It has been said that time is what keeps everything from happening all at once. In a game, that role goes to the Initiative rules. Initiative establishes turn order and action priority. It allows faster, more perceptive, and more decisive characters to have an advantage in the round of action. Initiative brings a little structure and order to the chaos of battle. It’s also a primary determinant of the structure of game play.
One of the things I find most frustrating about most any RPG is that the action economy is most efficiently used in a series of attack and defense rolls. Most game systems don’t incentivize any other kind of exchange. Movement especially is given little attention and it’s difficult to force a character to move. When you do force a movement to disadvantageous terrain or gain advantageous terrain yourself, a simple move action by the opponent undoes the work.
I came up with the following, potential, alternative method of determining surprise between two parties of characters before an encounter. It still needs to be play-tested.