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Tequila Sunrise
2008-01-22, 04:07 PM
To practice my InDesign Fu I'm writing up a pdf document of all the best house rules and variants of 3rd edition. I'd like the community's suggestions about favorite house rules, as I will be making the pdf available for free download after it's completed. Before making your suggestion, consider the three traits of a good house rule:

1. Funness. A good house rule makes the game more fun, either by making the rules easier to run or by bringing the rules closer to the game setting. Funness is of course subjective; what's fun for one group might not be fun for another, but the best house rules and variants are fun for a large number of groups.

2. Simplicity. A good house rule can be basically described with a sentence or two and can be defined within a page or less. There are exceptions of course but all house rules and variants should strive for this ideal.

3. The Ripple Effect. A good house rule has a limited impact on other game rules. Often it is impossible to change one area of the rules without affecting another, but all house rules and variants should strive to limit their ripple effect on other rules.

Also could someone tell me just how much I can write about WotC published HRs and variants? For example if I wanted to recommend the variant turning rule from Complete Divine, I'm pretty sure I could give a non-detailed description of what it does, but I could not actually reproduce the variant in my pdf. Is this assumption correct? What if I wanted to slightly redefine it or create rules for how it interacts with Improved Turning and Greater Turning?

Thanks everyone,
TS

Blackadder
2008-01-22, 05:03 PM
Hmm, let my throw a few out, I've used or seen.
(Long)
1. Double Critical hits=bonus
Stealing off of Gurps, a triple crit(IE getting a nat20 and a second nat 20 then rolling a hit or another crit, counted as crit damage plus a bonus effect. Now the bonus could be any standard D&D "extra" attack, such as a trip/disarm/knock-down or called shot.
This attack was a separate roll(w/bonus) if you rolled a hit, or free if your rolled a triple critical.

Now rolling a critical did not mean simply more damage, Fighters could get lucky off a standard attack and get a free-disarm attempt if they crited. As well it made crits VS things which are immune to critical hits interesting. You can't critical a golem, but you can hack an arm off or shove him down for example, and that's what this modification was aimed at.

Of course in in standard D&D, three twenties in a row is normally instant death, but our DM wanted fights to last longer, but wanted something to happen if the rare trip critical came up, thus the above.

2. Diplomacy
No attitude changes above "Friendly" unless you've done something for the person. No matter how high your diplomacy skill, your not reaching "Helpful" or Fanatical without doing some leg-work.

3. Free actions(Swift)
Max of two free actions a round, and then only if it makes sense.

4. Talking
Talking is not a free-action in combat unless your monologuing .

5.On a related note
Attacking the BBEG during his monologuing is grounds for him getting a +4 moral bonus to all his attacks and saves during the encounter. Note if you enter combat before the BBEG can begin his monologue, he can't not recieve this bonus. :smallbiggrin:

Fax Celestis
2008-01-22, 05:04 PM
If your alternate rule comes from Unearthed Arcana and isn't in a sidebar, you can post it wholesale: UA is under the OGL, just like (most of) the XPH, the PHB, the DMG, and the MM-I.

bosssmiley
2008-01-22, 05:11 PM
Sean K. Reynold's thoughts on removing absolute abilities (http://www.seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/misc/variantfewerabsolutes1.html) (TL;DR version - get rid of them).
K & Frank's modifications to underpowered (http://bb.bbboy.net/thegamingden-viewthread?forum=1&thread=698) classes (http://bb.bbboy.net/thegamingden-viewthread?forum=1&thread=723), Iron Heroes-ish feat system (http://bb.bbboy.net/thegamingden-viewthread?forum=1&thread=723&postnum=4), and modifications to combat (esp. grappling).

"Why should the Monk and Fighter have to depend on charity to complete at mid-high levels?"

GoC
2008-01-22, 07:18 PM
Add a creature's con score and size modifier to it's hitpoints.
This both decreases the lethality of low level combat (if the orc gets a lucky hit you're instntly killed) and prevents housecats from killing commoners!:smallbiggrin:
It also means the PCs can't ignore the king's army the minute they reach level 6...

Bisected8
2008-01-22, 08:04 PM
I don't want to blow my own trumpet but you could look at my weapon improvisation alt rules if you want (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69350).

Tequila Sunrise
2008-01-23, 03:20 AM
Thanks everyone, and keep 'em coming!

Lord_Gareth
2008-01-23, 06:53 AM
<.<

I'd like to protest the triple crit rule. Like exploding dice, that never ends well.

And my assasin throws a middle finger at the monologue rule as well, so nyah :smalltongue:

Houserules I Run With

At level one, you get a bonus feat. This feat must do nothing else but improve two skills (I.E. Nimble Fingers).

All characters start out with a free dagger (nonmasterwork, usually referred to as their "noob knife").

Max hit point rolls.

Houserules I've Been Under

One DM still uses the "Good hits, Bad Misses" chart for criticals and fumbles. Not the actual system for getting crits, just the chart. That game was fun as hell (Bard stabs himself in the chest and then runs an evil priest through [fumble/then crit]. Cleric: "Why did you do that?" Bard: "-Someone- had to give me a worthy battlescar to sing about.")

One DM gives Sorcerers bonus bloodline feats (I.E. draconic feats, bloodline feats from the PhB2, that kind of thing) at the same rate Wizards gain theirs.

One DM requires that Wizards come up with one custom spell (that is then balanced out) every time they learn new spells.

And that's all folks ^_^

Draz74
2008-01-23, 02:46 PM
Of course in in standard D&D, three twenties in a row is normally instant death, but our DM wanted fights to last longer, but wanted something to happen if the rare trip critical came up, thus the above.

Actually that's not "standard" at all. I've (fortunately) never had a group that played with this variant.

Vael Nir
2008-01-23, 03:03 PM
In the current campaign I'm playing in our DM has decided to give each character a fitting, customized bonus feat, both for power and for flavour.

The halfling bard/rogue got a ranged power attack with no attack penalty if a perform check is attempted and succeeded, my mystic theurge (actually mage/cleric at this level) can store spells in rare gemstones to cast later (each stone has a number of charges, when these run out he has to spend a day recasting the spell into the stone, the stone loses 1 maximal charge each time this is done), the demon-influenced psychic warrior got a weaker form of Rage...

If you don't mind doing the extra work, this can add flavour to characters that might otherwise be "just the fighter" or "just the priest".

Blackadder
2008-01-23, 03:34 PM
Actually that's not "standard" at all. I've (fortunately) never had a group that played with this variant.
It's a rule some of my DM's had, I always thought it was back from 1st Ed. Since I started in second ed, I've never checked it but that's how it was always run for us.

After all, casters have access to half a dozen save or die spells, the chances of a non-caster rolling three twenties in a row is rare enough they SHOULD get something for that.

Goats_o_Mjolnir
2008-01-23, 03:49 PM
I had an interesting dice combat variant in an old game were during a formal one on one encounter between to melee classes, each player would roll ONLY all at once for 3 rounds worth of combat, the DM would then proceed to do an excessive and flashy narration based on die results to speed along the encountet, wash,rinse, repeat.

Our DM was a gifted story teller, and since it was a gladiator themed campaign, it made the action more streamlined

Tequila Sunrise
2008-01-23, 05:48 PM
Please don't comment negatively about another poster's suggestion. I won't be writing up all of the suggestions I get (probably not even nearly all); just the ones that are suggested the most and/or I like the best. :smallwink:

TS

Tequila Sunrise
2008-01-24, 04:26 PM
Also does anyone know what the name of that rogue class feature is from Dungeonscape? The one that lets rogues deal half precision damage against creatures normally immune.

TS

Eorran
2008-01-24, 05:08 PM
One I like for simplicity is multiclass characters use all of their classes to determine what their class skills are. IE, if you build a rogue / fighter, Hide and Move Silently are always class skills, whichever you choose to level up.
Makes building characters much quicker and easier.

Stycotl
2008-01-24, 05:24 PM
One I like for simplicity is multiclass characters use all of their classes to determine what their class skills are. IE, if you build a rogue / fighter, Hide and Move Silently are always class skills, whichever you choose to level up.
Makes building characters much quicker and easier.

i second this. after my very first gaming session in 3rd ed i made the dm reconsider this ruling. it works for clarity and simplicity, as well as common sense (though i can understand the logic behind the book's way).

Fax Celestis
2008-01-24, 07:00 PM
Also does anyone know what the name of that rogue class feature is from Dungeonscape? The one that lets rogues deal half precision damage against creatures normally immune.

TS

Penetrating Strike.

Miles Invictus
2008-01-24, 08:53 PM
Skill Focus feats and +2/+2 skill bonus feats grant permanent class skill status to the selected skills, in addition to the normal bonuses.

Permanent increases in intelligence (such as from gaining levels or reading Tomes) retroactively grant skill points.

Once a class skill, always a class skill; when a cross-class skill becomes a class skill, the number of ranks in that skill are doubled. (Remember that cross-class skills cost double. This amounts to retroactively treating that skill as a class skill.)

For determining skill points, the class with the highest number of skill points is assumed to be the class that was picked at first level, granting skill points retroactively.

I like retroactive changes because they make for easier bookkeeping and allow more freedom in character creation.