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In combat, characters stand by in their positions until their turn for entering new action commands comes.
Both enemy and party characters vie for turns to enter action commands in real-time. The markers for all characters move along the Initiative Point gauge (IP gauge) shown on this page.
Characters can enter commands in the order that they reach the COM point on the right side of the gauge. The speed of movement of the marker along the gauge depends on the Action attribute of the individual character.
v = Enemy Character (Disappears from gauge when Character is defeated.) o = Party Character (Becomes fixed in left position when character has "Fallen".) COM Point: Enter command ACT Point: Command executed
(Duke's Note: Ascii cannot properly fit the chart used, so I had to make a separate legend for the icons.)
Anyway, that's what the manual says about it. It actually goes on to some more, describing it in action over the course of a turn, but I won't transcribe that.
This item, Bond of Trust, says in the Item FAQ that it "speeds up IP of one friend, permanent", but you say it's battle-use only. My assumption is it makes their turns come faster for the rest of the fight, such as "haste" spells in other RPGs.
"As the good archmage often admonishes me, I ought not to let my mind wander, as it's too small to go off by itself." -Danilo Thann