Questions tagged [initiative]

For questions about the rules governing the order of action in turn-based combat systems, commonly known as "initiative".

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35
votes
3answers
39k views

Can I delay my turn in D&D 5e?

In D&D 4e there was an option to Delay your initiative: Perform your actions as desired and adjust your initiative to your new position in the order. Does this rule to change initiative ...
17
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5answers
5k views

Does a controlled mount share its rider's turn?

From "Controlling a Mount" on p.198 of the Player's Handbook: The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action ...
60
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5answers
11k views

What happens when initiative allows a player to act before the player that started the combat?

This example is a somewhat simplified version of what happened during the last game I DMed for a bunch of friends. A party of PCs was trudging through the woods when they happened upon a very small ...
12
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3answers
5k views

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 ...
22
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4answers
3k views

When do player characters leave turn-based action (i.e. initiative order) if they 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 ...
48
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3answers
5k views

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 ...
10
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2answers
1k views

How do I resolve RAW and 'common sense', with the phrase 'When you roll for initiative', when combined with initiative variants?

There are two class features, Perfect Self (PHB p. 79), and Relentless (PHB p.74), which contain the phrase 'when you roll for initiative.' Both allow the character to recover some expendable ...
54
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2answers
58k views

Does Bard's Jack of All Trades grant them greater initiative?

Bards get the ability "Jack of All Trades" which reads: Starting at 2nd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include ...
13
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4answers
3k views

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 ...
12
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3answers
28k views

When do you receive a bonus action and reaction?

When you start combat, after determining surprise and establishing positions; you roll for initiative. At this point, do all combatants have a reaction or bonus action even if they are not first? For ...
11
votes
1answer
10k views

Unearthed Arcana Ranger: Does Natural Explorer apply all the time?

I have a player who's using the new Unearthed Arcana Update Ranger. They argued that should have advantage on initiative and on their first turn during combat all of the time. As a level 1 ability, I ...
10
votes
3answers
850 views

Is it possible to have a surprise round if your opponent is aware of you, but unaware of danger?

I couldn't find the proper answer for this question. There may happen scenarios with some doublecrossing used-to-be allies, but is it mechanically correct to allow the traitor to have a surprise ...
9
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4answers
5k views

How to handle initiative when a new force joins a combat in progress

I am DMing a small hunger-games-like adventure where there are multiple parties of NPC who also are participating. It is pretty likely that the PCs will happen upon some of the NPCs fighting some ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Is initiative ordinal or numerical?

Is the term “initiative” in D&D 5e combat the number that you roll, or your order in the combat turn?
21
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
19
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4answers
1k views

How to use table seating order for initiative without nerfing initiative-based features?

Although I've experimented with the alternative initiative rules in the DMG and with other ideas I've read about online, I always return to the standard initiative rules in 5e combined with initiative ...
13
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3answers
1k views

How do you handle “until next turn” effects with the Speed Factor Initiative Variant?

The point of the Speed Factor variant is to make combat more unpredictable by varying turn order. From the DMG (p. 270): Under this variant, the participants in a battle roll initiative every round....
14
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1answer
3k views

Does initiative change in combat?

As far as I'm concerned, you only roll initiative at the beginning of combat and keep those rolls for the rest of the encounter. If that's the case (if it isn't, why?), what happens when the ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Initiative: Do I lose my attack/action if my target moves or dies before my turn in combat?

I am new to 5E. Something I am wondering about is if I declare that this turn I am going to move X feet and attack target A and then move X feet and attack target B, what happens if my target moves or ...
10
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1answer
729 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 ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Should drawing weapons involve an initiative roll when combat isn't going to happen?

I need some advice on how to handle a troublesome situation. If my PCs are in a tense situation, and an NPC suddenly draws a weapon, should I ask my players to roll for initiative? Is this the most ...
7
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3answers
2k views

How to handle some new NPCs who enter a fight in progress?

I am GMing for the second time in my life, and do not know how to handle this situation: There are 5 PCs who walk through this map. In almost every room there are a couple of NPCs who might or might ...
47
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22answers
16k views

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 ...
18
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
20
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2answers
4k views

Should the DM reveal monster initiative?

I've recently picked up D&D 5e, and watching some You Tubes, noticed that some DMs do not reveal monster initiative during the first round, and the players only learn of the monsters initiative, ...
19
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7answers
3k views

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 ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Does surprise begin during the planning of an ambush?

From the rules in 5e, I understand that a combat encounter starts with the DM determining surprise, then setting starting positions, and rolling initiative. Then round 1 starts. Surprised participants ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

How to determine initiative for a summoned creature entering an ongoing combat?

Lets consider that a creature is summoned during an ongoing fight: Does it roll initiative normally? Does it have to wait a whole round to act? Can it act before other creatures (assuming it's got ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

How does initiative work when teleporting into combat?

A Wizard PC Teleports their party from a safe place directly to the location of a group of foes, who the party intends to attack. If the foes did not know this was about to happen, they should be ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How does using Speed Factor initiative affect the speed of play?

My players tend to carefully plan their actions in combat, leaning heavily on their knowledge of the combat rules. They take into consideration who will act when, and which enemies still have ...
31
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
18
votes
4answers
12k views

Can you have advantage/disadvantage on your Initiative check?

From the rules, it seems that an initiative check is just an ability check. There are numerous effects that give Disadvantage on ability checks, and some that give Advantage. I don't see it called ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
335 views

Which aspects of D&D 5e will be affected by incorporating the Savage Worlds “Card Draw Initiative”?

The Savage World System In Savage Worlds, Initiative is determined by using a 54-card deck (standard 52-card deck, including the Jokers). Each player and enemy is dealt a card (or group of enemies, ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Does a Readied action extend into another round?

Had a 5e session today, with a player wanting to delay his turn. Since Delay was removed and Ready was the closest option, we tried to use it. In this situation his trigger action was to wait until ...
8
votes
1answer
518 views

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 ...
7
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4answers
3k views

Can any actions happen at the same time/instant?

I don't know if this is philosophical or physics...but hopefully we don't have to go there: Inspired by: Does the Spirit Guardians spell stack with multiple casters? How do you determine the '...
5
votes
2answers
256 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

Do monsters summoned in a round get to roll init for the same round, when using per-round init?

Assume you're a caster in AD&D 2e with the ability to cast Monster Summoning I, and your game rolls init on a per-round basis. When you summon a monster on a round, does your monster roll init to ...
4
votes
1answer
350 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
318 views

How much can ambushers do before losing the advantage of surprise?

I am unsure of how the surprise round works when only the ambushing party is aware, but will need to actually move to get within melee distance of their ambush victims. For example: a group of orcs ...
4
votes
1answer
332 views

If a character is woken up by an ally during combat, when is their next action?

When a character is awoken after being affected by a Sleep spell (or any other of the various ways to give an adventurer extra Zzz's), when do they act? Have they been 'delaying' initiative until ...
4
votes
1answer
105 views

Does an already controlled mount need to roll for Initiative?

The Player's Handbook has this to say about Controlling a Mount: The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. (...) A controlled mount can move and act even on he ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Timing of bonus action and initiative order

I read many topics in relation to bonus actions and their timing, but there is still on aspect I need to see clearly: how can the DM determine whose action or bonus action comes first? How do the ...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

Can I decide to lower my Initiative after rolling it in order to permanently change my position in the sequence of turns? [duplicate]

The current question is in some sense a follow-up to the following one: Can I delay my turn in D&D 5e? The answer to that question is no. The only means to acting at a different turn in the ...