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Tracking Individual Initiative

Despite what I said a while back about group initiative (was it really almost a year ago?), in our DCC game we’ve been using individual initiative, both ’cause that’s how DCC is written and ’cause it has some little flavorful fillips to it that make it more interesting.  In DCC only Warriors increase Init bonus as they level, and two-handed weapon wielders use a d16 for Init instead of d20, both of which I quite like.  But that means that I need to track individual initiative, so I came up with the following.  Instead of using the traditional count-down (Does anybody go on 20?  19?  etc.) I’ve made up a 3×5 card for each character with vital stats like AC, saves, etc. and I go through the count-down once, putting the cards in order of Init.  I make one more card for the monster init, and an extra card representing the end of the round just to remind me if I need to check things like spell effects wearing off or random encounters.

I’m ashamed it took me so long to come up with something like this, because it works perfectly.   Nobody ever gets missed, and there’s never any hesitation about what comes next.   It’s fully as fast as my old stand-by just go around the table I use when I just can’t be bothered with init. I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this, but all of the discussions I recall and printed GM aids I’ve seen involve writing the character names on a list and either updating the init numbers and skipping around the list or redoing the list when init is rolled…which unless you’re using a computer at the table isn’t so slick.  The one drawback I can see, besides the need for index cards or scraps of paper, is that if you roll for init every round putting the cards in order could be a drag…you’d essentially do one pass to order the cards and one pass through the cards to carry out the turn.  I still think it might be worth it, but for a system like DCC where the init is rolled only at the start of combat, there’s no such problem.

One thought on “Tracking Individual Initiative

  1. Marty says:

    I always used tongue depressors wrapped in shipping tape. Have the players write their initiative on them with wet erase markets, and then order them on the table. You can even add ones to remind you of effects. Now everyone can see what is going on.

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