There’s no better feeling than getting a natural twenty in the last combat of the day, as you’re about to fight the big bad evil of the campaign… unless, of course, you get that nat20 on your initiative.
Let’s be honest here, Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition offers very little if any benefit to rolling a natural 20 on your initiative. Other than the possibility of maaaaaaaybe getting to be first in turn order, which, isn’t even guaranteed depending on everyone’s initiative modifier, yours included.
So hear me out, when you think about it, what exactly does initiative represent? Technically speaking your initiative represents just how quickly you are able to react to dire circumstances, both physically and mentally.
We’ve had a look around the interwebs and talked to a few of our fellow Liches about some of the most creative solutions they’ve come up with for alternative homebrew ruling and here’s a couple of interesting ones:
Extra action on natural 20s…or missing bonus action on natural 1s:
The idea here being that getting that natural 20 gives you enough reaction time to get a little extra oomf out of your first turn after initiative. Likewise if you roll a natural one you are caught off guard enough that you don’t get to do all of the things you wanted during your turn.
Advantage on natural 20s…or disadvantage on natural 1s:
Your character manages to act so quickly on that first round that they get a bit of a drop on their enemies. On the other hand getting a natural one with this ruling means that a character’s reaction time is as sluggish as the rest of their turn.
Extra movement on natural 20s…or reduced movement on natural 1s:
A natural 20 initiative with this ruling with get you a bit of extra movement to represent that quick reaction on their part. Perhaps a bit harsher is the opposite effect on a natural 1, but we can definitely see how this could possibly create an interesting encounter.
Increased chance to crit on a natural 20:
With this homebrew initiative ruling, a character who rolls a percentile die after landing their first hit for their first turn. On a desirable outcome the attack is treated as a critical hit. This one doesn’t have an equivalent for a natural one that we could find, but perhaps you can match and mix with some of the other suggestions.
What do you think about these alternate rules? Have you ever used one of them? Would you?