Many players and GM’s find the standard rules in 5e to be too forgiving, reducing the physical dangers of the world around them, allowing ignore the consequences of their choices.
The standard rules:
– Wearing heavy armor? No problem, you can swim for miles!
– Need to jump across a chasm? No problem, compare the distance to your STR — no risk of falling!
– Knocked off a 150 foot tower? No problem, brush yourself off and keep fighting!
If you prefer a more dangerous world, where your player’s face actual risks from the physical world, then consider using the the following rules for Swimming, Jumping, and Falling.
Rules for falling into water, and what happens to items you are carrying, are included, as well as rules for swimming speed, sinking rates based on armor and water conditions, and drowning.
Jumps are scary!
When a player automatically knows ahead of time whether or not a jump across a pit of spikes will succeed, it removes all suspense and challenge from the game. Jumping should be based on Athletic proficiency, with a small chance for success or failure factored in. Here you will find rules for jumping over and across obstacles which bring some risk and suspense back to the game.
According to the standard rules, a higher level character can easily fall from a 200 foot ledge, stand up and brush themselves off, and start fighting as if nothing has happened. Shouldn’t falling from great heights be dangerous? These rules make falling from great heights dangerous for ALL characters, and include lingering injuries when acrobatics checks fail. Also included are variations for falling into water and onto other creatures, as well as catching hold of items and surfaces to stop a fall.
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