New Mechanics: Combat & Weapons

Hook Sword

Fifth Edition (5e) clearly has placed an emphasis on simplicity. While this is a very good focus for new players, Secret Garden believes that we can use this as an opportunity to add nuance that opens up design space. As an example, we bring you some of our additions to combat actions. 

The ten “Actions in Combat” that the core 5e rules presents cover a pretty wide range of options for a player whose character is caught in battle. However, once we started looking at the plethora of weapons and martial arts in Southeast Asia, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to do justice using only those ten choices. So we will introduce two (so far) new combat actions; the first is Defend which offers a middle ground for a player that is somewhere between a full-on Attack and a completely defensive Dodge. This action will allow the character to still attack, but also increase their survivability. This is particularly true if they are using a Defensive weapon (see below).  The other, Bind Weapon, is actually an addendum to the Ready action that gives players that choose to, a way of tying up a particularly dangerous enemy weapon.

New Action in Combat:

When you take the Defend action, you sacrifice attack power to focus on blocking enemy strikes. With this action, you make one melee attack with disadvantage on both the attack and damage roll. See the “Making an Attack” section for the rules that govern attacks. Until your next turn, you add your proficiency bonus to your Armor Class against melee attacks if you can see the attacker. Until your next turn, you cannot take opportunity attacks.

Bind Weapon

You must be wielding a melee weapon with the Binding property and you must have proficiency with it. If you have taken the Ready action, you may use your melee attack to restrain your opponent’s melee weapon. To do so, when you take the Ready action, declare that you are readying a bind. After that, whenever an opponent that you can see attacks you with a melee weapon, you may choose to either let the attack pass or trigger the bind. When you trigger the bind, you make an attack roll with a weapon that you are wielding with the Binding property. This attack is contested by the opponent’s attack that triggered the bind. If you succeed, you have bound the weapon, neither your attack, nor your opponent’s does any damage. If you fail, your opponent has disadvantage on the damage roll and your attack does no damage.

  Your opponent cannot attack or in any way use a bound weapon. A creature with a bound weapon can use its action to attempt to free the weapon. To do so, it must succeed in a Strength (Athletics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check. You may release a bound weapon at any time as a free action.

New Weapon Property:

If you are wielding a weapon with the Defensive property and have taken the Defend action in combat, you can use your reaction to deflect a blow when you are hit by a melee attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by the amount shown next your weapon’s Defensive property. Example: Defensive (1d4).

As an example of how this opens up design space for more advanced combat tactics, here is the rough draft of a Hook Sword and some preliminary Feats that complement it and the Actions seen above. Please note that not only are these rules rough drafts, but some of them are not necessarily going to be in our Core Rulebook.

New Martial Melee Weapon: 

Longsword, hook 1d8 slashing Defensive (1d4), Binding

New Feats: 
Tiger Hook Adept

Prerequisites: Proficiency with Long Sword; Dexterity 13 or higher.

You have trained in the Hook longsword, also known as Hook Swords or Tiger Hooks. You gain the following benefits.

  • Increase your Strength score by 1 to a maximum of 20.
  • If you have successfully bound an enemy’s held weapon with a Hook Sword using the Bind Weapon option of the Ready combat action, on a subsequent turn you may attempt to disarm that weapon (the GM decides if this is not possible, such as with natural weapons, etc). If you do, make a Strength (Athletic) check, The difficulty of the check is 10 + opponent’s Strength modifier + opponent’s proficiency bonus (if they are proficient in the weapon being wielded).
  • The Defensive property of your hook longswords increased from 1d4 to 1d6.
Tiger Hook Master

Prerequisites: Tiger Hook Adept feat; Two-Weapon Fighting Style class feature; Strength 13 or higher.

You have mastered the art of wielding the exotic, but deadly hook longsword. You gain the following benefits.

  • Your Dexterity score increases by 1 to a maximum of 20.
  • When you are wielding two hook longswords, they each gain the Light weapon property.
  • Once each turn after you miss with an attack with a hook longsword, you may immediately make a bonus attack against the same enemy using the sharpened hilt of the sword. If successful, the attack inflicts 1d6 piercing damage.
  • If you are wielding two hook longswords, you may use the Attack action to loosely link the hooks together and make a single sweeping attack. If you do, your hook longsword gains Reach until the end of the turn and you make a single attack roll. Apply the results of this roll to the Armor Class of each creature within range of your hook longsword. For each creature whose AC is equal to or lower than your attack roll, inflict 1d4 slashing damage (roll separately for each creature affected). This is still considered a melee attack with a hook longsword, so apply any appropriate modifiers to both the attack and damage rolls. You can only make this single attack this turn regardless of whether you have features that grant additional attacks.

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