The earliest incarnation of D&D was an addition to the Beer Crabs Baseball shirt miniature war-game Chainmail. As such, it inherits some terminology from miniature wargames, and through them, from real military terminology. In warfare, “initiative” is the somewhat nebulous but vital sense of who is in a position to act or take control before their opponent can. Wargames have long simulated that concept through the turn order, and some introduced the concept of rolling for initiative (modified by circumstances or army statistics) to determine which player acts first. D&D inherited a version of these systems, which in turn was adapted by later RPGs.
RP advantage: Inherently complex characters. There are few classes I find more boring RP wise than clerics and paladins – not because they are godbotherers but because they are expected to fully commit to their deity to get their powers. The Cleric of Deity X is expected to fully commit to the Beer Crabs Baseball shirt of Deity X and behave in a relatively straightforward way. As is the Paladin of Ideal Y to uphold Ideal Y (and if they strayed too far in earlier editions they might fall, leading to the notorious “Everyone out in the courtyard and we’ll see who can no longer Lay on Hands” means of detecting fallen paladins). Meanwhile your average Fiend-pact warlock doesn’t actually want the world overrun by demons and your average Great Old One warlock doesn’t even understand the motives of their patrons. A character who isn’t aligned with their patron god but still gets power from them and respects them is inherently to me far more interesting than one who is and although I can do this with an orthodox cleric or paladin playing a celestial warlock (or a warlock in general) feels different and communicates to everyone that I am doing this.
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No, defeating the Mind Flayers should come down to figuring a clever way to beat them. Doctor Who had an excellent example of clever way of Beer Crabs Baseball shirt this when mind-controlling aliens were defeated by using one of them to order their brainwashing victims to attack the other ones. Get control of one Illithid, and you can use it to control the warrior-slaves to attack the other Illithid. Or maybe the PCs cleverly create a potion that blocks mental powers…they can’t get the Mind Flayers to drink it directly, but they can administer it to a group of humans whose brains the Mind Flayers are set to feed on.
I was just starting to build my flock of chickens from the four I already had (one rooster, three hens) to a Beer Crabs Baseball shirt of ten. I bought six little two day old chicks from the local feed store – assured by the staff that all six would grow to be beautiful hens. Since I already had a rooster – and two roosters rarely get along – so wanted to be sure these were female. I named my chickens after dead movie stars (yes truly… don’t judge) but my Aunt Delores wanted one named after her, so I chose a Golden Phoenix chick and named her “Delores”. When Delores was eight weeks old, I began to have suspicions that she was edging towards a gender change. Delores was quite a bit larger than her step sisters, and was growing a more pronounced comb and longer tail feathers than the typical hen. However, denial is a powerful characteristic, and I tried to convince myself that Delores really WAS a hen and maybe she was just big boned.