Modding Delta Green: Initiative

For those of you who don’t know, Delta Green is this:

It is awesome, but nothing is perfect, and even if it were, it isn’t *mine*.

So let me start with a simple mod: Initiative.

Rules-as-written, initiative is simply based on DEX. I understand the appeal of that system. Delta Green’s combat is fast-paced and deadly. In play, it feels like Jason-Bourne-combat.

But I dislike the certainty that the PC (usually) with the highest DEX will always go first, and I like uncertain combat, especially in a horror game.

So here is my mod:

0. First deal with any surprise attacks.

  1. Once surprise is dealt with, roll Alertness.
  2. Those who failed declare their actions in order from lowest to highest.
  3. Those who succeeded declare their actions in order from lowest to highest.
  4. Then roll Initiative: DEX + 1d10. Actions are resolved in order of initiative. (Random Thought: Maybe I should just have them roll against DEX x 5).

This is definitely slower than simply going in order of DEX, but in game, it reinforces that sense that your PCs simply don’t know everything, and that what they don’t know can kill them.

I really like that you declare your action with imperfect knowledge. Even if you rolled best for Alertness, how will you do when it comes to Initiative? Thus the best laid plans of cultists and agents often get screwed.

P.S. If your PCs use a lot of armor (perhaps if you use Delta Green for a gritty fantasy game, because why not?) then I would suggest that each point of armor reduce the initiative roll by 1, and that a helmet gives a -5% penalty to Alertness per point of armor (and I would consider the helmet to be part of the suit of armor and not simply give a +1 to armor — the helmet distinguishes itself if you use hit location rules).

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