House rules, clarifications of RAW (Rules as Written), and other considerations.

Milestone RewardsEdit

  • +1 Action Point
  • +1 "Adrenaline Bonus" to all defenses (cumulative)

Dhampyr Undead Sense Edit

As written, the feat gives +2 to perception checks vs undead creatures, but I would like to expand this to include the passive ability to sense the presence of undead, similar to how I applied it the first time it came up in play.

Taking a cue from the Arcana skill, I will follow the rules for Sensing the Presence of Magic (PHB 181). In particular, I will use the same Area of Detection.

Therefore, with this ability one can sense the presence of undead within a number of squares equal to 5 plus her level in every direction (including up and down), and this works through all barriers. One cannot pinpoint the location of the creatures--only sense their presence.

Passive Perception & InsightEdit

Perception CheckEdit

With this skill you may notice clues, detect secrets, spot dangers, find traps, follow tracks, listen for sounds behind closed doors, or locate hidden objects.

The Passive Perception value represents your character's basic level of awareness of his surroundings when not actively attempting to perceive something.

An Active Perception check requires a minor action during combat.

Insight CheckEdit

With this skill you may discern intent, decipher body language, comprehend motives, intuit moods, feelings, and attitudes, and determine truthfulness. You may also discern the nature of objects or effects which may not be as they appear.

The Passive Insight value represents your character's basic intuition about a creature's intentions or the nature of an object or effect.

An Active Insight check requires a minor action during combat.


A character may never move diagonally past an obstacle, even if intuitively it seems legitimate, such as round columns and pillars. Mechanically, a round pillar and the corner of a wall are treated the same. The full text of the rule from PHB p.284:

Like difficult terrain, obstacles can hamper movement.

Obstacles Filling Squares: An obstacle such as a large tree, a pillar, or a floor-to-ceiling wall blocks a square entirely by completely filling it. You can't enter a square that is filled by an obstacle.

Corners: When an obstacle fills a square, you can't move diagonally across the corner of that square.

Source: PHB p.284

Determing Cover Edit

Do obstacles offer cover for melee attacks?
Yes. Two creatures fighting around a corner or a pillar both have cover.

In researching this, I discovered that the DMG (p.43) clarifies that the rules for determining cover differ for melee and ranged attacks. Thus far we have been using the ranged determination in both cases. The difference is subtle but it is different.


A defender has cover if he can prove there is at least one obstructed line of sight from *any* corner of attacker's square to *any* corner of defender's square.

In other words, if *every* corner of attacker's square has line of sight to *every* corner of defender's square then there is no cover.

As a general rule, if the same obstacle (corner, pillar, table, etc. ) is adjacent to both creatures, then they both have cover from each other's melee attacks.


If the attacker has line of sight from any *one* corner of his square to all four corners of the defender's square, then he has a clear shot and there is no cover.

Note that the attacker needs a clear shot from only *one* of his corners whereas a melee attacker needs a clear shot from *every* one of his corners.

Critical Hits & FumblesEdit

Fumble - Attack RollsEdit

If you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll, make a saving throw. If you save, your attack simply missed. If you fail, you fumbled!

What happens next depends upon the circumstances, but here are some possible consequences:

  • You drop your weapon or implement
  • You grant combat advantage
  • You provoke an attack from an enemy engaged in melee with you
  • You hurt yourself and take a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next turn
  • You trip and fall prone
  • Your turn ends

Critical Success/Failure - Skill ChecksEdit

On a skill or ability check, a roll of natural 20 is a critical success and a roll of natural 1 is a critical failure.

On a critical success, the check automatically succeeds, and you gain a +5 bonus to checks with that skill until the end of your next turn. (In a skill challenge, add one extra victory to the tally.)

On a critical failure, the check automatically fails, and you take a –5 penalty to checks with that skill until the end of your next turn. (In a skill challenge, add one extra defeat to the tally.)

Note: Not sure about the extra victory/defeat during skill challenges. This is still tentative.

Momentum Timer Edit

For those who are interested, I've compiled a sampling of ideas (from DM blogs) concerning the use of a Momentum Timer. I do plan to try it out, if not this coming week, then the following. I've presented them in a specific order, to take you through my thought process.

I've included reference URLs, but they are only for reference. Don't feel compelled to read the full articles unless your name is Mark. :)

-David I have resorted to using a timer from pictionary. I let the players that beat their enemies in initiative take a turn, and then we alternate back and forth with enemies and the part all together. The party has 3 minutes to take all of their actions or they are lost. It definitely makes combat more frenetic and enjoyable and we get through them much faster.

DC > An interesting way of grouping initiative and taking actions as a group and sharing the timer amongst the group. It's more of a team initiative. I would definitely consider using this method in certain circumstances.

-- Each player, on his turn, will have to decide what his action will be in 30 seconds or less. If he goes above that, he will lose his turn for the round. Note that the time limit is imposed on the decision making, and not the actual attack and damage rolls. A player should have enough time before his turn to get an idea of what he is going to do when his turn in initiative comes up. Once he decides what his action will be, he’s no longer under the clock. He’s acted and now we are just seeing the resolution of his actions.

By speeding up play, we can get more accomplished in our sessions. Our time to play is limited to a couple nights a month, and I’d like to make the most of it. Too much time is being wasted by overly tactical players searching through every possible scenario on their turn. Guess what? If this were a real life combat, nobody would have that luxury. Which brings me to the second thing I’d like this to accomplish, creating a sense of urgency. Working with time restraints is always nerve-wracking, and this shouldn’t be any different. What better way to simulate the adrenaline rush of a crazy combat situation than by making the players sweat out their turn and making them think fast on their feet?

DC > A great explanation for how and why a timer is a good idea. Also be aware that this DM no longer uses a timer. He later blogged that the timer was useful in creating good habits, but that they no longer need it.

-- I always ask my players to think about their actions while the others are acting. This doesn’t always work, due to major reconfigurations on some rounds but it is our goal as a group.

I’ve added a rule to my group: “if you don’t know what you are going to do on your turn, then you have to delay”. This has sped up combat by proxy because no one wants to delay.

DC > This is by far the simplest solution I've read.

-- Our group uses a one minute timer. However, instead of losing turns or restricting actions, we choose to use positive reinforcement. If you complete your turn within the minute, you receive a white poker chip which you can accumulate until you take an extended rest.

We allow you to turn in a set amount of tokens for a recharge benefit: spend 2 to regain a healing surge, 5 for an encounter power, 10 for a daily power.

DC > I like this positive reinforcement idea rather than the punitive method. With this method you can act quickly to get a reward or take your time if you really need it and not be penalized. I'm inclined to try something more along these lines because it seems more flexible according to changing circumstances.

- At my table we also use a token system. We allow each player a one-minute turn to resolve (or at least completely declare) their actions. This parenthetical clause allows for controllers rolling area attacks and players trying unconventional move actions that require a rules check on my part. If I’m the only thing standing in your way, you still get a token.

White tokens are worth +1 to hit, +1 to damage, or +1 to a skill check, but they don’t stack. However, three white tokens may be traded in for a black token, which is worth +2 instead. Three black tokens can be traded for a 1d100 roll on a Table of Fun which gets you cool one-shot power cards like “Standard Action: Make a melee or ranged basic attack, and continue making attacks as free actions until you miss.” Most of these are approximately worth +5 to hit, +5 damage, etc., but my players love the extra flavor.

I allow players to spend their tokens on other players’ actions (but not stack them), and if a token is the difference between a hit or a miss, they can retcon them.

Since we started the token system, combat moves VERY fast and all of my players agree that they’re having more fun. I’ve given away three power cards from the Table of Fun and one player already used one in last week’s combat. It was a great moment and really boosted everyone’s interest in declaring fast turns.

DC > Another take on the positive reinforcement. This one is a little more involved and requires a little more bookkeeping I suppose, but it does have great incentives.