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What would change if there was no rolling for initiative and instead, whoever had the highest bonus to initiative went first (in descending order)? The only rolling would be for determining who would go first if your modifiers were the same.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish Don't answer using comments. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 21 '16 at 18:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Answerers, keep in mind our site guidance that answers about house rules should be based on practical experience (yours or citations to others' experience), not just theorising. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 21 '16 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ What would you do about (dis)advantage or Jack of all Trades? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 22 '16 at 1:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ What are you trying to solve with this hypothetical house rule? \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Aug 22 '16 at 6:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am trying to solve my curiosity. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Teralynx Aug 22 '16 at 9:52
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Citing the Dungeon Master's Guide (p. 270), it is listed as an optional rule:

Initiative Score

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.

By cutting down on die rolls, math done on the fly, and the process of asking for and recording totals, you can speed your game up considerably—at the cost of an initiative order that is often predictable.

Essentially, you're creating tiers of initiative. The Alert feat would become exponentially more valuable as an "I always go first" ability, rather than an "I often go first" ability, as would the Barbarian's feature Feral Instinct, which would raise your passive initiative score by +5. Jack of All Trades would make Bards an excellent class for going first in battles, too. Having disadvantage on initiative would almost guarantee you went last.

Since we are using the option of rolling to determine ties, the speed benefit mentioned in the DMG is largely dependent on unique initiative scores. If you have eight combatants in the battle, and their initiatives are +0, +0, +1, +1, +2, +2, +3, +3; you will still end up rolling 8 times to determine turn order. This also means that the higher the amount of participants in the conflict, the more likely you'll have to roll initaitve anyways to break ties.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for pointing out the fact that you'd still need to roll for every same-modifier creatures. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Aug 22 '16 at 6:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ One thing I may add: You may also use the score instead of the modifiers as a tie breaker. Some monsters (and players) may have odd scores, and I think this is more often found in monster than players. \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink Aug 22 '16 at 8:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't own the DMG. I didn't know there was actually a rule pertaining to this! \$\endgroup\$ – Teralynx Aug 22 '16 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this pretty much answers my question, just gonna wait a bit more to see if someone else has anything to say. \$\endgroup\$ – Teralynx Aug 23 '16 at 2:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ You don't roll to determine the results for for ties, per the PHB. If two players tie, the players choose who goes first on that initiative count. If a player and a monster or two monsters tie, the DM chooses. The initiative count stays the same (so two players on initiative 21 decide each turn who acts first, but they both still act on initiative 21). \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Aug 23 '16 at 20:21

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