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Author Topic: Is Initiative Dumb?  (Read 5427 times)

Shasarak

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #60 on: May 19, 2020, 01:19:56 AM »
Quote from: Kuroth;1130536
I was wondering if Kyle was going to explain/describe AD&D 1's hit points!  Good work

ADnD hit points claim to be a mixture of luck, magic, skill etc and then only heal as per your Constitution.
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Kuroth

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #61 on: May 19, 2020, 01:26:34 AM »
ha I know AD&D backwards and forwards.  Stuff you learn as a kid is like brick and mortar in the brain  It was a well intended Good Work salutation that says that is good to see a fellow AD&D DM across the way.
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Kyle Aaron

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2020, 02:11:34 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130554
ADnD hit points claim to be a mixture of luck, magic, skill etc and then only heal as per your Constitution.
Incorrect. They heal at 1HP per day, and a Con bonus, if any, is added to that at the end of each week. Only fighters get more than a +2 bonus regardless of Con, and thus Con is at most 2:7 for most, or 4:7 for fighters, and many will have no Con bonus at all.

In any case it's mostly theoretical; in practice past 1st-2nd level few ever have to heal naturally, magic will do it. But it's a theory I'm comfortable with.
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Kuroth

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #63 on: May 19, 2020, 02:24:55 AM »
Yes. Ya, I just didn't have the....? to explain.
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S'mon

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #64 on: May 19, 2020, 02:56:15 AM »
Quote from: ffilz;1130505

I'm not thinking of any initiative system I didn't like except a free from game (no rounds or initiative of any sort) where my character was left taking no action while others ran up and down stairs and took multiple actions, because I wasn't as deft at shouting out into the fray to get the GM's attention.


Good point. I definitely find that individual init can be a blessing for quiet/shy players, in that there is a dependable moment of time when the GM is focused on them and they can state their action. It's an argument for 'rolling init' in any complex time-dependent scene - I was playing a game set on a ghost ship, it was pretty frustrating watching others yell & run about until the GM declared 'roll init' and we started acting in order.
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S'mon

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #65 on: May 19, 2020, 03:10:56 AM »
Quote from: Libramarian;1130550
I really like the 1e combat system, except for ranged weapons having 2+ rate of fire. It interfaces weirdly with 1e initiative (are they all fired in the same segment?) and with multiple attack routines. It also wrecks the balance of the ranged weapons and makes it too easy to disrupt spellcasters, IMO. Next 1e campaign I will simply give all ranged weapons 1 ROF.

I assumed it broke down proportionally rounding off to nearest segment, so eg FR 2 you'd shoot 5 segments after the first shot, FR 3 you'd shoot 3 segments & 6 segments after the first shot. One of those things not in the book that EGG probably thought 'went without saying'! :D

So eg the sides roll 2 & 6, the winning side begins acting 4 segments earlier, so winning side archers can shoot first arrow but not the second before losing side (sans Dex bonus which adds to Init for this purpose); dart men can throw two darts but not the third.

If shooting at charging foes, charging is at x2 movement so typically 18' to 24' per segment and must terminate within 10' (abstract melee range); so if the sides start 40' apart chargers with 18' charge speed need 2 segments to get into melee, which might allow a second shot.

In PBP play it works great, I can see it being fiddly for tabletop.

Edit: The high 'fire' rate for bows is a nice advantage for Fighter-class PCs. Although UA gave Thieves shortbows. :

Edit 2: With opposed d6s for init there is never more than a 5 segment gap between the sides. Which I doubt was intentional, but it does work well to keep everything within 10 notional segments, almost always. If you roll init 6-1 and beat archers by 5 segments you start acting immediately, while they shoot at you in segments 5 & 10.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 03:19:36 AM by S'mon »
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mAcular Chaotic

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« Reply #66 on: May 19, 2020, 03:20:18 AM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;1130520
Thinking on this, it occurs to me there's an argument for making initiative based on... hit points.

The way I understand hit points in AD&D1e is that they abstract two other things not dealt with much in the rules: general fatigue and parrying. If you've ever been a young guy who gets humiliated by an older guy on the squash court you'll know what I mean about people experienced in a kind of movement knowing how to conserve their energy, while the inexperienced ones lurch about. And of course, the experienced guys know a few tricky movements the newbies won't.

Now, you can represent this in a few ways. For example, you can have a fighter's level be a bonus to hit, a malus to their foe hitting, and also be the number of rounds they can fight before they get a -2 to everything. Or you can let them split their fighting skill between hitting and parrying, and so on.

Or you can just use hit points. Dodging a big blow fatigues them ("you were "hit" for 6 points"), and parrying a heavy blow fatigues them, too ("hit for 4 points"). Eventually the fatigue accumulates and the next blow gets through and does actual damage.

Hit points can also be taken to abstract the finer details of combat. For example, if a fighter is in a corner, most systems don't account for their having less room to dodge or swing. Movement is typically accounted for at a scale of not smaller than a couple of yards. Backed into a corner and barely able to swing their sword, or standing in the middle of the room and able to move freely - they're not accounted for. Obviously, a more experienced fighter will make better use of the space they do have. So hit points can be taken to abstract this, too. The 30HP fighter knocked down to 10HP? Maybe they've parried blow after blow, they're puffing and backed into a corner. A newbie fighter on 10HP to start with? "Damnit, my teacher told me: never get cornered!"

With this view, hit points could also be used as initiative. Highest current hit points goes first, and as that 30HP fighter gets battered down by the four 10HP fighters, eventually maybe they go first. And this, by the by, makes big high hit point creatures scarier - not only are they tougher, but they'll probably have the initiative!


This is an amazing idea -- but it sounds super clunky to actually run. Imagine having to constantly update everything based on everyone's changing hit points.
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Shasarak

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #67 on: May 19, 2020, 03:56:16 AM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;1130559
Incorrect. They heal at 1HP per day, and a Con bonus, if any, is added to that at the end of each week. Only fighters get more than a +2 bonus regardless of Con, and thus Con is at most 2:7 for most, or 4:7 for fighters, and many will have no Con bonus at all.

In any case it's mostly theoretical; in practice past 1st-2nd level few ever have to heal naturally, magic will do it. But it's a theory I'm comfortable with.


How can that be incorrect when you literally say that you heal 1 + your Con?

Insert obligatory "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride.
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S'mon

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #68 on: May 19, 2020, 05:26:52 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130566
How can that be incorrect when you literally say that you heal 1 + your Con?

Insert obligatory "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride.

AD&D healing is 1 hp/day. In the rare case of healing for an entire week, you add CON bonus ONCE at the end of the week. Ie 1 week's healing is 7 + CON bonus.
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Kyle Aaron

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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #69 on: May 19, 2020, 06:33:47 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130566
How can that be incorrect when you literally say that you heal 1 + your Con?

Quote from: Kyle Aaron;1130534
In AD&D1e rules-as-written, absent any magical healing, proper rest somewhere comfortable gets you back 1HP a day, with the Con bonus if any each week, and in any case everything is healed after a month.

Quote from: Shasarak
Insert obligatory "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride.

You keep reading my post. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Since time gives the character 7 HP a week back, and Con gives -3 to +2, or up to +4 for fighters, time is the greatest healer in every case, and Con is the smaller factor.
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nDervish

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« Reply #70 on: May 19, 2020, 08:06:31 AM »
Quote from: VisionStorm;1130470
The issue is that intent aside initiative (particularly individual initiative) does tend to play out like characters frozen in time in practice, despite the books saying otherwise and claiming that actions are assumed to take place simultaneously. I have seen characters evade a fireball blast because they hadn't taken their action yet so they weren't within the blast radius when the fireball went off, yet an ally standing right beside them at the beginning of the round did take the fireball blast cuz they "won" initiative so they already had time to move into melee before the fireball happened.


Pre-declared spellcasting resolves this:  Everyone knows that the wizard is casting Fireball at point X.  The character who beat the wizard's initiative notices this in time to move clear of the blast zone.  The character whose initiative is worse than the wizard's reacts too slowly and gets fried.

I've also seen systems which address this sort of thing by saying that whoever has the worst initiative goes first, but anyone with better initiative is able to interrupt actions by someone with worse initiative.  So, again, the wizard casts and the character with better initiative can interrupt his action to move to a safe place, while the character with worse initiative than the wizard does not have that option.  But that method is more complex and easily leads to sequencing confusion when you're four interrupts deep and have to remember who interrupted who interrupted who interrupted...

And before you say "but none of that is simultaneous!", that objection ignores the duration of actions.  If casting a Fireball spell takes, say, 5 seconds, and moving clear of the blast zone takes 2 seconds, then there is time for someone with sufficient situational awareness to notice that you're casting (i.e., better initiative) and then move clear concurrently with the casting itself.

Quote from: Altheus;1130472
I like the idea ao sitting everyone down in initiative order and going around asking what people are going to do from low to high and then resolving things from high to low. I'm not sure how effective or fun this would be.


I've seen this used (both as a RAW suggestion and as a table convention) in systems with fixed initiative orders, such as the Strike/DEX Ranks in most BRP variants.  I have a hard time seeing it work well in systems with rolled initiative (unless you only roll once at the start of the session and that order holds for the entire evening's play) because you'd constantly be playing musical chairs.

Quote from: ffilz;1130505
Oh, one more I didn't like, but I was just observing and not playing, and I'm not sure it was being run right. I watched a couple people playing Melee, where the faster guy always got to run around his opponent and attack him from behind. That seemed really absurd (given that it wasn't some kind of super hero or super martial arts game).


That's a common way to not run Melee right, which usually seems to result from taking the idea of initiative from other games and apply it to Melee, which actually has two different initiative systems working side-by-side.

First, there is rolled initiative, which is a straight d6-v-d6 side initiative system.  The side that rolls higher wins initiative for the round, but that only means that they get to choose whether they want to move first or second.  As you observed, in 95% of cases, you'll want to choose to move last, so that you can flank or get behind your foes.  But this is only movement at this point.

Second, after everyone on both sides has moved, attacks are made in order of descending DEX.  So the guy with high DEX does always get to attack first, but he may or may not be in optimal position to make that attack, depending on whether his side moved first or second, which in turn depends on which side won initiative for the round.

(Another thing they did wrong is that Melee has strong engagement/ZOC, so that, once you're adjacent to an enemy and in one of that enemy's front hexes, you can only move by making a one-hex "shift", similar to the D&D3.x 5-foot step, so you can't run around to get behind your opponent at that point in any case.)

Quote from: jhkim;1130523
I think there's some talking past about different mechanics here. There are a number of different possible initiative systems

(1) Individual rolled initiative like D&D
(2) Fixed action order like HERO or GURPS, going in order of character stat
(3) Group rolled initiative like older D&D
(4) Arbitrary order like clockwise among players, usually in groups
(5) Rerolled initiative like Savage Worlds, where order is randomly determined every round
(6) Declare all actions, then resolve actions - like RuneQuest


(7) Individual initiative bids each round, like EABA2

In EABA2, at the start of each combat round, everyone secretly bids for their initiative and then acts in descending order, with ties resolved as simultaneous actions.  Anyone who makes no initiative bid goes on initiative 0.

So, what's to stop you from bidding a million for initiative every round?  Because you're rushing your action, your initiative bid is applied as a penalty to all actions taken that round.  Bid 2, and you're doing everything at -2.  Most of the time, you'll want to bid 0 initiative, then, to avoid taking penalties unless you either completely outclass your opponent (making the penalties irrelevant) or you really, really need to go first (forcing you to eat the penalties), and even then, you want to bid as low as you can while still beating the opposition's bid.

EABA1 also had an interesting twist on methods #1/5/6.  You first declared the general type of action you wanted to take that round (e.g., "I'll shoot" - not who you're shooting or any other details) and then make an unmodified skill roll for the skill that will be used for your action, which functions as your initiative roll.  The logic behind this being that an expert will generally be able to act more quickly than a novice, in addition to more effectively.

Steven Mitchell

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« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2020, 08:17:41 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130554
ADnD hit points claim to be a mixture of luck, magic, skill etc and then only heal as per your Constitution.

As with a lot of D&D abilities, I find it helpful to not consider Constitution very literally.  Con gave you more (or less) hit points to begin with.  Therefore, whatever hit points represent in your setting, Con is related to that somewhat.  In a twisted kind of way, it even fits:  People that have a higher ability score get away with more things than mere mortals.  Con is the one that ties in your ability to not quite go down from a weapon or spell or trap that would have felled a slightly more normal person.  Sure, a high Con can represent sheer toughness to a point, but it is adding hit points every level. No one is "tough enough" to ignore a solid long sword hit even at higher levels. So even for brawny or wiry fighters, at some point it is more than toughness.  For other characters, you can start thinking of it as luck or magic even sooner.

jan paparazzi

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« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2020, 09:35:18 AM »
Didn't read the entire post. Just wanted to say I like the initiative system of Savage Worlds.
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Alderaan Crumbs

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« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2020, 10:37:42 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130340
It is moronic except compared to everyone doing everything at the same time.


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Is Initiative Dumb?
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2020, 10:39:48 AM »
Quote from: Shasarak;1130356
Has anyone tried Hackmaster?  It uses a count up system where every action takes a certain number of seconds so you are never really "frozen" in place.  You declare your action, act on your count, declare your next action, if something happens you can change actions, move a certain speed per second.  It really forces you to concentrate on what is going on because there is always something happening.


It seems cool at first but after combatants are in contact, all movement basically stops and then you're back to just waiting for your turn to swing again.  And the count up system is a serious pain in the ass to keep track of.