House rules you're using/have used/want to test

One of the things I enjoy about playtesting is that one does have the opportunity to try out new things and make suggestions.  So here's some things we use, along with a note about how they worked out.

Surprise - We either give Advantage to the "surpriser" or Disadvantage to the "Surprised" on Initiative.  We've found that we like the Advantage option better since some classes and feats have abilities keyed off having Advantage.  It can make tactical decisions have a greater impact than just "I go first".

Charging - We don't require a feat.  That's just dumb.  Charging in our game allows you to move up to your speed and make a melee attack with Advantage BUT all attacks against you gain Advantage until your next turn.  It represents a single minded focus on one target that you rush to, heedless of danger.

Advantage/Disadvantage - We allow them to stack and then use the "net" result to determine what dice to keep.  If someone has two things granting Disadvantage, they need to find three ways to gain Advantage if they want to roll twice and take the best.  We've found this leads to far more interesting and dynamic combats as people look for ways to get that extra bump.  It could be tossing marbles on the floor so enemies fall prone, it could be maneauvering to flank, it could be sand in the eyes, it could be a feint, it could be a charge, it could be taking a hit from an enemy and dropping/feigning death and then shanking them when them move in to check.  Our combats have never devolved into "I hit it with my sword" because  we are liberal with the uses of Disadvantage and Advantage.

Outnumber - If you're outnumbered by at least 3 to 1, attacks against you gain Advantage.  Creatures capable of making more than one attack per round increase the number needed to outnumber by one/attack.  I'm debating making that into a size thing though, with each category above Medium increasing the number needed.



I'd want to swap Opportunity Attacks to be on moving into a threatened square rather than moving out of it. This makes running away easier, and increases survivability without having to inflate hit points.

I'd then want Surprise to allow you to bypass that opportunity attack.

The game would get more ambush centred, and would have much less charging headlong into battle. Ranged weapons would get a noticeable boost, but in generally I think that would match fantasy source material and historical combat a lot better than the current rules do.

--- I like your Advantage/Disadvantage stacking handling. I was always wondering how that would be handled. I figure it could also get out of hand, but it does make the most sense, and I like how it encourages trying to figure out how to move the situation in your favour. 
I'd want to swap Opportunity Attacks to be on moving into a threatened square rather than moving out of it. This makes running away easier, and increases survivability without having to inflate hit points.

 



Moving into the square means you'll pretty much always suffer an OA which may have a detriment to melee combats.  If you're going to suffer an attack every time you close...that's pretty significant.  You could, however, allow some sort of skill roll or a feat to protect yourself from it or the Fighter can use their parry ability, which makes a lot of sense.

Instead of having Disengage you could have Engage, which limits movement to 10 feet in the same fashion. This makes it impossible to attack someone who's fleeing without provoking the OA, while still being able to approach for combat. That also gives everyone an extra round to try to negotiate out of combat. Which would help with seeing intelligent enemies more as people than bundles of XP to be killed.

It'll limit the PCs as psychopaths trope if everyone moves into combat cautiously. Everyone has not wanting to get hurt as a commonality. It'll also make undead really different, and scary. They keep coming after you even if you're damaging them. They just don't care.  
No Attribute Bonuses To Hit-- I would love to try this out, along with No Attribute Bonus To Spell DC (just a straight up save). I don't know if I will, though, as D&D Next is built around the attributes and it might be a pain to remove. As it stands now though I can't see any character not trying to get a 20 in their primary stat as quickly as possible.
No Attribute Bonuses To Hit-- I would love to try this out, along with No Attribute Bonus To Spell DC (just a straight up save). I don't know if I will, though, as D&D Next is built around the attributes and it might be a pain to remove. As it stands now though I can't see any character not trying to get a 20 in their primary stat as quickly as possible.



Have you tried this yet?  D&D has always been about the bonus from the Stat, not the Stat itself.  It would take a human with a 17 stat (15 +2) until level 12 to get to a 20 stat which I don't think is all that bad.  Anyone else would take level 16.  What I liked in 4E was that being proficient in a weapon conferred a bonus to hit (as opposed to a penalty for non-proficiency), though that +2 or +3 lost out once all the bonuses were added in.  If D&D Next has bounded accuracy then maybe a system where your Stat applies to damage but your actual training in the weapon is what provides the to-hit bonus.

Hmmm I think I may give that a whirl actually.  Use the Proficiency Bonus from 4E for the weapon, do away with stat bonuses to hit.

Have you tried this yet?  D&D has always been about the bonus from the Stat, not the Stat itself.  It would take a human with a 17 stat (15 +2) until level 12 to get to a 20 stat which I don't think is all that bad.  Anyone else would take level 16.  What I liked in 4E was that being proficient in a weapon conferred a bonus to hit (as opposed to a penalty for non-proficiency), though that +2 or +3 lost out once all the bonuses were added in.  If D&D Next has bounded accuracy then maybe a system where your Stat applies to damage but your actual training in the weapon is what provides the to-hit bonus.

Hmmm I think I may give that a whirl actually.  Use the Proficiency Bonus from 4E for the weapon, do away with stat bonuses to hit.




I've tried it in 2e using the modern day ability modifiers, and it works really well in 2e. We wanted a unified chart, but inflated to hit modifiers would have wreaked havok on the 2e system. We originally tried modifier halved for the to hit, but found it still put more emphasis on having a high stat than we wanted. 2e was also pre-DC system, so having a high stat didn't affect the targetted saving throw number.

You are right that some sort of proficiency bonus is needed to compensate for the loss of attribute modifiers to hit. 

I would probably leave monster to hit as is, though, because it seems like too much work to mess with it.

House rules and modules can save this edition for me:



  • Advantage is +2.  Disadvantage is -2.  Everything stacks.

  • AC is based on class and level, rather than armor. 


    • Fighters gain +6, rogues/cleric gain +4, and wizards/monks gain +2. 


      • Everyone gets +1 at levels 6, 12, 18.


    • Shields are still +1 AC.

    • Armor gives bonus HP.


      • Light armor gives +1 HP per level.

      • Medium armor gives +1.5 HP per level.

      • Heavy armor gives +2 HP per level.



The metagame is not the game.




  • AC is based on class and level, rather than armor. 


    • Fighters gain +6, rogues/cleric gain +4, and wizards/monks gain +2. 


      • Everyone gets +1 at levels 6, 12, 18.


    • Shields are still +1 AC.

    • Armor gives bonus HP.


      • Light armor gives +1 HP per level.

      • Medium armor gives +1.5 HP per level.

      • Heavy armor gives +2 HP per level.






Armor as hit points sounds like an intriguing house rule. How and how often would the bonus hit points "reset"?

Armor as hit points sounds like an intriguing house rule. How and how often would the bonus hit points "reset"?

Personally, for ease of play, I would just treat them like any other HP (which works well enough, if you don't go through the minutiae of taking your armor off).

If I was a bit more comfortable with the damage math, I would use armor-HP to represent the fatigue aspect of damage, allowing those ones to re-set when you take a short rest.  I'm really not sure how meaningful that would be in the current damage scale, though.

The metagame is not the game.

House rules and modules can save this edition for me:



  • Advantage is +2.  Disadvantage is -2.  Everything stacks.

  • AC is based on class and level, rather than armor. 


    • Fighters gain +6, rogues/cleric gain +4, and wizards/monks gain +2. 


      • Everyone gets +1 at levels 6, 12, 18.


    • Shields are still +1 AC.

    • Armor gives bonus HP.


      • Light armor gives +1 HP per level.

      • Medium armor gives +1.5 HP per level.

      • Heavy armor gives +2 HP per level.






Instead of bonus HP have the different armors give DR or even flat out resistance (1/2 damage) for higher tiered armors.  HP on armor just seems hard to manage (but I suppose that's what play testing is for).   The actual "AC" could be replaced with a "Defense" rating (similar to what Song of Ice and Fire does).

Your Defense could be based on a Stat or 2 + a level bonus + a Class bonus.  Shields would add +1.  Lower armors would provide less DR but no Defense penalty where as heavier armors would lower the actual defense BUT provide significantly more DR.

Example (from Song of Ice and Fire) - Soft leather has a penalty of -1 but provides DR 2.  Hard leather is -2/DR 3.  Chain is -2/DR 5. Full Plate is -6/DR 10.

Obviously the numbers would need to be juggled to fit the DND paradigm but I see a lot of potential here.  Shields can increase Defense (as can the Parry ability), magical armor could offset the penalty or give a bonus or increase the DR.

I think I may have to write up something along these lines to test

Shields at +1AC seems to work perfectly

ETA - Preliminary overhaul of the armor system I'm going to test out.

1)  I need to find a way to figure out base Defense Rating.  I'm thinking of basing it off the average of two stats and level with a class modifier to the total (+4 for Fighters, +3 for Rogues, +2 for Clerics and +1 for Wizards).  I may base it off Dex and Intelligence to favor Rogues (who wear light armor) and Wizards (who wear none).  Fighers and Clerics may end up with lower Defense Ratings but make up for it with higher DR.

So if we go with an average 10 Dex, 11 Int 1st level Fighter he'd had a Defense of 15.  A Cleric with the same stats would have a 13.  A Rogue with 15 Dex would have a 16, a Wizard with 15 Int would have 13.

The armor provides a penalty and a DR.  So the Rogue in Leather would end up with Defense 14 DR2, the Wizard in Cloth would be Defense 13.  The Cleric with Chain and Shield would be Defense 11 DR 5 and the Fighter with Banded Mail and Shield would be Defense 12 and DR 8.

Light Armor
    Padded (0/1)
    Leather (-1/2)
    Dragon leather (-2/4) (Dragon adds 1 Penalty and 2 DR)
    Mithril shirt (-1/7) (Mithril adds 0 Penalty and 5 DR)
Medium Armor
    Hide (-3/4)
    Studded Leather (-2/3)
    Scale Mail (-3/6)
    Studded Dragon Leather (-3/5)
    Dragon Scale (-4/8)
    Mithril Scale (-3/11)
Heavy Armor
    Ring Mail (-2/4)
    Chain Mail (-3/5)
    Splint Mail (-3/7)
    Banded Mail (-4/8)
    Plate Mail (-5/9)
    Mithril Plate (-5/14)

Shield + 1 Defense




I really like armor as DR, conceptually, but there's no good way to make that jive with the zany random damage bonuses.  After all, DR 5 is almost worthless against a level 15 challenge, but now suddenly those level 1 imps who are supposed to stay relevant (under Bounded Accuracy) can no longer overwhelm you with superior numbers.

The metagame is not the game.

I really like armor as DR, conceptually, but there's no good way to make that jive with the zany random damage bonuses.  After all, DR 5 is almost worthless against a level 15 challenge, but now suddenly those level 1 imps who are supposed to stay relevant (under Bounded Accuracy) can no longer overwhelm you with superior numbers.



House ruling the armor/difficulty to hit means that you need to look at the damage as well.  The two are intrinsically tied and the problem with my proposed system is that if you let the DR get out of hand at lower levels then stuff isn't the treat it should be.  A fighter with Plate having DR 9 scoffs are most 1-4th level threats.

Obviously I need to look at both sides of the equation before adopting it, but I think it's definitely in the cards for our next play test.



Sign In to post comments