In an effort to reduce the boring “anvil chorus” of a typical DnD combat, I added a house rule on Friday night.
No bonus if you ‘just swing’.
+1 bonus if you describe the attack in an interesting way, including where you’d like to hit and what you’d like to accomplish.
+2 bonus if you can do the above and tie it into the things that had occured in the previous round in an interesting way (build off it).
Basically, giving a bonus instead of a penalty for called shots (and I think I might have gotten the idea from someone’s recent WISH entry, which I still have to do đŸ˜› )
Result: far more memorable combats, with much more vivid descritions from both the players and the GM (shame on me for needing this boost, but oh well), and a far clearer understanding of what was going on.
The bonuses were not unbalancing (and weren’t used all the time at all). In general, only the ‘big’ fight seemed to warrant it, just like a movie — the drones just got cut down, ho hum, and the big fights were much more detailed and interesting.
There were a couple times when a narrow miss was turned into a hit when one player urgently told another “describe it, you might hit!” Good stuff.
I don’t think I’ll do the same for Star Wars — doesn’t exactly feel right for the genre, with all the wild shooting and lack of sniping (that and Jedi’s are annoying enough with their glowsticks without getting bonuses for attacking weapons). Don’t know.
Definately adding it to the Oriental Campaign, though.


  1. Seems like I got the idea reading about people’s favorite systems. Someone commented that they liked “Game_X” (might have been Over the Edge) because unlike everyone else, it gave bonuses instead of penalties for called shots.
    I started to wonder if other games could remain balanced and still use a similar mechanic.

  2. Yep, it was Over The Edge. It might be unbalancing in games were you have body part resolution of damage, but in most cases I guess it’s worth the fun.

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