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Old Mar 8th, 2014, 09:21 PM
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goatmeal goatmeal is offline
/ing fiction from reality
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House Rules

I’ve tried lots of different tweaks over the years, but I’ve found that usually when the DM changes things someone doesn’t like it. So I’m just going to present a few things I normally do here. Feel free to discuss your thoughts on these in the ad thread or suggest other alterations. Once the applicants have been chosen, we’ll adjust these to fit what everyone in the game wants, but feel free to discuss beforehand.

Initiative: Figuring out initiative in PbP seems like the biggest mechanical effect of this format. In the past I have used a method of initiative does matter, but actions can be posted in any order and I will organize them in a wrap up post. Alternately, I know that some people prefer a group initiative approach. I think that actually alters the balance of the game more than some people realize, but then I’m not the one playing a wizard with improved initiative this time, so I’ll let the players hash out what they want this to look like. I think this is the most important House Rule decision that we’ll have to make.

1s and 20s: There are certain things that you won’t fail at 5% of the time or succeed at 5% of the time. I modify the always hits or always misses slightly by having players roll a d10 on a 20 or 1, and then adding or subtracting the result of the initial d20, respectively. Over the long run, I think this favors PCs over NPCs, but if people don’t like this, we can drop it.

Downtime: this game will play out over weeks and months as opposed to days and hours, so using the Downtime rules form Ultimate Campaign could be fun. There are some alternate downtime house rules for this campaign which predate UC that I’m planning on borrowing. But these will only be in effect for some of the encounters around 1st level. After 1st level we can either use UC Downtime, alternate rules downtime, some combination of the two, or just not worry about downtime that much.

Bargaining: Speaking of Ultimate Campaign, I noticed they’ve introduced a bargaining mechanic. Not sure if that’s something anyone is interested in, but I’ve always been interested in having something like that in a game, possibly because I was raised on this game. If there is little or no interest, no worries.

Tieflings: There are a few places where some of the stuff in the AP conflicts with the mechanics of the game, so I wanted to address those up front. Even if there are no PC tieflings, there will be NPC tieflings, so this is somewhat important.
Tieflings being Native Outsiders could be kind of annoying, both for Tiefling players and Tiefling NPCs. This mainly has to do with how any spell with the word “person” in it works. One way of fixing this is to have the word “person” include both humanoids and native outsiders. Another way of fixing this is to have Tieflings have more than one type (Outsider and Humanoid), or that they have a choice between these two types. Another option that could work is to change the wording of “person” spells to only include creatures of the same type as the caster: so an outsider’s spells would affect other outsiders but not other creature types. I’m open to any of these fixes or that we leave this as a messy situation. If we do leave it, I might change the Tiefling scum trait a bit, because the main drawback becomes less of an issue in that case.
Tiefling age is a problem as well. I’m going to say that Tieflings age the same as half-elves. If you want a tiefling that ages more slowly that’s fine, as we can say aging is an alternate racial trait. But there will be problems with this game if we assume tieflings are children until they are like 40 years old. If you do want a slow aging Tiefling, your backstory should reflect the various changes that have occurred in Westcrown over the past 60+ years.

Bonus skills: each character starts the game with two bonus skill points that should relate to their background: a knowledge skill, and an occupation-related skill. These do not increase the number of ranks that may be selected from each skill, and do not change whether a skill is a class skill.
Knowledge: select geography, local or nobility.
Occupation: any craft, profession, or perform. Any of the following knowledge skills: arcana, geography, history. Any of these will be related to what you might do for a living. This will be used somewhat at first level, and possibly beyond that depending on your interest. Profession checks will be much easier to make but produce less income, while the others will be more difficult and might produce more income.

Working: DC 10 Profession, DC 12 Craft, DC 15 Knowledge, or DC 17 Perform. If this check is performed using a skill other than the one taken with your occupation bonus, you receive a -2 penalty on that check until you are successful at it. Earn gold for the week equal to the DC. You may work thoroughly to either add to the amount, or to aid another to improve your other check. If used to aid another, the lower roll is the aid another roll for the higher roll. If any activity other than work thoroughly is taken during that week, the PC must make a save or be exhausted the next week. If unsuccessful in making money that week, the PC takes a -1 penalty on all non-work related skill checks for the next week or the next 5 checks, whichever comes first. This is because they have lost confidence after not being able to work and be part of a revolution at the same time.
The working mechanic will be used for a short time at the end of level 1 and possibly a short ways into level 2 as the PCs are “laying low” to avoid detection. The other things that can be done during this time frame will be related to the rebellion, and will be revealed once this comes up in play. They will mostly be social or information gathering skills. Once the PC is of a higher level, they have enough confidence to not rely on a fallback plan when they need to “lay low” and so will be free to take other actions during this time.
On hiatus while I figure out my gender.
Checkout my games at itchio.
my mailbox is full, but you can reach me on twitter: @goatmealery

Last edited by goatmeal; Apr 19th, 2014 at 09:07 PM.
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