The Initiative Problem

Those who play RPG over the Internet need to solve some issues. Are you going to use a virtual board or are you just going to use the “theater of mind”? If you’re going to use a board, which one? For dice rolling, phisic dices? Formulas in chat? Virtual rollingg? And finally, how to manage the initiative?

Most virtual boards already bring solution to a lot of things, but it does not always works so fine. It is very usual, for example, to disable roll20’s video conferencing and to use Skype, Meet or another solution instead.

When I met Owlbear Rodeo, a virtual board, I loved the proposal. It is a simple board, light and unrelated to any system. There were only two problems: the dice rolling is not saved in a log; does not have an initiative manager.

Here fits an additional parenthesis. I tested Astral Tabletop too and I had a terrible experience with their initiative manager. I really don’t know how they managed to get it so heavy! Let’s close this parenthesis.

Another parenthesis now for dummies: initiative management is the definition of the characters action sequence, especially useful in critical situations of the game, such as combat or the team facing a deadly trap already activated. We define the order of action, including Player Characters and Non-Player Characters, and from that point we use this order to coordinate who acts at what time. That’s managing the initiative.

Okay, now the interesting part of owlbear rodeo: it does not have an initiative manager, but the project videos bring a suggestion for this: set up a visual manager! You need a “ruler” with columns representing each moment of the round and a marker to point at the turn of who we are.

I really liked the idea and made one to use with my RPG system XR-III, which works with 10 initiative turns (rolls 1d10 and does not add anything). If you also want to play XR-III or the solution serves for your system too, here are the files! It is the ruler plus 3 selector options. One of them sits on top of the number and the other two (one white and one black) are set one cell above.

Rule of initiative

Put it into the map, set its size to 10 squares wide, and set it to fixed. In owlbear rodeo you click on the padlock icon.

P. S.: Original post is in Portuguese in another blog.

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