Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dungeons and Decisions, Part IV- Misc. Rules

Miscellaneous house rules round out my tinkering phase:

1. Alignment- This is the character's leanings toward civilization/orderly behavior and might makes right/id based behavior. Law and Chaos are not stand-ins for Good/Evil as they are typically written in basic D&D.
1.1 Alignment Tongues-Such things exist, but they are created and used by clerical orders. Clerics begin play with the alignment Tongue in addition to their starting languages. This language is used for clerical scrolls. Other characters may spend a language slot to learn alignment tongues, though this does not give them the ability to use cleric scrolls if they do not have the ability to use cleric spells.

2. Hit Dice: All characters receive max hit points at first level. Fighters, sub-classes of fighters, and Dwarf warriors can re-roll a 1 or 2 when rolling hit points for a new level.

3. Magic-
3.1 Magical Writing and Scrolls
Characters who can use magical spells do not need to use read magic; they can decipher any spell they have the ability to cast by making a roll. (I'm using the table in Majestic Wilderness) On a success, the character an copy the spell into a spell book, or, in the case of elves, begin studying it to learn permanently when they gain a level. On a failure, they cannot try again until they gain an experience level and know more about magic. A character can never decipher a spell they are not high enough level to cast. Note that the read magic spell will allow characters read a spell they failed to decipher on their own, as well as a higher level spell.
Scrolls can be automatically identified by magic-users, elves, mountebanks, and bards. (Also thieves once they reach 10th level) Thieves and bards must check for spell failure, though other characters need not do so. Spell casters can "reverse engineer" the magical shorthand of a scroll to learn the spell permanently, though doing so destroys the scroll.

Clerical spells can be read by anyone with the proper alignment tongue, or by anyone using read magic. Unless the character is capable of using clerical magic, this will do them little good besides knowing what is on the scroll.

Druidic spells are written in the secret druid language. Note that druids still retain their ability to use clerical magic, and thus clerical scrolls. A read magic spell or knowledge of the secret druid language will impart the user with what spell is on the scroll, but only a druid can actually cast the spell from the scroll.

3.2 Raise Dead
Spells that restore the dead are forbidden in the Lawful church, and frowned upon by almost any Neutral one. In most kingdoms, raising the dead is considered necromancy and is forbidden on pain of death. (Both of the newly risen and of the one who raised him) Unless one is willing to deal with the various Chaotic cults and sects, a dead companion should be considered truly dead.

4. First Aid
A character can bind a companion's wounds after battle to restore 1d4 hit points. This may only be done if the character was damaged in that combat, and only once per set of wounds. Clerics and sub-classes of cleric can re-roll a 1 on this roll, but must accept the result of the second roll.

5. Character Death
Characters who reach 0 hit points (or below) must save vs. Death Ray or die instantly. If they save, they can survive for a number of turns equal to their Constitution, plus or minus a secret variable determined by the DM. If they take damage again, they must save or die, and even if they succeed, the number of turns they will survive is reduced by 1d4.
Characters can be stabilized by a companion taking a full round to bandage/stabilize them, or by any healing potion, item, or spell.


  1. RE #5 (Character Death):

    Hey, why not make it Turns instead of rounds? You accomplish the same thing (no instant death with the successful save, lingering suffering), gives the guy a chance to last beyond the combat (all the while being in mortal agony), perhaps saving his ass (if the other PC members can dig out that healing potion) or deliver a memorable dying monologue (if the PCs are out of potions).

    Also...I think it's a little more "realistic" (to use that dreaded term) average Con of 10 would last 100 minutes, closer to that "Golden Hour" paramedics talk about. Plus we're talking about olks probably taken down by claws and knifes, not gunshots and explosions (the latter generally having a shorter survival time from mortal wounds sustained).

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