Initiative is a special mechanic in combat. It reflects who is in control. When you have initiative, you make proactive moves and have more options. When your foe has initiative, they are forcing you to react.
To determine whether you have initiative, follow these guidelines (unless a move tells you otherwise):
• When you score a strong hit, you take or retain initiative.
• When you score a weak hit or miss, you lose initiative.
NPCs do not make moves. When an NPC has initiative, they take actions in the fiction of the scene which force you to react. When you have initiative, you are in control and taking proactive actions to achieve your objectives.
This is just brilliant. I’m so going to use that in my DW games.
I’ve been struggling lately with combat as I felt the monsters/enemies were too passive. I don’t take much spotlight as I pass it around players so the opposition was waiting for a 9- move from a player for me to make a GM move and thus making monsters actually do something.
If I implement a similar initiative mechanic, it codifies in the game that a character can’t take offensive actions until they gain initiative, which narratively allows me, as the GM, to take actions with my monsters.
I’d have each player track if he has initiative or not. If one doesn’t have initiative, I’d consider any monster that is interacting directly with this character has having initiative.