HEY. This reminds me that I wrote some combat tweaks that I’ve been fiddling with for a long time and that I’m pretty happy with. The main goal was to make the 5e combat rules significantly more historically accurate at the expense of not much additional cruft or damage to the general heroic fantasy atmosphere. A secondary goal was to give melee combatants a bit more to think about while in combat and when choosing equipment.
I know 5e is very down on crufty floating modifiers, +1s and -2s everywhere, and I am aware that these rules add a couple of those back in which would probably be poo-poohed by the official WOTC people, but fuck it we’re all adults and we can handle a couple of -2s especially when we’re melee people and don’t have much else to think about. I very consciously tried to minimize them though and stick to dis/advantage wherever it made sense.
Medium and heavy armors must be fitted to their wearers. Wearing unfitted armor gives -2 AC, eliminates any Dex bonus to AC, and gives disadvantage on all Dex checks.
Armor may be fitted by an appropriate professional for one-quarter the purchase cost.
Magical armors automatically fit any wearer of the same general size and shape.
Mail Shirt 12+Dex
-2 penalty to any Stealth check.
Full Mail 13+Dex (max 2)
Coat of Plates 14+Dex (max 2)
Brigandine 15+Dex (max 2)
Disadvantage on any Stealth check.
17 vs. bludgeon
18 vs. piercing
20 vs. slashing
Helm +1 AC
A creature must be proficient in some kind of armor to properly wear a helm. While worn, a helm gives its wearer disadvantage to any Perception checks. It takes one action to don a helm, and a minor action (as drawing a weapon) to take it off.
Shields only grant their AC bonus if the wielder is aware of the attacker.
Buckler +1 AC
A buckler may be drawn to the ready simultaneously with a weapon as a minor action.
Shield +2 AC
It takes a minor action, as drawing a weapon, to ready a shield. To draw a weapon and ready a shield simultaneously requires an action.
In order to attack with two weapons, the offhand weapon must be light, and the mainhand weapon may not be versatile.
Any opponent Large or smaller entering the range of a reach weapon provokes an AO, unless they too are wielding a reach weapon. The opponent may use their action to evade this AO.
Grapple range weapons
When attacking with unarmed, a mainhand dagger, or half-swording, a combatant may make an extra attack when he takes the attack action, in addition to any other extra attacks granted by other game features. The victim, however, has advantage on attack rolls made against the attacker, until either the beginning of the attacker’s next turn or until the attacker leaves the victim’s reach.
Unarmored targets are vulnerable to any slashing damage.
Light/medium armored targets suffer a -1 AC penalty against piercing damage.
Heavy armored targets suffer a -1 AC penalty against bludgeoning damage (this penalty is already factored into the entry for Plate Harness, above).
The DM makes this categorization call for any non-humanoid creature based on common sense. Ex: unarmored = wolf or leopard; light/medium = grizzly bear; heavy = giant spider or dragon. Any vulnerability/resistance/immunity in the stat block overwrites these effects.
If a weapon offers multiple damage types, the attacker may choose whichever he pleases when he makes his attack roll.
1d4 piercing in melee.
1d4 bludgeoning, versatile 1d6. Reach. Finesse.
15’ reach. A pike has reach even on other weapons with reach. It has disadvantage, however, against any target within 5’.
These stats apply to any basic one-handed cut-and-thrust sword. Ex. Viking-era sword, arming sword, broadsword, sidesword, saber, dao, falchion, messer.
These stats apply to any one-handed, thrust-centric sword. Ex. Spatha, spadroon, jian, smallsword.
Slashing or piercing.
Slashing or bludgeoning.
May be half-sworded. Half-swording requires two hands and does 1d6 piercing damage.
New weapon. Heavy, two-handed. Does 1d10 bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing.
All crossbows are simple weapons.
Requires 2 actions to load. These actions need not be consecutive. The user may use her move+action to load in a single round.
When two-weapon fighting you may wield any one-handed weapon in either hand. You may take advantage of the reach rules as above, but only with one of your weapons per round, even if both of your weapons have reach.
(+1 AC and draw/stow 2 weapons as written)
Heavy Armor Master
Addition: instead of imposing disadvantage, heavy armor only gives you a -2 penalty to Stealth checks.
Bonus 1d4 attack also applies to pollaxe and spear.
Bonus 1d4 attack may only be made against enemies within 5’.
The AO described in the reach rules above is now made with advantage. In addition, you also gain a non-advantage AO against any other approaching creature not fitting the criteria (i.e. larger than Large or also wielding a reach weapon). The creature may use its action to cancel your advantage, but not to evade the AO altogether.
Addition: you may draw a weapon and ready a shield as a single minor action.