House Rules for this Game:
My most fundamental rule for the game that guides all things is, “Does it make sense?” This is why I have modified the rules, and why I will continue to modify things on the go.
Characters will start at level 5 for a new campaign, or average party level for an ongoing campaign.
I require a character background story, which will include how he/she met the other characters or otherwise came to be in the local area. All of the characters will start off knowing each other at the time this campaign begins, although they do not have to have known each other for an incredible length of time. I also require that each character have at least one clearly defined goal or objective, and a clearly defined set of personal values / ethics. Sharing this goal or objective and the values and ethics that go along with them is voluntary, but it does go a long way in maintain group integrity.
NPCs will fall into one of three basic dispositions: Friendly, Hostile, or Non-Hostile. Friendly NPCs might aid the party in some manner if asked, or may possibly volunteer. They may or may not be willing to risk their lives, property, or safety for the PCs, but in any case they will be at least willing to help, even if they are unable. Hostile NPCs are willing to risk their lives to kill the PCs, or otherwise stop or interfere with their plans and objectives, if they aren’t doing so already. Hostile NPCs may not necessarily attack directly or openly, and sometimes may attempt diplomacy or escape. Non-Hostile NPCs will not risk themselves, their property, or someone they care about to harm or obfuscate the party, unless the party gives them a solid reason to do so, (in which case they become hostile.) Non-Hostile NPCs will not attempt to help the party unless they have a good reason, or the PCs supply a good reason, (in which case they might become Friendly). Non-Hostile NPCs will ignore the party and mind their own business.
I do not use alignment.
Spells such as Protection From Evil, Circle of Protection From Chaos, and other abilities, such as Smite Evil, instead of being used in an alignment fashion, are used in a disposition fashion. Protection From Evil may be cast normally, but it will instead, simply protect the abjured person from entities that fall into the Hostile disposition. A circle of protection is a field of protection from those who have hostile intent, (whether they show it or not.) Smite Evil does not smite someone on a basis of having a set of ethics the paladin does not agree with, so much as the fact that the target is immediately hostile. It would be better called, Smite Enemy. Detect Evil detects hostile intent and purpose directed at the caster or those who are friendly to the caster.
The spells Charm Person, Charm Monster, and other charm effects function in the following manner: If a charm effect is used on a hostile entity, then the hostile entity is moved into the non-hostile disposition. The effect will not cause the previously hostile creature to attack its allies, but it will cause the creature to cease any hostile actions against the party while the effect lasts. It may cast cure spells on its allies, or otherwise continue actions that help its allies so long as doing so does not directly harm the party. A charmed hostile is more likely to parley than a non-charmed hostile. Using a charm effect on a non-hostile creature will move the creature’s disposition to friendly if successful. If the effect is not successful, the creature may become hostile if they are aware of the charm attempt. It is meaningless to charm a friendly creature.
Domination effects, though, work as described.
Skills : There is no such thing as a class or cross-class skill. All ranks for all skills are purchased at a cost of one skill point per rank regardless of class.
I am not using experience points. You level up when I say you level up. (You will level up on a fairly regular basis, though.) I do this for simplification purposes.
I will not make you roll for basic ability points. Instead, you get 78 total ability points (plus one point earned every fourth level) to assign any way you want, except that you must put at least an 8 in every stat, and no stat can go above 18 before racial adjustments. This way everyone starts out the same. A simple and fast way of implementing this is to take an 18, a 16, 14, 12, 10, and an 8, and assign them in positions you want.
Classes: Rangers and Bards may be taken from the V3.5 PHB. The Sorcerer class is replaced with the Warlock class (V3.5 Complete Arcane). Other classes should be taken from the V3.0 PHB. I have a slightly different take on druidic ethics and oaths than standard.
I have a system called Fate Points. They are explained here.
You can bribe the DM, and vice-versa. This is explained here.
Shopping for magical items will either be done outside of game time, or will be done during a special session specifically for that purpose.
Challenges will come in all different sizes, shapes, and smells. Some will be laughably easy, some will bring you to the brink of death. There will be no way to tell ahead of time exactly what lies around the corner, so you will have to keep your guard up.
I will never deliberately kill a character outright. It is however, quite possible to be killed in combat, which is why it should be taken seriously. I will allow a character to suffer the consequences of stupid / unwise actions. If you decide to charge the elder dragon with your dagger +1, you get eaten. Plain and simple. Don’t whine about your dagger not being +3. If you had wanted to survive, you should have made better choices!
If you want access to special items, weapons, abilities, prestige classes, etc, most things printed under the OGL are fine, but please run them past me first.
I have a rule called sub-classing. Sub-classing is explained here.
I have some custom feats that you can take at your option, (provided that you meet the prerequisites). They are explained in here.
I have detailed modifications for spellcasting.
I ignore arcane spell failure to an extent. The following assume armor proficiency:
If the armor is light, of masterwork quality, and custom-tailored to fit the wearer exactly, and the wearer’s strength is at least 10, ignore the arcane spell failure. This does not require a special feat.
If the armor is medium, of masterwork quality, and custom-tailored to fit the wearer exactly, the arcane spell failure may be negated by taking the appropriate feat. The feat’s prerequisites are, combat casting, caster level 10, strength of at least 14.
Except under special circumstances and under rules for special prestige classes, arcane spell failure always counts normally for heavy armor, and for shields.
I treat magic wands and staves a little differently.
Unless I specify otherwise, curative magic has a harmful effect on undead, and inflict wounds spells and the like have a curative effect on them as well.
Rapid Shot and Multi-Shot have been added to the Feats list.
Explain my house-rules for two-weapon fighting here.
Damage Types and the Four Elements:
Each of the elementals and other creatures of their corresponding subtypes have special relationships with the five basic types of magical damage. They are Absorb, Half, Double, None, and Normal. Absorb means that damage of that type, instead of harming the creature, cures it for the same amount. Half means it takes only half damage from that damage type. Double means it takes twice as much damage from the damage type. None means that the magical damage has no effect on the elemental. Normal means the damage effect is normal.
Rolling a “1” does not always mean failure. Some things are so incredibly easy that you succeed automatically, or otherwise didn’t need to roll. Rolling a “20” is not always necessarily a success, (or the kind of success you want or think you are getting). Some things are impossible, no matter what you roll, (bluffing a zombie or construct).
Under circumstances, if I ask for an attack, a skill check, or some other kind of roll, it’s only necessary to tell me the total. The actual number on the die does not normally matter.
When rolling for initiative, please roll and remember your total. Do not give me your total until I ask for it.
Characters who strike with finesse, via the weapon finesse feat do not have to roll to confirm a critical. If you roll a number which would otherwise be a crit-threat, then it is automatically treated as a hit and a critical, regardless of whether or not the total hits the opponent’s AC. This is the only exception to the above rule about only needing the total. All non-finesse weapon wielders must roll to confirm critical hits.
A successful critical hit always multiplies the total damage dealt in the attack. For instance, it multiplies any fire or electricity damage in the case of a flaming or shocking weapon. It also multiplies with an eldritch blast, delivered via hideous blow. It multiplies sneak attack damage, and any special damage dealt to creatures that have special weaknesses, etc.
For the purposes of streamlining our discussions about characters, I will define some numbers which are variables. They will each have a name and a specific meaning. This is a kind of shorthand. I will outline them below:
The number Q : This means the character’s total effective level, including actual levels and level adjustments for things such as subclassing or playing a powerful race. Calling this number “Q” is faster than saying, “total effective character level.”
The number R : This means the character’s total effective caster level, with respect to a particular type of spell casting. Whenever a character gains “spells per day” for a particular type of spell casting, this goes up by one for that type.
The number S : This means the character’s total number of levels in main classes. This does not include level adjustments, or subclasses. A character’s fate points are based on his / her “S.” A character’s starting wealth (Wealth by Level, 3.0 DMG) is based on S.
An example character: Xiro M’On-Tagieu is a level 3 Rogue, level 5 Wizard, minotaur, with an Arcane Trickster subclass. His Q is 14. His R, with respect to Wizard is 9. His S is 8.