D&D 5E House Rule: Weapons Do Something On a Miss


Sometimes I like to play around with House Rule ideas. It's pretty disheartening to have someone tell you that 5e isn't for you because you like to make house rules.
Certainly understand that.

If you are looking for ideas though, I can say that PF2e does have some implementations that would be relevant. A few classes have access to special attacks with effects that still trigger on a miss (but not a crit miss).

These are usually balanced by the fact that the attacks have an accuracy penalty, and that the system has a different action economy generally with respect to attacks. It is also a system where weapon combat is just more interesting as a whole (at the cost of significant complexity).

A lot of stuff i probably too baked into the system to be worthwhile, but it's probably worth taking a look.
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I’m not a huge fan of the idea and quite frankly it makes no sense to me. For me this takes a lot of the risk away from combat encounters. I need to know that failure is absolutely in the cards or what’s the point of crossing swords? If something advantageous happens from failing to defeat an enemy, it diminishes the risk. In fact I’d go the opposite way and say that if your character misses a melee attack, they’re the one that gets a -1 to AC, as the enemy deftly parries the strike, leaving your character open and more susceptible to damage from opponents.

That being said, this could be tied to the fighter, but even then, I’d only agree with it if it cost a superiority die or something.


Dredging this back up because I've been thinking on it.

I'm not on board with every miss doing something - sometimes a miss is a miss. But as either a limited resource or "close enough" effect, I could get behind it. My preference would be a limited resource, say:

As a fighter at 4th level, you gain the ability to wear down an opponent even when you do not made a solid connection. On a miss, you can use your bonus action to choose to roll damage against an opponent you just attempted to attack, as if you hit. The opponent gains damage resistance against the attack, and it cannot reduce them below 1 hit point. You cannot activate any special abilities in combination with the damage you cause and the attack is otherwise treated as a miss. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain all uses after a short or long rest.

Didn't re-read the whole thread, but 13th Age does something like this. There's two main limitations:

1. Nothing at all on a nat 1. You missed entirely.

2. The damage on a miss is piddly - in a game where weapons do a die of damage per level and stat bonuses get multiplied by tier, miss damage is one per level. In 5 terms it would be like one point of damage on a miss. Which honestly felt (in 13th Age) worse than nothing - it's like getting a $0.50 tip at a restaurant. The added bookkeepeing never felt worth it.

Honestly I feel like missing often enough that you feel useless is either due to bad builds, overly short combats, or players with excessive FOMO.


I've always toyed with the idea of Fighters (maybe just Champion?) getting to do their Minimum damage on a 1.

So like, if they normally hit for 1d10 +5 and roll a 1, they get to do 6 damage.

Seems like a fun way to make 1s more fun...

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