INITIATIVE and TURNS - my modest hack


OK, so I hate tracking initiative and I love Hank’s call to arms about sharing the spotlight. But I also love that moment of die-rolling fun that “roll for initiative” inspires. So here’s the little hack I’ve been using at my table:

*Start each segment of a session - combat, social encounter, exploration, downtime - with an initiative roll.
*Highest roll goes first.
*Play goes around the table away from the lowest roll - either clockwise or counterclockwise from there.
*If there’s an odd number of people at the table, and the lowest roll is the “man in the middle,” i.e. it doesn’t matter which way play progresses, go toward the 2nd highest roll.
*When the next segment begins, rinse & repeat.
*Between rolls STAY IN TURN ORDER

“But there is no derived stat for initiative in ICRPG!” you might say. True. I considered and rejected following D&D and basing on DEX. I didn’t like skewing things in favor of a nimble rogue vs a quick-witted mage. Then I thought, just let the player choose what stat to use, but what’s the point if everyone is rocking a similar bonus? I considered basing it on the situation, i.e. for a social encounter, roll using your CHA bonus. But ultimately I settled on the more egalitarian straight d20 roll - HARD if you’re stunned, drugged, asleep and EASY if you’re on watch or prepared.

This way we get to roll initiative 3-5 times in a typical session. Highest and lowest roll both have consequences. I don’t track initiative. Everyone knows when their turn is coming up. Spotlight moves around the table equally. I can have spells, items, conditions, situations that buff or nerf the initiative roll.



Sounds like a great way to scratch all the itches :slight_smile:


Great idea. Sometimes when we play, we use a more simplified version. Whenever we hit a new room, everyone rolls a straight d20 for initiative. We keep the turn order the same; it’s just that the winner gets to lead off for that room.


That’s what I’ve been using to decide whether the players or the DM (me) get to go first in combat.