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Questions tagged [initiative]

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

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

Has the delay rule to change initiative order been removed from 5th edition? I cannot find it in the PHB. In 4th edition, you can delay your turn to trigger on an action or another turn.
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How to handle initiative for a sleeping creature?

Imagine a rogue PC sneaks into a room where a goblin -- who ought to be standing watch -- is instead taking a nap. The PC's stealth roll is enormously high (as befits a rogue), such that the goblin ...
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Does your initiative change if your dex changes?

After combat has started will changes to your DEX stat (sufficent to change your dex bonus) change your initiative score? Example: Wizard Bob sees a goblin approaching and initiative is rolled; the ...
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Can a wizard cast a spell during their first turn of combat if they initiated combat by releasing a readied spell?

My wife plays a wizard. We hear Orcs coming up the hall. The wizard decides to ready a spell for when the door opens. So she casts the spell and holds it, until 10 seconds later, the door opens, ...
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An old school experienced DM insists Magic Missile always goes first. Does it or not, and why?

A friend of mine is an experienced DM who started with D&D and then the AD&D 1st edition back in the day. I'm currently DMing AD&D Second Edition for him and he's playing a Wizard. He has ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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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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957 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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1answer
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Moving from one room/cave to another within the same dungeon

I am a new GM and new to D&D. Currently, I am running the Lost Mines of Phandelver (LMoP) D&D 5e starter campaign. My group have just finished the Cragmaw Hideout section, but as we ran it we ...
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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 ...
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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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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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Do creatures summoned by the Conjure Animals or Conjure Woodland Beings spells act on the round they are summoned?

When a druid or ranger summons creatures using the conjure animals or conjure woodland beings spells, do the creatures act on the round they're summoned, or do they not act until the following round? ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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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....
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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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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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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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Does initiative order pose team against team? Or shuffle all combatants up?

I've been out of the DM game since the early 80s, now coming back to 5e (which I love). I'm reading up like mad, but my mind mixes up versions of the game. I remember each team (PCs vs enemy NPCs) ...
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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 ...
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Can you delay your turn into the next round if you're the last in the initiative order?

Let's the turn order is: 20, Player A 15, Player B 10, Player C Can Player C delay until after Player A's next turn? This is a point of contention in a current game. Argument Against ...
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Using Portent on Initiative Rolls

Say 4 goblins ambush a level 2 party, everyone is surprised but the Wizard decides to use his Portent feature to influence the initiative roll of the enemy. One of his portents is a natural 1, and he ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Is There A Non-Homebrew Way To Add Proficiency to Initiative?

I know in some homebrew classes, such as Matt Mercer's Gunslinger Archetype, you can add your proficiency bonus to your initiative modifer. Are there any ways of doing this in the official rulebooks?
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The Mysteries of AD&D 1e Initiative

Out of all the concepts I have learnt in AD&D 1e, I find initiative to be the most difficult to wrap my head around in a realistic way. I understand thus far that combat is divided into rounds of ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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2answers
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How to optimize initiative?

I want to make initiative the highest possible for a level 1 character in Pathfinder. Here's what I got: +5 DEX 20 (18 plus race) +4 Improved Initiative (feat) +4 Familiar (compy or scorpion) +2 ...
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How can I create a 'simultaneous' Init Order for encounters? [closed]

During encounters there is always an Initiative Order that allows players to choose their actions one after the other. This is fine, but the only problem is that it doesn't really simulate the actual ...
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Why “roll for initiative” in Pathfinder?

Perhaps related to this other question, what is the point in rolling for initiative in Pathfinder (so far the only RPG I've played)? It would seem that certain characters would "automatically" ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Mechanical side effects of randomised Initiative in 5e

Initiative I am starting a new 5e campaign and I am planning to use randomised initiative. I feel recording initiative take too long, for both my players and me. I tried grouping monsters and pre-...