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Old 08-10-2011, 11:45 AM
simonmark6 simonmark6 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Swansea, South Wales, UK
Posts: 373

I think that high Initiative PCs or NPCs do have the advantage in most senses. In ambush situations those being ambushed usually do end up getting hosed. This would happen even if a group of low initiative NPCs ambush a bunch of PCs, the NPCs would have been conducting continuous "overwatch" actions and thus it would be they that initiated the combat.

After that, lots of the PCs are going to be injured and dropping in initiative or able to fight back in the hail of beaten fire and repeated actions. People get creamed in ambushes, that's why they are so popular. The rules work fine, you just have to apply them.

If you want a little variety, add the odd high initiative novice NPC to the mix to represent the up and coming young gun or guy with hair trigger reflexes, the BYB even suggests this to explain Monk's high initiative for a relatively inexperienced combatant.

If you are going to the bother of tracking things minutely, you might want to just roll for initiative for NPCs instead of using the book numbers. Military NPCs would get a straight d6, Elites get a 5 or a 6+1. Non-military would get d6/2 or whatever you deem correct.

As for bulk, I generally use it either as a penalty in CQB situations or as a tie-breaker between equal initiatives. To refine it I might assign an initiative penalty to characters who are using a weapon whose bulk is higher than their Strength and Constitution averaged to represent that it is too big and awkward for the person carrying it. Even that seems necessarily complicated.

In conclusion, I believe that the initiative system is fine as long as you make your NPCs fight sensibly and use the wound rules strictly.
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