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.
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?
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?
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?)
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?
Initiative Q is an attempt by ex-PayPal guys to create a new payment system instead of payment cards that were designed in the 1950s. The system uses its own currency, the Q, and to get people to start using the system once it's ready they are allocating Qs for free to people that sign up now (the amount drops as more people join – so better to join early). Signing up is free and they only ask for your name and an email address. There's nothing to lose but if this payment system becomes a…
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?
I’m running a D&D 3.5e game over a private forum. In order to keep combat moving I’ve decided that each combat round will be “resolved” once a day (or more often if everyone posts). Players feedback so far has been that it’s difficult and confusing to have players post “out of turn” with their actions, because they have to anticipate what everyone may do etc.
So I’ve decided that we will ignore initiative, and I will instead decide if the players or monsters go first. And then it’s simply a matter of whoever posts first has their action occur first. This means that when someone posts they know exactly what happened prior to their turn. It means that when someone has the time in their busy life to post, they know exactly what they’re doing.
However, this means that players who have, for example, taking Initiative feats, or have generally high dexterity, lose out on that aspect of their character.
In what ways can I give these high dexterity, initiative characters a benefit akin to having a high initiative that doesn’t create a bottleneck in Play By Post games?
A Wizard PC Teleports their party from a safe place directly to the location of a group of foes, who the party intends to attack.
If the foes did not know this was about to happen, they should be surprised.
How does initiative work in this situation, and when does the Wizard take their next turn? To illustrate why I am confused, there are a few possible adjudications below.
- The moment the Wizard decides they want to Teleport into combat, initiative is rolled. The Wizard casts Teleport on their turn, which may be after the turns of their companions, and teleports to the foes’ location. Any foes who rolled higher initiative will no longer be surprised. The Wizard takes their next turn in the second round, in which no foes will be surprised.
- At the point the Wizard casts Teleport, they are not in combat. After the spell is cast, (since the party intends to immediately attack) the combat begins, and initative is rolled. The Wizard takes their next turn in the first round, while some foes may still be surprised (depending on their initiative).
- Case #1, but the Wizard can use Ready-ing the Teleport spell to effectively turn it into case #2.
A wizard rounds a corner to find two kobolds brandishing their weapons. Roll initiative!
The DM determines that neither side is surprised. The DM then makes a single initiative roll (10) for the two kobolds, since they are identical creatures (PHB, p. 189). The wizard has a great roll (15) and goes first.
The wizard decides that it’s better to be safe than sorry and upcasts hold person to 3rd-level, targeting both kobolds. One kobold fails the save and becomes paralyzed, but the other (miraculously) succeeds. The wizard now feels confident in their success and closes to within 5 feet of both kobolds.
It’s time for the kobolds to act. Kobolds have the Pack Tactics trait, which grants them advantage on attack rolls against a creature if a non-incapacitated ally is within 5 feet of that creature. One of the kobolds is paralyzed, which means it is also incapacitated. Hold person grants an additional save at the end of the affected kobold’s turns.
Each kobold should have their own turn, but does one turn complete before the other, possibly allowing the paralyzed kobold to save vs hold person? In short, is there any way that the non-paralyzed kobold gains advantage from Pack Tactics on this initiative count this round?