Initiative and Combat


I. Determine if either or both parties are surprised.

A. Normally, a d6 is rolled for each party. A roll of 1 or 2 indicates surprise.

1. Some individuals, notably rangers, are surprised less often — 1 in 6 (162/3%) less often, in the case of rangers. This benefit accrues to the entire party.
2. Some individuals, notably rangers, surprise others more often — 1 in 6 (162/3%) more often, in the case of rangers.This benefit, however, does not accrue to the entire party.
3. Where either side uses a die other than d6 to determine surprise, convert to percentages (e.g., 1 in 8 equals 121/2%, 9 in 10 equals 90%, etc.).

B. If neither party is surprised, proceed to step II.

C. If either or both parties are surprised, use the result of that side’s d6 roll to determine for how long they are surprised.

1. Each pip on the d6 equals one segment of inactivity due to surprise.
2. In cases where percentages were used, divide the result of the d% roll by 162/3 (rounding all
fractions up) to determine the number of segments lost.
3. If only one side was surprised, then it will be inactive for the indicated number of segments.
4. If both sides are surprised, subtract the lesser result from the greater to determine the net amount of segments lost to the more-surprised side.
5. Characters with Dexterity reaction adjustments are individually surprised for more or less segments than the rest of their side, depending on the amount of the penalty or bonus. This only applies when the character’s side is already surprised. A reaction penalty does
not create surprise in an unsurprised individual. Reaction bonuses do not apply to characters carrying more than “light gear” (12” base movement), although reaction penalties always do.
6. A surprised character armed with a crossbow of speed can fire it in the 2nd segment of surprise, if he is surprised for more than one segment.

D. During each segment of surprise, members of the non-surprised side can perform one of the following actions.

1. Make a full round of melee attacks in one segment.

2. Make a full round of missile attacks in one segment (or three times that rate if the missiles are ready).
3. Take one segment of movement (1’ per 1” of movement rate)
4. Cast a one-segment spell, or begin casting a longer spell.
5. Spend one segment performing any other action that can normally be completed in six seconds
(e.g., drawing a weapon, drinking a potion, activating certain wands, etc.)

E. An individual who, due to a reaction bonus, is surprised for fewer segments than the rest of his side can only perform actions D 3-5, above, during the segments that he is no longer surprised.

F. Similarly, an individual who, due to a reaction bonus, is surprised for fewer segments than the rest of his side cannot be targeted by actions D 1-2, above, during the segments that he is no longer surprised.

II. Determine distance, if unknown, between the parties.

A. Outdoors, base encounter distance is 6” to 24” (6d4)

1. If either party is surprised, subtract the larger number of surprise segments from the distance.
2. Terrain may further modify the encounter distance.
a. Scrub — -1 per die on all 3’s and 4’s.
b. Forest — -1 per die on all numbers (0’s are possible).
c. Marsh — -1 per die on all 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s.33

B. Indoors, base encounter distance is 5” to 10” (d6 + 4)

1. Line of Sight: If this is unobstructed and light is involved, the distance possible for determination of another party present is virtually infinite. It could likewise be sharply restricted due to obstructions.
2. Noise: If one party is making considerable noise which is discernible by the other party, the latter will have the options of fleeing or concealment; the former negating the encounter, the latter allowing distance to be 1” to 4” before discovery by the noisy party.
3. Actual Area: If the encountered party is in a small area, distance between the two can be no
greater than the maximum distance possible for discovery of the one by the other, i.e. opening a
door into a 20’ X 20’ room will mean the distance between the two parties can be under 10’, 10’
or thereabouts, or 20’ (d6, 1-2 = striking distance, 3-4 = 10’ distance, 5-6 = 20’ distance)
4. Planned or Unplanned Appearance: The sudden precipitation of one party upon the other due to
any of a number of factors (teleportation, dimension door spell, other magical means, a chute,
etc.) will cause distance similar to that found when actual area is a factor.
5. Surprise: Surprise can only be a factor in close encounter situations. If either or both parties are
surprised, the distance must be either 1” to 3” or it must be less as determined under the actual
area modifier. Thus if the actual area were a 40’ X 60’ room, if surprise exists the distance
between the parties will be 1” to 3”.42
In the next cave, Robilar and Quij surprise another group of lizard men. Encounter distance would
normally be 1” to 3”, but, since this cave is only 20’ wide, 2” is the maximum distance possible.
6. Light: The illumination factor or visual capability of the concerned parties will affect encounter distance as follows:
a. A light source reliance limits the encounter distance to twice the normal vision radius of
the source (2 X radius of the light source).
b. Infravision and/or ultravision operate only to the stated limit of their range and limit
encounter distance accordingly.

III. Both parties declare their intentions.

A. The DM should mentally note what actions the “monsters” plan to take, prior to knowing what the PC’s will do.

B. Each player should describe what his character will do this round.

1. Spell casters must note what spell they intend to cast at the beginning of each round.
2. Other intentions may be declared in a more general manner (e.g., “I fire my bow” or “I attack with my sword”).
3. Any delay on the part of a player to declare intentions should be considered as a like delay in the character’s actions, on a six second to one segment basis.

IV. Pre-initiative actions are resolved.

A. A bow specialist who begins the round with arrow nocked, shaft drawn, and target in sight is entitled to loose that arrow prior to any initiative check.

B. A crossbow specialist who begins the round with crossbow cocked and aimed, and targeted also gets a free shot prior to initiative.

Any other exceptional actions that occur prior to initiative should be resolved here.

VI. Determine initiative for the round by rolling a d6 for each side. The higher of the two rolls is said to possess the initiative for that melee round.

A. Each participant does not make a separate initiative roll. However, the Dexterity Attacking adjustment is added to (or subtracted from) the initiative roll for each missile-firing combatant on an individual basis.

1. Initiative bonuses do not apply to characters carrying more than “light gear” (12” base movement).
2. Initiative penalties always apply.

C. Certain magic items, notably the crossbow of speed, short sword of quickness, and scimitar of speed allow the wielder to strike first regardless of the initiative result.

Initiative and Combat

Greyhawk Adventures ducatidon