tinkering with D20 combat


hello, i'm new to the board so i don't know if this topic has been covered yet.

what house rules do you guys use to liven up the (IMHO) rather static d20 combat.

here are the ideas i have been working on for my conan campaign.

1- using the wound / vitality system and modifying the sneak attack so it works like a critical hit and the +d6 is a +1 bonus to damage. also, making the sneak attack just that. you have to catch your target completely off guard ( i.e. surprised, unaware etc. ) not just flat footed

2- critical defense. rolling a d20 and adding your defense bonuses just like an attack roll with the defender winning ties. on a natural 20 you avoid all damage even if it was a critical hit. the chance to get a critical parry/dodge gets one better for each full +5 bonus for the defense you are using. example: +10 parry gives a critical defense of 18-20.

3- reworking AP vs DR. now the AP of the weapon lowers the DR by the amount of the AP to a minimum of 1/2 the DR of the armor. strength bonus is not added. finesse attacks that fail to beat the defense roll by the amount of the DR halve the AP of the weapon when determining damage for that attack. i felt that getting more damage from strength was it's own reward and that the double bonus for strength ( increasing AP and thus allowing more damage on top of your weapon damage bonus ) was too much.

4- attack pacing. a character may have multiple attacks but may only take them one at a time in initiative order. once all the init numbers have been gone through start back at the top and repeat this until all attacks are done. any special attacks like attacks of opportunity or cleave may be added to an attack. example if a fighter with cleave/greater cleave downs his opponent he may take an extra attack immediately with the limit of one bonus attack as per cleave or one extra atack per attack with greater cleave.

i'm very interested in hearing other ideas :)
I think you'll find that the Conan combat is deadly enough without adding to it. Give it a few test runs before tweaking it...It is very different than normal d20 combat.