Object Interactions Repealed (5e Variant Rule)

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How To Get $#!+ Done[edit]

When I first purchased the PHB, I and my friends were amazed at how much combat had changed. How swift and efficient everything had become. Then I discovered that not a thing had changed, I'd just skipped over a paragraph that makes all the difference in combat. When we tried to run combat correctly, the mood went sour fast, and curse words were all around. (Kind of like what happens when we run 3.5e) So I completely rewrote the rule. The issue is, of course, object interactions: an arbitrary stumbling block with no justification.

Following the RAW, characters get one object interaction per turn- the same as actions, bonus actions, and reactions. (If it had been stated that way up front- as a standard action resource- no confusion would have occurred. Instead, it's buried in a fluffy, directionless paragraph that only implies the ruling. "Object interactions" as an action resource is entirely a player-invented term for describing its effects.) The biggest problem with this is that every item in a character's inventory counts- even their own clothing. As a consequence,

  • Dual-welders can only draw one weapon per turn. Their opening turn deprotagonizes them. (Unless they get a specific feat. This forces games with dual welders to include feats simply for the sake of letting one character use both hands. And they can't even do it until they're level 4. It also forces such players to waste an ability score increase just to obtain basic functionality of their character.)
  • Switching weapons takes two turns. You can attack with each weapon per turn, but you cannot draw and sheath a weapon on the same turn. That means you can not attack with 5 different weapons in a series of extra attacks, nor can you attack with a different weapon every turn.
  • Environmental destruction. Technically, you can only smash through one door per round, no matter how fast or heavy you are. You could be on horseback with 60ft of speed, with a battering ram, but a second door will stop you like a wall of adamantium. You aren't even allowed to attempt smashing through it.

To remedy this issue of characters fumbling around with their gear all the time, here are my amendments to object interactions:

  1. Object Interactions are now called Environment Interactions and pertain only to exterior interactions with the setting, not stumbling around over your own two feet.
  2. Interactions with your inventory are not environment interactions. It is assumed that any item your character is using in combat was already believed to be of potential use in combat by the character beforehand, and carried in such a manner as to be readily accessed at a moment's notice. Explanation or description of how a character carries their items or accesses them is not necessary or desired. If provided, such description should be used to enhance the entertainment value of the action by providing flavor and style to the aesthetic of the shared imagined situation.
  3. Each character has 1 environment interaction.
  4. Each character also has 1 environment interaction per move, action, bonus action, and reaction.
  5. A character may use their environment interactions in conjunction with their paired actions, or forfeit the action for a stand-alone environment interaction. For example, a character could make 5 object interactions in a single turn if they forfeited their move, action, bonus action, and reaction for the round. Alternatively, they could make an environment interaction with their move, another with their action, another with their reaction, etc.
  6. A character may use multiple free-standing environment interactions simultaneously with a standard action type. For example, a character may forfeit their bonus action and reaction for the round and use those free-standing environment interactions simultaneously with their attack action and its paired environment interaction.
  7. A repetitive activity is counted as a single activity. Smashing through a series of barriers, or pulling a lever repeatedly are examples.
  8. A character may interact with a number of objects limited only by their anatomy. (You can hold a door shut with one hand and stab people with the other, you can hold 3 wine bottles by their necks in one hand, etc.)
  9. Item exchanges between characters only consume 1 environment interaction from the initiator. The recipient experiences no penalty or limitation to catching or receiving items beyond those imposed by circumstances, nor does it consume any of their action currency.
  10. These rules are not to be told to the players in detail or held in high regard as rules. They are simply general guidelines for the sake of preventing characters from taking over the game in a single turn.
  11. This is entirely a long-winded way of saying "black out that stupid rule with a sharpie marker and carry on."

Upon implementation if these amendments, everything becomes snappier- sharper- quicker; characters move through their environment effortlessly, and truly exciting, cinematic actions can take place.

  • That attacking orc can smash through the door, flip a table, and throw a commoner across the room in a single turn!
  • The dashing rogue can draw both blades and enter into a flurry of attacks on his first turn, and then deftly sheath one to throw a dagger from his boot on the next before leaping from the balcony to swing from the chandelier!
  • You can pull every door shut behind yourself as you flee the masked murderer in the mansion!
  • The healer can throw a healing potion to each of his party members in rapid succession.
  • You can drink a potion, draw your sword, or throw caltrops at the same moment your reaction is provoked- in addition to your prepared action!
  • The fighter can decapitate a goblin with his great sword, sheath it, draw his bow, and shoot the bugbear leader in the chest with an arrow using his extra attack, in one turn.

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