House rules, and options taken and/or waived

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House rules, and options taken and/or waived

Post by DM-Christian on Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:17 pm

There are a lot of rules in the players' handbook and dungeon master's guide  that are listed as optional.  This is the thread where we will clarify which we're using and which we're not, as well as any house rules we partake in.  Obviously this thread will grow and expand as I read through the rules, we play the game and see what fits us, and/or players ask questions that demand policy-like answers.  So, let's get started!

-Multiclassing: If you're willing to track it and apply it to the extent of the rules in the players' handbook, go right ahead!  I love enabling "out there" concepts, and will not stand in the way of someone willing to do the homework applying the optional multiclassing rules to their character!

-Feats:  Yes. Absolutely.  I think it's funny that this is an optional rule, but yes, you can absolutely forego any ability score increase opportunity as you level to instead acquire a feat.

-Warlock pact sources: I mentioned this all mysteriously in the thread that aligned the campaign world with the rules, but it falls under house rules, and so it demands transparency.  We do have three (at this time) "homebrew" warlock pact sources, angled to give players interactive, live pacts with NPC-like figures from this campaign's past, and these three pact sources coincide with the three templates in the player's handbook.  Our Archfey pact option is Risika, Unseelie Queen, played by our own Kit (Keikat.)  Our Demonic pact option is the mad Void Griffon Zhanya, played by our own Cas (Jagd/Garou.)  Finally, our "Great old one" pact option is none other than Ancient norse god Loki, as portraied by Dm-Estelle.  Choosing these pact sources (As they are only options, and not the only ones) will result in increased RP opportunities, and I can't pretend that I don't hope we'll see warlocks beholden to these fun personalities at some point!  I know that Kit was looking at the rules for the Archfey pact template and considering some improvements and re-balancing moves for flavour more fitting to the followers of Risika.


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Material components for spells

Post by DM-Christian on Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:39 am

This will be the first campaign I have ever run where I am acknowledging the existence of material components, and I am doing so within the following parameters: Spells that list a requirement for material component, in most cases, will simply require a focus, that is NOT consumed.  We will evaluate higher level spells with appropriately rare components as we go, but generally speaking, no, the fireball casting mage need not maintain a steady supply of bat shit... just have a focus relative to your class.  Players are encouraged to personalize their foci and make it part of your concept!


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Ranged weapons and ammunition  

Post by DM-Christian on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:07 am

We are going to go forward with a working rule that mundane ammo is assumed to be maintained by a character utilizing a ranged weapon, so off board and not tracked, you need only have a quiver/ammo pouch on your person to have the gift of untracked mundane ammunition. That singular arrow of dragon slaying you find, however, will be a different story. As for "quivers of +1 arrows," if that comes up in treasure, I'd probably just instead hand out a +1 bow.

The counter, of course is to ask "well what about like the battle of helm's deep situation where every arrow is precious?" I think my answer would be twofold:

1) Ok, I reserve the right to make a judgment call and say "you are far from home, there is no means to refresh, NOW we start tracking at a full standard quiver."

and 2) Honestly, if your concept is a bow-wielder, I'm not over here drooling for your last arrow, after which you'll just be a doorstop.


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Otional rule: Renown (spoiler: no)

Post by DM-Christian on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:47 am

From the DMG:

RENOWN
Renown is an optional rule you can use to track an
adventurer's standing within a particular faction or
organization. Renown is a numerical value that starts
at 0, then increases as a character earns favor and
reputation within a particular organization. You can tie
benefits to a character's renown, including ranks and
titles within the organization and access to resources.
A player tracks renown separately for each
organization his or her character is a member of. For
example, an adventurer might have 5 renown within
one faction and 20 renown within another, based on the
character's interaction with each organization over the
course of the campaign.


Ok, how do I put this?  I know I've been videogaming the heck out of D&D with some of my approach, but my opinion on numerical rep grinds in D&D can be summed up in one word: LOLNO.


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Death, dying and resurrection

Post by DM-Christian on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:57 am

We will follow the PHB's rules on death, unconsciousness, stabilization, the whole nine yards.  What needs to be said, though, is that access to resurrection will be liberal and heavily tied to roleplay and the gods and goddesses of our game, since every character in the game was called through by the "SOS" signal of the Vortex gate.  In general, a character in this game does not get retired, through death or actual "retirement," until the player wishes it to happen.  (Obvious point is obvious, but abuse of this ideal will result in the player's removal from the campaign and community.)  Generally speaking, if someone "dies" in the field, if no one on hand is able to cast a resurrection spell or effect, transporting the deceased body back to Weirdale will almost always result in a roleplay-powered return to life... because not all prices for "failure" can be measured in gold and/or spell components! Twisted Evil

Also related to this point, is a reminder of the idea of a heroic campaign.  An obvious counter to our policy on death and resurrection is to ask "well, mwahaha, what if I hide the body because my character doesn't like that character?"  There's a simple answer there: don't be a dick, the gods will notice, and you won't like their response.  I don't have the time or interest any more to juggle inter-player diabolical machinations and competitive deadly games between allies, because you are just that: allies.  That's not a suggestion, it's a hardcoded aspect of our game.  If you try to secretly side with the villains, the gods will know.  Treachery is not the story we are telling, and it will be countered with copious metagaming on the part of the DM.  You are, ultimately, the good guys, even if you are neutral evil, and it is up to the player to instill that motivation into their character.  This is not a PVP game, period.  

That last paragraph might have seemed harsh, but it was only intended to pointedly state our intent here.  Participation in our game is centered around the idea that we are all playing together, not against each other, it's an important distinction that isn't necessarily intuitively understood in these sorts of games, so I'm spelling it out. Smile


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Alignment restrictions

Post by DM-Christian on Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:40 am



Oh yeah, that last post reminded me of a longstanding tradition in my games!

You will need to present me with a damned good reason to let anyone play a chaotic evil character.  This alignment, on PCs, will almost always be counter to the games I run, and it pretty much only exists to create campaign villain NPCs.


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IMPORTANT: NON-RANDOM ABILITY SCORES AND HIT POINTS

Post by DM-Christian on Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:59 am

This one should probably be in the first post of the thread, but it was being debated for a while before I posted it:

Due to the indirect, online nature of our campaign, we are allowing only two official PHB options for generating your level one characters' ability scores:

-Point buy (PHB page 13 under "Variant: Customizing ability scores")
-Flat, fast number assignment. (top of PHB page 13: simply assign the numbers 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 to taste)

That's it.


Furthermore, hit points are not to be randomized, but instead use the optional average, solid numbers in the PHB. It will be under your class as the "(or <number>)" next to your listed hit dice. For example, the entry for barbarian looks like this:

Hit points:

Hit Dice: 1d12 per barbarian level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + your
Constitution modifier per barbarian level after 1st


All of that is in line with our game except the mentioning of the d12 hit points at higher levels: we would skip straight to the 7. Max hitpoints at level 1, firm numbers each following level, that's how we roll.... or, more importantly, don't roll.


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PHB Chapter 4 is... kinda useless to us

Post by DM-Christian on Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:37 am

As I read through the player's handbook, following the steps to create a character, I think it's important that I express how... unnecessary almost the entire 4th chapter ("Personality and background") seems in light of us maintaining a roleplay-intensive setting during and between sessions.

While there are a lot of good ideas for character concepts amidst the various quantified backgrounds and associated parts of said backgrounds, a lot of them just don't fit in our campaign, and furthermore, just seem extraneous in fleshing out existing characters that you already know and love... which this community is largely populated by.

So the long and the short of it is, do commit to the two skill proficiencies that would otherwise come from selecting a background, pick a tool proficiency for yourself if it fits your character (but do note that we do not use player crafting in our game), but don't expect all this "quantified roleplay" to come up in our game.  This is a great chapter to get ideas to flesh out your concept, but don't expect me to nail you on "HAH! You don't have that ideal, you chose another one, so you can't do that, you're all DOOMED!"

Feel free to use the background templates, I'm not knocking them as guidelines for those that are stumped in filling out their characters... but those non-logistical commitments won't really be "a thing" that will mean much in our game.  Your character's background and story will certainly matter, but not because it's a series of pre-determined things from the PHB.  I'm sure most of us here know our characters' backstories better than the PHB's charts and tables do.


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Carry capacity: NOPE

Post by DM-Christian on Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:37 pm

Because it's always been a funsucking, time-wasting anchor to the most mundane and boring of busywork, we will not be tracking carry capacity.

This does, of course, come hand in hand with the usual "don't abuse it" caveat with all of our alternative house rules. As Kit put it: "No, you can't stuff three cows into your backpack."

There will likely be an in-game explanation for this rule.
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Player Crafting

Post by DM-Christian on Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:34 pm

File this under "that's OPTIONAL? Thank the gods, I don't have to track that," player crafting is not a thing in our game.  Yes, there is a point in our rules where I mentioned learning a tool, but I didn't at the time realize that that meant letting in crafting. I'll be changing that.  As someone who almost always runs games anchored to a city meant to be a gold sink for the fruits of adventuring labours, I've always hated the time-economical and power-creep impact of players making their own stuff.  If this alters the build of any existing characters made assuming they can craft, they can of course re-alocate aspects of their character chosen assuming they could make things.  Kill stuff, take their stuff, buy stuff, that's how we roll!  Feel free to add Rp flavor to your character and say "I'm a seamstress on the side," (for example, Jagd's role as town blacksmith) but these are RP frills only, and aren't actually meant to impact your character sheet.
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Flanking

Post by DM-Christian on Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:46 pm

To keep things simple for both of our DMs, we will not be using the optional flanking rule in our campaign.
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Rebalancing "Chapter Four," part II

Post by DM-Christian on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:51 pm

Gutting any opportunity for player crafting from our game has presented us with the potential for an unbalanced player generation process, in that some "backgrounds" in chapter four of the player's handbook empower the player through presenting them with tool proficiencies that we have now rendered pointless in a "no player crafting" game.

To address this, we are allowing anyone making RP-based choices in chapter four of the PHB during character generation to substitute any tool proficiency rendered completely useless by a zero-crafting game to pick another skill proficiency in its stead.

Furthermore, actually looking at chapter four longer than it takes to laugh at it has revealed to me the presence of a mechanic known as "features" within background choices.  These can range from rolling to find drinkable water in the middle of nowhere, to having "city connections" that the DM may have to suddenly come up with when you need them.  In short: I hate these.  That being said, it should be noted that the context of our campaign may make some of these completely useless, and for the rest, please note that the DM maintains veto power over your potential ability to, I don't know...  summon a herd of sheep in the middle of the desert for taking the "shepherd" background.  (If that's actually a thing, I give up.)
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Shape changing and polymorphing

Post by DM-Christian on Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:43 pm

No form of polymorph or shapechanging spell may grant a player character legendary resistance or legendary actions. These mechanics exist to help DMs create "boss monsters" capable of holding their own in an "action economy" sense against a group of players, and cross the line of "brokenness" in the hands of member of said party of players.

We are also striking the potential for permanence from the "true polymorph" spell.
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