Stacking Proficiency (5e Variant Rule)

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Stacking Proficiency[edit]

I have more applicable experience, training, and natural talent than that other guy, but we both still get the same bonus?

Target Audience[edit]

  • Those who want more internal consistency to the game. Applying proficiency bonus only once is a purely mechanical contrivance to stabilize the game, and contradicts the stated input applying to a situation.
  • People who see character build options with multiple overlapping proficiencies and, after years of experience with more intuitive games, make a character with overlapping proficiencies, only to discover that these overlaps are basically a waste, and they would get more character power out of diversifying their effectiveness, rather than concentrating it.
  • People who find task resolution in 5e to be rather boring and anticlimactic and want to jazz it up a bit, or just like lots of finicky little complexities.

Reason & Scope[edit]

In the core rules your proficiency modifier only applies to a roll once, regardless how many times it is referenced by applicable proficiencies or circumstances. This variant gets rid of that limit.

Rule Change[edit]

Like the stacking advantage variant, this comes in multiple flavors. The first two are relatively the same idea as what is presented, but applying the concept to modifiers rather than dice pooling. The third version applies a totally different approach.

Note: It is not recommended to use both stacking rules together in any version combination. The two together produce substantial advantages for the PCs that most monsters cannot match without being level adjusted, increased in number, and possibly reinforced by special equipment, magical effects, or environmental/tactical benefits.

Version 1 (Hot)[edit]

This one is the simplest, but has the greatest impact on gameplay. For each instance of proficiency applying to a given roll, add your proficiency bonus to the result. If a given instance of proficiency is to be doubled or halved, only that instance is altered before being applied to the roll.

Example 1: A lvl1 character has proficiency in simple weapons, ranged weapons, and short bows. He has a DEX modifier of +4. When attacking with a short bow, he has an attack bonus of (4+2+2+2) 10.
Example 2: The above character now finds himself standing in an enchanted sniper's nest, which doubles his proficiency with ranged weapons. This doubles his ranged weapons proficiency, and his proficiency with short bows, as it is a ranged weapon. His attack bonus is now (4+2+4+4) 14.
Impact & Explanation[edit]

This version does only one thing: account for multiple instances of proficiency with no regard for its impact on gameplay or balance. The obvious impact is that players will focus on character builds which give them stacking proficiency bonuses, rather than builds which give them as many different applicable situations as possible.

Version 2 (Spicy)[edit]

Same as above, but for each additional instance of proficiency past the first, apply +1 to the roll instead of your proficiency modifier. There are two options on how to handle modifier doubling and halving.

A) Add 2 if it is doubled, 0 if it's halved. The problem here is in deciding which instance counts as the "first".

B) If there are any number of doublings or halvings, apply them only once to your initial proficiency modifier.

Example 1: A lvl1 character has proficiency in simple weapons, ranged weapons, and short bows. He has a DEX modifier of +4. When attacking with a short bow, he has an attack bonus of (4+2+1+1) 8.
Example 2A: The above character now finds himself standing in an enchanted sniper's nest, which doubles his proficiency with ranged weapons. This doubles his ranged weapons proficiency, and his proficiency with short bows, as it is a ranged weapon. His attack bonus is now either (4+2+2+2) 10 or some arrangement of (4+4+1+2) depending on the order of priority in proficiency application.
Example 2B: The above character now finds himself standing in an enchanted sniper's nest, which doubles his proficiency with ranged weapons. This doubles his ranged weapons proficiency, and his proficiency with short bows, as it is a ranged weapon. His attack bonus is now (4+4+1+1) 10.
Impact & Explanation[edit]

This version is intended to account for multiple instances of proficiency without having quite as heavy of an impact on gameplay or character design. It is now not as detrimental to characters who do not specialize, while characters who do focus on concentrating power in a single, limited area, do get a clear advantage in that regard.

Version 3 (Mild)[edit]

If multiple instances of proficiency apply to a roll, you have advantage in addition to proficiency.

Example: A first level character has proficiency in both martial weapons and long swords. He gets +2 ATK bonus from his proficiency modifier and advantage on the roll because more than one proficiency applies.
Impact & Explanation[edit]

This version is sort of a rearrangement of the pre-existing core rules to make them communicate with each other directly. The idea is to acknowledge that your character has a combination of skills, knowledge, and experience that would give him an advantage over someone who does not. It reduces penalization for stacked advantages, without emphasizing them either, giving players a greater balance between character build options.


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