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World of Shantar D&D 5e House Rules

Version 2.0.1


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.


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.

Critical or Fumble. Roll 2d10 and sum the two together. Any result of 6 - 14 is a normal critical hit or natural roll of a 1 as defined by the core game rules. Otherwise consult the Critical and Fumble Tables.

Critical hits You may enhance a critical hit by making the Critical or Fumble check above. A sum of 5 or less, or a sum of 15 or more, determines what additional effects may occur. A confirmed critical can have some combat adjustments and even inflict wounds that take longer to heal. You may force your target back a square, or impose a temporary condition. Confirmed criticals have additional effects only about 1/4 the time and can be determined by the DM or player.

Saving Throw Fumble. A natural roll of a 1 on a Saving Throw means the effect may be a critical against you. Use the Critical or Fumble check above and reference the Fumbles (Saving Throw) chart.

Melee or Spell Attack Fumble. A natural roll of a 1 on an attack roll may be a fumble. The DM will determine the effect, if any. 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. . Use the Critical or Fumble check above and reference the Fumbles (Attacks) chart.

Ability Check Fumble. A natural roll of a 1 on a ability check may be a fumble. Unless specified in the fumble, you can still roll a natural one and succeed in the skill check. Use the Critical or Fumble check above and reference the Fumbles (Saving Throw) chart.

The Combat Round and Initiative.

Strategic discussion. Combatants can use a few seconds to discuss strategy. Note that all discussion happens in the game as well. 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".

Unconsciousness If you regain consciousness and have missed at least 2 turns due to being unconscious, you may take a single action at the end of the round you regain consciousness. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, Cast a Spell (Cantrip) or Use an Object action.


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.

Tougher Resurrection

For Revivify, Raise Dead, Reincarnate, and Resurrection, a Resurrection check must be made or the soul is lost forever. The DC of the check is 10 + 1 per time previously restored from the dead (representing erosion of the soul to this plane). Up to 3 companions (those who know the deceased well) may attempt to assist during the resurrection attempt by making a Contribution Check to help the spirit return. The DC and skill varies by what the player attempts, and you cannot duplicate another’s effort. Revivify has a casting time of 1 action, and as such allies can not assist with a Contribution Check. The DM rolls the final result d20. For Revivify only, the caster rolls the d20 and adds their spell casting ability modifier. No matter the result, future resurrection checks are increased by 1.

For example, a character skilled in Religion may beseech the spirits to release the soul (an easy to medium check), and another may attempt to Intimidate the aether (perhaps a difficult to near-impossible task). Each success reduces the Resurrection check by 3, but each failure raises it by 1.

A True Resurrection or Wish bypasses this check and can restore lost souls.

If your form is changed as a result of death (being raised as undead), your soul is trapped in the abyss. Restoring life to a being who is trapped will restore a fell spirit into the form.

Credit Critical Role homebrew.

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.


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.


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)
Disadvantage on the attempt if there is more than one opponent.

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.


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.

  • 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.


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.

OVERRUN (From DMs Guide)

When a creature tries to move through a hostile creature's space, the mover can try to force its way through by overrunning the hostile creature.as an action or bonus action, the Mover makes a strength (athletics) check contested by the hostile creatures strength (athletics) check. The mover has advantage if it is larger than the hostile creature, or disadvantage if it is smaller. If the mover wins the contest it can move through the hostile creatures space once this turn.

SHOVE ASIDE (From DMs Guide)

With this option, a creature uses the special shove attack from the PHB to force a target to the side, instead of away. The attacker has disadvantage on the strength (athletics) check when it does so. If the check succeeds, the attacker moves the target 5 feet to a different space within reach.

TUMBLE (From DMs Guide)

A creature can try to tumble through a hostile creatures space, ducking and weaving past the opponent. As an action or bonus action, the tumbler makes an Acrobatics check contested by the hostile creatures acrobatics check. If the tumbler wins it can move through the hostile creatures space once this turn.