Ben's Journal

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Roll for initiative

Sunday, August 27th, 2023


Something I’ve been mulling over for running old-school dungeon games is an easy and interesting way to roll for initiative. I kind of find individual initiative to be a slower way to play, but group initiative IMO feels less fun and has the problem of ‘who rolls for the group this time?’

I quite like the idea of how initiative works in The Black Hack - everyone rolls a DEX check, if they pass then they go before the opponents, if they fail then they go after. It’s sort of like group initiative, but blended with individual initiative. Everyone gets to roll.

I was thinking of a slightly different version that I want to try sometime. Everyone, including the DM, rolls a d6. If you beat the DM’s score then you go before the opponents. If you don’t then you go after. The two reasons for this slight tweak are:

  1. The DM gets to roll too! I think that’s fun! I like rolling dice.
  2. It makes the outcome a little more uncertain and less static - even if you have a fairly low DEX then you still might beat the DM and get to go first.

If required you could also combine this with a surprise check and say that anyone who rolls a 1 in the first round of combat is surprised.