Found an article that has an interesting idea. If you've played Munchkin then you know about their Cheat cards. These cards let you basically cheat, you can ignore any restrictions or requirements for any other card and play it as if you weren't restricted by the card's text. So you could equip a weapon that you didn't have hands to hold or use an item that you were the wrong race/class/sex to use etc.
Kurt at GnomeStew has a similar idea for 4th Edition. A deck of cards that are handed out at the start of session or after a long rest or whatever time interval seems appropriate to the DM. Each player could be stuck with the card they draw or a more lenient DM might let them trade among theirselves and an even more lenient DM might just draw X cards and give it to the party as a group resource or let the party decide how to do it. I'm not known for leniency myself but you play the way you want. 😉
Snipped from article -
My previous article on rewards mentioned â€˜rule-breaker cardsâ€™ (also known as â€˜swash cardsâ€™ or â€˜adventure cardsâ€™). Put simply, a rule-breaker card is a one-shot exception to the normal rules of the game. Some gamers find that they add a welcomed element of chaos and opportunity to the game, and provide everyone with a â€˜spotlight momentâ€™. But some gamers donâ€™t like that they also mess with established tactics, and may apply to the NPCs as well.
And some sample ideas from his post on cards (copied here):
- Reroll one die roll of any kind (skill, attack, damage, save, etc). Use the higher roll.
- Regain an expended Encounter Power at any time as a free action.
- Regain an expended Daily Power after a short rest.
- Use an At-Will Power instead of a Basic Attack (such as at the end of a charge, or as an Opportunity Attack).
- Expend a Healing Surge on yourself as a minor action.
- Expend a Healing Surge on an adjacent ally as a move action. The ally uses his or her own Healing Surge amount, but you expend one of your Surges.
- Run for one round with no penalties to attacks or defenses for running.
- Ignore one successful Opportunity Attack.
- +5 to any attack roll or saving throw; must commit this card before rolling.
- +2 to any attack roll or saving throw; card may be used after the roll.
- For the duration of one encounter, give one Power the Reliable keyword.
- Shift as a minor action, even if itâ€™s before or after a move.
- Your area attack or close attack does not hit one of your allies, even if he or she is in the target area.
- Reroll one failed Saving Throw.
- Take a â€˜natural 20â€™ on any trained skill check.
- Your attack does 5/10/15 ongoing damage on a hit; save ends. (Damage scales with tier.)
- For this encounter, and until the beginning of the next encounter or extended rest, consider yourself Trained in one additional skill.
Which is a pretty good start. A cruel DM could possibly add in cursed cards that the players HAVE to play during their first encounter...
- One successful attack misses.
- A critical hit is reduced to a normal hit.
- You suffer -4 defenses until the end of your next round. Must be an active target of an enemy at the time this card is played.
- You trip and fall prone while charging at an enemy.
- Your primary weapon slips from your hand into an adjacent square.
I'd of course stack the deck with 5 or 6 good cards to 1 cursed card. If I was mean enough to put in cursed cards. Which I am.