5E UA: "Greyhawk" Initiative
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  1. #1
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    UA: "Greyhawk" Initiative

    The latest Unearthed Arcana by WotCs Mearls is up. "Mike Mearls introduces an alternative initiative system, inspired by AD&D and the journey to Lake Geneva, WisconsinŚthe birthplace of D&DŚfor Gary Con 2017. While the initiative rules in fifth edition D&D are great for keeping the action moving and being easy to use at the table, the Greyhawk initiative variant takes a different approach. These rules add complexity, but with the goal of introducing more drama to combat."

    He's calling it "Greyhawk Initiative". It'll be interesting to compare this to how we interpreted his earlier version of alternative initiative.

    Mearls also talks about it in this video.

  2. #2

    UA: Grayhawk Initiative

    A new Unearthed Arcana article has posted: http://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/do...Initiative.pdf

    It's Mike Mearls's alternative initiative system. I'm excited to try it out.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

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    A little bit too much die-rolling for my taste, but it's a step in a good direction.

    Also, it's nice to see Rath, Rupert, and Delsenora back in action again. I guess they must have survived fighting that troll.
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  4. #4
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    Initial reactions:

    This reminds me of a variant initiative system from Len Lakofka's Leomund's Tiny Hut column in The Dragon, that was very popular in my area (I used something like it for a decade), but not so much of AD&D's actual initiative system (aside from being complicated and inconsistent, that is).
    Maybe I'm not remembering the official one in enough detail?

    Initiative Dice
    Die Action
    d4 Ranged attack
    d6 Movement
    Swap gear
    Any other action
    d8 Melee attack

    Still seems you can draw, knock, pull, and loose an arrow before an adjacent enemy can hit you in the face, fairly consistently. Maybe if you're Legolas.
    It's bad enough ranged attacks don't draw AoOs (among other things).

    Multiple Actions. If an effect grants you an
    additional action without the use of a bonus
    action, you roll an initiative die for only one of
    your actions. Use the largest die that
    corresponds to any one of the actions you plan to
    If the system addresses extra attacks anywhere else, I missed it. Apparently attacking two or more times is somehow /not/ attacking any faster. At least it's not attacking /slower/, like bonus actions apparently are.

    What about Extra Attack, or at least Action Surge, reducing your initiative for the first attack/action?

    For instance, when you Action Surge you roll your initiative, take one action at 1/2 the result, and the second normally.

    Delaying. You cannot use the Ready action
    under these rules, but you can instead choose to
    delay your turn. Instead of taking your turn on
    your initiative count, you simply act on a later
    initiative count, before or after other creatures
    as you choose. I
    That's generous.

    I'd think if you're genuinely dithering, you shouldn't roll initiative until you decide what you do, then, on the count you make that decision, roll initiative and add it to the current count.

    I think Ready could work, too. When rolling initiative, state the specific action you're readying. If you beat the initiative of the creature who triggers the ready, you can use your Reaction to interrupt it or just take your action right after it finishes (but still have your Reaction). If it beats you, you don't get to take the readied action.

    Edit: I feel like there needs to be a 'too slow' rule, like if you do too much and roll too high there's a threshold where your action rolls over into the next round.

    Variant: Spell Disruption
    For added AD&D flavor, you can introduce the spell
    disruption rule. Under this rule, if a creature that wants
    to cast a spell takes damage during the round before it
    can act, it is restricted to casting cantrips on its turn.
    Wow, that is weak. And double-dog-optional-variant-optional. I guess putting casters at any kind of disadvantage is all but unthinkable.

    For Added D&D flavor, maybe add the level of the slot to the die roll, and if you're hit 'between' the die roll and the level modifier, the spell is spoiled and the slot lost. (At least, I think that's pretty close to one of the two conflicting AD&D casting-in-melee rules...)
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Monday, 10th July, 2017 at 10:14 PM.
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  5. #5
    My table has been using a simplified version of this and we love it.

    A couple thoughts on the UA Article:

    Durations - I don't think this works. Some abilities could just not do anything like a Monk's Stunning Strike.

    Surprise - Highly dislike this. Just have them roll d10, when their initiative comes up they can use reactions and are no longer surprised.

    Dodge - If a character wants to Dodge I have been having them start on initiative count 0 so that they get the benefits for the entire round.
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  6. #6
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

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    Looks like fun, I'll have to give it a try.

    Durations - I don't think this works. Some abilities could just not do anything like a Monk's Stunning Strike.
    I guess that is deliberate. But you know when you use the ability whether the target has gone yet or not.

  7. #7
    Defender (Lvl 8)

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    Bonus action spells ... so fast casting spells are slower in this system. 1d10 for casting a spell and a 1d6 for the spell being a bonus action, or am I reading it wrong?

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    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

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    I need to read over it. I'm interested in seeing how it works, but it looks a bit fiddly.

    My biggest question is what the heck does this have to do with Greyhawk? That association makes me concerned with any other "Greyhawk variants" that Mearls may post.
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  9. #9
    The dude's run it at Cons. That is the absolute worst place to do anything new ever.

    I'm excited and will try it my next few games.
    Last edited by southjersey; Monday, 10th July, 2017 at 10:13 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Wrathamon View Post
    Bonus action spells ... so fast casting spells are slower in this system. 1d10 for casting a spell and a 1d6 for the spell being a bonus action, or am I reading it wrong?
    A bonus action uses the die of the the action it is associated with.

    So if you were to:

    Move, Cast a Cantrip, Cast Healing Word on your turn you would roll 2d10+1d6.

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