Narrative Initiative(homebrew- I'm sure it's been in some system)
•Characters jump in with their actions as they want to perform them
•If two actions are attempted at the same time the higher DEX modifier wins (opposed rolls in the case of a tie)
•Once everyone has acted (including monsters) actions begin again.
(copied mostly from dungeon world)Whenever an action fails (the aggressor misses, or the defender succeeds on a saving throw for many spells) luck has been bad to the aggressor. The defender describes an event that happens (perhaps unrelated, but regardless bad for the aggressor's allies) This commonly comes in the form of 1d6 damage, but any number of other things can happen. (getting knocked prone, disadvantage next turn, pushed out of the way, weapon knocked out of your hand...)
(taken from what I've heard of 13th age)•When an attack successfully damages a "minion/mook" creature (less than 10 hit points), the extra damage is dealt to an adjacent creature...and so on. Thus if you're surrounded by 30 rats and deal 10 damage, you kill 10 rats instead of just 1.
•Also these creatures are affected by status effects on a per-round basis. So if one is slowed, one is slowed. Not a specific one the DM tracks, just one of them.
(adopted from Shadows of Esteren)The shortened idea here is that you choose one strong and one weak:
Combatativeness, Creativity, Empathy, Reason, Conviction.
Then choose a quality (something good) associated with one of your choices and a flaw (something bad) for the other.
In example, if you choose to have high combatativeness this can be describe your quality, such as fearless, or your flaw, such as reckless. Alternatively a low Empathy can be a quality, to be in control of your emotiions, or a flaw, to be crass.
I use this instead of alignment.
---------DNDNext Specifiic Houserules------------
Let players take backgrounds as normal, just ignore the skills listed. Whenever a player performs any action, if they can relate it to their background (requires consensus/DM approval) They have a minimum total (die+modifier) result of 8 on these rolls. (thus they cannot critically fail any roll if they have experience from their background, nor fail any standard DC roll if they have experience from their background) They should gain a new trait every few levels.
Rogue Skill Mastery alternative-still working on this- (they have 2 backgrounds and 2 traits which already seems awesome enough to me)
Ability Score Focus (AC & Attack Rolls)(A discussion with Mand brought this up. The actual mechanics were his idea)
Instead of having multiple bonuses bringing up values, I strive to have players only utilize a single value they add to their rolls: the abiliity modifiers. In order to do that, skills have to be adjusted and attack rolls as well. So drop all the "attack roll" bonuses from classes, and lower everyone's AC by 2.
If you want to further boost wizards and fighters (since they have +3, although I don't think this is necessary) give their damage dice brutal:1. This prevents their numbers from getting higher than their normal maximums, while still making them better.
5 Minute Workday (Incentive against)I recommend rewarding the players (as a whole) with a consumable (one use) magic-ish item for pressing on.
An easy example of this is to have the kobolds that have glue pots- leave one on their corpses if the fight was not the first for the day. It sort of refreshes something about them, and also lets them try out new (or at least unusual) powers.
I'm still looking to cobble together some good Theatre of the Mind aids, since it has far passed my expectations and is my prefered mode of play now.