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How do you run Initiative? How do you keep things moving?


Moonowl67

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It's a simple question;  I'm just curious to see how different people have employed initiative/combat order in their BRP-related games.  I have a magnetic white-board (black, actually) with vertical slots labeled 0 to 26, some magnetic strips attached to hanging file-label holders.  I jot down a combatant's name or description and their INT and DEX on a strip and insert the strip into the label holder.  Intentions are declared, I jot down a quick note and move the combatants accordingly on the white-board.  I then use a small stack of magnets down, from the highest actor, to the next, and so on so show who's turn it is to act.

 

In my game, I decided to make Powers and Actions happen in the same segment, to bring some heat on the spell casters.  

 

i should mention that we also use minis, mostly from our 4E game, and have a fun time converting meters to the 5' grid.

 

Overall, it's a system that works pretty well - last week, we had a gun-fight on a train; a fairly major combat that still took a couple of hours to run (including orcs tossing rune covered stones through windows like grenades - the discovered it was an assassination attempt disguised as a robbery).  I'm afraid that, in the interest of 'running rules correctly and consistently' we may be unnecessarily slowing the action down.  I blame coming off of years of running the very rules-layered 4E. Nobody complained, and they seemed to have fun with it.  

 

What do you do to keep things moving, and how does your initiative system support that end?

If everybody in the world thought and acted like i do, then who would be the players in my Basic Role Playing game?

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I run Classic Fantasy which uses the d10+DEX initiative system with action points.

 

I use index cards with the PCs names, and important skills such as listen, sense, spot, luck roll, etc.. I also have cards for monster groups and leaders that roll separate initiative.  I then sort the cards in initiative order and go through the deck. If a character delays his action his card is turned sideways and put at the back so I remember to call him at the end of the round to see if he takes any actions. 

 

I also have an end of round card which reminds me to Check fatigue via Stamina Rolls (CONx5), track bleeding, poison, spell duration and advance the round counter.

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I like the index cards ... I've heard of that, but never had it explained so well... and one of the players actually requested trying a random initiative order.

If everybody in the world thought and acted like i do, then who would be the players in my Basic Role Playing game?

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I don't know about the rules aspects, but any GM who can enthrall his players with a fantasy Western technothriller can't be doing it wrong.  ;D

 

The campaign is still going strong and in fact, we're playing tonight! :)

Skunk - 285/420 BRP book

You wanna be alright you gotta walk tall

Long Beach Dub Allstars & Black Eyed Peas

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What do you do to keep things moving, and how does your initiative system support that end?

 

I houserule the heck out of initiative in my games. Initiative is determined by 1/2 Dex + D20 roll at the beginning of every round. This is my way to give the D20 a little bit of love and is a throwback to my gaming roots where the phrase "everyone roll a d20!" meant s*** was about to get real.

 

Furthermore, anyone that has a difference of 10 or more over the lowest rolling combatant in the initiative order gets a Lightning Round, an additional action that takes place at (initiative -10). 

 

(Example: Wally rolls 25, Edgar rolls 21, Joe rolls 19, the mafia hit squad rolls 11. Wally and Edgar get lightning rounds! The combat order is Wally, Edgar, Joe, Wally, Edgar, and Mafia.)

 

It favors the more cinematic style of play that I prefer, and occasionally allows those with outstanding initiative rolls to shine. It definitely makes combat unpredictable!

 

To keep track of combat, I use an excel spreadsheet to track combat info while gaming. I input everyone's rolled initiative score, sort the column from highest to lowest, and read the rows in order. It has worked pretty well, but I like the index cards system that has been mentioned here. I've seen it offered elsewhere as an option for keeping everyone in order, and might give that a try next game.

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I weaken minions in my games as well. They act as a group on their initiative rank and have their HP (which is halved) pooled together.

 

Thus, if I have 7 Nazi-Clowns with 6 HP each, the entire horde has 42 HP. Any time the horde takes more than 6 HP, another clown goes down. I think I stole that idea from Star Wars Edge of the Empire, which probably took it from somewhere else.

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So, a little history here:  my BRP campaign started as a side games running alongside a paragon-level DnD 4E campaign and when that campaign wrapped up and I decided to try BRP as the main Campaign.  While 4e had it's much discussed flaws, one of the things I (and my group as well) found that 4e did very well was to create a fairly simple an action system.  We found the Action, Move-Action, and Minor Action to trio to be almost as intuitive as the D100 Skill system.  

 

So, after much email discussion (which led to an enlightening tangent email-chain on game design, but that is another story), my group and I have decided to take the best of the DnD action system and incorporate it into BRP, using the Index-Card method noted above.  Here's what the final system looks like:

 

Turns: 

 

Combatants chose one the following on their turn, in addition to a Minor Action on their turn.

 

1)            Full Attack (Multi Attack). 

2)            ½ Mov and a single Action (use a power or attack).  ½ MOVs can be sacrificed to pick-up an additional minor action (for a round in which they get an Attack Action and two minor actions)

3)            Full MOV.  Impaling melee weapons and Brawling/Grappling may attack, but the attacker’s movement ends with the attack (usually… ).

 

All combatants also a have Minor Action on their turn; examples of which are:

1)            Draw a weapon

2)            Retrieve a potion (assuming it’s in an easy to reach location).

3)            Drink a potion

4)            Open an unlocked, unbarred door or window

5)            Retrieving the correct runed-stone from your pouch to throw through the window (ahem . . .)

6)            Aim a ranged weapon to gain +10% to attack (can be used twice if you don’t move).

 

Engaging/Disengaging rules still apply and occur on the attackers/aggressor’s.   Riposte’s are still allowed.

 

 

Initiative:

 

Roll D10 + either INT or DEX (according to the nature of the action).  Higher Characteristic wins ties in Initiative Ranks.

 

(Mark Cards with rank, arrange in descending order)

 

Each combatant takes their turn:  Engage/Disengage; up to half MOV and attack, or full (no attack action).   If attackers use multiple attacks, then they sacrifice the MOV for a full attack action.

 

Those that hold action/cast long spells are put aside until they act. . . When they act, note the new Initiative Rank on the card.

 

Those that act are flipped over

 

End of round:  apply any effects noted on the end of round card.  Re-order cards by Initiative rank.

 

Our first test of the system is on this coming Wednesday (8/27/2014) - I'll let you know how it works out!

If everybody in the world thought and acted like i do, then who would be the players in my Basic Role Playing game?

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Hey Silent Bob, I actually do have Classic Fantasy and use it for the PCs and some of the magic (along with Magic World and my customized Deep Magic Rebuilt) that flies around the World of Rel'Pek.  It's an excellent addition to the BRP family; it would have been nice to see Classic Fantasy, Vol. 2.

If everybody in the world thought and acted like i do, then who would be the players in my Basic Role Playing game?

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On a last-second change . . . I've decided to go with Initiative = D10 plus the highest of Half INT or DEX.  That way, spellcasters can decide on their urn whether to go with a spell, or use some other tactic. Also, I have white-board initiative board that goes up to 26 . . . using half higher of INT or DEX allows us to keep using the initiative board.   I use a small magnet stack to mark the current turn, and end of round effects (bleeding, etc) are marked at the bottom of the board... nice and simple.

 

So, the final system will look like this:

 

Initiative:

 

Roll D10 + ½ the highest of INT or DEX .  Higher Characteristic wins ties in Initiative Ranks.

 

 

Turns: 

 

Combatants chose one the following on their turn, in addition to a Minor Action on their turn.

 

1)            Full Attack (Multi Attack). 

2)            ½ Mov and a single Action (use a power or attack).  ½ MOVs can be sacrificed to pick-up an additional minor action (for a round in which they get an Attack Action and two minor actions)

3)            Full MOV.  Impaling melee weapons and Brawling/Grappling may attack, but the attacker’s movement ends with the attack (usually… ).

 

All combatants also have a Minor Action on their turn; examples of which are:

1)            Draw a weapon

2)            Retrieve a potion (assuming it’s in an easy to reach location).

3)            Drink a potion

4)            Open an unlocked, unbarred door or window

5)            Retrieving the correct runed-stone from your pouch to throw through the window (ahem . . .)

6)            Aim a ranged weapon to gain +10% to attack (can be used twice if you don’t move).

 

Engaging/Disengaging rules still apply and occur on the attackers/aggressor’s.   Riposte’s are still allowed. 

If everybody in the world thought and acted like i do, then who would be the players in my Basic Role Playing game?

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