Some other initiatives

So, weird, useful and exciting initiative systems. Who's got some?

My current system is bingo calling/chit-pull initiative. I've written everyone's name on a token and pull them out of a bowl (I use numbers for monsters). Totally random, ensures I don't forget anyone, avoids having to roll dice and remembering an order.


  • Write them on blank cards and shuffle them every turn. You can keep AC/HP/effects timers/whatever written directly on it for convenience.
  • Use actual bingo balls. Number everyone.
  • Instead of numbering monsters, just put a star on them. When you pull a star move a monster. Even less paper work.

Declare a leader token. This can be an actual token, or a hat, or a sceptre, or something hard to lose. That person goes first and play proceeds to their left. All enemy NPCs act on the GMs turn. Once a round has finished pass the token to your right.

The player with the least health goes first and play proceeds down the line. The GM calls out "1, 2, 3..."etc and people chime in.

The player willing to take the biggest penalty to all rolls goes first. Like the drama initiative, GM calls out from 6 and goes down. Or some other number appropriate to your system. GM also picks.

All things happen at once. Any actions that would cancel out another are done as contested rolls and the winner gets their way. Damage is simultaneous unless it obviously isn't.

You've got a track of actions, each player places themselves on a spot. Play proceeds top to bottom. On proceeding rounds the players are relocated in reverse order.

A manoeuvre is any non-combat non-magic action, like moving around or rummaging in your pack or pulling a lever.

  1. Reckless Magics -6
  2. Melee attacks
  3. Ranged attacks
  4. Manoeuvre
  5. Risky magics -3
  6. Manoeuvre and melee
  7. Manoeuvre and ranged
  8. Safe magics

In a non-fun game where you don't roll for magic, just do it all on the last one.

Everyone starts with a little token on the shaded slice. Randomly pick who goes first and proceed left-wise for the first moves, after that the person closest to the shaded slice acts first. This can result in multiple actions in a row if they don't jump anyone.

  • Move 5ft - 1 space
  • Attacking moves you spaces according to weapon used (sword is 4, knife is 2, halberd is 5
  • Magic moves you spaces according to the spell (magic missile is probably 4, charm is 1)
  • Misc actions generally take 1 space.

Once you pass the shaded slice you may take no more actions until everyone has passed it. When the new round begins you start with the person closest to the shaded area. Moves continue from where the pieces are.

1 comment:

  1. I really like these, especially the bingo ball one, but I'm also intrigued by the "Drama Initiative". For quite a long time we've used simultaneous actions. My current face-to-face game (Grim Tales) uses a queue system. From my playtest document:

    "Participants (PCs and NPCs alike) roll 2d6+Wits+Finesse to determine their initiative score, based upon which they are placed in the Combat Queue in decreasing order. Equal scores favour PCs, and further ties are broken by negotiation between the players.

    The first character in the Queue takes a Major or Minor Action (that may be accompanied by a Minor Action), then they are placed to the bottom of the Queue, and the next person takes their turn, and so forth.

    Characters may have a Reaction even when it is not their turn to act. That, however, puts them on the defensive, and they are placed right below the participant whose Action they attempt to counter, thus delaying their own turn."