Healing Kit Dependency

A character cannot expend hit dice to recover hit points at the end of a short rest until someone expends the use of a healer’s kit. This represents bandaging the wound and applying alchemical salves to the damage. Only one use of the kit is expended regardless of how many hit dice the character chooses to spend. I like this variant. It explains how hit dice work in the context of the game world. There’s a degree of verisimilitude that the normal rules lack. And it gives the healer’s kit a beefier role in the game. I like that to. If a character runs out of hit dice to spend then a healer’s kit can be of no more use to him. This also makes sense to me, because presumably you can only benefit from so much medical attention. Yes, I like this variant a lot. It will take much to persuade me not to use it.

Action Options

In ‘Action Options’ I’m grouping together six different optional rules designed to provide more variety to combat at the table. These are all options that would have appeared in the ‘Combat Manoeuvres’ section of the third or fourth edition PHB. I like them all in principle because they feel as though they are things that any character should be able to attempt in battle. However, some may tread on the toes of other abilities already in the rules, so I would like to get your views. This is what is on offer:

Climb onto a bigger creatures: Rules to allow a small or medium character to climb onto a “suitably large” opponent. A contested roll is all that is required for the smaller character to climb onto the larger one and start clambering around him as if the larger creature is difficult terrain. This seems flavourful and is easy to adjudicate.

Disarm: The attacker makes an attack roll that is contested by the defender’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the attacker wins the defender is disarmed and the weapon falls to the defender’s feet. The attacker’s roll is at disadvantage if the defender is holding a weapon in two hands. The defender’s roll is at advantage (if it is larger than its attacker) or disadvantage if it is smaller. Do these rules overlap with the Battlemaster Fighter too much? The Battlemaster can attempt a special disarm by spending a superiority die. The battlemaster attacks and adds the superiority die to the damage he rolls. The foe then makes a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + attacker’s proficiency bonus + attack’s relevent ability score modifier) or be disarmed. The Battlemaster’s ability does damage which the standard disarm attempt does not, and probably has a greater chance of success. I think they can live side-by-side. There are other issues with disarm, but I’ll deal with those in a future blog post.

Mark: When you make a mêlée attack against a foe you can choose to mark the target. The act of marking is not an action. The mark lasts until the end of the attacker’s next turn. An attacker gains advantage of any opportunity attack made against a marked target. While not quite as powerful or useful as it was in fourth edition, this version of Mark does make more practical sense.

Overrun: This option is used when you want to push through a hostile creature’s space. It’s a simple contested check – the larger character getting advantage on the check. This is just a codification of a common-sense ruling.

Shove aside: The ability to shove a creature backwards (and perhaps push them over) is part of the core rules and listed by p195 of the PHB. This option simply allows you to reposition your foe by shoving them in a different direction. It’s perhaps a more useful option if a battle grid is in play, but I guess I can see circumstances where you would like to push a foe out of the way, than backwards. Because it isn’t linked to any class abilities or feats, it costs us nothing to include the option here.

Tumble: This allows a character to make an opposed Acrobatics check to move through an opponent’s space. The wording seems a bit odd to me, and Tumble doesn’t seem to allow you to avoid opportunity attacks from moving out of an opponent’s threatened area, which doesn’t seem to make it terribly useful. However, I’ll leave it in as an option for the time being. Niggling rules issues will be dealt with in a future post.


Absolutely ok to take/use.

Equipment Sizes

A common sense optional rule that basically says that armour and clothing that fits one character won’t necessarily fit someone else. Yes, I can’t believe this is a variant rule rather than a default assumption, but there you go. What this means in practice is that if you kill a 7’5″ bugbear and steal his full plate armour, you’re going to need to employ a smith to do some considerable work resizing it for your dwarven paladin.

(superb explanations via


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