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Old 07-28-2019, 06:22 PM
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The Shifting Nether: Proposed House Rules

The Shifting Nether

Powerful gusts of wind whip sand and stone alike across the eternal battlefield. On this ever-changing landscape, the gods of men and their most legendary worshippers do battle for the fate of the world. Sword, tooth, spell, and fist all collide with varying degrees of intensity. Animals are born and die in the same breath, while palm trees grow and wither in a handful of seconds. Stone temples assemble themselves, then are obliterated by the arcane and divine forces that perpetually wash over the land. The only constant in the hectic landscape is change. Winged gods blink in and out of existence, just the same as those they slay, who themselves return in mere moments. This is a realm that is neither resting place nor a chance for glory. It is a fight to remain relevant in this world. It is existence in it's truest form, and the first law of existence is change.


In this post I will lay out proposed house rules that I am thinking of using. In a perfect world, these will be universal and everyone will like them, but I am aware that is an unlikely event. I would like your feedback to be posted here, and we can work together to come up with a set of houserules that work for your game!

Below is the list of house rules that I have stolen/created/modified from other sources. I believe that they will make things more interesting and engaging, and my core belief is that the rules should never take away from a good, fair storytelling game such as we are trying to create together. These are certainly not set in stone, and I will absolutely not force rules that you do not like onto you.

Advantage and Disadvantage System
Rules As Written:

"Sometimes an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw is modified by special situations called advantage or disadvantage. Advantage reflects the positive circumstances surrouinding a d20 roll, while disadvantage reflects the opposite. When you have either advantage or disadvantage, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage, and use the lower roll if you have disadvantage... If multiple situations affect a roll and each one grants advantage or imposes disadvantage on it, you don't roll more than one additional d20. If two favorable situations grant advantage for example, you still roll only one additional d20."

- Player's Handbook, Page 7

Proposed Rules: Stacking Advantage and Disadvantage

Advantage works as listed above except for cases when there are multiple sources of advantage or disadvantage. In a situation wherein a character has two sources of advantage, they would be able to roll two additional d20s, for a total of three, and choose the highest. This also applies to disadvantage and advantage stacking with each other. A character with 2 sources of advantage and 1 source of disadvantage would not lost advantage on the roll. For example, a druid who was trained specifically in tracking by an ancient master (+1 advantage), and is tracking a wolf whose habits and quirks he knows personally (+1 advantage) does not lose all advantage on his roll simply because he stubbed his toe and hurt his foot (+1 disadvantage) in his spice garden that morning. He is still an expert tracker following an animal that he is intimately familiar with, and will have a higher chance than other characters of the same level and no familiarity with the tracked animal.

My Reasons:

This rule is proposed in order to give the players (and occasionally NPCs) meaningful advantage on tasks that they have prepared for or have creatively found a solution for. A character who can see in the dark, has purchased magic boots that allow him to move completely silently, and has a map for the compound they are trying to infiltrate should have a mechanical advantage over one who can can see in the dark, but didn't think to buy a map or magic boots. This rule variant is intended to reward players (and their characters) for thinking about things. It is also intended to mitigate failures for characters who simply shouldn't have them. Is it really reasonable that a level 20 master fighter who has spent his life fighting kobolds, is enjoying the benefits of a spell that causes time to move more slowly around him (+1 advantage), and is trying to stab a kobold that is immobilized and bound (+1) really has a 1 in 400 chance to miss that kobold automatically? I don't think so. Adding in that second source of advantage makes the chances of being stuck with a natural failure a 1/8000 chance, which is feel is much more reasonable for a character of such magnitude.

By this same token, trying to do things that are exceptionally ill advised will result in increased chances of failure. Is your character really trying to climb a algae covered (-1) oceanside cliff face, in the black of night without a lantern (-1), in the middle of a hurricane force rainstorm (-1)? At that point you're just asking for trouble, and more trouble than a measly roll 2 and take the lowest.

I will not use these rules against you, and honestly it will be very rare to impossible that enemies will come with plots or other circumstances that grant them advantage you can't have avoided. I simply want your characters strengths to be protected against errant failures that simply don't make sense.

Zero Hit Points
Rules as Written:

"When you drop to zero* hitpoints, you either die outright or fall unconscious, as explained in the following sections... Massive damage can kill you instantly. When damage reduces you to zero hitpoints and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum... If damage reduces you to zero hitpoints and fails to kill you, you fall unconscious. This unconsciousness ends if you regain any hit points... Whenever you start your turn with zero hit points, you must make a special saving throw, called a death saving throw, to determine wheteher you creep closer to death or hang onto life. Unlike other saving throws, this one isn't tied to any ability score. You are in the hands of fate now, aided only by spells and features that improve your chances of succeeding on a death saving throw.

Roll a d20. If the roll is 10 or higher, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail. A success or failure has no effect by itself. On your third success, you become stable. On your third failure, you die. The successes and failures don't need to be consecutive; keep track of both until you collect three of a kind. The number of both is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable... When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain one hitpoint... If you take any damage while you have zero hitpoints, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death."

- Player's Handbook, Page 197

Proposed Rules: Lingering Injuries

"When heroes and significant NPCs are at 0 HP, they are no longer considered unconscious and dying. They remain fully capable and may continue to participate in combat and the encounter. Instead, they must acquire 6 levels of Exhaustion before falling unconscious, which then requires the Death Saving Throws as per normal rules.

There is no negative HP. When a hero reaches 0 HP, they gain a Lingering Injury (roll 1d12 and compare to the table below). The injured hero then immediately spends one of their Hit Dice, and regains the rolled amount plus constitution modifier. If a hero does not have any remaining Hit Dice to use, they instead gain a number of Hit Points equal to their Constitution Modifier (minimum 1), but also gain a level of Exhaustion in addition to the Lingering Injury.

These Hit Points acquired are not temporary. However, if the character reaches 0 HP again, the process repeats. If a Lingering Injury reduces any ability score to 0, the character immediately drops to the 6th Level of Exhaustion. Multiple Lingering Injuries can stack. Alternatively, a player can request to create their own flavor appropriate injury that spans multiple abilities based on the nature of the damage being received, but the injury must ultimately provide a -3 total penalty (e.g. -1 to Strength, and -2 to Constitution)."

- Cipher, Dungeon Master of The Desolate Continent: Rise of the Gods
*Slight edits made for clarity

1d12 Result Lingering Injury
1 Arm Fracture. Immediately reduce your Strength score by 3.
2 Leg Fracture. Immediately reduce your Strength score by 3.
3 Torn Tendon. Immediately reduce your Dexterity score by 3
4 Dislocated Joint. Immediately reduce your Dexterity score by 3
5 Organ Damage. Immediately reduce your Constitution score by 3.
6 Ribcage Damage. Immediately reduce your Constitution score by 3.
7 Skull Fracture. Immediately reduce your Intelligence score by 3.
8 Concussion. Immediately reduce your Intelligence score by 3.
9 Hearing Damaged. Immediately reduce your Wisdom score by 3.
10 Eyes Damaged. Immediately reduce your Wisdom score by 3.
11 Jaw Fracture. Immediately reduce your Charisma score by 3.
12 Facial Laceration. Immediately reduce your Charisma score by 3.

For reference, here is the exhaustion table, with a modification made to levels five and six.

Level Exhaustion Effect (Cumulative)
1 Disadvantage on Ability Checks
2 Speed Halved
3 Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and Saving Throws (Excluding Death)
4 Hit Point Maximum Halved
5 Speed Reduced to 5 ft
6 Unconscious and Dying

My Reasons:

As you players are likely aware, combat can be deadly for your characters. In particular, you are all playing either a solo game, or a game with a party of 2 as of the time of writing this. This makes going unconscious a virtually guaranteed death sentence, in a situation where things are more likely to be able to go wrong with little to no backup.

These rules were utilized in another game I played in, and though they weren't actually ever used, they stuck with me as a very useful feature. It gives your characters a more prominent ability to survive without becoming completely invincible, and makes those instances that previously would have resulted in death a potential storytelling moment. Did that arrow shot by the orc captain rip through part of your character's arm and put you at a disadvantage? It might be time to retreat to save your skin while you still can, rather than falling unconscious and dying to that captain's minions.

Simply put, I don't want to have to kill characters, and I've seen multiple errant crits and hits that put loved characters out of commission and offered little to the story. I am not a killer DM, nor do I want to be, and this rule helps alleviate that problem in a way that doesn't mean your character in invincible either.

In addition to adding survivability, this mechanic would offer a bit more roleplay potential. You are likely to be fighting enemies that DON'T want to scrap to the death. If you're character is going to start accruing lasting consequences in a standout slugfest, perhaps the better option is to run away or try to disengage from the fighting? This will not be in effect for almost any minor NPCs or enemies, and will be reserved for exceptional foes or for that one minotaur who just HAD to make a name for himself. I feel as though these rules are to the benefit of a long lasting and interesting story, and hope that you see them that was as well.

"I am the everlasting splendor --- builder of mighty wonders"
Think you're smart? Head over to 100 Questions and show us!
I AM: DM of The Secrets of Ehusilu: Solo Games | Sheriff Ramu (Tabletop) | Nerrosk Valdrunson (At the Edge of Chaos) | Reft Dul (SWtoR: Shadows's Edge)

Last edited by Crocartes; 07-28-2019 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:27 AM
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Crocartes Crocartes is offline
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Ehusilu Skill Challenges

The rules for skill challenges are as follows (Modified from the Lord Kensington Rules):

As the DM, I will set a hidden DC that you must match to succeed on a skill attempt.

I will tell you what the goal of the skill challenge is, and we will work towards that end.

I will inform you what the required number of successes or failures are to complete the challenge.

If there are multiple PCs, they will roll for initiative.

As the player, you will choose how your character would like to proceed before you post, and may suggest a skill to roll or we can discuss which would work best. Skills will not always apply, but I do like creative use of skills. If you do not propose a skill, I will let you know which one to use.

Once the appropriate skill has been decided, you must roll and describe what action/s your character does. The post does not need to be very long, as we will probably speed up posting rate during the challenge.

I will then reply with a DM post detailing the results of your success or failure. If you succeed, one success is added. If you fail, one failure is added to the total count.

Your character cannot use the same skill twice in a row, nor can they use a skill that was just used by another character.

If the player/party reaches the required number of successes or failures, they will win or fail the challenge respectively. Success of a skill challenge will usually result in some sort of benefit such as an advantage for the upcoming situation, treasure, etc. Possibilities are limitless! Failure will not punish the player harshly, but may result in a disadvantage of some sort in the coming encounter or event, small amounts of damage, a new enemy, etc.

The final and most important rule: HAVE FUN!

"I am the everlasting splendor --- builder of mighty wonders"
Think you're smart? Head over to 100 Questions and show us!
I AM: DM of The Secrets of Ehusilu: Solo Games | Sheriff Ramu (Tabletop) | Nerrosk Valdrunson (At the Edge of Chaos) | Reft Dul (SWtoR: Shadows's Edge)

Last edited by Crocartes; 08-28-2019 at 12:33 AM.
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