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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    UndertakerSheep's Avatar

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    Mar 2012
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    Default Changing 4e's initiative system

    I'm currently running two weekly games, one using 4e and one using the Genesys RPG, and I'm thinking about changing 4e's iniative to the one Genesys uses.

    Basically, you run initiative as normal but instead of writing down the names of the PCs and their enemies, you write down "PC" or "NPC". When a PC turn comes up, the players decide which character takes that turn. When a NPC turn comes up, the DM decides which enemy takes that turn. Each combatant can still only act once per round, as normal.

    What I like about this is that it gives the players (and me) another small layer of tactical decision making, and it can be a lot of fun to set up combo turns between two characters!

    The thing I'm a bit worried about is keeping track of power durations. If a PC goes first in round 1 and uses an until end of next turn ability, and then goes last in round 2, he could hit each enemy twice. My prediction is that allowing all enemies to go twice before you get to act a second time counteracts the benefits sufficiently, but I was wondering if anyone here has any experience or thoughts about handling initiative this way. I'm looking forward to reading your takes on this!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Aug 2017

    Default Re: Changing 4e's initiative system

    Just wanting to clarify something: Each team has a static set of slots that are the same each turn, but which team member fills which slot can change between turns?

    One option would be to have the duration of the ability be tied to the slot rather than the character so if you delay into a later slot next turn the ability doesn't last any longer; it just ends before your next turn will begin. A side effect of this is that someone might delay to avoid being affected by negative effects or pounce to double dip on positive effects.

    I think you might need to change the duration of some powers slightly. Offensive modifiers (+/- to attack or damage, has combat advantage) and speed changes (slow, immobilized) should probably last until the end of the target's next turn so that they always benefit for exactly 1 turn (this does change the behavior for reactions that they would take after their turn but before yours). Defensive modifiers (+/- to AC, grants combat advantage) should last until the beginning / end of the slot so that it always affects the same number of incoming attacks (although who gets to take those attacks will change). Save ends effects can probably remain the same; the two biggest affects I can think of are queue jumping hoping to shrug off an effect before enemies can capitalize on it or delaying so that an ally has time to use a cleanse.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Dimers's Avatar

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    Default Re: Changing 4e's initiative system

    I face some of the same problem in PbP games because "group initiative" saves a ton of posting time. Using that, a leader or other buffer can give all allies a bonus for two rounds' worth of actions by going first (among the PCs) in one round and then last in the next.

    Debuffs on enemies are less likely to be a concern in group initiative, because each enemy will still act exactly once between a PC's current and next turns. Debuffs that are effectively party buffs -- e.g. if everyone has World Serpent's Grasp and your debuff immobilizes -- are still potentially problematic.

    Either way, a character is unlikely to have all their powers equally potent, so they'll use the stronger ones in a way that lasts longer and the weaker (or at least less buffing/debuffing) ones when the loss won't matter much. Overall, it'd make combats easier for strategic-minded players to win. Build design and combat planning would be harder, but the fights themselves would be easier.

    Jaeda's suggestion of slot-based duration is a solid solution. Instead of "end of your next turn," you get "end of fourth-acting PC's next turn", making both buffs and debuffs last an amount of time that fits 4e expectations/balance.

    I agree that the added tactical depth would be enjoyable for a lot of 4e players. Not all, of course, but you know your group. I don't expect that the proposal would be useful in a PbP game, though. Talking tactics by post would slow things down considerably, and that's flirting with game-death. And PbPers are less likely to be in the game for enjoyment of tactics anyway. The medium enables some great roleplaying and de-emphasizes combat.
    Avatar by Meltheim: Eveve, dwarven battlemind, 4e Dark Sun

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

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    Default Re: Changing 4e's initiative system

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Jaeda's suggestion of slot-based duration is a solid solution. Instead of "end of your next turn," you get "end of fourth-acting PC's next turn", making both buffs and debuffs last an amount of time that fits 4e expectations/balance.
    Still abuseable but not as much so.

    Party of 4:
    Ranger
    Warlord
    Seeker
    Human with no class (there was already a Seeker, but they both wanted to play worthless classes.)

    Seeker goes
    Human goes
    Warlord give sweet, sweet buff.
    Ranger uses encounter powers to attack 15 times.
    End combat round.

    Begin combat round.
    Ranges uses encounter powers to attack 73 more times.
    Something-something Seeker.
    Human goes and does more than the Seeker because he's not a Seeker.
    Other stuff that's not important.

    But in that example, the Ranger can utilize the sweet buff twice. In other words: it allows your dps to tap into the buffs multiple times. Sure, only every-other round, but they are going to set that up in round 1 (or round 2 if distance is a problem) ... when combats are decided.

    I'm not saying this is a problem, per se. Especially if its online where you probably want the combats to end quickly. But it is abuseable.
    Thank you Ceika for the wonderful Avatar avatar!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Aug 2017

    Default Re: Changing 4e's initiative system

    Quote Originally Posted by tcrudisi View Post
    Still abuseable but not as much so.

    Party of 4:
    Ranger
    Warlord
    Seeker
    Human with no class (there was already a Seeker, but they both wanted to play worthless classes.)

    Seeker goes
    Human goes
    Warlord give sweet, sweet buff.
    Ranger uses encounter powers to attack 15 times.
    End combat round.

    Begin combat round.
    Ranges uses encounter powers to attack 73 more times.
    Something-something Seeker.
    Human goes and does more than the Seeker because he's not a Seeker.
    Other stuff that's not important.

    But in that example, the Ranger can utilize the sweet buff twice. In other words: it allows your dps to tap into the buffs multiple times. Sure, only every-other round, but they are going to set that up in round 1 (or round 2 if distance is a problem) ... when combats are decided.

    I'm not saying this is a problem, per se. Especially if its online where you probably want the combats to end quickly. But it is abuseable.
    Hence why I proposed the second variant; offensive buffs last until the end of the recipient's next turn. In that case, the ranger gets exactly one turn to use the buff regardless of whether they are the next person to go or the last person on the next turn. Offensive auras could be an issue, but I think most of those tend to persist for the rest of the encounter.

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