Just curious how other DM's handle this.
Let's say combat begins; PC's vs goblin meleers, goblin archers, and some ogres.
I have everyone roll initiative, and I roll once for each monster type (pretty sure this is RAW).
At the end of round one, more monsters show up.
Let's say some are more gobin meleers, and one is a new type; a goblin wizard.
Which method do you use?
1. The new monsters go immediately. Still in round one but last.
2. The new meleers get the same initiative as the others, and go when they go. The wizard rolls initiative and goes in whatever order he fits.
3. The new monsters are treated separately and roll their own initiative, starting in round two.
4. Something else?
Additional question: when the new mobs join the field, do you have them stop to make their initiative roll immediately upon entering the edge of the battle area, or might you place them closer to the action?
Rolling once for each monster type isn't RAW, but it is highly recommended as a timesaver.
My option would be #3. They would enter the battlefield on their initiative count.
I tend to roll for all monsters I know are going to be in the encounter when general initiative is rolled. If there is a delayed entrance I simply determine when they show up/can be seen and they act in that round.
I do option 1 usually. I place them where it's fictionally appropriate with input from the players.
I place them at the bottom of the initiative order, and that is when they appear/act.
I wouldn't put them in the first round, unless they were waiting (delaying) deliberately to join the fight then.
When I've had others of the same monster type join I usually have them join the initiative with others of their type, so #2. If that's going to give a huge turn to monsters (reinforcement wave), then I'd go with #3,
Sometimes I try to give the PCs some knowledge that there's reinforcements coming if it fits with terrain, lighting, perception, stealth, monster preparation, etc. Just because it doesn't fit our board doesn't mean the the PCs can't see/hear something 100 ft away, and it breaks the atmosphere if, despite great party Perceptions, a previously unseen orc suddenly charges. Accordingly, the monsters can be in the initiative from the start, just not on the board.
If i want them to actually appear in round 2, then i do option 3.
Some would argue that (option 1) going last in round one is the same as going first in round 2. And while this is mechanically true, i think it's just kinda chumpy to automatically let them go first in round 2, so i'll roll them in and have them go on their rolled intit order.
In some rare occasions, i may do option 2, but probably only if the newcomers are minions.
So really, the bottom line is just what feels appropriate for those particular creatures, and that particular combat...
For battles with smaller numbers of opponents, I go with 3, with individual rolls for each monster. For larger battles, I go with group rolls, with the new monsters entering initiative in clumps, rolled separately. For example, if there are fifteen creatures entering in round two, with five different types (let's say three of each type), then each type will get its own initiative roll, and "enter" the combat on that point in the initiative order.
Depending on my mood and how complex the fight is, I either use #3 or #2. Though I am a frequent user of Readied Actions and Delays, and when DMing PbP I enforce most intiative-changing rules of delaying when people act out of order, so I have to make a note of what the original die roll was (which is why I'm more likely to use 3 than 2), and by the time the reinforcement join in the whole round order is probably vastly different than when it started.
The only time I might not roll at all is if they're non-combatants to the combat (in which case they act at the end of each round), or if it's a trap with a deisgnated initiative marker (in which case I place it where the guidelines say to do so). But newcomers might catch the other side off-guard (and have a high init) or be caught off-guard themselves (low init), or go with the flow (middling init), another reason I'm more likely to go with #3.
I always add new combatants between rounds, no matter what else goes on, usually at an appropriate (1 or 2 move actions) distance, unless there's a reason for them to appear closer in. Depending on circumstances, the PCs might hear the reinforcements coming, or might not; a lot of times I'll base it on what else is going on, and Passive Perceptions.
Using #1 as the option isn't really fair to the players. The CA that a Rogue would gain against the targets who haven't yet acted is completely nullified, for example.
You're not giving the players a fair chance to act to those enemies.
I use #3.
I have all groups of enemies I expect to participate in an encounter roll init at the same time. I don't ever announce monster init to the players, but they generally figure it out after a round of combat.
For monsters that arrive late to an encouter, they arrive on their init count and either end their turn or take some action (depending on the situation). Next round they get a full turn on their init count.
I'm getting ready to start a new campaign and am thinking of implementing as a house rule that initiative is re-rolled every round. For larger battles, I would just work the new arrivals into whatever group they belong to, or start a new one if that isn't applicable.
@Vortex66: If you want to do that then that's your decision, however you need to be aware that it will really slow down combat. I don't know how many players you have but if I assume 4 players and then throw in your monster group(s) you're looking at adding a decent amount of time just from that.
I know it only takes like 10-15 seconds each time for everyone to roll and then figure out who goes when, but if each combat encounter takes more than a few rounds each then time will really add up. It gets even worse with a larger group and the more monster group(s) you add in. Overall this may not seem like a lot of time, but depending on which edition you're playing can also be a big factor. I play 3.5e and combat there can be slow. I haven't had much experience with 4e but I've heard many people say that combat goes pretty darn slow in that edition as well. So adding more things that can eat up time during combat encounters just makes it worse.
Now I'm not saying that what you're proposing won't work for your group, I just think that it would be an extra step that isn't really needed.
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