The new talk of interleaving, and why you should shut it down.


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Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

The Core Rulebook states that every creature rolls for it's own initiative. Due to the size of some combats, I might lump groups of two. Usually, I roll separate for each. If people want to pop between them, then I'll add another marker to the initiative board.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Bottom line, it doesn't matter whether GMs clump or not. What matters is if the outcome is fair and fun.

One season one 7-11 would require me to roll and track 32 separate initiatives without clumping. That's ridiculous. A season five 7-11 had 7 or 8 discreet creatures, that with out clumping really bogged down combat.

The point is, trust your GM until they prove they can't be trusted. Arguing or calling a GM out on rules minutae is extremely poor dorm.

5/5

Adnrew Christian wrote:
Bottom line, it doesn't matter whether GMs clump or not. What matters is if the outcome is fair and fun.

That's not true - it does matter that PFS GMs follow the rules. We have seen lots of threads on how the GM's idea of "fun" results in TPKs or cakewalks.

It's definitely poor form if the players ask about this when there is no issue, but it's also poor form for a GM to ignore the players' concerns. We don't know the OP's situation in detail, so I don't know where any blame may lie. I do know that if all 6 players at a table challenge a GM's procedure, and the GM is in fact breaking the rules, then it's a legitimate issue.

In those cases where the scenario has lots of bad guys (and really, I've heard about 3 scenarios out of the 150+ that would be a problem), roll for everyone, have them delay into a group or three, and you're good. Grouping isn't the problem - grouping and then taking one great roll to give the bad guys a huge advantage, is what the issue is here.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Andrew Christian wrote:

Bottom line, it doesn't matter whether GMs clump or not. What matters is if the outcome is fair and fun.

One season one 7-11 would require me to roll and track 32 separate initiatives without clumping. That's ridiculous. A season five 7-11 had 7 or 8 discreet creatures, that with out clumping really bogged down combat.

The point is, trust your GM until they prove they can't be trusted. Arguing or calling a GM out on rules minutae is extremely poor dorm.

This.

Sovereign Court

Huh. I have never NOT seen a GM run similar creatures on the same initiative. You West Coast people keep on keeping on your side of the Mississippi. Sounds like proximity to the Pacific makes for a bunch of argumentative fun-sponges. Sheesh.


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oh cool is it generalization based on geography time

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

aboyd wrote:
The reason at least in my case is that I had a very negative personal experience with this issue at a recent convention. A player wouldn't stop second-guessing my monsters and their moves, citing "no interleaving." So I broke apart the monsters into individual initiatives...

You're the GM - you get to run the table the way you want. Tell the player that this is how it's going to be done - if he has issues with that, he's free to discuss it with you after the game, or to take it up with the convention judges.

Disclaimer: I know (and frequently game with) both aboyd and DesolateHarmony; I'm their local VL. I can't imagine either of them deliberately breaking rules or otherwise behaving unfairly at the table.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

RoshVagari wrote:
Sounds like proximity to the Pacific makes for a bunch of argumentative fun-sponges. Sheesh.

Weird, I've been argumentative since Georgia.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
GM Lamplighter wrote:
Adnrew Christian wrote:
Bottom line, it doesn't matter whether GMs clump or not. What matters is if the outcome is fair and fun.

That's not true - it does matter that PFS GMs follow the rules. We have seen lots of threads on how the GM's idea of "fun" results in TPKs or cakewalks.

It's definitely poor form if the players ask about this when there is no issue, but it's also poor form for a GM to ignore the players' concerns. We don't know the OP's situation in detail, so I don't know where any blame may lie. I do know that if all 6 players at a table challenge a GM's procedure, and the GM is in fact breaking the rules, then it's a legitimate issue.

In those cases where the scenario has lots of bad guys (and really, I've heard about 3 scenarios out of the 150+ that would be a problem), roll for everyone, have them delay into a group or three, and you're good. Grouping isn't the problem - grouping and then taking one great roll to give the bad guys a huge advantage, is what the issue is here.

If I have a group that gets very high init both relative to the majority of the party and relative to its range, I'll split it into two or more chunks depending on that clump's threat level.

I don't default to doing that and I don't anticipate needing to flex based on player concerns.

Obviously, the issue of a GM improperly executing action economy is a real concern - but that's not about initiative clustering, that's about turn interleaving... If that's what is meant by interleaving, then yes, it's an issue.

If the issue is one of PvGM perception on either side, that's a different problem than initiative clustering.

Either way, my reaction is: This, again?

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
RoshVagari wrote:
Sounds like proximity to the Pacific makes for a bunch of argumentative fun-sponges. Sheesh.
Weird, I've been argumentative since Georgia.

No you haven't.


Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
RoshVagari wrote:
Sounds like proximity to the Pacific makes for a bunch of argumentative fun-sponges. Sheesh.
Weird, I've been argumentative since Georgia.

The Pacific is strong with this one.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Well, you know the pacific is so peaceful, cause it sucks the peace out of all of us living near it. That's how it got it's name.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
nosig wrote:

Player A:"I delay until after that goblin goes"

Judge:"goblins all go in a solid group -what are you trying to pull? Not going to let you pull that at my table!"

That was the idiot judge.

Me: I say "Okay" If I think it's a very bad move, I'll ask "Are you sure?". then let the player delay if that is what he wants to do.

Then the group of goblins all go on the initiative and then Play A if he's still around, gets to go.

Given the usual scenario, though unless Player A has done something extremely stupid, not all 14 are going to go on HIM.

I will group simple monsters if it saves time. Because when I run scenarios time is not one of the things we have in abundance.

If they have names they are separate, although I will group creatures they control with them.

The OP however is a perfect example of the Chicken Little mentality that dominates the paranoid section of this venue. Initiative grouping will not make the sky fall.

1/5

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For goodness sake, it's not like the initiative rules stand up to the level of scrutiny being employed here anyway.

The rules state that:

PRD wrote:
At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll, as well as other modifiers from feats, spells, and other effects. Characters act in order, counting down from the highest result to the lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see Special Initiative Actions).

Fair enough. However, note that "initiative count" is not defined.

Next, regarding ties:

PRD wrote:
If two or more combatants have the same initiative check result, the combatants who are tied act in order of total initiative modifier (highest first).

Great! Not that nothing is said about changing the actual initiative check result; only the order of action is specified. And again, nothing about "initiative count."

Now look at effects ongoing effects:

PRD wrote:
When the rules refer to a “full round”, they usually mean a span of time from a particular initiative count in one round to the same initiative count in the next round. Effects that last a certain number of rounds end just before the same initiative count that they began on.

What is an "initiative count?"

Is it a synonym for "initiative check result?" If so, then multiple people can go on the same initiative count (because ties do not result in changing the initiative check result). So if you have two combatants with the same check result, but with different initiative modifiers, they go on the same count in order of initiative modifier. Imagine a monk (initiative check 20, modifier 5) goes after an enemy bard (initiative check 20, modifier 6) and stuns him for 1 round, by the RAW the stun ends "just before" initiative count 20 in the next round, meaning the bard recovers before his turn and suffers no ill effects from the stun.

On the other hand, if initiative count isn't a synonym for "initiative check result," what is it? How does it work? The rules don't say.

TLDR; If you try to treat the rules of a game like a legal contract, you're asking for trouble.

Grand Lodge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

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From my personal experience, GMs clumping monsters benefits players more frequently than the monsters. The reason for this is that most clumped monsters tend to be minions/mooks that can be taken down quickly. So I get one roll for all the mooks and a table of six players gets 6 rolls total and their Initiative bonuses are, on average, higher than most mooks. This means that, on average, 3 or 4 players are likely to go before the mooks. And since mooks are easy to take out, on average, several of them are already down before they even get to go.

Grand Lodge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

FLite wrote:
The problem with interleaving (in my opinion) is more that the Gm gets in the habit of moving all monsters and then making all attacks, and as a result can forget and give a monster full attack + sneak by accident when he should have had one or the other.

There are lots of GM habits that can sometimes cause unfair/illegal situations to occur against the players. And most GMs allow the players to point these things out so they can be corrected when they occur. In order to warrant a change in habit/behavior, though, the problem needs to be chronic. Not just occasional.

Grand Lodge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Blakmane wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Blakmane wrote:
This is very bad and you shouldn't do it.
You are free to not have me as your GM then.

Pathfinder works under a discreet turn system. If you are a PFS GM, you don't get to break rules when you see fit.

1) It is not "very bad." It is a minor violation of the rules and the end results of the difference between grouping initiative and actual interleaving is identical 90% of the time. Which means it is an issue that should be resolved between the player and the GM when it actually matters, just like most other rule issues.

2) While PFS GMs are required to follow RAW, they are not required to GM players who are excessively pedantic about following the rules. Especially in situations where there is no real difference in the end result.

Grouping is a technical violation of the rules that most GMs use and most players accept. Interleaving is a mechanical violation that I agree should be avoided. But I also don't see it as a chronic, pervasive problem.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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GM Lamplighter wrote:
Adnrew Christian wrote:
Bottom line, it doesn't matter whether GMs clump or not. What matters is if the outcome is fair and fun.

That's not true - it does matter that PFS GMs follow the rules. We have seen lots of threads on how the GM's idea of "fun" results in TPKs or cakewalks.

It's definitely poor form if the players ask about this when there is no issue, but it's also poor form for a GM to ignore the players' concerns. We don't know the OP's situation in detail, so I don't know where any blame may lie. I do know that if all 6 players at a table challenge a GM's procedure, and the GM is in fact breaking the rules, then it's a legitimate issue.

In those cases where the scenario has lots of bad guys (and really, I've heard about 3 scenarios out of the 150+ that would be a problem), roll for everyone, have them delay into a group or three, and you're good. Grouping isn't the problem - grouping and then taking one great roll to give the bad guys a huge advantage, is what the issue is here.

And there is such a thing as ridiculous pedantry and draconian adherence to the rules to such a length, that it no longer becomes fun.

If a GM combines 3 goblin initiatives together, they are not breaking the rules!

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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Having a bunch of bad guys act on a single initiative number is perfectly fine as long as they are still treated as individuals who happen to have the same initiative number.

That means that readied actions will still work as normal, and it lets players delay and jump back into the order between bad guys. They can even switch around which one of them goes first (mechanically, they are delaying to switch order).

To me, the problems happen when you treat all the bad guys as a single creature, and prevent delaying players from jumping in. Most commonly, I see party healers go on delay, so not letting that character jump in between the bad guys is going to get you some complaints.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dorothy Lindman wrote:


To me, the problems happen when you treat all the bad guys as a single creature, and prevent delaying players from jumping in. Most commonly, I see party healers go on delay, so not letting that character jump in between the bad guys is going to get you some complaints.

Choosing to delay rather than ready is a sticky wicket. Quite frankly it's something that has to be looked at on a case by case basis.

Here's how I work it out. Lets say I have a group of 4 goblins all acting on initative 8. Player at init 10 decides he's going to delay.

Now those goblins are going to be moved at one at a time. If the player announces he's going to insert when I'm moving goblin 3, that means goblin 3 gets his go, and he gets to move before I move goblin 4.

If he had readied an action specifically on goblin 2, then he goes after I resolve goblin 1, but before goblin 2.


Most PFS fights are real walk overs so players getting worked up over the GM using one init roll for the outclassed goons is pretty lame.

If the NPC's show signs of being unusually deadly then I'll break up the init just so no one feels like there was anything unfair.

But if some paranoid player ever brings it up I'll bring the game to a crawl by rolling init for each NPC and taking each of their turns in order. I'll see how long it takes the other players to put a stop to that.

4/5

So to be clear on this, certain people are requesting that in a scenario where the enemies are attacking in waves of 5-6 bad guys with a couple rounds in between each wave, I need to constantly be holding a bridge hand in initiative tracking cards?

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Memphis aka Mulgar

Seriously, 73 posts so far. I guess I'll just come back in about a 1000 posts to see what the FAQ result is.

I'm really tired of these types of issues.

The Exchange 5/5

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The just appears to have become another thread discussing what I call table ETIQUETTE....

If someone at a table asked me to stop doing something because it was "hard for him, bothered him" I'd try to stop doing it. I often do or have done things that might bug someone, without me even noticing it. If I was rattleing dice on the table top (something that I ask players to PLEASE not do when I am talking) and someone asked me to stop - I would.

Some things I've been asked to stop doing or change at a table-

If my "silly voice" bothered someone (something I was asked to stop doing more than once), I'd switch it.
If my Take 10 T-shirt upset anyone at the table - I'd switch it. (I bring an extra just for this)
If I'm jiggling my leg (nervse habbit) - I'd quit.
If I'm crunching ice (my bad habit) - I'd put it back in the cup and TRY to stop.
If my PC is "hitting" on someones PC and it's "creeping me out guy" - I'd stop right away.
If my cross-gendered PC is bothering someone - I'll switch the gender for one game (maybe she's in "disguise" for the adventure).

Heck - this is about ETIQUETTE - about "playing nice" together.

If anyone at the table asks me to stop some easily controled thing - like clumping the PCs INIT together I DON'T CARE WHY - I'd stop as soon as I could. Maybe she feels it's to much like cheating. Perhaps there is trama there,(did she catch 8 arrows at once last game?) I don't know, and frankly I don't care. WHATEVER the reason. I wanna be her FRIEND. I want her to have fun too. If it helps her have fun, and doesn't hurt my fun, why not do it if she asks nice (or heck, even more it she asks upset)?

table ETIQUETTE.

Play nice. Let's be friends. Have fun.... it's what the game is really about.

The Exchange 5/5

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Mulgar wrote:

Seriously, 73 posts so far. I guess I'll just come back in about a 1000 posts to see what the FAQ result is.

I'm really tired of these types of issues.

My money is on "no FAQ needed" - will be the response

Silver Crusade

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I feel that the best solution here is to roll every creature's initiative, then delay all similar creatures To the lowest initiative. Doing so allows you to follow the rules and make the game go faster... Why is this even an argument?

I don't like seeing groups of monsters on the same initiative, and if a GM asks if I have a prefference, I will tell them so. I have seen situations where a GM rolls high initiative on a difficult encounter and PKs the table. Most often the GM will allow a redo in that situation which is fine and cordial, but I'd rather just follow the rules from the begining and not be in that situation in the first place.

Grand Lodge

If I happen to have prepared enough in advance for a home game, I pre-roll initiatives for monsters.

There was far less concern from that than when I based enemy turn order on a single roll, but even then, what concern there was, was because I typically roll in plain view for my players, and pre-rolling precludes that.

In a PFS scenario you're obligated to run as written, so barring the sudden addition of another player in what was anticipated to be a four-player session, this shouldn't be too hard if you annotate a physical copy of the scenario. And if you're at that stage, you can readily just pre-roll for all tiers/PC number adjustments.

Yes, it's "More work for the GM", but it's work that doesn't slow down the game as much once players are at the table, rather than very likely equal work of trying to roll six separate initiatives for hob goblin mooks #1-6 while a half-dozen players are barking what they got for their own results (I'm guilty of this myself many times).

Interleaving leaves less of the results to the dice (perhaps counterintuitively) and increases the chances of producing very one-sided fights which leave everyone with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Pre-roll initiatives, print out an excel spread sheet, go that extra mile for your players.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

nosig wrote:
Mulgar wrote:

Seriously, 73 posts so far. I guess I'll just come back in about a 1000 posts to see what the FAQ result is.

I'm really tired of these types of issues.

My money is on "no FAQ needed" - will be the response

Um... I don't think I have ever seen them FAQ something in the PFS GM forum. They banned Peacock, which was being discussed here, but it was also being discussed in 4 other forums too.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hi.

Just checking: how is it possible, even at high levels, for a foe to move and then get a full attack? The "high-level exception concern" doesn't hold up.

It's always reasonable to move a bunch of foes, and then have them all attack once. It's always reasonable to have a coupe of foes five-foot step and then have them full attack. It is to the foes' disadvantage: a PC might fall early, and the bad guys won't get to move to a better vantage point.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

A select few opponents can do it.

Pounce beasts. One pounces from the left, the other from the right, then both take full attacks, with flanking and sneak damage.

River drakes (and others?) have a power that three times a day gives them a move action as a free action, Move, then move, then each full attacks with flanking.

Quote:
It's always reasonable to have a coupe of foes five-foot step and then have them full attack. It is to the foes' disadvantage: a PC might fall early,

Actually, that *is* the problem. It can turn a CR -2 encounter into a dead PC if it involves rogues. NPC 1 five foot step, NPC 2 five foot step into flank, both full attack with flanking and sneak attack is illegal. By the rules, at most they should get one full attack without flanking and one full attack with, or one full attack with flanking, and a readied single attack with flanking.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Chris Mortika wrote:
It is to the foes' disadvantage: a PC might fall early, and the bad guys won't get to move to a better vantage point.

Ironically, that is to the PCs disadvantage too. Now you have an unconscious PC, next to a foe who has attacks left, and no other viable targets for the round.

What do you think happens next?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

FLite wrote:

A select few opponents can do it.

Pounce beasts. One pounces from the left, the other from the right, then both take full attacks, with flanking and sneak damage.

Just the idea of a pouncing opponent with sneak attack is pretty dire. Sure. Don't do that. One one of them should get sneak attack, or only one of them should execute a full attack.

Quote:
River drakes (and others?) have a power that three times a day gives them a move action as a free action, Move, then move, then each full attacks with flanking.

Swift action, actually, and they also get pounce. All that allows is a tail slap for 1d4+1 damage, but otherwise, yeah, be careful with those flanking river drakes.

Silver Crusade 2/5

Chris Mortika wrote:

Hi.

Just checking: how is it possible, even at high levels, for a foe to move and then get a full attack? The "high-level exception concern" doesn't hold up.

It's always reasonable to move a bunch of foes, and then have them all attack once. It's always reasonable to have a coupe of foes five-foot step and then have them full attack. It is to the foes' disadvantage: a PC might fall early, and the bad guys won't get to move to a better vantage point.

There are several ways to move and full attack, including 'pounce' pummeling charge and 'protect the meek'.

The real problem is eliminating the possibility of PC's doing attacks of opportunity or immediate actions to interrupt the interleaved actions of the foes. Martial battlefield controllers with combat reflexes need to be able to see attacks develop to choose what and where they apply their control expertise, especially at high levels.

Personal example::
I have a lore-warden fighter and maneuver master monk multiclass who uses a reach weapon, and liberally uses enlarge person potions. His specialty is tripping, and with the feat greater trip, those he trips provoke attacks of opportunity from opponents that threaten them. He gets four attacks of opportunity per round.

If enemies take their turns in sequential order, then I can have my fighter/monk respond to the tactical situation as it develops, perhaps preventing foes from getting to desired squares to pummel his allies. Moving all the monsters en masse and then performing their attacks limits my options for my character and perhaps deceives me as to their intent, thus increasing the danger to the other PC's at the table and reducing my effectiveness.

It is often -not- reasonable to move a bunch of foes and then have them all attack at once. There are cases, especially at low-level, where it really doesn't matter, though it is not how the rules work.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Chris Mortika wrote:
FLite wrote:

A select few opponents can do it.

Pounce beasts. One pounces from the left, the other from the right, then both take full attacks, with flanking and sneak damage.

Just the idea of a pouncing opponent with sneak attack is pretty dire. Sure. Don't do that. One one of them should get sneak attack, or only one of them should execute a full attack.

Quote:
River drakes (and others?) have a power that three times a day gives them a move action as a free action, Move, then move, then each full attacks with flanking.
Swift action, actually, and they also get pounce. All that allows is a tail slap for 1d4+1 damage, but otherwise, yeah, be careful with those flanking river drakes.

It's been over a year since I ran that adventure. :)

Tail slap and +2 to hit. There are far better things a river drake can do with that power, I included them more for completeness than anything.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

LazarX wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:


To me, the problems happen when you treat all the bad guys as a single creature, and prevent delaying players from jumping in. Most commonly, I see party healers go on delay, so not letting that character jump in between the bad guys is going to get you some complaints.

Choosing to delay rather than ready is a sticky wicket. Quite frankly it's something that has to be looked at on a case by case basis.

Here's how I work it out. Lets say I have a group of 4 goblins all acting on initative 8. Player at init 10 decides he's going to delay.

Now those goblins are going to be moved at one at a time. If the player announces he's going to insert when I'm moving goblin 3, that means goblin 3 gets his go, and he gets to move before I move goblin 4.

If he had readied an action specifically on goblin 2, then he goes after I resolve goblin 1, but before goblin 2.

Why is that "sticky"?

If the player readies an action for something, the readied action goes off when the trigger occurs. If the player readies for "when goblin 2 gets in reach, I hit it", then he hits goblin 2 when it gets in reach, regardless of whether Goblin 2 is finished his turn. (That's the point of readying--so that you can interrupt someone else's action.)

Goblin 1's action is completely irrelevant.

Maybe I don't understand the issue.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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RealAlchemy wrote:
So to be clear on this, certain people are requesting that in a scenario where the enemies are attacking in waves of 5-6 bad guys with a couple rounds in between each wave, I need to constantly be holding a bridge hand in initiative tracking cards?

No one's requesting that. Split the bad guys into as many or as few groups as you want. Just don't treat every group of bad guys as a single, uninterruptible creature that can take 5-6 full round actions on it's turn.

BTW, my record is 17 cards at one time: remember that PC's and animal companions/eidelons also go on separate initiative counts and should technically have separate cards. (I fudge it a bit and let them just use one card if the character is mounted.) So that's more like a BS hand than a bridge hand...

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Dorothy Lindman wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:


To me, the problems happen when you treat all the bad guys as a single creature, and prevent delaying players from jumping in. Most commonly, I see party healers go on delay, so not letting that character jump in between the bad guys is going to get you some complaints.

Choosing to delay rather than ready is a sticky wicket. Quite frankly it's something that has to be looked at on a case by case basis.

Here's how I work it out. Lets say I have a group of 4 goblins all acting on initative 8. Player at init 10 decides he's going to delay.

Now those goblins are going to be moved at one at a time. If the player announces he's going to insert when I'm moving goblin 3, that means goblin 3 gets his go, and he gets to move before I move goblin 4.

If he had readied an action specifically on goblin 2, then he goes after I resolve goblin 1, but before goblin 2.

Why is that "sticky"?

If the player readies an action for something, the readied action goes off when the trigger occurs. If the player readies for "when goblin 2 gets in reach, I hit it", then he hits goblin 2 when it gets in reach, regardless of whether Goblin 2 is finished his turn. (That's the point of readying--so that you can interrupt someone else's action.)

Goblin 1's action is completely irrelevant.

Maybe I don't understand the issue.

That's why delay is sticky.

Lets say I have a healer / battle field controller.

No one is hurt, so I declare delay.

You start moving goblins around "starting" their turn. Now I can't come back in until their turn is over. (If you had readied, I could come in, but since you haven't declared that, their turn isn't over.)

Further, lets say Goblin 1 and 2 moved up and hit Tanky Mctank for 3 hp total, then goblin 3 moved up and hit Idiot Wizard (who was in the front rank because he is an idiot) for 10 hit points (lucky crit.) I come out of delay, and step into block the flanking position and heal the wizard. Now goblin 4 can't get flank on the wizard.

On the other hand, if you moved goblins 1, 2, 3, and 4, I have to move before I know who is going to get hit, and how badly, drastically limiting my utility.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Dorothy Lindman wrote:
(I fudge it a bit and let them just use one card if the character is mounted.)

Mounts act on their rider's initiative. That's in the rule book, so it isn't really fudging. I guess, technically, they might have their own initiative if the rider dismounts.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

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Wow this thread exploded. Not to derail, but to clarify the random facts about my vampire anecdote.

There are over a dozen vampires having a jam session in the spoiler below, which is a PFS legal module.

Spoiler:
The Moonscar

They are just your regular vanilla Bestiary vamps that are level 8 sorcerers and thusly have 8d6 fireballs. They also have +8 to Initiative. With the initial grouped combat, they got something like a 27 on initiative and beat the entire party, as our kensai and others did roll below average. We were clumped because we had just opened the door when 13 fireballs simultaneously hit for a total of 104d6 points of damage.

The GM quickly realized how silly it was to have them all go at the same initiative, so rolled up 12 more and ran them separately.

No harm, no foul.
-------------------------
Again, I don't think there is any FAQ to be suggested or any ruling to be made. Sometimes a GM needs to clump enemies to keep combat fast and engaging and sometimes those enemies are deadly enough that they need to be split apart. That decision is something that the GM makes based off their experience as a GM and everything that comes with it.

If your GM is clumping enemies in a way that is causing your party to suffer a great deal, please communicate your feelings in a polite and mature way to them. Conversely, if your players are complaining that the 12 kobolds aren't on 12 separate initiatives, explain to them why you grouped them up. Everyone involved wants to have a good time--GMs and players included.

Just be mature about it and play on.

The Exchange

If you were going to group a large amount of enemies wouldn't it make more sense to assume they got a 10 instead of rolling for them as a group? Seems reasonable enough that you would just give them all an average roll.

Silver Crusade 2/5

Ragoz wrote:
If you were going to group a large amount of enemies wouldn't it make more sense to assume they got a 10 instead of rolling for them as a group? Seems reasonable enough that you would just give them all an average roll.

By the book, if you want to have a group of enemies go at the same time, they should roll their initiatives and then delay to go on the same count as the lowest roller. They pay their higher initiatives to go with more coordination. This is not something I worry about. I usually don't mind grouping characters by initiative with a single roll for them, so long as they are run as individuals so they can be interrupted as necessary.

That said, a group of nasties getting a high initiative roll can be deadly, such as goblin rogues each with sneak attack going before anyone in the party. At first level, taking 1d4-1+1d6 multiple times is very dangerous. So, GM's, be careful how this plays out.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

DesolateHarmony wrote:


The real problem is eliminating the possibility of PC's doing attacks of opportunity or immediate actions to interrupt the interleaved actions of the foes. Martial battlefield controllers with combat reflexes need to be able to see attacks develop to choose what and where they apply their control expertise, especially at high levels.

I again confess confusion as to how moving foes, and then taking their attacks, makes a difference. Your enlarged trip guy can still trip foes as they provoke attacks of opportunity.

I guess that one of the reasons I don't mind "everybody move, now everybody attack" is that the underlying fight that I'm trying to simulate in Pathfinder works like that. Your party turns the corner, and there's a horde of monkey goblins that roars down the corridor and attacks. The idea that they politely come at you one-at-a-time is an artifact of the game system that's getting in the way of the fight I want to present.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:

Wow this thread exploded. Not to derail, but to clarify the random facts about my vampire anecdote.

There are over a dozen vampires having a jam session in the spoiler below, which is a PFS legal module.

Ok, but because of one really weird incredibly high level corner case should dms have to take extra time sorting out initiative for EVERY single orc, goblin, skeleton and kobold mook just so that someone doesn't have to waste maybe an extra cure light wounds charge every other session?

Or should we trust dms to do what yours did: figure out when the rare corner cases are going to mess things up and then roll seperate inits.

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:

Wow this thread exploded. Not to derail, but to clarify the random facts about my vampire anecdote.

There are over a dozen vampires having a jam session in the spoiler below, which is a PFS legal module.

Ok, but because of one really weird incredibly high level corner case should dms have to take extra time sorting out initiative for EVERY single orc, goblin, skeleton and kobold mook just so that someone doesn't have to waste maybe an extra cure light wounds charge every other session?

Or should we trust dms to do what yours did: figure out when the rare corner cases are going to mess things up and then roll seperate inits.
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Again, I don't think there is any FAQ to be suggested or any ruling to be made. Sometimes a GM needs to clump enemies to keep combat fast and engaging and sometimes those enemies are deadly enough that they need to be split apart. That decision is something that the GM makes based off their experience as a GM and everything that comes with it.

Walter Sheppard already acknowledged it was a corner case at the beginning of the thread, and clarified his view again in this post.

Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Florida—Tampa aka Dominick

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's a corner case that won't ever happen in PFS.

Rules made on corner cases are usually bad rules.

Lantern Lodge

Walter Sheppard wrote:

Wow this thread exploded. Not to derail, but to clarify the random facts about my vampire anecdote.

There are over a dozen vampires having a jam session in the spoiler below, which is a PFS legal module.

** spoiler omitted **

I'm shocked PCs of that level weren't rocking 30 points of extended resist energy all day as necessary.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
FLite wrote:
[You start moving goblins around "starting" their turn. Now I can't come back in until their turn is over. (If you had readied, I could come in, but since you haven't declared that, their turn isn't over.)

Why can't you?

This is exactly what Dorothy is talking about. It's not a problem of group initiative, it's a problem of the GM treating the separate individuals as a single individual all acting at once.

I have in the past grouped mooks together in fights. (As with TOZ, I tend not to nowadays as it's pretty easy in Roll20 to track it. Even in person I tend not to-- I haven't run much 7-11, so it's rare to have more than 3 or 4 total bad guys. But, in the past I've done it.) I have let players interrupt in the middle of the group doing their thing when a condition arises that makes them want to come out of delay. You can definitely do it. The GM may well change what the mooks who go after the delay do from what he said they were going to do; that's also reasonable.

5/5

Andrew Christian wrote:

And there is such a thing as ridiculous pedantry and draconian adherence to the rules to such a length, that it no longer becomes fun.

If a GM combines 3 goblin initiatives together, they are not breaking the rules!

Well, yes they are, but most people agree that it is a pretty minor infraction with little or no effect. Please stop saying things that just aren't true.

The OP, though, had all six players call him on it, and express that they were uncomfortable with this short cut. (Granted, they did so in a preety poor manner, so there is an etiquette issue there as well.) Just like nosig's list, if you're doing something that others don't like (*and* that thing is technically against the rules), you should stop.

And to address your example: If a GM can't handle three goblins in initiative and still make the game fun, the solution is practice practice practice, not rules violations. (And again, I'm only talking about the situation where the players have *complained* about the violation. If everyone is fine with it, great.)


The only time I've seen clumping the initiatives be an actual problem was with archers and the party crossing a wide open area. At the point where the group of 4 archers initiative came up, there was only 1 pc visible. Plus it happened to be a squishy character. Then 7 of 8 arrows hit and instantly dropped him from full health to way dead.
As soon as the GM rolled the dice and started looking at the numbers, he stopped things. "We're backing up here and splitting these guys up." Everything was fine then.
But I can see some GM's being unwilling to stop and split the clump of 4, it causing a dead character, and bad feelings.

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