Adjudicating Unusual Actions

Yaarel

Adventurer
Pocket Sand!

DC 5 + Dexterity versus Dexterity save.

Because the reflex of the eyelids is almost instantaneous, the DC is very low.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
That's just the help action, which already does more than that as you don't even have to hit. Sure looks like temporary blindness to me, which would last more than just their next attack.
Help action allows you to give advantage to an ally's ability check or attack roll. It does not allow you to impart disadvantage on an opponent's attack.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I have no problem with players trying to do something out of the ordinary, but I do try to ground things in a semblance of reality. In the Mummy example, I'd have it be a ranged improvised weapon shove attack (i.e. Str, no modifier without Tavern Brawler). In the Matrix example (and it is the matrix), it would be a Wisdom/Insight check to understand the underlying unreality of the matrix. In the King of the Hill example, Improvised Ranged Attack (0 ft/ 5 ft) and if it hits the target must make a Dexterity Save DC: 11 or be blinded for 1 minute, but may repeat the save as an action and at the end of each of their turns to end the effect.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Pocket sand? Improvised ranged weapon attack contested by the target’s Dex save, range 5/15. On a hit, the target is blinded until they use an action to end the condition.
 

aco175

Adventurer
The chair move would never come up in my game since the PCs do not go around without weapons, they would simply throw a hand-ax or javelin at him. The action economy also would allow for one of the PCs to move before him and block the door. It is simply the way the action turns move in the game over a movie.

Things do come up in the game that require a ruling on the spot. I guess I tend to favor the PCs side when they try to do something cool. This allows them to keep trying things and not just default to swinging. This sounds like I'm contradicting the first paragraph, but I am mostly just giving an example.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Pocket Sand!

DC 5 + Dexterity versus Dexterity save.

Because the reflex of the eyelids is almost instantaneous, the DC is very low.
Except the eyes are extremely sensitive to foreign objects. It only takes one grain of sand to provoke a physiological reaction :)
But, it's not like any "ruling" is wrong :)
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Except the eyes are extremely sensitive to foreign objects. It only takes one grain of sand to provoke a physiological reaction :)
But, it's not like any "ruling" is wrong :)
The only possible way it could work is if the target literally didnt see it coming. In the Pocket Sand video, the movement of the attackers hand itself would likely cause the defensive blink reflex.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
The only possible way it could work is if the target literally didnt see it coming. In the Pocket Sand video, the movement of the attackers hand itself would likely cause the defensive blink reflex.
I guess you've never had sand thrown in your face? I have, not so easy as you think to make it ineffective.
 
Improvised ranged touch attack. Provokes reflex save in target, on failure, blinded for one round and dazzled for 1d4 rounds. On success, dazzled for 1 round only. Some systems may have an explicitly built in 'Dirty Fighting' system, in which case this isn't even necessarily something you need to improvise - especially as, if is likely, the character has some sort of 'Improved Dirty Fighting' feat.
This seemed overgenerous until I realised you had to succeed at a ranged touch attack and they had to fail a save to get much of an effect, so it's actually pretty good. Unreliable enough that players won't obsess over it either.
 

Celebrim

Legend
This seemed overgenerous until I realised you had to succeed at a ranged touch attack and they had to fail a save to get much of an effect, so it's actually pretty good. Unreliable enough that players won't obsess over it either.
Yes. I'd also give a decent circumstance bonus to the target if they were subject to the same dirty trick repeatedly to discourage using this sort of thing uncreatively. Also, this is subject to the 'must have a free hand' issue, so the player is forgoing a shield, a second weapon, the use of a light source or whatever he could be doing with that second hand. And, further, if the player does this with the off-hand, then it's not only an off-hand attack and subject to all the penalties thereof, but it's now two-handed fighting penalties on the primary weapon.

In short, it might be something a player does creatively and with a particular purpose, but I wouldn't expect it to become the thing to do all the time despite me saying "Yes." to the request.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
New scenario to adjudicate:

Player wants to have the character tie a rope onto a ballista bolt, tie the other end to himself, lodge the bolt in a Huge flying dragon, and get pulled along with it in hopes of climbing up the rope to get either closer to or on top of the dragon at some point.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes. I'd also give a decent circumstance bonus to the target if they were subject to the same dirty trick repeatedly to discourage using this sort of thing uncreatively. Also, this is subject to the 'must have a free hand' issue, so the player is forgoing a shield, a second weapon, the use of a light source or whatever he could be doing with that second hand. And, further, if the player does this with the off-hand, then it's not only an off-hand attack and subject to all the penalties thereof, but it's now two-handed fighting penalties on the primary weapon.

In short, it might be something a player does creatively and with a particular purpose, but I wouldn't expect it to become the thing to do all the time despite me saying "Yes." to the request.
I think there's a big difference between trying to knock somebody prone from a distance (a circumstance that is very rare, not horribly useful) and doing something to blind someone for a round which could be incredibly useful.

If someone can just pull out a handful of sand and blind someone, why wouldn't they use it? Why don't the bad guys use it? Can a rogue do it as a bonus action? Does it replace an attack?

If you can figure that stuff out, great. I'd just be a bit hesitant because I try to make consistent, logical rulings. I just can't think of a good way of doing that without it being a go-to trick.

There's nothing wrong with unusual actions, I just want them to be more situational, not something that would make sense on a regular basis.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Player wants to have the character tie a rope onto a ballista bolt, tie the other end to himself, lodge the bolt in a Huge flying dragon, and get pulled along with it in hopes of climbing up the rope to get either closer to or on top of the dragon at some point.
Oh dear. "I have a cunning plan."

This is one where there are so many stages of failure that almost certainly I'd be effectively saying, "No." in any system except Toon - where conversely it would definitely fail foward in some catastrophic fashion.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Oh dear. "I have a cunning plan."

This is one where there are so many stages of failure that almost certainly I'd be effectively saying, "No." in any system except Toon - where conversely it would definitely fail foward in some catastrophic fashion.
There's nothing wrong with a gonzo campaign, they can be fun. I want my campaign a little more based in reality.

Now if a Tabaxi wants to launch themselves that's an exception to the rule. Because then it would simply be a catapult.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
New scenario to adjudicate:

Player wants to have the character tie a rope onto a ballista bolt, tie the other end to himself, lodge the bolt in a Huge flying dragon, and get pulled along with it in hopes of climbing up the rope to get either closer to or on top of the dragon at some point.
Roll to hit? Athletics checks with disadvantage maybe?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Opponent reduced to 0 hit points, and is unconscious (or stunned).
Nah, he's knocked prone- if you watch carefully Benny is still moving after he's hit. If I recall the scene, Fraser's character then picks Benny up and questions him.

So, ranged shove, with an improvised weapon.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I think there's a big difference between trying to knock somebody prone from a distance (a circumstance that is very rare, not horribly useful) and doing something to blind someone for a round which could be incredibly useful.
I suppose. Ranged trip attacks would be incredibly useful. So much so I'm surprised bolo's aren't more of a thing.

If someone can just pull out a handful of sand and blind someone, why wouldn't they use it?
Historically speaking, there are at least some attempts to weaponize dust as a tool for distracting and debilitating opponents. And certainly from the perspective of genera emulating where we are going for verisimilitude and not realism, "sand in the eyes" is a common trope that you can expect players to want to duplicate in play.

Why don't the bad guys use it?
Certainly in the movies they do it all the time, although at times you'll see the good guys do it as well - I'm pretty sure I've seen Kirk do it in an episode of Star Trek. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't have a bad guy whose shtick is "dirty fighter".

Can a rogue do it as a bonus action?
No.

Does it replace an attack?
Yes.

If you can figure that stuff out, great. I'd just be a bit hesitant because I try to make consistent, logical rulings. I just can't think of a good way of doing that without it being a go-to trick.

There's nothing wrong with unusual actions, I just want them to be more situational, not something that would make sense on a regular basis.
You should read my link on resolving stunts included in an earlier post. While the discussion is centered on my house rules (it's part of the text that is intended to become my version of the DMG), the sort of worries you have here are expressedly covered.

I'm most familiar with 3.Xe and its variants (like Pathfinder). I'm completely comfortable generating rulings that manage to say "Yes" without making them go-to tricks in those systems, and if I had any 5e system mastery I'm sure I could come up with comparable rulings in that system.

In this case, the real get out of jail clause for me is that I can set the DC of that reflex save to whatever I feel is reasonable in the circumstance. And as I said, I'd use a circumstance bonus to adjust down the chance of success if this was tried repeatedly. While this sort of tactic is great for PC vs. mook, I'm completely OK with the PC's dominating mooks like protagonists in movies. It would not be terribly effective for PC versus truly threatening bad guys or peer level foes, who would simply just be likely to make their saving throw. But at worst, it isn't any worse to make a ruling like this than having a PC throwing minor debuffing spells at a target. I mean, this is much less threatening to derail the game as not rewriting the 3.5e 'Glitterdust' spell and if you are still using that spell RAW, you really can have no complaints against my house rules here which are less broken than the RAW.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
New scenario to adjudicate:

Player wants to have the character tie a rope onto a ballista bolt, tie the other end to himself, lodge the bolt in a Huge flying dragon, and get pulled along with it in hopes of climbing up the rope to get either closer to or on top of the dragon at some point.
Hm. The trailing rope is heavy, and will severely limit the range of the bolt, and will also likely skew its flight - call that disadvantage on the shot.

Just for the fun of it, if the bolt rolls above average on its damage, it sticks in.

You want to climb that rope, sure, but the DC is not gong to be easy.

And, quite honestly, the dragon is unlikely to just ignore that there's a bolt stuck in it, tugging erratically on it's wounded flesh - that's gotta hurt. It will likely turrn around (with that long, graceful neck) give the climbing character a face full of dragonfire, and then pluck out the bolt in mid-flight, 'cause it isn't bog-stupid.
 

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