Friday, November 9, 2012

Ready Ref Diceless Initiative

Flipping through the Ready Ref Sheets recently, I noticed a really interesting initiative system.

Basically, different factors have assigned numbers, which you add together to determine what you could call an "initiative score," I suppose (the Ready Ref Sheets don't use that, or any, term). The higher your score, the earlier you go in the round.

In the Ready Ref sheets, they present the actual weapons used as the number and then everything else as a modifier, but I'm going to present them in reverse order, since it makes more sense to me to start with the factors that change the least, rather than the factors that change the most.

First off, the character's Dexterity score translates into an initiative number (identical to attribute modifiers in OD&D or some version of Basic, I think):

3-4: -2
5-8: -1
9-12: –
13-16: +1
17-18: +2

Secondly, armor and encumbrance factor in:

(Blank, so either no armor, or just not available to PCs): +3
Light Armor: +2
Heavy Armor: +1
Plate Armor: –
Encumbered: -1

Monsters also get numbers based on their speed:

18" and up: +3
12-17": +2
9-11": +1
4-8": –
3" & less: -1

Finally, the following weapons and attacks are associated with these numbers:

1: Read Scroll
2: Spell of 7-9th level
3: Short Weapon (Dagger, Hand Axe, Mace)
4: Medium Weapon (Sword, Hammer, Battle Axe) or touching
5: Long Weapon (Morning Star, Flail, Spear, Pole Arm, Halberd, Two-Handed Sword)
6: Very Long Weapon (Mounted Lance)
7: Spell of 4-6th level
8: Extreme Weapon (Pike)
9: Missile Fire
10: Spell of 1-3rd level
11: Breath Weapon
12: Glance

Numbers from all three (or two, in the case of monsters) factors should be added up and compared to the numbers of all the other characters involved in the combat; highest score goes first and ties are broken with "actual dexterity ratings."

It's a simple, elegant system, and one I may consider switching to. It's short enough that it could probably fit on a 2-page character sheet without crowding other records too much. Has anyone ever used this system before? Would you ever consider switching to it?