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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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 ...
28
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5answers
5k views

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, ...
8
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
2
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0answers
90 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
4k views

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 ...
10
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3answers
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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 ...
11
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1answer
3k 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 ...
8
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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 ...
2
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1answer
212 views

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, ...
32
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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 ...
8
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
10
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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 ...
10
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1answer
739 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 ...
14
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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
73 views

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 ...
47
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22answers
18k 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 ...
3
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0answers
43 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
107 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
578 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 ...
2
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3answers
766 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
344 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 ...
2
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1answer
233 views

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
355 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?
5
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2answers
270 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 ...
5
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2answers
617 views

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 ...
16
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4answers
4k views

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 ...
6
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2answers
293 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
357 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 ...
18
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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 ...
23
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4answers
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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 ...
5
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1answer
173 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 ...
9
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2answers
399 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
147 views

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 ...
49
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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 ...
15
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6answers
4k views

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
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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 ...
10
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3answers
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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 ...
8
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5answers
2k views

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 ...
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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2answers
2k views

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 ...
19
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4answers
14k 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 ...
3
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1answer
325 views

May the effect of “Seize the Initiative” be applied to multiple allies while rolling for initiative?

An inquisitor of the Tactics subdomain get "Seize the initiative" at level 1 : Seize the Initiative (Su): Whenever you and your allies roll for initiative, you can grant one ally within 30 feet ...
3
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4answers
305 views

Do turned undead get their save at the start or end of the round?

When an intelligent undead is turned, does it gets its save at the start or end of the round? "Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each round to end the effect" is the exact text. As far ...
3
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1answer
134 views

How do you add extra waves of NPCs to an ongoing fight? [duplicate]

Players enter a room, they see a bunch of sleeping guards and some dogs. They try to sneak in to get the jump on them, but the dogs have advantage on perception checks and detect them, initiating ...
4
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1answer
348 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 ...
19
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4answers
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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 ...
3
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2answers
321 views

Does the DM secretly determine initiative?

In adnd and adnd-2e, do the rules mandate, recommend, or suggest that the DM roll initiative for all combatants—including the PCs—and keep the results secret from the players? Note: I know that Gygax ...
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 '...
10
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3answers
891 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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3answers
442 views

How can we model “acting first” in a hostile parley?

Two parties are arguing with each other, but combat has not started. Perhaps leaders on each side are trying to avoid combat, but having trouble controlling their troops. Perhaps they were interacting ...