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System Preview: Narrative Initiative System

The Narrative Initiative System is an alternative to traditional initiative tracking that determines order of action by what is appropriate for the narrative, rather than a simple set of numbers.
This system was initially proposed and implemented  by +Fred Hicks for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying by Margaret Weis Productions, and has since been converted to be used with Fate Core.

The Aereon setting uses a variant of this system, as outlined below.

Narrative Initiative System

Determine Who Goes First

In most instances, the Game Master will determine who goes first based on how the conflict was introduced into the scene, or through group consensus. This may be the established leader of the group, the person that initiated the conflict, or the fastest player character (as determine through skills).

An NPC will not act first in an encounter unless the GM spends a fate point from the NPC fate point pool.

Determine Who's Next

In a single exchange every character gets to act. After a character's turn has resolved, the controlling player chooses which PC or NPC they want to have go next. This gives the player that just acted tactical control over the exchange.

Sometimes it can be in a player's best interest to choose an NPC to act next, because the last player in an given exchange chooses the character to act first in the next exchange.  The only restriction being that the same character cannot act twice in a row. Therefore, if the players want to control who goes first in the next exchange, they'll want a PC to go last in the current exchange.


When a player chooses another PC to go next in an exchange, the GM can override that decision and have an NPC go next instead. To do so, the GM must give a fate point to the player who would have acted next out of the NPC fate point pool. The NPC receiving the action cannot have already acted in this exchange.

Picture Source: Kekai Kotaki