Thursday, December 17, 2015

My D&D Rules

So I've been meaning to post the "house rules" I use for awhile. Basically, I'd like to use them as a reference point for discussing other peoples' rules and considering new rules for problems at the table right now (initiative and negative HP are my current problem children). See below for the two version of my 'most popular fantasy game ever' rules. If you've played D&D for any period of time, you can probably use these as a complete ruleset, so please feel free to gank and steal. The "North Kingdoms" version is an incomplete version I used when I was running a more Tolkien-ish setting (that hadused several different rulesets over the 2+ years I ran it, starting with Balrogs & Bagginses) and the "Ironlands" version is what we use now (setting, as described, is kinda TSR Birthright + Game of Thrones + Warhammer mashup).

A giant thing to understand about these rules is that I use them to play with like 6-8 players every session, so they need to be pretty clear and streamlined, and the emphasis is fun die-rolls, ability to pull off mad-cap actions, and some role/specialization protection.

[I'll update this entry with the rules and the character sheets I use when I get access to google drive later]


Influences
So, my home rules are based on several rulesets you've heard of if you follow d&d stuff. These are Lamentations of the Flame Princess (only apparent in the character sheet design now), Beyond the Wall, Small But Vicious Dog, Pits & Perils, Blood & Treasure, a little bit of Adventurer Conqueror King, and Swords & Wizardry (and, of course, Basic D&D). There's also the houserule about using a d30 to replace a roll once per game, stolen, I think, from Jeff Rients. Basically, I took Beyond the Wall, did my own spell system based on Pits & Peril's idea for super simple level-less spells, made the ability/skill checks roll over Saving throw or 18 (ala S&W), and added the automatic cleave attack kinda from ACKS to everyone who hits in melee. These rules aren't up to date to what we do at the table, so I'll update- the main changes are we now always roll-over, and there's basically just 1 save (not the favored/disfavored), and I'm thinking of making the save increase 1 pt. per level; the spells get tweaked a lot too. There's no real explanations of the rules in here, so you really should buy one of the above rpgs to go with it (I'd suggest Beyond the Wall and LOTFP in particular).




Features
Class-wise, there are only 3 - Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, and I mix-and-match these to create multi-class based classes like Paladin, Ranger, "Bard." These rules are probably not what I would create or use in a vacuum (they're close, mine would likely be closer to semi-classless LOTFP like in Undercroft #3 with level-less spells) , but I aim to please my players, and these give them nice options at both character creation and while leveling up (options without proficiencies/feats). The rules give the PCs a lot of power, but not third edition or fifth edition D&D power.  The feel I'm going for is like 2nd edition streamlined to actually be easy to understand at the table.

One thing I liked about an ACKS game I ran for like 1.5 years was that the players got to pick some neat proficiencies for their characters every few levels, but the game was pretty much otherwise basic d&d. One of the things Beyond the Wall does well (I had to junk that game's awesome background generator, it wouldn't work at my table and had the wrong feel for how we wanted the setting of our new campaign to be) is provide these options without the implicit restrictions that a list of proficiencies has. I also don't like that in ACKS the new proficiencies are tied to increased to-hit values. I included this in my game. Every few levels, warriors get a new fighting ability like weapon specialization or improved criticals or something, wizards get their spells, and rogues get more skills and backstab. There's also, of course, improved to-hit, improved HP, and improved saves.

Level-less Spells
The other major feature of these rules is the Spell system. In reaction to the huge number of spells in 5th edition and having to learn which spell was which level, I basically just junked all that. What is the point of spell levels again? To me, it seems like a legacy thing that's not important. Making spells stronger at higher levels seems fine, as does giving more castings per day, but tracking spell levels that seem pretty arbitrary is, at this point in the history of elf games, a waste of time. I've included most of the spells everyone has heard of: a version of confusion, fly, fireball or whatever, so these rules are compatible and all, but why can't a first level dude cast fly? And why separate spells for magic missile, acid arrow, and fireball? Shouldn't the low level wizard's fireball just be puny? For special high-level effects, like teleport or finger-of-death, I just imposed extra requirements (e.g. teleport requires expensive silver dust and can only be cast at dawn or dusk) to make them more like rituals, so you get a better result anyway. I also know so much better about what all the spells do, as I've simplified them so they can fit on a single page or two chart. I had to put stuff like duration, range on there, because otherwise the players would get frustrated at the lack of predictability in what will happen; this may not be ideal from a feeling that magic should be unpredictable viewpoint, but I think it's a necessary concession to game-ability. I confined the wackiness and unpredictability of magic to a Winds of Magic chart for when wizards want to test fate with powerful spells (e.g. they have to check Winds with teleport) or more castings. I haven't seen a wild magic results chart I particularly like, so I just make up something appropriate when the Winds go against the PC.

Below 0 HP
I have a critical/below zero wounds chart. The one I have currently in the rules has not actually been used, it ended up being too unwieldy in the middle of combat when PCs are getting felled. Basically, it's now 0 hp = unconscious, -1 to like -3/-4 just bleeding out at 1 hp, -5 to -7 1 pt permanent ability score loss, which I just roll a d6 (1 = STR, 6 = CHA in order of character sheet) and some creative effects based on which score I rolled, -8 to -9 2 pts permanent ability loss and described effects, and -10 death, whether there by bleeding or the initial blow. If I were hardcore, I'd do death at 0 or something, but the PCs just spend so much time on the characters I like some flexibility about death.

I'd love thoughts and questions from anyone, otherwise please enjoy this barebones houserule document. For me, it scratches all the itches in just the way I like.

*  *  *
The Rules
Still haven't had a chance to upload proper pdf versions, but here's a text version of the more Tolkienish fantasy rules.



D&D Rules Reference Sheet: Characters & Rules
Character creation:
1
-4
2-3
-3
4-5
-2
6-8
-1
9-12
0
13-15
+1
16-17
+2
18-19
+3
(1) Ability scores roll 4d6, drop lowest, assign to 6 ability scores Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIS), Charisma (CHA). Ability scores give bonuses (or penalties) to certain actions, and you roll ≤ on 1d20 to do other actions (e.g. bash down door with STR).
(2) Pick class:  Warrior: hp 8 + d8/level, armor any, save favor toughness/fortitude, abilities – (1) weapon specialization +1 to hit, +2 damage, (2) fighting ‘feats’ or ‘styles’: archery x2 bow attacks/rd, berserk, fell-handed* close-combat improved critical, dour-eyed* ranged improved critical, guard* +1 AC, mighty +1 dam. all weapons, resolve* +2 saves, weapon specialization* another weapon, dual-wield. * can take multiple times.
Level
Warrior
BAB
Feat
Saves
 1
0
+1
WS+1
15/16
2
1200
+2

15/16
3
3600
+3
+1
13/15
4
8600
+4

13/15
5
18,600
+5

11/14
6
30,600
+6
+1
11/14
7
45,000
+7

9/13
8
64,000
+8

9/13
9
85,000
+9
+1
7/12
10
113,300
+10

7/12
Rogue: hp 6 + d6/level, armor no hvy, save favor reflexes, abilities – (1) skilled: two additional skills at first level, gain new skills at odd levels 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th; (2) backstab: +1D6 damage when attacking a vulnerable area (throat, eyes, etc.), and when the target is unaware of where the attack is coming from. Increases at 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th for a maximum of +5D6 damage; (3) first-strike: rogues go first on initiative, unless surprised or confronting another rogue (all rogues go first, then others).
Level
Rogue
BAB
Skills
Stab
Saves
 1
0
+0
+2
+1D6
15/16
2
900
+1


15/16
3
2700
+1
+1
+2D6
13/15
4
6500
+2


13/15
5
14,000
+3
+1
+3D6
11/14
6
23,000
+3


11/14
7
34,000
+4
+1
+4D6
9/13
8
48,000
+5


9/13
9
64,000
+5
+1
+5D6
7/12
10
85,000
+6


7/12

Wizard: hp 6 + d6/level, armor none, save willpower, abilities – (1) cast spells: 1 per level daily, start knowing 1+INT, (2) sense power, (3) draw power, cast another spell that day by making INT save; if fail, the Eye; (4) research spells from writings or teachers.
Level
Wizard
BAB
Saves
 1
0
+0
15/16
2
1500
+1
15/16
3
4500
+1
13/15
4
10,800
+2
13/15
5
23,300
+2
11/14
6
38,300
+3
11/14
7
56,600
+3
9/13
8
80,000
+4
9/13
9
106,600
+4
7/12
10
141,600
+5
7/12
 (3) Pick Skills: start with 2 (rogues start with 4 total): e.g. Athletics, Cooking, Forgotten Lore, Stealth, Tracking, etc.  Skills add +2 to relevant ability score when skill useful. Can pick same skill twice for +4 bonus.
(4) Languages: start knowing own language (common for men, elvish for elves, etc.) and one more of choice, plus one more language per INT bonus.
(5) Equipment: start with clothing, basic equipment to support any skills (lockpicks for Lockpicking), basic adventuring equipment of choice (rope, tinder, water flask, whetstone, etc.), plus 4d6 silver. A character carry a maximum of 10 items , with armor not counting. Warriors, also, start with a chain mail shirt (+4 AC), or leathers (+2 AC) with a bow for free, and the weapon they’re specialized with.
(6) Stats: write down max HP = starting + CON; saves; Melee AB (BAB+STR), Range AB (BAB+DEX); weapon to hit and damage; AC = 10 + DEX + armor/shield; Spells for wizards.
Equipment List – 10 coppers to 1 silver, 10 silver to 1 gold, 100 coin is 1 item for carrying purposes
Other equip, animals, hirelings: consult Beyond the Wall 14-15

Arms
D4
dagger, sling, club, wooden sword
4 coppers
D6
spear, mace, bow*, short sword, axe
8 silvers
D8
longsword, battle axe, longbow*, crossbow*
16 silvers
D10
greatsword, longaxe, lance, halberd, arbalest*
32 silvers
*ranges: effective 50’ for bows and crossbows, 75’ for longbows and arbalests; greater than that -6/disadvantage, max range x4 effective; crossbows and arbalests require 1 round to reload.
ranged weapons add ½ STR bonus, rnd up

Armor
+2 AC
Leathers, padded tunic

25 silvers
+4 AC
chainmail shirt
-3
100 silvers
+6 AC
chainmail hauberk*
-6
500 silver
+8 AC
heavy chainmail corselet* (rare)
-9
1000 silver
+2 AC
shield
-1
10 silvers
+1 AC
buckler, lt. shield

5 silver
penalties listed apply to movement, stealth, and other skill checks, at DM discretion.
*these are heavy armors, which are slow (1 full rd. to stand, lose initiative ties)
untrained armor wearers: subtract AC from AB & cannot cast spells

Rules – 


·                     Tasks and ability checks: If it's not clear that the PC will succeed at something they're doing, roll d20 + relevant ability score modifier + 2 if skilled (+4 double-skilled) v. Saving Throw, then succeed. Some tasks should be extremely hard and have a target number 18 (including tasks the character has no experience with).

·                     combat: to attack, roll d20 + STR (melee) / DEX (ranged) bonus + BAB + weapon modifiers v. target’s Armor Class (AC) [10 + DEX bonus + armor/shield]. If equal or beat AC, roll damage (weapon damage + STR bonus v. modifiers) and subtract from enemy hp.
·                     saves: in certain situations, such as to resist spells, magic effects, area affects and other situations where chance and fate are large factors, characters make a save, roll d20 equal/higher than the particular save.
·                     below 0 hp: When target falls to 0 or lower hp, it is out of combat and probably dead. PCs consult the Death & Dismemberment table to determine what happens to them if go below 0 hp.
·                     deathblows: if an attacker downs an enemy to 0 hp or less, can make a free immediate follow-up attack that does not require moving (throw a spear, hack an adjacent enemy).
·                     initiative: actions happen in an order that makes sense according to the narrative, generally each side rolls 1d10, ties meaning simultaneous action.
·                     critical hits: natural 20+ = max damage plus roll weapon damage, if max, roll again (no limit)
·                     fumbles: natural 1 = exposed to extra attack, fall over, weapon breaks/disarmed, etc.
·                     d30: once per game session, the character may replace a roll, even afterwards, with a d30 roll
·                     allies & followers: a PC can have 1 ± CHA bonus in loyal followers (check if mistreated though) (this includes loyal beasts); all others will be only mercenaries, and probably actively flee or betray in their own self-interest
·                     spells: cast 1 spell per level daily (can learn or know more), can cast more but may gain the attention and ire of Dark Powers (the Eye) if fail at casting roll.

Other Races & Classes
Multiclasses: to represent rarer types of characters, can multiclass: (1) pick 2 classes (warrior/wizard), (2) use higher XP requirement, (3) alternate between class features, choosing 1 favorable or that 1 class has, then 1 disfavorable.
Elves (multiclass warrior/rogue, warrior/wizard, or rogue/wizard): requirements – all ability scores must be 12 or higher; abilities – (1) Keen-eyed, see great distances and sharp outlines, +2 ability checks; (2) Immortal – unaging, immune to mundane diseases; (3) Fey – resist being enchanted or charmed (+3 to saves); (4) Autumn Folk – vulnerable to despair, hopelessness (-4 relevant saves), must make periodic save or retreat to the elvish havens after setbacks.
Dwarves (warriors, warrior/rogues): requirements – Con must be highest score and be 13+; +1 Con, -1 Dex; abilities – (1) Stonesense, can detect the contours and structures of stone through the stone with a Wis check; (2) Hardy,  a dwarf’s CON bonus is 1 higher than normal; (3) Fire-hardened, dwarves may subtract their CON bonus from any fire-based damage they take; (4) Secret Name, those with knowledge of the dwarf’s secret true name may use it against him (+5 to all acts vs dwarf); (5) Greed, dwarves have -4 penalty to all spells, effects, and trickery invoking their greed for the glittering things of the earth.
Halflings (rogues, warrior/rogues): requirements – Str must be 10 or less; abilities – (1) Spirit, halflings have a +2 bonus to all saves and grant all adventuring companions +1 to their saves; (2) Pluck, halflings may reroll all 1s rolled on d20 (once); (3) Small, halflings start with 4 hp (+CON) and may never increase their strength higher than 10, and may only use weapons that do 1d4 or 1d6 damage (unless magic increased base weapon damage).

Men (optional) – DM may allow men to add +1 to one ability score of choice at 1st level, especially appropriate if there are numerous other races in the game.

Advancement
·                     Gain XP for accomplishing quests and goals (500 xp to 1000 xp); roleplaying and fun (10 xp to 100 xp); accomplishing personal goals like researching a new spell, finding a wife, building a hall, fulfilling an oath, and so on (500 xp to 1000 xp); and defeating enemies (100 x HD^2 / number of allies fighting).
·                     At 3rd and 7th level, add +1 to two ability scores; at 5th and 9th level, can gain Trait or +1 to two ability scores (depends on how game is going). DM may allow a Trait (see FA for examples) at 1st.

Highborn Elf (example other class)
Level
Elf
BAB
Saves
 1
0
+1
15/16
2
1500
+2
15/16
3
4500
+3
13/15
4
10,800
+4
13/15
5
23,300
+5
11/14
6
38,300
+6
11/14
7
56,600
+7
9/13
8
80,000
+8
9/13
9
106,600
+9
7/12
10
141,600
+10
7/12
 hp 6 + d6/level, armor no hvy, save favor willpower, abilities – (1) weapon specialization, +1 attack, +2 damage (usually longsword or longbow); (2) cast spells; (4) elf – keen-eyed, immortal, fey, autumn folk.

[Without the elf abilities, this can also represent Dunedain-types, with suggested spells including Healing Touch and Banish Undead]

[For an elf loremaster type, can replace casting spells with casting cantrips and rituals, starting with 2 each]


Other Rules Notes
·                     berserk: when fighting, can go berserk, cannot wear armor (shields ok), add 1d6 temporary hp, +2 attacks/+2 damage, do 1d4 melee attacks per round, lasts 1d6 rounds + CON bonus. During berserk, ignore effects of falling below 0 until -10 (although severed limbs are still severed). At end of berserk, the berserker collapses, exhausted; if he does not sleep, he will perform all actions at -6; he also suffers the effects of any grievous wounds.
·                     poison: generally, if fail save take 1d4 dam. per round for 1d6 rounds per enemy HD; more dire poisons exist, such as those causing blindness, paralysis, and instant death.
·                     fire: the first few rounds of a new fire, even with ‘burning oil,’ only cause 1d4 damage.
·                     mounted combat: as much higher, riders attack footmen at +2 (similar to any attack from greater height, can give same bonus to trolls or other giant creatures attacking only 1 footman) and riders are +2 AC unless attacked by polearms or ranged weapons. On a mounted charge, riders are +4 attack from momentum, double melee damage (inc. bonuses), and horses may trample attack. Only trained warhorses will fight in combat, regular horses will attempt to run away continuously.
·                     morale: base is 7± CHA bonus of leader, check 2D6 equal or under. Check when leader acts cowardly, lose a number of allies, etc.
Other  Multiclasses
Ranger
Level
Ranger
BAB
Skills
Saves
 1
0
+1
+2
15/16
2
1200
+2

15/16
3
3600
+3
+1
13/15
4
8600
+4

13/15
5
18,600
+5
+1
11/14
6
30,600
+6

11/14
7
45,000
+7
+1
9/13
8
64,000
+8

9/13
9
85,000
+9
+1
7/12
10
113,300
+10

7/12
 hp 6 + d6/level, armor no hvy, save favor reflex, abilities – (1) weapon specialization, +1 attack, +2 damage (suggested longbow or longsword); (2) highly skilled (suggested Tracking, Stealth, Herbalism); (3) first strike








Wildling (Beorning)
Level
Wildling
BAB
Feats
Saves
 1
0
+1
2
15/16
2
1200
+2

15/16
3
3600
+3
+1
13/15
4
8600
+4

13/15
5
18,600
+5

11/14
6
30,600
+6
+1
11/14
7
45,000
+7

9/13
8
64,000
+8

9/13
9
85,000
+9
+1
7/12
10
113,300
+10

7/12
 hp 8 + d8/level, armor none, save favor reflex, abilities – (1) warrior feats: berserk + mighty; (2) 4 starting skills (suggested Survival, Stealth, Athletics, Animal Taming); (3) first strike









Dwarf Crafter
Level
Crafter
BAB
Skills
Saves
 1
0
+0
+2
15/16
2
1200
+1

15/16
3
3600
+1
+1
13/15
4
8600
+2

13/15
5
18,600
+3
+1
11/14
6
30,600
+3

11/14
7
45,000
+4
+1
9/13
8
64,000
+5

9/13
9
85,000
+5
+1
7/12
10
113,300
+6

7/12
 hp 8 + d8/level, armor all, save favor fortitude, abilities – (1) weapon specialization, +1 attack, +2 damage (suggested battleaxe); (2) 4 starting skills (suggested Smithy, Tinker, Engineer)


SPELL
DURATION
RANGE
SPECIAL EFFECT
Alarm
1 day/level
touch
any creature crossing area wakes and alerts caster
Bless
1d6 rounds
touch
grant +2 to all d20 rolls
Bolt
instant
60'
3D6 dam., other effects based on element of bolt (lightning)
Call
instant
self
send for the caster's familiar
Calm
1 turn/level
30'
pacify any number of animals (no save) or stupid monsters
Charm
1 turn/level
sight
1 non-hostile target feels as fast-friend or lover with caster
Circle
1 turn/level
10’ (d.)
creates protective barrier; +2 AC, saves, must save to cross
Cure
instant
touch
treat poison or lesser curse on a single target; requires herbs
Curse
instant
touch
inflict curse on a single target; if lays duty, called Quest
Dispell
instant
touch
reverse or cancel any spell or magical effect ; roll off w/mages
Enchant
permanent
touch
place spell in object, lasts until effect takes place
Fear
1 turn/level
30'
panic any number of enemy targets who can see/hear caster
Fire
1d6 rounds
60’
control size and shape of flames in range
Form
1 turn/level
self
assume form of chosen beast, or gain portion of that form
Foresight
1d6 rounds
self
experience a premonition of future events, in trance or dream
Gust
instant
60’
wind knockdowns any number targets, blow away arrows
Heal
instant
touch
restores 1D6 hp
Hide
1 day/level
touch
prevent object from being seen, found, or scried upon
Hold
1d6 rounds
30'
immobilize a single man-sized target
Hope
1 turn/level
30’
remove panic or prevent route any # enemies
Knock
instant
touch
open sealed or locked doors; Lock is inverse
Know
instant
sight
read the true feelings of a single target
Light
1 turn/level
30'/60’
light a radius around an object; or blind/flash as an instant
Mend
instant
touch
magically fix and make whole broken objects
Mist
1 turn/level
sight
form obscuring foggy cloud all around caster
Move
instant
60’­
throw or move man-sized object or creature
Ruin
instant
60'
call down a magical hail storm , 1D6 dam. all in range
Ruse
1 turn/level
30’
create a visual illusion around a person or small area
Scry
1 turn/level
touch
in reflection, see known place or through servant’s eyes
See
1 turn/level
self
see through all illusions, glamours, disguises
Send
instant
sight
deliver a 10-word message heard on the winds
Shatter
instant
30'
break a single weapon or crumble a small area
Shield
1 turn/level
self
+6 AC, mystical sphere of protection from physical attacks
Silence
1 turn/level
30'
silence a radius around the caster
Sleep
1 turn/level
60’
put into deep slumber 2D4 HD of creatures/people
Tangle
1d6 rounds
30’
tangling vines slow and impair (-3 AB, -20’) all in radius
Tongues
1d6 rounds
30’
speak target’s tongue or make him incomprehensible
Turn
1 turn/level
30’
brandish at undead or demon, they flee or are held at bay
Waters
1d6 rounds
60’
raise, lower, or control flow of waters
Ward
1d6 rounds
touch
target resists all attacks until acts offensively
Word
1d6 rounds
60’
1 target obeys sensical 1-word command in known tongue




 

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