5th Edition Improved Combat Variant

Monkey Duel 1

Combat is, undoubtedly, the cornerstone of a successful game of D&D. Of all the pillars that support an adventure, it is the one which players will most strongly consider when creating their characters. A character without any combat capability will be quickly found wanting by the measure of other adventurers.

However, in spite of the great significance of this element of the game, the rules of combat are woefully restrictive. Even fighters, martial champions who live as knights, royal guards, and elite soldiers, and who are trained in weapons that emphasize vastly different combat styles, do not automatically know how to lunge or parry without taking a specific subclass (Battle Master). The end result is … well, I’ll let the above image summarize my feelings on it.

It also means that melee characters are restrained to repeating the basic Attack action while spellcasters in the party are plumbing their arsenal of spells, shapeshifting forms, and other exciting abilities that make combat interesting. Playing a fighter can, at times, seem like an exercise in simply hitting what’s in front of you until it breaks. This variant is intended to provide greater substance to the combat experience for both fighters and other characters who may use melee attacks.

The document below is intended to expand on chapter 9, “Combat”, of the Player’s Handbook. The entries are additional options to consider when determining how you intend to use your turn’s various actions in combat.

Actions in Combat - Manoeuvres

Click the image to link to a PDF.

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