D&D 5E House Rule Idea: Exploding Weapon Dice

I prefer accuracy providing more damage thematically. So I would say revise how crits are done. Maybe allow an extra damage die if you hit by 5 or more and then another one if it is a natural 20? Though I do get the appeal of not having to do math.

maybe if you have advantage and both rolls hit you do max damage or get an extra die of damage?
 

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Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
Okay, what do you think? Would this make combat a little more deadly? Would it be fun? Are there unpredictable results?
I primarily play Savage Worlds that has exploding dice. As others have said, it will add time during those turns where it's applied. But it's not applied that much and, therefore, doesn't add a lot to the player's turns in terms of time. And they can be exciting.

Since, as I stated I play SW primarily, I'm very biased. My response would be: Yes, it'd be more deadly. Yes, it would be fun. and Yes... sorta. D&D characters have such a huge number of HP that it'd make things deadly, but not in the "Possible for peasant to kill a knight with one lucky shot" kinda way.
 

Though I do get the appeal of not having to do math.
One of the things I'd love to see removed from D&D in the next full new edition (6E) is removing plusses/minuses from the game for ability scores, saves, attacks, damage, spells, skills. I liked how Alternity did escalation die so I think something like that could work in D&D. The fiddly math aspect of D&D has annoyed me for a very long time, but I never tried to remove it or even have any solid ideas on how to do it, I do know I want it gone.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
FWIW, we haven't found the exploding critical damage dice to slow things down at all. Since our house-rules make hitting less common, a side-effect for us is that critical damage only happens about 5% of the time (when averaged over all dice).
 

One of the things I'd love to see removed from D&D in the next full new edition (6E) is removing plusses/minuses from the game for ability scores, saves, attacks, damage, spells, skills. I liked how Alternity did escalation die so I think something like that could work in D&D. The fiddly math aspect of D&D has annoyed me for a very long time, but I never tried to remove it or even have any solid ideas on how to do it, I do know I want it gone.
It will not happen in D&D, but I understand the appeal too.

The only thing I can think of is an exploding dice-type mechanic.

to hit: add a d20 for each traditional +1, pick the highest. So a 16 ability score allows you to roll 4d20, pick the highest.

damage: add a damage die for each traditional +1. So a 16 with a long sword gets you 4d10 damage. Maybe this should be pick the highest too, and the a crit is if two are maxed?

That actually sounds interesting

Edit: though that could make a dragon bite something like 22d10!
 
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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
To the OP, you do what you find fun but I do not think that the problem with D&D combat is dropping the PC's to 0 but the consequences for doing so are insufficient.
I think that in combat it should be better, so when a character is healed they are combat effective for a few rounds, or it should be totally out of combat healing so that the party has a strong incentive to run away when a member is downed.
The current situation of a PC bobbing in and out of unconsciousness on less than 10 hit points is a bit silly.
 
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South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
Yep, the "whack-a-mole" effect needs to be stopped. But people are then complaining players don't have fun because their PC went down and they can't get "back into the fight".
Piffle to their complaints.

If I wanted to play Call of Duty, I'd play Call of Duty. When I play D&D, I don't expect to bounce back onto my feet with wits fully restored and start whaling on orcs ten seconds after getting knocked unconscious and bleeding out. I also don't expect to go back to full HP and battle readiness after a single night's sleep; I expect to be messed up after one night's sleep unless there's been some aggressive magical healing.

I would love to see this problem fixed in 6e. I don't think it will be, but I do think it should be.
 



Care to explain?
IIRC, it's rolling the max damage allows ya roll another die, and so on and so on.
-doubles checks PDF-

Wait, never mind: Their Critical Hit system uses Max Damage of dice roll+an extra dice roll house rule that a lot of people use.

It's when you use Inspiration (called Ingenuity in it) that can allow you to make your attacks gain Exploding Dice rolls. In that case, if you keep on rolling the max damage number on a damage roll, you can on rolling an extra one until the monster is dead or you don't keep hitting the number. (So if a 1D8 Longsword hits rolls an 8, you then roll another 1D8, etc etc etc.)
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I can hear the great axe crying from here… ;)
I could see using this rule to differentiate weapons. What if axes "exploded" on the to two numbers (so 11 or 12 for greataxe)? Swords could explode to one greater die. Flails could deal exploding dice damage to a different adjacent foe.

You could even play around with the physical dice themselves. Like a club or hammer's explosive die could "stick" to an enemy and instead of dealing extra damage, reduce their next attack by that die roll, as they are still feeling from getting walloped.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I could see using this rule to differentiate weapons. What if axes "exploded" on the to two numbers (so 11 or 12 for greataxe)? Swords could explode to one greater die. Flails could deal exploding dice damage to a different adjacent foe.

You could even play around with the physical dice themselves. Like a club or hammer's explosive die could "stick" to an enemy and instead of dealing extra damage, reduce their next attack by that die roll, as they are still feeling from getting walloped.
Or, just make the great axe a 2d6 weapon like others, or make the others 1d12.

Having an extra number short of max crit the damage to add another die can change things more than you want, so you should be careful with that idea.

We also tried critical rules by damage type:

bludgeon could stun (STR save)
piercing could skewer (DEX save)
slashing could wound (CON save)

In each case the target had to make a saving throw (as listed) with a DC equal to 8 + your attack modifier, or be stunned, have the weapon stuck inside them, take additional damage on their next turn, respectively.

We eventually abandoned the idea because we kept forgetting to apply it. 🤷‍♂️
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Or, just make the great axe a 2d6 weapon like others, or make the others 1d12.
Yeah, my comment was more of a joke than a dealbreaker, but I've been keen on changing greatsword/maul into d12 weapons form the start, and increase the reroll range of great weapon fighting style to 1-3 (or even 1-4).

I prefer keeping double-dice damage for giant versions of weapons (a 2d6 weapon should be a large-sized short sword by MM's standards) Besides, the rogue and the wizard already stole all my d6 and the d12 lays there unused... But that's beside the point of this thread
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
In warhammer frpg 2nd ed, there is exploding damage, and here is how it's done:

Almost all damage is rolled on a d10. (there are modifiers for strength etc, but let's ignore that for now). If you roll a 10, you "confirm" by doing a to-hit roll again. If that is confirmed, you roll the d10 for damage a second time. If you roll a 10 again, you don't need to confirm - just keep rolling that d10 until you stop getting a 10. So a hit of 1d10+10 is not rare, and 1d10+20 happens once in a while.

Powerful (ie large) weapons like say a greataxe have the "impact" property, where they roll the 1d10 twice and take the best wone, meaning exploding damage dice is even more likely.

But you can't look at this in isolation. In warhammer, a low level PC might have 10 hp... and a high level one has maybe 20 hp! So because of this, any attack has the potential to kill a PC, and it really changes the player's attitude towards combat. If 3 goblins have have loaded crossbows pointed at you, this is a real problem, no matter how high and mighty you are.

all this to say, the impact of exploding damage dice is really dependent on the relationship between the damage done and the average HP heroes have. And as Ubran said, you really want to consider what you are trying to achieve with a rule change, and if the rule change will actually do what you want.
 

It will not happen in D&D, but I understand the appeal too.

The only thing I can think of is an exploding dice-type mechanic.

to hit: add a d20 for each traditional +1, pick the highest. So a 16 ability score allows you to roll 4d20, pick the highest.

damage: add a damage die for each traditional +1. So a 16 with a long sword gets you 4d10 damage. Maybe this should be pick the highest too, and the a crit is if two are maxed?

That actually sounds interesting

Edit: though that would make a dragon bite something like 22d10!
Heres the Alternity situation dice scale. I think this concept might be able to be retooled to try and remove a bunch of math. IIRC at times the scale was connected to character level but not exactly sure about that, though I'm sure it could be.

Situation Dice.JPG
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Yeah, my comment was more of a joke than a dealbreaker, but I've been keen on changing greatsword/maul into d12 weapons form the start, and increase the reroll range of great weapon fighting style to 1-3 (or even 1-4).

I prefer keeping double-dice damage for giant versions of weapons (a 2d6 weapon should be a large-sized short sword by MM's standards) Besides, the rogue and the wizard already stole all my d6 and the d12 lays there unused... But that's beside the point of this thread
I know you were, my comment was more for @BookTenTiger. But since nothing I wrote to that poster has gotten any response at all, I think they are ignoring me? 🤷‍♂️

Yep, d12 "great" weapons is the better way to go if you want to keep the cap of 12. Actually, we reduced them to d10 weapons since there were only a few d10 weapons and d12/2d6 weapons.

Another thing we've done with weapon is make martial weapons actually more powerful by:

1) they have two damage types instead of one, so you choose which type you deal with an attack
2) they have advantage on damage rolls, which increases their damage but also increases the chance of critical damage (which makes sense with a martial weapon IMO).

Of course, we also merged Light/Finesse and Heavy/Two-handed into just Light and Heavy, and we've adjust other weapon properties. For example, with versatile you can either gain the increased damage die when used with two hands OR you can gain a +1 on your attack rolls due to increased control (instead of increased power).

Flail as a special property now: if used against a target benefiting from a shield, you gain a +1 on your attack roll as flails were literally used to wrap around shields to hit the target behind.

And a few other changes to make weapons more interesting. :D
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
In warhammer frpg 2nd ed, there is exploding damage, and here is how it's done:

Almost all damage is rolled on a d10. (there are modifiers for strength etc, but let's ignore that for now). If you roll a 10, you "confirm" by doing a to-hit roll again. If that is confirmed, you roll the d10 for damage a second time. If you roll a 10 again, you don't need to confirm - just keep rolling that d10 until you stop getting a 10. So a hit of 1d10+10 is not rare, and 1d10+20 happens once in a while.

Powerful (ie large) weapons like say a greataxe have the "impact" property, where they roll the 1d10 twice and take the best wone, meaning exploding damage dice is even more likely.

But you can't look at this in isolation. In warhammer, a low level PC might have 10 hp... and a high level one has maybe 20 hp! So because of this, any attack has the potential to kill a PC, and it really changes the player's attitude towards combat. If 3 goblins have have loaded crossbows pointed at you, this is a real problem, no matter how high and mighty you are.

all this to say, the impact of exploding damage dice is really dependent on the relationship between the damage done and the average HP heroes have. And as Ubran said, you really want to consider what you are trying to achieve with a rule change, and if the rule change will actually do what you want.
Yup but that is what is supposed to happen in Warhammer. If you fight often enough then statistics will get you eventually.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I know you were, my comment was more for @BookTenTiger. But since nothing I wrote to that poster has gotten any response at all, I think they are ignoring me? 🤷‍♂️

Yep, d12 "great" weapons is the better way to go if you want to keep the cap of 12. Actually, we reduced them to d10 weapons since there were only a few d10 weapons and d12/2d6 weapons.

Another thing we've done with weapon is make martial weapons actually more powerful by:

1) they have two damage types instead of one, so you choose which type you deal with an attack
2) they have advantage on damage rolls, which increases their damage but also increases the chance of critical damage (which makes sense with a martial weapon IMO).

Of course, we also merged Light/Finesse and Heavy/Two-handed into just Light and Heavy, and we've adjust other weapon properties. For example, with versatile you can either gain the increased damage die when used with two hands OR you can gain a +1 on your attack rolls due to increased control (instead of increased power).

Flail as a special property now: if used against a target benefiting from a shield, you gain a +1 on your attack roll as flails were literally used to wrap around shields to hit the target behind.

And a few other changes to make weapons more interesting. :D
I'm not ignoring you! I've greatly enjoyed your contributions to the thread.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I've played with this idea in the past. Here are a few things I played around with to address some of the drawbacks:

1.) Instead of rolling more dice, you just add the average of the die to the result (rounded up). Effectively, a D6 would have sides of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10. A d12 would have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 19. WHY: Prevent a second or third round of die rolling.

2.) An ALTERNATIVE that does not work with 1: Subtract 1 from the result once you have rolled the maximum number. WHY: This allows a d6 roll to still end up as a 6. Example: I roll a d6 and get a 6. I explode for 1 more d6 and get a 1. My result is 6 + 1 - 1 ... 6.

Damage rerolling mechanics gain power in this situation. For example, Savage Attacker is more powerful. This isn't necessarily a problem, but you do want to be aware of it.

You need to be aware that this is going to be actually be more deadly. I know that is the goal, but be aware that it will truly work. While people will focus on the average die rolls when figuring out the impact of this, that approach overlooks that we don't always get the average, and the most impactful situations will be far from average. It is those fringe situations that will kill PCs, and perhaps result in a TPK. And they're not that fringe.

Take, for example, a CR 5 Hill Giant. A group of 5 3rd level PCs that encounter a Hill Giant in the woods might be facing a 'hard' encounter. Not even deadly.

However, when that Hill Giant throws a rock, they get 3 shots at a 10 on a d10. They normally deal an average of 21 damage, or ~23 under this system. However, if we fix one of those dice as a 10, that average damage becomes ~33. And this is just average damage - it can be significantly higher. Those numbers are enough to easily take a pc down in one shot - and perhaps beyond their negative hp max, and are not all that unlikely. Go ahead and roll 20 different hill giant rocks and see what you get. One of them was likely to be horrifically high. Picture that blow coming at the start of a combat with the hill giant, and then seeing how the PCs are able to repond down one PC from the start. That is always a possibility, but it is a lot more likely in this type of scenario.

This would move that range where PCs die - a lot - from levels 1 to 2 all the way up to levels 5 or 6. You will have costly revivy available, perhaps, then, but it will be needed more often.
...
EDIT: in case you are interested in the math, it bumps the average by N/(N-1). So, if your d6 averages 3.5, exploding the die (without limit) increases the average by 6/5, bringing it up to 4.2.
6/5 is 1.2, which added to a normal 3.5 would be 4.7.
 

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