Friday, June 17, 2011

Skill20: Initiative

A post by Greywulf got me thinking about the old-school method of determining initiative every round and how I could integrate that into Skill20.

It meant that instead of Initiative being a resource, like focus and hit points, it would just be determined every round. I had to balance how that would impact spell casters, as before initiative was pretty predictable once the fight got under way. With initiative changing every round, casting spells, especially higher level ones, became dicier. I decided this is a good thing.

I debated old-fashioned weapon speeds for about 30 seconds, then dismissed the idea. Faster weapons almost always had less reach, and I decided the two balanced each other out enough for my purposes.

Different versions of D&D have used different dice for determining initiative. In my opinion, the d20 provided too much of a swing, while a d6 would seriously hamper spell casters and make any initiative bonus a major one. I split the difference and went with a d12. I'm still debating whether to add the Alertness bonus to initiative in addition to Dexterity or in place of it. (In Skill20 Alertness is an ability score, not a feat).

After the jump is my updated combat round breakdown and sections on declarations and initiative.

Combat Round (6 seconds)
1) Declarations
2) Roll Initiative
3) Start-of-round effects applied
4) Turns by Initiative order
5) End-of-round effects applied

The players declare their actions and the GM decides on the opponents’ actions before initiative is rolled.
If an intended target is dropped, an attacker may attempt a DC 15 Skill/ALE check to switch targets. If successful, the attacker is at a -2 penalty vs. the new target, if not the action is wasted (but no focus is spent). The Skill is the one being used in the intended attack (Magic, Melee or Ranged). If a character has 10 or more ranks in the skill, a check is not required, but the penalty still applies.


At the beginning of a round each side rolls 1d12, and then each character and monsters adds their Initiative Bonus and any penalties. This is their initiative score for the round.
Any initiative below zero counts as zero. A combatant with a zero initiative may only fight defensive, gain initiative, or second wind.

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