In DnD 4e, the consequences for being hit by basic attacks are a simple loss of HP, and narration is what gives the basic attacks their 'spice'. The use of encounter and daily powers is the main source of interesting consequences. But every once in a while when I DM, a player will ask me if he can do something like stabbing an enemy in the eye to blind him, or attempt to hit him in the knee to make him fall prone. Things that make sense, and seem within the realm of the possible when looking at the player's abilities. And I as well, as a DM, often find myself tempted to improvise such effects into game. For instance, I will sometimes be tempted to declare that the monster's arm has been chopped off by the fighter's axe, so he is now panicking, and wildly bashing the PCs with his shield. But I find these situations conflicting to implement, and have until now refrained myself from actually getting them to much in the play. Eventually I came up with a list of pros and cons for such events in combat.
- Basic attacks are based on simple hp loss, with no more specifications.
- The powers that do specify a hit on certain parts of the body will loose value if point number 1 is broken.
- Implementing such things in combat would make the game either more rule heavy, or less consistent with itself if the effects are purely improvised.
- If not well handled, improvised effects can become overpowering (ex: the fighter decapitates every enemy on his path).
- Increases roleplaying possibilities by giving the players the chance toi act as they would, and not as powers dictate.
- Increased realism in combat.
- Stimulates the PC's creativity in combat.
- Makes combat more varied once all encounter and daily powers are used up.
- Can make the combat more tense if the monsters benefit from those improvised effects as much as the PCs.
- Saying 'no' to good, logical, imagimative ideas is just not fun.
- Things described in the narration have an effect on combat.
After thinking about it, I thought it might be good idea to let my players improvise a bit, as long as their actions are plausible for their character race and class, and that the most powerful of these improvised attacks would take actual DCs, and involve a big share of risks. example: the fighter can try to decapitate the enemy soldier, but he must score a DC 20, grants opportunity attacks to the ennemy if he misses, and takes penalties to defenses until the next turn.
Is this recommended? Are there consequences to bending the rules like that that I haven't thought of? Is it often done, and how well? Ultimately, how can I effectively integrate improvised consequences into DnD 4e combat?