I was kind of struggling for a title for a post about initiative.
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away – some of us dropped that gawd-awful initiative system from 1E and went to a d10 system – but not the almost as bad stupid one from 2E. So when I started up running AD&D again I went back to “good version” – and I actually tweaked it again because I thought about it fixed a couple of problems in the continual drive towards “simpler and more evocative” – and I have some serious thanks for KB, who contributed some of the rules for two-weapon fighting from games he’s played previously.
Here it is, in all of it’s simplicity – NOTE: There are four “phases” of a combat round: Declaration, Pre-Rounds, The (Main) Round, and Post-Rounds and characters all roll individually – monsters I tend to roll in easy to figure out groups and only try to keep track of special NPC’s (leaders, spellcasters, etc) individually.
- Declaration: Players must declare attacks, spellcasting, movement, modes of attack, parrying, other actions, etc. and then roll Initiative.
- Pre-Rounds: This is a for the “faster than fast” – Specialized Archers Opportunity Attacks, Weapons of Quickness, the first attack for creatures under a Haste spell, etc. These attacks or actions are simultaneous.
- The (Main) Round: This is a time frame of one minute made up of 10 segments of 6 seconds apiece. All normal combat and spell-casting occurs during this phase, and Initiative is rolled to determine when actions occur. Other actions, unless determined by the DM, occurring on or start occurring on rolled Initiative. In the event of simultaneous Initiatives, another d10 is rolled (no modifiers) and lowest roll goes first – a tie results in truly simultaneous actions.
- Post-Rounds: This is the time frame, when “slow” things occur. Some of unwieldy Great Weapons attack in Post-rounds, some Zombies attack in Post-Rounds, people trying to move and attack without charging into combat tend to attack in Post-Rounds. These acts or attacks are simultaneous.
Any character may move one of four ways:
- Charge into physical combat with a target with a Full Move on their Initiative (1d10, modified for Dexterity)
- Take a Half-Move and attack as normal in Post-Rounds.
- Take up to a Full Move on their Initiative but they may not engage with any target voluntarily.
- May take a Quarter-Move, Opportunity move by sacrificing an attack.
- Example 1: Dexterity 16 (-1 Initiative): The character decides to Charge into combat, the players rolls a 2 on the d10, so the character charges and attacks on Segment 1 after a Full Move.
- Example 2: Dexterity 18 (-3 Initiative): The character is Invisible and decides to try and sneak around the target for an even more effective Backstab attack. The player rolls a 5, and takes a Half-Move on Segment 2, and then is allowed an attack in Post-Rounds.
Psionic Attacks and Defences occur during the (Main) Phase, only a single attack may be made unless the character wishes to “trance out” in which case they may attack every segment (as long as Psionic Attack Strength lasts). Attacks on tranced characters may attempt for surprise with a bonus of +6 to the roll.
Psionic Minor Disciplines, Major Sciences, and Grand Arts take effect in Pre-Rounds – unless contingent upon other effects (e.g. Energy Control).
For Melee and Missile Combat:
If using a single weapon, roll 1d10, use the standard Initiative modifiers for Dexterity (and anything else), but modify down, towards 1. You cannot modify to go before 1. All attacks occur in that segment.
- Example: Dexterity 18 (-3 to Initiative). Players rolls a 7 on the d10, that character attacks in Segment 4.
If using dual weapons, roll a 1d6 for the primary weapon, and use the standard Initiative modifiers for Dexterity (and anything else), but again modifying down towards 1 (and again, you are unable to modify below 1). Then roll a 1d4 and add it initiative for the primary weapon – that is the Initiative for the secondary weapon. All attacks for each weapon occur in the segment in which it attacks.
- Example: Dexterity 17 (-2 to Initiative). Player rolls a 4 on the d6, the primary weapon attacks in Segment 2. The character rolls a 1 on the d4 and the secondary weapon attacks on Segment 3.
Subtract the casting time (in segments) of the Spell from 10. Roll 1d10 and modify as if in Melee combat. If the resulting number is lower, the spell-casting starts in that segment – otherwise the spell goes off at the end of segment ten and starts in the original segment.. If damaged during spell-casting the spell is ruined, it is lost if a saving throw vs. spell is failed.
- Example: Dexterity 12 (no modifier). The spellcaster is casting a 3 segment spell, and the player rolls a 5 on the d10. Since a 5 is lower than a (10-3) 7, the spellcaster starts casting in Segment 5, and the spell goes off at the end of Segment 7.
All in all, a pretty simple and unified system.