4 MORE Official Alternate Rules to Consider

A couple of weeks ago we discussed 5 very interesting rules that you could add to your campaign. Today we take a look at another 4 official rules worth exploring.

A couple of weeks ago we discussed 5 very interesting rules that you could possibly benefit from by adding them to your game; you can find that article over here. Today we are taking a look at 4 other official rules that are worth exploring.


A campaign might include explosives from the Renaissance or the modern world (the latter are priceless), as presented in the Explosives table. Bomb: As an action, a character can light this bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage. Gunpowder: Gunpowder is chiefly used to propel a bullet out of the barrel of a pistol or rifle, or it is formed into a bomb. Gunpowder is sold in small wooden kegs and in water-resistant powder horns. Setting fire to a container full of gunpowder can cause it to explode, dealing fire damage to creatures within 10 feet of it (3d6 for a powder horn, 7d6 for a keg). A successful DC 12 Dexterity saving throw halves the damage. Setting fire to an ounce of gunpowder causes it to flare for 1 round, shedding bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet. Dynamite: As an action, a creature can light a stick of dynamite and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 3d6 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A character can bind sticks of dynamite together so they explode at the same time. Each additional stick increases the damage by 1d6 (to a maximum of 10d6) and the burst radius by 5 feet (to a maximum of 20 feet). Dynamite can be rigged with a longer fuse to explode after a set amount of time, usually 1 to 6 rounds. Roll initiative for the dynamite. After the set number of rounds goes by, the dynamite explodes on that initiative. Grenades: As an action, a character can throw a grenade at a point up to 60 feet away. With a grenade launcher, the character can propel the grenade up to 120 feet away. Each creature within 20 feet of an exploding fragmentation grenade must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d6 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. One round after a smoke grenade lands, it emits a cloud of smoke that creates a heavily obscured area in a 20-foot radius. A moderate wind (at least 10 miles per hour) disperses the smoke in 4 rounds; a strong wind (20 or more miles per hour) disperses it in 1 round.
Source: DMG, page 267

Okay, hear me out, you don’t need to have all the different types of explosives, and it definitely doesn’t need to be a worldwide thing; maybe it’s only the Dwarves who make use of explosives for their mining, or a specific civilization that utilizes them. The key here is introducing the explosives as you would any new item, describe what they look like without directly spoiling what they are and I guarantee once recognition sets in for your players, you’ll be glad you added them in.

Fear and Horror

The rules for fear and horror can help you sustain an atmosphere of dread in a dark fantasy campaign. Fear: When adventurers confront threats they have no hope of overcoming, you can call for them to make a Wisdom saving throw. Set the DC according to the circumstances. A character who fails the save becomes frightened for 1 minute. The character can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of his or her turns, ending the effect on the character on a successful save. Horror: Horror involves more than simple fright. It entails revulsion and anguish. Often it arises when adventurer see something completely contrary to the common understanding of what can and should occur in the world, or upon the realization of a dreadful truth. In such a situation, you can call on characters to make a Charisma saving throw to resist the horror. Set the DC based on the magnitude of the horrific circumstances. On a failed save, a character gains a short-term or long-term form of madness that you choose or determine randomly, as detailed in chapter 8, “Running the Game.”
Source:  DMG, page 266

This one is one of those rules that Dungeon Masters en up imposing without really noticing they are. It’s also very reminiscent of other TTRPGs such as Call of Cthulhu. When set up properly, I think this rule could go a long way toward setting the atmosphere for a tense moment.

Proficiency Dice

This optional rule replaces a character’s proficiency bonus with a proficiency die, adding more randomness to the game and making proficiency a less reliable indicator of mastery. Instead of adding a proficiency bonus to an ability check, an attack roll, or saving throw, the character’s player rolls a die. The Proficiency Die table shows which die or dice to roll, as determined by the character’s level. Whenever a feature, such as the rogue’s Expertise, lets a character double his or her proficiency bonus, the player rolls the character’s proficiency die twice instead of once. This option is intended for player characters and nonplayer characters who have levels, as opposed to monsters who don’t.
Source: DMG, page 263

Once again, this optional rule is reminiscent of other systems. I definitely enjoy the idea of making proficiency a bit more randomized, but my one concern is the additional dice involved. I feel like players, especially newer players, might struggle with this a little.

Planar Effects

When adventurers travel to other planes of existence, they undertake a legendary journey that might force them to face supernatural guardians and undergo various ordeals. You can choose to add effects to any or all of the planes, to better represent their uniqueness.
Source: DMG, page 50

Who doesn’t like plane hopping? By adding this rule you’ll also be adding a little extra something to the experience. Not only that but this ruling also helps to accentuate the different flavors of the various planes.

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