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 House Rules & Clarifications

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PostSubject: House Rules & Clarifications   Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:25 pm

Abilities:
• Assign 80 points between your six abilities as you wish. Apply racial modifiers after assigning these scores. Only one stat may be maxed out (including racial modifiers, so a maxed Str is 20 for a half-orc, 18 for a human, and 16 for a halfling). No ability score may be lower than 8 before racial modifiers are added.

Races:
• Dwarves get +2 to Con and -2 to Dex. They get a +1 racial bonus on saves vs. spells and spell-like abilities.
• Half-orcs get +2 to Str and -2 on Int. They get a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks.
• Shifters get +2 to Dex and -2 on Cha.
• Warforged get +2 to Str and a -2 to Wis. They are no longer immune to energy drain. A warforged affected by a rust monster’s attack or a rusting grasp spell takes 1d10 Con damage (Fort save half).

Classes:
• When a barbarian's rage ends, if he drops below 0 hp, he is unconscious and automatically stabilizes. If the drop in Con would drop him to -10 or lower hit points, he drops to -9.
• Bards and Sorcerers use no material components or foci for their spells. If casting a spell which would normally require an expensive material component or focus, they instead sacrifice 1 XP per 25 gp cost. Bards can be of any alignment.
• Clerics are not proficient with heavy armor.
• Fighters may take maneuvers or stances from the Book of Nine Swords as feats. They are not restricted to any discipline and their initiator level for this purpose is their fighter class level.
• Monks can choose feats available at earlier levels when choosing their bonus feats.
• Paladins always have an individual code of conduct (if playing one, create the code in consultation with me). Paladins have a caster level of paladin level – 3.
• Rangers are considered as equivalent to a druid of (ranger level – 3) for purposes of animal companions. They have a caster level of ranger level – 3.
• Wizards may use the variant specialization rules from Unearthed Arcana.
• When rolling hit points per level, a character rolling less than half of maximum for the hit dice (i.e. less than 5 on d10 or 3 on d6), the character gets the half score (i.e. a fighter cannot get less than 5 per level on rolled hit points).
• Paladins and monks may multi-class freely.
• Certain prestige classes may be taken. Picking up a PrC will usually be role-played, so inform me at least 2 levels before you could take the class, e.g. if you can take the PrC at 7th level, check with me upon reaching 5th level.
• Classes which add a particular stat bonus to an unusual area (e.g. a Paladin adding Cha to saves, or a Monk's Wis bonus to AC) gain no more than +1 of the bonus per class level. For example, a 3rd level paladin with a 20 Cha would add only +3 to his saves, and would only gain the full +5 on reaching 5th level. A relevant PrC will count for this purpose.

Skills:
• Everyone gets to pick one skill which is always a class skill for them for skill purchase purposes, i.e. it always costs 1 skill pt, whatever class the skill pt(s) you’re spending on it came from.
• All classes (and creatures) get 2 extra skill points per level.
• All classes have Profession as a class skill. 5 ranks in an appropriate Profession will provide a +2 bonus to certain other skills (usually 1 per Profession).

Feats:
• Most PHB and ECS feats are available. Feats from other books (Complete series, PHB2, etc.) may be available on a case-by-case basis.
• Dodge applies vs. all attackers, not just one.
• Power Attack is capped at a maximum of -5 to hit.
• Toughness provides +1 hp per character level.
• Two-Weapon Fighting also provides a +2 shield bonus to AC, as long as one is holding two weapons or a double weapon. ITWF and GTWF each increase the shield bonus by +2.
• New Feat: Dual Focus. Gives a +2 to checks with two related skills. Check to see if your choice of skills is valid.
• The Spontaneous Metamagic (daily limit 3/day) rule from Unearthed Arcana is in use. Spontaneous casters (bards, sorcerers) take no extra time to cast metamagic spells and the level cap when using metamagic feats on a spell is decreased by one for them (to a minimum of 0), e.g. a 6th level sorcerer can Empower spells up to 2nd lvl, while a 6th level wizard could apply it up to only 1st lvl spells.
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PostSubject: Re: House Rules & Clarifications   Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:27 pm

Description:
• PCs may not be of CE alignment. CN, LE, and NE alignments may be chosen in rare cases (if accompanied by a very good role-playing reason). Check to see what each alignment entails in the context of the campaign. PC alignments may change over time, depending on their actions, and unless the given PC uses appropriate magic or has alignment-dependent abilities, the PC will not know about it (or even know their own alignment).
• Alignment is a fact of life, and anyone of a reasonable level of education knows about it, even if very few can detect or truly understand it themselves. At the same time, individuals in most societies vary between the nine alignments and it is not a factor in legal circles (i.e. attacking someone simply because of alignment is illegal – and evil) or in everyday life.
• While your PC will start with whatever alignment you choose, your alignment can change depending on your actions. Depending on what abilities your PC has, you may not even know about the alignment shift until you interact with an effect which is alignment-based. Your actions are never constrained by your alignment, but simply create your alignment.

Equipment:
• Special & superior items (PHB table 7-9), as well as magical items, may usually be sold at 50% price without haggling, and higher (up to 100% and beyond) if an effort is made to find the right buyer. Normal items never fetch more than 50% of price when sold.
• Armor spikes are a light weapon that can only be used in a grapple.
• Longbows and composite longbows cannot be used when mounted.

Combat:
• Detailed strategic advice during combat may be given normally during the PC’s turn. Detailed advice may be given out of turn, using a move action on the PC’s next turn. A few words can be shouted out of turn without taking an action.
• Creatures receive size bonuses on Str checks as they do on grapple checks (e.g. +4 for large, +8 on huge, etc.). These bonuses do not stack with existing bonuses based on size (e.g. a large creature gets a +4, not +8, on disarm checks).
• If a creature is flanked by 2 opponents, all other opponents in melee range are regarded as flanking it too.
• Poison which drains an ability score (other than Con) down to 0 then starts to cause Con damage, e.g. someone with Wis 10 and Con 15 taking 12 pts of Wis dmg has his Wis drop to 0 and then his Con drop to 13.
• Turning undead does 1d6 damage per cleric level to all undead within 30 ft. Undead get a Will save for half damage (DC 10 + 1/2 cleric level + cleric's Cha). Clerics with 5 ranks in Knowledge (Religion) add +2 to the DC. Clerics who channel positive energy heal undead instead of damaging them.

Adventuring:

Magic:
• Spellcasters know that magic, whether arcane or divine, can be divided into different grades (same as spell levels), and can and do refer to the various grades of spellcasting (often under different names). Some organizations of spellcasters rank members on the basis of their access to various grades. [Metagame: This allows PCs to be aware of the concept of spell levels, and to judge power on that basis.]
• A character who can cast 0-level spells gets bonus 0-level spells per day equal to the class level divided by two, e.g. a Wiz12 gets 6 bonus cantrips.
• A spellcaster’s component pouch contains all material components which have no listed cost. Any component with a listed cost must be purchased in advance, in order for the caster to use the given spell.
• All magical items and effects that could be activated as a free action are now activated as a swift action. This means that you can utilize only one of them in a round. For example, activating Boots of Speed, using Divine Might and casting a quickened spell all take a swift action and no more than one can be used at the same time. Feats and effects that cast two spells, cause a spell to take effect twice, or provide an extra move or standard action in the round also take an additional swift action (if they are written as taking a standard or move action, they do so and take up your swift action for the round as well).
• Multiple effects (magical or otherwise) that increase size do not stack. Hence, one cannot polymorph a halfling into a human (or wildshape into a larger creature) and then cast enlarge person on the character. This also applies for benefits which increase the effective size of a particular aspect of a character, such as feats or items that allow a character to use a larger weapon or be treated as such.
• A character brought back from the dead incurs an XP “debt” equal to (his level – 1) x 1000. For example, a 5th level PC’s debt will be 4000 XP when resurrected. A first level PC or one who has a pre-existing debt cannot be brought back from the dead. Subsequent XP gained goes towards paying off the debt (i.e. the PC does not gain XP towards gaining levels). Only when the debt is paid off does the PC gain XP normally. Being successfully brought back from the dead becomes progressively harder for a character. Each time this is attempted, the character must make a level check (d20 + character level). The DC for the first raising is 10, and this rises by 10 each subsequent time. The type of spell used allows bonuses to the level check: +0 with Raise Dead/Reincarnate, +5 with Resurrection, and +10 with True Resurrection/True Reincarnate. A character brought back via one spell can never be brought back by the same type of spell again.

Spells:
• Most PHB spells are available. Non-PHB spells may be, on a case-by-case basis.
• Spells that do not exist: Awaken, Polymorph, Polymorph any Object, Rage, Shapechange, Time Stop
• Blasphemy, Dictum, Holy Word and Word of Chaos allow a Will save against all effects, but with a -4 penalty.
• Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace and similar spells last 10 min/level.
• Deathwatch is not an evil spell.
• Deeper Darkness creates complete darkness, not a shadowy area. The duration is 10 min/level and it is also available as a Brd 3 and Sor/Wiz 3 spell.
• Fly, if dispelled, does not float the target down to the ground. The target simply falls.
• Hold Person and similar spells do not allow a save per round to negate their effects.
• Mage Armor (level 1), Haste (level 3) and Magic Weapon, Greater (level 3) are available as Bard spells.
• Mordenkainen's Disjunction does not destroy permanent magic items but simply renders them non-magical for a period of 24 hrs.
• If Permanency is dispelled, the caster can re-cast it later to recover lost spells without paying the XP cost again (but only for previously permanencied spells).
• Reincarnate is a 5th lvl Drd spell. Its material components cost 5,000 gp.
• Teleport, Dimension Door and similar spells can be blocked by a number of materials (a popular one being gorgon's blood daubed within the material of a wall).
• Conjuration spells that are officially written as “SR: No” do not automatically penetrate SR, but provide a bonus to penetrate SR equal to spell level.

Magic Items:
• All DMG magic items are not available. For example, animated shields, wounding/vorpal weapons, and metamagic rods are not available. Check with me on a case-by-case basis (this applies to all non-DMG items too).
• When creating magic items taking more than 1 day to make, the creator must spend a total of 8 hrs per day working, but has no restrictions on other actions.
• Magic armor and shields resize to fit their owners, but cannot change to fit a different size category, e.g. dwarf-sized full plate will change to fit a human, but not a gnome.
• Magic items with charges can be recharged by someone with the needed Item Creation feats for creating that item (the cost & XP is for creating the same item with the number of charges which it has lost).
• Burst (flaming, shocking, etc.) and similar qualities on weapons only activate on the weapon's basic critical range and are not aided by feats and other effects which improve the range, e.g. a keen flaming burst rapier will still only activate on a roll of 18-20.
• Pearls of Power of the same level cannot be used by the same person in the same day (i.e. one cannot use two 2nd lvl pearls of power in the same day).
• Adamantine ignores the first 15 pts of a target’s hardness, for sundering and breaking purposes. If the target has hardness 15 or less, it is treated as hardness 0 vs. an adamantine weapon.
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PostSubject: Re: House Rules & Clarifications   Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:28 pm

Table rules:
• I want to keep the game moving as fast as possible while remaining fair to everyone and making sure we're all having fun. Most of the following points are to those ends.
• Know your character: Besides having your basic character sheet, try to have the stats at hand for any circumstances which may commonly occur. If your PC often power attacks or uses combat expertise, have the resultant changes written down so you don't have to calculate it every time. If capable of shapeshifting, have the stats for a few standard forms written down. If your PC is a summoner, have the stats for the creatures which you might summon at hand. For spellcasters, know all aspects of a spell before having it on your list for the day.
• Speeding up combat: Start planning what your PC is going to do before your turn comes up. If it'll require a lot of modifiers and actions in one (grappling, tripping, certain spells, etc.), have the appropriate text open and ready for reference. If I come to you and you take too long to decide what you will do, I will assume you are delaying and move to the next person. Don't tell other people what to do with their PCs out of character (see point about tactical advice under "Combat" section above).
• Rules debates: If I forget a rule or a relevant aspect of one at the table, please remind me. For the sake of fairness, please do so whether it benefits the PCs or not (this is not DM vs. PCs - see below). If you disagree about my interpretation of a rule, make your point quickly. Once you have done so, I will make a ruling and we will continue with the game. Please do not continue to belabor the point when I have made a ruling. We can discuss the rules issues after the game.
• Always remember, all of us are on the same side. I do not run a DM vs. PC game, partly because I don’t think one should and partly because there would be absolutely no challenge in it, since I not only hold all the cards but I actually made the cards you hold. Don’t try to “beat the game” or beat me. Focus on beating the NPC enemies. Trust me – that will be hard enough. Similarly, it’s not a PC vs. PC game. If you create a PC who isn’t going to work as part of a group and be happy to do so, then you need to create another one. I will try to create situations for all of the PCs to shine and be important to the story, whatever their capabilities.

Campaign issues:
• The aim of the game is for everyone to have fun. One of the best ways you can help me DM in a way to achieve this is to give me consistent feedback. Tell me what worked for you and what didn't, and suggest how to have more of the former and how to deal with the latter.
• Do not make assumptions in my game, since that will either make you disappointed or get your PC in trouble (& probably both). There are two kinds of assumptions – in-game and metagame. For the former, do not make assumptions about “reality” and what makes “sense” on the basis of the real world. The D&D world in general (and Eberron in particular) does not work as ours does. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc. do not work as they do in our world, and that is even before magic comes into the picture. Look at the game mechanics and work backwards to in-game “reality”, rather than taking what “reality” is for you and assuming that’s what the game will replicate. It won’t. On a metagame level, many tropes which exist in the fantasy genre and in other D&D campaigns (for no reason than that they always have) will not show up in this game. Dragons will not sit on their hoards waiting for you to kill them, NPCs will not exist purely to either help or aid your PCs, all members of any race will not have a governing set of characteristics (and intelligent creatures, whatever their race, can be of any alignment), and trying to kill all evil people (and trusting all good people) you meet will get you buried very quickly. Leave the assumptions at the door.
• While realism is unimportant, versimilitude is not. The game world may not have the same components as our world, but it will have just as much internal consistency. Everything in the game exists for a reason. All NPCs have their own motivations and their own concerns. While these may intersect with the concerns of the PCs, very often they will not. The PCs are the heroes of the story, but nobody (them included) knows that, so they are going to be no more (or less) important than their actions and positions in the game world make them. This also translates to combat and conflict. Many things will exist in the game that are far too powerful for the PCs to fight, directly or otherwise. Since you will have a great deal of freedom, you may choose to go up against such enemies or give them reason to come after you. In which case, you are toast. This being a game, I will never force the PCs into a situation that they cannot get out of, but you may choose to do so. NPCs in combat (and out of it) will use their abilities and resources as appropriate for their intelligence. While you will have certain advantages over most NPCs (action points, higher stats, better equipment), that does not mean that you can deal with all - or even most - of them through violence. Remember, running away is always a tactical option, and intelligent tactics will save you where a spell or a sword won't.
• As mentioned before, you will have a LOT of freedom in this campaign. I will not have a pre-set plot or story idea, but will simply place a large number of options before you and proceed according to the PCs' choices. Your choices will probably create more options for the future and also prevent certain future choices, but on the whole you will be free to pursue whatever ends you choose to. In the interests of verisimilitude, the rest of the world will get on with its life irrespective of your choices, but specific parts of it which you affect will react accordingly. Also, while you are always free to act as you feel your character should, all actions will have the appropriate repercussions. You can choose to try to kill a man because he bumped into you on the street, but that will probably cause problems for you where local law enforcement is concerned, and more so if you happen to be a paladin. In this game, you get to make your own fate, but that fate is made in the context of a living, breathing world around you, and it will react to you appropriately.
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