5E Group Iniative Order

Telvin

Villager
New to 5e, in fact this happened in my first ever session I attended. So I am wondering if this was done correctly, It seemed kind of questionable to me.

In the initiative order a group of 8 conjured Blood Hawks all went at the same time. That part I get. But the DM would move them all. After he moved them all, he had them take their attack actions. This resulted in every Blood Hawk having advantage attacks against the party members (5 first level characters) using the pack attack. This actually resulted in a TPK when the two conjured hippogriffs were added into the mix.

Now I would have thought that the a single Blood Hawk would move and take it's attack action. Then the next one would go and so forth. Am I wrong.
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
In some situations, the DM may effectively be having some monsters move and take the Ready action to ready an attack when certain triggers are met (e.g. when some number of blood hawks surround the target). So it's rules legal as long as the movement, Ready action, and trigger are all faithfully applied and resolved. Whether or not you find the outcome satisfying even though it's rules legal is another matter though.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
i saw a Gm doing the same thing in a game once.
but the Gm forgot they allowed this crazy UA feat that gave unlimited attacks as folks moved into range. So essentially a half dozen "pack" somethings all moved in at once and all got struck with free glaive strikes and got cut to ribbons.

if the Gm had moved one, saw it get struck etc then they could have moved to other targets instead of rushing into the meat grinder after the first two got slaughtered.

unless the attackers are particularly smart or dumb, i tend to rush one in and it attacks, but the others coming in can get the advantage. trading off one attack's bonus for a de facto sort of "test for landmines" turns out fine and often can save the entire pack - so it makes sense as a survival trait.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
New to 5e, in fact this happened in my first ever session I attended. So I am wondering if this was done correctly, It seemed kind of questionable to me.

In the initiative order a group of 8 conjured Blood Hawks all went at the same time. That part I get. But the DM would move them all. After he moved them all, he had them take their attack actions. This resulted in every Blood Hawk having advantage attacks against the party members (5 first level characters) using the pack attack. This actually resulted in a TPK when the two conjured hippogriffs were added into the mix.

Now I would have thought that the a single Blood Hawk would move and take it's attack action. Then the next one would go and so forth. Am I wrong.
Legal but I think conjured hippogriffs were a bit much. Homebrew or a purchased adventure.
 

Telvin

Villager
Legal but I think conjured hippogriffs were a bit much. Homebrew or a purchased adventure.
Adventure League scenario I would presume, as it was at one of their sessions. It was a tough fight considering four of the five players were brand new to the game.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Ok, that would be ddex02-01 Mission 1. That is a deadly fight. I generally only do 4 blood hawks, and have the hippogriff not attack unless it attacked. But I had to learn when to lighten the encounter up. And hint the pcs can retreat down stairs.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
What the DM did was legal, but I tend to split up groups of more than 4 or so and give them their own initiative. Of course half the time I do that they seem to go next to each other anyway, but if you focus fire with everything you have on one PC it can be easy to take them out at lower levels.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Hmmmm. What *is* the rule for simultaneous initiative? Having them all move then all attack creates a massive tactical advantage over having them each move then attack.
 
In some situations, the DM may effectively be having some monsters move and take the Ready action to ready an attack when certain triggers are met (e.g. when some number of blood hawks surround the target). So it's rules legal as long as the movement, Ready action, and trigger are all faithfully applied and resolved. Whether or not you find the outcome satisfying even though it's rules legal is another matter though.
This.

The dm can move them, one at time, and then have them wait to ready an action to attack.

but [MENTION=6992304]Telvin[/MENTION]:

- If they had multiple attacks, they'd lose their extra attacks because readying takes your action and then it takes your 'reaction' to make the attack. You can't ready multiple attacks.

Really, in this scenario(because of pack tactics), only the first bloodhawk (per PC) needs to ready until any of their other allies moved in. The others can just move in and attack as long as one of their allies was already adjacent. So, if they DM felt bloodhawks were smart enough to move and ready and only attacked once, then it's legal. With INT 3, I might have made the first bloodhawk attack with a normal attack...maybe. 3 is still pretty smart.

[MENTION=1]Morrus[/MENTION]
Hmmmm. What *is* the rule for simultaneous initiative? Having them all move then all attack creates a massive tactical advantage over having them each move then attack.
For me, they all go at once but still 'one at a time.' It probably evens out because now the PCs can all go simultaneously and use the same tactics. Although, it makes initiative a bit more important, I think. Having the PCs all go first and take out several of the bloodhawks before they acted might have changed the outcome.

[MENTION=6992304]Telvin[/MENTION] Who won initiative?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Hmmmm. What *is* the rule for simultaneous initiative? Having them all move then all attack creates a massive tactical advantage over having them each move then attack.
Like monsters all go on the same initiative. They act individually at the DM's discretion at that initiative count. Readied actions, if used, are resolved as normal.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Like monsters all go on the same initiative. They act individually at the DM's discretion at that initiative count. Readied actions, if used, are resolved as normal.
Seems it would require a group of monsters with incredible tactical discipline acting as optimally as an SAS team.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Seems it would require a group of monsters with incredible tactical discipline acting as optimally as an SAS team.
Or any reasonable fictional justification really. The first blood hawk swoops in and screeches, putting on a territorial display, but does not attack until the other hawks fly in. For example.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Or any reasonable fictional justification really. The first blood hawk swoops in and screeches, putting on a territorial display, but does not attack until the other hawks fly in. For example.
Whatever works for you, I guess. For me, monsters always operating with split-second optimal group tactical precision isn't interesting.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Whatever works for you, I guess. For me, monsters always operating with split-second optimal group tactical precision isn't interesting.
So all your monsters have a separate init? I think you over stating the case. The is a boss fight with waves. First wave is 4 or 5 guards. Depending on how you did earlier. The boss is protected by box text. Once the first wave is killed, the second wave comes.
Second wave is 8 blood hawks which will operate in teams of two using pack tactics. So in this case one pc is not a target. The villain is escaping but can be engaged by missile weapons. If both blood hawks hit, the avg damage will zero a wizard. The hippogriff is also present. But the group can grab the prisoner and retreat.
I can see this being a tpk if the dm is not careful. Especially if everyone is first level. While I don't train my monsters to SAS team tactics, I will use their abilities. I have dm this mission at least six times. How I run depends on the players and levels of pcs.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
So all your monsters have a separate init?
No, I just have each move then attack rather than move all of them then all of them attack, unless they’re particularly tactically efficient. Monsters act according to their abilities, not mine.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
No, I just have each move then attack rather than move all of them then all of them attack, unless they’re particularly tactically efficient. Monsters act according to their abilities, not mine.
Blood hawks have pack tactics. And from the module, "...that swarm the characters. They try to work in groups of two in order to take advantage of their pack tactics ability"
I generally try to move all the monsters(if they have to) first, then attack, then move. Because I sometimes forget monsters if they are scattered out on the map. (of course half the time my players FORGET to tell me monster 7,8,9 neither move or attacked.)
 

Telvin

Villager
I got the impression that the DM was relatively new.

If I recall correctly, a couple of the characters got to go, then the hippogriffs, a player, then the blood hawks, then me.

The DM did run the blood hawks as pairing up on characters and the hippogiffs attacked separate characters. Also, if I recall correctly we had a fighter, wizard, ranger, bard, and rogue, so no healer
 
Blood hawks have pack tactics. And from the module, "...that swarm the characters. They try to work in groups of two in order to take advantage of their pack tactics ability"
I generally try to move all the monsters(if they have to) first, then attack, then move. Because I sometimes forget monsters if they are scattered out on the map. (of course half the time my players FORGET to tell me monster 7,8,9 neither move or attacked.)
This feels neither RAW nor RAI to me. I always interpreted group Initiative as "This group acts at the same time outgame; one after other finishes their turn."

The first chapter of EN Publishing's 'To Slay a Dragon' has Kobold Hunters with pack tactics. I always played them so they tried to surround characters quickly by one moving in and attacking, then the second one attacking with advantage. Come round 2 they both get advantage and the fun begins. :)
 

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