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5E The "Bonus" Turn for high Initiative

FrogReaver

Adventurer
In this example, nothing. That is my point. But, someone with a good initiative modifier has a chance to get to act twice before someone with a poor modifier.

But in this example, A gets to act twice before 5.

A 27
B 5

A - 27
A - 7
B - 5
A - 7
B - 5
etc.
I see. So it only impacts things when someone rolls more than 20 higher than someone else. It will come up so rarely I'm not sure it matters IMO. It does give some extra incentive to taking the Alert feat or the WarWizard. That's kind of nice.
 

Esker

Exploree
I see. So it only impacts things when someone rolls more than 20 higher than someone else. It will come up so rarely I'm not sure it matters IMO. It does give some extra incentive to taking the Alert feat or the WarWizard. That's kind of nice.
That's not that rare IME. It would be if combats were one-on-one, but there are generally several PCs, and often multiple monster types, and initiative rolls will tend to span a pretty wide range.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I know for player who like to frontload and such going first is a big deal. In our game, not so much. But for a character with Alert and invested in DEX (or INT or WIS, we play with player's choice) for Initiative, it has a chance to help gain a bonus turn once in a while. I wouldn't want it to be too common or it would be too valuable IMO. This rare enough that it is a nice tidbit to tempt some builds such as those that get to add WIS or CHA to initiative as well.

For instance, a Gloom Stalker Ranger multiclassed with War Wizard would get all three: DEX, INT, and WIS added. Throw in the Alert feat, and you could have a level 5 character with +11 to Initiative. If the enemy has no modifier or very low, there is a decent chance the character would get two turns on the first round before the enemy can act.
 
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FrogReaver

Adventurer
That's not that rare IME. It would be if combats were one-on-one, but there are generally several PCs, and often multiple monster types, and initiative rolls will tend to span a pretty wide range.
PC's generally have between +3 to -1 dex (except dex based characters). Most classes don't get an initative boost. Most enemies have between -3 to +8 (maybe a little higher).

You have to have 1 of the high bonus group roll extremely high and 1 of the low group roll extremely low. That's not a hood chance of occurring.
 

Esker

Exploree
PC's generally have between +3 to -1 dex (except dex based characters). Most classes don't get an initative boost. Most enemies have between -3 to +8 (maybe a little higher).

You have to have 1 of the high bonus group roll extremely high and 1 of the low group roll extremely low. That's not a hood chance of occurring.
My home group has PCs with +3, +4 and +5 initiative bonuses (one is primary DEX, another is a bard with Jack of All Trades). There's also a barbarian with +2 and advantage. Many classes will have +3 DEX even if they're not DEX-primary, so that's not that unusual an occurrence, I don't think. Then there are popular magic items like stones of good luck, weapons of warning, and sentinel shields, all of which are present in at least one campaign I'm either currently a part of or have been in the last couple months. And there's the Alert feat.

An initiative gap of 20+ probably isn't going to come up every session (depending on your session length), but once or twice per standard adventuring day shouldn't be that unusual.

I'm neither arguing for nor against this house rule. Just saying that it doesn't do nothing.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
My home group has PCs with +3, +4 and +5 initiative bonuses (one is primary DEX, another is a bard with Jack of All Trades). There's also a barbarian with +2 and advantage. Many classes will have +3 DEX even if they're not DEX-primary, so that's not that unusual an occurrence, I don't think. Then there are popular magic items like stones of good luck, weapons of warning, and sentinel shields, all of which are present in at least one campaign I'm either currently a part of or have been in the last couple months. And there's the Alert feat.

An initiative gap of 20+ probably isn't going to come up every session (depending on your session length), but once or twice per standard adventuring day shouldn't be that unusual.

I'm neither arguing for nor against this house rule. Just saying that it doesn't do nothing.
Then we are in agreement. It doesn't do nothing.

But we are not in agreement. You are trying to downplay the rarity of the situation occurring. My initial guess would be 1 out of 20 combats. Maybe 1 out of 10 combats. If that's all it's impacting then change it or don't change it, it will have so little impact I'm not worried about it.
 

Esker

Exploree
Then we are in agreement. It doesn't do nothing.

But we are not in agreement. You are trying to downplay the rarity of the situation occurring. My initial guess would be 1 out of 20 combats. Maybe 1 out of 10 combats. If that's all it's impacting then change it or don't change it, it will have so little impact I'm not worried about it.
I think it's closer to 1 out of 6 for a party like mine.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Well, with the character I described earlier who really works for the bonus +11 Initiative, we can do some simple math.

50/50 (roughly...) you roll 21 or higher
50/50 the enemy rolls 10 or less

About 1 in 4 if the enemy has no bonus. Since the enemy likely will have some, even if small... maybe 1 in 5 or 6. Also, this build put a lot into initiative, so if you lower the bonus, maybe 1 in 8 to 10?

For our sessions, with each character rolling each combat, I would say it would be likely to occur once or twice per session, maybe more.

Perhaps tomorrow morning before work I'll actually DO that math instead of just estimate it. :)
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I think it's closer to 1 out of 6 for a party like mine.
If you need to roll a 20 and he needs to roll a 1 then it's 1/400. If 1 of 2 characters need to roll a 20 and then 1 of 2 characters need to roll a 1 then the chance is 1/100.

Yea I may very well be underestimating the odds.
 

Esker

Exploree
If you need to roll a 20 and he needs to roll a 1 then it's 1/400. If 1 of 2 characters need to roll a 20 and then 1 of 2 characters need to roll a 1 then the chance is 1/100.

Yea I may very well be underestimating the odds.
I'm not sure if you're agreeing now because you see how quickly it grows when you add rolls?

I just simulated rolls for the four characters I described (+5,+4,+3, +2-advantage), vs four enemies each with +0. In that case it's about 1 in 5.
 

FarBeyondC

Explorer
Open for discussion: is this a decent idea? too much/OP? I am toying with it for now, and would like some constructive feedback (please not just "this is a bad idea"--tell me why! :) ).
If I ever decide to get a homebrew game off the ground, I was going to do something similar.

In my case, anyone with an initiative of at least 30 would get two turns every round (a full turn on their initiative count and a reduced turn (half speed + action or full speed + bonus action) on their initiative count minus 20). If someone managed to have an initiative above 40, the reduced turn would become a full turn.

In any event, given yours is just a 1st round thing, the only thing I'd suggest is raising the bar a bit, to say initiative 25, as initiative 20 seems a little to easy to reach for the effect.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Terrible Idea. Dexterity is stron enough.
You could also say that being first might result in a bonus turn. You go first. Enemy next. You again and kill. You might have been killed on the enemy's second turn if they had gone first and you would have been left with one less turn than the enemy instead of vice versa.
 

clearstream

Explorer
This is the misconception. After the first turn in cyclical initiative, it really doesn't matter due to the I go-you go cycle.
That's not quite right. One way to illustrate this is consider foes with exactly 10 HP dealing exactly 2 HP damage when they act. First actor always wins because in the final turn they apply their damage increment first.

At any point in the sequence, the best second actor can achieve is to have had an equal number of turns as first actor. Whereas once each cycle, first actor will be one turn ahead.

Additionally one needs to consider the extent to which the mechanics support alpha strikes. Without going into too much detail, combats are often a half dozen rounds long. Offering a double-turn up front is a pretty big percent of the expected number of actions, so can be predicted to be very strong. In the long run initiative will draw more investment and feats like Alert will become common early picks.

Theory-crafting, it sounds like a bad idea ;) If you try it, can you report back after several sessions!?
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Well, with the character I described earlier who really works for the bonus +11 Initiative, we can do some simple math.

50/50 (roughly...) you roll 21 or higher
50/50 the enemy rolls 10 or less

About 1 in 4 if the enemy has no bonus. Since the enemy likely will have some, even if small... maybe 1 in 5 or 6. Also, this build put a lot into initiative, so if you lower the bonus, maybe 1 in 8 to 10?

For our sessions, with each character rolling each combat, I would say it would be likely to occur once or twice per session, maybe more.

Perhaps tomorrow morning before work I'll actually DO that math instead of just estimate it. :)
So, I did the math. Obviously a lot depends on your modifier and your foe's. The difference column is your higher modifier minus your foe's. If you are +11 and they are +3, the +8 difference would mean you would have a 9% chance per encounter of gaining the bonus round.

chart2.png


For our group with five characters, we might see this happen once or twice a session at most. If we decide to do it, I'll let people know how it plays out.

Thanks for all your feedback.
 

Gadget

Explorer
At first glance (and depending on party composition and play style), initiative does not seem to do much beyond the first round due to the cyclic nature of initiative in d20 D&D. The whole "spokes of the wheel" analogy quoted above. Sure, there's the odd ability like the assign's assassinate that is key to going first at the beginning of combat, but those are more outliers.

I'm not sure I agree with that take though. The 'cycle' eventually comes to an end, whether by total defeat of one side or the other or by some other means (fleeing, etc.). How the cycle ends is very important to participants, and as such, can be viewed as a linear process. This is where the "spokes of the wheel" analogy falls apart for me, because it does not matter to the wheel what order the spoke go in, as it is an infinite cycle from the wheel's perspective. Now if three of the eight spokes where going to fall off after two rotations, depending on the order, then it is a very different matter. Say we change the order of the spokes and only two of the eight spokes fall off after two rotations, does the order matter? Yes, especially if you are one of the spokes that falls off.

Let's face it, in many of the combats in D&D, the PCs will win if they win or lose initiative. But the difference will be how much resources the combat is likely to cost the party (Hit points, spells, single use items, etc.). Add in all the "Control" type abilities in the game that can deny or severely limit the actions of an opponent through optimal play, and going first becomes a bit more important. "Gaming" the initiative order to set up devastating one-two-three punches before oponants can act is very possible, depending on party composition and skill. That is probably why Mearls suggested his Greyhawk Initiative a couple years back, to randomize the process a bit more.
 

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