Earlier, I outlined an initiative system that used the Savage Worlds card draw instead of the traditional d6 or d20 dice roll. Now I'm going to present an example of how such a system would look in actual play.
As you may recall, the order of initiative should look something like the picture below, with jokers and 2's going first, and aces and jokers going last.
The Three HeroesHelen: 1st level fighter. Elf. Likes chocolate, hates furry things.
Roy: 1st level fighter/magic user. Elf. Likes killing, hates delays in the action.
Jenal: 1st level thief. Elf. Likes shiny things, hates goblins.
The AdventureOn their way to the mysterious Temple of Mystery, our intrepid heroes discover a mossy cave with tiny footprints leading in and out. Intrigued, they decide to investigate...
DM: As they descend into the cave's twisting depths, the heroes' infravision renders them colorblind. Everything is shades of gray--gray cracks in the wall, gray dirt on the floor, and gray footprints in the dirt. The footprints lead straight ahead for fifty feet until--(here the DM rolls some dice)--the heroes are stopped dead in their tracks by the sound of high-pitched cheering and squealing from somewhere up ahead.
Jenal: Can we see where they're coming from?
DM: Not yet. The tunnel goes straight ahead 60', which is as far as your infravision extends.
Helen: Jenal, you want to scout ahead?
Jenal: Naw, it's probably just goblins torturing a pig or something like that. Let's just move forward. Cautiously.
DM: All right. The party moves forward 40'. (Here the DM rolls some more dice.) The passage opens up into a 30' wide chamber with rough cave walls and a sandy floor. There are several forms of lichens and mushrooms growing along the walls, but you can't see what color they are. In the middle of the room are six small, watermelon-headed creatures with wide, toothy mouths and pointed ears. They look a little bit like little children dressed in rags and armed with crooked knives. At the moment, they can't see the party because they are busy pulling the legs off a live pig. The pig is snorting and squealing angrily.
Jenal: Ha! I knew it! How far away are they?
DM: 60'. Just look at the map.
DM: All right, we're on rounds. Roy, you have surprise automatically, and--(here the DM rolls some dice)--Helen, you gain surprise too. (Here the DM pauses to jot down the goblins' action; in this case, he decides they're totally surprised and won't act at all.) All right guys. Actions?
Roy: Cast sleep! [This spell has a casting time of one segment, so Roy would normally draw two cards and take the best. However, he also has surprise, so this means he will draw four cards and take the best.]
Jenal: What, I don't get surprise? Sigh. Okay, I'll shoot em with my bow. [Jenal's max damage with the longbow is 8--houserule, that--and since he does not have surprise he will draw one card.]
Helen: Close carefully with my sword drawn. I don't want to get caught in Roy's spell. [Helen would normally be entitled to pull one card off the deck. But since she has surprise, that gets bumped up to the best of two cards.]
DM: Okay, the creatures won't act this round so draw your initiative. Got it? Starting the count. Joker?
DM: Damn. Good draw. You cast your sleep spell and--(here the DM rolls some dice)--four of the creatures topple over, fast asleep. Despite its injuries, the pig looks like its dozed off too. One of the melon-headed creatures remains standing. All right, back to the count. Two? Three? Four? Five? Six? Seven?
Helen: Seven here.
Jenal: Me too. Clubs.
DM: All right, Jenal, then Helen. Jenal, make your attack.
Jenal: Ugh. Hit AC 14?
DM: Nice try, but nope. Helen closes for the attack, and since that's everyone let's skip back to Roy. [Since he got a Joker, Roy gets to act twice this turn.]
Roy: Great! I'll cast burning hands.
DM: No, dummy, you're too far away--and--you can't cast a second spell this round.
Roy: Right. Uh, draw my longsword and move up to attack.
DM: Great, we're on to round 2. Roy and Helen are within 20' of the last awakened creature, who you now recognize as a goblin. This one has a number of runes scarred into its face. [At this point the DM jots down that this goblin--a spell caster--is about to cast a sleep spell of its own, centered on Roy and Helen.] Actions?
Roy: Smack it with my sword! [Longswords have maximum damage of 8, so Roy simply draws one card for initiative this round.]
Helen: Pull out my dagger and attack with that. [Daggers have maximum damage of 4, so Helen draws two cards and takes the best.]
Helen: This guy looks like a spell caster, so we'd better be going first.
DM: Ok. Jenal?
Jenal: Shoot it with my bow.
DM: There's only a 1/5 chance that you'll target the goblin instead of one of the others in the melee.
Jenal: Fine. Draw my dagger and close. [Draw one card.]
DM: Excellent. The goblin is casting a spell. Draw initiative. Got it? Good. Joker? Two? Three?
Jenal: That's me.
DM: Great, you move up into the melee. Four? Five? Six? Seven? Eight? Nine? Ten? Jack? Queen?
Helen: Phew, I was sure he was going to get that spell of. I got a Queen. (Rolls to attack.) Hit AC 3 for 3 damage.
DM: You got him. The nasty slice across his already-scarred face interrupts the spell he was casting. Arcane energy fizzles uselessly away from his outstretched hands.
Everyone: Collective sigh of relief.
DM: Okay. The goblin got a king, but his spell fizzles. Ace?
Roy: Yeah, that's me. Lady luck's a bitch. I attack with my longsword and hit AC 2.
Roy: And I do 4 damage to the little bugger.
DM: Well you get him. The "little bugger" clutches his throat and falls to the ground, gurgling beside his still-sleeping companions. We're off rounds.