Monday, June 18, 2012

Chaotic Initiative (Pathfinder Rule)

OK, just another random idea. Instead of rolling Initiative at the beginning of a combat encounter, use the following rules:

When a combat starts, declare the First Round and ask each player to declare his intended action for that Round. You must also define, beforehand, the intended Action of each NPC involved, just don’t tell them to the players yet. Actually, if you group doesn’t mind it, I suggest that each one writes his Action on a small piece of paper.

After everyone is ready, all intended Actions are revealed and the characters roll their dice simultaneously.

Who hits/acts first is determined only AFTER the d20 is rolled.

The Gamemaster uses the d20 to establish if the intended Action was successful and also how when it was accomplished.

For example, suppose that you rolled a 15 for your Fighter’s attack on the d20. You’ll use the 15 for your attack roll, adding all the usual modifiers (BAB, Str bonus, any item bonus etc), but you’ll also use this 15 to determine your Initiative for that round. Usually, this means that your Fighter will add his Dexterity modifier to the rolled number (15). If he had Improved Initiative, he’d add his Dex modifier + 4.

The idea is add some chaos to the usual static/tactic-heavy Pathfinder combat. The concept isn’t new and was shameless stolen from the ORE (One Roll Engine) rules – a RPG system used in great games like Godlike and Wild Talents.

A few extra guidelines:

Extra attacks – If you’re attacking more than once, then your first d20 also determines when all your secondary attacks take place in the Round. You still have to roll those attacks, following the normal rules.

Actions that don’t require a roll – Sometimes your intended Action is simply to move, pick something etc. These actions don’t require a roll (usually). In situations like these roll a d20 just to determine when you act.

I haven’t playtest this yet, but it may be an interesting alternative for lethal/grimdark games. It also makes things harder for spellcasters, which may suit some Gamemasters.