[RPG] How to resolve RAW and ‘common sense’, with the phrase ‘When you roll for initiative’, when combined with initiative variants


There are two class features, Perfect Self (PHB p. 79), and Relentless (PHB p.74), which contain the phrase 'when you roll for initiative.' Both allow the character to recover some expendable resources.

When using initiative variants (DMG p. 270-271), what's the best way to interpret this?

As written, these characters would gain their superiority dice much more frequently, or much less, depending on which variant you use. This doesn't feel right to me. Should I read the phrase 'when you roll for initiative' to mean 'when a combat encounter begins'?
What would be the negative consequences of making that substitution?

Best Answer

The feature is based the non-variant rules. In the non-variant rules, initiative is rolled "When combat starts." (basic rules, chapter 9, order of combat, initiative)

If we substitute this timing directly into the features, they clearly mean at the beginning of any combat.

The purpose of the variant initiative rule is to add variety to the combat order. The purpose is not to change the timing of class features. Therefore, the only reasonable way to treat this discrepancy is to leave the features as "at the beginning of each combat."