Wednesday, 1 January 2014

My FIVE favourite house rules

Two more rules added and then republished to my last 'Three favourite rule' post.

29th August 2013: "Long time no post. Life, work, other priorities.

But I am still playing. 

Kids D&D using B (Mentzer) and X (Cook) is where I am at.

But rather than leave my blog site forever up and running with a fairly random last post I would rather leave my favourite 3 house rules on my home page. So here they are.

Rule Number 1 No dump stat. EVERY ability score counts for EVERY character

Intelligence gives XP bonus / penalty  (I don't use prime requisites but do use class minimums). "You catch on quick, you must be pretty smart," applies to every character.

Ability Score
XP Adjustments
No adjustment

Wisdom bonus gives saving throw bonus / penalty to ALL saving throws.
Wisdom is will power and fate (do the god's love you or hate you).

Ability Score
Saving Throw Adjustments
No adjustment

Charisma gives bonus / penalty to starting gold. How much do people care for you and want to help you survive as an adventurer.

Ability Score
Adjustments to starting gold pieces
(rags, what you wear is all you have)
10-60gp (1d6)
20-120gp (2d6)
30-180gp (3d6)
No adjustment
40-240 gp (4d6)
50-300gp (5d6)
60-360gp (6d6)

Rule Number 2 Poison made simple
Poison does damage over time. If player fails their saving throw: Roll for damage, roll for time, start the poison. Simple and anxiety inducing for players. 

Slow poison even has a role now. 

I generally roll 1d4 for damage and 1d6 per HD of the poisoning creature for rounds of damage ie I emphasise time over immediate damage.

eg 3 on d4 then 4 on d6
"You lose three hit points damage as the poison courses through your body, what do you want to do?"
"You lose another three hit points"
"Take healing potion"
"You gain 5 hit points but lose another three hit points from the damage"
"I've got no more healing!"
"You lose another three hit points"
"I'm down to 1 hit point!"
"The poison seems to have stopped."

Rule Number 3 Mounts have to make a morale check to enter dangerous situations 

It makes high morale mounts very important and makes mounted combat unpredictable.

Mounts must pass a morale check to enter dangerous situations, eg combat, jumping a chasm etc. I check start of every round in combat.

If failed the mount and its rider will take no action that round (as the mount bucks, repositions etc), except for the option to flee from combat at maximum movement. A mounts morale can be modified by expensive training or if the character has animal handling ability modifiers (non-weapon proficiency or the like), but no mount should have a modified morale of 12, unless magically induced eg paladin's war horse. Makes a +1 moral horse worth purchasing and worth naming.

Rule Number 4 XP Drain not Level Drain
Undead drain XP not Levels and each hit will will drain the XP you might have gained for killing the undead creature. So a wight in B/X is worth 50 XP. Therefore each hit by a wight drains 50 XP.

Still something players will seek to avoid, no one likes to lose XP, but it is not the total downer that level drain is. 
You want a pirate ship crewed by wights and captained by a vampire. That's what I am now planning. Previously certain death unless a powerful cleric is in the party. Now... armies of XP draining undead are possible.

Previously the name level fighter would run faster away from a wight than he would a huge dragon. Level drain was that fear invoking. Now wights are for low level characters, en masse for higher. And I have even made skeletons and zombies drain XP.

From B/X Rules
Skeleton = 10 XP drain / hit (13 XP if wish to apply *)
Zombie = 20 XP drain / hit (25 XP if wish to apply *)
Wight = 50 XP drain / hit 
Wraith = 175 XP drain / hit
Spectre = 725 XP drain / hit
Vampire = 7 HD (1250 XP drain / hit), 8 HD (1750 XP drain / hit), 9 HD (2300 XP drain / hit)
(or if you want to be double drain for Spectre and Vampire like in the rules = double the XP drain).

Rule Number 5 Demi-human Level Titles

B/X Halfling Level Titles
What I tried to do is capture the wander lust of halflings that gradually as the years go by, draws them back home to the 'Shire' (Trade Mark). Based on this post.

Level 1 - Rambler
Level 2 - Tall Walker
Level 3 - Explorer
Level 4 - Tourist
Level 5 - Wanderer
Level 6 - Traipser
Level 7 - Homecomer
Level 8 - Sheriff

B/X Dwarven Level Titles

Level 1 - Shortbeard
Level 2 - Shield Bearer
Level 3 - Hammerer
Level 4 - Stalwart
Level 5 - Master Dwarf
Level 6 - Shield Captain
Level 7 - Companion
Level 8 - Longbeard
Level 9 - Dwarven Lord

B/X Elven Level Titles
The general theme is one of a carefree flighty elf, taking on greater and greater responsibility. Based on this post.

Level 1 - Elven Sprite
Level 2 - Elven Nymph
Level 3 - Elven Scout
Level 4 - Treekeeper
Level 5 - Forester
Level 6 - Faerie
Level 7 - Seelie
Level 8 - Fae Hunter
Level 9 - Elven Lord