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Old 08-09-2011, 10:39 AM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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Default Thinking about Intiative

So, last night I was thinking about initiative in both v1 and v2.0. I can't recall either ever causing major problems in play, but I have found reasons to dislike each. Have any of you dropped them for something else?



- I have vague memories of referee me having to track everyone's hesitations for them in v1. I could be wrong on that.

- I have stronger memories of v2 groups using the initiative XP system to jack up their scores, so that they could wipe out platoons without a scratch on themselves. That, of course, won't be an issue in a con game, but any PCs with really high initiatives could become combat monsters that will overshadow the others at the table.

I'm planning a convention game someday, and fearing that players might get stuck on these more-complex-than-usual systems.

- At the last few convention games I've played at, the ref has simply ignored the RAW initiative rules and gone around the table. It worked, but it seemed too simplistic to my internal rules-lawyer.

Just reverting to Agility order, or rolling for it seems easy. I also like the Savage Worlds rule of dealing from a deck of cards, high cards go first.

Opinions, thoughts, concerns?
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:53 PM
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Legbreaker Legbreaker is offline
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V1.0 is clunky with it's CUF and hesitations, but it can work if the players help out.
V2.0 tends to fall down only when low Initiative characters fail to take advantage of repetative actions - the ability to lay down cover fire over an area for long periods of time without stopping for example. Low initiative characters in my opinion are best utilised by being assigned belt fed or other high capacity weapons. Note also that a low initiative character conducting repetative actions actually goes before high initiative characters which, providing it's a sensible action (such as covering a doorway with fire) can really restrict the high initiative characters options.
V2.2 evens things out significiantly by allowing everyone to act every turn but giving high Initiative an extra action. In my opinion it levels the playing field a bit too much.

Another issue which in my experience seems to be ingnored almost constantly is the effect of injuries. If a character, any character is injured by anything nastier than a sharp stick, chances are they're doing NOTHING for at LEAST the next round and probably much longer. During this time, the enemy has free reign to do anything they want completely unopposed, including hitting them again, and again, and again, and again. Grenades and other area effect weapons are great for knocking down and opponent and keeping them there without having to be too accurate. Three barely skilled NPCs with a handful of hand grenades each are going to take apart even a highly skilled and high initiative group of PCs if they bunch up too much (as most seem to do) while taking virtually no casulaties themselves.

Naturally, switched on PCs can do exactly the same - take out everyone with explosives.

An Australian infantryman in the Korean War was renown for acutally putting this game rule into practise even before roleplaying was a pipedream. He rarely fired his rifle but relied instead on the sandbag of handgrenades he carried everywhere. Apparently you always knew where he was - just had to listen for the explosion every few moments...
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:54 PM
leonpoi leonpoi is offline
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Adm.Lee, I don't think you're alone thinking about initiative, and Legbreaker's summary pretty much echoes my thoughts.

There is one thing Iíll say about the v2.2 system; that it takes all of the accounting out of the system and therefore speeds things up. A while back I ran a session with 5 PCs (who had not played 2.2 before) in a firefight with about 10 marauders. There were explosions, automatic fire, vehicles, all kinds of things and the combat went so smoothly and felt very intense because the initiative system didnít get in the way of the action.

Having said that, itís got its problems Ė these are the big ones that I see.
1) Everyone pretty much gets one action per turn (the level playing field)
2) We had one PC with Init 7 = 2 actions, and he clearly dominated Ė it just didnít feel right that he got to do twice as many things Ė the step change is just too sharp from 1 action to 2 actions.

To get around this Iíd proposed a hybrid between v1 and v2.2 where characters got 1 action per 6 turns (phase) plus an extra action for every Init 4 or greater. i.e. a Init 5 character would get 8 actions in 6 turns. This would step up the granularity of actions. I never got to test this though because I moved country and havenít played since. It would require book keeping though over a phase (which I would have handled with chips/counters), but at least you wouldnít need to keep track of whatís been repeated. Most NPCs would have Inits <4, so it would only need book keeping for harder NPC fights.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:22 PM
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I quite like that idea actually. The way 2.2 gives an additional acton in every 5 second round just doesn't sit well with me - can a person really run two lots of 30 metres in the same five seconds everyone else only gets half the distance?
Although a little cumbersome, I've always prefered the 2.0 method, BUT players and GM must use repetative actions to make it work properly AND be aware and implement (can't stress enough) injury restrictions. Only really penalises a character in the initial stages of combat, where you'd expect to see low initiative characters hesitating. Once they get into their groove and training takes over, they're still at a bit of a disadvantage (they can't change actions other than stop until their next scheduled action), but they can still be effective.
Although the rules say it should be the same action from five second phase to five second phase, I would expand it to the same general action such as fish out grenade, pull pin and throw, repeat, or aim, fire, aim, fire. Both these examples should by the rules take two actions of five seconds duration to complete.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:14 AM
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"Initiative" is one of those polorising topics.

I think most people agree it needs to be quick, give some advantage to "battle tested" characters and be realistic, if possible.

We have to remember though that initiative isnt just "who can draw" first or fastest, western style. Its who "acts" first. Taking action under fire is as much "courage" as it is "fast twitch fibers". It can be compared to sportsman where they test well (benchpress, 40 yard dash, vertical leap) but simply dont "play the game very well".

I think initiative also represents "dumb luck" to some degree. Even the best operators get surprised or caught off guard from time to time. In my own system i tried to callibrate "initiative" so that a novice PC who rolled a "6" would win a "draw" verse a high level character who rolled a "1" on a D6 (effectively a 1/36 chance for the novice to win).

I like weapon choice to have an impact on characters. So i try to use weapon "bulk" in determining initiative (rifles at a disadvantage to pistals).

I like each combat round to be different, so i am OK with player die rolls to go towards who acts first in each combat round.

Coolness under fire and hesitation V1.0 style was a good idea, that doesnt work in practice.

I agree that injuries are under sold.

I think everyone has their own homebrew initiative to reflect how they view it. All you can do is take other peoples ideas into consideration when weighting your own system.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:33 AM
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The idea to take the bulk-rating and subtract it from the Initiative seems to be a good way, to ballance things out a bit. To my mind, it works.

But there is a point, where I'm not sure, if I understand the rules properly: PCs get rewarded special points to increase the Initiative (In v2.2, that is). But what is the highest possible value for Initiative? Can a PC build up Initiative-values that exceed 7?
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:28 AM
The Zappster The Zappster is offline
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I quickly stopped the second action. It made the high initiative characters waaaaay to powerful, while the other characters sat and watched the others have all the fun
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Old 08-30-2020, 03:13 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Default Mythras Actions system

Here's an alternate ACTIONS system that will allow multiple actions per round without much fuss. In this modified Mythras/Legend system, EVERYONE gets 3 ACTIONS. You would still roll [1D6 + Initiative Score] for INITIATIVE to determine the order everyone goes in (with appropriate reductions for wounds, suppression, etc...) BUT each person will now take 1 ACTION (of 3 total each). Each ACTION represents roughly 2 seconds of activity and can be movement, shooting, melee, etc... Once each player has taken their first (singular) ACTION from fastest (highest roll) to slowest (lowest roll), the first INITIATIVE PASS is over, 2 seconds have passed and the fastest Player/NPC now takes their SECOND ACTION. They are once again followed in order by the others until EVERYONE has resolved their SECOND ACTION; at which point the SECOND INITIATIVE PASS is over and 4 seconds have passed. The fastest combatant now starts the THIRD [and final] INITIATIVE PASS. Once the THIRD PASS is resolved, 6 seconds have elapsed and the ROUND IS OVER.
You can also have the number of ACTIONS reduced by suppression or wounds too. For example, you could give a loss of an ACTION for the Critically wounded threshold or being surprised. I like this system because it gives EVERYONE multiple options during a round. You can even rule that activities like reloading take multiple ACTIONS to perform.

Overall, I think this may give you the best balance between player/character "Agency" (multiple actions in a combat round) and the "framework and timescale" you need to successfully run an engaging adventure.
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