If you’re new to my project, Chasing the Dragon, you may want to read an introduction here.
I need your input on my first house rule.
Now this may surprise you, as I’ve never even played a session of AD&D yet. Not as a GM. Not as a player. Never.
Now I’ve played 4e extensively and the 5e playtest. I’ve played the FFG Star Wars RPG extensively, as well as FIASCO, Pathfinder, and the Mouse Guard RPG. I’ve played an RPG or two, but I’m certainly no expert.
So please answer my question, oh experienced grognards of the first edition!
Is the following rule going to work well, while keeping the spirit of the game in tact?
So here we go.
The reasoning for the rule
Well, the reason is simple. The initiative rules don’t make any freaking sense. They seem to at first–“Roll a d6 for each party at the beginning of each round? No problem!” But it’s not that simple. Ooooh, no. You see, that doesn’t really apply to magic-users. And then characters with multiple attacks are all screwy. Beyond that, you can see a list of all the complications here.
In the end, OSRIC (a reprinting and streamlining of the AD&D rules) basically made up their own initiative system that (1) seems loosely based on how initiative works for magic-users and (2) ignores weapon speed altogether. If OSRIC thinks there’s a problem with the initiative system, there’s probably a problem.
What is weapon speed, the uninitiated ask? Basically, it’s a rating given to weapons to tell how quickly a person is able to strike with it. There’s no precise timing given to each rating, but a fist (1) is faster than a dagger (2) is faster than a broadsword (5). The way the weapon speed is applied relates to initiative, but is generally convoluted and too confusing for anyone to actually use on the fly.
In the end, OSRIC’s rule is not bad. I just don’t like that weapon speed is taken completely out of the picture. Nevertheless, I don’t want the process to be as complicated as the DMG makes it. So here’s my attempt at a solution…
The rule – examples will be typed in blue
- Xd6 are rolled, X representing the number of parties participating in the conflict. It helps if dice are differently colored to denote various parties. Parties with lower dice scores may act earlier in combat.
- 2d6 are rolled. The heroes’ die equals 2. The enemy’s die equals 6. The heroes will go earlier in combat, because their die is lower. For example:For example:
- The party with the lowest-scoring die may begin acting in the first segment of combat. [Again, for the uninitiated, each combat round is divided up into 10 six-second segments]For example:For example:For example:
- Other parties may begin acting after a number of segments has passed equal to the difference between the two initiative dice. Using our example from step 1, observe:
- The heroes may begin acting in the first segment of combat, because their die roll is lowest. The enemy may not begin acting until the fifth round, after four rounds have passed. This is because the difference between 6 and 2 is four.
- Here is a quick-hand way to remember. If the two dice are rolled and placed in numeric order (2, 6), it is easy to mentally adjust and realize that the first party goes in the first round, while the second party goes in the fifth round.For example:For example:For example:For example:For example:For example:
- As parties begin acting, they are limited by the various actions which they are attempting to do. In addition to the rules in the DMG and PHB, here are some clarifications/changes:
- Spell casting time indicates the number of segments necessary to cast a spell. If the enemy group may begin in the fifth segment, the enemy magic-user may attack a hero with a Magic Missile (casting speed 1). The spell will conclude at the end of the fifth segment. For example:For example:For example:
- In the same fashion as casting speed, weapon speed indicates the number of segments necessary to complete an attack. If the enemy, starting its turn in the fifth segment, seeks to attack a hero with a footman’s mace (speed factor 7), the attack will not be completed until the end of the eleventh segment (meaning the first segment of the next round).
For For example:For example:For example:
What this means practically is that weapons with a speed factor of 6+ run a risk of delay into the next round due to poor initiative.For example:For example:For example:For example:For example:
- Dexterity attacking adjustment (PHB, p. 11) affects how quickly a PC may discharge a missile (DMG, p. 63) or hurl a grenade-like missile (DMG, p. 64). If the enemy, having an initiative that begins in the fifth segment, seeks to fire a volley of arrows, but has a Dexterity attacking adjustment of +3, it is able to fire arrows in the second segment of combat. However, if it had a Dexterity attacking adjustment of -3, it would not be able to fire arrows until the eighth segment.For example:For example:For example:
- If a character’s Dexterity attacking adjustment would delay until after the tenth segment, the attack is delayed until the appropriate segment in the next round.If a character’s Dexterity attacking adjustment would cause the attack to precede the first segment of a round, the character not only shoots first in the first segment, but he/she also receives a “to hit” bonus equal to the number of missing initiative rounds. If the hero, starting her turn in the first segment, seeks to fire a volley of arrows, but has a Dexterity attacking adjustment of +2, she fires first in the first segment with a +2 bonus “to hit.”For example:For example:For example:For example:For example:For example:
- Characters may charge 1 hex per segment with their attack occurring in the following segment. Players may not charge more than their maximum speed. Charges do not take weapon speed into account.
I need your input
I think this will not only clarify the rules in a way that retains weapon speed, I think it will play smoothly. Not to mention, it may give early level magic users a little bit of protection by delaying some of those weapons.
Regardless, what do I know? I’ve never played before! I need your help, so please RT and pass this around. I want as much feedback as I can get. Tweet me at @wood_jasond or sound off in the comments below!