The initiative system in Delving Deeper is thankfully very simple. Each side declares what it's going to do, one d6 is rolled per side, then each side goes. That's great! It's short, flexible and easy to remember. But...
|Not that kind of initiative|
- First phase: high initiative goes, low initiative goes
- Second phase: high init, low init
|Not that kind, either|
Here's why that's a problem: in the one minute round, anyone fighting in melee gets just one roll to hit, and that represents one minute's worth of movement, thrusts, parries, feints, swings, misses and hits. That's an awful lot of work for one roll to do and an awful lot riding on that one die roll. In a six-second round, where the die roll represents a far shorter amount of time and where the next die roll is coming up in just a moment in the next round, I think there's less room to interpret that die roll as representing a whole bunch of combat maneuvering and hacking and slashing, so it's totally okay to work in multiple missile attacks. In the one minute round, however, where the roll means so much more, I don't believe I can justify adding a second opportunity for a missile attack roll.
But I just really like that concept of, if you're ready to shoot, you get to shoot at the start of the round before anything's happened. And so, here's my new round phase order:
- Phase One: Declare Intent - Players announce what their characters will do during the following round, if only roughly. Spellcasting must be declared at this time, but merely stating "I'm casting a spell" is enough, you don't have to explicitly state which one at this time
- Phase Two: Initiative Roll - A d6 is rolled for each party involved in the fight. You already know how this works.
- Phase Three: Ready Fire - Characters with a bow drawn and at the ready may fire at the beginning of the combat round in initiative order. They may also choose not to fire and wait until the secondary fire phase.
- Phase Four: Movement - Running, jumping, climbing trees. Stuff like that which you already understand.
- Phase Five: Melee & Spells - Players and NPCs act in initiative order. Characters wielding a polearm or other reach weapon gain a +1 to their initiative when using that weapon.
- Phase Six: Auxiliary Fire - Anyone who drew a missile weapon during the round may now attack with it in initiative order. Anyone who abstained from missile fire during the Ready Fire phase may now do so.
- Yes, attacking someone who's casting a spell interrupts the casting, and the caster will lose the "spell slot" unless he or she rolls a 5 or 6 on a 1d6 roll (2-in-6 chance of not losing the spell), so yes, it still makes sense to "lock down" casters.
- I really wanted to add a reach weapon phase, but I thought that could end up in some super cheese. Instead, using a reach weapon gives the wielder +1 to initiative. However, if you've been attacked in melee during the combat round, you may not attack with a pole arm and must use a shorter weapon (because you're in too close, see? This could be complicated by the question "But what if you were attacked with a pole arm?" but I'm gonna stick to my guns on this one).
- I also wanted two-handed weapons to go last, which makes sense, but since we're using "d6 only" damage rules, that makes 2h weapons pretty pointless (except for pole arms). So, instead, wielding 2h will confer that +1 to damage that so many folks like to give. It just makes sense.
- While we're on that topic, dual wielding will not allow extra attacks, but rather confer a +1 bonus to hit. Yep, got that one from the same place at the damage one.
- Everybody can use crossbows. Why not.