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Tracking initiative

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Last F2F game was Classic Traveller, which is initiativeless as combat actions are simultaneous. Takes a bit of unlearning initiative style systems, except once learned, it is faster.
 

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Right, I hear you. I find the same to be true....when someone takes a long time and another player thinks “well it’s ten more initiative spots to my turn” it’s that much easier for their mind to wander or to check their phone, or what have you. It doesn’t happen all the time or anything, but we’ve noticed that the idea of “our turn” rather than a bunch of “my turns” keeps people focused and discussing what to do, so there’s a lot less wasted time.

It was kind of an additional perk we noticed. The main reasons we adopted that initiative system was primarily to save time by not having to roll a bunch of dice and then set the order, and also to promote teamwork. The increased focus was just an added bonus, really.
Maneuvering the whims of players is a fickle thing at times. Thats why one of my players bought me a gavel, of course it only took a half hour before before they had to pry it from my hands because I was banging it on the table every time I was interrupted.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
Maneuvering the whims of players is a fickle thing at times. Thats why one of my players bought me a gavel, of course it only took a half hour before before they had to pry it from my hands because I was banging it on the table every time I was interrupted.

We got a wiffle bat, and the player next to the one talking would belt them with it.

Worked great for about a session, and then it degenerated into random violence.

Still, it brought a great deal of humor, and it had re-appeared several time over the years since.
 

We got a wiffle bat, and the player next to the one talking would belt them with it.

Worked great for about a session, and then it degenerated into random violence.

Still, it brought a great deal of humor, and it had re-appeared several time over the years since.
Reminds of "My Name Is Mud" by Primus....

"We had our words, a common spat
So I kissed him upside the cranium with a wiffle ball bat"
 

aco175

Hero
One of my players tracks initiative on a sheet of paper. I have thought of making something like in the OP, but the player tracking has been working.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
One of my players tracks initiative on a sheet of paper. I have thought of making something like in the OP, but the player tracking has been working.

If it ain't broke....

One reason I like my device is that occasionally I split the foe into smaller groups to unsettle my players. Or put up a dummy pin, and they make Perception roll after roll, wondering who they can't see. Adds a little something to the fight.
 

payn

Explorer
I used to assign a player the job of tracking initiative, but they proved time and again they were not capable of planning their next turn, following combat, and running the tracker. So I had to take the job back to make sure things run smoothly.
 

angille

Explorer
I play Cortex, Fate, and SCRPG, so it's all elective action order. in f2f play, we flip a visible token to indicate a turn's taken, and flip them all back as the round moves forward. in online play, I stick a token on the player icon to do the same.

but... I'm sitting here thinking... has nobody mentioned OP's ten PCs? do you actually have ten players, or are they all playing two characters?
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
I play Cortex, Fate, and SCRPG, so it's all elective action order. in f2f play, we flip a visible token to indicate a turn's taken, and flip them all back as the round moves forward. in online play, I stick a token on the player icon to do the same.

but... I'm sitting here thinking... has nobody mentioned OP's ten PCs? do you actually have ten players, or are they all playing two characters?

Five players, two PCs each. They usually run a warrior and a role-play-focus character. One player runs two warriors.

One PC, Wolf, does nothing in combat except throw dynamic (zero combat utility) pyrotechnics and film the footage. In 21 sessions he has only used violence when personally attacked and flight is impossible. He does edit his footage post-battle so that he appears to play a significant role. The player has written dozens of pages of fight description (post-edit).

Johann is a medic, and never fights.

NES hides, although he will fight if literally cornered.

Friedrich will fight, but is not very good at it. He is also inclined to flee a fight if wounded to any degree.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
A sheet of paper and pencil. I was messing around with magnetic dry erase combat pads, initiative tends, and other table clutter until I read Angry GM's rant about this and realized he was right. (see: How to Manage Combat Like a Motherf$&%ing Dolphin)

But now that all my games have to be online, I use the initiative tracker built into Foundry VTT. Works very well.
 

aco175

Hero
A sheet of paper and pencil. I was messing around with magnetic dry erase combat pads, initiative tends, and other table clutter until I read Angry GM's rant about this and realized he was right. (see: How to Manage Combat Like a Motherf$&%ing Dolphin)

But now that all my games have to be online, I use the initiative tracker built into Foundry VTT. Works very well.
I do like a lot of what AngryDM says about the game and just finished reading this part on combat and initiative. The way he describes things makes combat flow and it is fine, but it also goes against some of the stuff we have discussions on here with regards to HP and what is damage. He has the DM describing damage and hits with swords and such. It is good narration, but we have had some good ideas on that as well.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
When we play in person it’s just with minis and a map. . . If every turn could be yours, there’s less chance of that happening. It also really fosters teamwork, which is the main reason for doing it.
I try to stay away from even the minis and map because a manticore, for example, looks MUCH more scary in your imagination than as a plastic figure on a tabletop.

My initiative system doesn't limit when PCs can act, but it determines whose actions take priority. So every turn could be yours, which means that I can track initiative behind the screen and announce turns without PCs having to ask questions like "can I do something now?"
 

pogre

Legend
I try to stay away from even the minis and map because a manticore, for example, looks MUCH more scary in your imagination than as a plastic figure on a tabletop.
but, but, what about a well-painted metal miniature!!! ;)

I hear you. We are married to miniatures, particularly in D&D, but there are plenty of advantages to leaving it all to the imagination theater-of-the-mind style.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I try to stay away from even the minis and map because a manticore, for example, looks MUCH more scary in your imagination than as a plastic figure on a tabletop.

My initiative system doesn't limit when PCs can act, but it determines whose actions take priority. So every turn could be yours, which means that I can track initiative behind the screen and announce turns without PCs having to ask questions like "can I do something now?"
what is your system?
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
what is your system?
The rules can be found here, but the short version is this:

  • All actors roll for initiative scores.*
  • Turns take place in that order - a turn is when you can focus on an effort, and the game focuses on you.
  • You can react to another character's action on another turn, but priority goes to the character taking her turn, then to the initiative scores.
  • When the last turn ends, all remaining actions are lost, and everyone gets 3 more to spend in the next round.

It has some benefits @hawkeyefan mentioned - like it's easier to use teamwork when you can coordinate actions, versus waiting for the turn-conveyor-belt.

*Just realized that step might be avoidable if it's tied to the PC's last roll...hmm....
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
The rules can be found here, but the short version is this:

  • All actors roll for initiative scores.*
  • Turns take place in that order - a turn is when you can focus on an effort, and the game focuses on you.
  • You can react to another character's action on another turn, but priority goes to the character taking her turn, then to the initiative scores.
  • When the last turn ends, all remaining actions are lost, and everyone gets 3 more to spend in the next round.

It has some benefits @hawkeyefan mentioned - like it's easier to use teamwork when you can coordinate actions, versus waiting for the turn-conveyor-belt.

*Just realized that step might be avoidable if it's tied to the PC's last roll...hmm....
Interesting page! I'm working on an initiative system doco to sell....can I add this with your permission (slightly altered, most likely)?
 

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