My Initative System

The TTRPG medium has a glut of different initiative systems, this one is my current favorite and I hack it into most things that I run.

1. There are only two alternating turns - the player turn and the enemy turn.
2. The players get the first turn.
3. Only players who pass an initiative check get to go on the first player turn.
4. Players and Enemies can take their actions in any order on their turn.
5. Allies of the players move on the player turn, neutral parties move on the enemy turn.

That's it.  The main advantage of this system is that it has nothing to track and it is very simple to teach.  Normally I let players break up their movement and actions as needed by their strategy, but if a game has strict rules for the phases of a turn it is easy to just sub-divide the player turn into several character turns.

So, how did I reach this method?  Let's start by looking at some orders.  Numbers will represent enemies and letters will represent PCs.

B
2
A
3
1
C

This is an example of a "conventional" initiative order in the way that 5e would handle it.  It's fine, but it can be a bit hard to keep track of.  A common addition to orders like this is to make the enemies move all at once, which makes things easier to track.

B
A
123
C

That's easier to keep track of, but I think we can do better, let's expand the pattern.

B
A
123
C
B
A
123
C
B
A
123
C

Hold on, we can do something here.

AB
123
ABC
123
ABC
123

Ah!  There it is.  The transformations I've done aren't rigorously equivalent, and combat will definitely play out differently if you use them, but I think that the ease of use makes up for it.

So, how do I determine initiative checks?

1. I generate a DC for the enemies instead of rolling for them.  Normally I use the average result for the roll plus the best modifier they have, but you could use the average modifier.
2. If the players beat the DC they get to go in the first round.
3. The players roll initiative with advantage or disadvantage if there is something helping or hindering them.
4. If a successful ambush is arranged, every member of that side goes first.
5. Sometimes the enemies will even have to spend their first round waking up, doning armor, etc.  This is basically the ideal scenario for the PCs.

Comments

  1. I find it easier to just say, you are rolling to see whether you go before, or after the enemies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Comment reads a little harsh to me. So sorry if it came off that way.
      I always enjoy looking at other people's mechanics and this was a great read.

      Delete

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