Pathfinder RPG Improved Initiative (proposal...ish)





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  1. #1

    Improved Initiative (proposal...ish)

    (proposalish in that I recommend further simplifying PMiller's system)

    For the most part, I like PMiller's way of doing initiative as one that promotes thinking as a member of a team, rather than as a lone show-off.

    I feel that it gives folks with high Init the opportunity to "double-dip" by getting both an individual bonus and group bonus from their high modifier, and it seems like an unnecessary amount of rolling which strongly promotes average results.

    My version:

    1. Each side, in advance, averages their individual initiative modifiers into a group score.
    2. Each side rolls 1 die to determine their initiative. If one side has surprise on the other, that side rolls with Advantage. (roll 2d20, take the highest)
    3. (the DM can average mods during prep, players can get their average during check-in, and then it's all done thenceforth!)


    I'm discussing it along with other streamlined initiative systems here, but I'm a bit more interested in the PbP angle than in Reddit's F2F leanings.
    Last edited by dammitbiscuit; Thursday, 12th July, 2012 at 12:56 PM.

 

  • #2
    I'm new to community and PbP in general and while I've read through a few adventure threads I still don't fully understand Pmiller's system. I may have it right but I figure since this is here I would ask if you wouldn't mind clarifying his often used system rather than ask mid thread and break immersion.

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    I'm also new, but the first thing I see is that the simple group initiative penalizes people for trying to have high init, by dragging them down with the rest of the party. The LPF method still groups everyone together, but rewards people who want to go first.

    An alternative suggestion is to use the simple group initiative, but add each character's bonus to their groups roll. If someone in the losing group is higher than everyone in the winning group, that person goes first. less rolling, but still rewards big bonuses.

    Also, I don't see it as double dipping. If you go first, before the other team, it's because you lost, and your bonus didn't help the group enough.

    This is all from someone who doesn't worry too much about having a decent init bonus, though. I usually like to ready and delay, so starting first is rarely helpful to me.

  • #4
    The thing that surprises me the most, both here and on Reddit, is that people really want their high-init characters to go first, like they've earned something special just for being a Dex-primary class.

    Me, even if I were playing a Rogue with Improved Init, I'd want to share that with the group so the Fighter can get out in front of me and the Wizard can lock down the enemy! I have no need to show off and be first myself; I want people who are better equipped to survive or prevent the enemies' attacks to jump in, provide flanking opportunities, and make the water safe for me.

    I'll get over the fact that my init was "diluted" because it overall helped the group as much as it helped me individually. Despite not having the luxury of being a Dexxer and thus not being able to get free cookies forever for maxing the most useful stat in the game, they get a lot out of going first! Helping them is being rewarded for a big bonus.

    Fair point about the double dipping. There's still a bit of extra mileage being gotten out of high init, IMO, because even if it doesn't help the group, you still can easily beat an averaged roll.
    @Chronikoce re: LPF system-

    1. Everyone rolls
    2. each team takes the average of their rolls to see which team goes first
    3. if your team loses, but your individual roll beats the winning team, you go first, not them
    4. the "winning" team then goes next
    5. the "losing" team all go now (because not only are their low rollers at the bottom of this turn, but their high rollers are at the top of next turn, so they all go now)

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    I really do like the idea that my (hypothetical rogue) abilities help the group, beyond making me better at shoot, and not getting hit. To me, the only reason a rogue would want to go first, before everyone else, is to get a sneak attack in, but dex-based or improved initiative fighters and barbarians might want to rush out, and start controlling, or leveling, the field.

    I was going to say that I think averaging the rolls is somewhat useful, because it prevents a single bad roll from putting the entire party at a disadvantage, but then I started thinking about it like a math person.

    When averaging 4 (or 5) dice, getting away from an average value of 10 or 11 is going to be very rare. (I haven't done the math yet, but the central tendency should be very strong.) Really, at this point, it might be of as much value to simply compare the average broup init bonuses, and only roll if they are within a point or two of each other.

    I'll have to do some math and some thinking before I formally pick a side, here, but right now I think a single bonus, single roll for the group would give a good balance between the traditional thrill of rolling a high init, and having it mean something, and keeping a PbP moving.

    One question about this, though: How do surprise rounds work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dammitbiscuit View Post
    Me, even if I were playing a Rogue with Improved Init, I'd want to share that with the group so the Fighter can get out in front of me and the Wizard can lock down the enemy! I have no need to show off and be first myself; I want people who are better equipped to survive or prevent the enemies' attacks to jump in, provide flanking opportunities, and make the water safe for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by vmaaxt View Post
    I really do like the idea that my (hypothetical rogue) abilities help the group, beyond making me better at shoot, and not getting hit. To me, the only reason a rogue would want to go first, before everyone else, is to get a sneak attack in, but dex-based or improved initiative fighters and barbarians might want to rush out, and start controlling, or leveling, the field.
    It's not about wanting to go before everyone on your side, it's about wanting to go before everyone on their side so you can take every chance to get that precious precision based damage in - it's about the only thing that makes Rogues really useful in a fight (and I say that even though Rogues are far and away my favorite class to play!).
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    Since the bonuses can be factored out of simply rolling (the difference in the average bonuses can be added to one of the rolls it doesn't affect central tendency), the expected difference between the average rolls would be 0, so the expected difference between the average rolls with bonuses applied would simply be the difference in bonuses.

    So some quick computations with minitab tell me this: the standard deviation for a group init roll for a party of 4 is about 2.88. This leads to expecting the difference between the party and a group of 4 monsters to be within about 4 of each other, 60% of the time., and about 8 almost all of the time.

    This shows to me that even in averaged rolls initiative, the rolls still matter quite a bit, because a 4 point initiative bonus is a lot for a group to overcome which is what it would take to expect your group to go first 60% of the time.

    PS: Someone should check me on this. @Chronikoce, can you help me out?
    Last edited by vmaaxt; Thursday, 12th July, 2012 at 08:17 PM. Reason: adding comment

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    Since I'm not sure if it's clear, I wanted to interject that, while most GM's in LPF use a group initiative / first-post system, it's not required. Folks are free to use 'normal' initiative, or the system you're proposing, whatever they prefer for their games.

    And I think Mowgli's got the same sense I do on the 'go first' stuff, though mileage will vary. It's why I like the 'if you beat the other team as an individual' bit in the system most of us use; if you spent the feats / traits on improving your initiative, chances are it was largely to maximize that first round for Sneak Attack or battlefield controlling or buffing or whatnot, which you can still do.
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    Having thought about it more, I think the averaging the rolls method gives a lot of benefit for high init characters. While the difference in the groups rolls won't be that big, it can give a certain character a way to jump in quickly, but not every time. The only way to reward a character who sinks a feat or trait into improving their init (other than having some backup from their friends), is to have them go first sometimes. The only way that I can think to make this happen when rolling a single die for each side, is if PC's roll + character's bonus > other group's roll + their bonus. This would only benefit that one character very rarely, when the rolls were close enough that the pc group bonus was lower than the monster's, but that one character's is higher.

    Whether this is not for me to decide, just putting it out there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkason View Post
    Since I'm not sure if it's clear, I wanted to interject that, while most GM's in LPF use a group initiative / first-post system, it's not required. Folks are free to use 'normal' initiative, or the system you're proposing, whatever they prefer for their games.

    And I think Mowgli's got the same sense I do on the 'go first' stuff, though mileage will vary. It's why I like the 'if you beat the other team as an individual' bit in the system most of us use; if you spent the feats / traits on improving your initiative, chances are it was largely to maximize that first round for Sneak Attack or battlefield controlling or buffing or whatnot, which you can still do.
    Yep. I'm fine with the group initiative + if your roll beats all the bad guys rolls, but I use individual initiative in my games. Been playing PbP long enough that for me there's no big hurry. So long as we're posting every day or so, the delay of a few hours to a day to wait for the next person's action is a drop in the 6 month bucket . . .
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