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Questions tagged [initiative]

The rules governing the order of action in turn-based combat systems.

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How high can a PC's initiative bonus get?

Usually, most PCs rely solely on their Dexterity ability score modifier for their initiative; however, there are ways to get bonuses to initiative. How high can this bonus get? For example, there's ...
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2answers
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Can I use Assassination twice if I use it before combat initiative? [closed]

In my game I'm playing as a assassin rogue and I have just reached level three. My question is if I attack something in my understanding I get my assassination feature. If we then roll initiative and ...
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4answers
411 views

Can players decide at the start of combat what order to act in when planning an attack on a known enemy?

What keeps a player from deliberately planning their own initiative action themselves by choosing to act in a predefined sequence and waiting until a monster has acted? If all the players do this, ...
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3answers
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Is initiative order affected by a player volunteering to begin combat? [duplicate]

In the campaign I run, it is frequently the case that one player will make an attack against an unsurprised enemy to start combat. For example: DM: "At the end of the long hall, you see a large ...
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14answers
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How to break the “Death Loop” resulting from unfortunate initiative order

In a recent session, an encounter with a single particularly tough Orc (who was my doppelganger, trying to kill me) left the party dealing chip damage a few rounds at a time while they attempted to ...
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3answers
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Is it possible to repeatedly give someone else the Help Action for an eventual Initiative roll?

Let's say Bob really wants Fred to act quickly for an eventual fight which they feel will come soon. Can Bob repeatedly give Fred the Help Action for his eventual Initiative roll ("Stay focused! Stay ...
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2answers
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How do I have creatures move in formation?

Here's the scenario. A group of 4 adventurers move into a room of 5 highly trained kobolds who employ group tactics. Their main strategy is shield walls with kobold-sized pikes. They try to form up ...
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2answers
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For creatures animated using Animate Dead spell, whose initiative do they act on?

Regarding the initiative of creatures animated by the use of the animate dead spell. Is it correct that if there is more than one creature, they share the same initiative? Or can they just be ...
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0answers
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Who attacks first in a battle of Readied Attacks? [duplicate]

This question is best illustrated in an abridged example: Combat has already begun and a goblin sees a Paladin on his noble steed. He readies an attack on this trigger: When the Paladin enters my ...
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1answer
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How is initiative affected by dice pool modifiers?

Initiative rolls do not generate hits, so how are the dice pool modifiers from sustained spells subtracted?
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Is this alternative initiative house-rule balanced?

As a fairly new DM, one thing that has commonly occurred in my sessions so far is my PC's starting combat outside of initiative. For example after a telepathic conversation with a Nothic was going ...
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2answers
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If an attack alerts someone to your presence, can their initiative save them from being surprised in time?

In D&D 5e "Surprise" is a condition that can affect a creature during the first round of combat, only until the end of their turn: [... T]he GM compares the Dexterity (Stealth) checks of anyone ...
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1answer
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Deferred Initiative Breaching A Shut Door [duplicate]

If the party rolls but our first man through is not first in order, may the other characters defer their spot to follow the tank in and proceed with their turns? Or would they just have to skip their ...
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3answers
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When exactly does combat start and surprise take effect?

So say I'm going to ambush an orc. I successfully sneak up on him and I attack. The DM determines that the orc is surprised. The orc happens to get an initiative roll of 19, while I get a 10. How ...
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4answers
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How can I solve burst damage problem when rolling group initiative?

Problem The PHB states, at p. 189 The DM makes one roll for an entire group of identical creatures, so each member of the group acts at the same time. Honestly, I usually ignored this one, except ...
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5answers
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How does combat start when one PC is not seen as a threat?

Imagine a party of four - three honest characters standing face to face against three evil bandits, one sly, backstabbing type some 30 ft behind the bandits' backs; the bandits may know he's there, ...
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1answer
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How does armor affect initiative?

I just couldn't find simply answer to my question: When my characters is wearing heavy armor like chain mail, can he still get modifier to initiative from DEX or not? I'm not sure wearing heavy ...
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0answers
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Engaging combat from dialogue [duplicate]

This was one of my shower thoughts: what if someone from the party engages in combat out of a whim? Example: There is a 4 player party (classes does't matter right now) against a wizard and his ...
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1answer
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Does Rakish Audacity improve or change your Initiative bonus?

The Swashbuckler Rogue's Rakish Audacity (found in Xanathar's Guide to Everything) says: You can give yourself a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your Charisma modifier. Is this meant to ...
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3answers
1k views

When does a target respond to social interactions in battle?

Suppose we meet a patrol of three hostile goblins. The DM already called for initiatives. On the first round of combat, my turn comes first, and I decide to bribe the goblins to leave us alone. The ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Can a druid's “Giant Insect” attack immediately upon casting?

The level 4 Druid spell "Giant Insect" reads, in part: You transform [some arthropods] into giant versions of their natural forms... A centipede becomes a giant centipede [etc.]. Each ...
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4answers
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How do creatures moving on the same initiative handle the effects of Sleep and Hypnotic Pattern?

Imagine a small group of goblins moving on the same initiative that are hit by hypnotic pattern. When one goblin that was not affected uses its action (or an attack) to wake its ally that failed the ...
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1answer
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Can Moment of Prescience be applied to an initiative check?

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, ...
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What is the proper use of initiative for a cautious encounter?

I DMed a specific situation last night, and I'm not totally sure that I handled it in the right way. For the last two sessions, the team has been facing off against a clever homebrew wraith (less ...
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2answers
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How Does Assassinate Work when Reinforcing a Fight that has already started?

The Rogue Assassin sub-class has the Assassinate ability as its first subclass feature at 3rd Level, with text that reads: Starting at 3rd level, you are at your deadliest when you get the drop on ...
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1answer
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Does Passive Initiative exist (can it be used instead of rolling for Initiative)?

Initiative is an ability check. From what I understand, a DM may ask his players to use Passive scores for ability checks and/or use them for his NPCs (ex: Passive Perception). Is Passive Initiative ...
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1answer
662 views

If a character delays on their first turn in combat, are they still flat-footed?

Characters are generally flat-footed until their first turn in combat. However, the “special initiative action” delay allows you to take no action and then act normally on whatever initiative count ...
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4answers
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Holding an NPC at knifepoint vs quick draw

Suppose a PC walks into a room to find Evil Guy #1 holding Good Guy #1 with a knife to his throat. EG immediately says, "Don't move at all, or I kill him!" The player of the PC then tells me, the DM, "...
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0answers
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In combat, what can change the order or value of initiatives? [duplicate]

I'm wondering if there is something that can modify initiatives in combat, something like "Slow" or "Haste" spell (they do completely different things, though). I'm thinking something that can add +5 ...
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22answers
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Need way to physically track initiative in face-to-face D&D game

Just DM'd my first ever non-online game. We had an absolute blast, 10/10 would play again, but keeping track of initiative in combat was terrible. I had chosen to just list their character names (and ...
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0answers
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Who goes first on tied readied action? [duplicate]

PCs and enemies were on two sides of a closed door. Both parties readied actions in case someone opens the door - mostly attacking whoever is on the other side. Finally one enemy opened the door and ...
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2answers
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What rule(s) apply to duration and maintaining effects in relation to changing Initiative?

After reading over similar questions about 5e, I realized I don't really know how duration and resource cost is affected by Delaying Initiative. Examples: Spell effects, such as 'buffs' Conditions ...
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1answer
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Can you choose to delay rolling your initiative?

This is a follow-up to this question, specifically to that answer. I understand the concern of wreaking havoc on the duration of spells and other effects by delaying your turn at will in the ...
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3answers
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How should modifiers work for the Side Initiative variant?

The Side Initiative variant in the DMG (pg 270) states that both sides in a combat roll a d20 for initiative with no modifiers. I think the stated exclusion of modifiers was primarily for ...
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1answer
265 views

Can a character purposefully delay his position in the initiative order? [duplicate]

Many actions in combat (like making an enemy fall prone), can give an edge to your teammates (in this case, melee advantage) until the enemy's turn (in this case, he would get back up to end the ...
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1answer
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Can leaving and returning to an encounter make you roll a new initiative? [closed]

Several features, like a Level 15 Battle Master's "Relentless", give one or more bonuses (in this case, a superiority die if you have none left) at the initiative roll of an encounter. My question is ...
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1answer
244 views

When does Summon Monster cast in the Surprise Round finish?

If I begin casting Summon Monster in the surprise round, and I win initiative, can I finish the spell at the beginning of round 1?
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2answers
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Is it possible to delay an action to a later initiative turn?

In our AD&D 2e campaign we first roll for initiative and then, according to the roll, announce our actions. The actions each get resolved before the next person has their go. (This might actually ...
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2answers
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How effective is the Reactionary trait? [closed]

First, I'm pretty sure that you can't really calculate how good an attack bonus is without knowing an opponent's AC. If that logic holds true, then we can't specifically calculate how good a +2 ...
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4answers
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Can a PC target the monster with the highest initiative?

One of my players just started a combat (having the highest initiative overall) by saying that he wanted to target the monster having the highest initiative. Can he do that ? Isn't that pure ...
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2answers
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How many times per round does Hero's Beacon affect Tiamat?

In the final encounter of Scales of War, each of Tiamat's heads gets its own initiative (on 45, 40, 35, 30, and 25) and can use one standard and one minor action. (If she wants to move, one head must ...
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1answer
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When does Flaming Sphere do its damage if the caster delays?

This came up recently, our wizard cast Flaming Sphere, and attacked an enemy with it, knocking him unconscious. The next round he wished to delay his action. When does the flaming sphere do its damage ...
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3answers
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Are there any official rules for or even suggestion of using initiative order outside of combat?

This seems a little silly and possibly pedantic, but as I was writing an answer to An initial stealthy/surprise attack with subsequent adventurers entering combat afterwards?, I looked to find rules ...
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4answers
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When does one leave turn based action if you are in a hostile area?

In most circumstances, it is easy to determine when turn based combat ends: One side is completely killed, unconscious or has fled All parties declared truce But when in a hostile area, like a ...
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1answer
159 views

What does a more Careful player going first in a mental Conflict represent narratively?

It's unclear what is meant in the rules: Determine Turn Order (page 21) In a mental conflict, compare your Careful approach—attention to detail will warn you of danger. What "danger" is it ...
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2answers
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When incapacitation goes away on an NPC's initiative order, can that NPC immediately act?

There are many ways for the players to stop a monster from taking actions on their turn. Often times, that condition can be removed on that monster's initiative order. Should they then be allowed to ...
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0answers
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How does initiative work if the PCs and NPCs are negotiating, and then a PC wants to take a hostile action? [duplicate]

Consider the following situation. The PCs are going along a road when they meet some NPC bandits. At first there is just tense negotiations, but no actual combat, until at one point in the ...
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3answers
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When and how does combat start in a standoff?

I run Adventurers league at a local game cafe with a veteran group that has lots of experience playing prior editions. However these players knowledge of the rules is an amalgamation of 5e rules and ...
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6answers
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What are the implications of replacing initiative with “Enemy Phase” and “Player Phase”?

Something I've been debating about implementing for my group is whether or not to throw out D&D's concept of initiative order for a less granular "Phase" -- all the players act, then all the ...
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2answers
860 views

Can a character delay their action until a later Initiative count, or do they just forfeit their turn unless they Ready an action? [duplicate]

In D&D 4e (4e PHB pg.288) you can Delay, which allows you to save all your actions for a later time, coming back into the Initiative Order "After any other combatant has completed a turn." Is ...