Is this change to the Magic Initiative feat imbalancing?

The Magic Initiate feat states:

Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You learn two cantrips of your choice from that class’s list.
In addition, choose one 1st level spell from the same list. You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level. Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again using this feat.
Your spellcasting ability for these spells depends on the class you chose: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.

I realized that this does not allow you to take spells from the Paladin or Ranger classes (they also do not have cantrips, so perhaps that is the reason). But I was wondering if this change would be imbalancing:

Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, paladin, ranger, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You either learn two cantrips and a 1st level spell or two 1st level spells from that class’s list.
You learn any 1st level spells chosen and can cast them at their lowest level. Once you cast one, you must finish a long rest before you can cast the same one again using this feat.
Your spellcasting ability for these spells depends on the class you chose: Charisma for bard, paladin, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric, druid or ranger; or Intelligence for wizard.

This change allows for two new options:
1. You can take an additional 1st level spell instead of the two cantrips.
2. You can choose the Paladin and Ranger classes (getting two 1st level spells).

Does Bard’s Jack of All Trades grant them greater initiative?

Bards get the ability “Jack of All Trades” which reads:

Starting at 2nd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn’t already include your proficiency bonus.

Since your initiative roll is based purely on your dexterity, and it says “ability check” and not “skill check”, does that mean that a Bard, starting at 2nd level, will tend to have better initiative than others?

Is there a way, other than having a Diviner friend, for a player to avoid rolling Initiative at the start of a combat?

I’ve been starting to theorize the following concept: a player who would… never… roll dice… ever. Not in combat, not elsewhere. No dice. Literally. But I have come across a major obstacle: Initiative.

Now, I’ve been thinking: perhaps that roll-averse player could get himself a Diviner friend to give him Portents as Initiative rolls? But I’d rather not rely on that, since a Diviner has so few Portents per day, and probably will want to use them for other purposes.

So… Is there a way, other than having a Diviner friend, for a player to avoid rolling Initiative at the start of a combat?

If, somehow, there was a way to become proficient in Initiative rolls, then the Rogue’s Reliable Talent could be used to avoid rolling for Initiative, but I don’t know if there is one.

If, somehow, there was a magic item to replace an ability check roll by a certain number (like the Clockwork Amulet does for attack rolls), that could solve the problem as well, but again, I don’t know if there is one.

Are there games in which a natural 20 on initiative has specific effects?

Pretty much every d20-game uses a d20 roll to determine initiative at the beginning of an encounter. Also, pretty much every d20-game has some instances in which a natural 20 gets a special treatment (e.g. critical hits, auto-success).

Are there notable interesting examples of games featuring a special benefit of a natural 20 for initiative? What is this benefit? Are there common house rules in games without such a feature?

Some thoughts to explain where I am coming from with this question: As far as I am aware, no such rules exist for the games I have played so far (mostly DnD 3.5 and upwards). This question plays with the idea of using the card drawing initiative from Savage Worlds in DnD 5e, and I find the aspect of the joker particularly interesting. If initiative is rolled separately for every round, granting advantage on ability checks, saving throws and attack rolls for that round does sound like a nice little unpredictable factor in an encounter. However, if initiative is fixed for the entire encounter, this would surely be over-powered. I still like the general idea, so I am looking for similar rules and rulings that might inspire a good house rule.

By how much would incorpoarting the “Card draw Initiative” system from Savage Worlds affect the game in 5e?

In Savage Worlds, Initiative is determined my using a 54-card deck (standard 52-card deck, including the Jokers). Each player and enemy is dealt a card (or group of enemies, like all the goblins are dealt one card, the orcs are dealt another card, etc). Ace goes first, King second, etc., down to 2 going last. At the end of each round, the cards are discarded, and a new set of cards are drawn.

However, if a Joker is drawn that player/enemy is allowed to go whenever they wish, and is granted +2 to all rolls they make that round. At the end of this round, when a Joker is drawn, all cards are shuffled back into the deck.

Players can also gain abilities that can modify their draw (such as their minimum Initiative is a 5 – cards are drawn until they get a card that is 5 or above), however I will omit this from this question, as that opens up a lot of different possibilities.

I have heard of systems that use a static Initiative system, working of flat Dex, rather than using a roll, and others that do re-roll Initiative each round, to create a more variable encounter system.

How much would using this Card Initiative system in place of the standard 5e Initiative system affect the game?

Should I be able to use the Gloom Stalker, Ranger, Dread Ambusher Class feature when attacking before initiative has been rolled to add a d8 damage?

There was a case in a in a session of my Homebrewy D&D 5e game that I played recently where I was playing a Gloom Stalker Ranger lvl 4 and was hidden from an enemy that was unaware of an incoming attack. In the spirit of the ambusher that is the Gloom Stalker my DM allowed me to role the extra d8, normally granted to me by Dread Ambusher feature on the bonus attack that I would get on the first turn of initiative order, for the damage that I dealt to the creature; similarly to a rogues sneak attack.

Should a Gloom Stalker Ranger always get a additional d8 when attacking an unaware creature outside of initiative order?

What to do when surprise and a high initiative roll conflict with the narrative? [on hold]

Consider the following situation. Two creatures A and B sneak up on a creature X, successfully remaining unnoticed by it. A then wants to throw a dagger from its hiding place. This starts the encounter: It is determined that X is surprised and everyone has to roll for initiative: A rolls a 1, B rolls a 10, X rolls a 20. So X goes first, but cannot do anything on its turn, as it’s surprised. Next up is B, who goes into melee and attacks X but misses. X can then use its reaction (since its turn has ended) for the Riposte Maneuver by which it kills B.

Isn’t this really, really strange from a narrative point of view? The idea is that the encounter is triggered by A throwing the dagger from hiding (successful Stealth check), but as it turns out, B is already killed by the surprised X, before that trigger even occurs?!

Question 1: Am I right that this is in fact the right way to proceed by RAW?

Question 2: Are there common alternative ways of handling such a situation as a DM?

(Related, even possible duplicates: When exactly does combat start and surprise take effect? & What happens when initiative allows a player to act before the player that started the combat?)

Can I decide to lower my Initiative after rolling it in order to permanently change my position in the sequence of turns? [duplicate]

This question already has an answer here:

  • Can I delay my turn in D&D 5e? 3 answers

The current question is in some sense a follow-up to the following one:

Can I delay my turn in D&D 5e?

The answer to that question is no. The only means to acting at a different turn in the round than that which was assigned to you via Initiative rolls is the Ready action.

However, what if I decide right at the beginning of the encounter that I want to change the position of my turn permanently? Can I choose to lower my initiative? Is there any other way to achieve a similar effect?

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initiative Q

Initiative: Do I lose my attack/action if my target moves or dies before my turn in combat

I am new to 5E. Something I am wondering about is if I declare that this turn I am going to move X feet and attack target A and then move X feet and attack target B, what happens if my target moves or dies before it is my turn? Do I do nothing? Do I move but not attack and lose all or some of my attacks?