Tracking Initiative in Coffins and Tombstones

Initiative in Coffins and Tombstones is tracked using playing cards. While some settings are better suited with different types of cards, a poker deck carries over some of the character that we like for the Old West.

To keep track of a character’s initiative, each player will need a deck of our initiative cards, or a standard poker deck- minus the jokers. At the start of the game, deal a number of cards equal to each cowpoke’s Initiative Attribute to them. Deal as many of the cards as needed to one cowpoke before beginning to deal to the next cowpoke. Each cowpoke’s cards are then stacked from the highest to the lowest, face up, with the high card on top. Cowpokes will act in the order of their top initiative card through the entire Shootout.

Breaking Ties

Aces are high and suits break ties. Spades are the highest rank, followed by Hearts, Diamonds, and then Clubs. In the event that two cowpokes are tied by rank and suit, one player rolls a Special Die. A success means that player goes first. A blank means that the opponent goes first. Since the characters initiative order can change throughout the game, this happens whenever there is a tie.

Activating a Cowpoke

When a cowpoke takes their turn, turn their current initiative card sideways to indicate that they have gone in the round.

Delay Penalties

When a cowpoke takes a Calculatin’ Attitude, they are said to be taking their time in order to line up the perfect shot. Any time they roll a Clock symbol on the Calculating Attack Dice, take their top initiative card and place it face down at the bottom of their initiative card stack. The new face up card on the top of the stack becomes their new initiative.

A cowpoke can choose to take time aiming their shot. They must declare this before rolling a Shooting attack. Aiming will allow a cowpoke the choice of re-rolling one Standard Attack Die. This also causes them to lower their initiative as if they had rolled a Clock symbol during their attack. Keep in mind that aiming cannot be used to re-roll a Calculatin’ or Risky die.

Losing a Turn

Should they ever run out of face up cards, that cowpoke loses their next turn. They get no Move, Free, or Standard Actions. They will spend that turn refocusing their initiative by stacking the cards from the highest to the lowest, face up, with the high card on top.

Refocusing Initiative

By spending a Standard Action, a cowpoke can re-order their initiative to the high card like at the beginning of the Shootout. This gets rid of any Initiative Penalties stacked up from previous turns.

Customizing Initiative

Some Special Abilities allow a character to have cards with a specific value or break ties, and experience points can be spent to increase a character’s Initiative Attribute.