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

mellored

Explorer
It also occurs to me that this leaves a great opening for Warlord. Who have abilities like
change of plans: As a bonus action, you can allow an ally to make a new declaration.
And
Tactician: you gain + proficiency to your Int for the purposes of declaring actions.
 

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Only because you called it one thing then talked about another.

Simultaneous initiative (or at least the possibility of some things being able to happen at the same time) is what I'm after; that and a way around cyclic turns.
I don't understand the confusion. Just because not all actions resolve simultaneously doesn't mean you can't have two actions that resolve simultaneously. It's a straightforward ruling to say that e.g. initiative ties will not be broken, rather both events occur simultaneously. That means that two people can kill each other exactly simultaneously.

The fact that I do break ties is a minor detail; it rarely comes up in practice, and now that you mention the idea of simultaneity I find it cool enough that I might just stop breaking ties at all. But double kills still won't happen very often. It's really just a cosmetic detail.

But what if the 4 h.p. puts you down. Did you get your swing in for the 7 in return or not, and if so did that 7 put the foe down?
As per above. You can refrain from breaking ties, but it will still be vanishingly rare for you both to put each other down. I find that appropriately realistic.


There should be three possible answers:
- the 7 got the foe first, he's down and I'm still up
- the 4 got me first, I'm down and he's still up
- the hits were simultaneous and we're both down

The game as is cannot possibly generate the third option, which to me is a very serious bug. On reading some of these other ideas I wonder if they might only generate the third option, which would be equally as bad.

Lanefan
I agree that it's nice for the third option to be at least possible. That's a good argument in favor of not breaking initiative ties.
 

It also occurs to me that this leaves a great opening for Warlord. Who have abilities like
change of plans: As a bonus action, you can allow an ally to make a new declaration.
And
Tactician: you gain + proficiency to your Int for the purposes of declaring actions.
Maybe even "everyone who can verbally communicate with you gains +(your proficiency) to their Int for purposes of declaring actions."
 


Rune

Once A Fool
I don't understand the confusion. Just because not all actions resolve simultaneously doesn't mean you can't have two actions that resolve simultaneously. It's a straightforward ruling to say that e.g. initiative ties will not be broken, rather both events occur simultaneously. That means that two people can kill each other exactly simultaneously.

The fact that I do break ties is a minor detail; it rarely comes up in practice, and now that you mention the idea of simultaneity I find it cool enough that I might just stop breaking ties at all. But double kills still won't happen very often. It's really just a cosmetic detail.

As per above. You can refrain from breaking ties, but it will still be vanishingly rare for you both to put each other down. I find that appropriately realistic.

I agree that it's nice for the third option to be at least possible. That's a good argument in favor of not breaking initiative ties.
It's mainly the options for interruption of movement (including rendering an opponent unconscious or dead) available to 5e characters that really throw a monkey-wrench in the machinery.

Let's say that Orc Killington wants to rush 30 feet over to Wizard Squishypants and chop him up real good. Fighter McHackenslash wants to intercept Orc Killington's movement en route and shove him to the ground (and then live up to his name).

Those are mutually exclusive objectives that cannot play out simultaneously. If you have opposed initiative checks (in some form or another), but allow ties, it is clear what a success looks like for either side. I have no idea what a tie would look like for Orc Killington and Fighter McHackenslash.

This is why the way I run things, Fighter McHackenslash's declaration would have required both a readied action (or some other triggered reaction could let him do it after all declarations had been made) and a successful opposed Dexterity (Initiative) check.

The default, here, is that the outcomes do happen simultaneously. The option is to give up resources (a reaction plus extra attacks) to force an opposed check and try to make that not so. (The good news for the character is, if you have already heard an opponent's declaration, you already know your readied action will be triggered.)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The fact that I do break ties is a minor detail; it rarely comes up in practice, and now that you mention the idea of simultaneity I find it cool enough that I might just stop breaking ties at all. But double kills still won't happen very often. It's really just a cosmetic detail.
Ties come up for us all the time, mostly because we roll unmodified* d6 for initiative. (rerolled each round)

* - there's a very few things in our game that can modify melee initiative, mostly very rare magic items. Spells work a bit differently, representing a long explanation of something that in practice is in fact very simple.

There's still times when ties need to be broken, almost always with regards to either spell casting or spell effects. For casting, it's nearly always "did you hit the caster in time to interrupt their spell or not?" (we have casting times) and for effects it usually revolves around whether an incapacitating spell e.g. Hold Person got you before or after you did whatever you're doing. Ties in melee always remain ties; everything resolves. And for spells that affect everyone's melee e.g. Prayer we long ago simply decided those sort of things resolve first within their count (so if Prayer comes in on a '5' it happens before all the other '5's) just to save us having to roll-off all the '5's to see who got the Prayer effects and who didn't.

Also, unless you're hit by something that instantly incapacitates you (e.g. Hold Person again) you'll still get your melee attack or ranged shot in even if you're dying at the same time. Fireball hits and kills me on a '3' but I'm swinging at the Gnoll also on a '3', I'll get my dying strike in.

Lanefan
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Those are mutually exclusive objectives that cannot play out simultaneously. If you have opposed initiative checks (in some form or another), but allow ties, it is clear what a success looks like for either side. I have no idea what a tie would look like for Orc Killington and Fighter McHackenslash.
Easy. They both succeed, after a fashion: Killy gets to Squishy just as Hacker gets to Killy. Killy then has to decide whether to turn and deal with Hacker or carry through with clobbering Squishy.

Where this would get a bit messy is if Squishy is trying to cast or resolve a spell at the same time. There you would need a tie-break to see if the spell got off or not before Killy arrived. Hacker and Killy would not need a tie-break between each other, though; they're both melee so they'd just both do their thing at the same time.

Lanefan
 

Ties come up for us all the time, mostly because we roll unmodified* d6 for initiative. (rerolled each round)

* - there's a very few things in our game that can modify melee initiative, mostly very rare magic items. Spells work a bit differently, representing a long explanation of something that in practice is in fact very simple.

There's still times when ties need to be broken, almost always with regards to either spell casting or spell effects. For casting, it's nearly always "did you hit the caster in time to interrupt their spell or not?" (we have casting times) and for effects it usually revolves around whether an incapacitating spell e.g. Hold Person got you before or after you did whatever you're doing. Ties in melee always remain ties; everything resolves. And for spells that affect everyone's melee e.g. Prayer we long ago simply decided those sort of things resolve first within their count (so if Prayer comes in on a '5' it happens before all the other '5's) just to save us having to roll-off all the '5's to see who got the Prayer effects and who didn't.

Also, unless you're hit by something that instantly incapacitates you (e.g. Hold Person again) you'll still get your melee attack or ranged shot in even if you're dying at the same time. Fireball hits and kills me on a '3' but I'm swinging at the Gnoll also on a '3', I'll get my dying strike in.

Lanefan
Right, I understand that you've modified your system to be less granular. I think that's a perfectly fine idea and I thank you for expounding it. Once someone has already moved to a declare/act model, there's lots of ways you could tweak the system additionally, and doing initiative on a d6 instead of a d20 is one such way. When I said it was cosmetic, I didn't mean "it's a cosmetic detail in all possible systems you could implement." I was talking about a specific system.

You can always create a new system to give greater emphasis to something which is a cosmetic detail in another system. That's how D&D originated in fact.
 

It's mainly the options for interruption of movement (including rendering an opponent unconscious or dead) available to 5e characters that really throw a monkey-wrench in the machinery.

Let's say that Orc Killington wants to rush 30 feet over to Wizard Squishypants and chop him up real good. Fighter McHackenslash wants to intercept Orc Killington's movement en route and shove him to the ground (and then live up to his name).

Those are mutually exclusive objectives that cannot play out simultaneously. If you have opposed initiative checks (in some form or another), but allow ties, it is clear what a success looks like for either side. I have no idea what a tie would look like for Orc Killington and Fighter McHackenslash.
It seems clear to me that a tie in this case means Fighter McHackenslash shoves Orc Killington to the ground just as Orc Killington reaches the wizard and starts to swing. Killington's attack is unaffected by McHackenslash's action (not made at disadvantage), and McHackenslash's shove is likewise unaffected by Killington's axe swing. (So for example, if the wizard is also a Lore Bard with Cutting Words, the wizard can use Cutting Words to impair the orc's ability to resist the shove, even if the wizardbard is a hairblink away from being decapitated by the orc.) Everything resolves in a giant simultaneous tangle.

If you're using d20 + Dex to resolve initiative, this will occur only rarely. If you are using d6, it will occur somewhat more frequently, which must mean that you like giant snarls.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Easy. They both succeed, after a fashion: Killy gets to Squishy just as Hacker gets to Killy. Killy then has to decide whether to turn and deal with Hacker or carry through with clobbering Squishy.

Where this would get a bit messy is if Squishy is trying to cast or resolve a spell at the same time. There you would need a tie-break to see if the spell got off or not before Killy arrived. Hacker and Killy would not need a tie-break between each other, though; they're both melee so they'd just both do their thing at the same time.

Lanefan
It seems clear to me that a tie in this case means Fighter McHackenslash shoves Orc Killington to the ground just as Orc Killington reaches the wizard and starts to swing. Killington's attack is unaffected by McHackenslash's action (not made at disadvantage), and McHackenslash's shove is likewise unaffected by Killington's axe swing. (So for example, if the wizard is also a Lore Bard with Cutting Words, the wizard can use Cutting Words to impair the orc's ability to resist the shove, even if the wizardbard is a hairblink away from being decapitated by the orc.) Everything resolves in a giant simultaneous tangle.

If you're using d20 + Dex to resolve initiative, this will occur only rarely. If you are using d6, it will occur somewhat more frequently, which must mean that you like giant snarls.
Both of these explanations seem to me to be good representations of what would happen if Orc Killington were to win the opposed check. Certainly, there is no degree of success in them for Fighter McHackenslash, whose purpose in initiating the check was to prevent Orc Killington from ever being able to reach Wizard Squishypants in the first place. If Orc Killington wins the check, it does not mean he won't be shoved to the ground; it means he won't be shoved to the ground in time.

Edit: I suppose the above is dependent upon the wording of Fighter McHackenslash's readied action. "I move to intercept Orc Killington and shove him to the ground before he can reach Wizard Squishypants" will look different on a successful opposed Dex (Init) check than "I try to shove Orc Killington to the ground before he can attack Wizard Squishypants" will.
 
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Both of these explanations seem to me to be good representations of what would happen if Orc Killington were to win the opposed check.
No, if Orc Killington were to win initiative, the wizardbard would be dead and unable to intervene in any way in the shoving contest, including through Cutting Words.

Certainly, there is no degree of success in them for Fighter McHackenslash, whose purpose in initiating the check was to prevent Orc Killington from ever being able to reach Wizard Squishypants in the first place. If Orc Killington wins the check, it does not mean he won't be shoved to the ground; it means he won't be shoved to the ground in time.

Edit: I suppose the above is dependent upon the wording of Fighter McHackenslash's readied action. "I move to intercept Orc Killington and shove him to the ground before he can reach Wizard Squishypants" will look different on a successful opposed Dex (Init) check than "I try to shove Orc Killington to the ground before he can attack Wizard Squishypants" will.
Looks identical to me. The intuitive semantics is: if action resolutions really are simultaneous, then they both are resolved before the effect of those actions are applied.

I can imagine corner cases where that doesn't make sense (e.g. if McHackenslash doesn't have enough movement available to reach Killington once he moves to the wizard) and in those cases I'd agree that no simultaneity is possible and you probably do need to do a tie-breaker.
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
Looks identical to me. The intuitive semantics is: if action resolutions really are simultaneous, then they both are resolved before the effect of those actions are applied.
The difference in intent leads to a different trigger, which leads to different timing. In the first case, Fighter McHackenslash's readied action triggers while Orc Killington is moving and before he reaches Wizard Squishypants. A successful opposed Dex (Initiative) check means Fighter McHackenslash will intercept him and a successful shove attempt means Orc Killington will not be able to reach Wizard Squishypants this round without using his reaction to change his action to a dash. Any other result is effectively a failure for Fighter McHackenslash, even if it were the result of a tied initiative check.

On the other hand, the second trigger says nothing about movement. It merely triggers before Orc Killington attacks. Orc Killington might or might not be attacking at disadvantage, but he still gets to make the attack, either way (unless he wants to use a reaction to change his action).

The point of readied actions in this variant is specifically to interrupt the normally simultaneous outcomes of the round's actions (and movement). Failure to do so because of a tie is still failure.
 

GX.Sigma

First Post
A CASE STUDY

Here's a simple hypothetical scenario:

There's a Guard guarding a door, and a Barbarian wants to get in the door. The Guard sees the Barbarian approach around a corner. The Guard has higher INT than the Barbarian, but the Barbarian is much stronger. They both have the same speed of 30 feet.

DM: You see a guard is 30 feet away from you. What do you do?
Barbarian player: I move up and try kill him with my axe!
DM: The guard moves back and shoots an arrow at you.


What happens if we use the combat rules with @Hemlock's initiative system?

Result 1: If the guard wins initiative, he backs up, shoots an arrow at the barbarian, and then the barbarian moves and whiffs at empty air. This is good news for the guard. He dealt some damage and maintained his distance. Next round, assuming the same actions are declared, the barbarian has just as much chance of catching him, so the encounter is still interesting. (Note: if both characters had decided to Dash, the possibilities of next round would be very similar: either the guard maintains his lead, or the barbarian catches up. Like tennis, it's not over until it's over.)

Result 2: If the barbarian wins initiative, he runs up and can make his melee attack roll against the guard. Then, if the guard survives, he can move back, which would provoke an attack of opportunity from the barbarian. Not a good plan. So maybe the guard aborts his movement, and just takes the point-blank shot. The encounter devolves into melee combat. Next round, the guard will probably take out his sword and duke it out.

(let me know if I got any of that wrong)

VERDICT: Both of these results are interesting, and the die roll in between decision and result makes it exciting. For comparison, let's see how this would turn out with the default initiative rules:

DM: You see a guard is 30 feet away from you. Roll for initiative.
(rolls)

Result 1:
DM: The guard wins initiative.

Result 1a: The guard moves back and shoot an arrow. Then, the barbarian realizes he needs to move 60 feet to get in reach. So he Dashes toward the guard, ending the round in melee reach. The guard takes out his sword and attacks the barbarian. The encounter devolves into melee combat.

Result 1b: The guard considers Result 1a, and decides he doesn't want to fight the barbarian. He Dashes away. The barbarian Dashes after him. Using cyclic combat rounds, the barbarian can never catch up. This is a "broken" result. The combat rules cannot resolve this situation.

Result 2:
DM: The barbarian wins initiative. What do you do?

The barbarian moves 30 feet and attacks the guard. The guard takes out his sword and returns the attack. The encounter devolves into melee combat.

VERDICT: First of all, rolling initiative is a very clunky way to start an encounter. Just saying.

Anyway, the big difference is that each player has complete information when they make their decision. There's no excitement, because the player knows their move will be successful. Note that the guard never needs to shoot a point-blank arrow: he already knows he's in melee, so he draws a sword. Also, since the flow of combat is so predictable, there's more pressure on each player to make the right move on their turn (because, like in Chess, you can think multiple moves ahead).

There's something counter-intuitive here. Cyclic initiative feels more "strategic" because you have to figure out which move is best. But the strategy is actually much less interesting, because you can make the best move every time. If you roll initiative after declaring moves, you have to leave something to luck. As any pro Magic player will tell you, a game with a lot of luck can be much more strategically interesting than Chess--and much more exciting!

In my opinion, the "concurrent initiative variant" seems more strategic, more fun, and leads to more interesting outcomes than the core combat rules.
 
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BTW, if the Barbarian encounters this kind of scenario frequently, he's likely to invent a maneuver and give it a name for convenience: "Hey DM, when I say I'm 'charging' the guard, from now on that means I run towards him and attack if he's within reach, otherwise I keep Dashing towards him."

Then if the Barbarian says "I charge the guard", then if the guard wins initiative the Barbarian Dashes (i.e. the guard gets a shot off but then they are in melee) and they are 5' away from each other next round. If the Barbarian wins initiative then he makes an attack and then the guard moves back (and takes an opportunity attack) and shoots the Barbarian, ending up 20' away from the guard (assuming the Barbarian has 40' movement to the guard's 30').

The Barbarian could also make up a maneuver ("sticky"?) which prioritizes sticking close to the guard to keep him at disadvantage on his ranged attack, even if that means the Barbarian has to Dash and lose out on an attack + opportunity attack. Then the Barbarian could choose between charging and stickying in these kinds of situations.
 

GX.Sigma

First Post
BTW, if the Barbarian encounters this kind of scenario frequently, he's likely to invent a maneuver and give it a name for convenience: "Hey DM, when I say I'm 'charging' the guard, from now on that means I run towards him and attack if he's within reach, otherwise I keep Dashing towards him."
But if the barbarian can do that, then the situation becomes a lot less interesting: the barbarian ends up in melee with the guard no matter what.

I'm skeptical of allowing stuff like this. If the players can declare contingencies, that gives them an incentive to figure out the whole decision tree. e.g. "I'll run up and attack the guard, but if he's dead by the time I get there I'll attack the other guard, but if the other guard is dead and my guy is running away, I'll Dash after him, but if he hides, then I'll Search for him..."

I know that's an extreme example, but it seems to me, the more you allow stuff like that, the more it becomes Chess again. My gut is telling me I'd rather make the players commit to a single action ("I'll run up and attack that guy"), and during resolution I can allow common-sense solutions if needed ("That guy is dead before you get there; want to attack the other guy instead?")

EDIT: Actually, on reflection, overkill seems like a positive feature. You can either say "I attack that specific guy" to focus fire but risk wasting your damage, or you can say "I attack one of those guys" to make sure your damage counts, but lose the tactical ability to choose your target (which makes it easier on the DM).
 
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But if the barbarian can do that, then the situation becomes a lot less interesting: the barbarian ends up in melee with the guard no matter what.
Briefly, yes, assuming he declares something more complicated ("charge") than your initial proposal, and the guard doesn't also declare something more complicated than your proposal (like "I'll run away, shooting back if I don't need to Dash"--I generally wouldn't have a guard declare something this complex unless he was a veteran of lots of mobile skirmishes). If the Barbarian wins initiative, he gets an attack and an opportunity attack but winds up not in melee; if he loses initiative, the guard gets a free shot at him this round but next round they're in melee.

That outcome seems pretty reasonable to me on two counts, based on my fencing experience--you can almost always charge someone successfully (although you might get stabbed on your way in); and those who are thinking ahead about their options react faster and better than those who are just responding to what's right there in front of them in the instant. The Barbarian's player is being rewarded for player skill, which sounds reasonable to me. (And the Barbarian's player probably won't develop that skill right off--the first three or ten combats will probably play out as per your original post, which again is why I wouldn't have the guard automatically use sophisticated tactics either.)

If it doesn't sound reasonable to you, don't allow it.

I'm skeptical of allowing stuff like this. If the players can declare contingencies, that gives them an incentive to figure out the whole decision tree. e.g. "I'll run up and attack the guard, but if he's dead by the time I get there I'll attack the other guard, but if the other guard is dead and my guy is running away, I'll Dash after him, but if he hides, then I'll Search for him..."
That sounds like it would be over the line of what I would consider plausible. I'd probably raise my eyebrows at a player and go, "Really? You think you can hold all of that in your head simultaneously? It sounds to me like you should just Delay instead to cut down on the uncertainty before committing to your action." I might not forbid it, especially if it only happens occasionally, but if it's really egregiously complex I might ask for a DC 15 Int check.

I know that's an extreme example, but it seems to me, the more you allow stuff like that, the more it becomes Chess again. My gut is telling me I'd rather make the players commit to a single action ("I'll run up and attack that guy"), and during resolution I can allow common-sense solutions if needed ("That guy is dead before you get there; want to attack the other guy instead?")
That sounds like a fine way to run things. As a player I'd have no problem with that.

EDIT: Actually, on reflection, overkill seems like a positive feature. You can either say "I attack that specific guy" to focus fire but risk wasting your damage, or you can say "I attack one of those guys" to make sure your damage counts, but lose the tactical ability to choose your target (which makes it easier on the DM).
In a general sense, overkill is a positive feature, especially with ranged attacks. It's not like you know when you fire your arrow that somebody else is going to have fired another arrow at the target in the meantime and killed it. Nor will you necessarily even realize immediately when something has​ been fatally wounded, not until it topples over. Speaking as a DM, I'd be more resistant to someone trying to declare contingency ranged attacks than contingency melee attacks vs. dash, although I don't have any codified methodology to draw a bright line between what I would and wouldn't allow there.
 
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mellored

Explorer
Hmm...
What if you take damage to change course.

I.e.
The guard moves before the barbarian gets there, so the barbarian can take 5 damage to turn it into a dash.

That way he doesn't waste his turn, but is still penalized for not choosing correctly. And higher level creatures can afford to be more flexible in battle.

Maybe buff HP a bit to compensate.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So...

My fundamental issue with the various simultaneous/concurrent/word-of-choice resolution systems is that they still end up with weird corner cases that defy their intended goals. For example, the barbarian vs guard example above or the orc vs tackling fighter example. In both cases, when a situation arise that requires a determination of 'who goes first' because actions are mutually exclusive, the winner of the contest is allowed to complete their whole declaration, even in events where it makes no sense. To refer to the barbarian vs guard example, if the barbarian wins, he can close 30' and make his attack before the guard can move a step. This harkens straight back to the cyclical initiative problems that this method is meant to address.

So, suggestion for a correction -- phased initiatives. You would still declare your entire action at the beginning of the round/cycle/word of choice, but it's execution then proceeds in phases. A phase would be a move or action. So, in the barbarian vs guard example, the barbarian declares he will close and attack, the guard declares he will retreat and shoot. The first phase will be the first part of the declaration, in this case, both move. As there's no conflict yet, play continues without a resolution. Then the second phase occurs, the guard shoots, and the barbarian looks confused. That's not fun, though, so let's add in the concept of changing a declaration between phases to account for the change in scenario. Since the barbarian's action has been cancelled out by events, he can now choose to declare a second phase action that's different -- in this case, he would likely choose to close to the guard. Play continues. As a variant, add an additional delay in phase for changes, so, in that case, the 1st phase is both move, the 2nd is guard shoots and barbarian changes declaration, and the 3rd would be the barbarian closes. Usually you won't get more than 2 phases, but it's helpful to add more as needed, especially to cover events like a fighter using extra action -- just have it happen in the next phase to reflect that it's extra.

But, this concept still doesn't address issues like the orc and the tackling fighter -- there's no way for the fighter to succeed in both closing to the orc and tackling prior to the orc completing his move. That's too restrictive of fun play, so let's allow the expenditure of a reaction to 'speed up' a declaration through the readied action rules. So the fighter can declare he's going to close to the charging orc and use a readied action when he does to tackle the orc. This then works as the fighter intends, but since he's readying a shove, he will have no ability to follow up with any more attacks either way. This nicely limits the choice to ready things. Similarly, casters will still be under the 'readied spells' requirements and vulnerable to an alert and intelligent opponent declaring an action to interrupt the held spell. So, the orc vs fighter would go: orc declares it's closing to the mage and attacking, fighter declares he's intercepting the orc and readying an action to tackle when he does so. The 1st phase occurs, the orc begins moving as well as the fighter. The DM adjudicates based on understood position where the intercept occurs. The fighter attempts his tackle. The 1st phase concludes. Now, if the attempt was successful, the orc can change declaration to stand or attack the fighter from the ground and go in the third phase. The fighter, since they have no 2nd phase action, will do nothing else unless they declare the use of an action surge, which will go off now, as they have no action for phase 2. The orc can continue in phase 3 with their changed action.

Reactions under this scheme would work as normal.

One of the reasons I like this better is that it works okay when using a battlemat as well as TotM. The methods described so far for simultaneous resolutions all seem to not work very well on a battlemat and seem far more geared towards TotM. My players prefer battlemats for their D&D.
 

mellored

Explorer
Since the barbarian's action has been cancelled out by events, he can now choose to declare a second phase action that's different -- in this case, he would likely choose to close to the guard. Play continues.
That’s not a good thing, as it encourages things that won't happen.

I.e. the barbarian runs towards the guard and uses his action to pick up all the weapons the guard dropped.
Oh, the guards didn't drop any weapons, guess I get to rechoose my action after knowing what he did.

You want penalties for guessing wrong time, but you don’t want endless conditions either.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
That’s not a good thing, as it encourages things that won't happen.

I.e. the barbarian runs towards the guard and uses his action to pick up all the weapons the guard dropped.
Oh, the guards didn't drop any weapons, guess I get to rechoose my action after knowing what he did.

You want penalties for guessing wrong time, but you don’t want endless conditions either.
I'm not a fan of 'guess correctly at the start or you've wasted your actions." Instead, my method has the barabarian rush to where the guard was to pick up dropped things in phase 1, because that was declared. The guard didn't drop anything and is now not present at that location. The penalty for the barbarian is that his plan didn't work -- he's not now in possession of dropped items. That's plenty of disruption of plan for me -- I do not feel it necessary to 'haha! Bad guess! You lose your turn to complete ineffectuality now!' The barbarian now has the option, for his second phase, to attempt to recover from his earlier fail and choose a new action, albeit at a slight timing disadvantage, ie, he cannot now choose an action that will be able to interact with other, previously declared and not changed 2nd phase actions as he has to wait for the 3rd phase. So, there's still a penalty for having a bad plan, there's still room for intelligent and perceptive enemies to foil your plans, but it's not the silly punishment of 'sorry, you failed to fully guess that you enemy was going to declare in a way to foil your declaration, you lose your turn.'
 

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