How do you want initiative to work in D&D Next?

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How do you want initiative to work in D&D Next? Feel free to give as little or as much information about initiative as you wish.


Personally, I like how it is presented as is in most respects. I would (and do) change one thing in my games:

Bonus to initiative


While I do like Dex to initiative, it's not the only bonus to init that should exist in my opinion. In my games, I always let players choose Int to initiative if they desire. Upon looking around these forums, I've seen a lot of players saying other abilities could add to initiative as well. Wisdom makes a lot of sense to me. Others, such as Constitution do not.


I am going to start experimenting with bonuses other than Dex and Int to initiative and see what I think. To me, Dex, Int and Wis make perfect sense. Strength kind of makes sense. Charisma doesn't make sense but I would probably allow it. Constitution makes the least sense to me, but I will try it to see what I think.


Dex - You move faster than others, faster physical reflexes
Int - You are smarter than others, react faster, respond faster, technically reflexes as well here
Wis - You saw the fight coming, spotted it a fraction of a second earlier, noticed it earlier


Str - You are able to use your strength to respond to threats faster.
Cha - Your force of personality is so strong, others let you go first?
Con - You......?



I also may change one more thing. I am unsure, as I haven't playtested what is there and I am not 100% sold on any method yet.

Surprise round:


The only thing I dislike about the surprise round is that those that roll well and are not surprised can take two full rounds before the others get to react. I am thinking that those that are not surprised roll for initiative, then those that are surprised roll for initiative. Everyone would go in the first round, but those surprised will all go after those that are not surprised no matter what anyone rolls.


Alternately, I want to try leaving it as it is in the packet but on those that are surprised they can take a move action only, so long as it doesn't cause any direct (or intend to cause indirect) damage to opponents.

I may like surprise as it is. I have not playtested it yet, so all this are just ideas I am kicking around. I should get a chance to test out all these styles this weekend.



How do you guys feel about initiative? How do you want it to work? 

Do you have an opinion on what campaign settings should be printed in D&D Next? If so, please cast your votes in this poll! Poll: What campaign settings do you want to see printed in D&D Next?
I generally like Dex as the default initiative bonus stat.  However, I can see other attributes being equally important (dexterity doesn't do much good if you can't compose yourself enough to act, etc).

With regard to surprise, I liked the original iteration better than the surprise round (although a feel a bonus for the surprising party is more intuitive than a penalty for the surprised party).  That being said, i do feel that the surprise round has its place.  I see the system as able to have both.  A kind of "degrees of surprise," if you will.  If you are surprised, but not so much that you can't act, then you get the penalty (or the surprising group gets the bonus).  However, if you are so surprised that you can't act, then you get the surprise round thrust upon you.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

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I like it totally divorced from stats.  My preference would be for one of two ideas:

1) Totally chance based--my favorite initiative system in any game is Savage Worlds.  You draw cards.  It's crazy fast and there's no ties.

2) There is effectively no initiative.  All super important, main villain type NPCs go first, all PCs go second, all other NPCs go third, anyone who is surprised goes last.  Or just go around the table in a circle.

I hate initiative. 
Make the initiative check based on any of the attributes based on the encounter and what is called for. Most the time it may be Dex or Intelligence, followed by Wisdom or Charisma, and probably the hardest is Strength or Constitution. But they all have a place.

Perhaps group them together as Dex/Int (reaction based), and Wis/Cha (negotiation based), Str/Con (physical stanima based).

I always thought it was silly to base it off one attribute.

You could also make the check skill based, it just depends on the level of detail you want.

Or make it completely random, but it does take away the advantage of the character specializing at going first. 
Make the initiative check based on any of the attributes based on the encounter and what is called for. Most the time it may be Dex or Intelligence, followed by Wisdom or Charisma, and probably the hardest is Strength or Constitution. But they all have a place.


I could see this as a good one for Constitution-based initiative: An encounter that occurs after or during strenuous activity (like while forced marching, or after running down a fleeing enemy).
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I love the way savage worlds does initiative. It is easy to see who goes when or if someone is "on hold" aka delays. It really runs smoothly and quickly.
I think initiative should be devorced from abilities also.  There should be skills (or natural abilities) that add bonuses.  Maybe the rogue gains bonus...Elves gain bonus...monsters/PCs with great sense of smell, enhanced hearing, etc. gain bonus.

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D12 roll (it needs more love) maybe feat support.  Maybe just the D20.  I think a d12 is large enough so you aren't having roll offs, and small enough that it might speed up initiative taking by a fraction of a few seconds.

Then a bunch of modules suggesting Primary class stat(meaning one of the three or so your class gives a bonus to), or Dex, or Dex/Int, or Charisma for party leader and whole party, etc.
I want to experiment with a style where when an encounter happens, the DM calls an initiative and states an attribute to add the bonus. If it's an ambush, perhaps Wisdom. If it's just a random encounter, perhaps Dexterity or Intelligence. If everyone is negotiating then things go sour, perhaps Charisma. Others have said something similar and I like the idea. I want to try it out. It seems unfair to me that Dexterity is the bonus all day, every day. I love Dex to init, don't get me wrong, but not as the only option forever and ever.
Do you have an opinion on what campaign settings should be printed in D&D Next? If so, please cast your votes in this poll! Poll: What campaign settings do you want to see printed in D&D Next?


Con - Your enemies are so stunned by your awesome body and ability to eat raw meat that you get to go first.
In another thread someone suggested that your Perception roll be your initiative. This makes a ton of sense because the most important factor in determining who goes first in a battle (assuming everyone has their gear at hand) is who notices their opponent first. If the enemy hears you coming down the stairs while you don't know anyone is in the next room, why should there be a separate roll of initiative? The enemy clearly is going to be ready to go before you. If you want to add a Dex bonus or whatever on top of the Perception roll, that would work. Rolling for initiative only makes sense if each side notices the other at the same time.
Reaction to danger is a trained response. Initiative should be a skill.
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Let me add, I'm fine with it being a Dex skill, despite concerns about Dex value bloat. I mean, it's all well and good if your perceptiveness or intelligence helps you react quicker, but if you fumble with your gear or trip over your own feet, it's all for naught. So Dex is the final arbiter.
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Reaction to danger is a trained response. Initiative should be a skill.


Yes, but that response can only occur after the danger is noticed. Thus any initiative skill should be applied to a perception roll rather a separate initiative roll.
You can be a very perceptive person who freezes up when threatened. That's why I think initiative should be a separate skill.
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What about just using a roll of a D10 and add weapon speed or casting time....and maybe improve that with feats allowing you to react faster
I like the percerpt/int roll combo, tho IMO you have to have stat mods - percpt = int and int = dex.
You can be a very perceptive person who freezes up when threatened. That's why I think initiative should be a separate skill.



One suspects that is an instinctual response that you need to take a feat to get rid of .... ie if you have a the frozen in place response instead of acting its a severe disadvantage that is very non-heroic, if the game had limitations or some similar mechanic I would be inclined to account for it otherwise, not really.
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You are both right. You should use the lower of you Wisdom or Dexterity (or any other Ability that your DM decides affects initiative that encounter).
You can be a very perceptive person who freezes up when threatened. That's why I think initiative should be a separate skill.


It makes perfect sense for it to be a skill, but awareness is still critical and it comes first. By having an initiative roll, an important element of initiative is actually stripped away. If your party is in a forest and you hear some footsteps of enemies approaching, wouldn't it be totally logical that you'll be quicker to respond than if you hadn't heard them? Shouldn't that be in addition to any response skill you have?

It's not about choosing between "awareness" and "quickness", but using them together.
Initiative Value = Dexterity score (as reflexes) + Wisdom score (as perception) + Level (as combat experience).

Surprise is a +20 bonus.

When initiative starts to matter, the person with the highest Initiative Value goes first, followed by the person with the second highest, etc.  Ties go to the first person to declare the action, which then determines their order for future round.



 
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A lot of good points being brought up here.

I think surprise should factor in through perception. However I'm not certain it should be used as part of the initiative since you are already giving it so much power through the surprise round.

Tough question and I will need to give all of the input here full consideration before I give my opinion on the subject.

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Suprise Round Idea:

Round 1:
Those who are not suprised roll initative- then act in intiative order
Those who are  suprised roll initiative - then act in initiative order

Round 2: everyone acts in initiative order

Seems way easier to me.

(I still don't even like initiative, I feel like it lets players get distracted until I shout at them that its their turn)

We've done:



  • Roll Initiative- you must act before your number comes up- count up from 0. It lets people with high initiative react to what the others do.

  • Go around the table starting with whoever rolled highest.

  • Go around the table (don't roll initiative)


And they all seemed fine
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Surprise should be a big advantage. Many of the greatest victories in history, especially ones where the underdog comes out on top, were the result of suprise. It should allow an inferior group to beat a superior enemy. A free round of attacks for the ambushers should be the bare minimum advantage.
Personally, I think initiative should be a static die roll by default (1d20).  In addition, I think ability could come into play by various mechanics.  For example, a character wanting to play a quick reflex type of character can invest in that via feats (or specialty).  The feat would allow that character to add his Wis or Dex to initiative (depending on the feat - lightning reflexes vs alertness). 

Alternately (or another in addition), certain classes can gain this feature by default.  I'm not a big fan of every rogue and ranger getting the advantage (stereotype?); so, I would like to see feats enhance initiative in addition to class features if things went that way.

The main issue I have had in the past is the static nature of initiative.  I think rules should be in place to give a bonus o initiative roll based on circumstances...  If the monsters have laid a trap (successfully), they get a bonus.  If a player states he is expecting an ambush and takes precautions, he gets a bonus and so on.  That might be too complex for some DMs; however, I do think details should be in the game to facilitate this sort of thing.