5E Does it ever matter which round you are in?

I am not even sure if this is somewhere in the RAW, but I think I had for years the habit of thinking of a round in two possible ways:

1) a round as the time window between two regular turns of the same character/creature
2) a round as the set of turns in one initiative cycle i.e. from highest to lowest initiative scores

When running the game, I still often find myself saying things such as "ok, let's move to the next round" or "we're in round #3 now". But does it actually even matter anymore in 5e? I think all effects and abilities take place or start and end just before or after someone's turn, or at least at a relative point in the initiative cycle (e.g. Thieves' Reflexes occurring at Initiative - 10), but I don't remember anything that occurs at the start/end of a round meant as 2). Is there any situation where it really matters whether the initiative cycle has restarted so that you're in the next round? :uhoh:
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
An event might take place in round 4. Maybe a new wave of IRC’s arrives or the bridge collapses.
 
An event might take place in round 4. Maybe a new wave of IRC’s arrives or the bridge collapses.
I had thought of something like that with relation to handling new monsters joining the battle, but I don't think there are explicit rules for that in 5e...

So the DM may have planned for something to happen in round #4, but it's totally up to her, and because of that she might also decides it will happen in round #4 at initiative count 10, for example.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Is there any situation where it really matters whether the initiative cycle has restarted so that you're in the next round? :uhoh:
From the player perspective, I believe it hasn't mattered much since initiative became cyclical in 3e. Every PC's round runs from start of turn to start of next turn. It's just external stuff where it might matter for the DM's timing.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
With fewer, if any, spells and effect that last d-something rounds, it's certainly more abstract than in past editions. But yes, I've totally had combat encounters where something is going to happen after X number of rounds.

If you're underwater and/or holding your breath, rounds might matter, especially if the PCs have been holding their breath for a while already.

There are some spells that conceivably could run out, but even if those spells last a minute, that's what, ten rounds. How many fights even go that long?

2). Is there any situation where it really matters whether the initiative cycle has restarted so that you're in the next round? :uhoh:
 

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