MSH and Initiative

So I’m learning the rules for the TSR MSH and gearing up to run at the store. The biggest problem I’m having is the initiative method they use. Every round, we 1) declare a full round of actions for each character, 2) roll initiative with mods, 3) determine whether anybody wants to try to change their action or whether any actions have been rendered invalid, 4) declare the new actions they hope to be able to make, 5) make an Agility FEAT roll with any appropriate column shifts for each such character to see if they can react in time to change their minds, 6) and finally of course make sure everybody is shuffled to the right order or action.

I have to do this every round?

My playtesters do not like this and neither do I. We’re just not getting it and we’re spending more time talking about what hurdles we have to jump to get to the actual fun part of doing things…..than we are doing things.

This all makes sense logically but it’s making play less dynamic. What I’m probably going to do is jettison this in favor of simple initiative, drop the pre-round declarations, and give the side of the equation that loses initiative an extra Dodge roll.

So, you act first, you dictate the course of battle and shape the encounter to suit you. You act second, you’re still able to react to changing conditions (and can even leverage your opponents’ strengths against them if you’re clever) but it does require strategy and, yes, cooperation, since you have to discuss which one PC gets the bonus Dodge according to what is best for the group and who needs it the most.

This does also necessitate reappraising the Dodge since as-is the mechanic rests on the concept of pre-declaration, but there’s enough here to work with. If you are attacked, you can choose to Dodge but you forfeit either your action or your movement that round. If you try to do both on your turn, you have to make a roll for multiple combat actions.

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