An initiative system optimally suited for PbP? - Myth-Weavers


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An initiative system optimally suited for PbP?

   
An initiative system optimally suited for PbP?

I had this idea, and I was hoping someone would be crazy enough to test it. I may not be the first to have come up with this, but I havenít seen anything similar elsewhere, so here goes.

The idea is to have an initiative system that works well for PbP. Usually, initiative rules as written are not well-suited to PbP, because they limit who can / cannot post at a given time and thus tend to slow things down. As a result, many use house rules to group PC / enemy initiative or other variations. These options are fine, but they seem to diminish the impact of initiative.

What I am proposing is simple, but I think itís an interesting idea. Essentially, when in combat, the players and GM post an initiative roll at the beginning of their post (or multiple for the GM), and then all actions inside a spoiler. The key is that nobody should click on anyoneís spoiler before posting, and thus everyone should be ignorant of everyone elseís actions. This, of course, requires the players trusting each other and the GM not to cheat. A similar alternative, but with private tags instead, might be more useful for paranoid people who feel they are surrounded by potential cheaters. The GM can always cheat, even with the private tags, but hey, you trust your GM, donít you?

I like the idea, because (a) if implemented, it will most likely make combat more chaotic, with everything happening at (almost) the same time and (b) it encourages discussions about tactics in-character, and before encounters, as tactical OOC discussions are also considered cheating. It also gives a pseudo-realistic, real-time feel. Rolling for initiative is not a problem with this rule; players can even roll it every new round. In addition, it is easy to expand the rules to allow characters limited knowledge of other charactersí actions. For example, if a player wants his/her character to be aware of the actions of another player, who already posted, he/she can subtract a couple of points from his/her initiative modifier, representing a cost he/she has to pay to wait and see someoneís actions. In addition, delaying actions or doing things in reaction to other actions should be easy (just add the conditions inside the spoiler).

There are some disadvantages to this system, namely the aforementioned need for trust. In addition, arranging the sequence of events after everyoneís posted might be a bit of extra work for the GM. But overall, I donít see many problems (but would be happy to see them pointed out).

So, any takers? Would anyone be willing to try this and report back his/her impressions?

I kinda like the initiative system one of my Sunday DMs uses
At the beginning of combat, all PCs and each monster group rolls an initiative. Highest initiative goes first.
At the end of each turn, that person declares which PC or monster group goes next in the initiative order.
Each boss type monster, and each PC can interrupt a combat turn 1/combat. This, once declared forces an initiative roll between the PC/monster group who now have conflicting initiative order. The higher initiative roll acts first, but does not declare the next initiative. Instead, the loser of the initiative roll acts, then names the next initiative.
For each feat, trait, class feature, etc. that gives a + to initiative, a player gains 1 additional initiative interrupt per combat. For example, Quick Reconnoiter, Improved Initiative, and Quick to Act (Swordsage feature), would give a PC a total of 4 interrupts per combat.
Each PC/monster group may only act once per round. Therefore, all PCs/monster groups must act before a PC/monster group can be selected again. This does not, however, preclude the bottom of a round from selecting itself to go first at the start of the following round. Yes, this means you can potentially have 2 full round actions in a row.

It's an initiative that works better in live games, but it creates an additional layer of strategy to combats. It could work in PbP, but it would be difficult to implement without holding up games

I had a similar idea, but for a different system, as it sounds like you're talking about D&D.

I was thinking about running a One Roll Engine game on here, which the "initiative" system might not be a good fit for PbP. In ORE combat, everyone declares their actions by awareness/sense, lowest to highest. Everyone rolls at the same time & however high your roll is determines your initiative/turn order. That's boiled down, but I think that's enough to get the gist for those unfamiliar.

So my thoughts, similar to yours, would be that people would post in ascending order of awareness/sense, then in private tags, make their roll. The GM would then be able to sort out what happened in what order, make the post describing the round of combat, move on to the next round.

I don't know if this is quick or anything, though. I mainly thought of it to make ORE playable in PbP, but it's interesting that someone else had essentially the same idea! =D

I was indeed talking about D&D, but only as an example. I think the idea is flexible enough to accommodate many systems.

I think that a PbP-suited initiative system should allow the players / GM to post their actions whenever they are available, without forcing them to wait for others. In this sense, your idea is very similar, Aezryk, but forcing players to declare actions in order of decreasing awareness / sense might bog down the game. If awareness / sense is also rolled, then this is even worse, because first the sequence has to be determined, and then players have to post in a given way (A goes first, B goes second, so B has to wait for A etc).

The more I think about it, the more I think that the Initiative roll should also be included inside the spoiler / private tag.

Here's how I do it in Pathfinder.

1) A monster or bad guy shows up
2) I roll initiative for the monster(s), using the highest initiative bonus in a bad guy group, and adding an additional +3 ,because they only get one roll.
3) I roll a sheet dice roll for the PCs.
4) If the monster has the highest roll, the monster acts immediately. If not, I post "PC actions" and all players get to go before the monster.

We then alternate actions until the battle resolves.

Works like a charm.

NOTES:

1) This wasn't my idea, but something one of my players had seen done before.
2) I'm considering upping the monster initiative bonus to +5, as +3 seems a little low.

When it comes to ORE, sense is pretty much a static number, essentially one of the character's ability scores. Yeah, something like that would bog down the game, but no more so than any other game's system, IMO.

As Jammers said, simple is best. In one of the games I'm in right now, our initiative is an actual natural initiative for the most part. We all make one post for our actions in a round, whenever we get to it. Order doesn't matter. If you happen to be the first one to log on & post this round, you're going first. After the PC's have made their moves, the GM makes a post describing the round & the enemies' actions.

It's working rather well, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladim View Post
Usually, initiative rules as written are not well-suited to PbP, because they limit who can / cannot post at a given time and thus tend to slow things down. As a result, many use house rules to group PC / enemy initiative or other variations. These options are fine, but they seem to diminish the impact of initiative.
Actually, this is pretty much how initiative in D&D works anyway.

The DMG suggests rolling a single initiative for groups of mooks to speed things up. I personally prefer to roll individually for enemies, but when there are several it's certainly easier just to roll once. For boss-type maybe give them each their own roll.

Thus, we naturally fall into "group initiative", because players can delay or ready, and because the round wraps around. For example, Player A goes before Player B, but since they're on a team, Player B could ask Player A to delay and if it were beneficial, they probably would. So if Player B posts first, just assume that that's what they're doing, unless Player A has some reason not to want that. Besides, a lot of the time it doesn't actually matter in which order the actions are taken.

As a DM, I roll initiative for everyone but essentially just use this group initiative system except for if there's ever any conflict. Not necessarily PvP, but say Player B wants to coup de grace the bad guy, whereas Player A wants to tie him up and hand him over to the guards or something. Well, then I would resolve that based on initiative rather than having however posts first win.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cailano View Post
Here's how I do it in Pathfinder.

1) A monster or bad guy shows up
2) I roll initiative for the monster(s), using the highest initiative bonus in a bad guy group, and adding an additional +3 ,because they only get one roll.
3) I roll a sheet dice roll for the PCs.
4) If the monster has the highest roll, the monster acts immediately. If not, I post "PC actions" and all players get to go before the monster.

We then alternate actions until the battle resolves.

Works like a charm.

NOTES:

1) This wasn't my idea, but something one of my players had seen done before.
2) I'm considering upping the monster initiative bonus to +5, as +3 seems a little low.
+1, though I allow all the players to roll.

If one of them has the highest init, their group goes first.

If not... npcs.

I suppose the main question here is whether this is a DnD style Initiative, or just something to establish a turn order.

The main issue with a turn order is, not everyone is sitting at their computers, hammering F5 until it's their turn to post. Instead, they check a few times a day, and if it's not their turn, go do something else. When timezones, jobs and sleep get involved this can mean a single turn takes days.

'All PCs then All Monsters, in whatever order they post' works very well, but has the problem of a one-sided beatdown if whichever side goes first is too aggressive. Players should be creative, and GMs very flexible with held or conditional actions.







 

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