D&D – Lost Mine of Phandelver Interim: House Rules

Tonight has seen another chapter written in the book of heroic deeds, as our motley crew of heroes have vanquished the evil Cragmaw goblin bandits and their villainous leader, Klarg. A full write up of tonight’s event is in the process, but in the meantime I thought I’d go over the house rules that I’m implementing for the group as we go through the adventure.

Critical Hits

Critical hits do maximum damage, instead of granting double dice for rolling damage. Simpler and quicker when playing, and guarantees a shit-ton of damage. One of my preferred rules from 4th edition.

Team Initiative

This is a rule I’ve lifted from Fantasy Flight’s Edge of the Empire game, and helps get around the fact that there’s no “Delay” action in 5e. When there’s a combat and the PC’s determine initiative, their rolls determine their “initiative slots”. Any one of the PCs can use one of their available initiative slots during a round.

Example: In tonight’s game, Darryl (Loki, the rogue) got a 22 for initiative, Joe (Bosun Arrers) got 14, and Trev (Grimdark) got 4, while the goblins they’re fighting get 10. We go in initiative order as normal, but Joe, Darryl or Trev could act on 22, even though Darryl was the one to get that result. Trev goes first to do some urgent healing, then Darryl takes his turn on count 14. The goblins act, and then finally Joe acts on count 5. On the next round, Joe then chooses to act first on count 22.

I really like the mechanic from EotE, as it makes combat more, leads to less instances where players are sitting around waiting for their turn, and allows the players to concoct some cool strategies.

Inspiration = 10 point swing

Inspiration is an awesome mechanic from 5th edition, and encourages players to come up with cool ideas and roleplay their characters. However the inspiration mechanic is a little lacklustre; you can expend inspiration to get advantage on a check. Meh. I feel that it should be a bit more swingy that than. So… Inspiration can be spent before the PC makes an attack roll, saving throw or skill check, or before an enemy makes an attack roll against them; doing so means that the PC gets a +10 bonus to his attack/save/skill check, or that the attacking enemy has a -10 penalty to their attack roll. Potentially overpowered? Well, it still doesn’t guarantee success (or failure on the enemy’s part), but it’s obviously a huge swing. However if it allows players to do awesome, memorable things or survive against overwhelming odds, and encourages them to work towards earning inspiration again, then I don’t really have no problem with it.

Outnumbering

Very simple one. If a creature has more enemies adjacent to it than it has allies (the classic example being a fighter flanked by two goblins), then that creature is Outnumbered. Melee attacks against an Outnumbered creature have advantage. Actual positioning of the outnumbering creatures doesn’t matter; the important thing is that the outnumbered creature is having to divide their attention between two (or more) attackers. Creatures that are dazed, restrained, or otherwise suffering some kind of condition that means they’re disadvantaged on attack rolls don’t count towards Outnumbering.

Hit Dice Rerolls

When rolling to recover HP after a short rest after expending Hit Dice, a player can reroll 1s, because that shit sucks. Healing from other sources (such as a cure wounds spell or a healing potion) doesn’t benefit from this. Also, players can reroll 1s when their character levels up and they increase their max HP. If the reroll is also a 1… well, I helped you as much as I could.

Fairly simple changes, but effective. Outnumbering has already played a very big part in combat tactics, and the team initiative led to some very cool plays tonight. Like I said, more story time coming up soon!

Spoiler; they set fire to stuff again.

Meriadoc-Brandybuck-meriadoc-brandybuck-11947180-960-406
Some halflings just want to watch the world burn.

Gareth

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