July 15th, 2005

vincent price

Roll For Initiative (Tabletop RPGs)

So, I was wondering, what kind of Initiative Systems people like and don't like that are used out there, and why?

I've been suffering thru HERO for a while now, which has a mostly stagnant initiative system that is easy to abuse because of the way timing works under it.

The problem I find with many systems is that he who goes first tends to win in combat situations seems to me constant in many settings, and in Hero it turns a game often into a Speed War, with folks doing everything they can with experience to boost up a character's reaction time (Via Fast Reflexes), Speed (by buy up the stat up to the maximum allowed) or buying up Dex (and thus increasing not just the speed of when they act on a specific phase but also their chance to hit).

The exception I've found along the way is a blood & chocolate kind of system, where a high speed doesn't mean you'll react first, just means you get to act more times in a combat round (usually done by a randomizer card deck, with cards numbered 1-10, and the value of the card determining how many of that card is in the deck, and a speed value for a character being whatever that card value is. Thus a Speed 5 would go five times in a combat round, while a speed 1 would go once, but the actual order is random based on the shuffle of the deck.

Any other interesting alternatives you've played that worked? That failed?

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