Last I proposed a new house rule, where the players are awarded XP or the equivalent for narrating their failures. This however doesn’t fit very well with my campaigns. The thing is, when I play D&D I don’t deal XP out for beating monsters or for accomplishing mission goals. In the D&D 3.5-campaign, where the characters all are pupils at The Great School of Magic in The Principalities of Glantri (Mystara-setting), XP are alone gained by attending classes and passing exams. Adventuring is not the source of XP, and the players are balancing their time between attending school and adventuring. In my 4th ed.-campaigns, the PCs gains levels at regular intervals. Usually after a certain amount of encounters or milestones, thus slightly matching the progress, but not tied to the XP-system. As such my houserule needs changing.
For my one fourth ed.-campaign – where we are playing Night’s Dark Terror (a Mystara-setting-scenario from 1986) – the houserule will be applied in the following manner:
The Art of Failing – Night’s Dark Terror-style
When a player fails a skill check, the player can choose to describe the failed act. As part of this description must be a weakness of the character (that being the reason for the failed check). As a reward the player gains a Daily Power-Reroll.
The Daily Power-Reroll can be used to reroll a failed attack-roll, when the player is using a Daily power (this does not apply to reliable powers). A player can only possess one DP-Reroll at a time.
If the character does not possess a Daily Power, that allows a Reroll, the bonus can be used to gain a +2 attack modifier for one attack roll.
The Purpose of the Rule: More Fun with Daily Powers
Part of the purpose of this rule is to make Daily Powers more reliable, because it is – also for me as the GM – annoying to see dailies fail solely on an unfortunate dieroll, when from a narrative perspective Daily Powers are powers used at dramatic moments, and thus when the hero finally decides to use it, he is supposed to succeed. Another purpose is to turn failed skill checks into something interesting.
Eric Maziade wrote a post about the frustrations of not hitting with your daily power – Apparently I am not the only one to notice at bit of frustrating from the players, when their coolest power fails.