The Moment of Prescience spell grants its caster a large one-time bonus on certain types of rolls and checks. The restrictions on the rolls it can be applied to are:

...any single attack roll, opposed ability or skill check, or saving throw.

An initiative check is explicitly a Dexterity check (and therefore an ability check):

An initiative check is a Dexterity check.

It also behaves in some ways as an opposed check:

An opposed check is a check whose success or failure is determined by comparing the check result to another character’s check result.

However, initiative checks are not explicitly called out as being opposed checks, and some of the wording for opposed checks does not fit (because initiative checks don't exactly succeed or fail):

In an opposed check, the higher result succeeds, while the lower result fails. In case of a tie, the higher skill modifier wins.

Can the bonus from Moment of Prescience be applied to an initiative check?


1 Answer 1


Moment of Prescience does not apply to Initiative checks

While initiative checks might resemble opposed checks, they do not have a "success or failure" depending on your roll, they merely determine the order in which you act. As such, it does not fit the definition of an opposed check, and thus Moment of Prescience does not apply.

There is some debate on this

This interpretation depends on whether or not an initiative check can "succeed" or "fail", and there is an argument to be made that the objective of an initiative check is to move before your opponents, rather than merely establishing the order in which people act.

The reason it does not seem to apply is because initiative is not a binary affair - even if you "fail" at going first, you may still roll decent and go second.

There is no further official clarification than that already presented, which seems to be open to interpretation. The most definitive word I could find from "official" sources is a third-hand account from an e-mail from Andy Collins (then-Sage on 3.5) here:

I agree with your reasoning and do not believe an initiative check is an opposed check.

Initiative checks don't have "success" or "failure"--going first in combat isn't a "successful" initiative check, it's just a result.


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