After combat has started will changes to your DEX stat (sufficent to change your dex bonus) change your initiative score?


Wizard Bob sees a goblin approaching and initiative is rolled; the goblin gets 10 and bob gets 9. The goblin closes and Bob casts Cat's Grace giving him +4 dex and therefore increasing his dex bonus by 2.

Is Bob's initiative now 11?

Interested in answers for both 3.5 and Pathfinder (but suspect the answer is the same)


3 Answers 3


No, initiative is used only to determine the initial order.

Initiative Checks: At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll. Characters act in order, counting down from highest result to lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see Special Initiative Actions).

Your initiative is a check; one made at the beginning of combat. A later increase to dexterity no more alters your place in initiative than a change in strength alters the attacks or damage rolls you made the previous round.

And delaying or readying an action will change when in combat you go -- it really is just a check to see in what order everyone acts, and there is no special significance to the particular number after that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Funny, I would say, "Yes, but the initiative is used only to determine the initial order". Whether the Initiative modifier is changed doesn't really have an impact until the next Initiative Check, in which case it would use the new value. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 11, 2012 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, within the context of the question "initiative" clearly means initiative count, not modifier. The text in the SRD is actually a little bit unclear here -- only the rules for delay and ready mention an "initiative count". \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 11, 2012 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added a link to Special Initiative Actions, since I had to look that up to be sure that "having my Dex change" didn't count as one. (It doesn't, as @starwed suggests.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Fry
    Apr 13, 2017 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JeffFry But it does... It's not a special initiative action, but it does satisfy "unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing"... \$\endgroup\$ Apr 14, 2017 at 20:32

I'm not aware of any mention of this in the rules, so this answer is an answer sourced from my judgement.

No, it has no effect on your initiative.

Initiative in combat is a measure of who acts first at the beginning of combat. You roll once in combat for initiative, and then it's done. Your turn order in the middle of combat isn't based on your initiative modifier, it's based on that what happened in that first round.

Being weakened in combat doesn't retroactively affect who got the first shots in five minutes ago. Your initiative isn't affected by being knocked out then regaining consciousness, or being bound up with rope and effectively taken out of the fight altogether, and those are both things which should affect your initiative much more than just being weakened.

Since initiative is something that happened at the beginning of combat, anything which might modify a person's initiative modifier during combat has no affect on their turn order or their initiative. Their initiative has already been had, so there's nothing to modify anymore.


Dexterity is a measure of your speed and reaction time, if you get a magical boost to that (such as fron Cats Grace) it only stands to reason that you'd move a bit faster. I should point out that even assuming your initiative does change, it doesn't matter after the first round it changes. Goblin goes, then it's your go and you cast your spell, next round and now you're in the lead so you go, then goblin goes. Nothing really changed, the turn order is still essentially goblin>you>goblin>you since you didn't attack or defend or heal on your turn, it's as if you never got te extra action. If you could do this as a move action, such as with the Urban Barbarian's 'controlled rage' power, that boosts his Dex as a move action, then it becomes potent, as you'd get two attacks the round you rage, and your opponent would get two attacks if you ended it. Effectively, that is, because of the shift in initiative order, not literally.

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    – mxyzplk
    Aug 21, 2013 at 21:52

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