Fog of War (Random) Initiative
My group has a couple of engineers in it, who are also pros at resource management games, so they really ruin immersion. For example, if they started with 150 hit points (Dungeons and Dragons) and are now down to 2, they still continue fighting the dragon like they are fresh. They will have it all figured out, It goes something like this "Well, I go first in initiative order and will cast healing bling on the fighter who will be able to withstand another fire blast, if the GM rolls to recharge, then the fighter can kill the dragon who can't have more than 8 HP left."
This really bugs me and makes me wonder why I put together an RPG adventure when all I had to do was take out Descent. So I created this alternative 'initiative' system below, and my group, so far seems to like it. It causes a lot of 'ripples' through the other rules which is one reason I chose to try it out first in a Western Campaign. What do you guys think?
Fog of War Initiative
This initiative system is driven by tokens placed in a bag and drawn randomly to see who acts.
Each PC has a Quickness die type from d4 – d12. Each of these die types is an action level. Each PC gets 1 token per action level (1 – 5). The GM gets 2 tokens per minion and 3 tokens for each boss. These tokens are placed in a bag and pulled one at a time. When one of your tokens is drawn, you may do one of the following:
Move up to 2 spaces (expend 2 movement points)
Run 3 – 4 spaces and have disadvantage on all actions until the end of the turn. (expend 3 – 4 move points)
Perform any legal action
Attempt a saving roll to end a condition
Get up from the prone or kneeling position
NPCs will be able to do the following when their token is drawn:
Move up to 3 spaces and take an action (in any order)
Run up to 6 spaces (or more depending on speed)
Other options may be creature specific
Once a minion has used a token, it can do nothing but defend itself for the rest of the turn. Bosses get to use all their tokens if drawn.
Note: This may seem one sided, but it relieves the GM of a lot of administrative work, and PCs should, on average get more actions than NPCs.
End of Round Tokens
There are 4 end of round (EOR) tokens in the bag. When the 3rd EOT token is drawn, the round ends immediately, any end of turn / round effects happen at this time. Typically, this will be bleed and any extra damage that occurs at the end of a round. Once all effects have been accounted for, all tokens are returned to the bag and the next round begins.
The Event Token mechanic is inspired by Drunken and Dragons (Runehammer's) timer dice mechanic. I highly recommend his videos.
If an encounter has an event, the event happens when an event token is drawn. There can be any number of event tokens in the bag.
Effects of This Initiative System
Movement is no longer a derived statistic.
Parries and blocks are no longer used.
There are no longer different types of actions, except for standard and complex, where complex takes X successes before having Y failures
Drat... I used the wrong introduction for this post.. so sorry to make you guys read that... my intent on this initiative system was to remove my group's tendency to game the 'round robin effect' of typical initiative systems. My guys pay attention now.. 🙂
Very interesting and well thought out Initiative system. It seems suitable as a core mechanic for an entirely new game system. When I look at any thing like this, the first thing I like to think about is what is the objective. The basis of the Adventure System, for example, was to have a single core rules set that was transportable to various different campaigns. In this case, it appears to be a response to the style of your players. Do you intend to use it in any game that you run that has a round robin Initiative system?
I ask because it is the type of mechanic that - as you stated - has a significant "ripple" effect on the Adventure System as it would on most systems.
Scribe of the Adventure System
@scribe Thanks for the feedback. I was curious to hear what other designers thought of it. I'm experimenting with it within the Adventure System, because its easier for me to house rule on the fly and take notes of what I broke.
I put this together purely because of the way I like to GM. I try to find a balance between story telling and more traditional RPGs.
My group really loves the Adventure System character creation, how skills work, basic combat and action mechanics and the compass system too. Although this init system breaks a lot of stuff, the... cleanliness... of the Adventure System makes it easier to house rule on the fly.
I would really like to see the Adventure System be a hit, because its the first system I've found in 30 years that lets me create my vision for a campaign.
@smoothtesuji, I really appreciate your feedback as well and I am very glad you and your players are enjoying the Adventure System. We had a very clear design intent to create a system that was as simple as possible, yet allowed for wide variety of clearly defined characters, could be used for any type of campaign you can imagine, but provided enough tactical depth to reward good play while remaining cinematic.
Scribe of the Adventure System
Neat idea for Initiative, particularly how standard and complex actions would be replaced by number of actions, as I understand it. I don't know that the problem you are solving for exists in the Adventure System, though. The issue seems more borne out of hit points vs. wounds than how Initiative works.
I've seen role-playing overshadow game mechanics, but this is the first time I have seen the reverse! A strong understanding of game mechanics add skill to the game. You're not just rolling dice, you're making tactical decisions. Role-playing is equally important, though, otherwise you might as well be playing (to your point) Descent. Or Star Fleet Battles ?
Do you have a preference for rolling dice during character creation, or allocating stats and skills using a point system? I myself have terrible dice, so I prefer building to rolling.
@von-fuge I prefer point buys so a player gets to play what he/she wants.