Initiative is used to see who attacks first in combat. Thus, every time combat starts, Initiative must be rolled. The first person to act in combat is referred to as the Initiator in game terms. The Initiator starts combat at 0 AT. All other characters are delayed before they can take any action.
All characters involved in combat must roll Reaction Rolls before combat begins. The Reaction Roll is determined by two things: an attribute-dependent score called Reaction combined with a Readiness Delay. Reaction is calculated by adding a character’s Agility and Perception scores together. The Character Sheet will automatically calculate this for you. There are 6 types of Readiness Delays dependent on each character’s situation before combat starts. These different scenarios will modify a character’s Reaction Roll before combat by either adding or subtracting to the Reaction Roll Rating. The 6 types of Readiness Delays are listed below:
- Prepared: No modification to the Reaction Roll. Prepared means that weapons are drawn and bodies are posed in a ready stance. This would apply to party members waiting to ambush another party, two parties in a hostile confrontation that has not yet erupted into violence, or when a chasing party catches up and reinitiates combat after a pursuit.
- Alert: -2 to Reaction Roll. Alert applies to parties who are aware that an attack may be imminent, but who cannot pinpoint the location of their potential attackers. Individuals or parties can only maintain alertness for one hour at a time and cannot be alert unless they receive a reminder that an attack may be imminent.
- Cautious: -4 to Reaction Roll. Cautious applies to parties or persons traveling through or waiting in known hostile territory. A player can claim a cautious mind set whenever he/she feels it would be appropriate. A party is automatically cautions when the alert status expires.
- At ease: -8 to Reaction Roll. At Ease applies to parties while they are resting, relaxing, playing, shopping, joking around, laboring or any other activity that implies a non-combative goal. When traveling from location to location it is assumed that a party is At Ease unless they specifically say so or they are traveling through territory commonly known to be dangerous.
- Inebriated: -10 to Reaction Roll. Inebriated applies to characters that are awakened by combat or characters who are drunk or have their reaction time artificially impaired by some other means.
- Oblivious: Oblivious status delays a character or party indefinitely until the first attack has been completed. It applies to any person or party, alert or not alert, that is unaware that attack is in progress. In this case, a free attack, no matter how slow, may be made against this person. Once the attack has been completed, the Oblivious person now has his/her Readiness Delay changed to Alert (see above). At this point, combat starts and the Reaction Rolls are made.
Determining the Order of Combat: As mentioned before, each combatant will make a Reaction Roll. The combatant with the most Number of Successes will start combat at AT 0. This combatant is referred to as the Initiator. Subtract the number of successes of the Initiator from all other combatants’ Number of Successes to determine when they start combat. They will start combat 1 AT later than the Initiator for every Success rolled less than the Number of Successes rolled by the Initiator.
Example: X rolls a Reaction Roll of 34 and Scores 2 Successes. Y rolls a Reaction Roll of 75 and Scores 3 Successes. Z rolls a Reaction Roll of 51 and Scores 0 Successes. Y is the Initiator because he rolled the most number of Successes. He will start combat at AT 0. X starts combat at AT 1 (because 3 Successes – 2 Successes = 1). Z starts combat at AT 3 (because 3 Successes – 0 Successes = 3).