Initiative (Xyberpunk)

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Alternative initiative rules for Xyberpunk.


This new initiative system addresses a few quirks (while probably creating a few new ones) in the existing initiative system, where a character that just barely edges out the competition with his lightning-fast reflexes, still has all the time he needs to take basically any desired number of multiple actions. Also, it attempts to make the combat turn a bit more interactive in the sense that not everything is determined already at the roll of the initiative score. With the higher score, you will know who will act when in the turn, and you are at a position to act before everybody else, but you may only have time for one action if you want to stay ahead of the competition. Similarly, the competition will know when you act if you decide to take enough actions to actually place yourself later than them in the turn, so that they may also need to decide whether to go for the quick single action or take their chances with two or three.

Initiative rules


The new initiative system makes a clearer distinction between Active and Passive Actions. Any Active Action is whatever you do as a result of your own Declaration, in your own Activation, whereas Passive Actions are the things you do in reaction to Actions taken by others.

Also, the initiative system uses Declaration and Activation, which may or may not take place at the same time time, as opposed to the old system where you declared and activated immediately.

Note that Declaration and Activation take place along the same scale of "ticks", and that this means that a character may very well Declare before everyone else but Activate after eceryone else, depending on who takes what number of actions. There is no general declarations phase for all characters, followed by a general activations phase. Everybody gets stirred in the same pot.


Each turn initiative is rolled for each character, or group of characters, as the GM sees fit. The initiative scores are arrived at in the usual manner, i.e. 2d6 + Ref + Any tag skill + Warez - Injury. Once the initiatives have been rolled, all results are available to all players. No roll is kept secret.

The GM starts at the highest score, asking the player with the highest scoring character to Declare Actions for that character, unless an NPC scored highest. If any initiative penalties are inferred as a result of multiple Actions, the initiative score of the Declaring character's Activation is calculated and announced. It is still not secret.

The GM then moves on down through the initiative scores, and Declarations and Activations are made as initiative ticks down.


On his rolled initiative tick, each character Declares what Actions he intends to perform in the turn. All Actions declared will count as Active Actions. All Active Actions to be taken by the character must be declared in the Declaration phase.

The number of Actions taken by a character in his Declaration, determines the initiative tick for his Activation. A single Action gives no penalty, so for a single Action, Activation takes places immediately after Declaration. For every extra Action declared, there is an initiative cost of 5 ticks per Action. Hence, 2 Actions means a 5 tick penalty, 3 means 10 ticks, etc. A character may not delare Actions to the point of his initiative dropping below zero.

If the character receives an initiative cost, the initiative tick for his activation is calculated and announced. Alternatively a character may, in his Declaration, choose to go on overwatch. To do this, he must declare the conditions that will trigger his Action, such as somebody moving through a door, coming around a corner, etc.

When the condition is met, the character Activates immediately, interrupting the Activated character, and may perform one Action, typically some sort of attack.


When the calculated initiative tick for a character that has Declared arrives, that character performs all declared Actions, interrupted only by any overwatch he triggers. All declared actions take place in this same initiative tick.

If the Activated character has declared 2 or more actions, he receives a -5 penalty to all skill rolls for each extra Action, i.e. -5 for 2 Actions, -10 for 3 Actions, etc. Note that any Passive Actions taken by the character in the turn, pending his Activation, do not affect the skill rolls on his Active Actions. Passive and Active Actions stack separately.

Active and Passive Actions

These rules make a distinction between Active and Passive Actions. In order to avoid cruel and unusual punishment of low initiative rolling characters, no skill rolls that you need take to defend yourself while waiting for your Activation affect the skill rolls you do when your Activation arrives. It is bad enough that they've had to do those defense rolls as it is.

This means that multiple Active Actions, which are the declared Actions you take in your Activation, accumulate skill roll penalties for Active skill rolls only, and Passive multiactions accumulate penalties for Passive skill rolls only.

The skill roll penalty for Active multiactions is -5 per extra action, a penalty which is applied to all skill rolls, meaning that if you perform 3 actions, you will get a -10 to all three. For Passive Actions, the penalty is -3, but this penalty is progressive, so that your first Passive skill roll for the turn is always made at no penalty, the second at -3, the third at -6 and so on.