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World of Shantar D&D 5e House Rules

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Combat

Goblins charge you from the underbrush with sharpened blades. You face the large giant who has been threatening local villages, having exhausted negotiations you nock an arrow in your bow. One misstep in the dragons lair and the great beast awakes in a fury of piercing teeth and claws. Combat is an important aspect of gaming, and the difference between life and death for your character can sometimes depend upon these rules.

Features

These features are designed to supplement what exists in the Players Handbook.

Criticals and Fumbles

A Critical Attack does everything you would want from the Players Handbook and follows the basic rules desribed there.

In addition, you may confirm a critical hit by rolling a second "confirmation" attack and hitting your target. If the second roll also hits, then you "confirm" your critical hit. A confirmed critical can have some combat adjustments. You can possibly force your target back a square, or impose a temporary condition. Confirmed criticals have additional effects only about 1/2 the time and is determined by the DM.

Fumble. Occurs on a natural roll of a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or skill check. For combat, roll a random combat fumble effect from the fumble effect chart. Fumbles are most often situational effects. You stumble back, something in your eye, etc. For a skill check or saving throw, re-roll with the same DC. On a success, the attempt was just a failure. On a failure with the second roll, the skill test was fumbled.

Saving Throw Fumble. A natural roll of a 1 on a Saving Throw means the effect may critical against you. The player should make another saving throw against the same DC. A failure on the second roll means that the spell or environmental effect criticals you. The duration may be longer, or the damage may increase as if the attack was a critical success.

Fumble. Occurs on a natural roll of a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or skill check. For combat, roll a random combat fumble effect from the fumble effect chart. Fumbles are most often situational effects. You stumble back, something in your eye, etc. For a skill check or saving throw, re-roll with the same DC. On a success, the attempt was just a failure. On a failure with the second roll, the skill test was fumbled.

Saving Throw Fumble. A natural roll of a 1 on a Saving Throw means the effect may critical against you. The player should make another saving throw against the same DC. A failure on the second roll means that the spell or environmental effect criticals you. The duration may be longer, or the damage may increase as if the attack was a critical success.

The Combat Round and Initiative

TESTING!!!

Initiative and the combat round is a bit different. Each round players will announce their actions and roll initiative based on the type of action they take. After initiative is rolled, each combatant will act in initiative order starting from the lowest to the highest initiative.

Strategic discussion. Combatants can use a few seconds to discuss strategy. Note that all discussion happens in the game as well. In some cases that would involve shouting or betraying a strategy to your opponents. This phase should take no more than 10-20 seconds.

Declaring actions. Each combatant will announce their actions based on their Insight Skill modifier. If a combatant has the Alert feat, add +5 to the modifier for determining order. The lowest modifier will announce their action first, and then proceed until all the players have announced their intent. In this way, the player who is most alert or has the best insight will notice what other combatants are doing.

You should try to be as specific as possible. "Move and attack with my great axe", "Sheath my sword, draw my longbow, and attack" or "Cast the spell Fireball". Movement does not effect initiative, but the weapon or spell type does. In some cases the initiative of the weapon changes based on whether you are moving or not.

Roll Initiative. Each combatant (or group of combatants) will roll initiative based on their action. You will roll a d10 and the appropriate additional dice as follows:

  • +d10 = Cast a spell (level 1+), dragon breath and other spell-like abilities.
  • +d6 = Cast a spell (cantrip), attack with a pole arm or reach weapon with movement, or other actions not described here.
  • All other weapon attacks - roll the base damage dice of the weapon and add that to your initiative.
  • Add an additional +d6 - Swapping gear or other movement-based actions outside of movement itself.
The Ready and Dodge actions go automatically on initiative 1. There are no additional modifiers to initiative for bonus actions or movement.

Surprise. If you are surprised, add +10 to your roll. You may not use the Ready action, Dodge action, or Reaction action in the round you are surprised in.

Bonuses and penalties to initiative. If you have a bonus or penalty to initiative, you can reduce or increase any of your dice one step for each bonus or penalty appropriately. If you have an feature that grants advantage on initiative rolls, you can roll one of your initiative dice and take the better option. For example, if your initiative would be d10 + d8 and you gain a bonus on initiative, you could make the d8 a d6 and roll d10 + d6 instead.

Initial modifiers for Dexterity bonus and the Alert feat. Dexterity modifiers and the Alert feat only modify initiative in the first round of combat for a combatant. If your Dexterity modifier is +2 or better, reduce one of your initiative dice by a step. If your Dexterity modifier is +4 or +5 reduce a die by 2 steps. If you have the Alert feat, reduce one of your initiative dice by 2 steps.

Refocus. If you can not decide on the specifics of an action or you need to alter your action, add +10 to your initiative and state your new intent on your turn. If you choose to refocus, you may not choose to cast any spell unless it is a cantrip.

Delay. If you want to delay when it is your initiative, you just need to say "delay". You can jump in and perform your action immediately after the turn completes of the creature whose initiative it is. Once the last combatant has acted and you have not declared your intent to take your action, you will automatically carry over your initiative into the start of the next round going at initiative 0. You may end this effect in the "Declare an action" phase of initiative.

Durations. Any effect that normally lasts until the end of a turn instead lasts until the end of a round. Any effect that normally lasts until the start of a turn now lasts until the start of the round during which the turn takes place. If you need to roll for an effect to end at the end of your turn, you now do it at the end of the round. Same for effects that you need to roll at the beginning of your turn; you will roll for them at the beginning of the round.

Legendary Actions and Reactions. Each creature has 1 reaction that they can use each round. Legendary actions similarly can occur as normal over the round. These can happen before or after the creatures initiative.

Acting in initiative It may be that groups of combatants will act at the same time. For example, if a group of orcs moves on initiative 6, the DM may ask all players below initiative 6 to move together and then resolve their actions at the same time. The orcs may then all move together and act at the same time. This can dramatically expedite combat. Remember that the timing from one initiative to the next in a combat round in almost negligible.

Movement

Tactical Movement

Flanking. Using the variant rule in the DMs Guide, determine whether your target is being flanked.

If a target is considered flanked, all attacks against that creature have Advantage, not just the creatures who count as flanking the target. A target can just not properly defend themselves.

Facing. Normally facing will not matter. However, facing can matter if you have special abilities that require surprise and advantage. If your approach to an opponent is clearly in the direction of a flanking space, you are outside the primary visual arc or in the periphery visual arc of a target. They are considered to be faced away from you and you have advantage on Stealth (Dex) rolls for surprise and concealment.

Spellcasting

Concentration and spells

Concentration. Each creature has a "Focus Slot" for maintaining a spell that requires concentration. When a caster activates a spell that requires concentration, the caster can choose to transfer control the spell to the Focus Slots of all of the targets or creatures affected by the spell, or the caster can use their own Focus Slot for the active spell. The creature assumes full control and concentration of the active spell in their own focus slot. Concentrating on the spell in the Focus Slot does not count against the limit of 1 concentration spell for a creature, and the spell will not be lost if the creature casts another spell requiring concentration.

Only one spell can be in a creatures focus slot at a time. A creature may only place an active spell in their Focus Slot if the spell specifies that the target is "a willing creature" or that it does not require a saving throw from the affected creature. No active spells from the school of evocation or necromancy, nor any spell that has the term "smite" in its title can be placed in your Focus Slot.

Sanity and Madness

Fear or Horror

In certain situations your character may see thinks so vile, or be so overwhelmed by the futility of their predicament that the rules for Fear or Horror come into play. If circumstances call for it (perhaps you’re faced with overwhelming odds, or a foe you know you can’t beat) then the DM could call for Wisdom saving throw: fail it and you gain the Frightened condition. Horror calls for a Charisma saving throw. Fail that and you could gain a Madness (q.v.). I like the rules for Fear and Horror. They are not intrusive, and only need to be wheeled out in specific circumstances.

Madness

There are different levels of madness that manifest when you experience fear or horror. Most fear will pass quickly. Horror tends to stay around and accumulate with Madness. When you suffer Madness, you gain 1 or more points of in a Madness score. Whenever you gain Madness and the total exceeds your Charisma bonus, you gain a madness condition. Perhaps an obsession, an irrational fear, or maybe something worse. Some Madness will dissipate over time. A Greater Restoration can cure Madness.

Actions

Grab and Grapple

The most notable change is to the Grapple rules in the Players Handbook. Grapple is replaced by the Grab and Grapple rules here.

For all Grab and Grapple attack rolls, you use the following Grapple Attack.

Grapple Attack
Strength (Athletics) Skill check vs.
Opponents Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use)
+1 for every opposing creature Grabbing you

If a creature has more than one melee attack, any Grapple Attack replaces one of their melee attacks.

Grabbed Condition - Weapon attacks, spell attacks, and Dexterity Saving Throws are at disadvantage. Movement is restricted to the threatened area of a grabbed opponents, and you may not move further away from any target grabbing you or that you are grabbing. You may use Grapple attack actions while in a Grabbed condition against opponents you are grabbing or who are grabbing you.

Grab

You latch on to your opponent. You might wrestle or hold them as a human, constrict them as a serpent, or entangle them as a plant. To Grab an opponent, you must succeed in a Grapple Attack. Initiating a Grab provokes an Attack of Opportunity.

  • The person who initiates a Grab can release the Grab whenever they wish. Your opponent must succeed with a Escape Grapple Attack to break free.
  • You may only Grab one opponent. Multiple opponents can Grab you, however.
  • Grabbing an opponent does not alter your or your opponents position.
  • On a successful grab, both the attacker and the grabbed target are have the Grabbed condition.

Grapple

You grabbed your opponent or your opponent has grabbed you. You constantly seek for a weakness or vulnerability. Can you disarm, move, hurt, or throw them to the ground? Inside a Grab, you can grapple, a deadly test of combat.

In order to Grapple you must have a Grab with your opponent, meaning either you grabbed them or they grabbed you.

With a successful Grapple Attack, you can perform any one of the following:

  • Damage.You damage your opponent with your natural attack or a light weapon used by you or your opponent. A critical Grapple roll applies counts as a critical hit with your chosen weapon used for this action.
  • Disarm.You may disarm a weapon they are carrying. It falls within 1 square of you or your opponent, randomly determined.
  • Retrieve.You recover one item from the ground in the square you occupy, or you may draw an item and ready it for attack.
  • Choke.If you succeed in chokes for two or more rounds, your opponent must make a Constitution Saving Throw DC 12 each successful Choke thereafter or fall Unconscious. If you successfully Choke an Unconscious but not Dying opponent, their HP becomes 0 and they are now Dying.
  • Move both.You may move you and your opponent up to half your base movement. If you are 2 or more sizes larger, you may use your full base movement.
  • Move opponent.You may move your opponent up to 2 squares. If you are 2 or more sizes larger, you may move your opponent however many squares you wish. Movement must remain within your threatened area.
  • Knock Opponent Prone.You may throw your opponent to the ground prone.
  • Stand Up.You may stand up from the prone position.
  • Pin.You may pin an opponent who is prone or standing against a wall. An opponent who is Pinned must use an Escape action to escape the Pin. A Pinned opponents base movement speed is reduced to 0.
  • Escape.You may attempt to escape all Grabs on you, or stand up from prone. If you are pinned, you can use the Escape action to end the pinned condition but you are still grappled.

Coup de Grace

If an opponent is Helpless you may make a Coup de Grace attack. Your opponent is reduced to 0 hit points.