Mike Mearls AMA D&D initiative

D&D 5E initiative from the Mike Mearls AMA gets a look from Nerdarchy

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During a May 15 Reddit AMA  with Mike Mearls, lead designer of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, he mentioned how the D&D 5E initiative system bugged him and shared a house rule method he uses for his own games.

An alternative D&D 5E initiative system

The hot-button topic of D&D combat is always sure to generate a lot of discussion, and the system Mearls presented garnered the attention of gamers everywhere. D&D luminaries like Matt Colville expressed interest in the innovative method of determining who does what and when during D&D combat, forums discussed and dissected the mechanics and, naturally, Nerdarchy weighed in on the topic, too.

Nerdarchists Dave and Ted shared their insight and perspective on the D&D 5E initiative system from the Mike Mearls AMA. In the video above, they raise a few questions and concerns and give their reaction to the alternative initiative system.

Mike Mearls AMA D&D initiative
Mike Mearls is the lead designer for Wizards of the Coast’s 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons

In AMA, Mearls offered a brief summary of his D&D 5E initiative system, mentioning the possibility of adding it to Unearthed Arcana at some point. There’s certainly more details about this system, which Wizards of the Coast may reveal in the future. In a nutshell, here’s how Mearls explained his house rule system:

Roll each round. D4 = ranged, d8 = melee, d12 = spell, d6 = anything else, +d8 to swap gear, +d8 for bonus action, low goes 1st. Oh, and +d6 to move and do something … adds tension, speeds up resolution. So far in play has been faster and makes fights more intense.

A new way to run D&D combat

EN World user Morrus asked Mearls for some clarification later in the AMA, which you can read in the description of the video. As Mearls described it the “big benefit is that it encourages group to make a plan, then implement it. Group sees issue of the round and acts around it. I also think it adds a nice flow to combat – each round is a sequence. Plan, resolve, act, encourages group cohesion. Resolution is also faster – each player knows what to do; you don’t need to pick spells ahead of acting, but groups so far have planned them.”

What do you think about this house rule D&D 5E initiative from the Mike Mearls AMA on an alternative way to run D&D combat? Have you tried it out in your home game, or do you have your own house rules for D&D combat? Let us know in the comments.

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Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, worldbuilding or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy he enjoys cryptozoology trips and eating awesome food.

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