House rule: drawing deep

For my own campaign I was thinking of adding a house rule to give the opportunity to create more movie/book like last ditch epic actions.

“When rolling using an physical or supernatural attribute you can take 10 damage to get 1 advantage on the roll. You can also take 20 damage for 2 advantage etc.”

And maybe also adding a feat that would half the damage that you get. (thinking naming it something like edgedancer, edgeskimmer). Making the charachter more adept at going over its normal limits. I expect the ability not to be used that much, so was thinking of letting it cost maybe only 1 point?

What do you guys think. Do you think it will allow for more epic situations? do you think its balanced? would you increase/decrease the damage taken. Please let me know ^^

Seems tricky to balance, but as long as all of your players have access to it equally, go for it!

I mean, you could just give Advantage if they give a great description of their epic action?

If you are actually wanting a “sacrifice to get something”, just look at Reckless attack as an example. That one is only taking 5 HP to do get another attack.

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I like the idea personally - I’m a fan of ways to make attacks that are more powerful than usual at great cost, especially in a system that has no resource management outside of health, so it seems like a natural progression. I would make the feat cost 2 points rather than 1 - it’s not quite as costly as Reckless Attack, but it also isn’t quite as significant as a whole other attack, so I think that’s a good area to place it in.

I crafted a feat similar to this, taking time to build up instead of damage.

Also, remember @Skysear, HP is a premium resource. Most players never get high numbers, so 10-20 hp is a HUGE hit.

Also I think forcing a bane like fatigued rather than doing actual damage seems more applicable here.

Reckless attack has fatigue stacked on top of it, b/c you have to have battle trance active to use it. So the HP cost is on top of having fatigue once you finish combat.

Also if you were going to have something that allowed the damage to be reduced, it wouldn’t make any sense to have a separate feat for it, it would just be Tier 2 of the feat.

Only reason to have a separate feat would be if there was a collection of feats that required you to trade HP for something.

Also, another comparison to make with reckless attack. In that one you do get a FULL action roll, the more rolls you have the higher chance to explode, b/c that allows you to roll more d20 dice as well, whereas advantage only allows more attribute dice.

Just get 1 or 2 advantage, especially for that trade off of HP, doesn’t even guarantee a hit (though neither does reckless attack).

I think my overall thought on this is, if someone is wanting to be epic, let them. Give them advantage dice for their description, or for what they are attempting to do in the moment. You, as the GM, are free to award advantage(or disadvantage) for anything you see fit. Heck, look at one of the descriptions right out of the core rules:

Attacking a foe during an acrobatic stunt

Or you can look at it as awarding a Legend Point that can immediately be used (in that case you would be getting an extra +1 to the roll total as well).

Reviewing the OP, I think that the rule allowing characters to take damage in exchange for Advantage is not being suggested as a feat. It’s more like a Focus Action; it’s available to everyone without having to buy it. That would be the reason for a separate feat to reduce the HP penalty in this case.

Yeah, Carl you’re right. The idea is to have something for everyone, and you can buy a feat to make it more easier to use.

I am sympathathic towards the idea of letting cool descriptions get legend points/advantage but I can image plenty of cases where a cool description is not really applicable. Say you want to draw all the energy from you body to blast that orc with a fireball as it the only chance that your buddy will survive. making a cool description of doing that would be hard for me to do, meaning that I can’t expect it from my players. Maybe some of you are familiar with the wheel of time? The ability is loosely based on overchanneling. Drawing in more of your magic than is strictly healthy for you to do.

Comparing it to reckless attack is I think a good idea. The feat that I would introduce would have the same health penalty. So the question is, for 3 feat points you get an extra attack, how many feat points would be an advantage 1 .
I think that if I would make it 2 points, that people will be likely to skip for a normal attack specialisation. So I think 1 points looks more attractive right now

@conrad, I really like your feat as well, and will put it in my campaign. It captures more of the feeling I have of magic from all the books I have read. But I think that in some ways it’s the opposite of my idea. with your feat you take time to make it bigger. Where my idea that you rush whatever you are doing, you are not doing it carefull enough, therefore you take damage.

The problem with 1 feat point is that Advantage 1 you speak of can apply to anything. Whereas attack specialization ONLY applies to the listed weapon or energy type, etc. So it is more versatile then Attack Specialization, but has the cost of the HP.

I would say a min of 2 for the cost here.

Please don’t read the things I’m saying as trying to push you to not create a feat like this, just providing as much info as I can.

The type of situation you are describing is exactly what legend points are for. They are the reason you try and build them up for a situation where you can:

draw all the energy from you body to blast that orc with a fireball as it the only chance that your buddy will survive

All you have to do to negate the disadvantage of losing the HP on this is have Life Drain tacked on. You lose 5 HP (with the feat reducing), but then, especially with the extra advantage, you end up dealing a lot of damage and getting that HP right back. Now of course not everyone is going to be able to have Life Drain up, or for it to make sense for their character. And if you do end up focusing on doing something like that it could create a cool character concept.

For example, if I saw this, I would go for an Entropy Death Mage Archetype (for that Life Drain). Focus on Area damage and the feat to reduce the HP, then do area attacks so that when I hit, I hit multiple targets, and get that Life Drain from each of them so I can do something like 3~5 Advantage (losing 15~25 HP), and most likely getting it right back. Cool concept altogether, not sure if it would end up being too powerful or not.

The other approach would be to make it Lethal Damage you suffer, instead of HP. That would make it a more serious gamble, and something people really wouldn’t use as much, at least at lower levels.

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10 Lethal Damage for Advantage 1 is a brutal tradeoff. I’m not going to say it’s never worth it, but certainly at low levels there’s a good chance that could lead directly to character death. If going the route of making it lethal, you might consider a lower HP cost.

Just a thought: if the base cost is a smaller amount of Lethal Damage (maybe 5?), a feat might instead be to treat it as 10 regular damage instead of Lethal Damage. However, that would definitely need to cost 2-3 points.

I was never suggesting 10 Lethal Damage, just that it might be modified in some way to be Lethal Damage.

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I would perhaps do the default is take 5 lethal damage to do this, but if you take a feat it increases the amount of Advantage you gain per tier.

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That’s a good approach. What do you think about cost? I’d lean towards 2 points per tier.

Fine @Carl FINE I’ll go ahead and write it out as an actual rule and feat for a House Rule.

So, first of all, I do think 10 lethal for the default. This makes people not specializing in using this particular aspect for it to be more of “uh oh, really need this” type of choice. Also regulating it to a focus action for the default, the feat opens things up for all of that though.

A new Focus Action for your own House Rules:


In addition to Advantage 1 on any action roll, you may gain an additional Advantage 1 per 10 Lethal Damage you take to yourself. You also gain a flat +1 per 10 Lethal Damage taken.

Effects that prevent or reduce damage cannot affect this self-inflicted damage. You suffer the damage before making your focus action, so you must be able to remain conscious after the damage is dealt in order to benefit from your advantage.

#Death Dancer
Cost: 2 Points

  • Foritude 3, Presence 3, or Will 3

By willingly punishing your own body in the heat of battle, you boost your next action in a way that physically drains you but devastates your foes. This could be a mage overcharging their magic and taking feedback or a solider pulling muscles as they swing with all their might.

This feat works together with the Overexertion focus action determined by your tier in this feat.

  • Tier 1 - When using Overexertion, you still gain all the benefits, but now the cost is only 5 Lethal Damage.

  • Tier 2 - Now you may use Overexertion as a major action instead of a focus action.

  • Tier 3 - You now gain Advantage 2 per 5 lethal damage taken.

  • Tier 4 - You may choose to gain Advantage 3 per 5 lethal damage taken, but at the cost of 1 level of fatigue per 5 lethal damage taken…

  • Tier 5 - You may choose to gain Advantage 4 per 5 lethal damage taken, but at the cost of 2 levels of fatigue per 5 lethal damage taken.

I kept waffling between combining Tier 1 & 2 together, or have them separate. I think together and I would have to increase the cost to 3…

Thoughts @Mork

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also waffling on the fatigue costs.

My only concern is that Advantage 2 stacking (10 lethal damage = a total of Advantage 5 + 2)

so I almost want it to be Fatigue at Tier 3, but per use, instead of per 5 lethal damage.

Then Tier 4 would jump up… maybe do:

Tier 3 - 1 level of fatigue per use
Tier 4 - 2 level of fatigue per use
Tier 5 - 3 level of fatigue per use

@Mork so here’s a problem making a “non-feat”: it has to make sense. How are they describing the loss of HP, and it should be very descriptive and unique each time. Do NOT let them get away with trivializing “I take damage, get Advantage”, because then it just ends up as lame.

@Carl @Great_Moustache as far as Lethal Damage goes, I would change it to Exertion Damage: essentially an altered form of Lethal Damage that heals much quicker with rest. For example, instead of healing only Fortitude Attribute per day resting (a la Lethal damage), Exertion Damage is auto-recovered at a rate of 1 per minute of non-strenuous activity.

This would mean that during Combat it isn’t able to be healed but you can rapidly recover between combats by “taking a breather”.