Initiative Combat 5E

Hello adventurers of all shapes and sizes! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the third episode of our combat series. Today we’re gonna be taking a look at initiative in combat 5e probably the most amiable characteristic of dungeons and dragons. So without further ado grab your die 20 and let’s roll for initiative 🙂 ha ha ha sorry guys could not resist. So first and foremost what is initiative. You may want to know about when should initiative be rolled?.

What is Initiative?

Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order. The DM makes one roll for an entire group of identical creatures, so each member of the group acts at the same time.

The DM ranks the combatants in order from the one with the highest Dexterity check total to the one with the lowest. This is the order (called the initiative order) in which they act during each round. The initiative order remains the same from round to round.

If a tie occurs, the DM decides the order among tied DM-controlled creatures, and the players decide the order among their tied characters. The DM can decide the order if the tie is between a monster and a player character. Optionally, the DM can have the tied characters and monsters each roll a d20 to determine the order, highest roll going first.

“Initiative is the order in which creatures take their turns within the round.” If you’re curious what a round is please check out our first article giving a quick overview on the order of combat.

How is Initiative Determined?

“When combat starts, participants make a dexterity check; higher rolls get to go first, characters each roll seperately and mobs share the same initiative roll.”

Which is kind of interesting when you think about it, but it does make logical sense and it also really helps speed up game gameplay. That being said, let’s take a look at what happens when you tie. You can also check out this how do you calculate AC in 5e?.

What Happens When You Tie?

When you tie it kind of depends on circumstances this is all by raw by the way. So this is actually one of the aspects of the game that i’ve technically been playing wrong for a while. In any case you can also check out this initiative bonus 5e.

  • So when two players tie (Player vs Player): they actually get to just decide among themselves who gets to go first and second. So really cool kind of makes sense when you think about it.
  • When it’s a player versus an NPC: The DM gets to decide.
  • When it’s NPC versus an NPC: The DM gets to decide.
  • Alternatively there is a roll off (optional): Each creature in the tie rolls a d20, the higher roll gets to go first. And it’s just a straight roll.

Another alternative to this that i’ve seen a lot of people use in the past is whoever has the highest dexterity modifier so there is that too. Let’s get to my personal thoughts on it. Also read this d&d movement in combat.


Initiative is probably one of the most critical step to combat and it’s also one that requires the most attention. The order in which you act plays hugely into the kind of strategy your team’s gonna want to go with and it really just helps to pay attention to this kind of stuff because you know what to expect. Don’t miss this ready action 5e extra attack.

That being said, a little bit of advice when it comes to taking turns in general always have your next move at least kind of planned out, nothing’s worse than when it’s your turn and you don’t really know what you want to do, so it’s just slows down gameplay, so just have an idea of what you want to do before your turn starts. Do you want to know how to calculate initiative dnd 5e.


That being said, thank you so much guys, i really appreciate you coming by today. I hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring. Also check out this fighting initiate 5e |

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