I get what you're saying. You don't necessarily need to win initiative and go first - rather, you need to have the cycle work out so that between your turn and your targets turn, you have allies in between to go. There's definitely still RNG in there for sure. It's not as bad as it sounds if it's done with coordination between the melee characters - i.e. you should only shove when you know your teammate is going to get a turn.
For example, look at the following initiative orders (PC = player character, underline = "shover"):
PC1, Enemy, PC2 (PC2 shoves, so initiative will cycle around and PC1 gets to go before Enemy can get up)
Enemy, PC1, PC2 (PC1 shoves, enemy doesn't get to stand up before PC2's turn)
PC1, PC2, Enemy (PC1 shoves, enemy doesn't get to stand up before PC2's turn)
True, only the cycle matters, not winning initiative. All those initiative orders are good situations to shove (assuming at least 1 PC has extra attack). However, if you add a ranged PC3 that goes after PC2, then shove becomes neutral or suboptimal in all of those situations. Of course, if that PC3 can target a different enemy or can use AoE/Save Spells, then shoving is back to being a good idea. Which circles us back to "Prone is situationally very good."
I guess I just want Shove to be a bit more useful in all situations. It'd probably be too powerful if standing up provoked AoOs...maybe Prone could grant disadvantage on Dex STs? Then it would synergize well with both casters and melee characters.
Originally Posted by Topgoon
The only times I remember jumps used extensively outside of the Goblin Racial disengage is the Minotaur and Owlbear. I don't remember for the human fights (because they are so rare unless you go evil).
Ah right, I also forgot about the Owlbear. We don't fight many humans, true, but I don't remember either the dwarves or myconids jumping at any point.