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Order of Operations: Beginning of Combat

  1. Check for surprise.
  2. Characters with readied ranged weapons that are not surprised can make a single ranged attack before any other actions are taken (this does not apply to spells or magic items, nor to weapons that must be drawn, only to held and loaded ranged weapons).
  3. Characters/parties that are not surprised can act in the surprise round.
  4. Initiative follows the normal pattern (below) for the surprise round and all subsequent rounds.

Order of Operations: each round

  1. Characters declare their actions.
  2. Each character rolls 1d10.
  3. Characters apply modifiers based on their action type to their individual initiative.
    • Characters with multiple attacks make each attack on a different init value.
      • i.e. If a 5 were rolled and the character were firing a bow (+8 init) twice, the two shots would happen on Init 13 and Init 21 respectively.
      • Characters fighting with multiple weapons use the speed of each weapon separately. Thus if a character rolled a 5 and were wielding two daggers, he would get two attacks at Init 7.
      • Characters casting spells begin casting on their rolled Initiative, and finish casting at their modified Initiative (based on the spell’s casting time). If the caster takes any damage during the intervening segments, the spell is disrupted and lost.
  4. Characters add any circumstance modifiers (haste, higher-ground, etc.) to their individual initiative.
  5. Action happens in order of initiative, starting at init 0 and going up.
    • Characters cannot change their actions once initiative is rolled.
    • Any ‘Reactive’ abilities (such as the Awareness proficiency’s ability to negate Backstabs) will be rolled for by the DM when adjudicating results.
    • No Retroactive/Ret-Conned actions are allowed, unless an a spell or ability specifically states that it can change the results of a prior round’s actions.
Action Type Modifier
Attacking with weapon Weapon speed
Breath weapon +1
Casting a spell Casting time
Natural Weapon: Tiny 0
Natural Weapon: Small +3
Natural Weapon: Medium +3
Natural Weapon: Large +6
Natural Weapon: Huge +9
Natural Weapon: Gargantuan +12
Innate spell ability +3
Miscellaneous magic +3
Potion +4
Ring +3
Rods +1
Scroll Casting time of spell
Stave +2
Wand +3
Situation Modifier
Hasted -2
Slowed +2
On higher ground -1
Set to receive a charge -2
Wading or slippery footing +2
Wading in deep water +4
Foreign environment +6
Hindered (tangled, climbing) +3
Waiting (Player’s Handbook) +1

Magical Weapons:
Magical weapons are easier to wield in combat than ordinary ones. Whatever the cause, each bonus point conferred by a magical weapon reduces the speed factor of that weapon by 1. (A sword +3 reduces the weapon speed factor by 3, for example.) When a weapon has two bonuses, the lesser one is used. No weapon can have a speed factor of less than 0.


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