Combat House Rules - Maneuvers, ADV/DIS and tweaks

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jojodogboy
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Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05
Combat House Rules - Maneuvers, ADV/DIS and tweaks

I use the following:

  • I use Advantage (roll 2 d20 take best) and Disadvantage (roll 2 d20 take worst) to make it easier to adjudicate combat bonus/penalty on the fly.  PCs seem more likely to try something facing disadvantage rather than a -4.  
  • For all combat manuevers I apply disadvantage to the roll instead of -4.  If they have proficiency in the manuever, there is no disadvantage,  I really like these manuevers and think thhey are under used.  I want to promote their use.  I have had some monsters/NPCs use them, so I expect the PCs to follow suit soon.  
  • Critical rolls result in max damage + weapon damage.  I also use 'exploding dice' - if a 6 is rolled you roll the die again until you don't roll a 6.  This makes weapon focus deadly, as the chance to roll a six is doubled (had an Orc Cheiftan do 25 HP in a single crit).
  • Precise shot - shot into melee imposes disadvantage.  2 levels of precise shot removes disadvantage.  
  • I allow movement before, after, and before/after attack (unless engaged).
  • Fresh corpses force a save vs. Paralysis if combatant w/o acrobatics or cat burglary move more than 5' over them (blood and guts is slippery).  Failure = fall and/or disadvantage.
  • I have coverted ACKs attack rolls to a system similiar to 5e.  It is easier for my PCs and I if the math is done for us.   AC = AC+10.  (ACKs encumbrace = AC bonus is great, so I want to keep it.)  The bonus to hit = (10 - ACKs roll) + any bonus (e.g. 3rd lvl figher with 14 STR and a +1 sword has a bonus to hit with that weapon of  (10-9) +1(STR) + 1(magic) = +3).  Roll a d20 and add attack bonus = AC or lower that is hit. 
  • fighting with 2 weapons does +1 damage instead of +1 to hit.  FS: 2 weapons still is +1 to hit.
  • Weapon finesse adds to damage as well as to hit for qualifying melee attacks. 

What have you done that really works to make it fun and/or open up more tactical play?

Nikephoros Phokas
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

Special maneuvers are at -2 to hit.

Combatants have hit values (11 at first level and so on). Rolling to hit means rolling over enemy AC but equal to or under your hit value. There is no critical miss. Critical hits are at natural 10, it is not an automatic hit but you get to choose an extra effect from a small table (different for melee and ranged) which lets you do things like destroy a shield or disable a hand with an arrow. Enemies who crit roll randomly on the effects table.

This doesn't chance the math but it is easier to see if a roll if a hit or not, and characters can easily see when armor or a penalty/bonus makes the difference.

It's possible to shoot into melee at -4, a miss (though not from enemy AC) means you roll attack again against the side you didn't mean to shoot.

Weapons have modifications creating minor tactical choices. 
Shield: +2 AC is wearing mail or lighter body armor
Sword: +1 cleave
Axe: +1 damage
Mace: +2 to hit vs metal armor or exoskeletons
Polearms: count as large spears and an additional weapon type but suffer -1 to initative (other large weapons don't)
No hard cleave restrictions on ranged weapons.
Composite bows: do not function in rain or damp conditions
Longbow: no strength requirement but you can't move and fire and you can't use from horseback
Warbow: as a longbow but with a strength requirement. Higher requirement means bigger damage die but fewers cleaves. 13 = 1d8, -1 cleave, 16 = 1d10, -2 cleaves, 18 = 1d12, -3 cleaves
Arbalest: does not exist (setting is 1000AD)
Crossbows: half the number of cleaves (rounded up)
Repeating crossbow: range as javelin, +1 cleave
Javelins, handaxes, spears give damage bonus or penalty based on strength (darts do not)
Staffs provide +1 to initiative when casting spells provided the mage/cleric has used it for a week.
Wrestling and tripping weapons:
Bolas, dart range
Nets, dagger range but can be used in melee
Lasso, melee only, large creatures gain no bonus to their save vs paralysis

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

Weapons have modifications creating minor tactical choices. 

Sword: +1 cleave
Axe: +1 damage
Mace: +2 to hit vs metal armor or exoskeletons
Polearms: count as large spears and an additional weapon type but suffer -1 to initative (other large weapons don't)


-Nikephoros Phokas

Do the players bring different weapons and switch based on situational need as a result?  Also if they go 2 weapon axe+sword do they get both benefits?

Javelins, handaxes, spears give damage bonus or penalty based on strength (darts do not)


-Nikephoros Phokas

In ACKs I have not allowed any stat based bonus to ranged damage.  Have you noticed that PCs throw items more as a result of this rule?


Wrestling and tripping weapons:
Bolas, dart range
Nets, dagger range but can be used in melee
Lasso, melee only, large creatures gain no bonus to their save vs paralysis


-Nikephoros Phokas

Taken for my campaign.  

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

Forgot some:

  • New Item - Large shield - +2 AC, +2 encumbrance
  • Can choose to sunder a shield if hit to avoid damage if fighting with a shield.  Must decide before damage is rolled, but after to hit roll.  
  • Fighting defensively = all opponents get disadvantage to hit in melee.  
  • If armed with Spear/trident and net, can get auto hit with spear in subsequent rounds if wrestling move is successful with net and opponent hasn't gotten free.  
Jard
Patreon SupporterDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara ContributorLairs And Encounters Contributor
Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23
  • We also converted to a more 3e style AC system.  We just add ACKs AC to 10, and the reduction in attack throw target becomes a base attack bonus instead.
  • Spears and crossbows/arbalests are a bit strong relative to the other weapons, so they break on a 1.  Spears break completely, whereas crossbows/arbalests simply need to be restrung, which takes 1 turn.
  • I created something very similar to "Fate Points" as described in the HFH, but I called them "Plot Armor".  Each player got 6 for the duration of the entire campaign, no matter how many characters they ultimately create.  It can be used to modify any roll they made by up to 1/4th the maximum of the die, or to simply re-roll.  A few players used this to give themselves the stats for Nobirans, while others used this to guarantee they got magic items when gambling their starting money (we started at adventurer tier)
  • We include static damage modifiers when multiplying damage for things like backstab, crits, or charging.
  • max HP at level 1 for players and henchmen
  • all spellcasters are allowed to move just before casting a spell.  This originally started out to let clerics heal someone they weren't adjacent to, but gradually became necessary when a lot of spells were being lost from archers focusing mages.
  • Healing that grants a bonus to the mortal wounds table still gets to heal the damage it was originally going to.
Nikephoros Phokas
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

Dual wielding two different weapons give you either bonus but not both at once. So if you have axe+sword you can do +1 damage but not when using your extra cleave, mace+axe means you pick between bonus vs armor or extra damage.

I don't think my players have given their weapon choices much thought at all, most stay with the weapon they got in their kit (and replace it when it is lost). Since all classes are allowed all weapons one of the mages has made good use of the extra cleave from his sword.

The only throwing weapon used so far in 12 sessions was shurikens by a character with a strength penalty.

GMJoe
Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

My players are all new to roleplaying games in general and ACKS in particular, so I'm trying to keep the number of houserules small.

  • Characters can fire into melee at a -4 penalty even if they lack the Precise Shot proficiency. However, if they fail the roll by 4 or less, their ally in that melee (or a randomly chosen ally in that melee, if there's more than one) must roll their armour class or less on a d20 or be hit and damaged by the shot.
  • If the number of inn rooms of a given quality available in a town is greater than one, I assume there's enough rooms available for the entire six-person party.
  • I limit the number of rolls players can make to locate jewelry and gems for sale in town, because otherwise they roll again and again and again for slightly different items of jewelry in an attempt to make their wealth more portable. (Fortunately, they're currently drawing up plans for their first stronghold, so that problem will go away soon.)
  • EDIT: Henchmen do not quit due to reaching the same level as their employer until they're at least level 2. (Having henchmen leave the party almost immediately after being hired was kind of frustrating.) 

I think that's it.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

There's a lot of really good house rules in here.

 

Nikephoros Phokas
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

Another house rule (not seen in action yet): during backstabs small and tiny weapons have 1d10 base damage, other weapons have 1d8.

Nikephoros Phokas
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

Yet another house rule that makes intuitive sense to me, thrown weapons can be used during a charge, adding +2 to attack rolls by and against the charging character.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Is the latter rule intended to represent Roman legionaries hurling a spear as they charge?

bestial warlust
Joined: 2017-04-04 08:15

I use the following:

  • I use Advantage (roll 2 d20 take best) and Disadvantage (roll 2 d20 take worst) to make it easier to adjudicate combat bonus/penalty on the fly.  PCs seem more likely to try something facing disadvantage rather than a -4.  
  • For all combat manuevers I apply disadvantage to the roll instead of -4.  If they have proficiency in the manuever, there is no disadvantage,  I really like these manuevers and think thhey are under used.  I want to promote their use.  I have had some monsters/NPCs use them, so I expect the PCs to follow suit soon.  


-jojodogboy

I had considered doing the same, but I was wondering how much f an effect it would have on game play for spells such as bless that only add +1 bonus. An advantage seems to grant a higher bonus. How has this worked out in your game play?

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

I had considered doing the same, but I was wondering how much f an effect it would have on game play for spells such as bless that only add +1 bonus. An advantage seems to grant a higher bonus. How has this worked out in your game play?


-bestial warlust

The situations where the PCs have gotten advantage has been limited to suprise or prone opponents.  +4 is about the same as advantage.  

Bless hasn't been used yet in my campaign, despite one of the main pcs being a cleric (now 4th level).   The +1 to damage is probably more beneficial to the party than the +1 to hit to be honest, as it increases the chances of a cleave.  They are generally always satisfied with any +1 to hit,

My favorite part of the ADV/DIS mechanic is that clever play can remove DIS by choices that create ADV.  Once the players know that, they tend to accept that the DIS is on them.  I think it 'feels' easier to suceed with DIS than with a -4, despite mathmatically it being similiar odds. 

The only problem I have seen with the ADV mechanic in ACKS has been that thieves and assassins do not get enough differentiation from other clases re: bonus to hit in backstabbing situations (i.e. invisible/suprise).  The thief, although 5th level, only has 7 HPs (he has a 5 CON), so he has only rushed in to backstab 1x.  Maybe a little xtra to hit might lure him into melee more often.

Multiplying the damage mods along with die rolls, which can significantly increase damage, kind of makes up for it, but not quite.  I haven't figured out how to make this work.  

You can always use the 5E route and change bless and prayer to +1d4 instead of +1.  

Nikephoros Phokas
Joined: 2011-10-19 17:02

Is the latter rule intended to represent Roman legionaries hurling a spear as they charge?


-Alex

Not specifically but it does make sense when hurling a spear that you run at the enemy for extra power (also lowering the range penalty) but that this makes you more vulnerable as you move out of formation.

RandyB
Joined: 2018-02-14 22:07

 

 

Is the latter rule intended to represent Roman legionaries hurling a spear as they charge?

 


-Alex

 

Not specifically but it does make sense when hurling a spear that you run at the enemy for extra power (also lowering the range penalty) but that this makes you more vulnerable as you move out of formation.


-Nikephoros Phokas

Unless the troops specifically drill that (admittedly difficult) maneuver, in which case formation could be maintained.