But I also want my players to feel like they are destined to become the heroes in those books instead of shrieking pantywaists who pooped themselves because skeletons are terrifying in basic/expert.
I think this idea is a good middle ground.
If they are heroes, even if they start off as psychotic dirt farmers, then the gods watch out for them.
The Danger Sense
Any time they are threatened by an unseen danger or about to make a terrible mistake, allow them a saving throw against Petrification. On a successful save, they get a premonition of danger. This save is modified based on their race or class. Underground races get a +2 in dungeons and underground but a -2 everywhere else. Fighters get a +2 versus combat threats and a -2 versus traps. Rogues and thieves get a +2 versus traps or when scouting alone, but have a penalty when in a group. Clerics get a +2 versus things that oppose their gods alignment, etc. The Dungeon Master may roll this save in secret.
On a successful save, they become aware of the location and type of threat and may respond a split second before the rest of the party. This rule is inspired by a letter to Dragon magazine from Chris Meyer in issue #63.
Hack & Slash
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