Sorry if it seems like a stupid question but I'm genuinely confused. On Page 62 of the core rule book it says:

Once the fight has begun, if a combatant wishes to do something else besides fight – run away, jump up on the sideboard for a tactical advantage, throw a grenade – they move immediately to the last position in the ranking order as they turn to expose their vulnerable back to the foe, shake off the adrenaline, fumble for the pin, or whatever.

Does this mean that if you chose to do something other than fight, you first go to the end of the ranking (initiative) order and when it's your turn again you perform your action?


Does it mean that you perform your action and THEN go to the bottom of the ranking order?


You drop to the bottom of the initiative order

Deciding to take a non-standard action in combat has the mechanical effect of letting others act first (with flavor hinted at, e.g. "fumbling for the pin", or exposing one's back).

I think the key phrase here is "if the combatant wishes to do something else" (my emphasis). In other words it's one's intention that changes their place in the initiative order.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It's the word "immediately" that gets me. I like your wording of "the mechanical effect..." That really cleared it up for me. \$\endgroup\$ – pullsumo Mar 7 '14 at 22:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have support for this from ToC or another GUMSHOE game? \$\endgroup\$ – gomad Mar 8 '14 at 23:35

This depends on your reading of 'immediately'. I personally think that as moving to the bottom of the ranking order is mentioned as a consequence of a combatant wishing to do something else besides fight the action will be taken at the bottom of the ranking order. This also makes more sense regards to the description - if I'm slowed by shaking off the adrenaline, that would mean I take longer to perform the action, but it doesn't work so well if I take the action then become slowed, at least in my opinion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That makes sense. You wouldn't do something first and THEN become slowed down. \$\endgroup\$ – pullsumo Mar 7 '14 at 22:39

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