I’m always looking for ways to make the game more fun and make it easier for me to run. There’s a couple that have it my radar that are getting added to my already list of house rules.
Let’s hit the easy one first. Cinematic Advantage. Tired of boring old combats? Want the players to do something besides just run up and beat the monster until it stops moving. Then look at the Cinematic Advantage rule by Sly Flourish. So just go read that post and you’ve got what you need.
The second is Fate Magic. I’m grabbing this from Art of the Genre‘s Black Label No 5: Dagger, Venom, Throne. It’s a simple mechanic for NPC spell casters and it doesn’t need me as the DM to keep track of spells. I used it in this last weekend’s game and it worked pretty well. Now, the first thing you have to realize that as a DM, you have to be fair about using it and not just kill of the player characters.
Here’s how it works. The foe has a number of d6’s equal to their HD/level that they can use each round for magic effects. So they can do any magic/spell effect that’s thematically appropriate and that basically fits with overall game mechanics and spell design. Here’s what I did with some 2 HD Cultists. Heal 2d6 HP. Create an area of tentacles that did 2d6 damage (Save for half), Save at -2 or be blind for a round. They could have a 2HD demon. Did a 2d6 blast. Whatever. Like I said the DM really has to be fair. I could have easily blasted away at one PC until they dropped but I wanted the encounter to be interesting and challenging. So throwing in whatever happen to pop into my head at the time that was basically fair but still obstacle. I didn’t have to look up spells for exact areas, ranges, effects and so on. It was roll some dice and move onto the action.
For a big bad or major villain, I probably wouldn’t use this. But for something challenging and off the cuff or just a bunch of cultists, then it can work fine at the table and make my job easier as DM with less bookkeeping and more attention on making an exciting encounter.