The Player Wants to do What?!?!?

Celebrim

Legend
I'm brainstorming odd ball situations that a GM might be compelled to rule on. In particular the sort of things that turn up in movies and books as standard combat tropes that happen again and again in different movies, but which most rule systems (or at least most common rules systems) would give no guidance on.

These are things like:

Swinging from a chandelier and kicking a foe.
Climbing on a bigger foes back and stabbing it.
Rolling a barrel of wine down a staircase.
Toppling a bookcase or other object into the foes path.
Pulling a rug out from under a foe.
Taking a large object and using it as a ram against multiple foes, or even more so, working as a team to do so.
Jumping off of something and smashing into a foe.
Picking up someone and throwing them.
Whacking someone over the back with a chair or bar stool.
Grabbing someone by the neck and choking them.

And so forth. Anything you could do to add to that list with things that look cool in movies, or in video games, or even show up in Professional Wrestling would be helpful.

Secondly, if you are a GM, do your players make those sorts of propositions in your game? Do you encourage it or discourage it? If so, what system are you using when you play?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I always try to encourage crazy antics and out of the box thinking. Often in adventures, I'll put things like this in for them to take advantage of...and if they don't, then the monsters will.


Secondly, if you are a GM, do your players make those sorts of propositions in your game? Do you encourage it or discourage it? If so, what system are you using when you play?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Gladly!

There’s the usual stuff like making sure there chandeliers to swing on and giant windows to throw people out of. But also a floor might be described as creaky and rickety…one good blow might smash it. Or the fight might occur in a wine cellar, with racks of bottles waiting to be toppled (as much as it hurts to see good wine wasted…).

More exotic stuff might include a factory operated by constructs, with conveyor belts and lots of hazardous material about. Or a tomb crisscrossed with bridges for people to fight from. My design philosophy is to try to avoid a basic “chessboard” battlefield for important fights.

Can you give some examples?
 

Celebrim

Legend
...But also a floor might be described as creaky and rickety…one good blow might smash it. Or the fight might occur in a wine cellar, with racks of bottles waiting to be toppled (as much as it hurts to see good wine wasted…).

More exotic stuff might include a factory operated by constructs, with conveyor belts and lots of hazardous material about. Or a tomb crisscrossed with bridges for people to fight from. My design philosophy is to try to avoid a basic “chessboard” battlefield for important fights.
Ok, sounds good and I approve, but this is veering off into a discussion of good encounter design which takes it in a different direction than where I was going. I agree that the DM should definitely try to plan for encounters to occur in interesting areas which terrain that both monsters and PC's may potentially take advantage of. After all, tactics is governed by terrain and without terrain, there is very little in the way of tactics.

That's an important conversation, but I'm mostly interested at the moment in the actual stunts a player might unexpectedly propose particularly before they get jaded by system and start proposing mostly rules based propositions. I'm assuming that these stunts often fall into categories of stunts they've seen performed before, and that DMs may recall examples that have occurred in play.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, basically, you're looking for stuff that'd normally be handled by improvisational stunt rules?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Beating a kobold to death with a dead kobold. That's a thing that happened.

My players do engage in creative actions during play and I encourage this by adjudicating fairly and consistently. I typically run D&D 4e and 5e, but this applies to any other games I run as well.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Gotcha. Probably the craziest player stunt not cover in the rules was when they encountered a trap door at the top of a tower (they went the opposite route, rather than going in the front door, which took some quick thinking in and of itself). The trap door would react with blasts of magical energy, and the wizard didn’t have dispel magic. Nor was there a rogue to disarm it. Nothing they tried worked, and they were just getting more and more injured.

Then the one player came up with a daring plan. He was levitated high above the trap door, then dropped, using his shield as a ram. I certainly had not accounted for such an action in my stat of the door. But you know what, it was clever, the player rolled well, and took the falling damage, so heck, that door was smashed to pieces (even if it cost the character a broken leg).

That's an important conversation, but I'm mostly interested at the moment in the actual stunts a player might unexpectedly propose particularly before they get jaded by system and start proposing mostly rules based propositions. I'm assuming that these stunts often fall into categories of stunts they've seen performed before, and that DMs may recall examples that have occurred in play.
 

was

Explorer
..I like allowing the crazy stunts as well, with appropriate checks. They're great when they succeed, and hilarious when they fail.
 

Celebrim

Legend
So, basically, you're looking for stuff that'd normally be handled by improvisational stunt rules?
Well, yes, exactly. But first not every system has improvisational stunt rules, in some systems all natural language propositions map to a standard resolution device, and I wanted to not immediately get into a discussion of how you mechanically handle a stunt which is very system specific. I also imagine that different GMs have a ton of different tricks and rules they've evolved over time and which they tend to be rather happy with however peculiar they might seem to someone not familiar with them.

Mostly I was looking to get a long list of natural language combat propositions and then from that stunt list I was going to see if I could group them into some common types, and how many fell outside of any easy categorization. But I didn't want to actually say that up front, because I was afraid that if people got ahead of me, they'd start looking for examples that fell into the categories and we'd overlook cases that don't. Seeing what I might not be seeing is precisely the point of asking for people's lists.
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
I'll never forget my players stuffing a dead goat with magical explosive powder and feeding it to a giant crocodile and then setting the magic powder off...
 

Rod Staffwand

aka Ermlaspur Flormbator
I always allow tricks and stunts, but I never go in for shenanigans.

I'd add:

Smashing the heads of two enemies together to knock them out.
Tricking a foe in charging at you, dodging at the last second, and having them end up off a cliff.
Attacking a ceiling to cause a cave-in.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Smashing the heads of two enemies together to knock them out.
Tricking a foe in charging at you, dodging at the last second, and having them end up off a cliff.
Attacking a ceiling to cause a cave-in.
Oh that's beautiful. Thanks. Good examples.

I'll add a few more of my own:

Lassoing an enemy with a rope.
Hog tying an enemy after grappling them.

There is also one that I've been loathe to mention because it's only viable in the general case in systems with non-abstract damage (or at least, I've never been able to come up with a way to resolve it fairly in abstract systems):

Specifically calling out what part of the foe you are striking.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
I'll never forget my players stuffing a dead goat with magical explosive powder and feeding it to a giant crocodile and then setting the magic powder off...
Oddly enough, in my present game, a character used his alchemy skill to create a magical bomb, which he tied to a live goat that they intended to use to kill a peryton. When it failed to work, they left the goat in the stables still with a bomb about its neck... and then promptly forgot about it.

They returned to find that the stables had blown up and an innkeeper demanding repatriations for the damage.
 

Demorgus

Visitor
In a recent session with my 4e home group, the ranger wanted to swing by a rope across the front of a tower keep and see if she could knock the wights that were climbing down it off. I decided she had to make a hard acrobatics check and if she succeeded, the wights got a saving throw to hold onto the wall. I believe she knocked three of the four wights off the wall.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
We had on occasion finished an adventure/module before the next one was ready.

If we finished close to when we were gonna stop for that session, no problem. But if we finished way too early (players still want to play/RP), then we would pull out a low level module (one a DM was familiar will/did not need much prep time.) Usually by the time we got back from a 7-11 run (snacks/drinks), we were ready to go.

And the only way to EARN XP, was to role play and defeat the monsters/obstacles in unique ways.

A great example of this "originality" came when we encountered skeletons blocking a hallway. We decided to have FUN. Our THAC0 was so great and theirs was so bad, it was not a challenge - time consuming. Our barbarian and warrior looked at each other, put their weapons away, put cloth over their mouths, and decided to play Auzzie Rules Football with the skeletons.

We ran at them. The skull from the first skeleton popped off with a quick forearm smash and was then used as our football. Running back and forth, smashing into bone of the skeletons, cracking their bones, stomping on their bones, etc.

A cloud of bone dust filled the hallway.

We did not endangered our edged weapons (on bones), our group had a huge laugh at the childlike antics of the barbarian and the warrior.
 

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