Judge declarations?

I want to poll the Judges or anyone who has ran ACKS. Do you declare actions for monsters/NPCs, in combat, before rolling initiative?
For example, if you fail a morale check with a monster and it retreats, do you declare that monster is retreating before you roll initiative? Or do you have the monster run on it’s turn, without declaring?
Also, do you declare that an NPC or monster spellcaster is casting a spell prior to rolling initiative? I feel really strongly about this. I never fudge rolls or actions of monsters or NPCs so I’m not going to change something in the middle of a combat round, but I believe it would be too affecting if I say at the beginning of the round “The goblin shaman is casting Cause Fear” for example. What I do instead is say, “The goblin shaman is dancing around and waving a necklace of chicken bones, whilst chanting” or something similar, clearly indicating a spellcaster is casting so the players are aware.
What do ya’ll think?

i do as follows:

  1. Declaration: Heroes MAY declare actions first if they want to act quickly. Monsters declare actions. Remaining Heroes declare actions is they wanted to see what the monsters are doing.
  2. Initiative. Roll. A hero that declared actions before monsters gains a +2 bonus to initiative. A hero who declared his action after the monsters gets a -2 penalty.
    When declaring actions an go strict by the rules, you have to excactly declare what you are doing: where you are moving, whom you are attacking, what spell you are casting and what the targets of the spell are…but i prefer it more descriptive as in your last sentence.

I declare casting, withdrawal, and retreat – just as characters must. Everything else can wait till initiative is resolved and you must act.
Declaring casting without specifying the spell is enough. Even if the player says they’ll cast spell X, I will allow them to actually cast something else. The important bit is that creatures with higher initiative can try to interrupt them.
Similarly, withdrawal and retreat must be declared in general – exact path taken does not matter.
The important thing is that for withdrawal we know that attackers moving inside the reach of the defender can be pre-empted (those already standing in reach to the withdrawing character are exempt from this in my reading),and that there’s no attack coming unless they pursue.
For retreat the important thing is that we know the character’s AC is lowered if they are attacked before their initiative.
Sometimes I may mention something that hints at monster’s intentions in more detail, but that’s not the same as declaring them. “The gnoll glances to the eastern doorway and is about to retreat.”

I like beastman’s rule. I’m totally yoinking that.
I had been just interupting combat when monsters fail morale checks and let the PCs decide if they want to pursue. Usually they don’t.

In ACKS’ rules as written, pre-declaring all actions before initiative isn’t necessary. You only need to declare if you are spellcasting or using defensive movement.
I run it as written. While knowing the exact spell being cast isn’t always important, I do ask them to specify what spell they are casting, though, so that if it gets interrupted we know what spell level was lost.

in ACKS…SNIP… You only need to declare if you are spellcasting or using defensive movement.<<
Wah, serves me right. Gotten confused by D&D&, AD&D and the various clones i recently have read.
Don’t tell my players. I have conditioned them to exactly describe what they do…mwhuahaha… :wink: