Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sort-Of-Savage Initiative

We've been playing D&D5 again. Our GM has lost his fancy magnetic imitative tracker, a gadget he's been using since the days of D&D4, so that got me thinking about how to track turn order in a simple but visual way.

I very much like the way Savage Worlds tracks initiative using standard, non-nerdy playing cards; there are all sorts of funky game effects involved which are irrelevant in D&D5, but the basic idea of having a card in front of each player so everyone has a clear idea of who goes when is appealing. So how about this:

  1. Everyone rolls initiative as normal to determine the order.
  2. Everyone gets handed a token that marks where they are in the order; playing cards work as well as anything, unless you somehow end up with 14+ separate combat groups.
  3. Everyone forgets about their rolled initiative number, because it's no longer relevant.
  4. (Optional, but probably useful) Everyone flips their cards over when they have completed their actions.
And that's it! It may be wise to hand out all even or all odd cards in step 2, just in case there are late arrivals that need to slot in between other combatants, or you could just hand out new cards to anyone affected by the new turn order. I would be tempted to have any new combatants either go first (if their entrance was a surprise) or last (if they were heard coming), but we're getting into the long grass of house rules there, so I'll stop.

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