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  1. #1

    5E - No More Initiative (should work with Core also)

    Have you ever tried something crazy like ditching the initiative system and letting everyone take their turn at once??
    ... well I did it once and now my players refuse to go back. In fact they threatened to bloody mutiny if I forced them to take turns again.
    - Me, the "serves you right for being experimental" DM
    See it in action:


    The extension creates a note that the DM can optionally share by checking the "Public" option. When die rolls are made, they are added to the list, which is kept sorted. It also displays whether the roll was successful or not for 5E.

    The idea is that rolls already have an inherent sense of order. If one actor gets 19 and another gets 17, then 19 goes first. After all the players and NPCs have rolled their to-hit's you have a list of what happened and the order in which it happened. Now you can narrate the action from top to bottom, allowing the actors to roll damage as you go. It's cinematic and it's chaotic and it's fast. But it isn't without it's limitations and hardened players will likely pity you for your desecration of the sacred game.

    How do you use it?
    • The DM announces a new round
    • Players roll their attacks whenever they are ready but do not roll damage
    • DM announces that the attack phase is complete and moves on to the resolution phase
    • DM reads down the list in the tracker, narrating what happens highest die roll to lowest
    • As the DM reads down the list, they ask the player in question to roll damage

    Note that you still need to forward through the turns to trigger any "at the start of your turn" type events.

    There are several edge cases that can arise from a no initiative system. You can solve them however you want, but here are some ways that I deal with them:

    I allow players to move before or they do their action if they want. If a player specifically wants to move after they've done something then they just tell me. Unless there is a good reason not to allow it, I allow it. If there is ever any doubt, I ask them to do a contest check, such as an athletics contest against an enemy that's trying to cut them off. You can also just have them throw a d20 to see if they can get there in time.

    Opportunity Attacks
    If a player runs up to an opponent and the opponent runs away at the same time, no opportunity attack is triggered. If they start the round next to each other, then it is triggered. It should be intuitive when an opportunity attack is appropriate, but if you're running into issues, you could separate the movement and actions into separate phases. I'm not a fan as it limits move-attack-move combinations.

    Fallen Targets
    If a player's target is taken down before it gets to their action, I allow them to instead strike a similar target. For melee, it needs to be adjacent to them. For ranged it needs to be in the same general vicinity.

    If you don't like that, another option is to allow them to roll at disadvantage for a replacement action. The disadvantage represents that they were intending to do something and had to hastily switch.

    Why Would You Do This?
    • It makes combat fast and furious
    • Combat actually becomes more intense and interesting
    • You can get through more play in less time
    • Players aren't bored waiting for their turn
    • Best of all, narrating the scene is better because it all connects

    This extension makes it easy to do. At first I was trying to read back through the log and I don't recommend that, too easy to miss actions or get the order wrong.

    The idea came for this dungeon craft video:

    Anyone interested can read some notes about implementation here
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by zenic; May 30th, 2021 at 00:04.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    This is an interesting concept, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how it would affect my game. I'll have to try it in a one-shot someday to see what I think about it.
    Fantasy Grounds Unity Lives! Good job, Smiteworks!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Three of Swords View Post
    This is an interesting concept, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how it would affect my game. I'll have to try it in a one-shot someday to see what I think about it.
    Doing it in a one shot is a great idea! In my case two of my players couldn't make a session so we did a kind of dream sequence one-shot with the remaining players and I said "Hey, let's try this idea!" It was a bit awkward at first, especially since I was doing it manually by scrolling back through the log. By the next session when the other players rejoined the word had spread through the group and they wanted to keep using it. Then my other group heard about it and wanted to try it... It was very difficult for me who was scrolling back through the chat history trying to keep everything straight so I ended up making this extension. We're now months later and they refuse to go back. Although I will say that they enjoy a more narrative cinematic game rather than gritty min-max type of play, so YMMV.

    I should point out that this extension doesn't change anything about the underlying game, it just makes a sorted list of rolls as a note. You can easily use it or ignore it.

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