Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Lord Inar wrote:

Glad you like it!

It's a fine rule. smile

I've also come up with a clutch of house rules for a more D&D-like game. My main campaign will mostlly use Lotfp RAW; the following will be used for 'heroic' games compatible with the piles of BD&D/OSR stuff I own:


Reroll your ability scores if total bonuses are 0 or lower.

Maximum hit points at 1st level. Roll normally thereafter.

Shields shall be splintered, helms cloven.

Clerics, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings and Specialists gain +1 AB at levels 2, 4, 6 and 8. Magic users gain +1 at 3, 6 and 9.

All PCs may use the combat manoeuvres presented.


Fighters gain +1 to damage at levels 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12. May make 2 attacks per round at -4 AB and -4 AC.

Dwarves gain damage bonuses in the same way as fighters. They may also ‘chop till you drop.’

MUs may memorise one additional spell per day of any level they can cast.

Last edited by Andrew S (2011-08-23 07:37:57)

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Andrew S wrote:

Reroll your ability scores if total bonuses are 0 or lower.

Another option is to allow them to change one ability to a 14, instead of rerolling everything and risking another dud character (which I get usually about a third of the time). Of course if raising an attribute to 14 doesn't get you over 0, then yeah, reroll that poor soul!

I'll admit I stole this idea, modified slightly, straight from Gary Gygax.

- Marc

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Cool. smile

Another method for 'god mode':

You have 2 points in ability bonuses to spend. Once assigned you determine the exact score randomly within the range the bonus occupies.


0 = d4 + 8

+1 = d3 + 12

+2 = d2 + 15

Optional rule ('min-maxer paradise'): Take -2 in one ability and gain another point to spend.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Okay, back to the regular game. These are the house rules I'll be using when refereeing this week or next:

Shields shall be splintered, helms cloven.

Dwarves gain a +1 Strength modifier in addition to their constitution bonus.

Magic-users gain a +1 Intelligence bonus.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

I am considering the following house rules:
- Players roll two rows of ability scores, choose one row, and may switch two scores within.
- Clerics, Specialists, Elves and Halflings get an attack bonus at 1st, 4th, 8th and 12th level, MUs at 1st, 6th and 12th level, and Dwarves at 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th level. Fighters are unchanged.
- MUs can prepare one more spell of each spell level, but can still cast the usual number of spells [credit goes to Lord Inar, right?].
- Shields can be sacrificed to reduce damage to 1 (maybe 2 or 3 for really big monsters).
- XP is awarded for killing/capturing/incapacitating monsters and classed NPCs (they may receive a nominal XP for killing bandits, soldiers and similar opponents), for money and treasure looted from dungeons and remote wilderness areas, and for accomplishing their goals (they may set a couple of goals for their characters, I [secretly?] and give all of them an XP value.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

I can't help but tinker, and to be honest while I'm content to play in a lotfp game with the RAW, as a DM I'm mostly mining Lotfp for streamlining my home brew game which is a jumble of 1e and basic.

That said, there are a few things which come to mind.

I really appreciate the fact that Lotfp keeps fighters in the forefront of combat. I've done extensive looks at the basic versions (mostly B/X & BECMI) and 1e in terms of abilities such as attack bonus and saves by XP rather than level. It's clear that fighters lose out in BECMI as an attack bonus by XP reveals that the cleric is almost as good as the fighter at any given XP. I'm more fond of the results in 1e, where the fighter pulls away from the cleric, and the cleric and thief remain quite close in attack bonus and hit points to each other.

Trying to dupe that to an extent I ran some possible changes using Lotfp xp tables (which I like better than any others as they keep the ratio of xp needed at any given level exactly the same as they are at 2nd level - a big improvement over the classic games)! In doing so, I also changed base AC to 11 rather than 12, and started 1st level characters out at -1 AB for the MU, 0 for the cleric and specialist, and +1 for the fighter. With the exception of the MU, this makes the base % chance to hit exactly the same as it is in LOTFP, and is less of a headache for me as I'm so used to thinking of base AC as 9-(11)  in basic after playing it since 1981.

Keeping with the idea that the fighter improves in attack bonus 1 per level, for the sake of the 21 level comparison i allowed the fighter to extend all the way to +17 at 16th level (essentially where he would be in 1e if one bumped up his 1st level attack bonus). The trick the became to allow clerics and specialists to increase somewhat in attack bonus and stay somewhat similar, while at the same time never allowing the specialist to have a better AB than the cleric (presuming the cleric to be a holy warrior and the specialist to be a sneaky bastard). This required looking at XP values rather than straight level. In a somewhat generous allowance for increases to AB for those two (while keeping them well behind the fighter), I ran a model on XL with graphs. I allowed the cleric to increase attack bonus at levels 2, 4, and every even level up to +10 at level 20. In order to keep the specialist close but behind, he ended up increasing at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18 & 20 for a final attack bonus of +9. Keeping the MU gimpy he starts at -1 and increases in AB at levels 4, 8, 12, 16 & 20 for a final AB of +4.

I'll see if the graph uploads here..ah it did, keep in mind i labeled specialist as Thief so Tab would be the attack bonus of the specialist. These are all weighted by XP, not level, so assuming a party survives from day one (Lol) this is where they would differ in attack bonus. Also keep in mind that the various X axis data points are the XP where any class hits a level where they have an increase in AB. As I said, these were somewhat generous advancements for the cleric and specialist - if one desires a slower increase, one could always have the jumps occur at different levels, just keeping in mind that you have to ensure the specialist never jumps ahead of the holy warrior.

Last edited by IvanMike (2011-10-19 20:02:28)

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

The next thing I'm looking at is the skill system. While I really appreciate the d6 method, I was tinkering with a d12 method to make it more granular and to allow the specialist to improve somewhat in many skills rather than just two. This works rather well, but my final desire was to allow modifications to the various skills based upon the ability score modifiers (+/- 1 to 3) of the characters.

Looking at that, adjustments by d6 pips are 16.67% each, while d12 pips are 8.34%. This of course makes anyone with a score of 4 or less have a 0% chance to succeed in any given skill attempt, while those with 16 or higher end up being supermen. As much as I eschew d20 type mechanics for skills (I have no desire to model the 3.x system), I like the idea of using a single die and not get bogged down in the minutia of % skills - although I like them, in practice runs of my homebrew game I found calculating these to slow the game down far too much.

That said, I gave in and decided to look at converting the skill system to a d20 "roll low" method. While it's fine and dandy to allow non-specialist characters to keep the 1 in 6 (16.67% chance), those with ability scores outside the 9-12 "dead zone" should have their modifiers come into play IMO. As such, one has the choice of giving a flat 3 in 20 (15%) or 4 in 20 (20%) chance, which is modified by the relevant ability score modifier.

It is interesting that the Lotfp method of giving specialists 2 d6 pips to assign (an overall 33.34% increase in skills per level) is rather close to the 30 % points given to a thief each level in the 2e system. Assuming that an increase in sneak attack/backstab multiplier is worth 16.67 % "points", after 4 levels the "extra" 3.34% per level = 13.36%, which is pretty close. (I wonder if Jim ran these numbers in his design - I would think so).

Converting to a d20 pip method, it's not too much of a stretch to have the cost of a sneak attack/backstab multiplier = 3 or 4 d20 pips for a "cost" of 15-20%. I've been thinking of allowing specialist in this possible d20 pip method to sink pips into the sneak attack category which would remain dormant until they allotted 3 or 4 over time.

Considering all that, one could allow 7-8 d20 skill pips per level for a total of 35-40% "points" to be spent per level by the specialist (the difference simply being how many skills you wish the specialist to increase in).

On that note, out of the 10 named skills (not including the 2 "blank" skills allowed for DM tweaking), the one that sticks out as odd to me is the open doors one. I've decided to keep that one a d6 roll and not allowing specialists to increase in that, and at the same time converting it to the more familiar "basic" method of a base 2 in 6 chance modified by the STR modifier. those with a -2 from a STR of 4-5 have only a 1 in 12 chance of opening a stuck door, while those with a STR of 3 either have a 1 in 20 chance, or must roll a 1 on two d12s, or perhaps a 1 on a d12 and then on a d6. (it should be a miracle if they can open it)!

However, actual "breaking an entering" in terms of using various tools to break into a tomb could simply be washed into the "tinkering" skill, which already includes open locks, remove traps, & set traps.

In terms of what ability score would modify what skill, I think the obvious would be DEX for sleight of hand, & stealth &  STR for climbing. Tinker is a bit harder, and I could see that the average of INT and DEX might affect that (perhaps rounding up). Likewise, for search, one could make equal cases for INT and WIS. My gut level "make the game cool" feeling is to allow the higher modifier to prevail, but those with high INT would actually notice the actual issue, whereas those with high WIS would simply be told "you have a feeling that something isn't right". Bushcraft and Architecture would seem to be mostly INT based, but I could see arguments otherwise.

In keeping with the vibe of the D&D thief, I've been looking at having the 6 arguably "thief skills" being sleight of hand, tinker, search, stealth, climb and sneak attack. Non specialists would start out with 3 of 20 in all with none in sneak attack, whereas specialists would be given 16 d20 pips (80%) to assign (given that S/A costs 4 pips), which is of course a bit more generous than the 66.67% that 4 d6 pips @ 1st level allows, but I don't think it's an insane difference. Assuming the specialist spreads them around, they could end up with x2 sneak attack, and allows them to place 3 pips in two of the remaining 5 thief type skills, and 2 pips in three others. This would bring them to 25-30% success rates in these categories, and that's before considering any bonuses or penalties they might get from ability score modifiers.

Of course, one could make a good case for making baseline 4 pips (20% in all categories), but one is free to tweak. After all that the specialist could have 8 d20 pips per level and assign them at will. I don't think it's too crazy to allow the other classes one or two d20 pips per level to increase somewhat in some areas, - once again, not wanting to mimic d20 type games, but a 5% increase somewhere isn't the end of the world.

Finally, i think I shall leave the languages where it is as a d6 method, and not allow the specialist to improve in it. however, one of the two "free" skill categories would be well served to become a read magic/use magic item category (IMO) to kind of give that flavor that these sneaky bastards might become somewhat skilled in the dangerous practice of trying to use odd artifacts that they found (generally with disastrous results for sure)!

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Somewhat less involved is encumbrance. Overall I think that the Lotfp system of encumbrance is hands down the best and most useable I've ever seen - bravo! That said, in keeping with my desire to use ability score modifiers, and considering that 1e allowed STR to affect encumbrance & move rate, I'm using the following modifiers. Each STR modifier (positive or negative) adds or subtracts one item per encumbrance "slot" that counts towards the encumbrance of the character, so a person with a 16 STR could carry 7 items per slot, while one with a STR of 5 could only carry 3. Armor would be exempt from this and still cost 1 for chain and 2 for plate.

That said, I like the idea of having intermediate armor types in between the +2 leather, +4 chain, & +6 plate. Nominally I'm calling these +3 "scale" and +5 "banded" (for lack of better terms - call them what you will). As such, I'm going to have these intermediate armor types cost 3 items in the next available encumbrance slot.

Magic wise, I've always liked the idea of extra spells for Int since I started playing 1e, and I've always allowed clerics to have extra spells for WIS. However, it seems that to keep it simple one could allow one additional 1st level spell for each INT modifier (+1-3), and that as the character gains levels and more spell levels, one could use the +2 modifier for an additional 2nd level spell, or the rare 18 INT +2 modifier for one extra 3rd level spell if desired. As lethal as this game is, I don't see that as game breaking.

The last thing magic wise I'd do (as our Lotfp DM Joe the Attorney has done) is to add the uber old school mechanic where memorized spells allow the MU to perform minor cantrip like effects relevant to the memorized spell as long as it still has not been cast. Allowing a wizard with some form of fire spell to produce flame from his fingers to light candles and the like is a lot of fun and adds some pizazz to the game.

CON wise, I'm considering using the CON modifier to affect the amount of travel or strenuous activity a character can do in a day, so their rates of travel might be affected.

After all that, I prefer not to rely overmuch on ability scores as mechanical modifiers, and as a DM I keep a list of the ability scores of my characters. When they state actions that I judge to be way outside the ability of their stupid or milquetoast character, I call foul or make them roll a die to see if they can actually pull this (for them) herculean task off.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

well traffic is low, so i sound verbose (heh, maybe more than sound - I had fun deconstructing the game during down time this week)

As far as saves go, like in all my games since dragon #80 came out in 83 or so, I parse out the improvements in saves rather than having big jumps every 3 4 or 5 levels. so if a guy goes from a save of 14 @ 1st level to a save of 12 @ 5th, I have the saves run 1st-14, 2nd-14, 3rd-13, 4th 13, 5th-12...etc.

I've always liked the -10 = dead for real rule, with the make a system shock roll if knocked to -4 or worse. There's no need for a system shock stat, as CON gives you nice 5% increments. So one thing I'm toying with is if you get knocked to -4 roll your CON or less on a d20 or you're dead for good. If -5 you have to add +1 to your roll, -6 +2, etc. Likewise, if you're only knocked to -2 you get to subtract 2 from your roll. However....should someone run to your aid, even if you're only knocked to -1, you have to make the roll anyway to see if it works. You can set the flat line at whatever hp value you want (zero sounds reasonable as well). That way, just because someone comes to your aid, it doesn't mean they can stop the bleeding in 6 seconds - if you keep failing rolls, your hp ebb away (and each roll is harder).

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Another idea that came after rereading the Dying Earth rules.

Skill checks
Each day a character can reroll a skill check a number of times equal to his attribute modifier.

Ex : My character has a dex of 16, his modifier is +2. I can reroll 2 times/day a skill roll if the skill is connected to Dexterity (like Stealth or Tinkering).

0 and negative modifiers have no influence, make skill checks as usual.

I'l try this with my group.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Loads of House Rules here. Let me know what you think.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Here's some I use in LotFP but some I use in most of the games I play.

Exploding dice
When rolling damage and you get biggest score from a die (12 with d12) roll again and add!

More experience points
Character advancement is really slow with players who aren't interested with treasures or somehow can't play looting stuff very well. Killing monsters is not the goal of the game, so I give 10x exp from monsters. Also I give bonus exp from exciting and really well handled situations. The reason is I want characters to actually gain some levels... they will die eventually but player can have also leveling reward and not only "this was a cool session" reward. Generally I am more generous with exp in any game to see some character advancement.

Natural 1 and natural 20
Well, had rules for critical success and fumble but Raggi fixed it with neatest little card. Only need to buy d30, otherwise I am cool and don't need houserule anymore. Except! Player can choose to roll random chart or get bonus damage x2 for 20 and inflict damage x1 to self with 1.

Elf magic
Too much like M-U in my opinion. Elves cannot make magic items and their magic is wild as it is not learned. Basically Elves can cast as many spells as... well the rule is:
When Elf casts a spell roll save versus magic + spell level. If success, spell is cast. If failure, spell is not cast*
For example 7th level Elf save versus Magic is 11. If he casts 3rd level spell, roll d20 save against 14.

*Spell failure
Mostly for Elves. Elven magic is wild so if it fails it sucks. I haven't determined yet is the failed spell effect the opposite of meant, or should I create a random table to see what happens when reality is not bent as Elf wanted? Or should there be a mana burnout and spells cannot be cast again for failed spell level + 8 hours rest?
So, failed spell would:
- turn out reversed
- be totally random from a table (d30 table similar to 1s and 20s card)
- mana drain, no casting until some good rest

Elven will gain new spells when they level up enough for access for new spells. Then roll as many spells from spells list of levels Elf got.
7th level Elf got to 8th level! Now his inner power/soul/universe/whatever-mojo gains access to more spells! He gets to roll one 1st and one 4th level spells his power/soul/blahblah is capable of producing.

Elves cannot learn new spells from the books or scrolls because their casting is not learned but it is their natural but paranormal ability.

Basically Elves have capability spamming spells but if they fail at a spell they will suffer. Also because they are spellbots they cannot make magical staffs or learn spells any other method than leveling first. Is this balanced?

Two weapons fighting
Wielding two weapons gives character two attacks per turn but -5 to both to-hit rolls. Harder to hit but possibility to deal more damage per turn.

"Man has come to dominate the planet thanks to two essential traits. One is intelligence. The other has been the absolute willingness to kill anyone and anything that gets in his way." (Stephen King)
My blog:

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Love the cultural weapons, Fitzhue!

My biggest house rule is my combat maneuvers system. This is very similar to the skills for Specialists, except fighting classes have it instead. Maneuvers are: Cleave, Disarm, Feint, Grapple, Parry, Shove, Trip, and Unarmed Strike. All classes have 1 in 6 in each of these at first level. Fighting classes (fighter, elf, dwarf) get 2 points to spend increasing them at first level, and 1 point every level thereafter. The full system is on my blog: … riors.html

Furthermore, I wrote up a monk class, which specializes in combat maneuvers. Monks get 3 maneuver points at first level, then 2 every level after that.

Last edited by Giordanisti (2012-11-05 21:26:44)

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

I'll be running Death Love Doom for a new group in a couple of weeks want to showcase the system mostly as is. The only house rules I'll use are for equipment:

Secondary Weapons: Wield a small or minor weapon in your off hand and gain +1AC vs. melee attacks only.

Armour: Chainmail becomes breastplate and leather (the game is set in 1613, mail would be antiquated)

Firearms: Small (pistol) = d6, Medium (arquebus) = d8, Large = (blunderbuss) = d10. Each takes a full round to reload, any damage suffered by the user disrupts the process. Penetrative, any target with an AC greater than 14 is treated as 14 for the purpose of hit rolls.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

New one I just came up with: I don't love that Animate Dead has no limit on number of undead able to be controlled. If a Magic-User gets to 9th level, then takes a year off from adventuring to wander around in graveyards, they will have 3,285 HD (that is, 9 HD/day) of undead by the end of it. The no-limit just seems excessive.

So: The caster may control a number of undead HD equal to the fibonacci number of their level (fibonacci sequence up to the 20th: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765). This scales up nicely (20th level necromancers SHOULD have a huge army!) without breaking anything at lower levels.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Andrew S wrote:

Firearms: Small (pistol) = d6, Medium (arquebus) = d8, Large = (blunderbuss) = d10. Each takes a full round to reload, any damage suffered by the user disrupts the process. Penetrative, any target with an AC greater than 14 is treated as 14 for the purpose of hit rolls.

Hey I like this a lot. Really simple and that 14 max AC is nice little touch. What are prices for your S, M and L firearms? And encumbering? Normal, normal, large?

"Man has come to dominate the planet thanks to two essential traits. One is intelligence. The other has been the absolute willingness to kill anyone and anything that gets in his way." (Stephen King)
My blog:

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Thaumiel_Nerub wrote:
Andrew S wrote:

Firearms: Small (pistol) = d6, Medium (arquebus) = d8, Large = (blunderbuss) = d10. Each takes a full round to reload, any damage suffered by the user disrupts the process. Penetrative, any target with an AC greater than 14 is treated as 14 for the purpose of hit rolls.

Hey I like this a lot. Really simple and that 14 max AC is nice little touch. What are prices for your S, M and L firearms? And encumbering? Normal, normal, large?


For pricing I was thinking 50/100/200 sp (Based on nothing more than available funds at 1st level!). Shot I'm unsure on; say 10% of the value of the weapon?

Encumbrance is exactly as you described. :0)

Last edited by Andrew S (2012-11-11 09:41:46)

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Since folks are sharing their firearm rules I might as well indulge and share my own.

For my setting I've decided to include both Matchlock and Wheellock firearms with just handguns and longarms.

Handgun 1d6+1d4(!)  <20' <50' <80' Reload 1 Turn, ignore 2 AC

Longarm 1d8+1d4(!) <50' <150' <300' Reload 2 Turn, ignore 4 AC

Matchlock Handgun 30 sp
Matchlock Longarm 35 sp

Wheellock Handgun 45 sp
Wheellock Longarm 50 sp

Matchlocks give -1 to surprise, smell of the burning cord.
Wheelocks can only be purchased in City and if damaged can only be repaired in City.
Firearms provoke moral test in first round of combat, unless foes are used to them.
Firearms produce smoke centred on the user. After the first round is fired vision is restricted. Ranged attacks at short range take -2, medium -4 and long -6

A bullet costs 2 cp.
Gunpowder is divided into Knollen and Mealed
Knollen is 70 cp lb = 7 shots worth
Mealed is 40 cp lb = 5 shots worth

Last edited by Nihilistic_Impact (2012-11-11 03:55:02)

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Ability modifiers affect skills. Get as many bonus d6's as your ability modifier is when using a skill. Ability modifier used depends on the situation what would be most logical ability to use that skill.

If ability modifier is positive (+1, +2, +3) use the best result for skill resolution.
If ability modifier is negative (-1, -2, -3) use the worst result for skill resolution.

Character tries to open door. His skill is 1/6 and STR modifier is +2. Rolling 3d6 (one basic + modifiers) and getting results 1, 5, 6. It is a success!

Another character tries to open the door. His skill is 1/6 and STR modifier -2. Rolling 3d6 with same results above is a failure, because worst result was a 6.


"Man has come to dominate the planet thanks to two essential traits. One is intelligence. The other has been the absolute willingness to kill anyone and anything that gets in his way." (Stephen King)
My blog:

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Thaumiel_Nerub, that system is BRUTAL on people with low ability scores! I get what you're shooting for, but this means that a non-specialist with even a slightly below-average stat will functionally NEVER succeed at any tasks related to their weak stat. Let's say he's tinkering with an 8 intelligence, he now only has a 1 in 36 chance of success (both dice come up 1s). No one can ever even hope for success there. And this only gets worse with lower stats, going down to 1 in 216 for 4 or 5 in something, and 1 in 1,296 for a 3!

If you're alright with these numbers, keep the system, but one of my favorite parts of LotFP is that little 1 in 6 chance lying in wait, hoping to give someone (anyone!) a chance to shine.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Nihilistic_Impact wrote:

Handgun 1d6+1d4(!)  <20' <50' <80' Reload 1 Turn, ignore 2 AC

Longarm 1d8+1d4(!) <50' <150' <300' Reload 2 Turn, ignore 4 AC

I really think that you want to leave open the chance that a fire arm will do only 1 point of damage. I think making them highly variable is a good thing. I would rather roll 1d10 for hand guns and 1d16 for long arms. Get 1d16 by rolling a d8 and a d6. Use the d6 to determine if you add 8 to the d8 or not.

I don't like the idea of putting a bell curve on damage, too deadly.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Hmm, I may drop the exploding then; but I still like the idea that they'll do at least 2 damage.

Still there is always room for improvement, I look forward to seeing what comes out officially.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

Without getting into specifics, here are my changes:

1. Skill points for all classes, but at slower rates (non-specialists get a single point every 2,3 or 4 levels, and have a specified skill list). These points can be substituted for a to-hit bonus by elves and dwarves.
2. Saving throw improvement curves are "softened" and distributed across levels. I've made new XP charts for all classes to accomplish this.
3. Some new skills (Medicine, Lore and Riding) and an old skill removed (Open Doors, which is treated as a simple strength check). Medicine opens for First Aid, which means a party can get by a bit without clerical healing.
4. MU magic retention - elves and wizards can keep spells memorized upon casting by making a magic save modified by Int, but take a host of risks if doing this (I have a number of simple charts to reference, basically they can take damage or be stunned for small amounts of time, or if trying this with high level spells they can be feebleminded or - yes - they can of course die).

If people are interested I can post specifics, but this is most of what I've wanted to change. I often play with inexperienced players, and thus try to add as few loose rules as I can; especially to combat.

Blogging about OSR at Deep Delving

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

I'd be interested in looking over what you've done for magic retention. I've been trying to dabble in the same; my players are more comfortable with the magic spam of 3.5/pf so switching to LotFP is proving a challenge for them as spells are fewer.

Re: So, what house rules do you use ?

I'm a big fan of exploding dice (Savage Worlds veteran here!) It's difficult to one-shot a big beastie with a dagger, but it could be possible. A DM could always say for a given monster that explosions don't occur to prevent such one shots.
Also, one concept behind exploding damage is hitting a vitals area, so if the beastie has no real vitals, you can't explode damage.

And before anyone says it, there's only a few cases where a lower die is better to achieve a specific number.
If the number you're trying to reach is equal to the die type, you have a better chance to achieve that number with the lower die type. e.g. see table below to see odds of rolling a 5, 6, 7 or better with a d4 and a d6.

          5         6        7
d4     25%     19%     13%
d6     33%     17%     17%

This could also work with skills, but it might be better to reverse the procedure, such that the base Target number is 6 and your skill level is added to the roll. A 6 then explodes, which allows for more negative modifiers to potentially have a n impact. A 1 is still an automatic failure, unless you have 6+ in the skill, in which case it only fails on a second roll of 1.

Everyone starts with a 0 in any given skill and the math remains exactly the same as the current system, with the exception of the automatic success, which depending on penalties, may not be a given when a player rolls a 6; e.g. a character has a +1 in a given skill but a -3 on the roll due to difficulty. The player rolls a 6 which explodes and then rolls a 1 on the second roll. 6(roll)+1(second roll)+1(skill)-3(difficulty) = 5 -> failure.