Card initiative modified by skill/attribute?

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Clint
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#21 Postby Clint » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:53 am

Well, I don't often do this, but I'll just flat out disagree with the notion that Edges are rare in SW. That seems more influenced by other systems than the initiative idea.

That said, as noted, two of the issues with adjusting the value of the card itself are the inability of the GM to simply look at the cards and know who acts next plus the loss of the non-simultaneous feature of using cards. If you have one character with a -1, one at 0, one at +1, and one at +2 and deal out a Jack of Hearts, Ten of Hearts, Nine of Hearts, and Eight of Hearts, then some way of determining who goes first has to be created, and considering Agility and Smarts are already adjusting the values, do you "double dip" and use them again or go another route.

If someone really wanted Agility and Smarts to be inherently tied to initiative, then I'd suggest the simplest method.

Use the lower of Agility and Smarts (to represent that initiative is dependent on both), and a Wild Card is dealt half that die type minus one cards, taking the best for initiative. That way a d4 only provides one card, a d6 two cards, a d8 three cards, etc... But that has to be the minimum in both Attributes.

So if you have a d4 Agility and a d10 Smarts (or vice versa), you get one card, but if you have a d8 in both Agility and Smarts, then you get three cards and take the best. Just add a "Derived Stat" called Initiative that has that number listed in it.

That way the base card values are still used so the GM can see by the cards who goes next, and there's no chance of a tie. You could even adapt and keep the Edges too. Change Level Headed to require Spirit instead of Smarts (remaining calm in the face of danger), and offer two versions of Quick, normal and Quick-Witted, where the first requires Agility and the other Smarts, so character who does focus on one Attribute over the other has an Edge they can take to improve their initiative.

Anyway, that seems like it would cover all the points desired while retaining as much of the beneficial aspects of the core system as possible.
Clint Black
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Mechphisto
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#22 Postby Mechphisto » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:10 am

Clint wrote:Well, I don't often do this, but I'll just flat out disagree with the notion that Edges are rare in SW.  That seems more influenced by other systems than the initiative idea.
-snip-
That said, as noted, two of the issues with adjusting the value of the card itself are the inability of the GM to simply look at the cards and know who acts next...
-snip-
Anyway, that seems like it would cover all the points desired while retaining as much of the beneficial aspects of the core system as possible.


Re: edge frequency, I'm a newbie who's only just begun playing; you're the grandmaster expert -- I defer to my superior. :) My opinion was based simply on my experience with character creation and how "leveling" benefits appear. I may be completely misunderstanding how one gets edges. And/or, have not appreciated, maybe, how common it is to play as Veterans or Legendary. It does seem as though leveling happens WAY fast in SW. If an average of 2XP is given per game session, a character will still become Legendary halfway through just one of my campaigns! (I hate what D&D has become and am using SW as my complete system replacement for fantasy RPG.)

Perhaps, certainly, I'll grok it all better the more, heh, experience I gain using the system. :)

I completely agree with the complaint about the adjusting the card face value. As I replied to Robert(?), it sounded really good!! But your cautions make complete sense. After all, one of the reasons I LOVE the SW card initiative and absolutely want to keep it (despite good d20 suggestions I've gotten) is because I like the quick and unambiguous visual of the card as-is. 

Like I said, I tried the SWIFT idea this weekend, and it worked well! (Instead of half die -1, I did 1 card per die level (e.g.: d4=1, d6=2, etc.) If my math is right, that should always be the same result as the other method?) I'm afraid of what may happen once I have more than two players, but I'll just have to see. :)

Thank you for your feedback, Clint! I've been eating up the core rules question section of the board (and had one of my questions answered there), and I am in awe of both your answers and advice, and the tone and way you give it. :) I do hope they pay you well!
(And in, like, actual money-like stuff and not just Well-Done Job Satisfaction (tm) currency.)

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#23 Postby Croquemitaine » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:36 am

Maybe you could just let the cards dictate initiative as usual, but allow players who really feel the need to act sooner in a particular round to spend a bennie and then make a roll using one of those attributes. Maybe every raise let's them go one rank sooner?

This keeps the speed and simplicity of the official system while still allowing character abilities to play a part when it matters.

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#24 Postby Mechphisto » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:53 am

Croquemitaine wrote:Maybe you could just let the cards dictate initiative as usual, but allow players who really feel the need to act sooner in a particular round to spend a bennie and then make a roll using one of those attributes. Maybe every raise let's them go one rank sooner?

Hmm, not bad! Unfortunately, adding another role to what bennies do means increasing their demand requiring their supply to also increase in order to maintain balance. And that puts more onus on me, the GM, to award them. 

A problem already an issue if you're like me and often fail to award bennies as much as you should. :( It's not that I'm frugal with 'em! I'll give bennies for anything from successfully resolving a conflict without combat to the player making a great joke. But, I usually just forget to give them out because the mechanic just doesn't come to mind easily. :( And heck, this is from someone who used to run Spycraft/Stargate for years and had the same problem there. :-/

So I'd hate to tie something else to it that I can accidentally cheat the players out of. (Fortunately, I also never give myself additional bennies (duh!) and often forget to even USE any of my own.)

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#25 Postby Cryonic » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:04 pm

The other problem that I don't think anyone has brought up about this system is that it prevents one from creating certain builds for characters. E.g. a nimble guy that isn't fast on the draw (just good with his hands) or the very bright, but slow reacting doctor. The initiative system as built allows these to exist (the player doesn't take the edges that give them chances at better cards) while allowing the dim-witted, but speedy slugger or the bright, but butter-fingered wizard without the attributes directly affecting them in combat.

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#26 Postby Mechphisto » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:16 pm

Cryonic wrote:The other problem that I don't think anyone has brought up about this system is that it prevents one from creating certain builds for characters. E.g. a nimble guy that isn't fast on the draw (just good with his hands) or the very bright, but slow reacting doctor. The initiative system as built allows these to exist (the player doesn't take the edges that give them chances at better cards) while allowing the dim-witted, but speedy slugger or the bright, but butter-fingered wizard without the attributes directly affecting them in combat.

Whoa! You've just blown my mind! Drat, that's a very good point. :(

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77IM
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#27 Postby 77IM » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:11 pm

One compromise is to do a complicated Trait-based initiative on round 1 (to see who acts first), possibly an extension of the Surprise rules. Then do regular, card-based initiative after that (representing the chaos of combat). This keeps regular turns fast and doesn't have as many side-effects as a whole new initiative mechanic.

-- 77IM

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#28 Postby Gavinwulf » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:40 am

77IM wrote:One compromise is to do a complicated Trait-based initiative on round 1 (to see who acts first), possibly an extension of the Surprise rules. Then do regular, card-based initiative after that (representing the chaos of combat). This keeps regular turns fast and doesn't have as many side-effects as a whole new initiative mechanic.

-- 77IM


Like I posted earlier, this is how most combats should be anyway. How many times in a session are you going to have two groups with weapons drawn face off against eachother (going straight to the cards)? In a tournament? In an interesting story there is going to be a lot of surprising, ambushing, double-crossing, interrupting, and being on hold to start combats- all of which begin with a trait test for determining who acts first.


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