log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Concurrent initiative variant; Everybody declares/Everybody resolves [WAS Simultaneous Initiative]

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Interesting, although I think you still get that naturally when people have to think and react more quickly without a fixed order of turns. I'm not saying it's really a problem, and some people will work better with a structure in place. I just prefer to not have a pre-defined structure. Each group of players seems to work out what works for them in the games I run.
The risk here - which would happen immediately in my game - is that the louder and-or faster-thinking players would drown out the others, and end up getting three actions to their one unless I put my foot down...and impose a speaking order...which then might as well be an initiative order.

The route to simultaniety is to use a smaller initiative die and allow ties.

The route to not using initiative at all passes, I think, through bedlam.

Lanefan
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Because I like OODA loops. It adds an interesting dimension to the combat. Players enjoy it too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop




Yes, this is the important part in bold. As for "simultaneous" vs "concurrent" vs some other term--that's just semantics. Who cares what word you use to describe it? The important part that combat is no longer an IGO-UGO; it's WE-GO, just like everything else in D&D outside of combat.


Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turns,_rounds_and_time-keeping_systems_in_games
Heh. Reminds me a bit of BattleTech, where everyone assumes that winning initiative is the best because you get to declare movement after the other guy. I realized after a few games that declaring movement first was the stronger advantage because I could then control a reactionary opponent by narrowing his options. Couple this with a bit of insight into how that person prefers to play (or general assumptions like "they'll take an opportunity to get behind me if I offer it") and I ended up preferring to lose initiative because I knew how to use it to my advantage while at the same time my opponent thought they had the advantage. Best tactical position to be in, if you ask me -- to have the advantage but not be known to have the advantage.

This doesn't work quite as well in D&D, though, due to the inherent lack of tactical maneuvering effectiveness and because combats are so quick. But, then, the model of OODA loops your using suffers the same drawbacks.
 

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
The risk here - which would happen immediately in my game - is that the louder and-or faster-thinking players would drown out the others, and end up getting three actions to their one unless I put my foot down...and impose a speaking order...which then might as well be an initiative order.

The route to simultaniety is to use a smaller initiative die and allow ties.

The route to not using initiative at all passes, I think, through bedlam.

Lanefan
No, because you're still using rounds. Everybody still only gets their allotted turn each round. It's just addressed differently.

And no, a speaking/declaration order has nothing to do with resolution order. If it works better for you to get all of the actions then describe it, that's fine. But there's no guarantee that the person who declares their action first is the one that will resolve first.

As I stated, I'm not trying to get simultaneous initiative. I'm trying to spread everybody's actions across the entire round, with the actions unfolding simultaneously. If somebody is attacking first, then moving, their attack will usually resolve before somebody who is moving first and then attacking.

Having two creatures move to attack a single creature will usually result in that creature falling back, attempting to keep both of their attackers in front of them, such as by circling around the first opponent to keep the other opponent in a rough line. They may have initially intended to attack, but might switch to dodge instead since they are now defending against two opponents. That's not possible in the normal turn-based initiative.

While those two attackers are locking down that opponent, another ally drops another monster, and then moves to target the same creature as the other two. With three against one, it's very easy to surround the target creature. It's much harder two against one. The target creature is now at a disadvantage, so instead attempts to overrun the weakest looking creature to run away. Yes, he's subject to some opportunity attacks, but might be able to get away.

On the other hand, if his ally was some distance away, as soon as he saw them drop and the other enemy approach, he might have turned and run before the third attacker closes.

It's one of those things that makes more sense when you're trying it, then trying to explain it.
 

Interesting, although I think you still get that naturally when people have to think and react more quickly without a fixed order of turns. I'm not saying it's really a problem, and some people will work better with a structure in place. I just prefer to not have a pre-defined structure. Each group of players seems to work out what works for them in the games I run.

It's not the word simultaneous that I think is confusing people, it's pairing it with initiative. The system we're talking about isn't simultaneous initiative, at least the way it relates to the normal D&D combat structure. It's no initiative - tell me what you plan to do and it happens when it makes sense.
But that isn't true. Initiative still applies to action resolution--in the OP for example, initiative is rolled at one point to determine whether the Paladin is fast enough to catch up to the goblin before it can hide, IIRC.

Every time you say your system "has no initiative" I get confused, especially because you also say that you still use initiative contests.

But that's just semantics anyway. What really happens is that the action declaration phase is separated from the action resolution phase, and initiative only affects action resolution. "Can Ryan the Wizard Misty Step away before the orc (predictably) hits him with the axe?" Since initiative rolls are used for resolving that question, it doesn't matter whether you want to call that "no initiative" or "simultaneous initiative" or "concurrent turns" or anything else.
 

Heh. Reminds me a bit of BattleTech, where everyone assumes that winning initiative is the best because you get to declare movement after the other guy. I realized after a few games that declaring movement first was the stronger advantage because I could then control a reactionary opponent by narrowing his options. Couple this with a bit of insight into how that person prefers to play (or general assumptions like "they'll take an opportunity to get behind me if I offer it") and I ended up preferring to lose initiative because I knew how to use it to my advantage while at the same time my opponent thought they had the advantage. Best tactical position to be in, if you ask me -- to have the advantage but not be known to have the advantage.

This doesn't work quite as well in D&D, though, due to the inherent lack of tactical maneuvering effectiveness and because combats are so quick. But, then, the model of OODA loops your using suffers the same drawbacks.
This is a very insightful and thought-provoking post. Thank you.
 

This becomes more absurd when there are more creatures involved because the round is still 6-seconds long. If there are two creatures, each turn takes 3 seconds. If there are 6, then each turn is 1 second.
I think that is incorrect. If there are two creatures, each of their turns takes 6 seconds. If there are 3 creatures, each of their turns take 6 seconds.
 

To erase the line between non-combat and combat. Or, to stop dividing the game into combat and non-combat. It often artificially limits the options of the players, whether consciously or not, to think that combat is the only option, or the "right" option once initiative is called for.
I think the distinction is a net positive. A violent scenario should feel qualitatively different from a nonviolent one. And the words "roll initiative" can be one hell of a wham line (especially when they're the very first words of the campaign...).

"I move to attack the orc on my left."
"I move to attack the same orc, because I can use my sneak attack against it since my ally is already attacking him"
The orc is killed.
Why did the orc just stand there and allow the two creatures to move 30 feet and then attack? Wouldn't it have attempted to avoid them?
It wasn't just standing there. It was still involved in whatever action it performed last turn. If its initiative had been higher, it would have been able to complete that action sooner and act to avoid the two new attackers.

To better balance the activity timing among creatures. Being able to potentially complete a bonus action, action, another action (if you're a fighter with action surge), and move before somebody else does something in the round seems a bit much (to me).
It's certainly an abstraction, but in my experience it's an abstraction with a purpose. I've experimented with systems that are more strictly granular: you only have enough time on your turn to do one thing, move or attack. The result tends to be player dissatisfaction, as spending a whole turn moving feels like a waste of a go. I've got a hunch this is why almost all turn-based tactics games allow you to move and attack on the same turn: D&D, Heroes of Might & Magic, Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem, X-COM, Pit People...
 
Last edited:

Heh. Reminds me a bit of BattleTech, where everyone assumes that winning initiative is the best because you get to declare movement after the other guy. I realized after a few games that declaring movement first was the stronger advantage because I could then control a reactionary opponent by narrowing his options. Couple this with a bit of insight into how that person prefers to play (or general assumptions like "they'll take an opportunity to get behind me if I offer it") and I ended up preferring to lose initiative because I knew how to use it to my advantage while at the same time my opponent thought they had the advantage.
Isn't this assuming suboptimal play from your opponent, though? If you were playing a clone of yourself, who had the same insight, would you say that declaring first was still advantageous, or would the advantage revert to the player who declared second?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Isn't this assuming suboptimal play from your opponent, though? If you were playing a clone of yourself, who had the same insight, would you say that declaring first was still advantageous, or would the advantage revert to the player who declared second?
It would be a push. Going first still restricts options, and your opponent is still reacting to your choice. The clone would have this knowledge and would be able to make the clear reactions with that in mind. The end result would be similar.

For instance, I could choose to maneuver to limit my clones ability to fully engage without also moving so that I can engage him equally. Essentially, unless I become over committed or separated, by going first I can still control the tempo of the engagement. Assuming the other side doesn't have a surprise, of course.
 

It would be a push. Going first still restricts options, and your opponent is still reacting to your choice. The clone would have this knowledge and would be able to make the clear reactions with that in mind. The end result would be similar.

For instance, I could choose to maneuver to limit my clones ability to fully engage without also moving so that I can engage him equally. Essentially, unless I become over committed or separated, by going first I can still control the tempo of the engagement. Assuming the other side doesn't have a surprise, of course.
How exactly are actions resolved in the Battletech system? When you declare first, do you also actually resolve first? Do you get to say "I move to the high ground on the hill" and then actually get to the high ground on the hill before the other guy can act? Or does everybody declare, then everybody resolve?

Because if it's the former, then I can certainly see how "losing" initiative would give you a real advantage in the game. But if it's the latter, then I don't see how the advantage is anything more than psychological, and could be overcome with correct play. At the very least, your opponent could simply plug their ears when you declare your action in order to just declare theirs independently, then it would be as if you both had "lost" initiative and the playing field would be even.

My actual experience with a system like this comes mostly from the Legend of the Five Rings card game, where cavalry units get to declare which battle they're going to after infantry, and it is a very distinct advantage, so I'm wondering what the difference is.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
How exactly are actions resolved in the Battletech system? When you declare first, do you also actually resolve first? Do you get to say "I move to the high ground on the hill" and then actually get to the high ground on the hill before the other guy can act? Or does everybody declare, then everybody resolve?

Because if it's the former, then I can certainly see how "losing" initiative would give you a real advantage in the game. But if it's the latter, then I don't see how the advantage is anything more than psychological, and could be overcome with correct play. At the very least, your opponent could simply plug their ears when you declare your action in order to just declare theirs independently, then it would be as if you both had "lost" initiative and the playing field would be even.

My actual experience with a system like this comes mostly from the Legend of the Five Rings card game, where cavalry units get to declare which battle they're going to after infantry, and it is a very distinct advantage, so I'm wondering what the difference is.
The former. Movement is conducted in an I go you go manner until all units are moved. So, if sides are even, they are moved 1 for 1, back and forth. If the number of units are uneven, the larger side moves more units at a time.

Once movement is complete, attacks are declared, but not resolved, in the same manner. Once all declarations are made, the results are determined simultaneously, so being destroyed doesn't prevent fire. Then physical attacks are conducted, if any, in the same manner.

But, so long as actions are resolved in a known manner, even declarations of movement are prejudicial. Perhaps less so, but military tactics places a high regard on seizing the initiative and dictating the pace of engagements for a reason. Making your opponent react to you means they're not enacting plans of their own. Unless they're just that much better than you, in which case you generally find out you've been reacting to them, but didn't know it.
 

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
I think that is incorrect. If there are two creatures, each of their turns takes 6 seconds. If there are 3 creatures, each of their turns take 6 seconds.
If they are taking turns sequentially, then you are saying that a round takes longer with more creatures. The classic example is the kobold ballista, or something like that.

You have 100 kobolds, and each one uses their action to pass a javelin to the kobold in front of them. Since each turn happens after the other, the javelin is moving at a ridiculous rate to be passed to 100 kobolds in 6 seconds.

The intention is that everybody's turn takes 6 seconds. But in the normal initiative process, each creature is doing all the things they can do in 6 seconds before the next creature in line can act.
 

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
I think the distinction is a net positive. A violent scenario should feel qualitatively different from a nonviolent one. And the words "roll initiative" can be one hell of a wham line (especially when they're the very first words of the campaign...).
The chaos of everybody talking and declaring actions at once takes care of this for us. It's that wham line we're trying to avoid. We don't like it. Having somebody shoot you with a crossbow, or lunge at you with a sword is a pretty good wham line.

It wasn't just standing there. It was still involved in whatever action it performed last turn. If its initiative had been higher, it would have been able to complete that action sooner and act to avoid the two new attackers.
So my example of the dwarf and the orc. The orc has their crossbow out and loaded. The dwarf wins initiative and (using the Charger feat) runs 60 feet and attacks while the orc...does what?

As far as I'm concerned, it fires its crossbow. Or runs. That's an angry dwarf that was 60 feet away and closing.

It's certainly an abstraction, but in my experience it's an abstraction with a purpose. I've experimented with systems that are more strictly granular: you only have enough time on your turn to do one thing, move or attack. The result tends to be player dissatisfaction, as spending a whole turn moving feels like a waste of a go. I've got a hunch this is why almost all turn-based tactics games allow you to move and attack on the same turn: D&D, Heroes of Might & Magic, Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem, X-COM, Pit People...
Yes, and I experimented with the more granular approach too. That got more complex and problematic, because then you run into issues as to how long each possible action takes. With my system, you don't have to be that granular, just use some common sense. I've never run into a situation where er disagreed with what makes sense. Charging 60 feet takes longer than pulling the trigger on a crossbow.
 

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
But that isn't true. Initiative still applies to action resolution--in the OP for example, initiative is rolled at one point to determine whether the Paladin is fast enough to catch up to the goblin before it can hide, IIRC.

Every time you say your system "has no initiative" I get confused, especially because you also say that you still use initiative contests.

But that's just semantics anyway. What really happens is that the action declaration phase is separated from the action resolution phase, and initiative only affects action resolution. "Can Ryan the Wizard Misty Step away before the orc (predictably) hits him with the axe?" Since initiative rolls are used for resolving that question, it doesn't matter whether you want to call that "no initiative" or "simultaneous initiative" or "concurrent turns" or anything else.
Yes, sort of. I called it an Initiative Check because that's easier than a Dexterity check with proficiency. Although we've also discussed including the proficiency bonus only when it would apply based on the action you're taking. If you're attempting something you aren't proficient with, then you don't get the proficiency bonus on the opposed check.

But the reality is that whatever we call it, Initiative Checks are quite rare in our campaign. Most rounds don't require them at all, unlike the normal initiative system. One example was when two players and a monster were all trying to grab a wand that was skidding across the floor. How did we know who grabbed it? We just used the Initiative Check, but it really was nothing more than a Dexterity check.

As I also mentioned before, we sometimes have a different ability as the base of the check. If it's a question of whether you notice something first, then we would use Wisdom (Perception) check.

When I say "we don't have initiative," it's short-hand for "we don't have turn-based initiative." It's not semantics at all. Having turn-based initiative is very, very different from what we do.

And the answer to can Ryan step away? The answer is "no" because the orc will either get an opportunity attack, or if he still intends to hit him, he'll just follow him. This is another factor with doing away with the turn-based-initiative. The orc can move at the same time as Ryan, just as it would in a real combat. Ryan's going to have to try harder than that. If he opts to break out in a run, then you'd have an Initiative Check (perhaps better named "Reaction Check") to see if he's able to surprise the orc enough to get out of reach before the orc follows. In which case you have a chase, which also happens more frequently with this system.

That's actually part of the point. With the turn-based-initiative system, you have this feeling that everybody is standing around while you take your turn. I've seen numerous threads over the years (particularly with 3e/4e combat that got long) asking for help keeping the rest of the group engaged as you slogged through combat. While 5e combat is much faster, the taking turns process still has this feel - my turn, move attack, next, and so on.
 

When I say "we don't have initiative," it's short-hand for "we don't have turn-based initiative." It's not semantics at all. Having turn-based initiative is very, very different from what we do.
It really isn't, unless you mean "turn-based initiative" to mean something other than "there is a total ordering of initiative within a turn (resolved lazily)". In the OP, you can't even tell from reading it whether initiative is assigned on a per-turn basis or on the basis of opposed checks the way you are suggesting. All you know is that it only gets rolled once: when Cranduin is trying to kill the goblin before it can run away. There are technical differences between the two methods that show up only when multiple contests are happening per round (if initiative is per-turn, once you roll a 7 for the round, you've got a 7 and you keep that; under your methodology you'd re-roll for every contest) but in any normal situation those technical differences will be invisible. In fact I'd have to come up with a fairly contrived scenario to illustrate a scenario under which your Initiative Check system gives different results than the method I use.

So in practice it's a semantic quibble, not a substantive difference.

And the answer to can Ryan step away? The answer is "no" because the orc will either get an opportunity attack, or if he still intends to hit him, he'll just follow him.
Misty Step is teleportation. It doesn't trigger an opportunity attack.

Besides, there's a non-negligible difference between using up an enemy's reaction and their action, vs. using up only their action.

That's actually part of the point. With the turn-based-initiative system, you have this feeling that everybody is standing around while you take your turn. I've seen numerous threads over the years (particularly with 3e/4e combat that got long) asking for help keeping the rest of the group engaged as you slogged through combat. While 5e combat is much faster, the taking turns process still has this feel - my turn, move attack, next, and so on.
I'm not going to fight with you over the semantics of what to call it when you declare actions separately from resolving all of them basically simultaneously. We're in substantive agreement that the PHB method of running combat turn-by-turn is bad.
 
Last edited:

Ilbranteloth

Explorer
There are technical differences between the two methods that show up only when multiple contests are happening per round (if initiative is per-turn, once you roll a 7 for the round, you've got a 7 and you keep that; under your methodology you'd re-roll for every contest) but in any normal situation those technical differences will be invisible. In fact I'd have to come up with a fairly contrived scenario to illustrate a scenario under which your Initiative Check system gives different results than the method I use.
OK, now I get your point. And you're right, it's not really Initiative that forces the turn-by-turn resolution of actions. But it is what's used for setting the order of such resolution, so eliminating it as the starting point of a combat clarifies that there is no set order of resolution. But yes, it's really more about not following a sequential turn-based resolution system.

Misty Step is teleportation. It doesn't trigger an opportunity attack.
Sorry, missed the "misty" in which case if the orc was attacking, it might very well call for an...Initiative Check to see whose action resolved first. If it succeeds, then it hits before Ryan's spell is completed. If it fails, then Ryan is gone.
 

mellored

Explorer
Yes, this is the important part in bold. As for "simultaneous" vs "concurrent" vs some other term--that's just semantics. Who cares what word you use to describe it? The important part that combat is no longer an IGO-UGO; it's WE-GO, just like everything else in D&D outside of combat.
Words are used to convey meaning, so a better word would reduce confusion. It took me half this thread to understand it because I was misled by the word "simultaneous", when nothing is simultaneous. Actions are declared in order of Int, resolved in order of speed, and a die is rolled for ties.

Thus I would call it a "Declaration/Resolution" system.


That said, it looks fun and overall I would agree that it is more realistic.
 

Words are used to convey meaning, so a better word would reduce confusion. It took me half this thread to understand it because I was misled by the word "simultaneous", when nothing is simultaneous. Actions are declared in order of Int, resolved in order of speed, and a die is rolled for ties.
The activities the PCs are engaged in are simultaneous. E.g. the goblin is hiding at the same time Eladriel is attacking. In practice, it's rare that you even need to impose an ordering at all. It only happens once in the OP.

BTW, it isn't quite correct that actions are resolved in order of speed with a die being rolled for ties. The die isn't a tie-breaker for speeds; it's what determines speeds, whenever speed matters. If you haven't rolled initiative for the round, it's because nobody cares what order things happened in. If I hit you and do 7 HP of damage, and you hit me and do 4 HP of damage, and we're both still alive--it doesn't matter who had higher speed. Conceptually someone still landed their blow first but it doesn't matter who. They happened at approximately the same time (concurrently).

I acknowledge though that the word "simultaneous" has created confusion. "Concurrent" might be better. I'll edit the thread title if I can.

Thus I would call it a "Declaration/Resolution" system.

That said, it looks fun and overall I would agree that it is more realistic.
That's not a bad title either.
 
Last edited:



Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top