D&D 5E Continuous Initiative in 5E


Where is that Singe?

I haven't had time to read through the entire thread in detail, but if I understand what you are looking for, here are my concerns/ suggestions:

First, much of the timing is very arbitrary. How do you compare weapon speeds versus casting times? Is a 5-foot step of movement worth 1 second of time since the round is 6 seconds?

Second, how much do things like weapon length trump weapon speed?

Third, how will reactions work? Can you interrupt during a period when you are performing an action of your own? At what cost?

And of course, there's more.

So, here are the suggestions part as a starting point:

Weapon speeds are equal to the damage die. So, a dagger is 4, a flail is 8, a greatsword is 12, etc. Dexterity should NOT modifier weapon speed, as it is already the "god stat" in the game...

Casting times are based on the components and spell level. Since the components are V, S, and M, I would weigh them at 2 points each. I know you might think V is "faster" than S or M, but since we don't know for each spell how long the V component takes, we can't really put a lower speed on it IMO. After the VSM are tallied, add the spell level (treat cantrips as 0).

Some examples:
  • Firebolt (VS, cantrip) is speed 4
  • Magic Missile (VS, 1st) is speed 5
  • Fireball (VSM, 3rd) is speed 9
  • Wall of Force (VSM, 5th) is speed 11
For spells which are bonus actions, calculate the speed as normal. However, for spells which are reactions, apply a -5 modifier:
  • Shield (VS, 1st) is reaction (-5) for speed 0
  • Counterspell (S, 3rd) is reaction (-5) for speed 0
You have to decide if the restriction of bonus action spells and cantrips is still something you want to deal with.

Movement is a bit trickery because creatures have different speeds but need to be able to move up to 2-3 times their speed "in the round" (so to say).

Other actions, such as Dodge, Help, etc. have to be based on how we think they "work" in comparison to weapons and spells. Off-hand, I would think many actions would probably be in the 4-10 range.

So far, we have Attack (weapon speeds) and Cast a Spell (casting times). Let's consider the others:
  • Dash - Could be removed since you can simply choose to continue moving. Or, could be changed into a "run" action, where you can cover double your normal distance on each tick of initiative.
  • Disengage - Should be quick, maybe 4-5? Once completed, you can move without provoking opportunity attacks. Once you begin some other action (including a different form of movement, like a Dash), the benefit ends.
  • Dodge - Probably fairly quick to start, like 4. After that you can move and gain the benefits until you perform some other action, however, you might want to impost a movement penalty since you are focused on evading danger.
  • Help - The speed of the Help action should mirror the speed of the Action you are helping with.
  • Hide - The act of Hiding would have to be taken after you are in a position to actually Hide. However once you are there, probably a 4 or 5.
  • Ready - This would have the same speed of whatever action you are using the Ready action to prepare. Once that number of ticks has elapsed, you can use your reaction when the trigger occurs to instantly take your Readied action.
  • Search - The speed for Searching would be based on a set area, and not quick IMO. Maybe 20 to search a 5x5 area?
  • Use an Object - This is really variable since so many things count as Use an Object actions. I nice middle ground would be maybe 1d6+4, for 5-10.
Free interactions are very simple and quick to perform, so speeds of 1 or 2 would probably be okay.

Finally, I think a random "time delimiter" should be added once a creature has taken all its actions "for the round". This would be a sort of reset moment and should be rolled, perhaps a d6+4. This number could be modified by Dexterity, lowering the result to a minimum of 1.

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