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Friday, February 20, 2015

Add Flavor to your D&D 5thed combat.

I was thinking last night about combat in D&D 5th edition and had a bit of  brain storm concerning adding  details to Fighter / warrior combat without involving more dice throwing.

Here is what I came up with more or less on the fly.
I'm spit-balling here, I have not tested any of this yet.

This will involve 2 steps.
Step 1:
Take each character and monster and divide their hit points by 5.
The resulting number should be jotted down as what I am going to call the Character's  "break" number.

If any single attack does equal to or more than the targets "break number" the attacker can cause a "break effect." on that target.

So if for example the  level 10 fighter has 100 hit points any singe attack that does 20 (hp / 5) or more damage will cause a break effect.

  • My thought was players could choose a break effect rather than a feat or attribute bonus when they achieve a level where they could take an attribute bonus. The player would choose weather o not to invoke the break effect when  enough damage is scored.
  • Monsters could have them randomly assigned or added to the monster combat description.
  • Some magic items might be triggered by scoring a break effect.
  • Some spells could have these effects tacked on by a caster, perhaps by spending a higher spell slot. Ala D&D 2nd editions meta magical effects.
  • This could be a nice way to  dress up monk physical attacks?
  • I had some of the  fancier types of pole-arms in my  head when I wrote these. I think this system is a good way to simulate some of the tripping and guard break techniques of pole arm fighting, without getting too crunchy.
    Note 2:
I will list some possible break effects below (avoiding die rolls where I can.)
Some of these effects will have mechanical values such as granting advantage or disadvantage, others will have only descriptive value. (These description only effects are marked with a D.)
In the course of a combat, a descriptive value can become  a mechanical boon  if creatively used by the group. "Sent reeling" is a nice chance for the DM to describe a victim flailing backwards from the  force of a blow. The same result  becomes even more interesting if the target is standing next to a flaming building, a pit, or some magical webs.

Crowd sourcing even more of "Break effects" would be fantastic, so if you are reading this and have ideas leave them in the comments section.

(For these descriptions "Attacker" is always the  person doing the  damage, "Target" is always the  person taking the effect.)

  1. Guard break: The attack forces the target's guard away, putting them at disadvantage on any attack rolls next round.
    Note 1:
  2. Trip: The attack is telling, the  target is now off balance, if the target fails their next combat roll they will topple over.
  3. Rend (D.): The attack causes a nasty wound, let the attacker describe it.
  4. Deep wound: The attack goes deep and the target will bleed severely for 3 rounds loosing 1d4 Hp per round
  5. Bash: This is a resounding blow any other friendly  who attacks this  target this round will have advantage.
  6. Disarm: If applicable, the  target drops or fumbles their weapon.
  7. Stagger (D.): The target is sent reeling away form the  attacker.
  8. Alarming  blow: The  target is forced to make a morale check.
  9. Crippling attack: The  target will not gain any strength bonuses on next round, if they don't have strength bonuses they  will be at a disadvantage for the next round.
  10. Feint: The  attacker off balances the  target in such a way that it sets up the next attack. The target looses it's dexterity bonus to armor for the next round versus attacks from the same opponent.
  11. Sunder: The attacker knocks aside the targets guard then strikes true, doing additional damage equal to the attackers proficiency bonus.
  12. Daze: The target looses any  any  non-magical wisdom bonuses for passive perception or saves for the next round. 
  13. Flurry (D.): This  chunk of damage was not done by one blow but a rain of fast strikes meant to overwhelm the  opponent.
  14. Stick and move: The attack lands in such away that the attacker has time to change position before the target gets to act.
  15. Crumple (D.): The attack hits the target in the  chest and  crumples them to their knees (if appropriate.) This only applies to  humanoid creatures of the  same size category as the attacker.
  16. Cracked (D.): If the target has a shield it is torn from their grip.

  17. Stumble:  The target is so overwhelmed by the ferocity of this attack that they can't stumble and have to  gather themselves. The target is  dropped to  the  end of the  initiative order next turn.
  18. Advantageous Position: The attacker uses this  powerful blow to position them selves for the next attack they  jump to the front of the initiative order next round.
  19. Flair (D.): The attacker strikes with a flourish and great flair (attacker describes.)
  20. Weakening:  This attack stuns the target to it's core, for the next round the  target may not use any non magical bonuses from strength or constitution.
Those are the first 20 I thought of. If you think of any please leave them in the comments section below.
My only guidelines would be:
Try not to add another die roll to the combat.
Try to make the effects last a maximum of  1 (the current or the next) combat round, so the players and  Gm's don't have rounds upon rounds of new effects to track.

As always thank you for  reading.