Whenever you are throwing a normal weapon such as a dagger or javelin, you make a ranged attack roll. But what if you want to lob a rock or alchemist fire? You could have your players make a similar attack roll without proficiency, but what if you miss? Alchemist fire explodes into flames somewhere–even on a miss. Enter RPG house rule using scatter dice.
Scatter dice are commonly used in tabletop wargames such as Gameworkshop’s Warhammer 40k to simulate random directionality. The die comes in the standard brick as part of the pile of d6’s used to play the game. Throw a grenade and use scatter dice to determine where the object landed. This works well for explosions and weapons that have a large attack radius. Tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons don’t have such dice therefore results either fully hit or miss. However, it can be important to know where something landed especially if that something explodes into a ball of flames with potential collateral damage.
RPG House Rule
Scatter die are six sided. Two sides have direct hits giving 1/3 chance to directly hit the target. Every other side shows an arrow which randomizes directionality. This provides a way to offset a radius of damage such as an explosion, hit unintended bystanders, or even miss completely. Whenever a player throws a non-weapon object that has real consequence depending on where it lands, try using a scatter die.
Throwing House Rule
Roll a scatter die and a normal d6 whenever a player attempts to lob or throw something that isn’t a weapon–especially if the item is an incendiary and will explode on impact. Direct hit means thrown item hits target. Otherwise use the direction on the scatter die and determine the distance of impact by halving the value of the d6.
Fire Spreading House Rule
Roll scatter die at the end of the round for any patch of squares on fire. Fire spreads into adjacent squares in direction indicated by scatter die.
What if you don’t own scatter die?
If you don’t have a scatter die, not to fear. You can simulate directionality using a normal d6. Roll the die and use the one face with the single pip. Whichever way the one faces, is the direction. If the one one faces top or bottom (in other words you rolled a six), then it is a direct hit.
In your next tabletop adventure, try using a scatter die whenever a player throws something and see what happens!