The problem I have with using the different dice though is that initiate is only rolled once. What if you change weapons. What if you have a two-handed weapon in hand but end up doing something different than attacking with it? Or is initiative reordered every "cycle" by what characters are doing? That actually sounds like more of a headache than rerolling initaitve every round (different dice could work well in a pick your action and roll a new initiative every round system), and it would be even more difficult to do when different intitiative dice are used rather than straight penalties. I think a penalty to initiative in a cycling initiative system should only apply if someone is doing something that is slowing them up at the time that initiative is rolled. -4 or d16 for a two-handed weapon just doesn't make sense to me.
The origin of the idea behind -4 (at least as far as I can tell) is in older versions of D&D, those who wielded two-handed weapons went last. I'd almost rather see a round of combat be resolved in this manner...
1. Spellcasters announce if they're casting spells (using either a primary or secondary action)
2. Those using bows, darts and slings from range (not at point blank) fire their weapons (first shot of the round). Maybe crossbow wielders can fire here on the first round of combat as well.
3. Non-two-handed weapon Melee attacks happen, as well as all movement. Disengaging from melee offers a free whack, even against an opponent with a two-handed weapon. Engaging an opponent in melee who has reach (with a polearm or spear) gives that opponent a free whack as well.
4. Those using crossbows and two-handed weapons make their attacks.
5. Those using bows, darts and slings from range (who have not moved) fire a second time.
6. Any non-spellcasting secondary actions should occur (if a character has more than one action die). This includes additional melee or missile attacks.
7. Spells go off, unless they whiffed due to taking damage or losing concentration.
With an initiative roll used as a tie-breaker within the separate actions. Yeah, it's more complicated. Maybe overly so. But there are people that've been using this method since OD&D and Chainmail. And, frankly, once you've gone through it a few times it becomes second-nature because it is more rooted in wargaming conventions than simply a lucky d20 roll for initiative. Most people who can handle a boardgame could navigate through that Order of Actions.
I don't think it would take less time to fire a bow than swing a sword. With a bow, ammunition needs to be drawn from it's quiver, nocked, bow bent and aimed, and then the arrow must fly to it's target. A blade is swung. I think it should be skill not the type of weapon that makes the most difference. In DCC Warriors get their level added to initiative, which sounds reasonable to me.
That's not entirely the point. The statement I made specified "at range". A person with a bow should get a shot off on a person with a sword before that person with a sword is able to charge 50' and attack. We give the same courtesy to spears and polearms. Whereas a person with a bow at point blank range, IMO, should not. In fact, firing a bow in melee should give the opponent a free whack, IMO. And those using bows at point blank range or within melee range should not get a second attack.
I agree that something should be done to make it worthwhile. Maybe two-handed melee weapons should count all 1's on the damage dice as 2's. I don't think this should apply to missile weapons, though. I agree that crossbows should do better damge though.
Or maybe two-handed melee weapons get to re-roll 1s? That's easier than remembering to add +1, IMO. I think the crossbow needs more damage output too. Maybe 2d6? That would put it on par with a bow that gets to shoot twice at range. And there should be a "Light Crossbow" option for Halflings, perhaps doing 2d4 damage.