Homebrew Simultaneous Initiative (Adapted from Chainmail)
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  1. #1

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    Simultaneous Initiative (Adapted from Chainmail)

    D&D's system of initiative was first introduced with AD&D, 1st Edition. Before that, many of the rules of combat were found in Chainmail, a set of rules for medieval miniature wargaming. The initiative system had evolved from the "Move/Counter Move" system of turn sequence found in those rules, but Chainmail also contained an alternative system for "Simultaneous Movement". It is from this that the following has been adapted for 5th Edition.

    Simultaneous Initiative

    1. When combat starts, every participant writes orders for the character or monster (or group of identical creatures) they control, including direction of movement and action to be taken.

    2. Every participant takes up to one-half their movement and any actions they can take according to their written orders, checking for opportunity attacks and other reactions due to movement. Conflicting movement and actions are resolved with contested Dexterity checks. Participants who are targeted with a melee attack and havent already used their action may use their action to make a melee attack in return after the triggering attack. Then the remainder of movement and remaining actions are completed as ordered, with conflicts resolved and melee attacks returned as above.

    3. Steps 1 and 2 are repeated for each round of combat.

    I'm posting this for peer review. Let me know if there's anything I've overlooked or haven't explained well enough.

    Thanks!
    XP dnd4vr gave XP for this post

  2. #2
    Interesting idea. I'll look into after dinner.

    EDIT: Ok, after dinner.

    The idea is definitely interesting, but since we just changed to a simpler system, I think it would slow things down too much in practice. Could you post an example, just so the idea is a bit clearer? Thanks!
    Last edited by dnd4vr; Saturday, 16th March, 2019 at 09:12 PM.

  3. #3

    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



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    I like this thing in certain games. Wouldnt use it in D&D. Would work fine though I think.

  4. #4

    Superhero (Lvl 15)



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    Sorry premature post. Actual post coming soon to this thread.

  5. #5

    Superhero (Lvl 15)



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    Preliminary caveat: I have not looked at the rules for Chainmail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hriston View Post
    Simultaneous Initiative

    1. When combat starts, every participant writes orders for the character or monster (or group of identical creatures) they control, including direction of movement and action to be taken.

    2. Every participant takes up to one-half their movement and any actions they can take according to their written orders, checking for opportunity attacks and other reactions due to movement.
    Just to be sure, "actions" here includes bonus actions, correct?

    May an order be conditional, thereby making whether "they can take" an action a matter of intent rather than physical possibility? E.g., "When Joe has moved 15 ft. north, I cast fireball." or "When/if the goblins come into range, I shoot my bow at the nearest one."

    What about reactions due to actions (Shield, Counterspell, Hellish Rebuke, Riposte, etc.)?

    Conflicting movement and actions are resolved with contested Dexterity checks.
    Movement and actions can 'conflict' in several different ways that, potentially, one might want to resolve differently. This description is ok as a summary, but, for instance, as a player I'd want to know a lot more about how you propose to handle various cases. I have a bunch of examples in mind, but I am pressed for time; will return to this tomorrow.

    Participants who are targeted with a melee attack and havent already used their action may use their action to make a melee attack in return after the triggering attack.
    So it would seem that sometimes not having used your action will be an advantage. Is there a 'delay' option (a generalization of the conditional action declarations alluded to above)?

    Then the remainder of movement and remaining actions are completed as ordered, with conflicts resolved and melee attacks returned as above.

    3. Steps 1 and 2 are repeated for each round of combat.

    I'm posting this for peer review. Let me know if there's anything I've overlooked or haven't explained well enough.

    Thanks!
    I have been experimenting with simultaneous action resolution for about the last year. In some ways I like it better than the standard procedure, but it definitely had challenges and downsides that I did not foresee. The dividing the round in half idea is an interesting twist. Off the top of my head, I'd guess that it would reduce the frequency of, but not eliminate the challenges/downsides that I have encountered. More details tomorrow.

  6. #6

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Hriston View Post
    I'm posting this for peer review.
    Have you playtested it? If so, let us know how it worked.

    I don't like the sound of everyone writing orders for every character every turn - I'd think that would slow things down even more. I'd rather have a phased side-based approach as in Moldvay B/X.

  7. #7

    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Feels like a half-turn or speed-2 turn based system, ala HERO if every charscter had speed-2. Seen this kind of thing in more than z few places, usually with a lot more robustness in terms of character-based differentiation and action/sub-action details.

    Without that added robustness and a lot of playtesting, a quick slap-patch into the DnD 5e framework will prove almost sure yo be a yon of moment-to-moment breaks.

    And you still need an order to resolve because there are going to be a lot of if-then kind of situations or a lot of blindly stupid situations - walk into pit that wasnt there or any number of more complex things.

    Honestly, seems like a lot of work to just sub-divide turns and still wind up with actor-based initiative system. Only thing it adds is more blind or low-information choices for a system where minute differences can be critical.

    This kind of thing tends to work best at bigger scale system, where you are managing groups not units, where the granularity is dialed to "sorta-close-enough" and where low-information choices are common - not single-unit systems where the granularity is dialed to the point of a single hp or 5' square can be massive. (Which is why i can see it put in as a **variant** for a single unit game derived down from larger scale miniatures scale games - not their first choice.)

    Without a ton more meat on the bones and a lot of the transformations of rules resolved, hard to assess further.

    But in general, having played many "sequential resolution" systems, they dont tend to add more to the experience than complexity and a different host of "doesnt quite work rights" to the game play. More a false precision.

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