D&D 5E Declarations that start combat vs. initiative

Combat starting mid-RP without sneakiness, when does the declaring PC/NPC go?

  • In normal initiative order. The one who's action started this may not actually be the first action.

    Votes: 53 52.0%
  • At the top of initiative, since there is no combat until they make their move.

    Votes: 11 10.8%
  • During normal initiative but with chance of people on both sides could be surprised.

    Votes: 20 19.6%
  • At the top of initiative, with the chance people on both sides could be surprised it's starting now.

    Votes: 3 2.9%
  • Other (explained below).

    Votes: 15 14.7%

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
and 5 hours is 5x 1 hour and 40 days is 5x 8days, and 50 years is 5x 10years...
None of which have squat to do with the "About 6 second" round and are therefore Red Herrings at the very least.
again, the idea of scale is weird with time... 'about 30 seconds' can be anywhere from 5 seconds to 2 minutes if you ask 'how long is the training test going to take? and no one will bat an eye at that 'rounding'
No, it can't be that long. Even 1 minute is not "about 30" seconds and if you shrugged and said, "Well 2 minutes is about 30 seconds." people are going to look at you like you are crazy.
edit: even in the wild of real life I have seen people label teenagers as 'about 6 years old' but I have also seen early 20 somethings be said to be 'what like 5?' by older retired people...
I don't know where you leave, but no one I've met from teachers to parents to well, anyone, has ever labeled teenagers as about 6 years old. Now, if you're incorrectly conflating "Teenagers ACT about 6 years old," that's different. I've heard that before, but that isn't saying that they are about 6 years old.
the older you get the more the age 'kid' runs. When I was 14, 40 was 'old' and no one with 2 digits in there age was a 'kid' now in my 40's I don't think 60 is old, and if you are 25 you are 'just a kid'.

time is strange like that.
Sure, but none of it has anything to do with what "about 6 seconds" is. Your whole argument is a big Red Herring. And probably a few other fallacies as well.
 

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None of which have squat to do with the "About 6 second" round and are therefore Red Herrings at the very least.
it has to do with time scales being weird...
No, it can't be that long.
yes it can... I have seen HR announcements about training taking 'about 30 seconds' when the video before the test is over a minute.
You can't tell me things I have witnessed didn't or can't happen
Even 1 minute is not "about 30" seconds and if you shrugged and said, "Well 2 minutes is about 30 seconds." people are going to look at you like you are crazy.
you must look at a lot of people that way then,
I don't know where you leave, but no one I've met from teachers to parents to well, anyone, has ever labeled teenagers as about 6 years old.
I live in the North East of the United States, and I have had coworkers routinely say that 'man that new guys is young, he's what 10 years old' when they are in there 20s... why do they say that, because I work with people well past retirement age and time is VERY relative. 23 year olds are closer to 10 year olds then they are to 60 year old (both in time and maturity)
Now, if you're incorrectly conflating "Teenagers ACT about 6 years old," that's different. I've heard that before, but that isn't saying that they are about 6 years old.
thank you but I am not confalting anything
Sure, but none of it has anything to do with what "about 6 seconds" is. Your whole argument is a big Red Herring. And probably a few other fallacies as well.
no red hairing... not even an argument so I'm not sure how it can be a fallacie (is there one about thinking everytime some one disagrees it's a fallcy?)

time is weird and relative.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
it has to do with time scales being weird...
They aren't, though. Not in the context of a round being "about 6 seconds" anyway.
yes it can... I have seen HR announcements about training taking 'about 30 seconds' when the video before the test is over a minute.
You can't tell me things I have witnessed didn't or can't happen
I'm not. I'm telling you that the HR announcement was just plain wrong. You heard it. They were wrong.
you must look at a lot of people that way then,
Hasn't happened yet. Nobody has been crazy enough to try and tell me that a minute was about 30 seconds long.
I live in the North East of the United States, and I have had coworkers routinely say that 'man that new guys is young, he's what 10 years old' when they are in there 20s... why do they say that, because I work with people well past retirement age and time is VERY relative. 23 year olds are closer to 10 year olds then they are to 60 year old (both in time and maturity)
So you're conflating deliberate exaggeration about age with legitimate uses of "about." When people say, "He's what, 10 years old?" when talking about someone a lot younger, they are not seriously saying that 20 years old is "about 10 years old." And saying someone that is 23 is closer to 10 than 63 isn't even the same type of math. That's not saying that they are "about 10 years old."
no red hairing... not even an argument so I'm not sure how it can be a fallacie (is there one about thinking everytime some one disagrees it's a fallcy?)
It's a fallacy, because it's nothing more than a distraction from my argument. Your "math" comparisons are irrelevant to what I am saying as not one of them applies to my statement of what "about 6 seconds" means.
time is weird and relative.
No, it's not. At least not in the context that I am using it.
 

I liked them when I played AD&D. As a spellcaster they made you really think and strategize what spells you were going to use and when.
I’m not opposed to interrupts, I just don’t want to have to track cast time.

I’d love to add some kind of reaction that can interrupt spell casting. It could be as simple as making casting draw an OA, with concentration rules determining if it was interrupted. And/or maybe the attacker could Hold Action, which would let ranged attackers in on the fun.

EDIT: And maybe the caster could, if aware of the OA, voluntarily stop casting (and maybe switch to Dodge action?), costing them their turn but saving the spell slot.
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
A bit late to the party ...

Would the question be easier if the procedure were further detailed? This is how my group generally started encounters:

(1) The GM describes a scene: "The players are walking down a road. They approach a bridge." Secretly, several orcs have hidden beneath the bridge and are waiting to step out.

(2) The players describe their out-of-combat actions, while the GM determines the orc's out-of-combat actions: "We slow down and Waldo walks up cautiously to the bridge, looking carefully about." The orcs continue to wait.

(3) So far, the two groups are unaware of each other. There is not yet a combat encounter.

(4) Out-of-combat perception is rolled. Both players and the orcs continue out-of-combat actions until one side is aware of the other and until a hostile action is indicated.

(5) Initiative is rolled for everyone, including players and orcs who are not yet aware that combat has started.

(6) Both players and the orcs act on their initiative order.

There is an important point in time: The initiative of the player (or orc) who declared the first hostile action. What can players (or orcs) do who act on an earlier initiative? Are the players (or orcs) who act earlier aware of hostile intent?

TomB
 

They aren't, though. Not in the context of a round being "about 6 seconds" anyway.
okay... about is not a mathematical term, we are not rounding to the nearest 10's...
But if we round to the nearest minute we are rounding down and 6 seconds is 'none'
if we round to the nearest WHOLE minute then it is a minute.
If we round 6 days to the nearest week it is 1 week, if we round it to the nearest month it is 0 time again or 1 month depending on if you count 0 as an option.

if 0 isn't an option and we round to the nearest half minute then it is about 30 seconds...
I'm not. I'm telling you that the HR announcement was just plain wrong. You heard it. They were wrong.
or they were just useing 'about'
Hasn't happened yet. Nobody has been crazy enough to try and tell me that a minute was about 30 seconds long.
I plain don't believe you... no one ever in your life said "about a minute" and it took less then ten seconds... never?
So you're conflating deliberate exaggeration about age with legitimate uses of "about." When people say, "He's what, 10 years old?" when talking about someone a lot younger, they are not seriously saying that 20 years old is "about 10 years old." And saying someone that is 23 is closer to 10 than 63 isn't even the same type of math. That's not saying that they are "about 10 years old."
I am not conflating. I am showing how our minds work and time is strange and realative. 6 seconds is closer to 30 seconds then an hour, but it is closer still to 0 seconds... but most people can't visualize or imagine 0 seconds... so 'about 6 seconds' can mean 30 seconds...
It's a fallacy
no it isn't... It is an explanation.
, because it's nothing more than a distraction from my argument.
disagreeing with your argument is not a distraction.
Your "math" comparisons are irrelevant to what I am saying as not one of them applies to my statement of what "about 6 seconds" means.
show me where 'about' says it can't be withing 24 of something... or even within 100 of something
No, it's not. At least not in the context that I am using it.
then make it simple prove me wrong. show a definition of about that says that if you are withing 24 of it, that isn't 'about'
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
To answer my own question. My understanding of the rules is that unless hidden or obscured, a declaration of hostile intent is known by both sides. Then, players and orcs who are acting earlier in initiative are aware that a hostile action is about to be initiated, and may act with that knowledge.

This makes a declared hostile action a declaration of intent. Players who act before the hostile action are reacting to the intent, and possibly the action as it begins to happen.

I'm thinking through what I would consider a hidden or obscured action. I don't have an answer for that yet.

That players (and orcs) can act earlier is a consequence of the initiative and of sequential actions. I admit that absurd results can occur. These are a consequence of the rules, that one just has to learn to deal with.

Another category of actions might be "swift" or "quick" actions, which cannot be perceived before they happen. That brings up interesting questions. However, I don't think the initiative rules, as written, deal with such cases.

One can easily get into very strange cases, for example, what if the trigger was a trap discharging, where the trap triggers and discharges very very quickly.

A problem that I have is that if characters who act before the hostile action occurs don't have an opportunity to preempt the action is that it seems that they are being penalized for their better initiative. Although, "early" characters can always delay until after the hostile action occurs. Should this be the default?

TomB
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
You have an obligation as the DM to narrate exactly what the intention is unless you have a valid in game reason for doing otherwise that DOES NOT PLAY THE PC. Barring something like dominate or other mechanical effect, you have no right as the DM to tell me my PC does anything other than what I intend, or what he thinks, or what he feels.

If you want to tell me that my PC is afraid after missing a save to dragon fear, fine. If you want to tell me that my PC doesn't go into a dark room because you've decided to narrate that he's scared of the dark, that's not fine.

You didn't. You gave, "Deciding how to throw" which is hogwash. And you played the PC as "pausing his throw to look around at other stuff", which is also hogwash. You don't get to play the PC in any way. You only get to narrate what I decide modified by any in-fiction things.

For example, if I tell you that I am climbing the wall, you don't get to tell me that I am distracted by a bunch of kids crossing the street and don't climb the wall. You can narrate kids crossing the street while I'm heading to the wall and let ME decide if I'm distracted and want to stop. You don't get to stop me for that, though. You can tell me that the wall is greased and impossible to climb as I attempt to climb it, since that is not playing my PC or stopping my action of climbing the wall. It's simply auto failing the attempt due to a valid in-fiction reason, rather than giving me a roll or making it an auto success.

The system made no such determination. You did and you gave bupkis reasons for it. You auto failed his roll inappropriately(playing his PC) and then killed him. That's abuse of authority.

Were I at your table and you decided to roleplay my PC in order to stop an action that I had declared, I'd get up and walk out of the game. That's abuse of authority plain and simple.

Um. It's clear that you haven't been paying attention at all to what I have been saying. If there's a wall of force, than that would be, according to EVERYTHING that I've said here, be a valid in fiction reason for failure. That's completely different from you roleplaying my PC.
I can save you some time and let you know now not to bother playing at my table.

As a GM I never narrate a character into any sort of game changing actions, however minor narration of any character (including PCs) is a tool in my belt to paint the setting.

Example: I may let the PCs know a lair is full of giant owl pellets by narrating how they sidestep to avoid stepping on a juicy one. I'm not going to announce they notice a pile and ask if they want to step around it. No point.
 

I have been reminded my favorite reason why you have to be careful...

I have had DMs have us roll initiative, then when a bunch of us go before the bad guys and we ask what we have to target, he said "Nothing, you don't see a target yet"
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I can save you some time and let you know now not to bother playing at my table.

As a GM I never narrate a character into any sort of game changing actions, however minor narration of any character (including PCs) is a tool in my belt to paint the setting.

Example: I may let the PCs know a lair is full of giant owl pellets by narrating how they sidestep to avoid stepping on a juicy one. I'm not going to announce they notice a pile and ask if they want to step around it. No point.
I'd just describe the lair as having oil pellets all over the floor prior to them entering, as it would be a blatantly obvious visual before they go inside. My proactive players would jump in at that point and tell me that they are trying to avoid the pellets, don't care if they step on one and just walk in, or tell me that they walk in without letting me know either way. If they do the last one, they've left the detail of stepping on one or not up to me. That's not playing their character. It's simply narrating a detail of the walk across the floor.

Playing the PC is what @Lyxen did when he played the example PC as getting distracted and paying attention to everything else except his target AFTER the PC began throwing the knife.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I’m not opposed to interrupts, I just don’t want to have to track cast time.
It's easy. The players, obviously, track their own cast times; and you can track for the opposition.
I’d love to add some kind of reaction that can interrupt spell casting. It could be as simple as making casting draw an OA, with concentration rules determining if it was interrupted. And/or maybe the attacker could Hold Action, which would let ranged attackers in on the fun.
Sounds good.

Personally, I'd outright ban casting while in melee; on the basis that the caster will automatically be interrupted. If you're using wild magic surges on interruption, though, I'd rule that any casting in melee just automatically generates a wild surge - which some chaos mages would love and everyone else around would probably come to despise! :)
EDIT: And maybe the caster could, if aware of the OA, voluntarily stop casting (and maybe switch to Dodge action?), costing them their turn but saving the spell slot.
Only if the casting is stopped before it has begun, which makes it a simple change of action.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
okay... about is not a mathematical term, we are not rounding to the nearest 10's...
But if we round to the nearest minute we are rounding down and 6 seconds is 'none'
if we round to the nearest WHOLE minute then it is a minute.
If we round 6 days to the nearest week it is 1 week, if we round it to the nearest month it is 0 time again or 1 month depending on if you count 0 as an option.
This is another Red Herring. It's a complete distraction argument since there is no rounding going on..................................at all.

29 seconds is about 30 seconds. 1 minute is about 1 minute, not about 30 seconds.
if 0 isn't an option and we round to the nearest half minute then it is about 30 seconds...
No. 6 seconds still isn't about 30 seconds. You've just rounded up to 30 seconds for some strange reason. That doesn't make time work differently. 6 seconds will never be about 30 seconds no matter what you do or how you try to twist time. You can argue that 6 seconds and 30 seconds are essentially the same when looking at million year scale, but that still doesn't make 6 seconds "about" 30 seconds.
I plain don't believe you... no one ever in your life said "about a minute" and it took less then ten seconds... never?
Of course they have. And every time they were wrong about their estimate. 10 seconds doesn't become "about" a minute just because someone incorrectly estimated how long something will take.
show me where 'about' says it can't be withing 24 of something... or even within 100 of something
"about" means very close to. You are estimating to a very close degree. It's common English. That's how the term is used. It's not used to mean something that isn't close. A minute is not close to 30 seconds. It's close to a minute. 6 seconds is not close to 30 seconds. It's close to 5 and 7 seconds. Maaaaaybe you can stretch it to being close to 4 and 8 seconds, but at that point 8 seconds is just as close to 10 seconds. 9 seconds is definitely about 10 seconds.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
To answer my own question. My understanding of the rules is that unless hidden or obscured, a declaration of hostile intent is known by both sides. Then, players and orcs who are acting earlier in initiative are aware that a hostile action is about to be initiated, and may act with that knowledge.

This makes a declared hostile action a declaration of intent. Players who act before the hostile action are reacting to the intent, and possibly the action as it begins to happen.

I'm thinking through what I would consider a hidden or obscured action. I don't have an answer for that yet.
In your example, it would be one of the orcs shooting a missile from under the bridge before the PCs are even aware there's anything down there.
That players (and orcs) can act earlier is a consequence of the initiative and of sequential actions. I admit that absurd results can occur. These are a consequence of the rules, that one just has to learn to deal with.
That's just it - I'd rather not allow those absurd results to occur in the first place, and instead kitbash the mechanics such that they cannot.
Another category of actions might be "swift" or "quick" actions, which cannot be perceived before they happen. That brings up interesting questions. However, I don't think the initiative rules, as written, deal with such cases.
So out come the kitbashin' tools... :)

This is actually a better-worded version of what I was getting at upthread: that the triggering action should have its own timing mechanics separate from normal initiative.
One can easily get into very strange cases, for example, what if the trigger was a trap discharging, where the trap triggers and discharges very very quickly.

A problem that I have is that if characters who act before the hostile action occurs don't have an opportunity to preempt the action is that it seems that they are being penalized for their better initiative.
Unless they somehow see the hostile action coming they shouldn't be able to pre-empt it, which is my point. If they don't know there's an orc under the bridge about to shoot at them they shouldn't be able to prevent that shot.
 

This is another Red Herring. It's a complete distraction argument since there is no rounding going on..................................at all.
I dont think you understand that a red herring isn't the same as not aggreeing... you seem to take 'not agreeing' to mean alot more then it is...
No. 6 seconds still isn't about 30 seconds.
why? it's close to the same... if you test 100 people some % will not even be able to tell the two apart... we suck at time tracking
That doesn't make time work differently.
I'm not asking it to work diffrently... it's an estimate... it's about X....
24 seconds is no time at all, so anything that is 'about X' where X is 24 seconds off is still about X
6 seconds will never be about 30 seconds no matter what you do or how you try to twist time.
6 seconds isn't 30 seconds... who said they = each other?!?!? it's about the same not the exact same.
You can argue that 6 seconds and 30 seconds are essentially the same when looking at million year scale, but that still doesn't make 6 seconds "about" 30 seconds.
except it does... as long as we are mesureing less then 2 minutes I would argue ANY amount of seconds you said (that was less then 120) are about right.
Of course they have. And every time they were wrong about their estimate.
no they etimated.... estimates aren't wrong by not being exact.... estimates are NOT exact.
10 seconds doesn't become "about" a minute just because someone incorrectly estimated how long something will take.
if it is only ment to be an estimate then they aren't wrong... it's an estimate.
"about" means very close to.
thank you and 24 seconds is such a short time that being off by 24 seconds with an estimate is "ABOUT" right.
You are estimating to a very close degree. It's common English. That's how the term is used. It's not used to mean something that isn't close.
no tell me how 24 seconds off isn't close?
A minute is not close to 30 seconds.
yes it is... they are so close that without a device to measure time with most people will not be able to pin point one over the other.
6 seconds is not close to 30 seconds.
sure it is... How often do YOU tell time down to 24 seconds worth of 'correctness'
It's close to 5 and 7 seconds. Maaaaaybe you can stretch it to being close to 4 and 8 seconds, but at that point 8 seconds is just as close to 10 seconds. 9 seconds is definitely about 10 seconds.
dude... if I tell you I will be somewhere at 11:32 and I show up 24 seconds late you wont notice... if I show up 6 seconds late you wont notice... most people would not notice if I showed up at 11:35... and NOBODY could tell if I was late or not without a clock... nobody has such a perfect time sense that they can without device help tell the difference between 11:35 and 11:40. Time even speeds ups and slows down by your perception "A watched pot never boils"

How can you HOPE to messure something to within 24 seconds of itself without aid of a machine?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I dont think you understand that a red herring isn't the same as not aggreeing... you seem to take 'not agreeing' to mean alot more then it is...
You aren't simply disagreeing. You're providing entirely irrelevant arguments that are literally not happening in the game at all. There is no rounding going on, so it's a complete distraction argument to put forth, regardless of whether you believe it or not.
why? it's close to the same... if you test 100 people some % will not even be able to tell the two apart... we suck at time tracking
That doesn't matter. Our ability or inability to track time has nothing to do with the definition of "about."
if it is only ment to be an estimate then they aren't wrong... it's an estimate.
They are wrong. If they said about a minute and finished in 10 seconds, the definition of "about" doesn't shift to meet their mistake. It just makes them wrong in using that word.
thank you and 24 seconds is such a short time that being off by 24 seconds with an estimate is "ABOUT" right.

no tell me how 24 seconds off isn't close?
It's literally 5 times as long. You're argument says that 600 miles is close to 3000 miles, which is patently ridiculous.
yes it is... they are so close that without a device to measure time with most people will not be able to pin point one over the other.

sure it is... How often do YOU tell time down to 24 seconds worth of 'correctness'
None of that matters. The ability or inability of a person doesn't alter a definition.
 

You aren't simply disagreeing. You're providing entirely irrelevant arguments that are literally not happening in the game at all. There is no rounding going on, so it's a complete distraction argument to put forth, regardless of whether you believe it or not.

That doesn't matter. Our ability or inability to track time has nothing to do with the definition of "about."


it has to do with how close it is... it is close enough to not be measurable by most people... hence ABOUT
They are wrong. If they said about a minute and finished in 10 seconds, the definition of "about" doesn't shift to meet their mistake. It just makes them wrong in using that word.
wrong again About is an estimate, and estimates aren't proven wrong when they are completed quicker or slower...
It's literally 5 times as long. You're argument says that 600 miles is close to 3000 miles, which is patently ridiculous.

None of that matters. The ability or inability of a person doesn't alter a definition.
when you messure in game time NOT in combat rounds if something is said to be 'about 5 minutes' can it be 4 minutes or 7 minutes and still be 'about 5 minutes... cause that is 3 minute spread.... so 180 seconds... so yeah 180 seconds seems to me to be 'about 5 minutes' and 27 seconds can be 'about 6 seconds' especially if we spend 12 combat rounds in a night and 1 is 44 seconds, 1 is 3 seconds, 1 is 1 second, 1 is 11 seconds and the other 8 are 6 seconds... I would say they are all 'about 6 seconds'

the average of the above is actually 8.91 seconds...
 

I can save you some time and let you know now not to bother playing at my table.

As a GM I never narrate a character into any sort of game changing actions, however minor narration of any character (including PCs) is a tool in my belt to paint the setting.

Example: I may let the PCs know a lair is full of giant owl pellets by narrating how they sidestep to avoid stepping on a juicy one. I'm not going to announce they notice a pile and ask if they want to step around it. No point.
just FYI most player/DMs I know in real life are fine with this...
 

just to try to break the cycle here... How precise is 'about' supposed to be? is 30 seconds too much time for such precision? is 25 seconds? is 20 seconds? is 10 seconds? and if measuring time how often are you in your privet life precise down to less then 30 seconds?
 


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