House Rules

I know some people out there (you know who you are) think THAC0 is an extension of the Math Department and Area III. It's actually rather simple--here's how it works:
THAC0 - (Opponent's AC) = Number needed to hit opponent
If you roll under the needed number, you miss. If you roll the number needed or greater, you hit.

Some people hate the alignment system. Some see it as an assist to character development. Here's how I'm handling it. Either pick an alignment for your character, OR give me a character outline. Or do both if you're feeling like an overachiever. The outline can be as brief or as detailed as you feel like making it, but in any case it should present a reasonably decent character sketch of your PC. IN any case, once you've picked out an alignment/personality, try to stick to it. If your pacifistic character starts killing off innocent bystanders because "They needed killing," we might have a problem. Frequent and radical alignment/personality deviations will have their consequences. Priests might not receive a full load of spells, etc.

I'm feeling pretty open minded about characters. However, here are the guidelines. If you pick a kit, be prepared to follow through with the disadvantage(s) of the kit. If you decide to play a kit for which I do not have the source material for, you are responsible for bringing the source to every role- playing session, or Xeroxing the information and giving me a copy. (However, if someone decides that their heart's desire is to be a kender wild mage, I will have to go into a corner and whimper for a while before I will be fit to deal with the world again.)

Under Dexterity, there is a modifier called "Reaction Adjustment." In addition to being a modifier against being surprised, it also modifies your character's initiative roll. Yes, this means that thieves with short swords tend to be blindingly quick. Deal.

Prerequisite XP bonuses (i.e. a 10% XP bonus if a certain stat is over 16) are not used.

I use two extra abilities, Perception and Comeliness. Perception is a character's ability to accurately perceive what is going on in the world around him. Comeliness is physical beauty, and can adjust NPC reactions. Rolling the eight stats is as follows: roll 4d6, dropping the lowest die roll, 9 times, dropping the lowest of the 9 rolls. Arrange to please. If you think your scores are too low, we'll talk about it. Tracking, Weather Sense, and Direction Sense are all now Perception based NWPs. Others may follow. Comliness has a single adjustment associated with it -- a reaction adjustment. The adjustments are as follows:

ScoreReaction Adjustment

Every player is required to have a character sheet with all of the vital information on it. If you want one (or more), I have character sheets available, so just ask. Also, as a side note, I'd appreciate it if I could have a copy of your character, in case you lose your copy, etc.

In order to determine which (if any) magic items your character starts out with, give me a list of magic items you think would be appropriate for you to have. FR is a relatively magic-rich setting, so bear in mind that you can ask for items not listed in "canon" sources. Adapt, adjust, and survive. I will not be telling you the exact function of items you receive, unless a character gets the item identified (as in the spell). Surprises are fun.

I'm thinking of offering a few new Non-Weapon Proficiencies. One is called "Monstrous Lore." It'll cost one slot, maybe two, and be Intelligence based, with a modifier that varies depending upon the scarcity of the monster. For example, a lot of people know stuff about orcs (+5 to check), but remorhaz lore is much rarer (-3). To get the proficiency, the PC must study with some knowledgeable source on the various kinds of monsters in the Realms. What it'll allow the player to do is make a check concerning a specific monster, and if they make the check, they get to ask me (da DM) some general questions about the monster, i.e. "Can it be hit with non-magical weapons?", "Is it fire- resistant?", "About how many hit dice does it have?" Feedback, anyone?

Here is the critical hit/critical fumble chance equation I'm using:

The effects are as follows:

Critical Hit
01 - 50Double Damage
51 - 75Triple Damage
76 - 90Quadruple Damage
91 - 00Quintuple Damage

Critical Fumble
Slashing/Bludgeoning/Weapon Effects
01 - 25DEX check or drop weapon, 1 round to retrieve
26 - 50DEX check or trip. 1 round to get up
51 - 60Drop weapon. 1 round to retrieve
61 - 70Trip. 1 round to get up
71 - 80Hit ally for half damage (no specialization bonus on damage roll
81 - 85Hit ally for full damage (no spec. bonus)
86 - 95Hit self for half damage (no spec. bonus)
96 - 00Hit self for full damage

Critical Fumble
Piercing Weapon Effects
01 - 40DEX check or drop weapon, 1 round to retrieve
41 - 80DEX check or trip, 1 round to up
81 - 90Drop weapon, 1 round to retrieve
91 - 00Trip, 1 round to get up

For learning proficiencies that require more than 1 NWP slot, the PC may begin by putting one NWP into the skill, but has the chance at the percent they have of the skill. For example: Healing requires two NWP slots. At 4th level, character X gets one NWP slot, and puts it into Healing. Ordinarily, with a Wisdom of 16, the skill's score would be 16, but since the skill is only half learned (1 slot of two), the chance is halved, so it would be an 8.

From now on, when figuring out your initiative, don't forget to add the weapon speed of whatever weapon you're using onto the number you've rolled. This is something I forgot to bring up before, so I'm bringing it up now.

This is how I'm planning on running gaining non weapon proficiencies. In order to learn a non-weapon proficiency, you can learn it from someone else in the party. BUT your score in it cannot exceed their score in the proficiency. And I'll use the teaching guidelines set out in the DMG to see how long it'll take to teach the skill. The other option, which you will need to do when seeking to do such things as learn weapon proficiencies/specializations, thieving skills, or new abilities not possessed by another in the party, is to seek out a mentor of sorts. For any who choose to find a mentor, I'll run a brief (around 1 hour) mostly role-playing session with them alone.

To determine XPs after a module/quest/adventure/etc. I'll sit down and figure out combat XPs, most monsters will get shared among the group, but if a person takes on something solo, they'll get all the XPs. I'd like the rest of you to write up or type up a list of things you thought your characters deserve XPs for. Then, we'll all sit down and hash out who gets what.

Time is done a little bit differently in the Realms than it is in either the Gregorian calendar, or on the Hall. The year is made up of 12 months, but each month consists of three ten-day periods, called (obviously enough) tendays, accounting for 360 days. The other five days occur as holidays that exist between certain months. The equivalent of February 29 is Shieldmeet, only taking place every four years. I'll detail what each holiday celebrates in another packet, this one is too fucking long already!

Harposian Calendar
Month NameColloquial DescriptionGregorian month
AlturiakThe Claws of ColdFebruary
Chesof the SunsetsMarch
Tarsakhof the StormsApril
MirtulThe MeltingMay
KythornThe Time of FlowersJune
EleintThe FadingSeptember
UktarThe RottingNovember
The Feast of the Moon
NightalThe Drawing DownDecember

As you all have noticed by now, I'm making magical items and their various properties a little more uncertain in this campaign than in others. Something new that I'm going to start doing is assigning items the possibility of having quirks. Little things that might either enhance or detract from the item. The possibility of an item possessing quirks is quite rare, and for it to have more than one quirk is very rare. Some examples of an item with a quirk are a scroll that can be cast twice before the spell disappears off of the scroll, a potion is nauseating to drink and a CON check must be made to drink it, or a sword is lighter than normal, giving the user a -1 on initiative. All items currently in play will be considered not to have any quirks.

A character can participate in strenuous activity (combat, spellcasting, psionic use, etc.) for a number of rounds equal to their constitution score plus one round for each level gained (multi-class characters do gain one round if they only rise in levels in one of their classes) before he gets tired. After those rounds, the character fights with a -1 to hit and damage, and has a 10% chance to botch spellcasting/psionic activity. Both the -1 and 10% are cumulative (i.e. -2 or 20% after two rounds, -8 or 80% after 8 rounds, etc.) The warrior endurance proficiency doubles the number of rounds the character can perform these strenuous actions.

Undead level draining has always struck me being a trifle overpowered and practically impossible to recover from. So here's what I'm doing. First, the PC gets a save against death magic (makes sense). If he makes the save, nothing happens except the normal damage from the attack. If he fails the save, the level(s) are drained, but recovered at the rate of 3 levels per day of complete bed rest, and 1 per day of rest (rest being non-strenuous activity such as riding a walking horse, walking short distances, etc). Characters drained to less than 0 levels die and become undead (after a while) of the type that killed them. A heal spell, or similarly powerful magics (wish, limited wish, alter reality, etc.) will bring the character up to his normal health. Characters drained to exactly 0 levels must make a system shock roll or fall into a coma until they regain all of their levels.

Specialist priests get quite a few bonuses without having too many restrictions, so I've written up a different experience table that they need to refer to for going up in levels. Here it is.

Specialty Priest Advancement Chart
LevelXPHit Dice (d8)

Okay, 3 slots to specialize in the bow? Bullshit. REVISE THAT MOTHER! Here's the way things are now:

Since "officially" only straight fighters are allowed to specialize, and we've all been not following that rule anyway I thought I'd make rules about who could specialize with what.

Everyone by now knows that I see the FR as being a very magical world. If you didn't know that, well, now you do. In any case, I am now running cantrips based on an article in Dragon #221. Basically, instead of being a 'spell' now, cantrip is a profienciency. Here goes...
Cantrip (wizard group) Modifier: INT -2 Cost: 1 (mages), 2 (bards, specialists), or 3 (priests, psionicists, thieves)

A character with the cantrip NWP has learned enough of the rudiments of magic to conjure minor mystical effects. Anyone may learn cantrips, provided they have been tutored by a wizard, although with their natural intelligence and aptitude for magic, wizards and bards excel in this field.

When a character tries to cast a cantrip, the player must describe the form he wishes the spell to take, preferably in the form of a short rhyme. In combat, cantrips have a casting time of 2. A proficiency check is rolled to see if the V and S components have been executed correctly (there is no M component for cantrips).

Even the simplest spell creates a mental drain, so the number of cantrips per day is limited to 4 a day, plus one per wizard or bard level. Each additional cantrip cast past this limit inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty on the NWP check.

Specialist mages and elementalists receive a +2 bonus when casting cantrips of their school, and a -2 for cantrips of other schools.

Wizards of over 5th level and bards over 8th level no longer need to roll checks for their cantrips -- their mastery of magic is such that casting these minor dweomers are second nature. They are, however, still limited in the number of cantrips they can cast in a day.

A wild mage using a cantrip will surge if they roll an unmodified 20 on their proficiency check.

Cantrips cannot directly damage a creature of size S or larger. No cantrip can force a creature to lose its concentration when maintaining or casting a spell.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask me, or to borrow the Dragon magazine with the appropriate article (issue 221, pages 20 - 22). I have modified things slightly from that source, the changes are noted in this text.

Okay, since I'm not majorly taken with either of the parrying systems, I'm making up my own. Since this is something I'm making up, if for some reason it doesn't seem to make sense or work out quite as smoothly as I hope it will, just let me know and we'll work something out.

The system is partly taken from the option in the Fighter's handbook where you dedicate an attack as a parry, and "hold" it in case you get attacked. The roll you need to make is based on the difference in THAC0's between you (the defender), and the other guy (the attacker). All to-hit bonuses (strength, magical, etc.) are subtracted from your THAC0 before comparison. I have weighted the system so more often than not, the attack won't be parried. This is done for the sole reason that I don't want combat to take any longer than it already does.

Okay. Here's the numbers.

If the Defender's THAC0 is better than or equal to the Attacker's, then:
DifferenceTarget Number (roll above to parry)
1 - 214
3 - 513
6 - 1012
11 - 1511

If the Defender's THAC0 is worse than or equal to the Attackers, then:
DifferenceTarget Number (roll above to parry)
1 - 216
3 - 517
6 - 1018
11 - 1519

After thinking about it for a while, I've decided that for first level, characters get get maximum hit points possible for their class, plus any other bonuses. For example, Hallarin the first level priest with a Constitution of 17 gets 8 (max priest class) + 2 (CON bonus) = 10 hit points at first level. All subsequent levels are as usual.

I'm sorry for all of you that had your mind set on it, but I've decided to not allow psionics for future games. The system just isn't set up to handle it, and a psionicist played by anyone with more than lizard brain (and everyone more than qualifies here) can just run amok. So no more. Maybe if I ever do Dark Sun, but I don't see that as a major possiblity.

That's it!