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5E Tweaks to 5E for specific play purposes

Reynard

Legend
I am interested in talking about modifying 5E with optional rules or house rules or 3rd party supplements specifically in order to get it to do a thing it doesn't out of the box, or at least do something better.

As an example, I want to run a Diablo style tabletop ARPG using 5e as the chassis. In order for that thing to work I need to do a few things like creat a minion rule, bolster solos, make healing fast, have most consumable items be free or bonus actions, generally speed up play and institute some easy to use crazy loot drop system.

Now I am happy to talk about how to Diablofy 5E, but what I really want this thread to be about is the process of modding 5e in general and the kinds of modifications that work to produce specific outcomes, from high fantasy to horror.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
For my Curse of Strahd games I wanted a more deadly game with longer / more difficult healing and the like. My instituted rules ended up including:

There were no healing spells in the game at all for any class. Healing was only available through Lay on Hands, Goodberry, the Healer feat, and when I made healing potions available.

A modified Exhaustion chart was ported over in replacement of 'Three Death Saves'. So when you hit 0 you would make a 10 or higher death save on your next turn, with a failure granting you 1 level of Exhaustion. Every failed save would grant you another level, melee critical hits on the downed person would cause 2 levels of Exhaustion. As per the chart, at level 5 you would essentially be bedridden, and at level 6 you would die.

Exhaustion recovery occurred over long rests exponentially. One level would take 1 long rest. Two would take two long rests. Three would take 4 long rests, Four would take 7 long rests, Five would take 14 long rests. To help PCs a bit, Lesser Restoration cast on an Exhausted PC prior to their first long rest would remove a level "for free", thus adjusting how many total days you would need to recover all the others.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Hmmm

I don't think you can 100% emulate the video game, for the simple reason that the computer does things for you - like "run" hundreds of rounds of combat for you. It would be a slog - even with a faster combat engine than 5e - to fight so many enemies in a tabletop RPG game.

But in general... having short rests be faster than 1 hour could help. Healing potions are 50 gp, make them plentiful (either there is lots of gold available, or they are cheaper?), and make the greater healing potions available too. you could also make them more effective - like they always give max HP (so 10 vs 2d4+2).
 

Odysseus

Explorer
The stuff I've tried.
Short rests five mins,no more than 2 per long. Long rest 1 hour, no more than 1 per 24 hours. Speeds up healing/gameplay without giving to much to classes than regain alot from short rests. As PCs get to higher levels they are all trying to find periapt of wound closure.
Allowing potion drinking as a once per round free action helps survivability.
Minions I've been doing as 2 per original monster. But this seems very dependent on party makeup. If they don't have a PC with fireball they seem to get overwhelmed easily.
Buffing Solos. Legendary actions and lair action. So they get two goes per round. Plus optimizing the solo monster somewhat so they have a usable reaction/interrupt and a bonus action.
There are a DnD hardcore rule set somewhere if you want to make the PC more fragile. Which work.
 

There’s only reason I’ve tinkered with the game is to speed up combat.
To accomplish that I’ve taken the grid away and have moved to a zone style of combat, made initiative only matter for who goes first (players or me), average damage rolls for monsters, and mobs of minions. The mobs are maximum 5 minions. The mob makes a single attack but with a plus to the roll equal to the size of the mob. Same with damage. When the mob gets to two minions I make a single roll with advantage as if one of the minions is using the help action with his buddy.
 

dave2008

Legend
We modify the game to make it feel more "real" to us, but I don't know that it caters to a particular genre. We have:
  1. Death = 0
  2. Bloodied Hit Points (BHP), like wound points, in addition to HP
  3. Fast HP healing and slow BHP healing
  4. 5 min. short rest
  5. Spend HD on a variety of things (recharge short and long rest abilities, extra movement, extra damage)
  6. Armor has damage reduction component.

I guess this makes the game more "gritty," but we don't think of it that way.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I want combat to be fast and brutal along with not always being the optimal choice. I also want to push people while freeing up the cleric to be something other than a heal-bot.

So I use the alternate long rest rules of short rest is overnight long rest is a week or so. On the other hand, you can drink healing potions as a bonus action. Rogues can also use their cunning action to give other people potions or bandage (thieves can use their free object interaction).

In addition, healing potions always heal the max. Oh, and I don't give out a ton of gold so all that healing is actually a significant cost.

That means that the group can take on some really tough fights but they always need to think about whether it's worth the expense. It also helps balance things out, I can do 5-10 fights between long rests without having to have one fight after another to fit them into one day.

Also gives me flexibility, if I want them to feel drained and running out of options I can do that while other times we can just pull out the big guns and blast away because I'll broadcast that they only have a fight or two before resting. I like having the flexibility to have both options.
 

Reynard

Legend
More on my 5E diablo-like:

So, hordes of enemies should be treated as swarms, with their horde's total HP directly related to their offensive capabilities. The player would roll to hit but only to determine whether the hit is a crit (double damage) or a fumble (half damage). You can't miss a horde of bleating goatmen with your giant flaming sword. Maybe create a chart of attack bonuses and damage values based on full, 3/4, half, and 1/4 HP total?

For loot you would need a modular weapon bonus system based on tables. So you would roll weapon type, quality (normal, masterwork, magical, adamantine, whatever) and special power (flaming or whatever) with a quick roll. You would want it to be standardized so every new weapon doesn't require learning a new system, and power would be based on APL/CR. So on level 2 of the Infinite Gauntlet you might drop a +1d6 fire long sword but on level 8 it might be a +2d10 electricity cold-iron glaive, or whatever.

PCs whould probably have max hit points. Potion use should definitely be a free action (one per round). Short rests should be 10 minutes and basically "free" and long rests an hour with some potential for interruption.
 

Odysseus

Explorer
How about you give hordes a very low dex.(Hordes can't dodge) Which would reduce AC to the point where you can't miss. And give them damage vulnerability to melee attacks and area attacks.
And then different type of attack depending on if the HP total. While above half they get an trample attack save vs being knocked prone. If under 1/4 they get a desperation attack advantage to attack ,but take triple damage.
As I mentioned above quicker rests will work just finding a balance for classes that get more back with short rests is key.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I am interested in talking about modifying 5E . . . in order to get it to do a thing it doesn't out of the box, or at least do something better.
mad australia GIF


Now I am happy to talk about how to Diablofy 5E, but what I really want this thread to be about is the process of modding 5e in general and the kinds of modifications that work to produce specific outcomes, from high fantasy to horror.
Two things you should look at when going for specific playstyles: basic assumptions and deep-seated rules.

D&D has some basic assumptions that make certain playstyles difficult. One is that higher-level characters have more hit points, and hit points prevent death. This assumption results in problems like "why doesn't a dagger to the throat kill?", "why doesn't a 200-foot fall result in death?", and "even a kobold is hard to kill, given enough character levels." Another basic assumption is that players control their characters down to a visceral level, given all the rules presented in the PHB, and all the detail on the character sheet. Another: combat must be conducted according to the rules in the combat chapter...

Changing some rules can be tricky in D&D, because some rules affect not just other rules, but how the game is written. For example, it's one thing to let PCs heal with a hit die on a short rest and gain an extra 5 HP. But if you tinker with what a hit die is - you're potentially affecting levels, hit points, healing, and the PCs' efficacy against monsters of a certain CR.

If your mods touch on either of these issues, you're wandering into game design or another game, and no longer tweaking.
 

Reynard

Legend
D&D has some basic assumptions that make certain playstyles difficult. One is that higher-level characters have more hit points, and hit points prevent death. This assumption results in problems like "why doesn't a dagger to the throat kill?", "why doesn't a 200-foot fall result in death?", and "even a kobold is hard to kill, given enough character levels." Another basic assumption is that players control their characters down to a visceral level, given all the rules presented in the PHB, and all the detail on the character sheet. Another: combat must be conducted according to the rules in the combat chapter...
Emphasis mine. One of these things is not like the other.

People change, ignore, add or otherwise alter the rules for combat all the time. I would go so far as to say almost every group does something differently than what's in the combat chapter in the book.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
To clarify: it's not what is in the combat chapter. It's that those rules must be used during combat. The DM can't (well, can) say "the dragon picks you up in its jaw and swings you around a bit," because the PC will say, "nuh-uh! You didn't roll initiative, and I get at least a dex save, and and and..."
 

Reynard

Legend
To clarify: it's not what is in the combat chapter. It's that those rules must be used during combat. The DM can't (well, can) say "the dragon picks you up in its jaw and swings you around a bit," because the PC will say, "nuh-uh! You didn't roll initiative, and I get at least a dex save, and and and..."
Okay, I just don't see how that is distinct from your second point, which already speaks to the role of the rules in regards to player agency.

In either case, I'm not sure where you are going with this, especially in relation to my earlier post you quoted. Care to elaborate?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
To clarify: it's not what is in the combat chapter. It's that those rules must be used during combat. The DM can't (well, can) say "the dragon picks you up in its jaw and swings you around a bit," because the PC will say, "nuh-uh! You didn't roll initiative, and I get at least a dex save, and and and..."

Well, yes, you have to have a structure for combat resolution which includes initiative. But fluff and description is pretty wide open. I have monsters and PCs do "creative" attacks now and then.

Not saying D&D is the best for every possible genre because no game could be, but style and feel can vary quite a bit table to table with only minor (if any) tweaks.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
In either case, I'm not sure where you are going with this, especially in relation to my earlier post you quoted. Care to elaborate?
Your earlier post said: let's talk about modding 5e. My earlier post meant: let's mod 5e, and let's start by not breaking anything 🤓
 


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