Tidal Initiative - Preamble and Stable Initiative

There are a handful of ways to determine who rolls what dice when while playing d20. Rolling high, as always, is best. Initiative is not supposed to actually determine which character goes first. Every character's action happens simultaniously in the round. Each round is merely six to ten seconds long. General d20 presumes a certain physical excellence in the characters that allows them to dart, fly, or run 30 foot, 60 foot, and even farther in scant moments. Characters also manage equipment manipulations and arcane semaphore with the speed of lightning. For the most part Initiative is only used to determine who rolls what dice and in which order. There is a failing in General d20 Initiative that I create Tidal Initiative in order to correct. This is a developmental article, and I will record my research and progress throughout.

This article series will appear on as many outlets as is reasonably possible, and is produced as part of original research in the mechanics of "Role Playing Games" "D&D" or "Chamber Plays" at completesrd.wikidot.com :smile: Tidal Initiative is part of the Blood Sweat and Tears Developmental Work and will be maintained as a playability theme. Initiative is a paramount playability rule. Initiative's primary purpose is to determine Players' actions as opposed to character actions. The ability to create a character driven Initiative system for d20 is the goal of the Tidal Initiative project. Tidal Initiative disregards playability for the sake of concept, and a Player Initiative system reference is promulgated as part of the Tidal Initiative project.

Certain reference points for project consistency.

Tidal Initiative develops from the concept that all the actions in a round happen simultaniously.
Tidal Initiative is different from Player Initiative.
Tidal Initiative is concerned with the mechanics of character actions.
Player Initiative is a term that refers to controlling the Players' actions.
Generally Tidal Initiative will be referenced as simply Initiative or Init.

System Reference: www.wizards.com/d20
Site Reference: completesrd.wikidot.com

Initiative as it stands.

The basic rules are built so that you roll Initiative once a fight. Also called Stable Initiative, rolling Init once a round sets Player Initiative into a psuedo-round that remains relatively stable throughout the rest of the encounter. Characters have access to Delay and Ready actions. These actions shift Player Initiative and destroy the concept of character actions simultaneity. The highest rolled Init takes the first action, and the consequence of that action impacts the Players who rolled a lower Init for their characters. The two basic Init actions that Stable Initiative uses impact mostly Player Initiative.

The Delay action is usually used by a character that cannot take action. However the character "waits" through a moment of scant seconds to take an action "later" in the simultaneous "combat round" :sigh:The mere existence of this rule function destroys the simultaneality of Stable Initiative. This Init action is occasionally tactical, but is more often a default action when Players do not know what to do. Delaying your action to the bottom of the Initiative count is sometimes called "surveying" and may allow the character's Init to be placed at the top of the Initiative count. Others simply reset the surveying character's Init back to what it was initially instead of allowing a Player to forgo a character's action entirely in order to get ahead in Player Initiatives.

Delaying takes no action at all. When the character's Init comes up in the count they declare a Delay and the round passes to the next character in the Initiative count. Many Players roll group Inits for their primary character and all their cohorts, followers, and allies. Often Players will have their secondary characters Delay and survey due to the fact that those characters are rarely able to effect the primary challenge directly. The only reason to use Delay, particularly if surveying is not an option, is that the character will retain a full action after a specific event that happens below their Initiative count. Delay does not allow the character to interrupt another action.

Delay and Ready change the character's Initiative count to the place that the Delayed or Readied action happens. Delay happens on the Initiative count after the action is declared. Ready happens on the same Initiative count as the action that triggers the Ready. Ready also reduces your action choices to a standard action, but it does interrupt the triggering action. Using Stable Initiative does not create an environment of simultaneity. In Stable Initiative both Delay and Ready rely on the Initiative count, and Initiative count itself is severely annoying when considering Tidal Initiative.

The Initiative count breaks the six seconds of a round into a countdown from highest to zero. Zero, or bottom, triggers what are called "end of round" abilities such as regeneration, fast healing, and all manner of other traits. The highest Init can easily be well above 20 and this means that time in Stable Initiative combat is being handled on a millisecond basis. Not only does that allow Players to apply phenomenal awareness to the choice of their characters' actions, but it also takes a really long time. Playability being a Player Initiative issue means that Stable Initiative's sluggishness is not a major concern. The ability for one character to interfere with another character prior to their Initiative count -in the same round- does interfere with the simultaneity of Stable Initiative.

The following rules are OGL and derivative of the Revised 3rd Edition SRD. They resolve certain simultaneity issues with Stable Initiative. These rules function with all d20 material.

End of Round

Successful actions usually take effect at the end of round. A successful attack taken on the character's Initiative count does not effect the target on that Initiative count, but at the end of round instead. An action such as disarm, trip, or pilfer does not take effect and interfere with the targeted character until the end of round. A character can make a Delay or Ready action to attempt to interfere with another character's action at points in the round.

Delay and Ready

A Delay allows the character to chose to have their action take effect after end of round and before the beggining of the next Initiative countdown. Delay is identical to the full defensive action or survey action.

At the bottom of the round the characters that use the Delay action roll a contested Initiative check to determine whose action among them takes precedence between rounds. This contest is the same roll used when two characters' Inits come up on the same Initiative count. In the case of a tie Initiative bonuses are compared and the higher bonus wins. In the case of a continued tie of Init results and of bonuses the test is rerolled between the characters in the tie. The consequences of a Delay action take effect immediately and in sequence with other Delay actions for the round.

The effect of a Delay action can interfere with another character's option on their Delay action that round.

A Ready action reduces the character's action for the turn to a standard action, and allows the character's action to take effect before the end of round. The character makes an Init check against the targeted character's Initiative count. If successful the Ready action takes effect and can negate the character's action. If a character's action is negated they must choose and roll a different check for the round.

After the end of round and Delay actions have been resolved the Initiative count restarts and characters that used Delay or Ready regain their original Initiative counts.

Rally and Morale

Rally is a standard action. The character makes a Cha check DC 15. If successful the character grants all aware allies a +2 on Delay and Ready Initiative checks. This bonus stacks with other Initiative bonuses including that from other Rally actions.

Characters add their greatest Morale Bonus to all Initiative checks.

Movement and Attacks of Opportunity

Since movement happens simultaniously with all other actions in the round a character may declare their actions to take effect at any point in the round and therefor at any location. Movements that provoke attacks of opportunity do so normally and those attacks are resolved as Delay actions. A character that chose to Delay is in full defensive and does not gain attacks of opportunity, but does act after end of round with attacks of opportunity. A character must ready to interrupt casting or attacks.

The Spring Attack feat is no longer needed and similar traits will function differently by these rules.

Optional Issues

Optionally all Aid Other actions can be considered to happen as a single action. Treating the Aid Other actions as a single action allows a character to take a standard action to attempt three tests. One to assist defense, one for offense, and one for Initiative. Using Aid Defense, Aid Attack, and Rally simultaniously in this fashion is called is referred to as the Aid action.

When one character is attempting to catch another character without a sufficient movement rate that would allow the character to outclass the target's manuverability that character may optionally be allowed to make a contested Initiative check with the targeted character in order for the chasing character's movement to take precedence over the chased. These chase movement rules are similar to using Ready actions that do not reduce the character's action potential insomuch as is necessary to resolve contested movement issues in simultaneity.

Dueling can also be resolved using a contested Initiative check. A duel would be a special Delay action between two characters and must be consensually entered into by both characters. This special duel action doubles Aid bonuses when calculated in relation to the opponent, and leaves the duelers effectively flat footed and unaware to threats other than those coming directly from their opponent. The duelers are aware of any effect that would benefit them such as a successful Rally by an ally.

Counterspelling can be treated as a Ready action or a Delay action in accordance with the setting.

Communication between characters may be treated as instantanious, or a character may be forced to wait until the next round in order to react to information conveyed in any given round. Abilities such as Telepathy, Hivemind, and Empathic Link may be considered to happen instantly while speaking could require a Listen check during Delays to be understood by other characters. Another option is to add "handle and push" actions to the social skills. Between intelligent creatures the handle and push actions are slightly more complicated. Each skill has adjustments and modifiers.

Handle allows you to communicate normally while taking other actions.
The Feint, Diversion, and Secret Message actions are Push for Bluff.

A Diplomacy Action is a full defensive action.
Handle allows for normal communication over the round.
Push allows the character to maintain a 10 round combat Diplomacy check.

Handle Animal
Handling an intelligent character can convey information in so much as those concepts can be conveyed as tricks.
Pushing an intelligent character is treated as a demoralize opponent Intimidate check of the same result.

Handle allows you to give trick style orders to already intimidated characters and allies.
Push is the demoralize opponent option.

A Perform Action is usually a full defensive action, and a performance must last at least 10 rounds to produce gold.
After 10 rounds of maintaining the performance the character makes an overall check to determine the outcome.
The handle action allows the character to maintain a performance while taking other actions.
Pushing is required for Bardic Music, and allows the character to maintain a 10 round combat Diplomacy check.

Handling conveys the necessary directions to maintain a group Craft of Heal check in combat.
Pushing allows for normal communication over while taking other actions.

Using this set of rule variants could generate issues with Player Initiative. Ideally the entire group can be relied upon to maintain accurate records of rolls or keeping track of the check results is otherwise taken care of reliably in some way. At times the actions of one or more character may undergo several revisions, and potentially several wasted dice rolls, before the final declaration is made as to which actions will take effect at the end of round. In the best case scenario the Players will be encouraged to be creative in describing their actions in the round with the understanding of simultaneity.

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