View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Simple, Non-Invasive Options for Martials

2019-04-06, 03:05 PM
5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons is by default supposed to be simple and many things in combat that are not a spell or simply hitting someone are left up to the DM's discretion. It can be difficult to quickly come up with rules for when the fighter wants to throw sand in the troll's eye, or when a new player asks if they can aim for a headshot hoping that aiming for a specific weak point will help them. Many of us DMs have come up with a quick ruling like "yeah, you throw sand in his eyes, if you hit, he'll be blinded until he uses an action to clear his eyes". This is fine, unless the players start using a trick repeatedly because you accidentally made it like really, really good. The following rules are guidelines for interesting, repeatable combat maneuvers, with a major attempt on my part to make these abilities available to all characters without changing the power level of the game as a whole at all. The idea behind these rules is that players who want to use them can use them, but if others don't want the complexity, they don't have to use them and aren't any weaker for it. In my experience they encourage players to flavor what they are doing with their attacks and it makes using a sword and shield feel just as cool as warping space itself to your will. I present: Attack Styles

Attack Styles for Martials
Attack Styles are an option for characters who use the attack action a lot and want to do something more fancy than just hit, but are no more powerful than just hitting.
When you take the attack action (not casting a cantrip or using a bonus action such as two weapon fighting) to attack with a weapon with which you are proficient, you can choose to do something fancy with one or more of your attacks called a Style.
You can apply only one Style on each attack and have to declare you are using the Style before rolling the attack roll.
These Styles are akin to the shove and grapple rules in the PHB, everyone can use them and they donít make you any more powerful.
These Styles donít step on the toes of Battlemaster Maneuvers and can be used in combination with those Maneuvers.
Styles only have an effect if they make sense to have an effect: you canít usually unbalance an ooze or hamper a ghost
There are three types of Styles:
Replacement Styles which you use in place of one attack but still count as attacks,
Heedless Styles which give you a penalty to hit but give a bonus if you do hit, and
Effect Styles which deal little or no damage on a hit but impose an effect instead.
You can make your own personal Styles, approved by the DM, using these as a guideline. Styles should not be any more powerful than an attack, and should offer some effect instead of damage.
Styles use the following optional rules;
In this section Skill DCs are referred to. A creature's skill DC is equal to 10+ its bonus in that skill. Itís easier and more consistent if only one person rolls.
You can use Dexterity (Athletics) for disarm, shove, and trip (but not to grapple). These Styles can be performed with speed and precision just as easily as brawn.

Replacement Styles:
Instead of taking a normal attack you can use one of the following Styles in place of that attack.
Target one creature that is grappled or restrained or a creature that you are hidden from, invisible to, or otherwise unnoticed by. Make an Athletics (or possibly Sleight of Hand) check against the targetís Athletics/Acrobatics DC. The target gets a +5 bonus to their DC if they are holding the object in two hands or if it is strapped to them like a shield. If you succeed, the target drops the item they were holding. You can grab the item if you have a hand to do so. Doing this can end a grapple if you donít have a hand to maintain the grapple. The item drops into their space if you do not grab it. Yanking a weapon out of someoneís hand, locking your sword with theirs and twisting, smacking a staff out of the wizardís hands from behind, stealing in combat while unnoticed
You attempt to trick one creature adjacent to you into moving where you want it to. Make a Performance or Deception check vs the targetís Insight DC. If you succeed and have at least 5ft. of movement left, you move 5ft. and the target is moved along with you, never leaving each otherís reach, 5ft. into the space you left. Feinting, fake falling, mocking them into following, insulting them
You must have one hand free. Target one creature adjacent to you. You make an Athletics check against the targetís Athletics/Acrobatics DC. If you succeed you grapple the target with one hand. Grabbing someone
The next attack made against you before the start of your next turn has disadvantage to hit. Preparing your sword to parry, raising your shield, pressing yourself behind a tree
You try to intimidate one creature within 30ft. of you with a bloodcurdling scream or similar tactic. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC equal to your (Str/Cha+8, you can add your proficiency to this DC if you are trained in intimidate). If the target fails, it is frightened of you until the end of your next turn or until it takes damage. Screaming at someone, saying some unsettling stuff
You must be grappling with one hand and have the other hand free. Target one creature grappled by you. You make an Athletics check against the targetís Athletics/Acrobatics DC. If you succeed, you are grappling the target with both hands and both you and the target are restrained until the grapple ends. Headlock, locking your blades together, putting your shield on top of a prone creature
Reveal Knowledge
You attempt to shake the resolve of one creature that can hear and understand you. If you know or simply guess correctly something that would shake a creature such as a secret, an embarrassment, tactical knowledge, the reality of a past event, or something similar you can make a Persuasion or Deception check against the targetís Insight DC. If the DM deems your words surprising enough to shake the target, and you succeed on your check, you can force the target to either make a concentration save with a DC equal to your check total, or force the target to have disadvantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma based checks and saving throws until the end of your next turn. Revealing this was Your Plot all Along, telling them you already slaughtered all their friends and they're next, revealing the Noble's true identity
Target one creature adjacent to you. Make an Athletics check against the target's Athletics/Acrobatics DC. If you succeed, you can knock the target prone or push it 5ft. Pushing someone with a shield, sweeping someone's legs with a weapon, Spartan kicking someone

Heedless Styles
When you make an attack with the attack action you can choose to take a -5 penalty on the attack roll to do one of the following effects.
Disrupting Attack
If the target must make a concentration save because of this damage, it makes that save with disadvantage. Smacking their magical focus or hands, using a really distracting monologue, understanding magic and striking at the enchantment itself
Forceful Strike
The target takes 5 additional damage. Targeting a specific chink in their armor, aiming for a headshot, just really going at it with a swing
You can move up to half your speed before the attack. You continue to take the -5 penalty on any subsequent attacks and cannot use other Styles for the rest of this action. Charging someone, running and shooting

Effect Styles
When you make an attack with the attack action and are wielding a weapon that has damage dice, you can choose one of the following options before making the attack roll. If you hit, you deal minimum damage but gain the effect.
Create an Opening
If you roll dice for damage, you can deal minimum damage on all damage dice for this attack and the next attack made against the target before the start of your next turn has advantage. Pulling back an enemy shield, pushing them into an allies sword, making a stupid joke so they pay attention to you
Hampering Attack
If you roll dice for damage, you can deal minimum damage on all damage dice for this attack and the targetís speed is reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn. Shooting someone in the leg, hamstringing them, harrying a person so they have to be careful, throwing a few caltrops or ball bearings in the vicinity as you attack
Precision Strike
If you roll dice for damage, you gain advantage on this attack roll but deal minimum damage on all damage dice for this attack if you hit. Waiting for your opponent to make a mistake, overextending to reach them but not with much power, going for a quick slash instead of a full attack
Pommel Smash
If you roll dice for damage, you can deal minimum damage on all damage dice for this attack to make the target have disadvantage on the next attack roll it makes before the start of your next turn. Throwing sand in their face, bonking them with your weapon, slashing them so their blood gets in their eyes
Unbalance Foe
If you roll dice for damage, you can deal minimum damage on all damage dice for this attack and the target takes a -5 penalty on its next athletics or acrobatics DC or disadvantage on its next Dexterity or Strength saving throw before the end of your next turn. Bashing them back with a shield or weapon, getting them to overextend with a feint, blocking their exits with a polearm.

The following feats also need small tweaks because of these Styles:

Charger: In addition to the normal benefits of this feat, when you use the Rush Style, you donít take the -5 penalty to hit.

Grappler: The second benefit becomes: When you pin a creature your speed drops to 0, but you are not restrained. You also only need one hand to pin.

Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter: Replace the -5 atk, +10 damage part with: When you make a forceful strike, you deal 10 extra damage instead of 5.

These Styles aren't meant to be a hard set of rules, rather a useful guide to use when a PC wants to do something not covered by the rules that is easily repeatable. What do you think of these options? Any suggestions for changes are welcome, and feel free to post your own Styles in this thread for people to use.