Anyone Have Mob (Large Initiative Order) Rules?

Has anyone come up with ways of simplifying rounds when dealing with a large number of characters in the initiative?

I am running a game with 6 monsters, 5 NPCs, 6 PCs, & 2 pets. (That’s 19 positions in the Initiative Order.) The Initiative rounds take forever to get through.

From other sources, I’ve gleaned these tips:

Speeding Up Rounds

  1. Initiative
    1. All Monsters & NPCs go on the same initiative.
    2. NPCs go last.
    3. Inform the next player to go that they’re next.
    4. After initiative rolls, have each player choose a card/token that represents the monsters. Selected monster goes after the PC.
  2. Monsters
    1. Fewer monsters that are more powerful.
    2. Boss/mini-boss monster that leads the others. Defeat it and the others flee.
    3. Boss, mini-boss, and minions for big fights.
    4. A single monster with special/lair actions can challenge a whole team.
  3. NPCs & Monsters
    1. Split the NPCs off with their own set of monsters that you make simplified, generalized rolls for to see how the battle goes for them - so you can focus on the PCs.
  4. NPCs
    1. Don’t give NPCs an initiative. Instead, only have the NPCs act when the PCs need help/assistance. (Don’t think this works for significantly higher NPCs.)
    2. Use the auto/average damage for NPCs, rather than rolling for it.
  5. Pets
    1. Pets go on the owner’s initiative - player’s choice if PC or pet goes first.
  6. Rolls
    1. Make rolls ahead of time. Write them down.

I’ve also seen in the D&D DMG some mob rules where you average the damage of the monsters (similar to Point 4.2 above) and use a table of “how many attackers are needed for 1 monster to hit when the ‘to hit’ number is…” The D&D table seems arbitrary rather than mathematical.

So, has anyone made an average monster damage table like above, or have any other tips for me?

why are there so many NPCs. Is that something that is really necessary? Adding NPCs is usually the biggest mistake a GM can make for a couple reasons:

  1. As you have seen, combat gets boring fast and way too long
  2. NPCs run the risk of outshining the players
  3. it is easy to forget about the NPCs and they are just “there” but not really “there”

Many times you can just have the NPCs literally in the background though, even in battle. The party is protecting them, sure, but pushing out while they just circle the wagons and protect themselves. You might mention them dodging, jumping, or firing back, but it is all flavor/fluff, the real fighting is the players and what they are doing to keep attention etc.

So my suggest is get rid of the NPCs, BUT, I don’t know why the NPCs are there, so hard to really say.

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