You have experience of combat and combat situations, which enables you to act more calmly in such situations than less experienced people would. His combat experience of yours is represented by a skill value that is added to the Initiative check (see below).
Characters who are experienced fighters and/or characters that have seen a lot of combat action have an advantage over less experienced characters. The combat action part of this advantage is represented in the game by the initiative skill. This skill represents the experience of having been in combat and of having experienced the stress and trauma that follows from such experiences. For example, a knight, being an elite fighter, generally has both a higher attack bonus and a higher initiative skill as compared to bandits. The combat skill experience part of the advantage (that experienced fighters have) is represented by allowing characters to add their attack bonus (combat bonus + Dexterity + size modifier + miscellaneous modifiers – range penalty) to their initiative check.
Check: Every round, each combatant gets to do something. The combatants’ initiative checks determine the order in which they act, from highest to lowest. At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. The players each roll for their heroes while the Narrator rolls for everyone else. An initiative check is an initiative skill check:
Initiative Check = d20 +initiative skill + attack bonus +miscellaneous modifiers
The GM finds out in what order heroes act, counting down from highest total to lowest. Each character acts in turn, with the check applying to all rounds of the combat. Usually, the Narrator writes the names of the characters down in initiative order to move quickly from one character to the next each round. If two combatants have the same initiative check result, they act in order of highest Dexterity first. If there is still a tie, roll a die, with the highest roll going first.
[Authors note: Since the attack bonus includes Dexterity, that ability has been removed from both the Initiative check formula and the initiative skill.]
Try Again: Usually no. The character may do a new Initiative check the next round.
Action: An Initiative Check is a reaction and is thus a free action.
Special: At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are flat-footed. You can’t use your dodge or parry bonus, if any, while flat-footed. The Uncanny Dodge feat allows you to retain your dodge and parry bonus to Defence while flat-footed.
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