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What is the easiest and fastest way to run initiative for combat in 3.5 for PBP?

I was told group innit, but how does that work in 3.5?

Can I get a quick lesson as well as the "why" behind it.

Personally when I have Initiative I go it in blocks based on what is rolled. Say we have...

Player 1 - 20
Player 2 -18
Player 3 - 12
Player 4 - 5
Players 5 - 4

Monster 1 - 15
Monster 2 - 14
Monster 3 - 7

Player Group #1 (Players 1 and 2) goes first and can post as they are available. Then it goes into Monster Group #1 (Monster 1 and 2). Then Player Group #2 (Player 3) , Monster Group #2 (Monster #3) and finally Player Group #3 (Player 4 and 5)

The Grouping allows people to post as they are available much easier than getting hooked into a solid init order and potentially having a player stuck waiting 2-3 days for the person above them to post. Someone else might have a better way of explaining it. Thats generally what I do with Init assuming I even bother with it at all. I dont even bother with it most the time as it bogs down combat. Generally I just make sure people know when a round is active and once they go they need to hold from going again until the round is over and a new one has started.

I don't even bother with that many groups. I average the initiative of the monsters. In round one, all the players who rolled higher than the monsters go first in any order. Then all the monsters go at once. Then all players go in any order, and I alternate with the group in the same manner.

A good initiative doesn't give as much of a bonus in this system, but it still gives a minor boost, especially at low and high levels where everything is rocket tag anyway. And really, I've found that it speeds up combat so much that the improved pacing is well worth slightly devaluing a stat.

Well it obviously doesnt need to be that many groups. I just wanted to show it as more than two. As I said I generally dont even bother with Initiative as I feel in a PbP system its more of a hindrance than a benefit.

If my players are pretty active, I go with initiative groups pretty much identical to what ArcaneDesperado uses, though I sometimes fudge the NPCs down in order to keep it to four groups or less. I've considered using zelamonster's system, but I think what I use now suits me well enough.

With players who are less active, I would lean more strongly towards zelamonster's style, and no matter how active my players are, I give them a set amount of time to post before I skip them and move on with the fight. When skipping a player, I have them play it safe; that might mean taking a total defense action, or it may mean casting low-level spells to conserve resources. I ensure that the players who are getting skipped don't get as much glory as the ones posting on time.

I use the method zelamonster described, except that when resolving the PC's actions, I resolve them in initiative order rather than posting order, unless it would be significantly more beneficial to them or significantly easier for me for PCs to be switched around.

Depends on the group, in my experience.

Sometimes you'll find a batch of folks who make posting in strict initiative order work just fine. Other times, that mucks solidly with things. Most of the time around here - again, in my experience - GMs tend toward the group initiative option.

As for the "Why"? It boils down to speed of the game. If Player A can only post between 8pm and 9pm during the week, and not a all on the weekends, you could find a combat round completely stalled for three days once his initiative comes up. This can still happen with group initiative, but it happens less often and more players get to take their turns before the game pauses for Player A.

I seem to have a decent flow going so I'll leave that be

Thanks all.

I wasn't sure how important this was being that D&D is super tweaky about rules management. Turns out it's a lot less important than I psyched myself to believe.

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