When two or more characters are engaged in combat the GM will call for use of the Initiative Deck. This should be a deck of cards, such as 3 x5 index cards, which the GM has prepared ahead of time. There should be one card in the deck for each of the player characters in the group with their name on it, plus a card for each supporting character in play (a good default deck should contain at least 6 and preferably 12 cards for supporting characters, though these do not need to have the supporting character’s names on them, simply a designation of ‘Supporting Character #1' for the first, ‘Supporting Character #2' for the second etc. More Supporting Character cards can be added if needed for a specific combat.
The deck is shuffled at the start of each conflict round and then cards are drawn one at a time from the top. The first character who’s card is drawn gets to go first, and so forth, until thru the deck or the end of combat. Cards for characters not involved and not becoming involved (in the wrong place etc.) can be skipped. The same is true of cards for supporting characters not present in the conflict. When the end of the deck is reached the cards are reshuffled and a new round begins.
Holding Action : A player may choose for their character to hold action when their character card comes up. This allows them to try to interrupt the actions of another character later in the deck sequence. When they do such they announce an interrupt and a Grace Roll is made for each of the two characters. If the interrupting character rolls greater then they get to then act, otherwise they must act immediately after the character they interrupted, spending their held action in both cases. Held actions can be retained from round to round but not beyond the next time the holding character’s card comes up again in the deck (you can’t, in other words, gather a stack of held actions to spend later.)
Shared Action : This is an effort of two or more characters to work together on a single character’s turn in the card sequence by cooperatively spending their held action. For example this would allow two characters to move together carrying a heavy object at the same time across a battlefield, or for one to provide ‘covering fire’ for another that is trying to cover a distance thru hostile territory. Most shared actions are agreed on before they occur.
When a character’s card comes up they have an Action. An Action is in two parts, the order of which can be used either to either carry out two half-actions or one full action.
Moving to cover a distance can be a half or full action. You move into or away from opponents in combat, and you can do this before or after having made an attack. If taking a Full action move, one moves up to a total of 1 Pace for each die of Grace the character has plus one pace for each functional leg. This amount is reduced by half if you are taking a Half Move Action (round fractions of a pace up to the nearest full pace). Thus a person with 1 Grace and two good legs moves 3 Paces Full, 2 Paces Half at most.
Drawing & Readying a Weapon is a half action, this includes ranged and close up weapons.
Attacking or Casting a Spellslinger Spell is a half action, but only one such Attack or Casting can be performed in an Action sequence. (An attack can be against multiple targets, as can a spell, but that has special difficulty penalties and rules).
Speaking does not count as an action, even to activate a magic glyph, but is generally limited to about 25 words during your action.
Other skill uses may require one or more full actions, depending on the GM’s determination of the time needed to perform the action. For example, one might try to pick a lock as a single action, but would be unable to read the page of a book. One could can search a backpack for a known item as an action (with an appropriate skill or trait roll) but one could not write a sonnet. The GM has final arbitration on how long such an action might take.
Let me know what you think of this initiative method.