See also: Character Combat
Usually you act as soon as you can in combat, but sometimes you want to act later, at a better time, or in response to the Actions of someone else.
By choosing to Delay, you take no Action when your turn in the Initiative order arrives. Instead, you act normally at whatever later Initiative point you decide to act. When you Delay, you voluntarily reduce your own Initiative count for the rest of the encounter. When your new, lower Initiative count comes up later in the same Round, you can act normally. You can specify this new Initiative result or just wait until some time later in the Round and act at that time, thus fixing your new Initiative result at that point.
Delaying is useful if you need to see what your friends or opponents are going to do before deciding what to do yourself. The price you pay is lost Initiative. You never get back the time you spend waiting to see what's going to happen.
Example: Deel and Vor'en approach a locked hatch, behind which they expect to encounter a crime boss and his thugs. Vor'en's Initiative result is 22, but he delays. He wants to open fire on the crime boss with his Heavy Blaster Rifle, so he Delays. On Initiative count 14, Deel uses his Mechanics skill to unlock and open the door. Now Vor'en can move through the doorway and fire a shot at the crime boss, but his Initiative is reduced to 13 (Just after Deel's Initiative of 14). For the rest of the battle, Vor'en acts on Initiative count 13.
Multiple Characters Delaying Edit
If multiple characters Delay their Actions, the one with the highest Initiative check modifier has the advantage. If two or more Delaying characters both want to act on the same Initiative count, the one with the highest Initiative check modifier gets to go first.
Readying lets you prepare to take an Action later, after your turn is over, but before your next turn has begun. You can ready as a Standard Action. To do so, specify the Standard, Swift, or Move Action you will take and the circumstances under which you will take it. Then, any time before your next turn, you may take the Readied Action as a Reaction in response to those circumstances (Assuming they occur).
Initiative Consequences of Readying Edit
The count on which you took your readied Action becomes your new Initiative result. If you come to your next Action and have not yet performed your Readied Action, you don't get to take the Readied Action (Though you can Ready the same Action again). If you take your Readied Action in the next Round, before your regular Action, your Initiative rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular Action in that Round.
Example: Kelko and his friend Sia-Lan have just encountered a trio of Tusken Raiders in the wilds of Tatooine. On Initiative count 14, Kelko specifies that he is going to fire his blaster at the first Tusken Raider that tries making an Attack. On count 10, Sia-Lan moves next to Kelko and readies an Attack with her Lightsaber, so that she can strike any foe that comes within 1 square of her position. On count 7, the Tusken Raiders charge, brandishing their Gaffi Sticks. As soon as the lead Tusken Raider raises his weapon, Kelko fires his blaster, but misses. Next, Sia-Lan swings at the first Tusken Raider to reach her and drops him. Other Tusken Raiders, however, reach Sia-Lan and Attack her. From this point on, both Kelko and Sia-Lan act on Initiative count 7 (And before the Tusken Raiders).