Sunday, May 10, 2009

House Rules, First Resolutions

These are in no particular order for now. I will rearrange them later. I will also update my original post about house rules, crossing them off as I go.

1. There will be no berserker class. I read over the berserker presented in Hackmaster, with the intention of stripping out the parody stuff. However, as I read, I realized that the berserker doesn't really add anything to the game. If I were running a "savage" type fantasy world or one with a heavy Norse flavor, I might consider it, but I have decided against it for this game.

2. Weapon Speed: Matthew Stanham made an excellent point in the commentary of my last post; weapon speed mucks things up a bit too much when characters aren't attacking. Rereading the PHB, I find that weapons speed might actually work as written for first edition: once you are engaged in melee with someone (generally on the second and following rounds of combat) you get bonus attacks if someone's weapon speed is much higher than yours... so the awl pikeman might want to consider dropping it in favor of his shortsword when the enemies break the line. I also like that the author suggests common sense override hard and fast rules with regards to weapon speed. For instance, if a character with a dagger is charging a pikeman, the pikeman should get first shot at him, regardless of initiative. Problem solved. Casting time will still modify initiative, however... and I might rule that if casting time exceeds the opponent's weapon speed, they might get a chance to hit you and disrupt your spell.

3. Weapon type vs. AC will be used as written, now that I have read the note at the bottom of page 28 of the DMG. It kind of makes the table in the PHB seem a little obtuse, but it seems to suggest what lots of folks in the blogland have being doing: treating them as classes/types of armor rather than the numbers. AC9 on that table refers to an opponent protected only by a shield; it does not describe an unarmored opponent with a -1 Dex adjustment.

I want to reiterate that I am using speed factor and AC modifiers to make the choice of weapon tactically important and interesting. Growing up, I always though it was a damn shame that we had all those weapons and the only thing anyone ever used was a longsword. (Mace if cleric, staff if spellcaster)

4. Rangers and paladins cannot use scrolls unless they learn the druidic and clerical spell writing systems, discussed previously. Given that druidic is a secret tongue, this makes it quite unlikely that rangers will learn to use druidic scrolls, though they still learn to use druidic spells. However, they can use magic-user scrolls, since they learn the magical writing system to prepare their spellbooks.

5. Elves, and halflings can be druids, but not clerics. Dwarves, gnomes, and half-orcs can be clerics but not druids. Humans and half-elves can be either clerics or druids.

6. Light crossbows do 2d4 damage. Heavy crossbows do 2d6 damage.

7. All characters receive maximum hit points at first level. The exception to this is the ranger, who receives 8 +1d8 hit points. Beginning at 2nd level and continuing until 9th, all characters will roll their new hit die and accept the results. After 9th level, characters will gain hp as described for their class.

8. No exploding damage die/penetration.

More later.


  1. Sounds good to me; if you have not seen it already, you might be interested in my own ruminations on "Armour Type" and "Armour Class", and their interaction with "Weapon Class" and "Weapon Type" in various incarnations:

  2. For missile weapons, I think single die damage is better as it simulates hit location mattering a lot.

    Also for crossbows I like to shrink the damage die with range so that at long range they do less damage than bows. Which is a nod to wonky internet-argued 'realism' that I've heard (bolts having poor flight properties due to their need to be short and dense to take the higher stress of the crossbow string). But I also like it for making them feel different.

    Any reason you decided to keep the Cleric after all?

  3. @Matthew: I read that over... quite interesting, especially the Chain Mail tables. I did save a copy of your "advanced" armor rules; I'll be looking over them again with intent to yoink.

    @Bailey: You do have a point, but I want crossbows to be deadly. I like the idea of shrinking damage over distance...maybe I could drop them to single die at long range.

    As for the cleric, it was mainly out of tradition. Most of the people who have expressed interest in this game are either mostly unfamiliar with D&D or have not played in a long time. I want to give them a more typical game experience before I make everything all crazy. Also, I am thinking about a "healer" type class inspired by Mike over at Sword +1... a non-religious healer type. I might sketch it out early this week and post something.