I have been a D&D player since 2nd edition. I have now started playing D&D 5th edition and there is a rule that I do not like, and I am looking for a play tested house rule to replace it.

I am talking about the knockout rule:

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

My problem with this is that, the way it is written, choosing to kockout imposes no penalty on the attacker. If I was a player wanting to abuse the 5e rules, I would never attack lethally — I would always attack to knock out, capture the foe, interrogate him and eventually kill him.

Neither me nor my players are rule abusers, but we are looking for an alternate rule that has been proven in play.

Ideally I would like a rule where trying to knock out the opponent requires a compromise ... like in real life: dealing non-lethal damage to someone who is wielding an axe against you is dangerous. If you attack to knockout a person who is attacking you to kill should be more dangerous than just attack to kill.

What table tested house rule makes trying to knock out an opponent dangerous? How effective is the house rule, and what other side effects does it have?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Even with the edits, I think the question is still far too broad. Any answer that makes it harder to successfully pull off a KO is as good as any other. And while having one or two equally good answers can be resolved by voting, there are just too many possible answers that are all equally reasonable. It seems like you may just need some help coming up with ideas, in which case a forum might be a better place to get help. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Feb 28 '17 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it's too broad after the edit. An answer needs to include a justification for how it makes the option of nonlethal knockouts more dangerous, but the asker also wants to know if it was effective and what side effects it may have, which I think promotes GS/BS. So not literally any houserule is a valid answer. Very few will be. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Feb 28 '17 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Guidelines on asking for house rules \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Mar 1 '17 at 5:10