Initiative

For any and all pen and paper RPG discussions and games.
Forum rules

1) This is a Christian site, respect our beliefs and we will respect yours.

2) This is a family friendly site, no swearing or posting offensive links, pictures, or signatures.

3) Please be respectful of others.

4) Trolls are not welcome and will be dealt with accordingly.

5) No racial comments, jokes or images

6) If you see a dead thread over 6 months old, let it rest in peace

7) No Duplicate posts
User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Initiative

Postby ArchAngel » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:14 am



LindyBeige might be a little more D&D critical than I am, but his opinion on the Initiative system got me thinking about a turnless combat round. It'd be nice be able to get all movement sort of at once, and maybe even go gridless for this, so that everybody can be engaged and than save combat roll resolutions and DM descriptions at the end of each round.
More importantly, if turnless rounds can provide more interesting choices to make in combat, it sounds like a win.

But, I've never seen it happen, so I'm still trying to conceptualize it.

What about you guys? Have any of you seen or tried it? Opinions?
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3469
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Initiative

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:07 pm

I understand his frustration, but I have two issues with the video.

First, he seems to forget that D&D is a game, not a simulator. "That isn't realistic!" is a silly criticism in a system that already abstracts damage to a simple hit point system and involves dragons. Dungeons & Dragons has always traded realism for play-ability and that's just how it goes.

Ever heard of a game called Twilight: 2000? It was a modern military post-apocalyptic RPG that dialed the realism knob to 11. A player's action might go like this:

Player: Ok I fire my AK-47 at the bandit, full auto. Gonna rip the clip.
GM: Ok, your ammo magazine had 14 rounds left in it. Roll to see how many bullets hit.
Player: (rolls) Okay, seven hit.
GM: Now roll to see where on the bandit's body each bullet hit.
Player: (rolls a LOT) Two in the left leg, one in the right arm, two in the chest, and two in the right leg.
GM: Alright. Roll damage for the hits to the legs and arms.
Player: (rollrollroll) Ok seven, two and six.
GM: Alright and the bandit had on body armor (roll) and the bullets don't penetrate it, but (roll) the blunt force knocks him off his feet.
Player: Sweet
GM: Alright and (roll) if he doesn't get help (roll) two of those wounds will get infected.
Player: Gross.
GM: Alright now, for the seven bullets that missed... (roll) three of them hit the other bandit and the last four hit the brick wall.
Player: Awesome!
GM: Now roll hit location for the three that hit the other bandit.
Player: (rollio) Ok one in the head. Two in the chest.
GM: Ok. Damage?
Player: Um... nine to the body and five to the head
GM: Okay that kills him outright. Not gonna bother rolling for his body armor since the headshot got him anyway.

I'm not exaggerating.

So yes, D&D sacrifices realism for play-ability.

My second objection is this guy plays like a n00bcake. What frickin' player runs up by himself and casts a spell without any cover from the party? Go figure he ran up there alone and was isolated, making him easy picking for the surviving thugs. He would have been better off holding his action back and letting the party cover him, releasing the spell at the appropriate time. Seriously? And then to expect the GM to let him have another action to flee when he got charged... so he didn't bother learning the rules. This guy comes across like the kind of player who thinks the rules should be ignored whenever they violate his personal idea of how they should work.

Remember also, he could have moved up, cast his spell, then moved back to the safety of the party. As long as you don't exceed your movement, you can do your move and action in any combination.

Initiative is based on Dexterity because Dex not only measures how fast and nimble your hands are, but also your physical speed, your reaction time, your sense of balance, how graceful you are, etc. Remember, D&D is about ease of play, not simulation, so all of your human attributes have to be abstracted into six ability scores. I think this fellow is simply complaining because he's got an axe to grind.

Simply put, if you understand and play the game properly, both in terms of rules and meta, this is a non-issue.

Now, I do understand what he means when he complains that a character can do nothing but stand there in limbo until his next turn. That's not as much of a problem as he's making it sound. In 5th Edition, a combat round isn't a specific period of time. It's just a snapshot of the action, so the actual amount of time that passed in the scenario he's describing is maybe a few seconds. Everything that happens is more or less simultaneous. When the bandits counterattacked, it isn't that his character just stood there and took the charge. It's more like he probably DID turn to flee but the bandits got to him before he could get away. We assume characters are doing all sorts of things during the round, but we only focus on the acts that make the difference in battle.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Initiative

Postby ArchAngel » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:58 pm

Right, I agree with you on those points. Realism isn't always a good thing to games and often can really get in the way of gameplay. I'm not really terribly concerned about the "realism" of combat, not when you have half-elfs casting magic missiles at gelatinous fiends.

I'm a bit more curious about how, possibly, a turnless combat round can be engaging. If done right, could it be more fun and more tactical?
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2945
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Re: Initiative

Postby Sstavix » Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:50 am

Quite a while ago, while DMing a campaign, I had one player say that she wanted to jump onto a horse, grab a lance and charge at a giant, then use the lance to pole-vault off the horse and attack it with her rapier. In one round.

We were playing Second Edition AD&D. I pointed out to her that her character was not proficient in horseback riding or using lances, horses don't move that fast in one round, and just because she had a high Dexterity didn't necessarily mean her character knew such complicated gymnastics. She tried to argue that, under Third Edition rules (which had just come out) she would be allowed to try it anyway. I responded that, under Third Edition rules, she'd still be an idiot.

Basically, I can see a turnless system being abused by munchkins in a similar fashion. Some powergamer will decide that turnless means "my character can do anything he wants!" and see how far he or she can push the envelope. Who knows? It could turn out well... but I'll believe it when I see it.

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3469
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Initiative

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:51 pm

The trouble I can see with a turnless system is that some things have to happen in a certain order, and then you're back to where you started.

For instance, suppose the villain is a vampire who is going to turn gaseous and escape through a hole in the ceiling. The Ranger in the party wants to shoot him with a magic arrow to stop him.

So what comes first? The shot or the change?

5th Edition is actually more forgiving than 2nd, because in 2nd, everyone had to declare their action at the beginning of the round because that action would affect their initiative roll. (A dagger strikes much faster than a greatsword. Some spells took longer to cast, etc.) That meant that if your initiative came up but it was no longer possible to do what you declared... you simply lost your action. In 5th, you decide when your initiative comes up, so you have the ability to be flexible.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

Wintercross
Regular Member
Regular Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:39 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Initiative

Postby Wintercross » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:46 am

Right, I agree with you on those points. Realism isn't always a good thing to games and often can really get in the way of gameplay. I'm not really terribly concerned about the "realism" of combat, not when you have half-elfs casting magic missiles at gelatinous fiends.

I'm a bit more curious about how, possibly, a turnless combat round can be engaging. If done right, could it be more fun and more tactical?
I don't know if turnless is the best solution for his example... the spell he cast threw the thugs back off their feet with three of them hitting a wall... and yet they get to stand up and charge him before the rest of the party reacts?

IMO I would say the DM should have dropped the thugs initiative and let the other party members act first, or even make the thugs lose a turn trying to get up again.
It does seem silly that they've been thrown back 15 feet and then can just get up and attack before anyone else moves.

I think the DM probably needs to be a bit less rigid in the whole initiative and 'turn order'.

User avatar
Chozon1
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 22960
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:00 am
Location: In the shadows. Waiting for an oppurtune moment to create a dramatic entrance.

Re: Initiative

Postby Chozon1 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:06 am

I don't think a tabletop game can be turnless. You've got to have some order, or at least a ruleset, so that you know when and how things happen.

Otherwise, you booger the thing up. Your magic user casts a fireball at the same goblin Elfman just shot with an arrow. So you either overkill, or miss. Even in "turnless" systems, there's usually a phase that has a fancy name which is in reality a euphemism for "turn".

This dude...seemed like he just didn't understand.

This coming from someone who doesn't understand. XD
Image

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3469
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Initiative

Postby ArcticFox » Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:59 pm

IMO I would say the DM should have dropped the thugs initiative and let the other party members act first, or even make the thugs lose a turn trying to get up again.
It does seem silly that they've been thrown back 15 feet and then can just get up and attack before anyone else moves.
If I were the DM, I would have had the thugs use up their action in getting back on their feet, then they could make the move but wouldn't be able to attack before the other characters reacted.

To be honest, that's what the DM in the video should have done. The angry rant wasn't over a bad rules mechanic. It was over a mistake by the DM and he hasn't realized it yet.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

Wintercross
Regular Member
Regular Member
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:39 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Initiative

Postby Wintercross » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:14 am

IMO I would say the DM should have dropped the thugs initiative and let the other party members act first, or even make the thugs lose a turn trying to get up again.
It does seem silly that they've been thrown back 15 feet and then can just get up and attack before anyone else moves.
If I were the DM, I would have had the thugs use up their action in getting back on their feet, then they could make the move but wouldn't be able to attack before the other characters reacted.

To be honest, that's what the DM in the video should have done. The angry rant wasn't over a bad rules mechanic. It was over a mistake by the DM and he hasn't realized it yet.
Yeah that sounds much better.
DM mistakes, the bane of many an adventurer =P

User avatar
Deepfreeze32
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7043
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: On the run from Johnny Law; ain't no trip to Cleveland

Re: Initiative

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:45 am

IMO I would say the DM should have dropped the thugs initiative and let the other party members act first, or even make the thugs lose a turn trying to get up again.
It does seem silly that they've been thrown back 15 feet and then can just get up and attack before anyone else moves.
If I were the DM, I would have had the thugs use up their action in getting back on their feet, then they could make the move but wouldn't be able to attack before the other characters reacted.

To be honest, that's what the DM in the video should have done. The angry rant wasn't over a bad rules mechanic. It was over a mistake by the DM and he hasn't realized it yet.

That was how my 4e campaign played. I think (though I may be wrong) getting up explicitly uses the move action your character gets in 4e. You may then convert the Standard action (normally used for attacking or other non-trivial actions) to a move action, or use some other form of action/attack, but that doesn't necessarily get you an attack just by virtue of it happening. That depends on a few things. For instance, charging as an attack uses a standard action, but you have to be in a certain range, and it is only a basic melee attack (just swinging a sword/mace/club, no fancy stuff). Unless the monster/player is specced for melee attacks like that, it usually won't hit as well or do as much damage.


Initiative as a system isn't broken per-se. But it could definitely use a little DM influence from time to time.

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Initiative

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:02 am

Basically, I can see a turnless system being abused by munchkins in a similar fashion. Some powergamer will decide that turnless means "my character can do anything he wants!" and see how far he or she can push the envelope. Who knows? It could turn out well... but I'll believe it when I see it.
I think I have a much higher tolerance of "munchkining." I'm rather friendly to the concept of people trying to make an optimal build, probably so long as they play the appropriate character.
I will, however, nerf something if it seems to break the game.
IMO I would say the DM should have dropped the thugs initiative and let the other party members act first, or even make the thugs lose a turn trying to get up again.
It does seem silly that they've been thrown back 15 feet and then can just get up and attack before anyone else moves.

I think the DM probably needs to be a bit less rigid in the whole initiative and 'turn order'.
Yes, that would have been a lot better for the situation.

But, I'm honestly not terribly interested with his complaints about it. He's so involved in historical realism, which is great to hear him talk about Greek shield walls and Bascinet helmets, but a bit pedantic when it comes to role-playing gaming.

Anyhow, I was curious how functional a system would be where people sort of just state what their actions would be, sort of blindly to enemy actions, and then the DM resolves.
For instance, suppose the villain is a vampire who is going to turn gaseous and escape through a hole in the ceiling. The Ranger in the party wants to shoot him with a magic arrow to stop him.
Right, so these are the things I'm wondering about. In cases like this, is it appropriate that they make competing initiative rolls to see who got whom first? Or maybe have their initiative rolls based on the relevant attribute. Dex for the ranger and intelligence for the vampire.
I imagine that system might get a little clunky, because it might matter when, say, who hits first when two fighters go up against each other. Requiring people to make initiative rolls for each action they make is a bit much. Or maybe not. Maybe when you roll your attack dies, you just roll the d10, too.

Everybody declares their actions, the DM sets out what the board would look like, and they make their rolls.

I think there's going to be a bit more complexity to this, but possibly not too much.
So, what could it offer?

Possibly, a more engaging combat. Each round, you have to weigh out the possibilities what each might be doing, but you save all the action results for the round reveal, and let the DM paint the whole scene.

One of biggest questions about a turnless round would be it's affects on defense and parrying. Defense is generally relegated to doing nothing. What if, if two fighters were squaring off, the one with the lowest initiative score, gets to trade in his attack attempt for a "parry bonus" depending on his attack roll.
Not sure if I like this system or not quite yet, but, I don't know. It's an idea.

I'm wondering if a having a turnless round might actually be more engaging. I guess the only way to truly tell is by trying it out.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim


Return to “Table Top RPGs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron