In Star Wars Edge of the Empire, initiative is handled in a pretty unique way. At the start of a fight, everyone rolls initiative. You determine initiative by ‘slots.’ Instead of locking a particular PC into a given slot, the slots are just for “PC” or “NPC.” When a PC slot comes up, the PCs can pick any PC to act (likewise for the GM and NPCs). Characters still only get one chance to act per round.
This is a really satisfying way to run combat and ends up with some interesting and cinematic team collaboration and unique tactics in play. Tracking initiative can be a bit confusing though, so I whipped up a Combat Tracker.
To create your own Combat Tracker, download my PDF below and print it (ideally double sided) and laminate it (Home Depot lets you upload a PDF and print it double sided and laminated; I forget the cost but I think it runs something like $3-$4).
To write on it, use a wet erase marker. I find the Vis-a-vis markers work better for this than Staedtler markers since Vis-a-vis is a bit more fine-tipped. Here’s how it works in play:
- Step one: Everyone rolls initiative. Track the results in the top two tables. Notes below the table explain when to roll Cool vs. Vigilance, and how to break ties.
- Step two: List the order of player and GM slots in the middle table.
- Step three: Write down the players and NPCs in the bottom table.
I like to delegate the above three ‘initiative setup’ steps to a player while I think about combat tactics and look over the NPC stats. Then I take the combat tracker back from the player and use it to run the combat.
With each turn, I check off a) the middle table to show a GM or player slot has been used, and b) mark which character has just gone. So for one round, you’ll use the column in the middle table and bottom table (they line up nicely).
If a character takes wounds or strain, there is a section next to the player name to track this.
The picture I attached shows an example combat at the top of the third round.
One other thing I sometimes do with these sorts of initiative charts — if I’m usually theater of the mind combat, I’ll put initials of the PC next to the NPC if they are engaged in melee. This way I can track who is engaged with who, which is the main thing I usually care about in a combat situation. For this reason, I have a house rule that every PC has a different first letter in their name.
Enjoy! Let me know your feedback and if there are any improvements you would suggest. I hope to create other resources for SW:EotE in the future so I appreciate any ideas you have!