My houserule for reinstating +-bonuses without slowing down the game as much

The Advantage system of DnD Next is a quick and fun (for me anyway) method of greating affecting the accuracy of attacks.  Like others on the board however, I find that reducing all accuracy advantages to just Ad or Dis to be too limiting, both in scope of effect and the fact they can't compound well.  Numeric bonus allow smaller benefits to be achieved, as well as avoid the "target number" effect of double rolling, but their weaknesses in 4e included 1. Remembering what was in effect, 2 Having the bonus be "wasted" because the roll wasn't in the swing margin, and 3 Adding them takes time that's ultimately wasted if 2 is involved. 

My solution is to tokenize the bonuses, much like we had action points, but actually make a tokens of them (+2 chip, +5 chip, etc) .  They can be cashed in when they make a difference (even multiple chips on an attack), and their physical presence makese them easy to remember.  Seeing the combat manuevers as "dice spent" for the fighter article seemed on a similiar tack, so I figured sharing this idea might meet responsive ears.  Penalties naturally become tokens for the DM to throw.

You might be asking: why does the fact I back attacked the goblin (or at will cleric spell +2, or what have you) make it easier to hit his chieftain 2 rounds later? Just think of it as trading the dice roll between the event that was needed and the event it would have been wasted.

Opinions from the DM community?      
I'm more of a simulationist. I see trading the dice roll as breaking the illusion of virtual reality. If I'm in an actual fight and I knock one punk down, that in no way let's me have a better shot at taking down his buddy. Basically, you don't get to bank your good fortune for use at a later time. (How I wish that was true!)
I'm more of a simulationist. I see trading the dice roll as breaking the illusion of virtual reality. If I'm in an actual fight and I knock one punk down, that in no way let's me have a better shot at taking down his buddy. Basically, you don't get to bank your good fortune for use at a later time. (How I wish that was true!)

For a more simulationist bent, perhaps the confidence gained from performing the manuever (despite not needing the bonus) carried over as improved performance until it was karmically spent.  I'm sure there are other possible justifications that could fit; ultimately my goal is a mechanic that offers small bonuses to accuracy or damage that don't suffer from "when does this end" and don't get wasted. 

Are there other ways this idea can be improved, or are there game slowing/unfun problems that would result from this kind of implementation?

Idea for "Long effects" like end of encounter could be represented by a chip that can be used without giving it back immediately.  Obviously, these would look different than the one use chips.  Hopefully DnD Next will have a limited pool of potential durations to make this easier. 

When 4.0 came around we created an entire box of tokens to simulate status effects (they now sell a crappier version of what we made ourselves), and while you are right in that seeing/holding something absolutely makes it easier to remember, you still haven't solved the underlying issue of "math slows the game down."  Once you have three or four +1s, +2s, -2s, and whatever, it doesn't matter when you use them:  it will slow down that roll.  And if you add to the fact that each turn after they are earned the player must then calculate whether or not they think they should use them?  It's actually even worse.  (Plus, I agree that using them at a point different from when you earned them would just feel odd.)


"Roll two, take the higher" is absolutely one of the fastest play mechanics I've ever seen, especially when it is capped at exactly one extra die.  Yes:  its very odd and non-intuitive when it comes to just how much of a bonus/penalty this is (not to mention the fact that the bonus/penalty changes based on the target roll), and it would be nice to have something that is a smaller, more consistent bonus.  Not sure this is covering it, though.


You've got a good idea, though:  what else would simulate a smaller bonus, but be just as quick?  We sort of know how it needs to work:  it needs to involve little-to-no math, and it has to be something that happens immediately and can be resolved immediately.  The "fighter mana bar" of having extra dice you can throw down to boost damage is another good idea, but rolling extra dice for a bonus (like 2d4, take the higher bonus) for things like "to hit" or a skill check actually seems slower than just +/- 2.  Maybe simply limiting all bonuses to a maximum of +/- 2 would be the answer, like how ten advantages still just net you a total of one extra die?  In that case, you effectively have two situations:  you get a +2, or you get advantage.  Borrowing back your token idea, each player could have two tokens (+2, adv) and just keep the appropriate one up when it applied.  Or maybe it's a three-option system:  you have nothing, +2, or advantage - that's it.  Just tossing ideas around here.

I'm more of a simulationist. I see trading the dice roll as breaking the illusion of virtual reality. If I'm in an actual fight and I knock one punk down, that in no way let's me have a better shot at taking down his buddy. Basically, you don't get to bank your good fortune for use at a later time. (How I wish that was true!)

For a more simulationist bent, perhaps the confidence gained from performing the manuever (despite not needing the bonus) carried over as improved performance until it was karmically spent.  I'm sure there are other possible justifications that could fit; ultimately my goal is a mechanic that offers small bonuses to accuracy or damage that don't suffer from "when does this end" and don't get wasted. 

Are there other ways this idea can be improved, or are there game slowing/unfun problems that would result from this kind of implementation?

Idea for "Long effects" like end of encounter could be represented by a chip that can be used without giving it back immediately.  Obviously, these would look different than the one use chips.  Hopefully DnD Next will have a limited pool of potential durations to make this easier. 



I don't see any game-slowing effects, and keeping track of it with tokens is a good idea if you're going to go that route, but opinions were asked for and my opinion is that good fortune shouldn't carry over from one event to another. (Spiritually speaking, I don't believe in karma, though I do believe in reincarnation. The two get bundled together a lot!) If, tactically speaking, defeating one opponent puts you in a better position to get a good strike at your next target, that's one thing. (Like if a bodyguard was between you and the lich-king, taking out the bodyguard would get you a better shot.) But in my workings, you got your lucky strike at that moment for that event. If I was sitting at your table with this rule, I wouldn't complain. I don't see it as game-breaking and I would do my best to use it to my advantage (which, of course, is what it's for). It just wouldn't fit the flavor of my games at my table. It certainly does nothing to diminish the game.

Question, though. You don't plan to let these portable strokes of luck stack, do you? That's the only place I could see an issue forming. If somebody can bank multiples, they could very well roll a handful of d20s on one hit!
The original idea came to me with something like Lance of Faith, which is supposed to empower an ally to better hit a target.  Sadly, a one swing +2 accuracy bonus only actually helps you 10% of the time, so thinking the magic "stuck to the hero" until it made a difference: it twists the fighter's sword to intercept the dodge would ensure it wasn't wasted. 

From there, the idea that any bonus could benefit from such a system, even if it wasn't "magic" in the name of simplified mechanics, followed. 

Even if many "charges" ended up being saved on the hero to be spent in one giant stack to correct a horrible roll of 2, that's not terrible, it's only one attack even as a daily.  It means at least a handful of boost causers had been ineffective in rounds before.  

In terms of making the math easy, the DM knows the AC and the unboosted attack number- if the numbers are close the DM could prompt (spend +4 to hit, or in the case of penalties involved, DM spends a -2 to make it miss, do you spend to counter?) or perhaps the player has learned that "above 9 on the base d20 hits, thus knows to spend a +2 on a 8."  Obviously, some people are more comfortable knowing exact defense values than others: but I find it speeds the game to have that transparent within one or two swings that were near miss/hit. 
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