5E Alternate Initiative Rules

Anoth

Explorer
Why are you rolling initiative before you open the door?
I know how I do it. But Most adventure league DM’s either roll of surprise or initiative and you go by order of initiative your marching order be damned.

What is the correct sequence when the fighter says he is going to open the door and rush in and the thief says he will go next then the cleric then the wizard to fight the orcs on the other side of the door 20 feet away.

roll initiative or surprise after guy open the door. It does Not matter
 
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JeffB

Hero
For convenience:


I'd never heard of this.
Yeah, it's one of those things over the past 20 years that has been brought to light in the OSR realm. Steve was (is?) a very active SCA member and was all about "realistic" combat- as much as possible anyway. Hence why RQ has always been quite deadly.

I should add, RQ strike ranks/initiative system is a bit easier to grok than the Perrin Conventions, and I'd say by looking them over, RQ is likely faster/smoother to use at the table (though I never have used the P.C. for OD&D so I cannot say for certain)
 

miggyG777

Villager
Here are two alternative ways of handling initiative. In both variants actions get declared before we enter combat, thus simulating the battlefield differently (and imo more "realistic" and fun) than the standard initiative:

1. Is based on Mike Mearls Greyhawk Initiative (see attachment), everybody declares and then initiative gets resolved based on their planned actions. Lowest roll goes first.

Ability modifiers are not used for determining speed but are deemed covered by their function in increasing damage and / or as prerequisite to use certain weapons or spells effectively.

While I can see that it's not a 100% accurate depiction of how weapons function in terms of speed, i.e 2H that is always slower than a dagger, the variant keeps in mind, that DEX based weapons (light, medium) are originally balanced around going earlier in combat due to being used by DEX heavy characters and the standard initiative being DEX based.
This argument extends to STR based fighters who use STR based weapons (heavy). They often have some DEX and therefore go 2nd. Spellcasters who mostly have low DEX go latest.
So the speed factors of weapons and spells carry over the original properties of the initiative balancing in an elegant way.

2. Is: 5E - Concurrent initiative variant; Everybody declares/Everybody resolves [WAS Simultaneous Initiative] (well worth to read the thread and @formerlyHemlocks elaboration on the variant)

The difference:
1. is for players that love the tactical "wargame" aspect of the combat and more crunch.
2. Ditches initiative completely. It is suited for players that love a more cinematic way of resolving combat but it works surpisingly well. It also makes people think outside of the "wargame" box.

I would say it depends on what you and your players like better. I playtested both variants extensively and they are both solid.
 

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Don Durito

Adventurer
I thought Greyhawk initiative was a great idea - but doesn't really mesh very well with 5E as written. It needs a system that doesn't have bonus actions, multiple attacks, and durations that specifically last a round.

It would be interesting to build a simplified hack around it however, along the lines of 5 Torches Deep. Remove class features that don't interact with it well and add some that do. Eg Instead of giving a Figher an extra attack on their turn you may say they get to make an extra melee attack at the end of the round if they finished the round engaged with an opponent.

The potential is there to, by putting more tactical complexity into initiative, move it out of other areas - and make individual turns resolve a lot faster - so that players spend more time actually involved in what's happening and less time waiting for their turn to come around again. Also if you do this, then other aspects of the system that may feel lacking, such as a lack of tactical options for martial characters, become less of a thing.
 

miggyG777

Villager
I thought Greyhawk initiative was a great idea - but doesn't really mesh very well with 5E as written. It needs a system that doesn't have bonus actions, multiple attacks, and durations that specifically last a round.
These points are quite simple to solve, without screwing with the balance of the game too much. Bonus actions (unless solely used) and multiple attacks do not alter the initiative, thus preserving the original intended balance by not creating a disatvantage to use them.

Spells that last "one round" (14 out of 468 spells according to 5e.tools) can just be treated as spells that last until the start of the next turn.
It's a very minor change that actually seems to be a simplifaction compared to RAW.

The only spells where it would matter most are exactly 2. "Shield" and "Absorb Elements" and they are reactions, which can be cast at any time. So there never will be a case where you are last in initiative and you get your "Shield" spell off just for it to be canceled because the next round starts.
For stuff like "True Strike" if you go last in initiative, your spell doesn't do anything because you were too slow and your spell went off after the fighter hit the target with his sword. That would be one of the fringe cases that are affecting balance marginally.

I'm pretty tired right now, so I might have overlooked something here.
 

Don Durito

Adventurer
These points are quite simple to solve, without screwing with the balance of the game too much. Bonus actions (unless solely used) and multiple attacks do not alter the initiative, thus preserving the original intended balance by not creating a disatvantage to use them.

Spells that last "one round" (14 out of 468 spells according to 5e.tools) can just be treated as spells that last until the start of the next turn.
It's a very minor change that actually is a simplifaction that feels better than RAW.

The only spells where it would matter most are exactly 2. "Shield" and "Absorb Elements" and they are reactions, which can be cast at any time. So there never will be a case where you are last in initiative and you get your "Shield" spell off just for it to be canceled because the next round starts.
For stuff like "True Strike" if you go last in initiative, your spell doesn't do anything because you were too slow. So even the fringe cases are affecting balance marginally.

I'm pretty tired right now, so I might have overlooked something here.
To some degree. But this is still finding ways to make things work that were designed with a different initiative system in mind. It's not taking advantage of the affordances the alternative system allows which is what really interest me.

For example the charge action was removed from 5E presumably to keep things simple. But using Greyhawk initiative there is a real space for some kind of charge action to cover ground recklessly and get that archer before he gets you, for example, or interrupt a spellcaster. But I don't want to increase the complexity of the game. I'd rather move where the complexity is.
 

Zaukrie

Adventurer
To some degree. But this is still finding ways to make things work that were designed with a different initiative system in mind. It's not taking advantage of the affordances the alternative system allows which is what really interest me.

For example the charge action was removed from 5E presumably to keep things simple. But using Greyhawk initiative there is a real space for some kind of charge action to cover ground recklessly and get that archer before he gets you, for example, or interrupt a spellcaster. But I don't want to increase the complexity of the game. I'd rather move where the complexity is.
It still hurts my brain charge is not an action anymore.

I'm guessing you won't like much in the PDF I'm working on, but based on this thread, I just added "players decide" as one of the alternative initiatives. If a team wants to go in a certain order, they should get that option. Of course, that means some will be moving to after their adversaries......
 

Don Durito

Adventurer
It still hurts my brain charge is not an action anymore.
It's a bit of a puzzler why things like Charge and Delaying action were considered too complex - yet we still have Vancian magic. Nothing slows combat down more than players and GMs looking up spells and checking what they do.

5E is never really very simple - but sometimes it is very simplistic.
 

Anoth

Explorer
It's a bit of a puzzler why things like Charge and Delaying action were considered too complex - yet we still have Vancian magic. Nothing slows combat down more than players and GMs looking up spells and checking what they do.

5E is never really very simple - but sometimes it is very simplistic.
You let players lookup spells in combat. If they don’t have it ready they don’t cast it. If they don’t have the stats of the creature they are summoning or creature they are polymorphing into then they don’t cast it. It’s that simple. If they are prepped when it’s their turn they can choose to cast a cantrip. But none of that looking stuff up.
 

Don Durito

Adventurer
You let players lookup spells in combat.
No I don't. I don't GM 5E.

Not that's it's at all relevant to the actual point at hand. If you can not look up the rules for the Sleep spell then you can also not look up the rules for charging.
 
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Anoth

Explorer
No I don't. I don't GM 5E.

Not that's it's at all relevant to the actual point at hand. If you can not look up the rules for the Sleep spell then you can also not look up the rules for charging.
I hope your DM knows the rules for charging. Unless he is just learning or you all are just friends learning together. Prep and knowing the rules speeds up everything.
 

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