Sunday, January 13, 2013

Initiative, it's a matter of coolness not dexterity

In tonight's game with +Brian Kelsay , +Lawrence Augustine Mingoa and +Tre' Grisby  I changed the rules of initiative.  Instead of 1d6 or 1d10 plus dexterity bonuses I put initiative as a skill check.  Your character's mettle attribute is rolled against to determine if the character keeps his coolness in combat.  Win and you're cool and in control of the situation, lose and your character hesitates for those precious seconds that may mean the difference between life or death.

What am I looking for in with this?
  • Initiative to be more than just getting to attack first.  It's the characters ability to stay cool and in control of the situation.
  • Initiative to depend on the character's skill and preparation and not just some random roll that may land 1 or 8 with the same ease.  This benefits the more battle hardened characters.
  • Allow character training, specially fighter training and combat hardening, to affect the rolls of others.  Leadership by a strong fighter character in the group can improve the overall mettle of the party and thus the control of the situation.  In doing so turn the tide of the battle.
For example, at one point while exploring a building in an old mill Brian's character is surprised  by a hiding orc.  Nothing to do about the surprise attack, he's clearly surprised, but the character succeeds in the mettle check and by a large margin.  His combat experience kicks in and instead of losing it the character stays cool and in control.

Brian yields "initiative" so to speak, letting the orc attack first.  He blocks the swing by successfully parrying the blow and trips the orc and attacks.  He hits the orc dead center on the back and brings him to floor where Tre's character pummels him silly with the morning star.

Initiative is no longer about swinging the sword first, but rather reacting first and keeping in control of the engagement.  Even if this means letting the enemy swing first and get closer so the party may get itself into a better fighting position.
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