D&D 5E Cleaving through Creatures (optional rule)

Casimir Liber

So for folks using this, do you use as written? Modify it? Like many people I'd forgotten this until someone pointed it out and I like it alot. But I visualise it being used with mainly slashing weapons, maybe bludgeoning weapons...but piercing weapons? I don't know.. - make it a feat? usable only against creatures of same - or smaller size - than the wielder? Any other ideas?

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For any of those optional maneuvers in the DMG like Cleave, I made it so the PC has to spend 30 days downtime training (extra 1 GP per day in addition to lifestyle expenses) and earn the Cleave ability. Otherwise, we used it as written. In our current campaign one PC has earned Cleave.


Here is the rule;

Cleaving through Creatures​

If your player characters regularly fight hordes of lower-level monsters, consider using this optional rule to help speed up such fights.

When a melee attack reduces an undamaged creature to 0 hit points, any excess damage from that attack might carry over to another creature nearby. The attacker targets another creature within reach and, if the original attack roll can hit it, applies any remaining damage to it. If that creature was undamaged and is likewise reduced to 0 hit points, repeat this process, carrying over the remaining damage until there are no valid targets, or until the damage carried over fails to reduce an undamaged creature to 0 hit points.

I like the idea, but have not used it. I might restrict it to fighters and barbarians. I also like @commandercrud idea about using downtime to learn it.

I also find that most of my table does not deal that much damage to make this that good. Say, at 5th level my group's fighter may deal 10ish points of damage. This is enough to kill a goblin and cleave the extra 3 to a new goblin. A 2nd attack against a new goblin may kill it and then get to cleave the wounded one. We hardly play high level where dealing 30 points would kill 4-5 goblins at a blow.

I do not get the point of having to hit an undamaged creature to cleave through it. I can cleave through a fresh goblin full of P&V, but one barley standing near me on wobbly legs I cannot?

Dungeon Delver's Guide

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