I've been starting to theorize the following concept: a player who would... never... roll dice... ever. Not in combat, not elsewhere. No dice. Literally. But I have come across a major obstacle: Initiative.

Now, I've been thinking: perhaps that roll-averse player could get himself a Diviner friend to give him Portents as Initiative rolls? But I'd rather not rely on that, since a Diviner has so few Portents per day, and probably will want to use them for other purposes.

So... Is there a way, other than having a Diviner friend, for a player to avoid rolling Initiative at the start of a combat?

If, somehow, there was a way to become proficient in Initiative rolls, then the Rogue's Reliable Talent could be used to avoid rolling for Initiative, but I don't know if there is one.

If, somehow, there was a magic item to replace an ability check roll by a certain number (like the Clockwork Amulet does for attack rolls), that could solve the problem as well, but again, I don't know if there is one.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "never... roll dice... ever" — so what do you do when a DM asks you "make a X check"? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: "What abilities allow me to reroll or replace die rolls?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's the passive initiative Q&A I was thinking of. If not a dupe, heavily related. Does that answer your question? No magic item needed ... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast You know, I now feel like a major imbecile, since the question you linked has been asked by... me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:56

3 Answers 3


With the "Initiative Score" initiative variant you don't need to roll dice:

With this optional rule, creature don't roll initiative at the start of combat. Instead, each creature has an initiative score, which is a passive Dexterity check: 10 + Dexterity modifier.

However, it's a Variant rule, so your DM has to explicitly allow this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This may likely be the only way to achieve this, and I will probably accept your answer soon. However, if you manage to find a non-Variant way to achieve this as well, I will give you a significant Bounty as a reward ! \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL could you please elaborate, how do you manage attack rolls with this character? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't know why you're asking here, but either the character would use saving throw spells instead of attack rolls, or would rely on several Clockwork Amulets. It's difficult, but not impossible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:09

Potentially, becoming a mount would work

The rules on "Controlling a Mount" state:

A willing creature that is at least one size larger than you and that has an appropriate anatomy can serve as a mount, using the following rules...
Intelligent creatures, such as dragons, act independently.
You can control a mount only if it has been trained to accept a rider. Domesticated horses, donkeys, and similar creatures are assumed to have such training.

This would require that we first not be an intelligent creature. This can be achieved through a spell such as feeblemind which states:

On a failed save, the creature's Intelligence and Charisma scores become 1...

Unfortunately that would require you to make a save, but that is not part of the scope of this answer.

It would also require that we (the PC) have been trained to accept a rider. Perhaps this is doable by your DM through training or downtime.
If not one other potential option is to have shapechange cast on us, which has the following text:

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them, provided that your new form is physically capable of doing so. ..

If we were transformed into a donkey or horse or similar creature this may qualify us as having the training to be a mount. It would also grant us the appropriate anatomy of a mount.

And now for the entire reason we want to be a mount at all:

The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it...

Unfortunately it says that the mount's initiative changes to match the rider's, which perhaps implies that the mount must already have an initiative, but whether this is truly the case would be up to your GM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it would work. Intelligent mounts aren't controllable (dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/combat#MountedCombat). Still a fun idea. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is for mounts controlled by the character, not for any creature that happens to sit on top of another creature \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I have just asked this question about the "changes" part -- whether an already controlled mount still requires to roll initiative or not : rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/153645/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:29

Just don't ever participate in combat

Per the Initiative rule:

When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order.

So, you only make Dexterity checks for initiative when you participate in a combat. What exactly it means to "participate" isn't particularly well-defined (and has led to many other questions), but presumably with this crazy concept you've got a pretty accommodating DM anyway. If you're willing to never lift a finger (or… a die?), and just sit out of the way when violence is upon you, if I were DM I wouldn't force you to make an initiative check. But you'd also have to accept that you'd never get a turn in combat either, and would have to accept that if somebody hit you you'd just be taking the damage.

(Yes, this answer is substantially tongue-in-check.)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You could probably have ended that first sentence before "in combat." :P \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 19:44

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