The Genius of Zak Makes Me Weak at the Knees

Zak, of Playing D&D With PornStars and Vornheim fame, suggested this initiative sysytem:

Each side rolls initiative (one die for all the PCs, one die for the GM).
  • The winning side has one character go (if it's the PCs, they just choose among themselves who'll go first)
  • Then the losing side has one character go
  • Then the winning side has one character go...
etc. etc. the side with more characters has the leftovers all go at the end.
This is an idea of sublime genius, and I want to try it IMMEDIATELY.


  1. Awesome! It is a system that could directly be coming out of wargames–and what would fit oD&D better?

  2. Yeah this has been a staple of war gaming and combat strategy games from way back, so I wouldn't say Zack is a genius, but his bringing it to a higher priority is certainly admirable. Battletech uses this system, and there are also other ways as well, some games have it so that its proportional, e.g. if it's a 5 on 5 battle one side moves 2 then the other side moves two then 1 and 1, tends to speed up things even more when handled this way. Some games such as battletech which is dependent on seeing what your enemies are doing first has the winner choose who goes first (usually the enemy so you can out maneuver them). The current system I'm employing is using playing cards for each PC (if they're dex or feats give them bonuses I add extra cards for them to the mix for ever 4 pts of dex for example, so improved init will give u 2 cards) and then haves card(s) for monsters shuffle and go, no waiting around for modifiers to get added, people not paying attention, etc. Also the randomness can keep the PC's on edge as they might get a bad shuffle and the monster go first! Then I deal out the order and start calling off names and ask them what's their doing. It works surprising well and others can prepare their actions as they see what order they are in. Sometimes I deal them one at a time for extra added suspense or when the situation calls for it.

    -david - My RPG/Game Blog