Lore, Thread of Souls

Character Feature: Brother Zok


This month’s character feature is the paladin Brother Zok. A brave and steadfast holy warrior whose quest for achievement often puts him at odds with his oath.

Zok was born in the coastal city of Sunspire. He grew up the son of a fisherman and lived a humble and happy life. It was not until he was older that his father told him the truth of his parentage. During the Fire Raids that plagued the region, his father remained in the capital city of Eleste’si and had an affair with the elven queen, Mirandril Galanodel.

Zok’s birth was kept a secret, as a half-elven offspring would only be seen as a threat to the throne. Zok’s father took his son back to Sunspire and was given a house and money by the queen to raise the boy.

In his early twenties, Zok set off on a quest not only to meet his mother, but also to achieve his dream of becoming a paladin to the Holy Dragon. The Holy Dragon is the god of honor, loyalty, and truth. Zok’s quest took him across the eastern half of Corventos all the way to Eleste’si, where he was able to get an audience with the queen herself. He hoped for a kind welcome to the city, but instead, he was rejected and turned away. The queen’s advisor, Therond, told Zok he never should have come.

While Zok did not get to bond with his mother, she did set up his entry to the Holy Dragon’s temple in Eleste’si. Despite the ideals of goodness and honor, Zok found only racism from the high elves within the temple. He did not stay long, and quickly left the city.

Hurt by his terrible experience in Eleste’si, Zok traveled south to the riverside village of Vesper. He defended a man that was being harassed by thugs and ended up being beaten himself. Wounded and unconscious, he was rescued by a wild elf druid by the name of Jade.

Zok thought that was the last he would see of his druidic rescuer until his journey took him to the western coast of Corventos and the village of Somberdale. He joined the Holy Dragon temple there under the title of Brother Zok and served as a paladin. To his surprise, he found Jade living there, as well. He made a home for himself in this beautiful place and made a friend in the boisterous dragonborn captain, Sen.

We first meet Brother Zok in Phantom Five attending one of Sen’s fighting matches. Zok is happy with his life in Somberdale, and is just starting to leave the pain of his past behind him. All that is shattered, however, when his beloved mentor, High Priest Amon, is murdered. Zok takes his friends on a quest to find the killer. Zok must learn to make peace within himself and accept who he is, or he will never become the paladin he always strived to be.


Lore, Thread of Souls

Character Feature: Ruuda


This month’s character feature is Ruuda Drybarrel, the unblessed dual-wielding dark dwarf that is as pragmatic as she is passionate.

Ruuda was born as the last of twelve children to Clan Drybarrel. Growing up in the industrious city of Balum Guar, Ruuda was surrounded by a culture where worth is determined by productivity in a caste system. Young dark dwarves are taken to the temple of the Forge King to receive a blessing from their god. A priest or priestess will read the runes to determine what that blessing is. It may be woodworking, singing, serving as a soldier, or, as in the case of Clan Drybarrel, brewing beer.

Ruuda, however, found no such blessing. Despite being told she was blessed to do a certain task, she could never do it properly. As a century passed, Ruuda’s parents took her again and again to a priest to find out what her true blessing was. But with each one, she failed.

To escape the shame, Ruuda often took to wandering the outskirts of the city. There she found the gloom stalkers, mercenaries and rangers of the Deep Hollows, in their daily practice. Ruuda observed them and learned their skills, until the day she was spotted by lead gloom stalker Neir Shadowsnare. Impressed by what she had learned from merely observing, Neir took to training Ruuda on his own. But he had to do so in secret, for she was not blessed to be a gloom stalker.

While teaching her how to survive in the Deep Hollows, Ruuda and Neir came across two quag pups, wild animals of the underground. They were sick and had been lost from their pack, so the two decided to keep them. Neir’s quag grew up strong, but Ruuda’s did not survive. The loss of her companion broke her heart.

As Ruuda’s blessings continued to fail, her family accrued debt from her projects left unfinished or with poor quality. Debtors came to collect often, and there was worry that Ruuda would get taken away to be made compliant like other dark dwarves that failed at their blessing. So while on a trade trip to the dark elf city of Berenzia, Ruuda’s family gave her a barrel full of supplies and told her to leave and not return until she figured out what her true blessing was.

Left alone in the Deep Hollows, Ruuda wandered in depression and hopelessness. We meet her in Phantom Five trying to make friends with a pack of quags. Things do not go her way, and she is heavily wounded before being aided by a healer named Taliesin Ostoroth. Both runaways from their homes, the two find common ground to venture out onto the Surface to try and restore what was lost in their lives.

For Ruuda, however, there is one other task she wants to complete. She vows to find the god known as the Forge King, and take vengeance for her unblessing.


Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Storytelling Tips, Writing Tips

Character Prompt – Rune Layout

Creating a character is a difficult process. No matter if it’s for a book, ttrpg, video game, or LARP. You have to think about their past, present, and future and their goals, ambitions, and overall attitude. Developing a character is a fun and engaging process that requires a bit of brainstorming and critical thinking. We’ve talked about using prompts to create a story with tarot cards in a previous post. This time, we’re using runes to build a character by using the Runic V layout.

The Runic V Layout

  1. What influenced your character in the past?
    • The top left rune is Dagaz. It represents day, awakening, and new hope. The rune symbolizes discovering new insights, something unknown, or a fresh idea.
  2. What is influencing your character in the present?
    • The next rune, Kenaz, is associated with knowledge and the quest for truth. It is represented by learning one’s true and full potential.
  3. What is a future goal for your character?
    • Raidho represents the character’s personal journey. It symbolizes growth and movement towards control and rationality. The character may wish to learn who they are and who they want to become.
  4. How to achieve that goal?
    • Pertho symbolizes something hidden and is often represented by good omens, unexpected surprises, and forces of change. This could be a mysterious or dangerous challenge your character does not wish to take part in but must overcome in order to grow.
  5. What is your character’s attitude?
    • Jera is assocaited with patience, seasons, and waiting. To reach your goal will require time and understanding and you may not be ready to accept that. You’re character may be quick to take action or take their time.
  6. What problem stands in their way?
    • Mannaz is represented by humankind and humanity. Other associations include reflection, planning, analysis, and self potential. The struggle coud be caused by another person or even within yourself. The actions of another or your own could prevent you from reaching your goal.
  7. How to overcome the problem?
    • Algiz is represented by spirit guides, protection, divinity, and a teacher. It symbolizes going beyond yourself to connect with something spiritual or finding your higher self.

Lore

Character Feature: Wash


This month’s character feature is centered on Wash, the former soldier with a dry sense of humor, a strong loyalty to his companions, and grudge against the man who betrayed him.

Wash was born and raised in the coastal city of Sunspire, the City of Ensemble. Raised by a single mother, he knew only a bit about his father. And what he knew he kept closely secret. A traveler from another plane that spent one romantic night with his mother before moving on.

Growing up as an only child, in his adolescence Wash made close friends with a High Elf named Aust Mastralath. He and Aust joined Sunspire’s military together as Solchen guards. One day, however, while on a mission to close interplanar rifts, a sudden change went over Aust. He turned on Wash and attempted to kill him without warning. Wash survived the attack, and Aust vanished.

Disturbed by the events, Wash tried to find his friend and demand answers, but was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until years later that their paths crossed again. Wash was ripped from Sunspire by the magic of a summoning spell. He found himself locked in a circle with strange symbols and languages around it. He was joined by a large spider, fey in nature, summoned from a plane known as the Wilds. Standing before him was his former friend Aust. He had strange strange tattoos running up his forearms and he now wore a mask.

Aust was not in the mood to talk, seeming angry that Wash had appeared in the circle. He said Wash was not the one he intended to summon, and dismissed him back to Sunspire. But Was did not return alone. The strange fey spider was attached to him in spirit. A spider he named Shulva.

Life only got more chaotic for Wash after that day. Not only had he been indirectly involved in an interplanar summoning ritual, but an interplanar creature was attached to him. Magic such as that was illegal by laws of the powerful Citadel, the center for arcane study, research, and regulation. The Citadel sent an Inquisitor by the name of Dorian Aster to hunt him down and bring him in for punishment.

Wash had no plans to allow that to happen. He went on the run. Years passed as he journeyed from one run-down town to another, staying out of sight of the ever-hunting mage Dorian.

When we first meet Wash in the Thread of Souls books, it is in book two, Ash & Thunder. Wash’s travels have taken him to Oceala. Due to its highly guarded nature, he hopes to stay out of the Citadel’s reach. And due to it being a pristine port city, he hopes to find answers about Aust Mastralath, and what happened to his former friend.


gnome
D&D / TTRPGs, Indie Feature, Storytelling Tips

“Let it Be Gnome” – Our Interview with a Gnome Expert

We chatted with James about his fun and quirky website “Let it Be Gnome”


James is fascinated by all things gnome-related and also a fan of gaming which makes D&D a particularly fascinating experience. He has a website all about gnomes which includes an in-depth look at gnomes in D&D. We talked with him about the website, as well as any helpful tips he has for role-playing a gnome in D&D!

Your website is a lot of fun! What gave you this idea to have a hub of information centered on Gnomes?

“I have always had an interest in gnomes but when I wanted to find out more about them on the internet there seemed to be a lack of information on them so I thought that I would help people by giving them more info! I love how quirky they are and that there is a wide and diverse history to them that many people seem to be unaware of and I hope to make them more informed.”

What do you like about the way that D&D portrays Gnomes?

“I love how they are not depicted in the stereotypical image of a gnome but that they have made them more humanlike but still used some of their known characteristics such as their eccentric sense of humor (one of my favorites!) and inquisitiveness. Some of the D&D gnome artwork that I have seen online is simply incredible and really breathes a lot of life into the mythology of gnomes beyond that which is in the mainstream such as the beard, hat, big boots and belly.”

What is your favorite D&D Gnome subrace?

“Mine is the Forest Gnome as I love their boldness and ability to take risks. I always find myself drawn to others that like to change things in big ways and feel that Forest Gnomes are subrace of gnomes that are most likely to do this.”

If you were to roleplay a Gnome character in D&D, what would they be like?

“They would be a fearless, swashbuckling hero! I love Forest Gnomes and how they are bold and enjoy taking risks and my gnome would be of this subrace and have experiences that others would talk about for generations. This gnome would have a talent for art and when not engaging in exciting adventures would spend their time creating original works of art that they would work on in their charmingly designed home in the woods. This penchant for art and creativity would also rear its head during battle when they would use their ability to cast creative illusions on their enemies.”

Your list of Gnome names is very impressive! What do you think goes into a good Gnomish-sounding name?

“I like a gnome name which is something that you would not expect but, after getting to know the name and the gnome, it somehow fits. I think that something like “Lutliten Twistwhistle” is a great example of this as it does not really bring up any images for me, but I think it would fit a mysterious, generally fun character such as a gnome.”

Truthfully we don’t see a lot of Gnome protagonists in fantasy settings. Why do you think this is?

“Their popularity seems to change from year to year and so I think that this is part of the reason and I also think that it is because they have generally been changed, at least in the mainstream, into this comedic character that people have as statues in their gardens and yards. I think this means that people just see them as something to make people laugh but, as D&D shows, they can have a lot more depth than this.”

However, I think that in recent years we have seen some movies based around gnomes and I think that people growing up having watched these movies who then go on to make their own fantasy stories will use this experience to make feature them as the protagonist.

What is the most interesting Gnome fact you’ve come across?

“The Noggin Clontith/youve been gnomed.wmv gnome meme video has been viewed over 14.5 million times on YouTube!”


You can check out the fun site “Let it Be Gnome” via this link!


Feywild
Bardic Inspiration, D&D / TTRPGs, News, Opinion, Storytelling Tips

Bardic Inspiration: Music for the Feywild and other Nature Themes

We list some of the best songs to use while you and your players explore the Feywild in Dungeons & Dragons.


Dungeons & Dragons released its latest book, Wild Beyond the Witchlight. It’s all about the mysterious and wonderful plane known as the Feywild. While it may sound like a fantastical place to visit, it’s not all fairies and unicorns and not all of them are kind. There are also sinister creatures that fight over control of the Feywild and those who live there.

The Feywild

The Feywild is ruled by creatures called archfey; incredibly powerful spellcasters or tricksters who may be good or evil. It’s a land of enchantment, nature, and mystical creatures. You’ll find hags, giants, walking and talking trees and plants, pixies, rabbitfolk, and many other animals now able to speak.

So, what music would work best for a setting such as the Feywild? We’ve got a few of our favorites all on Spotify.

Feywild Music

“Deku Palace” is for those wild and crazy nights in the Feywild. It also works well as an introduction for characters getting there. Maybe they’re at a party that gets a bit out of hand and something pulls them there. Perhaps an archfey casts dancing magic upon the party and they are forced to dance to the beat, or it serves as the backdrop of a magnificent tree castle.

“Gruntilda’s Lair” from Banjo-Kazooie is all about the main antagonist, a witch/hag. As hags can be found in the Feywild it’s fitting for meeting a hag who may or may not be evil.

“Dalentarth” from Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is practically made for the Feywild. The game is set in a world that is similar to the chaotic plane. It’s full of archfey, unique creatures, and magical artifacts that fit in nicely with any campaign set in the Feywild.

The entire soundtrack pairs nicely with the overall Feywild theme.

With that being the case, we also suggest “Alabastra”. It goes well with meeting mysterious people or entering a dark and spooky area such as a corrupted forest or hag’s lair.

“Faren’s Flier” from Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is great for describing areas of the Feywild the party is about to visit. It can also make for a great backdrop to traveling.

Sticking with Guild Wars, “Auric Wilds” is one we use quite often for traversing dense jungles or overgrown ruins.

In related Dungeons & Dragons news, the “Future of D&D” panel at this year’s D&D Celebration revealed a look at what’s next for D&D. Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, is a collection of an assortment of art, stats, and upgraded information regarding monsters, creatures, and more. Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse releases in January 2022.

D&D is also working on a brand new set releasing in 2024.

TTRPG
D&D / TTRPGs, Opinion

How to Avoid Getting Kicked Out of Your TTRPG Group

We look at the primary reported mistakes people make that get them removed from their TTRPG group.


We’ve all heard the stories online. TTRPG group members lament about having to kick someone out of the game because of consistent difficult behavior. We also have heard it from the other side, about the player or GM feeling “blindsided” by the decision. So why is that? Is this something that could happen to you? Here we take a look at common problems that come up, and how to ensure you aren’t making them so that yourself, and everyone else at the table, is happy!

Do You Control Others’ Actions?

A major part of improv for a TTRPG game is “yes and”. Whatever people say and do at the table is allowed to happen, and then you see what happens next. It doesn’t necessarily mean your own character has to be okay with another character’s actions. But there is a right and wrong way to approach this.

If you find yourself often saying things like “I don’t let them do that” or “I stop that before it happens”, then you are going a step too far and trying to control another’s actions. By negating something from happening in the game, nothing happens at all, and the story doesn’t go anywhere. It also makes the other player feel like they don’t have autonomy over their own actions.

Do You Ignore the Story When it Isn’t Focused on You?

Whenever your character is not in a “scene”, do you often turn to your phone or talk to another player out of character? Not only does this take away from the intimate character moments others at the table experience, but it is also disrespectful to those currently engaged. Try to remain quiet and attentive when your character is not in a scene, because the story is still progressing and it is still something that should be respected.

Are You Always the Last to Arrive?

Life happens. Schedules happen. Everyone understands. But if you are always consistently the last one to arrive and find everyone waiting for you, it sends the message that your time is more important than theirs. This can be frustrating for those who arrive early or on-time because the game is important to them. It can quickly turn everyone against you, and you might not even realize it.

Are You Good at “Sharing the Spotlight?”

There is a time for your character to shine. And there is a time for other characters to shine. What makes a great player at the table is knowing how to share the spotlight. If a scene has been focused on your character for awhile, when it is over try sitting back quietly and letting others now have their turn to talk and take action. Allow the focus to shift. But pay equal attention to them as they paid to you.

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Do You Infringe on Others’ Boundaries?

It’s time to grow up a bit here and realize not everyone has the same sense of humor as you, the same life experiences as you, and the same childhood as you. It shouldn’t have to be said to avoid racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, or any other discriminatory jokes at the table. The TTRPG table should be a place where everyone has fun and feels comfortable. If you also try to take in-character actions that make others uncomfortable, you can quickly find yourself out of the game. Using “it’s what my character would do” isn’t going to carry you far when you have no game to play this character as.

And for GM’s out there, consider the actions of NPC’s and the world on the characters. Sexual content, slavery, abuse, and other situations should only be approached to your players’ level of comfort. Keep a culture of open communication so everyone feels comfortable expressing what they don’t like even before the campaign begins. Otherwise you will find yourself with no players.

Does Your Vibe Not Match the Group’s?

One of the biggest pieces of advice we can give is to find a group whose “vibes” match yours. Everyone has a different style of playing, and want something different from the game. If you find that yours doesn’t vibe with the other players, it is probably best to find a new TTRPG game. That way you will be happier all around.


roleplaying
Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Storytelling Tips

Top Tips to Improve your Roleplaying

We take a look at excellent ways to improve your TTRPG roleplaying skills!


For those of us that enjoy roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons and other TTRPG’s, being in-character is a thrilling and fun experience. But if you are new to the craft, or are feeling daunted by other players’ talents at the table, don’t worry! We’ve put together a list of ways to help you not only improve, but also feel more confident in yourself and in your delivery of the character. After all, you are the vessel through which their story is being told, and we know you want to do them justice.

Expand Your Knowledge of Their Life

A great way to improve your roleplaying is to expand your knowledge of the character. After all, you can’t act out what you don’t understand. Even if these things never come up in-game, it all contributes to the decisions your character makes, how they react to situations, and their personality.

Take time to write down things about their life. We definitely recommend using any of those fun online questionnaires you find about characters. These ask a variety of questions that will have you thinking creatively about your character.

Be In-Character Outside of the Game

We cannot recommend enough how much being in-character outside of our D&D game has improved our roleplaying. Try to spend some time as them while doing tasks around the house. If you are with another player in the game, try just having an in-character conversation. It’s amazing how much their voice develops when you can be them in casual situations.

DriveThruRPG.com

Add Some Narration to Your Character

Dialogue drives a story, as does the lack of something to say by a character in a situation. But when you are at the table, it can also be extremely beneficial to narrate your character’s current emotional state. This helps bring a full-body experience into your roleplaying. Try things like:

“They just sit huddled in the corner and don’t look at anybody.”

“They start stomping back and forth across the room and muttering under their breath.”

“They fidget in anxiety and keep glancing over their shoulder.”

Allow Yourself to Be Open

The final piece of advice we have is to allow yourself to be open. Being vulnerable as yourself and as your character will bring your roleplaying far. But this is where having a trusted table you play with is vitally important. Whether you play as part of a big group or are in a single-player campaign, you must surround yourself with like-minded, kind people who want the same thing you want from the game. If someone else is being open and raw with their character’s emotions at the table, it will make it all the easier for you to rise to that level, as well.


Progressing Story
D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Opinion, Storytelling Tips

A Handy Guide to Progressing the Narrative in Your Story

Plot is important to keep the narrative moving. We discuss ways you can push forward the story to keep readers, viewers, and players engaged.


There have been times when we watch a movie or play a game where the plot just bogs down. It may not pull us out of the immersion but it can make things a little less fun and interesting. Stories should constantly be developing and shifting. It’s what makes them captivating and intriguing.

As fantasy authors, we fell in love with Lord of the Rings. While watching Fellowship for the thousandth time the other day we noticed ways the movie progresses the story. There is always something else that happens to advance the plot. We’re not talking about how Frodo has to take the ring to Mordor. It’s deeper than that.

It’s in the moments where the crebain from Dunland arrive and the party is forced to take cover. Or when the Fellowship must choose between going over the pass of Caradhras, through the Gap of Rohan, or into the Mines of Moria. There are multiple examples in the films that constantly usher the narrative forward. Without these moments, the story falls flat. It would just be a montage of the main characters traveling from point A to point B.

Beginning – End

Having a starting point and an endpoint should be the first things you come up with. Knowing where you want your story to go will help you fill out everything in the middle. This works for novels, movies, Dungeons & Dragons, and comics.

Like with Lord of the Rings: The Ring of Power has returned and found itself in the hands of a hobbit. The main characters learn it must be destroyed within the fires of Mt. Doom where it was created.

Everything in the middle is where you develop characters and introduce obstacles. These can be summed up as encounters.

roleplaying

Encounters, Encounters, Encounters

When you think about structuring a story like a game of D&D it makes it a bit more simple. Encounters are designed to challenge characters. They can range from social interactions, combat, and travel. One of the most important factors of an encounter is it should always advance the plot.

For example. In the Two Towers when the refugees are traveling to Helm’s Deep the caravan is attacked by orcs and wargs. It lets the viewer and characters know Sauron is watching them. He knows their plans and is actively trying to stop them. If it were just some random orc attack it wouldn’t mean much for the story. If that were the case it would be an inconvenience and readers wouldn’t connect with it.

Every encounter your characters come across should revolve around the story. Whether it lets the characters know the enemy is onto them or reveals a detail about a character, plot thread, or villain.

Lore Driven

Encounters are also great ways to introduce lore. If you’re writing a book, it makes more sense to tell a streamlined story without filler or fluff. But there are times when even the best of novels introduce threads that lead nowhere. It’s best to avoid these altogether so you don’t leave your viewers confused.

This can best be summed up with random encounter tables in D&D. They have their place but we’re not big fans of them. If you do end up using a random encounter table make sure it is connected to your story. It could be connected to a character, NPC, or the overarching plot.

We’ll pull an example from our fantasy series Thread of Souls. In book two Ash & Thunder, a few characters find themselves in ancient elven ruins. Brought there by Jade’s brother to investigate a strange creature.

“As they turned into another room, they pulled up short and stifled surprised gasps. Curled in the far corner was a giant spider. The size of a horse, it was clearly dead and had been for some time. The torchlight cast its twisted shadow three times as big on the wall behind it. “Yuck,” Heron shivered.

“I have never seen one so big!” Skar gasped. “I am going to take one of its hairs.” He shuffled over, already getting out a pouch. Artemis glanced sidelong at Jade. “Do you get big spiders in Oceala?” The Druid stared at the dead creature, perplexed. “Well, no. But come to think of it . . . It has been awhile since I’ve seen a spider.” “One this size?” Unolé clarified. Jade shook her head, chewing on her lip in consideration. “No, any spiders.”

The missing spiders are the driving force of our story. Instead of delving into some unknown ruin, this reveal makes the story feel much more connected. While other characters may have known this information, Jade and the others just learned it.

In the case of the mysterious creature, it helps paint a better picture of the Deep Hollows where the spiders have the largest presence.

Here are some quick ways you can advance the plot:

  • Notes, Records, or Ledgers
  • Character Monologue
  • Characters Discover Information
  • An Enemy Tracks the Characters
  • An Enemy Becomes an Ally / Vice Versa
  • An Obstacle Presents an Opportunity

Initiative Dungeons & Dragons
Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Opinion

Why you Shouldn’t Rely on Initiative

We share our tips for running Dungeons & Dragons scenarios without focusing on Initiative.

Initiative is a concept in games such as Dungeons & Dragons that decides who acts when in combat. Players and enemies roll a d20 and add their Dexterity then a fight begins. It works well but it isn’t something we’ve come to rely on and niether should you.

Frankly, Initiative can bog down a game. Fights can take hours whereas traveling from point A to point B can take a manner of minutes. Not only does opting not to use Initiatve speed things up it allows everyone at the table to pay more attention. By not knowing when they are up, they may not dissappear into their phone. It’s a great way to ensure everyone, including the dungeon master, pays attention and is engaged.

Streamline Encounters

Fights tend to take a bit of time. Player turns can be lengthy and other players may tune out while it isn’t their turn. The next time you have an encounter try forgoing Initiatve altogether. Instead, narrate what is happening and ask the players what they want their characters to do. It’s best to still stick with standard action economy – action, bonus action, move, reaction – but instead of acting in turn, they act after the enemy does their action.

For instance, if the group is up against a villain who is trying to get away with an artifact. Rather then go into Initiative, have them grab it as an action then run away. Then ask the players what they want to do. By not being in Initiative, they may think differently and not necessarily jump to fight mode.

Fluid Interactions

Asking players what they want to do gives them more freedom. They don’t necessarily have to worry about waiting for another player to act before they do. No one is tied down by an order. As long as they act after the enemy or opposing force.

It’s a great time for players to try new things as well. Not being restrained by Initiative can open up some new opporunities in working together and thinking of unique ways to handle situations. It’s an idea that can really change the flow of any session and make encounters more freeing and cinematic.


Initiative Shouldn’t Mean Combat

The definition of Initiative according to the Player’s Handbook states,

“Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order.”

Saying ‘roll for Initiative’ may cause players to automatically think they should engage instant kill mode. That shouldn’t always be the case.

Cinematic Feel

When you break away from thinking of Initiative as strictly combat you start to see everything in a more cinematic view. Action movies all have intense scenes but think about all of the stuff that happens. They are generally more than just fast punches, swift kicks, car chases, and bullets. Villains monologue and characters react. Everything is so alive. By using these alternate rules, you can make more engaging encounters that don’t end in a blood bath. Why you Shouldn’t Rely on Initiative