Sunday, November 4, 2018

Updated Initiative Rules

The initiative rules in the early drafts were effective, but frankly I just didn't like them. They didn't fit with the rest of the system. After a few experiments, most of which I'll mark as failed, the following was decided upon. It does a few things:

  1. It allows for a GREAT initiative roll to really impact how much time you've got to do things. surprising the enemy is bad-ass again.
  2. It is easy math that the players can do and doesn't depend (as much) on what other people rolled. 
  3. Spending END on initiative makes sense now (had little impact before)
  4. Additional Initiative dice have a better impact as well, making that a worthwhile advance.
  5. The ambush rules are much clearer and a good ambush plan GUARANTEES the entire party will go first and quickly if it is well executed and really makes it likely if at least somewhat well executed.

In General

  1. Everyone makes a Ranked INIT Action Roll.
  2. Highest initiative roll starts on Count 0
  3. Each additional character starts on Count (highest roll - their own roll)

Initiative Roll
Initiative Count
 (12-8) = 4
(12 - 4) = 8
(12 - 11) = 1
Gang of Ghol
Pack of Giant Rats
 (12 - 7) = 5

  • The combat count starts at 0.
  • Any character with an initiative count of 0 gets their next declared action at half speed.
  • Combat count increments as normal/everything else is the same
Situational Awareness


Alert characters are on guard and specifically watching for danger in a specific location roll initiative with Advantage. For example, watching a door or hallway while the rest of the group is doing other things.


This is a character’s general state. No modifiers t the roll.


Characters that are distracted because they are engaged in other activities such as arguing, picking a lock, or searching an area are distracted. These characters roll initiative with Disadvantage.


An ambush is when a character or group has a specific plan of attack and knowledge of their enemy and the situation. Kicking down a door where the enemy and specific terrain is unknown does not count an ambush, but it may catch the targets distracted.

Ambushing Unaware Targets

An unaware target is unprepared for a fight. When ambushing unaware targets. The character that rolled the highest gets an initiative count of 0 and all other characters in the group get an initiative count of 1. The unaware targets will have AT BEST an initiative count of 5. The entire target group must be unaware of the attack.

Ambushing Aware Targets

If the target group is aware of a possible attack but still being ambushed, the ambushers roll with Advantage but the target of the ambush rolls based on their situational awareness (Alert, Wary, or Distracted), which can be different for different members of the group.
Note: one can be alert or ambushing but not both)

A surprised character has an initiative count that has not yet been reached. Once a character's first  initiative count comes up they are no longer surprised. Surprised characters may still defend themselves, but do so at Disadvantage. Shields may only be used if they were readied before the combat began

Mitigating Surprised

A character may grab another character to mitigate their surprise. Average the current and surprised character's counts. The mitigating character has no penalty to defend and can step in and take the hit from any incoming attacks.

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