Initiative

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Initiative Actions Resolving Attacks Health and Dying Cover

Rolling Initiative: 1d20+ Reflexes or Intelligence, whichever is higher.

Since the combat progresses by Rounds, with each combatant getting a Turn during each Round, it’s important to know who goes first.

In many cases, this is handled simply. The person who fires first, goes first. Being the first person to attack starts the combat and sets themselves as the first person in the initiative order. There is a definate advantage to getting the drop on someone.

From there, the situation continues to matter. If a squad of Spectres lies in wait for a platoon of Mercs, and open fire on the mercs all at once, then the Spectres will all be at the top of the iniative order, and the mercs will respond as best they can, belatedly.

If there’s no clear way to tell who will be attacking first, then combatants compare Initiative scores. Higher initiatives go first, and so on. In the case of a tie, the tie-breaker goes to the combatant who’s side started the fight. If the tied combatants are on the same side, then it doesn’t really matter which one of them attacks first, and they can take their turn in whatever order is most advantageous for their side.

Once the initiative order is set, the rounds proceed from one combatant to the other in order, until the combat is done.

Example
Flashing back to the beginning of the battle, how did Liara end up in this situation?

She saw a group of Geth, only 3 of them. Launching an attack, she hit them hard and fast with her biotics. So hard, in fact, that the three Geth died before they could even act. Liara had to burn some Resolve to pull that off, and put all her Biotics out of comission, but it was certainly worth it to finish the combat in one fell stroke…

Except that there was a 4th geth, not yet out from behind the rocks it was patrolling. Since it was close enough to be a combatant, it fell in the initiative after Liara.

On its turn, it came out around the rocks and started shooting.

Liara has the initiative, though she’s wishing she’d waited to launch that ambush until she had backup.

If Liara had waited for backup, but launched the attack without warning her comrade, then she would still go first. The comrade, not ready to attack at the same time, would fall in the initiative order with any surviving Geth. The initiative order might look something like this.

Liara

Geth Hunter

Tali

Geth Trooper

Initiative

At the Heart of the Abyss Drascus