Rolling Initiative

Rolling Initiative

When it becomes clear to the GM that a combat is about to take place, they must first ask all participating players to roll for initiative. Initiative results are used to determine the order of events for each round of combat. Each participating PC rolls a d20 and adds their character’s Reflexes to the result. The GM also rolls initiative for each of the NPCs involved in the combat. The GM can roll for each NPC individually or they can roll for each group of similar NPCs. The GM will then ask each player for their initiative result and tally these numbers with the NPC results.

The PC or NPC with the highest initiative result goes first, taking their full combat turn (or choosing to Delay). Then the next highest PC or NPC goes next, and so forth until all participants have taken their combat turn. If there is a tie for initiative, the PC always goes first before an NPC. If there is a tie between two or more PCs, the involved players may choose among themselves who will go first.

After all participants have taken their combat turn, a new combat round begins. Each participant rolls initiative again, creating a new, randomly determined turn order for the next combat round.

Alternative Initiative Options. If you dislike the idea of rolling initiative every round, you may instead roll once for the beginning of combat and use the same turn order each round. This change makes combat more predictable and generally easier for the PCs to plan their moves. However, it also tends to make combat less exciting.

A standard set of 54 playing cards can also be used for initiative. Deal a card to each participating PC and NPC. Order goes from Jokers to Ace down to 2’s, ignoring the card’s suit. In cases of a tie, the character with the higher Reflexes Rank goes first. Simply collect a player’s card after their turn. It makes it quite easy to see who has yet to go this round. At the beginning of each round, deal out a new set of cards. This alternative reduces the importance of Reflexes on initiative but can be quite fun for players that enjoy using playing cards in their games.

If a participant chooses to Delay but fails to take their turn before the end of the round, they do not roll initiative in the next round. They can take their turn anytime in the next round.