I'm thinking of including the effect of suppressing fire into one of my campaigns. The idea is that every attack made against a character (successful or otherwise) would add to their suppression.

I was considering making it a counter, so say at 10 suppression that character would suffer a penalty To Hit, and at like 50 they would be totally pinned and unable to move, like the 5th level of exhaustion or something.

What would be the most mechanically sound way to include this, and what ability score should I use for "suppression" saves? Wisdom?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this 5e or a game called Modern 5e? It seems like it's the former, but you're introducing firearms and associated house rules. If so, you will need to be very detailed in what your scenario is for us to provide an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical It is the former, sorry. \$\endgroup\$
    – Razmode
    Jan 17, 2017 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ To avoid having this re-held as being Primarily Opinion-Based, can you revise it to ask a more concrete question? Unlike a discussion forum, RPG.se doesn't handle “what do you think?” or “what would you do?” or “what should I do?” type questions. (See our on-topic and (especially) off-topic help pages for guidance on how to rewrite this.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ You still haven't clarified whether you're introducing firearms into the game. Based on your title, I'm assuming this is the case, but perhaps I'm mistaken you might be taking the idea of suppressing fire from guns and trying to apply it to 5e combat. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Alternately, you could be considering the concept of someone being overwhelmed. Say a fighter is trying to take on 4 enemies all at the same time and you wanted to impose penalties to doing that. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2017 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


Use the DMG for firearms, and ready actions for suppression

You don't need to homebrew any rules. Wikipedia describes suppressing fire as:

Suppressive fire usually achieves its effect by threatening casualties to individuals who expose themselves to it. Willingness to expose themselves varies depending on the morale, motivation and leadership of the target troops.

The attackers can ready an action to shoot at a player whenever they leave cover. You can even give them a special multiattack ability so that they can take multiple shots on readied actions. This forces players to make the consideration described in the wikipedia quote: "Do I leave cover and expose myself to being shot?"

This approach has the advantage of putting suppression in the players' minds, instead of forcing the issue mechanically.

D&D characters are brave and strong

I'm not sure that doing this in D&D 5e will have the effect that you want. Going off of the firearms page in the DMG, the damage that a gun can do is similar to that of the standard D&D weapons. It's enough to kill a commoner (you, me, a real-life soldier), but D&D characters are supernaturally strong and wise, and face much more dangerous things than gunfire while adventuring anyway.

I don't have experience with other RPG systems, but it seems that it'd be a lot easier to find a different RPG to play than to twist D&D into a realistic modern combat game.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking it would basically allow attacks of opportunity which is what it sounds like you are saying, correct? I guess its not so much the damage of getting hit by an attack as it is the sheer volume of attacks they could take. Some of the weapons will be more powerful than in the DMG. That and in some circumstances the dust kicked up would make it harder to fire back. \$\endgroup\$
    – Razmode
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it would kind of be like an attack of opportunity in that movement would provoke an attack, though it costs the attacker a reaction and an action. Turning up the damage, or increasing the number of attacks with multiattack, like I suggested, would change the player's calculation as to whether to provoke that attack or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that Creatures can't use multi-attacks for readied attacks by RAW. Don't let this get in the way of your fun though! If you have any rules lawyers, you might want to tell them that the introduction of this suppressing fire will cause some special exceptions ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adam #RuleZero haha. \$\endgroup\$
    – Razmode
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire I like where you're going with this. So instead of mechanically saying "you have 50 suppression, you can't move!", just make it prohibitively HP expensive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Razmode
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:13

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