Initiative Systems I like for OSR

A few initiative systems for OSR games that I enjoy – tactical, but flowing:

White Box – FMAG (pg 35)

Apparently this comes from OD&D – White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game has this as its “alternative” initiative system:

  • Check for surprise (DM’s judgement, or 2-in-6 chance)
  • Roll group initiative (d6) for order, then resolve each step in the sequence for both sides before moving to the next step.
  • Sequence
    • Cast Prepared Spells, Prepare Next Spell
    • Missile Weapons
    • Melee Combat
    • Movement

I would assume a “prepared” spell isn’t lost if you don’t cast it or switch to another one. Feels pretty harsh, otherwise. Maybe if you get hit you lose the preparation (but not the spell slot), so you need to prepare it again (potentially wasting a round, unless you do something else).

You can’t move while preparing a spell.

Shadow of the Demon Lord (pg 46)

Anatomy of a round. In each phase, PCs go before NPCs. PCs can go in any order they like.

  • Fast Turns: Action or Move
  • Slow Turns: Action and Move (can do Action whenever)
  • End of Round: Resolve effects

I like the idea of using playing cards, laid face-up in vertical orientation (fast turn) or horizontal (slow turn). Once you’ve taken your turn, you flip the card over.

You cannot delay your actions.

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