Simplified Special Attacks (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: September 4, 2010
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Simplified Special Attacks[edit]

Special attacks such as bull rush, trip, and grapple are rather complicated as-is, requiring a number of rolls and steps. This variant attempts to make such maneuvers simple, interesting, and balanced. All special attacks require a Fortitude or Reflex save by the one being affected (defender's choice), with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 attacker's BAB + Strength or Dexterity modifier (attacker's choice). Creatures get a bonus to their saves and DCs equal to the additive inverse of the bonus or penalty they get from size to attack rolls (+1 for a large creature, +2 for a huge creature, and so on), and the attack rolls mentioned below may be normal or touch attacks (though tough attacks generally do no damage if their only added effect is to use a special attack).

Note that some special attacks such as sunder and disarm can't really be balanced conceptually in certain campaigns, and so won't be touched.

Bull Rush[edit]

In order to bull rush an opponent, you must take a swift action that provokes an AoO upon making a successful melee attack. The target must then make a saving throw or be bull rushed, moving 5' away from you, and if the attack was part of a charge increase the DC by 4. For every 2 by which your opponent failed his save, you may move him up to another 5' in a straight line, moving along with him if you choose. The movement from the use of this ability does not provoke AoOs.

Changes to Improved Bull Rush[edit]

Benefit: You gain a +2 to your Bull Rush DC, and attempting a Bull Rush does not provoke an AoO.

Feint[edit]

As normal, but takes a move-equivalent action.

Changes to Improved Feint[edit]

Benefit: You may feint as a swift action.

Grapple[edit]

In order to grapple an opponent, you must take a swift action that provokes an AoO upon making a successful melee attack against an adjacent target. The target must then make a saving throw, and on a failed save both you and your target are considered grappled (as below), though you may release the creature as a free action to end the grapple. Escaping a grapple is a move action that allows you to make either another save or Escape Artist check against the original DC. If you bull rush in a grapple, you must move with the target and don't have the option of having them move alone.

Grappled: You are immobilized, and take -2 to attacks and DCs against creatures who you are not grappling.

Special: You may "ground" flying creatures through a special use of grapple. You may make a ranged attack instead of a melee one, and if the target fails the save against the grapple DC they immediately fall 60', becoming unable to fly and potentially taking falling damage. At the start of their next turn they may once again begin flying should they wish to.

Changes to Improved Grapple[edit]

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to the DC of your Grapple attempts, and attempting to grapple does not provoke an AoO.

Trip[edit]

In order to trip an opponent, you must take a swift action that provokes an AoO upon making a successful melee attack. The target must then make a saving throw or be made prone.

Changes to Improved Trip[edit]

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to the DC of your Trip attempts, and attempting to trip does not provoke an AoO.

Changes to Trip[edit]

  • Being prone gives a -2 penalty to AC against melee attacks (rather than 4).
  • Being prone gives a +2 bonus to AC against ranged attacks (rather than 4).
  • Getting up from prone does not provoke an AoO.



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AuthorGhostwheel +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
RatingUndiscussed +
TitleSimplified Special Attacks +