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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Assuming your RPG uses an initiative system (and most do) which stat do you think initiative should be based off?

    Should it be based off the Dexterity stat (or Agility, or Speed, or Quickness, or whatever your system calls it), representing physical speed? Or should it be based off the Wisdom stat (or Awareness, or Perception, or IQ, or whatever) representing perceptive ability? Or something else entirely?

    When it comes to reaction time, what's more important: physical reflexes, or mental ability?
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    I tend to think Wisdom/Awareness. It makes it especially easy to combine the check to notice that a fight is starting with a check to avoid getting ambushed.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    I'd say Dexterity for the actual reactions, but Wisdom to determine if you have something to react to.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    It does sort of vary. For something instant and obvious (An explosion, for instance), yeah, physical reflexes are gonna determine who moves first. But, for a lot of other situations, some people are gonna notice things more quickly (Even in situations too subtle for a spot check), and that'll make a great deal more difference.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Honestly I'd run it as an either/or. Your character can choose which to use. The idea is that some people are just really good at Instinctual Reactions (Which sound more like the realm of Dex, Coordination, Reflexes, etc), and some are good at pattern recognition and detail oriented deduction which is where Wisdom comes in, spotting those subtle clues to say someone is following you, how they are going to react, etc, that can give you the edge to act first.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    To me, reaction time is a combination of your awareness, gut instincts and the physical ability to put thought to action.

    I like how Shadowrun does it best, with Intuition + Reaction combining to determine your derived initiative.

    White Wolf does a decent job as well, with Wits+the Alertness Skill.

    I tend to shy away from systems that tie the already-powerful Initiative stat to an extremely powerful attribute like dexterity or agility.

    If dexterity/agility is a strong contributor to offense, defense, speed and initiative, then something is wrong.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Dexterity, which is ALSO the stat that handles coordination - how well after your brain tells your body to act it actually gets around to doing it.

    Wisdom, being keyed to Listen and Spot, makes you more likely to react in the Surprise Round.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    How about you average them/add them together?

    They are both necessary to notice and react to a threat.
    Wisdom is instinct and on a supernatural level that scores tend to be compared to "Spider sense", in this context. It is an instinct, a gut reaction of "This doesn't feel right", when being ambushed or are about to be attacked.

    However, some people may be very good at noticing a sudden environmental changes but not reacting to them, which is where Dexterity comes in.

    Not all Dexterity apt persons, say Gymnasts and some thieves, are the best at noticing changes, or get too heavily focused in a task, or are just not attentive or aware enough, or just don't have much in terms of combat training but are quick on their feet. If you're too slow, you can't react very well in a fight, so fast reaction time and lithe, fast, well paced movement, is key in terms of acting in this reaction.

    So, it would make sense to take the 2 most intuitive of the ability scores and use them for what is, usually, a very intuitive response.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    They both make sense. For that reason I say pick whichever balances the game better. Some stats are generally better than others no matter what your class is. In D&D, if your class doesn't depend on constitution or charisma, con is almost always the better choice.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    I do both. You apply both modifiers, positive and negative.

    So inititative ends up being a combination of your awareness and your ability to react physically.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    When it comes to reaction time, what's more important: physical reflexes, or mental ability?
    Physical reflexes easily. That's why martial arts have you repeating movements ad nauseam. They must come from your spine, because if you stop to think each time, you will be hit before you even start acting.

    But reaction time is not the same as acting first. Tactical knowledge or heightened senses will let you "steal" iniative and get the first action.

    So, Dexterity all the way for determining reactions, or who goes first between equally aware opponents. Wisdom for determining actions, or who becomes aware of the opponent first.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Wisdom determines if you are aware of the threat and recognize it as such. This stat modifies perception.

    Dexterity determines how quick you react. This stat modifies initiative.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Well, in D&D, I figure it should stay with dex, so the poor, sad, dex based characters can at least have a sort of ok init(at least, until the wizards span nerveskitter, get weapons of eager and warning, pull out their elf generalist with hummingbird...)
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?


    This is what I think.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    It's not entirely on topic, but I'd change the rules for surprise rounds.

    Specifically, if the heroes have burst into the villains lair, and the villain starts talking, and the heroes attack in mid-conversation... no surprise round.

    In terms of gameplay, I think this would make it easier to engage players with the plot- as is, they have an in-game incentive to avoid ever learning anything.

    And in terms of realism... it's not like the villain thinks he's giving his evil monologue to a group of pizza delivery men with swords. He'd be expecting an attack.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Doesn't D&D 4E give you the option to use the best of these two stats? Though I'm a die hard 3.5 guy, I have to hesitantly agree with 4E's approach on this one. After all, awareness and reflexes are good substitutes for one another in a fantasy setting. The problem is, this runs the risk of allowing for extreme min-maxing and SAD characters that could disrupt game balance depending on which system you're using.

    Taken to the extreme though, which would you say is more likely to gain the advantage in the initiative:
    • A crippled old man who can barely move but has the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a bat?
    • A blind and deaf samurai warrior whose steel-trap reflexes are honed to snap at the slightest provocation?


    Seeing, smelling, or hearing a threat from miles away doesn't necessarily give you an advantage in a fight, but it does equip you better than reflexes do at avoiding the conflict. Ask any deer during hunting season.

    Being able to react quickly to any situation won't necessarily grant you the upper hand either. But in a showdown at high noon, it's the quick draw that usually wins.

    I guess if I had to chose, I'd stick with Dexterity as the modifier that determines your place in initiative. But the surprise round opportunities should more often go to the ones with the high Wisdom scores.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Well, I find that in too many RPGs, dexterity is too important a stat already. More common actions key off dexterity than off any other stat. So based on that, I would be happy to move initiative to any other stat instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by inexorabletruth View Post
    Doesn't D&D 4E give you the option to use the best of these two stats?
    No, it does not. The key pairs in 4E are str/con, int/dex, and wis/cha, and they are only interchangeable with respect to defenses, not to anything else. Yes, smart guys are hard to hit in combat, and pretty people are harder to affect with mind control.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2013-02-10 at 02:42 PM.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Int. (The tactical acumen to analyze the course of action that you wish to take at the maximum efficiency that you can perform)

    Though like people said before, if you ask for initiative you are basically asking for a footrace, everyone knows what's going on & will try to be the fastest. Now if you are clueless & standing on the sidelines... that's your surprise round

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    I say wisdom, but if it is dexterity that ACP should apply.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yes, smart guys are hard to hit in combat, and pretty people are harder to affect with mind control.
    Lol. That is so opposite from real life. I love fantasy.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    A gunslinger showdown is the best example of initiative being rolled, and it's pretty much just dexterity. A little intimidation going on between both parties, but it's a dex check overall.

    Wisdom often is important when it comes to initiative, because it affects spot, listen, and sense motive checks, but when it comes to the actual initiative roll, I think it should be pure dexterity.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Quote Originally Posted by inexorabletruth View Post
    Lol. That is so opposite from real life. I love fantasy.
    What?

    First off, Charisma isn't merely "Prettiness" - It's force of personality, and the ability to exert your will on others (And, due to the personification of cosmic forces, the universe as well). It's the guts, bravado, and charm to make others find you attractive even if you don't conform to beauty standards pursued by low-CHA posers set by high-CHA characters of the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    Int. (The tactical acumen to analyze the course of action that you wish to take at the maximum efficiency that you can perform)
    Except... the human brain "shuts down" almost all higher thinking processes when it's thrust into danger, acting on reflex, instinct, and conditioned responses instead of taking the time to think through and analyze a situation - Otherwise, you're dealing with response times greater that 500 ms.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yes, smart guys are hard to hit in combat,
    RDJ's version of Sherlock Holmes is a perfect example of this.

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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Wouldn't the more reasonable solution be to tie initiative in a round to what you're trying to do, and how skilled you are at that task?

    That is, a trained swordsman who's also a novice spell should react faster with his sword than they would with his magic. He's better with the blade, its attack and defense patterns are etched into his muscle memory from hours of drills. If an orc is charging and he decides to perform a quick counter with his sword, this will take him less time than casting a similarly quick spell.

    Such a system should be fairly simple to work with as well. Just give each action a time cost, and each skill a time bonus based on the character's rank in that skill. Subtract bonus from cost to get initiative order, ranked lowest to highest. Resolve ties by the base action time or something similar. Have each player choose and declare their action at the beginning of the round, and work out who goes when, then run it. Allow suitable modifications to actions as the round progresses.

    The nice part is that you can fold up Wisdom and Dex into this system organically, as they probably count towards a character's skill ranking.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Runequest is an example of a system that uses both. In 6th edition Runequest, Strike Rank (essentially initiative) is 1d10 + (Dex + Int)/2 - (penalties from encumbrance and armor)
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    In my system, initiative is a Reflex save, and Reflex (and other saves) aren't affected by any stats similar to Dexterity or Wisdom.

    I like to think this is because Reflex represents the physical and mental aspects of quick reactions. But I suppose overall, as far as your question goes (Saph), it's more like Agility or Quickness than it is like anything on the Awareness side of the spectrum.

    On the other hand, Perception is pretty crucial for avoiding granting a surprise round to your enemies in my system. So I guess my answer comes out to be similar to several other responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fau View Post
    RDJ's version of Sherlock Holmes is a perfect example of this.
    Yeah, but I see that as a special ability, not something that just anyone can do with their Intelligence stat.
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    Default Re: [All] Initiative: Wisdom or Dexterity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    What?

    First off, Charisma isn't merely "Prettiness" - It's force of personality, and the ability to exert your will on others (And, due to the personification of cosmic forces, the universe as well). It's the guts, bravado, and charm to make others find you attractive even if you don't conform to beauty standards pursued by low-CHA posers set by high-CHA characters of the past.


    Except... the human brain "shuts down" almost all higher thinking processes when it's thrust into danger, acting on reflex, instinct, and conditioned responses instead of taking the time to think through and analyze a situation - Otherwise, you're dealing with response times greater that 500 ms.
    Int isn't just shear Cognitive brainpower, & too many people think it is. Int is also wit & mental agility. If a man is smart, he is going to know what he is going to do & have a contingency for that situation. He also knows what he is going to do to make the most of his time. Initiative isn't a rock 'em sock 'em match, it isn't "I smack you & then wait for you to smack me." That's how it is represented mechanically. In the real world every action is fluid. If you already know what you are going to do, & have the cunning to think & move before your opponent then you are going to be moving first.

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