Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: "Greyhawk" Initiative

The latest Unearthed Arcana by WotCs Mearls is up. "Mike Mearls introduces an alternative initiative system, inspired by AD&D and the journey to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin—the birthplace of D&D—for Gary Con 2017. While the initiative rules in fifth edition D&D are great for keeping the action moving and being easy to use at the table, the Greyhawk initiative variant takes a different approach. These rules add complexity, but with the goal of introducing more drama to combat."

He's calling it "Greyhawk Initiative". It'll be interesting to compare this to how we interpreted his earlier version of alternative initiative.

Mearls also talks about it in this video.


[video=youtube;hfSo4wVkwUw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfSo4wVkwUw[/video]


 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Lord Twig

Adventurer
Fair enough but that argument applies just as well to the two weapon fighting argument that you claimed was an exception to the rule. Seems like it's not.

A matter of degree. Having 2 to 5 attacks plus a bonus action instead of 1 to 4 attacks plus a bonus action isn't the same as allowing 2 to 5 attacks plus 4 bonus actions (or whatever).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
A matter of degree. Having 2 to 5 attacks plus a bonus action instead of 1 to 4 attacks plus a bonus action isn't the same as allowing 2 to 5 attacks plus 4 bonus actions (or whatever).

Can you name me two bonus actions, ANY two bonus actions, which would break the game if they could both be done by the same PC in the same round along with their regular and move action?
 

Why are you married to keeping Dex in initiative?

Even if I were to go back to the normal way I would leave Dex out. It's just not needed.

Mearls states that the point of different dice types is to help you remember what you declared. I think he has a point. I am not convinced that we need to roll for action, bonus action, and movement but I'm going to give it a try next session. Currently we are just rolling for action and it is working quite well.

My point is to show that you can get the benefits Mearls touts with a couple of simple tweaks to the existing rules, rather than completely rebuilding the system. In this context I don't see a strong case for dropping the Dex bonus so I am sticking with the existing PHB rule rather than changing it for the sake of change. Personally, I also think it makes sense that characters with great reflexes and agility usually act more quickly, but YMMV.

Even assuming players need help remembering what actions they declared, there are easy ways to do this that don't have the downsides of Mearls' different action dice, so I don't really think this justification holds a lot of water.
 

Lord Twig

Adventurer
Can you name me two bonus actions, ANY two bonus actions, which would break the game if they could both be done by the same PC in the same round along with their regular and move action?

So are you suggesting that the limit on bonus actions should be increased to 2? Honestly nothing "breaks", it just slows down the game. Even allowing the extra attack from two weapon fighting in addition to a bonus action slows down the game. It is just whether you think the extra time is worth the benefit.

But for an example I guess, with no bonus actions, a Fighter 2/Monk 5 could use 2 shortswords, Action Surge, spend 2 Ki point, and get 10 attacks, each doing 1d6+4 damage. (Standard action attack action for two attacks, bonus off hand attack, Ki point 2 unarmed attacks, Action Surge attack action for two attacks, bonus off hand attack, Ki point 2 unarmed attacks. That's 10.)

Cast a cantrip and two bonus action spells? Maybe a wizard casts Firebolt, moves his Flaming Sphere and Misty Steps in the same turn? Not really game breaking though. I already have suggested that the cantrip limit be dropped from bonus actions spells as it causes confusion that is not needed.

Now if you have a Barbarian/Bard/Monk/Rogue/Wizard that Extra Attacks, Shadow Steps, uses Martial Arts, Misty Steps, Dashes, Bardic Inspires, then Rages it starts to get a little silly, but by then you already have so many classes it is already silly. But just two? Probably not broken.
 

mellored

Hero
Hey, if I have two attacks and I throw a dagger and stab with another, do I roll just d4 (like I'd do if I threw 2 daggers), just d8 (as if I stabbed two daggers) or d4+d8 even though it's just one action? As a side note, no matter what you answer, I can argue it's wrong. The initiative system and 5e interact so poorly there is no right answer.
d8.
The larger of the 2 dice.
 

jrowland

First Post
Could you expand on this a bit - I'm missing something (probably obvious) and thus don't understand how this works.

Lanefan

Did you just suggest a format where people could get multiple turns per round?

Or did you suggest a format like I did: You pick your actions, and then roll to "recharge" your turn next round, based on what you did in the current one?

Hmm...ok

Combat Starts
Player A: 1d20-Dex (+3) = (11)-(3) = 8
Goblin A: 1d20-Dex(+2) = (12)-(2) = 10
Goblin B: 1d20-Dex(+2) = (15)-(2) = 13
Player A wins initiative (lowest number) and goes first, followed by Goblin A then Goblin B

Round 1 begins
Player A makes a Ranged attack on Goblin B (1d4=3) and moves back from the goblins (1d6=5).
Goblin A Dashes (1d6=3) and Moves (1d6=4)
Goblin B Moves into cover(1d6=1) and makes a ranged attack (1d4=1)
Round 1 ends (because everyone has taken a turn)

New initiative is calculated:
Player A: 8+3+5=16
Goblin A: 10+3+4=17
Goblin B: 13+1+1=15

Round 2 Begins
Goblin B makes a Ranged attack (1d4=2) and Hides (1d6=3)
Player A makes a Melee attack by dropping bow to ground (free) and drawing sword (part of attack) (1d8=6)
Goblin A makes a Melee attack (1d8=3)
Round 2 ends (because everyone has taken a turn)

New initiative is calculated:
Player A: 16+6=22
Goblin A: 17+3=20
Goblin B: 15+2+3=20

The goblins go before player A in round 3

etc

Hope that clarifies my thinking. Add dice each round to a running total for initiative, lowest goes first. A round is defined as everyone taking a turn (so if in round 20 we had initiative 30 60 90, 30 goes first. the degree of separation is largely irrelevant except that the person with initiative 30 can 'afford' some heavy actions and still go first for a few more rounds
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Relative to standard 5e, where you can drop one enemy and move on to another & attack on the same turn, not being able to move, and thus change targets in melee, between your Extra Attacks is a nerf. It's arguably a 'harder' (never struck me before, but that's ironic) nerf that just making them roll d6+d8 vs d4 or d10 and being merely slow, but still having a fair chance of getting all their attacks, if they live that long.

One thing I didn't understand from the PDF was how movement after your Action works. Was that specified? I would rule that movement after your Action is free (in terms of initiative cost, that is).

EDIT: Ah, I see, we're talking about two different things. NVM.
 

Remathilis

Legend
It's entirely possible that Mearls' "willful ignorance" is, in reality, due to the fact that he derives so much entertainment from trolling the sort of player who gets his panties in a knot over these things.

Probably not, though. Presumably maturity is one reason (among many) that he is lead designer and I'm not.
You should see Mark Rosewater, aka MaRo, who oversee's MTG. Mearls is a saint compared to that Level of FanTroll...
 

mellored

Hero
There've been a few questions about rolling difference dice for different weapons.

1) Can you roll for a dagger and then draw a greatsword?
2) Can you roll for a greatsword and then draw a dagger?

I would say no to the first, yes to the second. Whatever dice you roll, you should be allowed to take any option that would require a dice roll less than or equal to your roll. That is, you can always switch to quicker options.

This opens up flexibility. For example, if the melee attacker who didn't roll to move found he couldn't attack, he could substitute the move option because a move requires a d6 and his melee attack roll was a d6. If he was using a dagger and rolling a d4, however, he would be unable to substitute a d6 move, but could perhaps take a d4 dodge or similar.
The rules say you take the largest die.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Hope that clarifies my thinking. Add dice each round to a running total for initiative, lowest goes first. A round is defined as everyone taking a turn (so if in round 20 we had initiative 30 60 90, 30 goes first. the degree of separation is largely irrelevant except that the person with initiative 30 can 'afford' some heavy actions and still go first for a few more rounds
Ah, that's what I'd missed - that it was a rolling initiative rather than restarting from '1' each round.

My only worry is that after a few rounds the separations would become so great as to in effect just make it more or less cyclic again...which kinda defeats the purpose. :)

Lanefan
 

The Human Target

Adventurer
Thinking about it more, ranged characters are still going to have an advantage on initiative because they usually don't have as much of a reason to move vs a melee character.
 

jrowland

First Post
Ah, that's what I'd missed - that it was a rolling initiative rather than restarting from '1' each round.

My only worry is that after a few rounds the separations would become so great as to in effect just make it more or less cyclic again...which kinda defeats the purpose. :)

Lanefan

it *could*, but given that everyone is more or less rolling the same dice round to round, it should stay converged. Probably break down to "stationary archer" then "melee" then "caster". ie three bunches.

I think for the most part its true for long battles. most 5e don't last long enough to matter
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Thinking about it more, ranged characters are still going to have an advantage on initiative because they usually don't have as much of a reason to move vs a melee character.

Which means all foes need to do attack the ranged PC, and move to cover.

I really think this is one of those rules changes that doesn't work well with white room theorizing, but only really makes sense once it's played. It changes a lot of the combat dynamic. Not all of it is easily predicted.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Another thought occurred to me today, and I tried to imagine what this thread would look like if for 40 years we had been playing with Greyhawk Initiative (called, of course, simply "Initiative") and the latest UA proposed a new, streamlined version where everybody rolled a d20, modified by Dexterity, and then used the result in every round.

It's not too hard to imagine all the ways this new, innovative system would be considered "broken". I think the outpouring of h8 would be even greater and more vociferous.
 

HomegrownHydra

Adventurer
Another thought occurred to me today, and I tried to imagine what this thread would look like if for 40 years we had been playing with Greyhawk Initiative (called, of course, simply "Initiative") and the latest UA proposed a new, streamlined version where everybody rolled a d20, modified by Dexterity, and then used the result in every round.

It's not too hard to imagine all the ways this new, innovative system would be considered "broken". I think the outpouring of h8 would be even greater and more vociferous.
If the game had been designed to utilize this UA initiative system then trying to use the cyclic system would create all sorts of problems, and it would be legitimate to point those problems out.
 

Croesus

Adventurer
If the game had been designed to utilize this UA initiative system then trying to use the cyclic system would create all sorts of problems, and it would be legitimate to point those problems out.

Exactly. 5E was clearly designed around the RAW simple initiative system. Creating a new initiative system that adds extra costs for using certain types of actions vs. others is pretty much guaranteed to cause imbalances. It would be like suddenly changing football by saying incomplete passes cost the passing team 5 yards of field position. Suddenly passing is higher risk than before.
 

Coroc

Hero
As long as they do not make the stupid 2ed initiative rule with weapon speed factors (which i unknowingly used and back then considered it a great way to balance daggers with two handed weapons in my foolishness) an official rule i am fine although i think as many ppl in this thread have analysed that this particular System has ist flaws and personally i prefer the simple Standard initiative System fro m5E

People think a dagger is quicker than a two handed sword AND THAT IS WRONG.

If two oponents are fighting armed with dagger vs two handed sword, the one with the two handed sword will strike first any time just because he has longer reach (and in real live propably kill the dagger wielder without getting a scratch from the dagger.

The weapon with the furthest reach usually goes first.
A ranged weapon shooting first in most cases especially with a cocked crossbow is not to unrealistic.

So please dear D&D dev Team, do not include weapon speed factors until you got yourself some understanding by watching a lot of scholagadiatora vids on YouTube.

Rather think about replacing leather and studded leather armor with something realistic like acheton buffcoat and brigandine, which have actually existed.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
People think a dagger is quicker than a two handed sword AND THAT IS WRONG.

If two oponents are fighting armed with dagger vs two handed sword, the one with the two handed sword will strike first any time just because he has longer reach (and in real live propably kill the dagger wielder without getting a scratch from the dagger.
Unless the dagger wielder can get inside the 2-hander's guard and bring it to a quasi-grapple while stabbing away with the dagger.

Daggers, if one has enough to spare, can also be thrown - which if done while closing can provide a distraction to allow said entry.

A ranged weapon shooting first in most cases especially with a cocked crossbow is not to unrealistic.
True, for the first shot. After that you have to reload, which is fast enough with a light xbow but takes time if it's big enough to need a crank.

Rather think about replacing leather and studded leather armor with something realistic like acheton buffcoat and brigandine, which have actually existed.
Never heard of either of those - are they vaguely the same as leather and studded only with different names, or ?

Lanefan
 

Coroc

Hero
Unless the dagger wielder can get inside the 2-hander's guard and bring it to a quasi-grapple while stabbing away with the dagger.

Daggers, if one has enough to spare, can also be thrown - which if done while closing can provide a distraction to allow said entry.

True, for the first shot. After that you have to reload, which is fast enough with a light xbow but takes time if it's big enough to need a crank.

Never heard of either of those - are they vaguely the same as leather and studded only with different names, or ?

Lanefan

But still the two hander gets the first attack

As does the ranged guy


Leather and studded leather have never existed, they would not protect against any piercing weapon. Only exception is Cuirbulli which is French for boiled leather and is a thick breastplate very stiff made from several layers of cured leather.

But this would rather classify as medium armor.


Studded leather is a missinterpretation of historic Pictures showing People in brigandine, which are metal plates riveted to some fabric and for the better Looks the outer layer was colored sometimes but the rivets showing so it Looks like leather with studs to an uninformed modern Person.

Brigandinde is on the lower scale of medium armor and surely not light.

Light armor that did exist were padded armor = acheton which normaly was also part of chain armor as an undercoat.
It could withstand some hits and arrows on ist own, ist made from several layers of linen.

If you add some more layers and give the outer layer a nice look maybe using leather you got a buff coat.

It stops arrows and swordstrikes without a Problem. Those two i take in my games for AC11 and 12

Whereas Brigandine gets AC 13 with max Dex of 3 in my games.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But still the two hander gets the first attack

As does the ranged guy
Of course. But having the first attack and connecting with the first attack are two different things. :) In game terms, that's what the roll to hit is all about; while in real life it's also quite possible to fail to use one's advantage to advantage.

Leather and studded leather have never existed, they would not protect against any piercing weapon. Only exception is Cuirbulli which is French for boiled leather and is a thick breastplate very stiff made from several layers of cured leather.
Ah. That's what we consider leather as being - boiled (in oil?) only not multi-layers thick.

"Soft leather" a la a typical modern-day biker's jacket we count as the same as padded - AC 11 (or 9 in games where lower is better).

But, we'd probably better get back on track here...which I can somewhat accomplish by asking this: do you - or any of you - have armour-worn directly influence initiative? Or dexterity? Or speed?

Lanefan
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top