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Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Lost Tables. 


A small chapter this time, as my health is slowly restoring, yet still fragile.I hope to be healthy enough soon to bring more D&D compilations from obscure and forgotten sources.

This time I bring Initiative.

About Initiative not a lot is spoken in the D&D Rulebooks, sometimes here and there between some other sources, but until now nowhere all in one single location.
In the Rules Encyclopedia (page 102) the following order is given for determining the combat order:

Combat Sequence Checklist

A. Initiative: Each side rolls Id6 to determine initiative.The DM rolls 1d6 for the NPCs; one player rolls 1d6 for the player characters. The side that rolls the highest number acts first. In case of a tie, all action this round is simultaneous. However, even when initiative is simultaneous, the steps of the combat sequence occur in order.

B. First Side Goes: The side that won the initiative acts first.
1. Morale (Optional): Monsters and  NPCs roll Morale Checks. Also, anyone who needs to make a saving throw vs. an ongoing effect does so now.
2. Movement: Characters who choose to move do so now.

3. Missile Combat: Characters using missile and thrown weapons make their attacks.
a. They choose their targets,
b. They make their attack rolls,
c. They roll damage for any successful hits.

4. Magic: Characters using magic cast their spells.
a. They choose their targets,
b. Their targets roll saving throws if appropriate. £
c. The DM applies the results.

5. Hand-to-Hand Combat: Characters fighting hand-to-hand make their attacks.
a. They choose their targets,
b. They make their attack rolls,
c. They roll damage for any successful hits.

C. Second Side Goes: The side that lost the initiative acts now, performing the same five steps.

D. Special Results: The DM announces any special results.

The group that wins the initiative gets to act first. Note that the group that wins the initiative does not have to attack. The players and the DM should decide based on the circumstances whether the characters wish to talk, move around, run away, or attack. Likewise, the monsters will decide, based on the situation they see—and their ability to interpret it, and their customary behavior—what they will do when they win initiative. Some will have no interest in fighting. Some, territorial, will warn the PC's away from their lairs but not attack unless they are intruded upon. Some will trade or exchange information; some will merely attack. 

Initiative and Multiple Attacks
If a monster that wins initiative has more than one attack, it will get all of its attacks before the player characters can act. If a high level character with multiple attacks wins the initiative, he gets to make all his attacks before the other side gets to move. 

If each side rolls the same number for initiative, then all the action happens at once; the actions are "simultaneous," and neither side wins the initiative. In a round where things are happening simultaneously, every character and monster who chose to attack gets to roll all his attacks. Even if one character's attacks killed an opponents, the opponent gets to roll his attacks because they're taking place simultaneously. Characters who chose to run will do so. If another character chose to attack the runner, he gets to make his attack. If the attack misses or fails to kill the runner, the runner gets his full
Characters who chose to talk get a few words into what they meant to say before violence erupts (assuming that violence does erupt; perhaps everyone wanted to talk!). All the characters who decided to attack or run do so, and then the character who chose to talk can attack or run as he chose . . . after everyone else has gone.

Dexterity Adjustments (Optional)
At the DM's option, a character's Dexterity can modify his individual initiative roll, according to the Bonuses and Penalties for Ability Scores. A character's bonus to individual initiative does not affect the party's roll in group initiative.

Yet most Players use the simpler method from older D&D sources as given here.
Most DM's or Plsyers seem to prefer to use "individual initiative." With this sort of initiative, every player rolls 1d6 for his own character, and the DM rolls 1d6 for every monster or NPC involved in the encounter. It otherwise operates the same way as normal initiative. Even when a DM prefers group initiative, he may prefer to use individual initiative in combat rounds where the two sides tied their group initiative roll.

Individual Combat Sequence Checklist

A. Individual Initiative: .Every player rolls 1d6 for his character; the DM rolls a separate ld6 for each monster or NPC. High rolls go first in the round. In case of a tie,the DM decides (in general) to apply both effects simultaneously, or the tied parties roll again, high roll going first, until all ties are resolved. The DM sometimes may decide in cases of large amounts of Monsters or NPC's to use Group Initiative on groups within the Force. (Rolling individual initiative for 20 or more foes is nasty to keep order in without making mistakes).

B. First Character (Monster, PC or NPC) Goes: The  Character(s) that won the initiative act first.
1. Morale (Optional): Monsters and PCs roll Morale Checks. Also, anyone who needs to make a saving throw vs. an ongoing effect does so now.
2. Movement: Characters who choose to move do so now.

3. Action: Characters using missile and thrown weapons make their attacks. Characters using magic begin casting their spells.
a. They choose their targets,
b. They make their needed dice rolls for attack, ,
c. They roll damage for any successful hits.Their targets roll saving throws if appropriate.
4. The DM applies the results.

C. Next character(s) Go: The next lower in the initiative acts now, performing the same steps.

D. Special Results: The DM announces any special results.

Initiative adjustments

I am going to speak primarily about the individual Initiative here.
For game simplicity multiple attacks always take effect in the same initiative segment.Some DM's may impose a penalty of 1 initistive segment on each following mutiple weapon attack, but this is NOT advised. As a character under the influence of Haste  magic doubles his or her speed and actionsm,, making this a terrible feat to keep tracvk of. So please keep multiple attacks on the same moment.
There are many ways individual intitiative is to be adjusted. For instance the use of magic has great affects on it. To activate a spell from memory, scroll or item always takes an amount of time. 
When the character is hit (does not need to have taken damage, or his senses are disturbed, the desired magical effect will be disturbed, and will NOT take place. 
Spells memorized or cast from scrolls may even become lost and not to be used again. Magic from Items however, may be used the next option again so long as it has not been tampered with (damaged, lost, dropped, Taken away, etc).
The casting of magic from mind, scroll, or other source takes time. Where not given, simply use the level as the spell as the initiative modifier, where known (in AD&D, and other sources spells are mostly listed with a casting time, either from mind or from scroll. The Clerical spells can be found in my compilation book Pages of Virtue).
To know if a spell cast (from scroll or from mind is lost in such a case the caster rolls an intelligence (or wisdom in the case of clerical magic) check penalized by the level of the spell. if the roll failed the magic is released in some way and is gone as if it were cast (the spell is lost from memory or gone from the scroll). This can be without effects, with minor effects, or great effects. (the DM may use the next optional determine this, or simply decide that nothing further happens..

Initiative is also influenced by the size of a creature, its experience with using an ability (high Hit Dics are more apt in using an ability.), and speed of the affected character(monster, PC, or NPC alike).
This can be seen in the table.All statistics are from D&D Rulebooks compiled togeter (Rules Encyclopedia, BECMI Books, and Drahon Magazine articles. Others are drawn from AD&D sources (as no one was found in D&D, yet still mentioned somewhere to be needed)

Important note;
A round is 10 seconds, but initiative is rolled on a 1d6, each initiative segment is a 1/6th of these 10 seconds.Each penalty or bonus is in effect an initiative segment lost or gained.
Thus a character that rolls a 6 on initiative acts first, if he or she uses a wand he or she finishes on initiative  3 (6-3) but starts on initiative 6!
In some cases initiative bonusses are gained, The affected character acts then from that moment. A Tiny sized character (like a pixy) rolls a 5 on initiative, meaning that it can move or physically attack on initiative 7(5+2). thisis so fast that it supercedes all initiatives below this number.
In case of that a character is under the influence of a Haste spell oor Speed effect (from potion), he gains another moment of action. one placed as a bonus on his initiative, another as a penalty. This means a character which drunk a haste potion and rolled an initiative of 3, can act on initiative  4 and 2. this means he can make two attacks or a move and an attack or two moves.
In the case of drinking a Speed potion AND a Haste spell influence, the character can make 4 actions.

One important note to magic use under the effect of haste or slow magic is that magic is intensily fragile, and needs to be cast in the normal timeframe. this means a caster must adjust his casting speed from his current speed back to normal, a Slowed caster must act faster to cast a spell, a hasted character must act slower. This means that the vocal components always are as normal. when not (slowed caster lower bass vocals, hasted caster rapid high vocals), the spell fails.To adjust this the caster must make an intelligence or wisdom check (depending on the type of magic; Magic-user or clerical) of -2 for each haste/slow effect affecting the caster. Of course a Slow and Haste effect together dispell eachother.

Enjoy and have lots of fun!!


  1. As always, thank you for your contributions! My life is turning upside down but I'm thinking it will actually result in me being able to work on D&D stuff more.

    1. Thanx. More interresting stuff will come soon (at least as my health is permitting). One completevadventure I wrote for Gencon eurochampionships 1995 or so will come uo. Keep an Eye out on Revenge of the Little Ones.
      Have fun and don't forget to turn y'rself upright again ;)