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GM Tips: Flanking and Other Optional Rules You May Forget



Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition offers a variety of optional rules that can be used to enhance or modify the standard rules of the game. These optional rules can be a great way to add new challenges, options, and depth to your D&D experience. Here is an overview of all the optional rules in D&D 5e, so buckle up:


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Variant Rules

Variant Rules are optional rules that can be used to modify or enhance the standard rules of the game. These rules can add new mechanics, change existing ones, or simply adjust the balance of the game. Here are some examples of Variant Rules:

  1. Flanking: This rule allows characters to gain advantage on attack rolls against an enemy if they are on opposite sides of the enemy.

  2. Healing Surges: This rule allows characters to spend hit dice to regain hit points during a short rest.

  3. Hero Points: This rule allows players to earn hero points for good roleplaying or heroic deeds, which can be used to gain advantage on rolls or even cheat death.

  4. Lingering Injuries: This rule adds a level of realism to combat by giving characters lingering injuries that can have lasting effects.

  5. Slow Natural Healing: This rule slows down the natural healing process, making it more difficult to recover from injuries.

  6. Vitality Points: This rule adds a new layer of hit points called vitality points, which can be used to absorb damage before the character starts losing hit points.

  7. Weapon Properties: This rule adds new weapon properties, such as reach or brace, which can modify how weapons are used in combat.

  8. Wilderness Survival: This rule adds new mechanics for surviving in the wilderness, including tracking, foraging, and navigating.


Optional Rules

Optional Rules are rules that can be used to adjust the balance of the game or to add new options for players. Here are some examples of Optional Rules:

  1. Feats: Feats are special abilities that characters can gain as they level up, allowing them to customize their character and gain new abilities.

  2. Multiclassing: Multiclassing allows characters to gain levels in multiple classes, giving them access to a wider range of abilities.

  3. Skills with Different Abilities: This rule allows players to use different abilities for skills, such as using Strength instead of Dexterity for Acrobatics.

  4. Spell Points: This rule replaces the standard spell slot system with a spell point system, allowing characters more flexibility in their spellcasting.

  5. Training: This rule allows characters to spend downtime training to gain new proficiencies or even to gain levels.

  6. Epic Boons: Epic Boons are powerful abilities that characters can gain at high levels, giving them god-like powers and abilities.

  7. Quick Characters: This rule allows players to quickly create characters using pre-generated options.

  8. Action Options: This rule adds new options for actions in combat, such as disarming or shoving opponents.

Overall, these optional rules can add a lot of depth and complexity to your D&D game, although many DMs just completely forget that they're available to use. Whether you want to add new mechanics, adjust the balance of the game, or simply customize your character, there is an optional rule for everyone. Just remember to discuss these rules with your DM before using them in your game, as they can have a big impact on the balance and feel of the game, and if you're the DM make sure to let the players know that you're using alternative rules that may make the game feel differently than they're used to. - Joe



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1 Kommentar


Jared Manninen
Jared Manninen
03. Mai 2023

I'm sure you already have a list of other articles you plan to write. However, I'm a newer DM and would love to see a more in-depth look at each of these optional rules (in their own separate articles). Not sure if that's possible, but thought I'd throw it out there 😊

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