5E Concurrent initiative variant; Everybody declares/Everybody resolves [WAS Simultaneous Initiative]
+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 21 1234567891011 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 202
  1. #1
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6,585
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Hemlock


    Friend+

    Concurrent initiative variant; Everybody declares/Everybody resolves [WAS Simultaneous Initiative]

    Thread RENAMED "Concurrent initiative" for clarity because "Simultaneous initiative" was confusing/misleading

    From another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post
    I abandoned cyclic initiative almost as soon as I started running my own 5E games; you don't need to roll initiative every round at all. You only need to roll initiative when something happens that puts the order of actions front and center, e.g. when two people have a Readied Action on the same trigger (Nox: "as soon as the lights turn on I'll cast Hold Person on the githyanki!"; Githyanki: "as soon as the lights turn on I'll run over and kill Nox!") or when their actions are mutually exclusive (Neogi Wizard: "I cast Fireball on Nox"; Nox: "I duck behind total cover").

    In all other situations, initiative for the round is irrelevant and can be ignored, although some players like to roll it anyway and resolve things in initiative order instead of going around and resolving in table order (e.g. counterclockwise around the table). For large combats (eight or more combatants) I often have players roll initiative to keep it simpler, but for combats with only a few key players like the aforementioned gladiatorial combat against an ogre, you can totally ignore initiative unless there happens to be a round where both the ogre and the PC barbarian get in killing blows (which didn't happen), in which case you need to roll initiative to see who goes first.

    Cyclic initiative (each player declares and then acts on his own turn during a fixed initiative cycle) is the wrong solution to the "too much rolling initiative" problem. The right solution is to just roll initiative as-needed instead of constantly.

    [Again, the key problem with cyclic initiative is the way it forces 50-80% of the players into inactivity when it's not "their turn," though there are other problems too like how it confuses people when they run scenarios involving surprise or hidden combatants. But the main problem is that cyclic initiative creates a notion of "turn" which is distinct from "round" and then forces players not to participate in other peoples' turns.]
    Response:

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Sorry, you've lost me.

    Let's take a quick example. Four heroes on a cart are ambushed by half a dozen goblins hiding behind some bushes up the road. Let's not focus on the ambush rules for this. I just would like you to explain how you run the combat.

    There are four PCs and six monsters. A very commonplace and ordinary combat, wouldn't you say?

    I get that each player is asked to declare his action. But where does the time savings come in? Do you have each player resolve his action by himself, once you've determined that there are nothing stopping that action from happening?

    And do you always assume a PC acts before the goblin (or goblins) that he's attacking and attacked by?

    Or what?

    (On second thought, perhaps it would be best if you replied in a new thread, but I leave that decision up to you)
    Ambushes don't add much complexity, so let's leave the ambush part in there.

    The basic rules I use are pretty simple: declare actions in order of Int (lowest to highest) to represent that quicker thinking gives you a shorter OODA loop; all turns occur simultaneously, but actions within a round/turn sometimes need to roll initiative to find out which one goes first; some actions (like Dodge, or maintaining a held action) are considered whole-round activities instead of events within a round, and so they automatically win initiative contests; you can delay your action until everyone else commits to an action, but that makes you automatically lose all initiative contests. (Essentially, you declare Delay as your action, and then you get to declare a new action after everyone else goes.)

    So in this case, four heroes are on a cart, and the goblins have all rolled high stealth and won't be detected. The heroes are alert and won't be "surprised", but they do lose initiative automatically (as if they had all implicitly declared Delay, which is the default action).

    DM: as you're riding along past a hill past a narrow spot in the road, six arrows suddenly arc in towards you. [Rolls dice] Vlad, you catch a glimpse of a goblin's grinning face in the bushes here right before his arrow hits you for 8 points of damage.

    Vlad: can I Shield?

    DM: it's only a 14, and I think you would have been alert for possible trouble and aren't surprised, so okay, you Shield. Lose 2 spell points instead of 8 HP. Cranduin, you're hit once too for 4 points of damage; two other arrows clang off your armor. Jack, you got lucky--two arrows were aimed at you but they both missed. There's a brief rustling noise and you lose track of the goblins' whereabouts--they're somewhere within the brush but you're not sure where.

    Eladriel (Shadow Monk): guys, let me check this out. I'm hopping out of the cart and making a sweep through the bushes.

    Vlad: okay, we'll Delay until she checks it. [Cranduin and Jack nod assent]

    DM: El, roll your Wisdom (Perception) check to see if you spot the goblins.

    El: 9. [wince]

    DM: You don't see anything.

    Jack: I'm granting her Bardic Inspiration, and then I'm going to duck down too behind cover and Hide. [starts to roll dice--DM sees it and doesn't stop him because it doesn't look like anyone else is going to declare, and besides the goblins have already gone] 25!

    Vlad: I'm going to stop the wagon and crouch down for partial cover behind the edge of the wagon, and Ready a Chill Touch for the first goblin that I see.

    Cranduin: I'm going to hop out of the wagon too, to give Vlad some extra cover, and put on my shield and draw my longsword.

    DM: Okay, you all do that. Next round. The goblins have all made their action decisions, but since you can't see them I'm not going to tell you what they are, though I suspect you can guess.

    Vlad: still holding my Eldritch Blast.

    El: Delay.

    Cranduin: I'm going to Ready myself to charge over and attack the first goblin who shows his face.

    DM: Okay, you'll be ready to attack the first goblin who breaks cover, as long as he is within your 30' movement range.

    Jack: I'm still hidden for now, so I'll Delay.

    DM: [rolls a handful of dice] Vlad! Three arrows aimed at you--does a 17 hit?

    Vlad: Yes, but I'll Shield--oh, stink. I can't if I've already spent my reaction, can I?

    DM: Nope. [consults dice, including initiative rolls] One arrow arcs in and misses you, and you blast him right back with Chill Touch. Roll please.

    Vlad: 10, miss.

    DM: Another arrow misses you, and then a third one, that 17, hits you right in the ribs for 6 points of damage.

    Vlad: wait, I forgot about partial cover! My AC this round is 18, not 16!

    DM: awesome for you! It hits the wagon right below your ribs.

    Vlad: whew!

    DM: all three of those goblins fade back into the bushes and you can't spot them any more. Cranduin, what's your initiative this round? The slowest of Vlad's three goblins had a 19 initiative and I doubt you can beat them.

    Cranduin: [rolls] Uh, 3.

    DM: ...well, I guess you're last. Three goblins also shoot arrows at Eladriel. El, there's one crit, which I assume you're going to try to catch [waits for confirming nod from here] for 11 points of damage minus your missile snatch, and then another 20 which also hits you I think, and then a clear miss.

    El: [rolls] I block exactly 11 points of damage.

    DM: Okay, you're hit once for 8 points of damage by the second arrow. Cranduin moves to intercept that goblin but he's too slow to hit it before it can try to hide again. However! One of the three that shot at you, the one that got the crit, rolls only a 12 on his Stealth check and you're able to see where he still is and point him out to Cranduin. Go for it, Cran!

    Cranduin: [rolls] I got... a 9. Total. I miss.

    DM: all right, that still leaves El and Jack with actions for this turn.

    El: I attack that goblin, three times including Martial Arts. [rolls] One hit with my staff for 10 points of damage.

    DM: And he goes down! Jack?

    Jack: Can I very quietly grant inspiration to Cranduin without leaving my hiding place?

    DM: Sure. You're like, [whispers furtively] "Fight! Fight! Fight! for the right!" [everyone laughs]

    Jack: Okay, I do that.

    DM: Okay, round three and you're still facing five goblins, as far as you know. They've got their actions ready but you don't know what they are, and... [etc.]

    And that's basically how it works. As you can see, initiative is rolled relatively infrequently*, and the players are as fully-engaged with the game and each other as they would be in a social scene or other noncombat activity. Instead of spending 50-80% of their time sitting around doing nothing, not "allowed" to do anything because it's not "their turn," the players have the freedom to interact with each other and declare actions when they're ready to commit to something, or to wait for a better opportunity later by Delaying. You'll notice that one of the players (Jack's player) is apparently even still thinking more in roleplaying terms ("hide from the monsters!") than in terms of "optimal" tactics like readying attacks or making active perception rolls by Searching.

    This style of play should be familiar to anyone who ever read the 2nd edition PHB, since it's almost exactly what AD&D used to use. The main difference is that AD&D didn't explicitly spell out the fact that sometimes initiative rolls don't matter and can be skipped, and it also didn't have the concept of Delaying. (I got the idea of Delay from fencing.)

    -Hemlock/Max

    * You can see that nothing would change no matter what order the initiative rolls came out in. The only time in the whole scenario when initiative matters is seeing whether Crandruin Readies an action in time to intercept one of the goblins before it can try to Hide again.
    Last edited by Hemlock; Friday, 10th February, 2017 at 07:33 AM. Reason: Thread RENAMED for clarity because "Simultaneous" was misleading
    XP CapnZapp, MostlyDm, 77IM, pukunui, dave2008 gave XP for this post

  2. #2
    Re-reading this again after seeing you criticize cyclic initiative in another post.

    I think its a really fascinating idea. Im going to try to give it a shot some time soon I think.

    I also like that it gives a small nudge to Int, which is so massively undervalued.

  3. #3
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6,585
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Hemlock


    Friend+
    [From another thread, a little bit more on the motivation behind this alternative to PHB initiative. -Max]

    My deeper objection is to the way vanilla PHB "cyclic" initiative tries to simplify combats by unifying decision-making and action resolution into an instantaneous event, and then progresses time by simply ensuring that there's a full cycle in which everyone gets to do their instantaneous action. It's a highly artificial way of interacting with the game world, and if you ever try to do something which doesn't fit neatly into the predefined set of things that can be done in one instant by one person, you're back to dealing with the messiness of actions with durations anyway, which means that you now have to re-invent techniques on the fly for the dealing with the thing you invented cyclic initiative to get away from. So you'll naturally steer yourself away from certain kinds of actions that don't fit within the neatly predefined hierarchy of actions, even if they're perfectly plausible from a roleplaying perspective.

    If I've got a new role-player, and he's playing a human fighter named Bob, and the party is fighting a T-Rex inside of a castle, and Bob sees a lever 100' away that he could pull to drop a portcullis between the T-Rex and the party, there is no physical reason why Bob shouldn't be able to shout, "Hang on guys! I'm going to drop the portcullis!" and then run 100' and pull that lever. And if combat and cyclic initiative weren't involved (e.g. the T-Rex is insulting the PCs instead of fighting with them), he could declare exactly that and the DM would be fine with it. He might say, "The T-Rex is going to get in a couple more insults before you pull the lever," but he's not going to say, "You can't declare that action." In the initiative system presented in the 5E PHB, however, the DM is likely to say, "No, you can't. Your move is only 30', and you can Dash for 30' more, but you can only run to here this turn. Next turn you can Dash again to the lever and pull it." And Bob will learn that there are only certain things you can do during combat, and Dash is one of them, and next time he'll declare his action in terms of Attack/Dash/Item Interaction, and the game will get a little less organic.

    Contrast that with a WEGO system in which the DM is used to having multiple outstanding declarations at once which get resolved at a later point in time. In this case, Bob can say, "I'll yell, 'hang on guys!' and run over to pull the lever." And the DM will say, "Okay, that will take you two turns," and the other PCs might okay, "Okay, if he's going to drop the portcullis then I might as well just Dodge instead of trying to kill this thing with my tiny stick", and everything will play out more organically and interactively. There's no reason you couldn't get the exact same outcome even with PHB cyclic initiative--but I believe that you wouldn't. And if you did it would be much more hassle for the players:

    "I Dodge."
    "I Dash 60'."
    "I Dodge."
    "I Dodge."
    "I Dodge."
    "The T-Rex attacks."
    "I Dodge."
    "I Dash 40' and pull the lever."

    If you make it hard for people to do stuff, they're less likely to do that kind of stuff.

    Ceterum autem censeo cyclic initiative esse delendam.
    XP MostlyDm, Satyrn, 77IM gave XP for this post

  4. #4
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6,585
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Hemlock


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by MostlyDm View Post
    Re-reading this again after seeing you criticize cyclic initiative in another post.

    I think it’s a really fascinating idea. I’m going to try to give it a shot some time soon I think.

    I also like that it gives a small nudge to Int, which is so massively undervalued.
    Yes, I was quite surprised to see how much players valued Int. I saw a Shadow Monk/Druid boost his Int from its starting value of 9 all the way up to 12 by the time he was a Shadow Monk 8/Druid 6. I don't think you'd ever see that happen under PHB rules.

  5. #5
    I've given bonus/penalty languages/tool proficiencies from Int in the past, and seriously consider giving bonus/penalty skills entirely. It really annoys me that 5e carried over 4e's mistreatment of Int, and then exacerbated it by having even fewer classes that use it.

    This is another interesting angle to it, though.

  6. #6
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6,585
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Hemlock


    Friend+
    I think the players like it because it directly impacts them as players, every round of every combat.

    "Oh, Nox, you get to declare last because you have the highest Int."
    [Jandar's (the aforementioned Shadow Monk) player looks enviously at Nox's player.]

    It's not just about player envy of course. They also really, really like being more intelligent than the monsters. "The T-Rex is attacking the nearest person, Jandar." "I'm Dodging." vs. "The githzerai is smarter than you. You declare your action first."

    There is of course also the role-playing angle as well (I don't think my players are motivated purely by combat outcomes), and the Jandar's player said things that indicated that he didn't like being a "dummy" with Int 9--but Jandar was Int 9 when he was first created, when the players were new to 5E, so why didn't it bother him then enough to assign a higher stat to it? (Jandar actually had lower Int than his half-orc Barbarian Thok.) I can only assume that constantly having to declare before other players made him feel like a dummy, in a way that simply seeing a 9 on his character sheet did not.
    Last edited by Hemlock; Friday, 6th January, 2017 at 09:48 PM.
    XP 77IM gave XP for this post

  7. #7
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Edenvale, San Jose, CA
    Posts
    10,039
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Tony Vargas


    Friend+
    I recall coming across a system that included declaring actions in ascending INT order at some point in the distant gaming past (actions were then resolved in descending DEX order, IIRC). I don't know if it was for D&D, but it's interesting you're using something like it. Do you recall where you got the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by MostlyDm View Post
    I've given bonus/penalty languages/tool proficiencies from Int in the past, and seriously consider giving bonus/penalty skills entirely. ... It really annoys me that 5e, exacerbated it by having even fewer classes that use it.
    INT already adds to some significant skills, doubling-down by having it also add skill proficiencies like it did languages in 1e or ranks in 3e doesn't seem called for. Though I guess the loss of INT adding to AC/REF isn't exactly made up for with the rare INT save. I suppose a lot of cases could be made for using INT or DEX in some situations.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Friday, 6th January, 2017 at 11:11 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    INT already adds to some significant skills, doubling-down by having it also add skill proficiencies like it did languages in 1e or ranks in 3e doesn't seem called for. Though I guess the loss of INT adding to AC/REF isn't exactly made up for with the rare INT save. I suppose a lot of cases could be made for using INT or DEX in some situations.

    I'm very much on the fence as far as it granting skills, Tony... I think you may be right that it is too powerful. Tools/languages I'm more flexible about.

    Also, in my 3.X homebrews, I do away with the predefined skill list entirely and have players make up their own skills, then when using a skill at the table we figure out what stat applies in the particular use case (much like 5e tool proficiencies). This system would likely work well in 5e, but I haven't ported it yet.

    Also, Tony, could you do me a favor and fix your quote of me? You cut out text in the middle of the quote and didn't signify it with any sort of ellipsis or similar to indicate that you were doing it. I assume my mention of 4e in anything that could be construed as a negative way offended you, so I understand why you cut it. But as it stands right now, it's a misquote.

  9. #9
    Member
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    4,043
    Reviews
    Read 4 Reviews

    Block Saelorn


    Friend+
    The major issue with simultaneous initiative is that circumstances on the ground are likely to change between the time you declare your action and the time it comes to resolve your action. If you ever played Final Fantasy I, before the PlayStation era re-releases, you'd remember how little fun it is to have a fighter miss their attacks because the enemy they'd selected was already dead at the hands of the black belt, while the remaining enemies continue to return fire.

    I'm not exactly sure how your system deals with that, if there's anything more to it than rolling initiative to see who gets that particular enemy first, or whether the slower actor gets a chance to change their mind based on the outcome of the faster one. (If there are three goblins and a goblin priest, then you really want to make sure the goblin priest goes down ASAP, but you don't know how many attacks it can withstand before dropping; so everyone in the party declares that they're going to attack the goblin priest, and it drops from the first hit because it's still just a goblin, and then the rest of the party... does what exactly? Stands there and gets shot by the other goblins?)
    XP DMMike, The Human Target gave XP for this post

  10. #10
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Edenvale, San Jose, CA
    Posts
    10,039
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Tony Vargas


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by MostlyDm View Post
    Also, Tony, could you do me a favor and fix your quote of me? You cut out text in the middle of the quote and didn't signify it with any sort of ellipsis or similar to indicate that you were doing it.
    Elipsis added.

    I assume my mention of 4e in anything that could be construed as a negative way offended you, so I understand why you cut it.
    I felt like addressing it would be an unwelcome tangent, since the point was INT adding languages/ranks in 1e/3e, and not doing so in 5e.

    But, here' goes...

    Quote Originally Posted by MostlyDm View Post
    I've given bonus/penalty languages/tool proficiencies from Int in the past, and seriously consider giving bonus/penalty skills entirely. It really annoys me that 5e carried over 4e's mistreatment of Int, and then exacerbated it by having even fewer classes that use it.
    While 4e didn't have Add. Lang or bonus ranks for INT, it did make INT more useful by using it to calculate AC & REF when higher than DEX, and did allow an INT-based character to make effective INT-based attacks, even with a weapon, using feats like Intelligent Blademaster or, a bit later, Melee Training. Plenty of other feats and utilities allowed INT or INT-based skills to be swapped into other rolls. INT was not only a primary stat for the usual suspects like Wizard, but a secondary stat for others, like the Warlock & Warlord in the PH1, for instance. On balance, it didn't seem like mistreatment.

    Indeed, to bring it back around to your issue with 5e under-serving INT, you could also lift some of those functions from 4e, if you wanted.

+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 21 1234567891011 ... LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. Simultaneous Initiative + AoO
    By radmod in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Saturday, 14th August, 2010, 12:06 AM
  2. Simultaneous Initiative
    By Bullgrit in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: Tuesday, 15th June, 2010, 07:00 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •