[Dead of Night] Initiative Questions

Started by agony, February 26, 2009, 02:20:05 PM

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I ran Dead of Night last night for my group and it turned out rather fun.  We had a nice setup in a Contemporary insane asylum where a patient was murdered in a restricted wing.  We had two PC's and one major NPC taking actions.  I think I may have interpreted the rules incorrectly upon reviewing Ron's Werewolf Actual Play thread and his description of the initiative rule.

I ran it with the notion that initiative simply meant who would roll.  So say a PC decided to shoot the bad guy the PC would roll.  I narrated the bad guy staggering and losing his footing as he momentarily collapsed to the floor.  I purposely created an opening for the PC to make a run for it as the bad guy was previously blocking the exit.  The PC did in fact make an escape attempt and I rolled Pursue for the bad guy as it was my turn to roll. 

The distinction is that the PC called for the attacked and then the PC called for the escape.  I did not make any attempt to perform an offensive action between the PC's actions.  This seems to violate the concept of initiative as Ron described/interpreted it.  Should I have called for an offensive action from the bad guy in between the PC's actions?  If not and I did it correctly, then I began to realize the initiative system did very little.  Why would you bid if the same exact stats are being rolled just you're using the dice instead of me?

Is that clear, confusing?
You can call me Charles

Eero Tuovinen

The way I've played it is that initiative influences the stakes to be resolved by individual dice rolls. The standard example is the monster versus person situation: if the monster gets initiative, he'll want to slash and eat the person, which will then be what we'll roll dice about. If the person gets initiative, he'll want to escape and hide. So what gets resolved depends on whose initiative it is. If you never have the monster claim initiative and actually do something, the monster never gets to eat the person.
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Ron Edwards

My interpretation is the same as Eero's. I should stress, though, that if Assault is being employed - i.e. initiative lies with the player-character, who then attacks the monster, then damage is available at both ends. If the player-character succeeds, the monster loses one or more Survival Points; if the player-character fails, then the player-character does.

So regarding Escape, sure - if the player keeps the initiative, then failing Escape means the character gets caught or found, but not hurt. However, if the player keeps the initiative and uses Assault, then the character can get hurt on failed rolls, even if the monster never gets the initiative. My point here is only to add a bit of sophistication to Eero's correct point, and to make sure no one gets the wrong impression that your character is always invulnerable as long as he keeps initiative. He's not if he uses Assault.

But the rules are very clear about the fundamental issue: initiative is about the actions taken, but the roll has to jump around the table. If you rolled last time, even if you have the initiative, the monster rolls this time, using (for instance) your Escape as a modifier to his/her/its Pursue target number.

Final point: insane asylum! Awesome! I am totally going to use that for my next Dead of Night game.

Best, Ron


Re-reading the section on initiative with both of your comments in mind made it clear.  I looked it up in play quickly and think I missed the first page.  Thanks for clearing that up.

Ron - Yes, the asylum worked out rather well with the Big Bad being a particularly vile girl stuck in the confined wing whose special abilities were all related to entropy and chaos.  The asylum was literally crumbling at her fingertips as she affected the other inhabitants and the physical structure.  The PC's were a cynical near-retirment detective and the asylum warden.

We had an intense scene where the PC's split up (totally because of the survival point cliche rule) and the detective ended up on a floor attempting to save a wounded nurse while the evil girl confronted him.  The warden ended up watching the whole thing on a security camera and placed the whole floor on lock down to keep the girl from escaping, leaving the detective stranded!  Was very fun.
You can call me Charles