Best Rules Add-Ons

Retreater

Adventurer
I'm DMing a group of "newish" players to 5E. I started our game with the bare minimum detail, but gradually added a battle grid. Over the months, they've been talking about flanking, re-positioning attacks, etc., but we haven't added them yet.

What rules modules have you had success adding? Maybe I can introduce them to my players to see how much tactics they'd like to add?
 

Mort

Community Supporter
I'm DMing a group of "newish" players to 5E. I started our game with the bare minimum detail, but gradually added a battle grid. Over the months, they've been talking about flanking, re-positioning attacks, etc., but we haven't added them yet.

What rules modules have you had success adding? Maybe I can introduce them to my players to see how much tactics they'd like to add?
My group added flanking, but quickly dropped it. Advantage (already not hard to come by) just became trivial.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I'm DMing a group of "newish" players to 5E. I started our game with the bare minimum detail, but gradually added a battle grid. Over the months, they've been talking about flanking, re-positioning attacks, etc., but we haven't added them yet.

What rules modules have you had success adding? Maybe I can introduce them to my players to see how much tactics they'd like to add?
Feats and multiclassing were easy adds, and with feats you can add the variant human. I personally like the variant which allows using different ability scores with skills for specific uses.

Two we tried and did not like. Flanking trivialized Advantage, for both sides. It really was no good. Also we tried the Spell Points instead of Spell Slots option, and at higher levels it led to casting a lot more high level spells (better nova & better action economy) and then running out and pushing for 15 minute adventuring days.

Oh, and if as a DM you find that fitting in a good number of encounters every day so that the casters and the weapon wielders are on similar playing fields is a problem, try the variant from the DMG that makes short rests overnight and long rests take a week.
 
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aco175

Explorer
We use flanking in my group and it is not a problem. We do not use feats though so that takes away from the powers like great weapon fighting and sharpshooter. People get hit more, but we do less damage per hit.

I also give another magic item attunement at level 8 and 15 if we played that high.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Was I dreaming or was there an option, perhaps in a UA, where they did away with saving throws in favor of 4e-style defenses? I would love to try that out. I'm so sick of making saving throws as DM. I'd like to reduce my number of rolls if possible.
 

Slit518

Explorer
In D&D 2e I made a Limit Break system (for those of you familiar with Final Fantasy).

Basically, the way it worked was your character needed to take max HD damage to get their Limit Break.
Ex: level 10 Barb would need to take 120 HP worth of damage to get one.

Each class had a unique Limit Break.

Fighter would get an auto-crit (and more depending on level).
Barbarian would attack until they miss (and have a bonus to attack rolls while using the Limit Break).
Thief would get an instant backstab with higher damage multiplier.
Monk would get 1 attack per Monk level.
Wizard could use any spell for their level, even if they don't know it, and if it dealt damage it was maximized.
Cleric would heal a percentage that got higher with level, eventually wiped away status effects, and could rez at the highest levels.
Bard would roll a roulette, certain outcomes granting them either Fighter; Thief; Wizard Limit Break.
Sorcerer could cast multiple spells.
Druid buffed the party.

My friends really enjoyed this, and it made big battles more interesting for them.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Was I dreaming or was there an option, perhaps in a UA, where they did away with saving throws in favor of 4e-style defenses? I would love to try that out. I'm so sick of making saving throws as DM. I'd like to reduce my number of rolls if possible.
There is an option called "players always roll," where they roll their proficiency modifier against the DC with a modifier. I think it was with +2 to balance the dice reversal, but I'm not 100% on that. This method also works with PCs making AC "saves" against attacks so that the only thing you roll as the DM is against passive checks and damage.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
There is an option called "players always roll," where they roll their proficiency modifier against the DC with a modifier. I think it was with +2 to balance the dice reversal, but I'm not 100% on that. This method also works with PCs making AC "saves" against attacks so that the only thing you roll as the DM is against passive checks and damage.
Thanks! Do you know where this can be found?

I just want to stop with the saving throws. I'm fine with attack rolls and ability checks.
 

S'mon

Legend
Flanking giving Advantage is a bad rule - if you really want Flanking,

I have a house rule that if there are already 4 enemies adjacent to a target then the 5th+ attackers have Advantage on their attacks, which covers the rear-attack type situation. It is ok but does not add that much interest in practice. I suspect maybe giving characters advantage on a stealth check to creep up behind target & attack with advantage would work better.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Thanks! Do you know where this can be found?

I just want to stop with the saving throws. I'm fine with attack rolls and ability checks.
I found it here on the forum in an older post near when 5E began. Someone came up with it because they preferred 4E's defenses instead of saving throws. I haven't used it myself, but there was quite a lot of interest in it at the time. I tried to search for it, but was unsuccessful. I think I put the full gist of it in my previous post though.

Edit: upon reflection, it might have been on the WotC forums before they went defunct.
 

Coroc

Explorer
I use the rule on a natural 1 all sorts of things can happen, but also to the mobs but it is not obligatory that something happens, and I alone decide what happens. I roll in the open (always).
The things that may happen are often comical but sometimes tough aka you hit an ally and sometimes fatal, like a missed save on a nuke spell.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
About all I use is the variant rest rules because it suits the pace of my games better since I rarely do dungeon crawls.

I have a couple of simple house rules (bows that allow strength, ability mod items add to the score don't replace it), but that's a different topic.
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Thanks! Do you know where this can be found?

I just want to stop with the saving throws. I'm fine with attack rolls and ability checks.
http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/UA5_VariantRules.pdf

Saving Throws
When a character forces an opponent to make a saving throw, that player instead makes a saving throw check. The bonus to the d20 roll for a saving throw check equals the effect’s save DC - 8.

The DC for this check equals 11 + the target’s saving throw modifier. On a successful check, the character overcomes the target’s resistance and treats the target as if it failed its saving throw. On a failed check, the target is treated as if it succeeded on its save.

As with attacks, the saving throw check has advantage if the target would have disadvantage on its saving throw, and vice versa.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Thank you! I may start a thread on this next week to gather opinions, especially as to what class features and the like would be impacted by this change and any other things to be on the lookout for. I'm considering this rules variant for my next campaign. I've never liked saving throws and I like them less and less every time I have to roll a gang of them during play as it interrupts the flow of a PC's turn in my view. I prefer a PC's turn to largely be them rolling, not me, with some exceptions (such as a contest).
 

Satyrn

Villager
Was I dreaming or was there an option, perhaps in a UA, where they did away with saving throws in favor of 4e-style defenses? I would love to try that out. I'm so sick of making saving throws as DM. I'd like to reduce my number of rolls if possible.
I think that was in the playtest . . . was that one of the things you argued for?

On topic: I didn't like the flanking when my table tried it, and I haven't found any value in adding more tactics stuff to the game (apart from using the grid). But you might as well give it a go.

Mote usefully: I have found that requiring spending hit dice to heal during a long rest makes dungeon crawling more fun/challenging. It's sort of a step in between the standard healing rules and the DMG's gritty realism healing
 

aco175

Explorer
If you have newer players, I would suggest that you not use house rules, and perhaps optional rules, until you get used to playing the so-called right way.

I have gotten in the habit from 4e of letting the player roll the save for the monster, similar to attacking his reflex from 4e. I could flip the numbers and give the monster a save DC, but the player just tried to roll low instead of high. Again, maybe not for new players, but it lets the player roll instead of just saying "I shoot sacred flame" and not get to roll anything.
 

Geeknamese

Explorer
I give a +1d6 Damage to attack’s from flanking (because it’s always fun to roll more dice) but I also count an attacker circling an enemy and entering the rear square as leaving threat range, prompting an opportunity attack.
 

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