Cinematic actions - How to give them advantage - nearly

2021.12.06 15:39 ljmiller62 Cinematic actions - How to give them advantage - nearly

Among all the things D&D players love to do, in combat pretty much all D&D players want

  1. To accomplish cinematic actions. Swing from the chandelier and attack. Cut the chain holding a giant chandelier with an arrow shot, pinning the enemy mobs inside it. Slide down the stairs on a tower shield strafing their enemies with their longbow. Throw an enemy at another enemy, impaling the second with the polearm of the first. Have their goblin leap on the shoulders of an ally and throw their poisoned dart in the boss's eye. Etc.
  2. Mechanically speaking, they want to attack with advantage.
The problem with cinematic actions as most DMs run them is the players are essentially getting disadvantage on their attacks. Either their assisting skill (athletics or acrobatics for most of these examples) can fail, meaning the attack fails. Or their attack skill can fail, meaning the attack fails. This is essentially disadvantage (two rolls, only the worst roll counts). This will discourage players from even trying cinematic actions. So, contrary to the realistic rule (which is kind of the definition of cinematic rules) giving the player characters pseudo-advantage for cinematic plans will lead them to do more cinematic stuff.
I propose this mechanic:
Is this as good as advantage? It depends on how proficient the character is at their helping skill. If their skill modifiers are better than their attack modifiers then it's better than advantage, and if their skill modifiers are lower then it's not as good.
And yes, skill monkey characters will love this. But even barbarians can get in on the fun, using their terrific athletics skills to throw enemies, impaling them with the ceremonial sword being held by the basalt statue in the final chamber of the dungeon.
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