D&D 5E When order of initiative matters for a monster group

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Had an interesting thing come up last session. Our Wizard cast Crown of Madness on a foe next to another foe.

The group of monsters shared an initiative. The DM started to move them, and moved the one that had been designated to be attacked before "activating" the one that would attack.

We pointed it out, and the DM decided that he didn't want to unilaterally invalidate a character's action after a failed save so he moved it back and started again, this time with the one with Crown of Madness. This was the most player-friendly option and we thanked him for it.

How would you do it in your games? Roll off initiative for the creatures? Do you have all foes numbered to track damage and you always do them in order? Would you do as my DM did and do it first to keep player agency? Something else?
 

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Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I think that since the charmed target must attack before it moves, then it would be before a chosen creature with the same initiative moves as well.
 


Reynard

Legend
I use Fantasy Grounds to run most games these days and given that a computer is handling all the fiddly details I have started using individual initiatives for every combatant AND initiative rolled every round. It makes for much more dynamic and chaotic combats, which I love. Sometimes the players not so much.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Had an interesting thing come up last session. Our Wizard cast Crown of Madness on a foe next to another foe.

The group of monsters shared an initiative. The DM started to move them, and moved the one that had been designated to be attacked before "activating" the one that would attack.

We pointed it out, and the DM decided that he didn't want to unilaterally invalidate a character's action after a failed save so he moved it back and started again, this time with the one with Crown of Madness. This was the most player-friendly option and we thanked him for it.

How would you do it in your games? Roll off initiative for the creatures? Do you have all foes numbered to track damage and you always do them in order? Would you do as my DM did and do it first to keep player agency? Something else?

That spell in particular says it takes the attack action before it moves, so if the enemies all share the same initiative I would rule that it is before any of the enemies move.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
We pointed it out, and the DM decided that he didn't want to unilaterally invalidate a character's action after a failed save so he moved it back and started again, this time with the one with Crown of Madness. This was the most player-friendly option and we thanked him for it.
Yeah, that seems about right. I generally consider them moving all about the same time and I would feel that I owed the player that attack rather than gaming the rule just because I can.
 


Asisreo

Patron Badass
Had an interesting thing come up last session. Our Wizard cast Crown of Madness on a foe next to another foe.

The group of monsters shared an initiative. The DM started to move them, and moved the one that had been designated to be attacked before "activating" the one that would attack.

We pointed it out, and the DM decided that he didn't want to unilaterally invalidate a character's action after a failed save so he moved it back and started again, this time with the one with Crown of Madness. This was the most player-friendly option and we thanked him for it.

How would you do it in your games? Roll off initiative for the creatures? Do you have all foes numbered to track damage and you always do them in order? Would you do as my DM did and do it first to keep player agency? Something else?
This is a reason why I always identify like enemies. Usually with numbers but sometimes with features. That way, everything can be accurately tracked well.

If I was caught in this scenario, though, I would do the same thing but for different reasons: I didn't warn players that that is how the spell would interact in group initiative.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I think the DM did it just fine. Ultimately "shared initiative" is a convenience mechanic, it helps keep the game moving and prevent the DM from having to juggle lots of little monsters in different intervals. But like anything there are a few corner cases where the mechanic can cause some oddities, and the DM handled one with a perfectly reasonable ruling.
 

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