacks-with-everything bonus to scale ever. A scaling stackable bonus really is worse early on and better later, a flat bonus is as useful at level 20 as it is at level 1, and any thought to the contrary is over-complicating things. The odds of 0+4 hitting DC 10 are identical to 10+4 hitting DC 20. It's still 4 out of 20 more. This is a fallacy that leads to giving out ridiculous bonuses at high levels plain and simple.

    What already scales in the d20 system is opposed by other stats that also scale, or alternatives that scale at the same rate, so it cancels out. i.e., you modifier goes up by X, but so does the DC. Or it doesn't stack with an existing bonus so you can't stack 5 different sources for a ridiculous total.

    With that in mind I'd simply do CR/level+dex if you want initiative to change with level. That way an equal level enemy's bonus cancels out yours, so scaling is ok. It gives a further advantage to higher level people which could slightly affect what their CR should really be, but probably not enough to ruin the game. Making it more complicated than that could add a lot of unknowns making a much bigger difference. Do you really want to give the 32 wis guy an extra +11 to his initiative? Unlike a couple points from level differences, that could change things a great deal.

    I suppose you could do it by BAB to favor full BAB classes but bear in mind that like anything else this makes little difference early on and a bigger difference later. It caps out at slightly over a free improved initiative so it's not game breaking, just don't expect it to help much at low levels.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2012-09-13 at 08:11 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Amechra's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Where I live.

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    In my opinion, Improved Initiative should let you roll for Initiative twice.

    However, you only have one set of actions to share across those two initiative counts.

    Why is this a positive thing? Well, it beats readying actions, and you can delay your action with one initiative count and keep it in the other.

    Plus... I'm thinking that then there can be feats that basically give you Celerity by spending a swift action in one of your Initiatives (you can't use this to take more than your normal action allotment within a given initiative count.)

    Also, those expansion feats would need some sort of way to stop casters from grabbing them and breaking things even more...

    Eh, I was thinking of having a magic "fix" that involves spellcasters only being able to cast 1 standard-action or full-round action spell, and 1 swift-action spell, in a given round.

    Fixes up celerity abuses, and a lot of action-economy abuses.
    Quote Originally Posted by segtrfyhtfgj View Post
    door is a fake exterior wall
    I do Let's Plays now. Current Game: Marron Helps A Friend

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    @Seerow & ericgrau
    Thank you for explaining that to me; I see now what I was misunderstanding.
    I was looking at the feat as compared to part of the bonus to Initiative rather than as a modifier to the d20 roll on it's own.

    Even so, I think I may keep the scaling feat as an option, albiet toned down somewhat. Although the d20 doesn't change, creatures and players get more powerful as they level up and I like the idea that the feat can still comprise a healthy chunk of your Initiative bonus, even with a high Dexterity or BAB.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Bad assumptions. The Cleric will have full BAB from Divine Power, and the Cleric will not have as much invested in Str or Con as the Fighter, he will use spells to supplement those and have a higher wisdom. The Fighter's dex is not going to keep up with that.
    Divine Power only lasts 1 round/level, so it doesn't seem reasonable to assume that a cleric will always have it active when he needs to role for iniative. If you are playing a core game without any other homebrew and are worried about the balance between your Fighter and Cleric I think you've already missed a few major chances and that initiative order won't do much to change it.

    If you are really worried about stacking stats, I could also see a version where Initiative was either +Dex, or +Wis, or +BAB, whichever was highest. As I outlined above, IMO all three make sense for one reason or another.

    It depends heavily on how you are fixing the cleric.
    Hopefully pretty heavily. Ideally, a melee-based cleric should need to spend as much or nearly as much on Str and Con as a fighter. If you are playing a core game, then don't change anything, and if you are using homebrew, then there are lots more things you would need to do to achieve balance than tweak combat order. Within the context of a (more) balanced system, this is the calculation I would use.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    With that in mind I'd simply do CR/level+dex if you want initiative to change with level. *snip*
    That might work too, but I was trying to get away from the Dexterity-check version of the RAW. Although that would balance for level, it doesn't really help the fighter or paladin against a Dex-stacking rogue-type.
    That's why I included all those other modifiers as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Rogues already have it bad enough. Without heavy optimization to use UMD well and a creative DM to make a detailed surrounding world to make skills useful, they tend to end up as poor combatants. Rangers likewise get about half of the rogue's problems, ending up as fighters with less bonus feats.

    And then people go after their skills and now the winning initiative sneak attack trigger .

    BAB+wis runs into issues with BAB and wis scaling at different rates. Wis casters start with a huge advantage which tapers down into breaking even later on. It might not be so bad if the advantage lasted until 3rd level spells then quit, but it's more like 5th or 6th level spells meaning they dominate initiative until the point where many campaigns end.

    Here's what I'd do: Pick an uncomplicated scaling method like level to avoid surprises. Then if you want to give out bonuses on top of that do it individually (by class or w/e) in a way that doesn't scale or barely scales.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2012-09-14 at 08:29 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    I agree that in the end WIS doesn't work out well. Just keep feat as is and give a class feature to who you think should have scalable initiative. Or feats with requirements that are met only by desires classes.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    In my opinion, Improved Initiative should let you roll for Initiative twice.

    However, you only have one set of actions to share across those two initiative counts.
    I'm all for interesting new mechanics, but I'm a little confused on what exactly you mean here. Other than allowing you to roll initiative twice and take the better one (which sounds like a D&D 5e mechanic) how exactly does this add to a player's versatility? It seems like the same thing as delaying or readying an action. I'm probably missing something, but could you please reword what you mean and/or give another example of the kind of tricks this would let you do?


    Eh, I was thinking of having a magic "fix" that involves spellcasters only being able to cast 1 standard-action or full-round action spell, and 1 swift-action spell, in a given round.

    Fixes up celerity abuses, and a lot of action-economy abuses.
    That's the quick-and-dirty method for certain. I don't have an issue with higher-level characters being able to gain an advantage in the action economy, provided that all type of players can do so equally (or with equal effort). Right now, I'm not even sure if it's possible for a melee-centric character to gain extra actions, and if it does it's probably via a fairly obscure method or requires prohibitively large amounts of op-fu.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Rogues already have it bad enough. Without heavy optimization to use UMD well and a creative DM to make a detailed surrounding world to make skills useful, they tend to end up as poor combatants. Rangers likewise get about half of the rogue's problems, ending up as fighters with less bonus feats.

    And then people go after their skills and now the winning initiative sneak attack trigger .
    I'm gonna add a line to my original post, in big block letters spelling out that for the sake of argument, people should pretend that all D&D classes are otherwise balanced.
    There are so many issues with core gameplay if your players are intent on breaking things then tweaking Initiative probably won't have that much effect. Frankly, I consider it more of a problem that the supposed best combatants, those classes that don't really have much else going for them, (fighter, paladin, barbarian) get shafted so much on initiative as it is.
    The quirk of casters being able to buff up any stat or ability so they make melee obsolete is a failure of magic design, and won't be fixed by messing around with this one factor.

    BAB+wis runs into issues with BAB and wis scaling at different rates. Wis casters start with a huge advantage which tapers down into breaking even later on. It might not be so bad if the advantage lasted until 3rd level spells then quit, but it's more like 5th or 6th level spells meaning they dominate initiative until the point where many campaigns end.
    I could make many of the same arguments about Dexterity+BAB. I didn't think that any one statistic by itself was a good measurement for what is supposed to represent "reaction time in a combat situation".
    As I mentioned earlier, if you are worried about stat-stacking then an alternative method would be to allow players to pick the best one of the three and use that.

    Here's what I'd do: Pick an uncomplicated scaling method like level to avoid surprises. Then if you want to give out bonuses on top of that do it individually (by class or w/e) in a way that doesn't scale or barely scales.
    Quote Originally Posted by Waargh! View Post
    I agree that in the end WIS doesn't work out well. Just keep feat as is and give a class feature to who you think should have scalable initiative. Or feats with requirements that are met only by desires classes.
    I don't object to optimization, nor do I mind minor differences between classes. I take issue with the fact that some classes can optimize enough to make other classes obsolete. Frankly, optimizing to win initiative seems like one of the least game-breaking things you could do.

    Organizing initiative by class seems like it might work, but of course that is more complicated. What if each class had an Initiative bonus progression like BAB. If that's to fast, we could make it more along the lines of the advancement for Saves instead. It could start at +0, +1, or +2, and advance to +6, +9, or +12. (I've never really liked the medium save progression, for saves at least, but I could see it working here). Then we don't need to worry at Dex or Wis or any other unbalancing factor.

    The question then becomes, what classes get which version? For example, IMO the fact that a Rogue is a mediocre combatant is not neccessarily a problem. They already have lots of usefullness in their skills, and they seem more like sneaky-stealthy characters anyway, I might give them the medium Initiative progression. A Monk on the other hand, as bad as they are, seem like they are more combat oriented, and so might get the best bonus. A ranger, even though it has a full BAB, spends a lot the time running around in the woods patching up animals and casting spells, so they might get the medium version as well. Most full casters (and probably bards) would end up with the poorest initiative progression.

    Let me know what you think; I'll see if I can work out what I think all the core classes should be. I'm happy enough to describe two or more methods and give people a choice of what they want to use in their campaign.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2014-11-14 at 01:11 PM. Reason: spelling
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Amechra's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Where I live.

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Really, the rule I suggested would basically:

    A. Give you a better chance at getting a high initiative (there are already feats that let you roll initiative twice.)

    B. You can delay your initiative counts separately, so, if you need to do something after a fellow player, you can delay the initiative you "like" less to after them.

    C. Actually, strike that; delay one initiative until after an enemy you want to get rid of; you can essentially dogpile them on a given turn (act after them one round, act before them the next.)

    D. It opens up later feats/class options for adding extra actions to your rounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by segtrfyhtfgj View Post
    door is a fake exterior wall
    I do Let's Plays now. Current Game: Marron Helps A Friend

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Well conversely you don't want to give a dex 32 rogue a -11 to -16 to initiative either.

    Assuming things are already balanced everyone should get equal progression plus dex. I don't know how else you could tweak it without throwing off the balance. You might give a flat +4 to certain classes if you want to boost them. That's enough to help but while it throws off balance it's not a huge change.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Really, the rule I suggested would basically:
    *snip*
    (A) is good, no problems there.

    I'm still a little confused about how (B) would work in actual combat, can you maybe give an example of a single round of combat employing this feature?

    I'm not sure is (C) is better than just acting before them for both rounds, except in very specific situations, but OK.

    I like (D) the best, but of course it would need more supporting features, and some way to keep casters from getting their grubby little hands on it and breaking it like they do everything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Assuming things are already balanced everyone should get equal progression plus dex. I don't know how else you could tweak it without throwing off the balance. You might give a flat +4 to certain classes if you want to boost them. That's enough to help but while it throws off balance it's not a huge change.
    I've added in a new version (option B). This is pretty much the exact opposite of my first suggestion in that it is totally reliant on class levels and ignores stats alltogether.
    I still don't like the "Dexterity is the only thing that matters" versions, so let me know what you think.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-09-20 at 10:43 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Absol197's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ashes...
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Improving Initiative (updated)

    For the Avatar game I've been working on, I altered initiative a little bit.

    I made initiative add 1/2 your level. This means that more skilled characters, regardless of what they're skilled at, are more likely to go first. Which makes sense: they only survived to higher levels by winning fights, so they're more attuned to when something is going to go down.

    The next thing I did was the Improved Initiative feat. It adds the usual +4, but has two additional effects. The first is that you can choose to use your Wisdom modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier. The second might not be applicable to everybody: I made a core part of my system that on a d20 roll, a nat 20 is considered a 30 instead of an auto success, and a nat 1 is considered a -10, not an auto fail. Improved Initiative (and a bunch of other feats) make a nat 1 count as a 1, instead of a -10.

    That's probably not quite what you're looking for, but I thought I'd add another idea to the pile .
    "It is important to draw wisdom from many different places. If you take it from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale." --Iroh
    LGBTAitP! If you want to talk, learn, or have some fun, stop by!
    Avatar by the lovely Lycunadari!

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Rogues already have it bad enough. Without heavy optimization to use UMD well and a creative DM to make a detailed surrounding world to make skills useful, they tend to end up as poor combatants.
    I'd say that that's more of an argument for "If the DM isn't creative enough to make a detailed surrounding world, he should just drop the rogue class entirely."

    BAB+wis runs into issues with BAB and wis scaling at different rates. Wis casters start with a huge advantage which tapers down into breaking even later on. It might not be so bad if the advantage lasted until 3rd level spells then quit, but it's more like 5th or 6th level spells meaning they dominate initiative until the point where many campaigns end.
    It might return to being a good idea if WIS casters are made MAD (e.g. save DCs depend on CHA but spells/day and spell level cap depend on WIS), though.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative (updated)

    If you're going to differentiate initiatives due to BAB you might as well differentiate weapons based on their damage die.

    I'm in favor of this rule in a CORE and RAW only game, but frankly melee is balanced enough once you introduce supplements or borrow from pathfinder.

    I do like having a scaling initiative due to class, but I really think you should be using REF instead as it makes way more sense.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The US of A

    Default Re: Improving Initiative (updated)

    Quote Originally Posted by Absol197 View Post
    The next thing I did was the Improved Initiative feat. It adds the usual +4, but has two additional effects. The first is that you can choose to use your Wisdom modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier. The second might not be applicable to everybody: I made a core part of my system that on a d20 roll, a nat 20 is considered a 30 instead of an auto success, and a nat 1 is considered a -10, not an auto fail. Improved Initiative (and a bunch of other feats) make a nat 1 count as a 1, instead of a -10.

    That's probably not quite what you're looking for, but I thought I'd add another idea to the pile .
    It's appealing to me to have iniative scale off of SOMETHING other than just level, but as far as balance goes, it's a workable change.

    Your d20 idea is a very interesting alteration to the basic game mechanics; one I could definitely see myself using. It's one of those things that would probably go under the "optional house rules" and can be decided upon by an individual group or DM.
    I'm always eager to here the new ideas people come up with. Even if it seems a little bit out there, never be afraid to tell me the method you use to fix things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    It might return to being a good idea if WIS casters are made MAD (e.g. save DCs depend on CHA but spells/day and spell level cap depend on WIS), though.
    I like to try and design my homebrew so that it can be used with both the RAW and with based-on-3.5-but-different rule sets...which can be diffficult. Although I didn't mention it earlier, in my Magic fix all spellcasters are required to have a decent wisdom score to cast spells. I wouldn't have proposed adding wisdom to the calculation if I didn't think it fit normally, but I did have my own version of things floating around in the back of my mind.

    Also, for my magic fix bonus spells are always determined from Intellect, which helps break the casters SAD stranglehold. (Charisma can replace Wisdom with either a feat a or a class feature)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanuman View Post
    If you're going to differentiate initiatives due to BAB you might as well differentiate weapons based on their damage die.
    I'm completely at a loss for what you mean here.

    Although you've given me an idea for a +2/+0/-2 bonus based on wielding a light/one-handed/two-handed weapon, I worry that it would start to approach the "too frelling complicated!" barrier.

    I'm in favor of this rule in a CORE and RAW only game, but frankly melee is balanced enough once you introduce supplements or borrow from pathfinder.
    That's entirely a matter of opinion, and I'm NOT attempting to equalize the caster/melee imbalance soley through the iniative function. If everything else can be worked out, then acting first in a turn should really only be a slight advantage. I definitely don't want to turn D&D into a continuous game of rocket tag.

    I do like having a scaling initiative due to class, but I really think you should be using REF instead as it makes way more sense.
    I assume you mean making it a reflex save? I agree that seems to be what the original intent was, based on the incorporation of Dexterity, but Iniative is slightly different in that it is less reactionary, and is used repeatedly instead of just once at a time.

    Also, I've had some wonky experiences with what happens when you mess around with stats and saves. Using either multiple stats or doing it by class I think makes it harder to break or accidentally screw yourself over.



    On another note, while the stat-based version was my original idea, I'm really starting the like the new Option B instead. Yay for homebrew and feedback!
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-11-29 at 01:49 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Improving Initiative (updated)

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Also, for my magic fix bonus spells are always determined from Intellect, which helps break the casters SAD stranglehold. (Charisma can replace Wisdom with either a feat a or a class feature)
    Ah. In mine (which uses a spellpoints-like system), divine casters (clerics and paladins, rangers being nonspellcasting and druids being more like warlocks than 3.5 druids) use CHA for DC and a mix of WIS and CHA for casting endurance. (Essentially, they have two pools, one is based on CHA and used for spellcasting and "planar channeling" (think a less powerful but more versatile equivalent to Pathfinder's channeling), and the other is based on WIS and used for spellcasting unless they're directly serving their diety's interests; most nonblasting spells use more of the latter than the former, though). Sorcerers use straight CHA for DCs and spellcasting endurance, and wizards don't use any ability score for DCs and spellcasting endurance, but their caster level and max spell level are based on INT, as is their maximum spells known at one time.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Improving Initiative (updated)

    Recalculating initiave for monsters can be tiresome so option B seems better as you can ignore the monster's entry and use the table.

    I think a Rogue takes too big a hit with not having a good initiative as he relies on it. Archers as well. It makes more sense for Archers to play first to balance the fact that someone moves 60ft and attack before you can shoot an arrow at them and simply that encounters typically start very close. For the rest I would agree.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Improving Initiative

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    I'd say that that's more of an argument for "If the DM isn't creative enough to make a detailed surrounding world, he should just drop the rogue class entirely."
    That'd be a good idea and would save a lot of headaches if some DMs did that. Though a better world is very much preferable of course. The main point was that rogues need a good DM just to be par. They don't need their initiative reduced by 11 even at par, and with some DMs it could be much worse. In fact it seems like rather than the rogue hitting par there seems to be a tendency for DMs to homebrew against them. That's what irks me even more about the whole thing.

    In about 4-5 DMs in 2 groups I've played maybe 2 or 3 rogues but for the most part I've given up on them. I hear of all kinds of issues online too. I can understand needing some time to make the world better, but the rogue nerfs really really need to stop.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2012-09-22 at 11:00 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •