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Author Topic: Is Initiative Dumb?  (Read 5883 times)

Theory of Games

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« on: May 17, 2020, 01:38:47 PM »
Why not let the PCs go first all the time?

How does that hurt the game aspect?

I think rolling for initiative is archaic. It worked once but now it's dead.

Thoughts?

Joey2k

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2020, 01:43:35 PM »
That is actually how I do it, unless the PCs are surprised.
The word "problematic" is problematic

The Exploited.

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2020, 01:53:30 PM »
Quote from: Theory of Games;1130306
Why not let the PCs go first all the time?

How does that hurt the game aspect?

I think rolling for initiative is archaic. It worked once but now it's dead.

Thoughts?

Depends... Are the pcs superior to the npcs in this particular scrap? What are the environmental conditions? Anyone one injured beforehand? Are they prepped (swords out)?  

Also, do you want to 'semi' simulate real combat combat? If so, then someone has to go first. Usually, the person with the highest stats/experience.

Personally, I prefer to let the pc strike first, if the conditions are right, and their foes (at that time) are inferior. But all things being equal, a roll is good, but I'd add a bonus for dex (insert the games speed attribute here).

EDIT: I should point out that, I prefer not to have group initiative. Especially, if the fighters are low in numbers. I actually, prefer PCs/NPCs to go according to their own abilities. So the slower PCs/NPCs go later, then the more speedy ones.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 02:06:24 PM by The Exploited. »
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Godfather Punk

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2020, 01:54:17 PM »
I tried grouped initiative for a while with alternating all players and all opponents, but abandoned it because there was confusion/discussion over who already had his turn, and things got complicated when other combatants (ally or enemy) got reactions, opportunity attacks, free actions or other stuff triggered by the 'active' player.

Now I have my 20-to-0 initiative list and I just count down.

Vidgrip

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2020, 01:57:44 PM »
It depends on the system.  If you are playing with realistic damage, say a gunfight, going first might mean you never (or almost never) lose the fight.  That would be dull.  In a fantasy game with hit points where a typical fight might last five rounds ... yeah, that could work.  On the other hand, it isn't very hard to have each side throw a d20 for initiative, and things are more interesting when players must consider that possibility before choosing to risk combat.

Kael

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2020, 02:06:00 PM »
PCs go first, unless surprised. Fast, easy, simple and fun.

Krugus

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2020, 03:21:03 PM »
Initiative as a machinic is not dead.   You can have spells, abilities and magic items that interact with it in a fun way.   Shortsword of Speed was a nice item to have back in the day :)

Each table is going to handle various thing in their game differently and Initiative is one of those things.

Shawn Driscoll

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2020, 03:25:00 PM »
Quote from: Theory of Games;1130306
Why not let the PCs go first all the time?

How does that hurt the game aspect?

I think rolling for initiative is archaic. It worked once but now it's dead.

Thoughts?

My players always say where their character is and what they are doing. If a player says nothing, then their character is doing nothing. Common sense is used instead of initiative.

VisionStorm

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2020, 03:54:20 PM »
Damn, I already went through this so much in the Preferred OSR initiative? thread, which is still active, I wouldn't even know where to start. Other than say...

Quote
Is Initiative Dumb?


YES!

Being frozen in place, waiting for your "turn" to come for you to finally act, was moronic decades ago when the idea was first conceived.

I prefer to just handle all actions (PCs and enemies) as happening roughly at the same time, with some adjustments made for proximity, combat readiness and positioning at the start of combat. Usually I tend to break it down into Fast Actions, Standard Actions and Delayed Actions. (Copy/Pasted from Here).

  • Fast Actions are anything that can immediately be attempted at the start of the round, such as melee already engaged in melee or ranged weapons already drawn and loaded.
  • Standard Actions are anything that takes a minor degree of preparation before you can act, such as drawing weapons or moving into position. Ranged combatants who must move to get into range would act here.
  • Delayed Actions are anything else that takes more preparation but can be attempted in the round, including loading a crossbow, full round actions, complex skill checks (pick locks, disarm traps) or casting a spell with lengthy incantations.


PCs and Enemies attack at the same time. Usually I tend to handle enemy actions as PCs engage them and the enemies counter attack. And combatants killing each other is a possibility if both manage to hit and cause enough damage in the same round, since people killing each other in duels or open battle is something that happens in real life, and the idea that you should be able to avoid getting killed cuz "initiative" is strictly a game assumption, IMO.

My take is that the only way to avoid getting killed is to avoid getting hit, not to "win" some imaginary "initiative". Even to the degree that it could be argued such a thing could happen in real life, that's usually if you manage to shot someone in the head or decapitate them first. Otherwise they're still gonna let a final shot or swing before they go down.

Shawn Driscoll

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2020, 04:39:14 PM »
I just watched RPGPundit's video on the matter, and wanted to say that I do not use combat rounds in my games.

Omega

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2020, 04:50:23 PM »
So the usual idiot statements by people who have never been in actual combat and have no freaking idea what they are talking about.

Sure let the snowflakes go first every time so they stop whinning.

Oh and why even roll to hit? Thats dumb too. Get rid of it! PCs should hit every time.

And while we are at it lets do away with damage at all. Monsters just up and die if you look at them. Stupid damage getting in the way of Muh Fictiun!!!!

Shasarak

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2020, 04:50:24 PM »
Quote from: VisionStorm;1130330
Being frozen in place, waiting for your "turn" to come for you to finally act, was moronic decades ago when the idea was first conceived.

It is moronic except compared to everyone doing everything at the same time.
There will be poor always,
pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

VisionStorm

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2020, 05:09:03 PM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130340
It is moronic except compared to everyone doing everything at the same time.

I agree. People in every battlefield throughout history have stopped all fighting to wait while Unit-5 goes first, cuz they "won" initiative, then everything coalesces around that one fighter from Unit-5 who struck first (cuz he had the highest roll) so every other fighter in the entire engagement has to work around what that one fighter did, followed by the next fighter with highest initiative and so on (with every "tie" broken, cuz we know those are bad and people NEVER throughout history have struck at the same time), till everyone has taken their appropriate "turn" in the correct order according to the rules of initiative engagement. ;)

Shasarak

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2020, 05:12:08 PM »
Quote from: VisionStorm;1130346
I agree. People in every battlefield throughout history have stopped all fighting to wait while Unit-5 goes first, cuz they "won" initiative, then everything coalesces around that one fighter from Unit-5 who struck first (cuz he had the highest roll) so every other fighter in the entire engagement has to work around what that one fighter did, followed by the next fighter with highest initiative and so on (with every "tie" broken, cuz we know those are bad and people NEVER throughout history have struck at the same time), till everyone has taken their appropriate "turn" in the correct order according to the rules of initiative engagement. ;)

Does doing everything at once work well in your games?  I assume that it does because, as you say, that is how the real world works.
There will be poor always,
pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

Kael

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2020, 05:14:03 PM »
if people actually want realistic combat, just roll for random casualties across the battlefield like a wargame. Or, in other words, just play a wargame.

If you'd rather emulate heroic fiction, then yeah, PCs go first unless surprised.