What if combat in Dungeons & Dragons were more like (in a small way) combat in Magic: the Gathering? What if creatures were prevented from attacking during the first turn without some kind of special “initiative” ability?

Let’s say that the first round of every fight was treated like a “surprise round,” where each participant received only a single action — most participants would probably use their action to either draw a weapon or move.

Certain classes — likely those belonging to the striker role — would have an exception to this rule, permitting them to attack during the first round. I think it would be a valuable (if costly) ability, since it would have no additional benefit.

I am not aware of many gaming groups that make use of rules for drawing or changing weapons in the middle of combat, which is a little bit of a shame as it means there is little strategy in disarming or surprising a foe.

Well actually, there is an advantage to surprising a foe — usually it means extra actions and the possibility of eliminating an enemy before it can even attack.

There’s a rule from 3e I recall, that permits a creature with a Base Attack Bonus greater than zero to draw a weapon as part of movement (drawing and moving), which gives low-level fighters an advantage — if such a thing ever comes up.

In Magic: the Gathering, the restriction preventing most creatures from attacking in the same turn they are summoned is referred to as “summoning sickness.” The ability to attack the same turn a creature is summoned is called “Haste.”

I don’t necessarily see it as a universal striker feature, but instead one that enables some strikers to hit faster than others, helping to differentiate a combat role where individuals may struggle for a sense of personal identity.

Just a thought.