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Roll dem Bones!

Water Bob

This is just a little ditty to see how different DM's run their games. If you want to put in some explaination as to why you'd make the call you would, then I would welcome that peek into your DM mind.

Here's the situation:

The PCs are in the local tavern. For color, you've been describing (you're the DM) some loud mouths sitting at a table not far away.

One of them gets up to go to the head and he bumps into the PCs' table. "Hey, you maggots, " he says to the player characters, "stay out of my way, or I'll piss on you."

The players take up the challenge. The Fighter in the party stands, looks the NPC straight in the eye, and says, "Go ahead and try to piss on me."

The other PCs stand up and give their comrade room to fight the jerk.

At this point, the DM has an impromptu role playing moment on his hands that can easily degrade into a combat situation.

The NPC smiles a toothy grin at the Fighter, takes a step closer to him, and jabs his finger into the Fighter's chest, "You look like a toilet to m...."

"That it!" The player interjects. "My Fighter hits him, right in mid-speech. I'm rolling my attack!"

So, here's the question:

Do you (the DM) make everyone roll initiative right there?

Or, do you automatically give initiative to the Fighter, based on what has occured in the game?

Or, do you consider this a Surprise round, let the Fighter attack, then roll nish for everybody else after the Fighter has gotten off this free attack (and, in this situation, is it fair to give the Fighter a free Surprise round and not just the first attack?)?

How would you handle this as DM?

Remember, often the reverse of this situation is true, as with a party going through an old cavern and having a spider drop down on them.

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Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
Fighter and NPC roll for initiative, modified for drunkenness or whatnot (fighter likely gets a little bonus for "pre-emption"), and the two get their swings in. Everyone else hops in next round. I'd even allow anyone in the pub paying attention to make an initiative roll if they wanted to (though I wouldn't explicitly ask for rolls). For example, the bartender could have a xbow under the counter, and might get a spot in the first round if that would be interesting to the situation.

I figure the PCs have already cleared the floor for a fight, the two combatants are aware of each other, and everyone else is watching them. That just doesn't strike me as a "surprise" situation.

The only reason I wouldn't call for everyone to roll initiative is just because that's how these things play out IRL (or at least in spaghetti westerns): everyone steps back, mumbles their bets, and watches the opening shots eagerly... before jumping in, diving for cover, stealing someone's drink, or whatnot.
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First Post
I'd actually roll for surprise for the drunk instead of just giving it to the fighter. If he's not surprised, roll for initiative for just the two of them, otherwise the fighter gets his freebie. Then roll normal initiative in the next round.

Water Bob

Fighter and NPC roll for initiative, modified for drunkenness or whatnot (fighter likely gets a little bonus for "pre-emption"), and the two get their swings in.

I didn't want to sally the OP with my own opinion. I just wanted to hear what others would do because situations like this arise a lot in a game.

I'd make both the Fighter and the Jerk roll for initiative, but I'd give a +2 bonus to the Fighter for his quick attack. And, whomever lost nish, of course, would be flat-footed for the other's strike.

Everyone else hops in next round.

Maybe. I could see doing it this way. But, I think what I'd do is put a -2 nish mod on anybody "tuned in" to what was going on. This would probably be the other PCs and the Jerks friends--maybe another NPC or three close to where the action was taking place.

Anybody else that would want to act in the combat would get a -4 penalty to nish. Flat-footed rule would be enforced.

So...everybody rolls nish that's a-gonna.

+2 to the Fighter due to the player's play.

Normal nish throw for the Jerk.

-2 to nish for the other PCs and the Jerk's friends.

-4 to nish for anybody else that would act.

I don't see this as being a Surprise situation, either.


First Post
I'd take a slightly different tack.

Everyone rolls initiative. Fighter may get bonus (initiative bonuses are not normally things I give out).
Treat first round as a suprise round, but Fighter and Jerk are not surprised.

Its a way of simulating everyone waiting to see how the first swings go. Does the Fighter floor the jerk with a haymaker in the face? Some wild drunken swings on both sides? Jerk is actually a Drunken Master and goes all Chuck Norris on the Fighter?


First Post
Having been in a similar situation I'd say no bonuses or negatives for anyone. When two drunks stare each other down and one is talking about pissing on the other a fight is pretty much expected, no one is surprised.


First Post
Fighter gets surprise, then initiative all around.

In this situation, I would agree with this. The loudmouth seems more intent on insults and such than actual fighting, so I'd rule the Fighter gets surprise and then everyone rolls initiative.

If the two parties came together knowing punches were going to be thrown, I'd simply roll initiative.

Fighter gets surprise, then initiative all around.
Close but not quite correct. Surprise is MOOT - both sides are quite aware of the the other. Fighter automatically goes first in initiative order - everybody else rolls. Might give the troublemaker a circumstance bonus to inititive if I think it's warranted though so he at least has a fair shot at going second.

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