Page 242 of the new Dungeons & Dragons DMG makes an interesting suggestion: if a player (and presumably the DM) misses his attack, skill check, or saving throw by 1 or 2 points, then "success at a cost" could come into play.
Yes, slashing at an orc, starting a campfire, or avoiding that lightning bolt might occur as the character in question hoped it would; however, something unexpected happens as a result. Below is a table listing possible unintended consequences for those "successes" during an attack...
1. You impetuously went for your enemy even though it left you wide open. Your opponent has advantage on you until the end of his next turn.
2. Your fancy technique is turning to sloppy hack and slash in response to your enemy's fighting style. You will attack at a disadvantage until the end of your next turn.
3. The desperate maneuver will make it impossible for you to properly engage your enemy. You cannot make a full attack on your next turn.
4. Though you struck true, the weapon lodged itself deep into your enemy's hide. Hope you have a spare!
5. You notice another creature in the shadows! Either an identical creature (if your opponent has 5HD or less) or a minion/spawn of your enemy (if your opponent has 6HD or more) shows itself, ready to attack next round (approximately half the HD / challenge rating of the original creature).
6. Your enemy notices a weak point. Your opponent gets an attack of opportunity on you.
7. Stop hitting yourself! You take damage equal to your opponent's HD or level.
8. Four! Unfortunately, an ally takes half the damage your opponent receives (round down).
You'll have to check back at Draconic Magazine to see a d8 table to skill checks and saving throws. If you use this in your game, I want to know about it. Send me an email!
Authored by Venger Satanis