I was looking at the variant rules listed in the Unearthed Arcana, and noticed one that I think could work pretty well in 4th Ed.

Players Roll All The Dice

Basically it turns the monster's attack into a static number and the players roll a "Defense Roll." I was wondering if anyone who either ran this in 3.5 or had any insight into whether this could work for all of the attacks in 4th Ed.

Specifically, I want to know what is the best way to adapt this to 4th Ed:

Attack Score: of the monsters equal to 11 + Attack bonus

Defense Check of the players being d20 + Defense.

The goal behind this is to have my players be involved even when its not their turn in order to keep them involved and alert as to what is going on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the community, James! Is this a duplicate of this question?: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4108/… If you meant something else, please clarify the question some more... \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2012 at 22:12
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I clarified that I more want to know if it could work with 4th Ed, and the specifics about how to do it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2012 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


In 4E the four defenses are calculated via 10 + bonuses, whereas the attack is d20 + bonuses. This means that in average the attack roll is 10,5 + bonuses.

If you change this to attack score = 11 + bonuses and defense check = d20 + bonuses, you raise both the attack value and the defense value by 0,5 in average. So this is the preferred way, if you don't want to change the mechanics of the game.

Don't forget that you also have to adjust the critical hits, since one cannot roll anymore a natural 20 on an attack. A critical hit will now be on a natural 1 on the defense roll.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Good catch on the Critical hits! \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Jan 5, 2012 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I just wanted someone who was better at the math look at this to make sure I was going to keep the average result the same. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2012 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Our DM introduced this concept a few sessions ago in our 4E game and it's been going pretty well. I wonder if in the back of his mind the DM thinks "hm, Bob is getting distracted and checking his email, I'll attack his character to draw him back in". \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2012 at 21:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question also come up: what if a PC is attacking a PC or a monster attacking a monster. But that can be played by ear. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2012 at 21:19

4e monsters usually have several attacks with different bonuses targeting one or more defenses. The issue I anticipate is relaying that information per attack will be slower than having the DM roll to hit.

What about rolling damage? If the DM is rolling damage, what's another d20? If the players are rolling damage, that's even more things for them to juggle.

It gives the players more to do, but none of it is very interesting. It's busywork. If you want your players to pay attention, consider rewarding them for doing so. For example, give them a +1 to hit if they announce all of their actions in the first ten seconds of their turn.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like that suggestion as well (although I probably would give them at least a little more time) but it doesn't answer the question. And I will probably still roll damage. Don't want them to know everything. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2012 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was wondering if anyone ... had any insight into whether this could work for all of the attacks in 4th Ed. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Jan 5, 2012 at 16:34

Since 4E relies upon Attack Roll + Bonuses vs fixed AC, it requires little adaptation.

AC-10 for defense, then add the d20.

The attack roll requires no mods.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .