D&D 5E Continuous Initiative in 5E

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
While I agree that it would not be trivial to design a workable continuous initiative system that works for 5e, I don't think it would be as impossible as some folks are suggesting.
 

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Vael

Legend
While I agree that it would not be trivial to design a workable continuous initiative system that works for 5e, I don't think it would be as impossible as some folks are suggesting.
It's not impossible ... having not played Hackmaster though, my question is whether the work is worth it. What does this initiative system do that you can't accomplish in other ways? The example of play you gave gave me a headache as I foresaw so many problems, first the round to round accounting leading to a lot tracking, and action denial. Say, in the example given, that when initiative 13 came up, no one was within reach to stab?
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
It's not impossible ... having not played Hackmaster though, my question is whether the work is worth it. What does this initiative system do that you can't accomplish in other ways? The example of play you gave gave me a headache as I foresaw so many problems, first the round to round accounting leading to a lot tracking, and action denial. Say, in the example given, that when initiative 13 came up, no one was within reach to stab?
Move?
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
This blog is a bit dated (2015), but it analyzes a single Hackmaster combat session and concludes that fears almost kept them away from a system that made combat dynamic and exciting. It's worth a read, albeit a small sample size that isn't analyzed at higher levels where players generally have more character options.

As to converting Hackmaster initiative to 5E, I actually considered it because it's more complex than D&D, has a more realistic approach to combats, weapon choice matters, and folks have to pay attention the entire combat (less playing on your phone while others are flipping through the PHB to find out what they want to do). That's closer to OSR design and the realism is appealing to those who like more crunch. However, it all relies on a system where everything already syncs (e.g. defense rolls to deflect attacks, rules on weapon reach, engagement, etc.) And that's where I couldn't make it work. I couldn't get a "count up" system working in D&D without tweaking other rules. I felt like I was trying to redo the entire game. One tweak led to another.

Also note the blog author timed the combat at 48 minutes. For a beginner party against 4 kobolds, that's long to me, even if you're learning a new system and having to look up rules. It gave me the shudders thinking back to some 3E high-level battles that took 3+ hours. My Lost Mines of Phandelver first battle took at best 5 or so minutes, and my current campaign system (Dragon Age/Fantasy Age, taking a 5E break) has low-level battles resolve in 15 minutes or less, with some of that me setting up a grid map battle. This could be player bias and have nothing to do with the system. For example, I envisioned getting a handheld counter (click once, number goes up) and using poker chips (you can act again in 6 segments, put 6 poker chips by your character sheet).

So I don't have a good answer if it can be done. There was too much to do was my excuse. I ended up working up a "weapon speed" initiative system that my groups used for roughly 5 years before I moved back to the simpler set-turn system of D&D.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
The most important thing tome in any mode of play is meaningful choice. If you designed the system where taking different amounts of time for the "same" actions produces potentially different results, I feel like that builds meaningful choice. What if Power Attack is just a few extra ticks, or updating heal? Like that.
I do think it adds a lot of tactical choices, as long as those tactical choices are worth making. 3E/PF1 for example, make weapons pretty interesting with threat range and damage multiplier. However, some are just junk and nobody uses them. Making sure no choices are bad, but have trade offs is the way but pittfalls could be everywhere.
 

Vael

Legend
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding ... or your example is obscuring an element of the rules.
For example, say your starting initiative roll was a 6. On 6, you declare that you are moving 4 squares. On 5, 6, 7 and 8 you move 1 square each. On 8, upon arrival, you declare you are stabbing the bandit. Your weapon has a speed of 5. That means you make your attack on 13. All while this is happening, the other PCs plus the enemies are doing similar. Initiative never "resets" you just keep counting until the encounter ends.

So ... the PC moves during 5-8, then declares an attack on 8, which resolves on round 13. So ... my understanding is the PC cannot act during rounds 9 to 12. And if there is no one to attack on round 13, the PC has sat for 5 rounds doing nothing only for nothing else to happen. Please clarify if I'm wrong.
 

Vendral

Explorer
We did something similar in mid-80s playing RoleMaster and it worked fine in our group.
It has been a few years so I don't remember all the details.
We basically had .5 second initiative ticks.
As I recalled it we started by rolling some initiative to see when you got you first tick to act on.
When you had a tick you decided what to do and performed that action, then based on what you decided to do you found out when you had your next tick to do an action. That is you performed your action when you got your tick and then you waited until it was your tick again and decided what you wanted to do and did that..
You could move one meter/square? (don't remember what measurement we used) for one tick
Actions had a speed based on what on spell/weapon type/other which was added to a d10 to get some randomness to find out when you got your next tick.
Effects that lasted for a certain amount of time lasted that long which was calculated based on that every tick was .5 seconds. . How long a tick is as well as speed and random die needs to be adjusted for D&Ds 6 second rounds. With D&Ds 6 second round a spell that last for 3 rounds and using .5 second ticks would last 36 ticks, independently on how many actions was performed in that timeframe.
 

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