Thursday, April 23, 2015

Combat Cheat Sheet – Initiative Sequence

We’ve caught up to the game with my Session Reports, so I have to slow down posting those to once a week.  My goal is to get them posted Tuesday of the following week.  This means the session report for this week’s game will post Tuesday of next week.  Thursday’s will cover other things I have ready to post.

Today’s posting is one of the cheat sheets I put together to get combat correct as I’m learning the system.  It covers the Physical Initiative Sequence – next week I’ll post the one for the Physical Combat Sequence.

The rulebook has a great deal of material to cover and so has to condense many things into as small a package as possible.  As a result, some sections are particularly dense and it is easy to miss things, some of which can be very important.  I plan on putting together something similar for Matrix combat and Magic combat.  I’ll probably put together a supplemental on Rigger combat as it overlaps Physical combat and Matrix combat (or appears to – it might not once I dig into it).  Once I have them all done, I’ll make a PDF and post it in the downloads widget.

NOTE: my HTML formatting skills are not my strongest skills - I'm a Word guru.  The Word file has much better formatting than I can get here.  The PDFs will have the superior formatting.

Physical Initiative Sequence
Shadowrun, 5th Ed.


  • Initiative is rolled each Combat Turn
  • Initiative is changed by wound modifiers as they happen (meaning as you are wounded, your initiative drops immediately).
  • Initiative suffers a -10 modifier for the first Combat Turn if you enter combat after it has started.
  • You can spend Edge to automatically go first this Combat Turn.  This does not change your initiative roll otherwise.
  • You can spend Edge to roll 5d6 as part of your initiative roll for a single Combat Turn.

Process (p. 158)

1.     Roll Initiative:
        a. See Initiative Attribute Chart on p159 for attributes and base initiative dice for each type of initiative.
2. Begin Initiative Pass
        a. Highest to lowest
        b. Ties broken by ERIC: Edge, Reaction, Intuition, Coin toss
3. Begin Action Phase
        • Taking a Delayed Action is declared here, plus if going before, after, or the same time as an acting character. (p161)
        • Actions taken in a Delayed Action are at -1 die.
        a. Declare Actions (p163)
                • 2 Simple actions or
                • 1 Complex action plus 1 Free action (Free actions can be saved until later)
        b. Resolve Actions
                • Walk = Agility x2
                • Run = Agility x4
                • Sprinting is a Running+Strength[Physical] test.  Maximum # of Sprinting tests = Running/2, minimum of 1
4. Repeat Step 3 for the rest of the characters in this Initiative Pass.
        a. Once every character has gone, subtract 10 from all initiative totals.
        b. Begin a new Initiative Pass at Step 2 for all characters that still have a positive Initiative total.
5. When all characters have an initiative total of 0 or less, Return to Step 1 for the next combat turn (assuming there is one).


  • Running characters take a -2 die penalty for all tasks except a Running skill check.
  • Shooting at a Running character has a -2 die penalty
  • Shooting at a Sprinting target has a -4 die penalty
  • Combat Actions table: p163
  • Matrix Actions table: p214
  • Magic Actions table: p276

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