View Full Version : Been playing with these rules for years, hoping to revise them.

2011-11-05, 09:42 AM
Basically, the guys I used to play 3.5 with have a long list of houserules that we've never played without or violated in the years I've played with them. Since I have lost contact with them, I'm looking at now as a good opportunity to make revisions before I find new people.

I should note that our houserules completely rework a number of key systems in D&D, so please keep a cool head if the changes are not to your liking. Of particular import and the way damage types have been altered to better differentiate them, the way armour has been redone, and changes to base stats make the game play quite differently from regular D&D. So different I can't really consider it the same game.

I'm almost certain this list is incomplete, but this is all I can remember at the moment. What I'm looking for is simple: help with rule revisions. There are a few problems with how these are written, and I'm looking for help changing them. I'll list problems I'd like to resolve in blue.

Damage types:

In this version of the system, every kind of damage has been given some kind of special effect.

Bludgeoning: Ignores any DR or AC provided by armour.

Piercing: Negates an amount of damage reduction equal to the damage modifier. (IE: +2 rapier negates 2 points of DR.) Critical threat and critical damage are both doubled.

Slashing: Double listed damage dice. (IE: Longsword now does 2d8.)

Fire: Subject takes 1d2 secondary fire damage next round, plus an additional 1d2 for every ten points of damage taken. (IE: a 30-damage fireball has 4d2 secondary.) Subject may make a fortitude save as a free action and with a DC equal to half the initial fire damage to negate this effect, they may also attempt to extenguish the fire manually as a move action, this uses the modifiers for reflex saves and has the same DC. Complete imersion in water automatically extinguishes the fire. The secondary fire damage triggers tertiary fire damage, tertiary triggers quaternary, and so on until a save is made or the flame is otherwise extinguished. If this effect kills a character and brings their hitpoint total to a negative with the same absolute value as their health, they are incinerated.

Electricity: Target must make a fortitude save equal to half the damage or lost their next action. If affected by several of these effects, the save DCs are added together. This effect does not function against creatures immune to paralysis.

Frost damage: Deals one point of attribute damage plus an additional one for every ten points of damage. The attribute affected is selected randomly. (d6) A successful fortitude cuts the damage in half. (Rounded down.)

Sonic: Ignores line of sight. (Meaning it can damage you through objects, although the lack of visibility impacts attack rolls.) A creature damaged is deafened for one round, plus an additional round for every ten points of damage. A fortitude save with a DC equal to half the damage changes this to a -4 penalty to listen checks and a 5% chance of spell failure to spells with verbal components.

Light: Blinds a character for one round plus an additional round for every round for every ten damage done. A fortitude save with a DC equal to half the damage changes this to a -4 to attack rolls, search and spot checks, with all enemies considered to have concealment. (20% miss chance.)

Force: Causes a character to fall over. A successful reflex save with a DC equal to half the damage negates this effect.

Nonlethal: Normal weapons can no longer cause nonlethal damage. You can't set a sword to stun. Weapons specifically built to deal nonlethal damage (such as saps) now do normal damage, but can deal nonlethal with a -4 penalty to attack rolls. However, this only applies to rolled damage, the modifier is dealt as regular damage. (For instance, a +1 sap would deal 1d6 nonlethal and 2 normal.) Unarmed strikes fall under this category. Nonlethal damage can still kill, if the damage reaches twice their health. (IE: an 8hp character taking would be killed by 16hp of "nonlethal" damage, not including the damage to their health buffer.) A character disabled by nonlethal damage can also die of exertion.

Positive/negative energy: Subtracts 1 from attack rolls and armour class, with an additional one for each point of damage. A will save equal to half the damage negates this effect.

Armour, gauntlets, helmets, boots & shields:

Body armour no longer provides a bonus to AC. (Although an enchantment on it still may.) Now, it provides two things. Damage reduction and a "health buffer" (see below.) These effects are equal to the original AC bonus. The max dex modifier now applies to all uses of the dexterity score. The armour check penalty for body armour now applies directly to the dexterity score and nothing else. (Unless you are not proficient, then it penalizes attack rolls as well.)

Gauntlets are now linked to a set of armour. They use that armour's stats for protection and armour check, providing an equal health buffer, but no damage reduction or AC bonus. This effect is stackable. They do not cap dexterity, but they apply the armour check penalty to all actions taking fine motor skills. Specifically, open lock, slight of hand and disable device.

Other skill checks may be deemed to require fine motor skills, consult your DM.

Boots are also linked to a suit of armour. They provide a health buffer. They apply an armour check penalty to move silently, jump, tumble, swim and balance checks, as well as reflex saves. They do not cap dexterity.

Helmets are linked as well, and use the same stats. They provide an AC bonus and health buffer. They do not cap dexterity, and their armour check penalty to spot, search and listen checks.

Shields are also linked to a set of armour, but are now counted as a weapon. They provide damage reduction equal to the linked armour, and have an AC bonus dependent on their size. (IE: bucklers provide 1, small shields 2, large shields 3 and so on.) They do not trigger a two-weapon penalty, even when wielded with another weapon. They give an attack penalty equal to their AC bonus, which can be neutralized by the appropriate feat. They can be struck with and do the same damage as an unarmed strike, but do not get dexterity modifiers to attack (see below), with a critical range of 20 and 2x critical damage. They their AC bonus to attack and DR to damage.

For instance, a full suit of leather, with a small leather shield, would provide a damage reduction of 4, AC bonus of 4 and health buffer of 8.

Missing adequate penalties for lack of proficiency from gauntlets, boots, helmets and shields.

Health buffer:

Health buffer is a new effect. Every character has a health buffer (normally a little more than their health) which keeps them from dying. When a character reaches 0 HP, they are now disabled and dying but not unconscious. Additional damage (including exertion) is taken out of their health buffer until it reaches 0. The dying character's health buffer and health are both damaged by one point each round due to blood loss, but regardless of health they are not unconscious unless their health buffer reaches 0. When a character takes nonlethal damage greater than their hit points, they are not considered dying (and do not bleed) but they are considered disabled (and take exertion damage) and their health buffer is reduced by further nonlethal damage. Healing a character through any means restores their health buffer by an equal amount. Armour adds to a character's health buffer when equipped, and subtracts from it when removed. A character's maximum health buffer is the sum of their health and any bonuses they are recieving. Any bonus to constitution also adds to health buffer. (IE: Barbarian rage gives +4 constitution, so it would also give +4 to health buffer.) It is quite possible to bleed to death without ever losing consciousness.

Note that characters now die at a negative number of equal absolute value to their health. (IE: An 8hp character dies at -8, a 40hp character dies at -40.)

Unarmed strike:

Unarmed strikes now have 18-20 critical threat, 2x critical damage. Medium creatures deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage, small deals 1d4, tiny deals 1d2, diminutive deals 1, fine 0. Large creatures deal 1d8, huge deals 1d12, gargantuan 2d8, and colossal 2d12. Can deal nonlethal damage at a -4 penalty to attack, although modifier damage is still regular bludgeoning. Uses both strength and dexterity modifiers on attack rolls, adds strength modifier to damage. (IE: 12STR & 12DEX = +2 attack) Unarmed attacks still provoke attacks of opportunity, which recieve a +10 attack bonus. If the improved unarmed strike is used, attacks still provoke attacks of opportunity, but the attack of opportunity no longer gains a +10, and you no longer suffer a -4 attack penalty to deal nonlethal damage. Two new feats, entitled "martial artist" and "pugilist" are added, which change critical threat to 16-20 and critical damage to 4x, respectively. With all of these, high strength and dexterity, hand to hand is now a decent option for melee combat. Without them it's still not as good as a melee weapon, but it isn't worthless anymore and will easily beat a ranged weapon if within range.


Most of us were children when we started playing, so naturally we wanted to play as children, but the child template was unplayable, innacurate and extremely offensive. So we changed it.

Now, there are five age categories below adult. From the eldest to youngest, they are adolescent, youth, child, toddler and infant.

Infant: 0-13% adult age.
Toddler: 14-27% adult age.
Child: 28-47% adult age.
Youth: 48-73% adult age.
Adolescent: 74-99% adult age.

For each age category they are younger than adult, they gain -1 strength as well as a -10 to intimidate checks, but +1 dexterity, +5% to all health restoration and a 10% experience bonus. For instance, an infant would have -5 strength, but +5 dexterity, with a 50% experience bonus. Adolescents are the same size as adults, youths and children are one size lower, infants and toddlers are two sizes lower.

Any character adolescent or younger is restricted to classes with a "simple" starting age, (or a number of homebrewed child classes) but no other. At youth or younger, they gain a -10 to diplomacy when dealing with adults. At child or younger, they gain a -4 on knowledge checks, which can be fixed by spending one skill point. At toddler or younger, they gain the "Illeteracy" feat. They also have a -4 on swim, jump and balance checks. An infant cannot walk, and must crawl at half rate. They also cannot speak. These effects can be removed by spending four skill points each.

I'm at a loss as to what aging is supposed to do with child-only classes. I'm thinking about having the child-only class levels convert to levels of a normal class, but that would mean a loss of class features.

The sexes:

Sex is not an aesthetic difference, there are physical differences between men and women. This had to be addressed, but it had to be addressed in an accurate manner, and it's not going to be the same between species. How we did it was simple. Each species has modifiers to their physical abilities (NEVER mental) for each sex, some positive and some negative. The net gain is always 2. For instance, human males have +2 strength, while females have +2 dexterity. Overall balanced, but it shifts the playstyles for each sex significantly.


If you should so desire, a female character can get pregnant. This happened often enough our DM actually had to make rules for it, and here's what he came up with.

Overall, the effects of pregnancy (physical and mental) are detrimental. During pregnancy, ten times the wieght of the child is added to her encumbrance, although only three times the child's wieght is actually added to her. The wieght of the child starts at 0, and increases by 1/9th birth wieght (1/180th adult wieght) each ninth of the pregnancy. A pregnant woman recieves a -1 on balance, climb, hide, jump, move silently, ride, swim and tumble checks and -1 to AC and dexterity for each ninth of the pregnancy that has passed.

When the child is born, the mother makes a fortitude save with a DC of 10 or take 1d8 damage and an additional 1d4 constitution damage. If successful, she does not take constitution damage but still takes health damage. If it fails, roll a d2. Subtract this from the d4 roll, this amount of constitution damage is permanant. Negative values count as 0.

Generally, the child was the offspring of a PC, possibly of two PCs. There were arguements over who would get to play the baby, and in fact they were quite frequent. This isn't a request for help, just a heads-up.

The child inherits 1-10% of its parents collective experience. (Roll a d10.) It's class is treated as "commoner," but this may be changed as soon as the infant is born. It starts of classified as nine age categories younger than an infant, (see the "child" section above) and each ninth of the pregnancy that passes is one age category older. If the mother dies and the child is still alive, the child must make a fortitude save with a DC of 45 minus 5 for each ninth of the pregnancy elapsed or automatically die. (IE: 1/3 way through the DC is 30.) If successful, the child survives and is born premature. Since they took the damage their mother took, it's quite likely they'll still die.

If a child is born prematurely, a fortitude save with a DC of 90 minus 10 for each ninth of the pregnancy elapsed. (IE: 5/9 of the way through, the DC is 40.) If failed, the child suffers a permanant -1 strength and constitution for each ninth of the pregnancy skipped, if successful it suffers these penalties anyway, but they gradually wear off until the date it would have otherwise been born.

The elderly:

We aren't nice at the expense of reality. The elderly are NOT mentally superior to the young, quite the opposite. People who can't remember their own names half the time should not have a natural intelligence bonus.

Each age category above adult now gives a -1 penalty to all physical attributes, -1 to search, -2 spot and listen, -5% healing and experience. It also gives +2 wisdom, +4 to will saves, +1 gather information, bluff & knowledge, +2 appraise & concentration, and +4 diplomacy, proffession & sense motive.

Other system changes:

Melee attackers (armed or otherwise) get a +10 bonus to attacks against enemies using ranged weapons.

Base AC is now ten points lower for all creatures. You can choose to actively defend yourself at any time, which adds 5 to your AC, but takes it out of your attack.

Magic missile can miss. It now counts as a +20 ranged touch attack, using base attack modifier, caster level and intelligence (or wisdom/charisma, whatever you use to cast) as modifiers. This makes it missing virtually, but not completely, impossible to miss with.

1 is not an automatic failure, 20 is not an automatic success. You can fail with a 20, and hit with a 1. Both are quite easy, in fact.

Spot and listen are now constitution-based, not wisdom based.

2011-11-05, 09:42 PM
The Mod They Call Me: Duplicate thread.