As we’re codifying the combat rules for Wizards & Warriors, I’m tempted to give a slight twist to the old high-roll-on-1d6-wins scheme. We’re going to keep high roll on 1d6 wins, but instead of whichever side rolls best that round getting the initiative, it’s going to be a bit tougher for the momentum to shift the other way.

A house rule we’ve used for years is that, except in the first round, ties in initiative rolls mean the last round’s winner maintains the initiative. (In the first round it means ‘simultaneous.’) The idea is that the side with the advantage tends to keep that advantage unless really pressed.

I’m going to take the concept of momentum a but further and try a system where, if the side that lost initiative the previous round has the better roll in the current round, the initiative shifts to “simultaneous” rather than to the previous round’s loser. After a round of simultaneous initiative, the side which rolls higher takes the momentum. That means a side that was behind needs two rounds to get ahead.

There would be three possible states:

<—–Party initiative—–> <—–Initiative tied—–> <—–Monsters initiative—–>

The state could not shift more than one spot on that line per round.

Tied rolls will continue to mean “repeat previous round,” except that now that could often mean “simultaneous.”

While some will no doubt complain that this means a party that’s screwed will continue to be screwed, I think it may actually make things a bit easier to plan actions. We require declaring action before the initiative roll. Should the wizard try to cast a spell? Well, he’ll have a better chance of knowing whether it’s worth a try or if he should just grip his dagger and hope that they can get the upper hand for a moment to give him more time. Just like in a real fight, he’d maybe have a sense of how things are going and be able to make a decision rather than deciding and simply hoping the die roll goes well.

Any thoughts? Has anyone else tried this?

UPDATE: I forgot to include the fact that if one side surprises the other, the surprising side will be considered to “have the momentum” in the first full round of combat if it comes to blows.

I think this all might do a lot toward making things a little better without mucking with the base system too much.

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2 Comments to “Momentum”

  1. Timeshadows says:

    It looks interesting, and I like the intent.
    –I’ll wait to read others’ comments.

  2. I like it. Rather than say you surprised your opponent, one might be able to say you have the ‘combat momentum’ and have a free round.

    I am playing with if a party member rolls a natural 1 then the party is -1 initiative for the next initiative roll. This is cumulative for each natural 1 rolled by party members in a single round.

    This applies to opponents as well.