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An initiative system optimally suited for PbP?

   
I tend to go with this framework.

* if one group is surprised, the other group goes first, in whatever order they like
* if no one is surprised, everyone rolls initiative, average it per side. Winner goes dirst in any order. Loser goes next, in any order.

This doesn't always work well with games that have specific rules for jockeying your position in the initiative order, but if everyone knows this up front, it shouldn't be an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladim View Post
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?
Why don't you simply use a system that already combines initiative and action, like One-Roll Engine?

AFAICT, you want a system where you announce your intentions, roll, and everything is resolved in the order the initiative dice say. And that's what ORE does, by the book, and you don't need to announce and hope on the honour system. You announce, and then your roll says whether it happened fast enough. Maybe you acted fast enough to land a strike, maybe you dithered, combat is chaotic like that!

There are houserules for Mythras/Unknown Armies and all the other d100 systems that allow the same. "The tens of your d100 roll also act as initiative". In some dicepool systems, it's "your highest unused die is your initiative" (and yes, if you apply it in a success-counting system, you can decide to use one of your successes for a flash-action).

I'm not even going to mention that systems like Pendragon also do this, simply because your "initiative" is determined after you roll - it's an opposed roll. That's sidestepping the issue.

As of this week, Planet Mercenary has the best initiative system for pbp.

"Speak first, go first". The initiative system is literally first one to talk (or post) goes first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southernskies View Post
As of this week, Planet Mercenary has the best initiative system for pbp.

"Speak first, go first". The initiative system is literally first one to talk (or post) goes first.
Haven't seen Planet Mercenary, but this is basically what "popcorn initiative" is, and it's not exactly new.

In a tiebreaker, the one who spoke loudest goes first. Combat can be both brutal... and hilarious once a chain of Mayhem cards start deploying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southernskies View Post
In a tiebreaker, the one who spoke loudest goes first. Combat can be both brutal... and hilarious once a chain of Mayhem cards start deploying.
Well, that is different, alright.

And now I wonder whether "the one who spoke loudest goes first" is meant to emulate the feel of playing with a new GM. I had that feeling a lot when reading Schlock Mercenary!







 

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