Two New Options: Notice and Heroics

Neither of these should be a big shock, but I am implementing two new items in the DM’s toolkit. The rest of the docs will be updated shortly as will the character sheet. – A


This number is for every character. It is set default to the Character’s Wisdom (with the Ability Focus if focused in Wisdom) plus 10.

ex: Brother Eisenhorne is a 3rd level cleric with a +3 in Wisdom. His Notice would be set to: 15 (wisdom + focus +10)

The DM will use this number as the DC for any checks which the character is not specifically looking for. This includes: hearing noises, seeing hiding monsters, as a DC for surprise, spotting hidden doors or noticing something that would normally miss. Players can still actively search as normal which may result in better scores.


Each session to which player attends earns them 1 heroic point that remains with the character. Extra heroics can be awarded by the DM for the playing doing something special or innovative in the game. I’ve been know to award these for a great plan, being in character, and even for and awesome battle result.

The players can then choose to trade there Heroics for the following:

  • Before rolling, add advantage.
  • After any dice roll, force a reroll and keep the new roll result
  • An additional action in a combat round

Player’s characters should use these points at times of drama (or whenever they want), but we’ve found that they add a great BOOM just at the right moment. Something like that critical attack that slays the dragon or talking their way out of trouble with the city guard.

Turning Undead

A cleric has the power to force away certain category of monsters called the “Undead” (skeletons, zombies, ghouls, mummies, and other more powerful types). To use this ability, the play must only declare that they shall “Turn Undead” and be within 30 feet of the monsters.

What is Turned?

Turned undead flee by the fastest means available to them. They will not touch the  cleric, and will flee as far from them as possible. If they cannot flee, they cower.

If anyone, other than the turning cleric, approaches the undead within 10 feet will cause the undead to immediately overcome their repulsion and the undead will attack as normal.

All attacks made by the cleric vs turned undead are made at Advantage.

Effects of turning last for 1 minute (10 rounds).

How Does It Work?

The base roll to turn undead is 10 + the hit dice of the monster. So a Skeleton would have a turn value of 11. The cleric then rolls d20 and adds their Wisdom (and focus) to effect the undead. The cleric would make this check vs each undead within the 30 foot range.

Destroying Undead

To destroy the undead, rather than turn them, the cleric must exceed the target number of 15 + the hit dice of the monster.



Encumbrance Rules and Bookkeeping

I recently read a blog post about how D&D at it’s core was a bookkeeping game. I really never gave much thought to encumbrance or arrows or torches, but the idea stuck with me. I don’t think I ever considered what would happen if a human ran out of torches in a dark dungeon, what a divine idea.


SimpleDnD already lists the weights of equipment, armor and weapons, so adding a weight limit is easy.

Max weight carried is Strength +4 (so a -3 would become +1) x 25 lbs.

Example: A cavalier with a strength of +3 would be able to carry 175 lbs.

Example: A wizard with a strength of -3 would be able to carry 25 lbs.

Encumbrance on Moving

Movement is reduced to 1/2 when carrying more than half of the character’s max weight.

Movement and Timekeeping

The speed listed on each race type is the distance a character can move unencumbered per turn (10 minutes). So if the characters moves 3 squares in a dungeon with 10′ x 10′ grid squares, then for every 3 squares, tick off a turn.

Searching a room also takes time, 1 turn per 30′ x 30′ space.

Hands and Holding

Characters have two hands. Period. They may not carry a torch and a sword and a shield. This goes for large sacks, rope, treasures, etc. Torches carried into combat have a DC 10 vs DEX chance of going out in the event of a successful attack on the carrier.

Treasure Weight

A single coin of any type weighs one ounce. So there are 16 coins in 1 pound.

140 carats of gems = 1 pound. A typical gem of 100gp should weigh about 1/10 lb


Torches are another wrinkle in the bookkeeping, they only burn for 1 hour (6 turns). That is an insanely short time period. I can see a torch burning out just as combat begins. If a torch burns out, apply the Special Attack Condition Blindness to all characters who are not longer in torchlight.

Furthermore, torches (and light spells) only illuminate 60 feet around them, anyone outside of that range would also suffer from blindness. Especially true if someone splits the party.

And what if, just what if, it is windy?!? It’s not uncommon for gusts of wind to flow down large corridors in caves, is it?

What bookkeeping items add flavor to your games? How would you change these? Post a comment below!

Encounter Round Clarifications and Revisions

I’ve been reading up on G+ about encounters and how they are supposed to play out in the game vs how we actually play them when we play. Currently our round goes like this: roll initiative, do stuff, repeat. Seems I’ve been doing it all wrong and it’s actually much more broken out than that.

This is how I propose changing it:

Pre-Round Actions – Surprise or Encounter Reaction

1. Declare Party Actions (Negotiate, Combat or Flee)

Fleeing an encounter allows for the non-fleeing group to make one attack (spell or ranged only) at a +2 bonus

If combat is declared or already happening, continue to #2

If there is anyone who takes ongoing damage or spell effects then deal the damage or effect during this part.

2. Declare Character Actions (Melee Attack, Range Attack, Spells, Move)

3. Roll Initiative – d20, highest to lowest order

4. Combat Move then attack

Movement, note: spell casters cannot move and cast spells, unless the spells is zero level

Move move up to your characters speed only if you are not already engaged in melee combat, if they are in melee combat…

Moving in combat there are two options:

Fighting Withdrawal – character moves slowly backwards at half speed and out of melee combat with that opponent for next round. Opponent and character can make one attack as normal this round, if the opponent’s attack is successful, the withdrawal has failed.

Retreat – character moves quickly backwards at full speed and out of melee range for this round and cannot attack. Opponent can make one attack with advantage this round.


Ranged attacks – Arrows, Slings, Throwing stuff


Melee attacks

Next combatant Move to next player in the initiative order (next highest) and begin the combat again with movement and attacking.

5. Morale checks are made

6. Go to #1 Declare Party Actions and Repeat until the encounter is resolved

What do you think?

How do you run your RPG encounters? Do you do it all at once, or in phases? Post a comment below and let me know!

Critical Miss Chart

Sometimes you want to add a little flavor to your SimpleDnD game when your characters roll a critical fail (1 on d20) in combat. Use this handy-dandy chart to quickly add it! Note the Critical Miss Chart is optional.

Simple d4 Chart

1d4      Effect
1          Hit self (roll normal damage)
2          Hit friend (roll normal damage)
3          Break weapon
4          Drop weapon (no attack next round)

Extended d20 Chart

d20 roll Effect
1 Trip; DEX check (DC15), or -2 to combat rolls for 1d4 rounds
2 Stumble; DEX check (DC20), or -1 to combat rolls for 1d4 rounds
3 Fall: DEX check (DC25), or no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
4 Knocked prone in current space taking 1d6 damage, no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
5 DEX check (DC15), or no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
6 DEX check (DC20), or no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
7 Drop weapon, no attack next round
8 Weapon breaks
9 Hit Self: roll for half damage
10 Hit Self: roll for normal damage
11 Hit Self: critical (double damage)
12 Hit Ally: roll for half damage
13 Hit Ally: roll for normal damage
14 Hit Ally: critical (double damage)
15 Hit Ally: roll for half damage
16 Twist ankle; Half movement
17 Off balance next round and attacker gains Advantage
18 Weapon thrown in random direction 1d6 rounds to recover
19 Self: Knocked uncouncious
20 Self: Death Blow

Critical Hit Chart

Sometimes you want to add a little flavor to your SimpleDnD game when your characters roll a critical hit in combat. Use this handy-dandy chart to quickly add it! Note the Critical Hit Chart is optional.

d20 Roll Location Hit Consiquence
1 Hand Hand damaged, -2 combat rolls
2 Hand Lost 1d4 fingers, weapon dropped
3 Arm Wrist damaged, weapon or shield dropped
4 Arm Elbow wound, -2 combat rolls
5 Arm Arms off, -5 combat rolls
6 Leg Open wound, -5 to defense
7 Leg Knee wound, half movement
8 Leg Important artery hit, death in 2d4 rounds
9 Abdomin Guts hanging out, CON or incapacitated
10 Abdomin Guts smashed, CON or incapacitated
11 Abdomin Guts punctured, death in 2d4 rounds
12 Abdomin Guts punctured, death blow
13 Chest Lung damage, -3 to all rolls
14 Chest Chest wound, death blow
15 Chest Important artery hit, death in 2d4 rounds
16 Chest Broken rib, -2 combat rolls
17 Hard Strike Double Damage
18 Power Strike Triple Damage
19 Brilliant Strike Quad Damage
20 Death Blow Decapitation, Death Blow