View Full Version : A bunch of house rules I plan to employ

2008-07-09, 06:06 PM
As a currently inactive DM I've some house rules for my next campaign, and now I want and need some feedback on whether these house rules are A) balanced, B) not too complicated and C) make sense.

I have only system reference documents 3.5e to use, some of these rules are not my own ideas, but I'll make use of them anyway =D
I hope they aren't too confusing, if they are, I'll be happy to explain.

1) Armor class as damage reduction.
- Half of armor class from wearing armor becomes DR /-,
- one quarter from natural armor also becomes /-
- "soft" armor such as chain mail, chain shirt become /bludgeon instead
Comments: This makes heavily armored characters harder to kill, it also makes power attack a useful feat and very large weapons more capable of penetrating heavy armor. This is more realistic in my opinion.
2) Wound points.
- Hit points become vitality points, heals class level(or hd) + con mod / per 8 hour rest, magic healing heals normally
- Constitution becomes wound points, heals con mod / week of 8 hour rest per day, (for each negative con mod it takes another week for 1 to heal), magic healing heals half dice size, d8 becomes d4, otherwise normally, magic healing heals this first
- small creatures have 75% (round up) and large have 150% (round down).
- Toughness feats give vitality points.
- Temporary hit points function as vitality points.
- Constructs and undead don't have wound points, they still die instantly when vitality is all removed.
- Critical hits damage wound points instead, critical multiplier is halved.
- vitality takes damage first until depleted
- once vitality is depleted you count as fatigued (and this stacks with other fatigue effect).
- once wound points are reach 0, you become disabled, and from -1 to -9 you are dying, as rules say normally.
- if you take damage and vitality is depleted, you also have to make a fort save of 5+ damage/2 or become stunned for 1d4 rounds.
- if you take a critical hit when vitality is depleted then roll a d6 and check type of damage. (only for humanoids)
1|lose right leg|break right leg|disable right leg
2|lose left leg|break left leg|disable left leg
3|lose right arm|break right arm|disable right arm
4|lose left arm|break left arm|disable left arm
5|1d4 CON damage|1d3 CON/STR damage|pierce lung 1d4 CON damage & fatigue
6|decapitation|crush head|pierce head[/TABLE]
If you survive the attack then you become disabled, a heal check DC 25 or magical healing un-disables you.
Only a greater restoration spell, or magic of equal power can restore lost libs however.
A broken leg or arm heals back to normal if not strained and a heal 25 or magical healing is used, a character with only 1 usable arm can not use two handed weapons or items, or two weapons or items. A character with only one usable leg moves half movement speed, can only walk and moving is a full round action.
Comments: This makes the hit point system less abstract, and makes permanent or long lasting injuries from battle *possible*, this also makes low level characters less vulnerable and high level characters more careful with their lives. This is more realistic in my opinion.
3) Altered Skill system
- Instead of x4 skill points at first level, you only gain x2.
- Skill points from class is increased by 50%, skill points from int mod remains the same
- Max # ranks is still level + 3, at level 7, 14 & 21, it decreases by 1.
- When intelligence is permanently raised so that more skill points are gained through leveling, you also retro-actively gain 1 skill point per month (re-thinking past experiences).
- Cross class skill points can still only be gained at half rate, they however don't cost as much.
- If a character gains racial skill bonus, those skills always count as class skill, even if the class doesn't have them.
Comment: This makes a character with only *1* skill point per level LESS likely, and makes high level characters more likely to become more versatile at higher level.
4) Fatigue point system.
- rather than simply being "fatigued" or "exhausted", you have fatigue points, just like you would have hit points.
- Your fatigue points are equal to 2 + con mod + class bonus, martial classes gain 1 per 4 levels, clerics, druids, and bards 1 per 8 levels and wizard & sorcerers 1 per 10 levels.
- Endurance feat now gives +4 fatigue points instead.
- Barbarian rage now drains 3 fatigue points.
- Spells that make you fatigued now deal 1d6 fatigue point damage, exhaust deals 2d6.
- If you sleep with armor on (or other alike circumstance, such as nightmare-spell), you instead have 0 fatigue points when waking up, thus you're fatigued.
- You count as fatigued when you reach 0 points, -50% of your total means exhaust, -100% means you fall asleep
Comment: This makes fatigueness more smooth and gives the classes who are inclined to battle more able to withstand it.
4) Class balancing
- Barbarians gain +2 save vs fear, and first damage reduction is gained at level 4 instead of 7, max DR is now 6/-, add Bluff (cha) and Knowledge (nature) to their skill list
- No bards allowed!
- Clerics no longer get to convert spells to healing, they also lose domain spell slot, instead, they pick one of the domain spells which will be able to convert to.
- Druids gets d6 hit dice.
- Fighters gain good will saves instead of bad, +2 vs fear and every 4th level (including the first) they gain a free weapon/armor/shield feat (such as weapon focus)
- Monks gain full BAB, and free dodge & toughness feat at first level
- Paladin gain good will saves
- Ranger, +2 vs fear combat style also gain:
16th level, point blank or two weapon defense
- Rogue, gains Lightning Reflexes feat at level 14
- Sorcerer gain either Combat Casting or Eschew Materials for free at first level
- Wizard, no change.
Comments: Martial classes are no longer more prone to be afraid when other classes aren't. I removed bards because I don't like them. Clerics are no longer walking band-aids, at least not any *more* than paladins and druids.
5) No laziness with spell materials.
- It is *NOT* assumed that you have the correct material components for casting spells, *EVER*.
Comment: This will hopefully make the Eschew Materials feat not pointless.
6) More flexible meta-magic.
- Increased spell level can be substituted with equally increased spell slots of same level. For example, an empowered Fireball can take up 3 level 3 spell slots instead of 1 level 5.
- Divine meta magic works identically as arcane meta magic, no more using turn undead to meta-magic spells.
Comment: this allows low level casters to *use* meta magic. And it makes divine spell casters able to use meta magic without it being over-powered. I hope.
7) Drinking Points

-The volume of alcohol in a drink, and the volume of said drink has a many different levels of drunkenness. The calculation is drink strength x drink size x number of drinks, the sum is AU (Alcohol Units), which is then compared to the drinking character's alchol threashold.
-The character's AT (Alcohol Threashold) is equal to his constitution score. It is then modified by his size, for every size below medium is halfed, and every size above medium is doubled. And then a specials come in, such as a dwafs resistance vs poison, which adds its magnitude equally to the threashold. A human has on average 10, an elf 8 a halfling 5, a dwarf 12 and a gnome 7. A character can also have circumstance bonus or penalty to AT, such as a full or empty stomach or magical enhancements/effects. Feats also effect AT, Endurance feat adds 4, Hard Drinking doubles the AT (after other modifiers have been added).
-A "non-official" table below shows the recommended sizes and strengths for normal drinks in normal taverns. There are many different kind of drinks of many different cultures and people, not all can be written down on just one list. This is just an example.
Shot glass/mouthful|1|Water|0
Small glass (cup)|2|Weak Beer|1
Mug/Glass (pint)|4|Regular Beer|2
Wineskin (pint)|4|Wine|4
Large Flagon (quart)|8|Strong wine|6
Jug (two quarts)|16|Jug (two quarts)|16
Large Pitcher (gallon)|32|Spirit|10
Keg (3 gallons)|96|Strong Spirit|12
Small Barrel (10 gallons)|320|Dwarven Spirit|14
Large Barrel (40 gallon)|1280[/TABLE]
-The more alcohol you drink, the more drunk you get. Everytime you drink, you calculate the AU and compare with your AT, if the AU reaches AT then you gain 1 level of drunkness, if the AU from more drinks + left over points from previous drunkness state reaches AT again, then you gain yet another drunkness level.
Tipsy: Judgment slightly impaired, but no noticeable effects. -1 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. No effect on movement or hit points. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 +spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.
Merry: Inhibitions lower, voices raise, and balance wavers slightly. -2 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. +1 temporary hit point per hit die. No effect on movement. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 +spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.
Drunk: Dizzy and disoriented, words slurred. -4 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. +2 temporary hit points per hit die. Can safely take one partial action each round, but must make a Balance check (DC 10)* to both move and take an action. Falls down on a failure. Must make 7
a Concentration check (DC 10 + spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.
Hammered: Can’t walk in a straight line, generally incoherent. -8 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. +3 temporary hit points per hit die. Can safely take one partial action per round, but must make a Balance check (DC 10)* to both move and take an action. Falls down on a failure. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 +spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.
Plastered: Communication is nearly impossible, as is standing up. -16 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves (though the character can take no actions, so it usually doesn’t matter). +4 temporary hit points per hit die (but usually unable to take advantage of this). He must make a Concentration check (DC 10)* to cast spells or take similar actions. Character is nauseated, and the only action he can normally take is a single move or move-equivalent action per round. A character who is plastered can, however, choose to take one partial action other than a movement, but is then stunned for the next 1d6 rounds.
Unconscious: Character is unconscious, usually from sickness or extreme dizziness and confusion.
* Skill check penalty applies for this level of drunkenness as normal.
-Recovery & Hangovers
A character recovers at a rate of 8 Alcohol Units per hour. Additionally, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep enables him to recover completely.
A character who has become Drunk or higher suffers a hangover once he sobers up. A hangover consists of headaches, nausea and other unpleasant side effects. After recovering from drunkeness, a hangover begins. While hung over, a character suffers the same penalty to his attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves of the drunkeness category he reached the night before. Every two hours, the severity reduces by one category until the penalties go away.
For example, Seth continues drinking until he is Hammered. is category gives him a -8 penalty to most of his rolls and checks. He gets 8 hours of sleep and wakes the next morning with a hangover. He suffers a -8 penalty to various rolls and checks for 2 hours, then -4 for the next two hours, then only -2, and finally -1. After 8 hours, the ringing and buzzing finally goes away.
Comments: As drinking alcohol in a tavern is most likely going to happen on several occations, this will make the alcohol have a mechanical difference, so that a hung over, or drunk fighter isn't at his best, though he can perhaps take more of a beating before going down.

I'm also working on a altered weapon system, adding "accuracy modifier" and "parry modifier", as well as some other nice things, such as greatclubs knocking people prone on critical hits and a few other nice things, but not now.

So, do these rules make sense? Are they balanced? Are they too complicated? Would these rules make you happy if you were to play a campaign with them in use or would you object to any of them?

Thanks in advance for any feedback, it's much appreciated. :smallsmile:


Wound points & Armor Class as Damage Reduction & Metamagic Flexibility, credit goes to Unearthed Arcana for idea.
Altered Skill system & Fatigue points goes to Incursion-Roguelike for idea.
Class Balancing & Material component enforcement goes to me.
Drinking Points goes to D20 DnD Tournaments, Fairs, And Taverns

Innis Cabal
2008-07-09, 06:09 PM
you should never discourage people from playing class's unles they do not fit into the game, and if they dont then they shouldnt pick them at the get go.

2008-07-09, 06:36 PM
I don't see any discouragement here... the only class that was weakened was the Cleric, and that was only to make healing less automatic. Every other class got buffed, except the Bard which was cut outright. Now whether they wouldn't fit in the setting, I don't know, but cutting a class outright is not discouraging people to play it, it's stopping them from playing it altogether.

Some pretty good ideas. Your work with Vitality points and Wound points seems decent, if a bit complex. It neatly seperates direct physical injuries from the abstraction that hp is supposed to be, which I think would do my immersion great favors.

Why the cut from x4 to x2 skill points at 1st level, though? I don't see the reasoning behind it, since IMO the problem with d20's skill system has always been lack of skill points.

EDIT: Also, enforcing spell components sounds great, as it's intended to be one of the major balancing factors of the caster classes, but it's much less pleasent in application. One of my DMs tried this, and everyone who played a caster got tired of the extra bookkeeping very quickly. 'Course, some of our group is astoundingly lazy, so that may not be a problem for you.

Zeta Kai
2008-07-09, 06:45 PM
No real comments, but here's your table, all fixed up & ready to go:
1|lose right leg|break right leg|disable right leg
2|lose left leg|break left leg|disable left leg
3|lose right arm|break right arm|disable right arm
4|lose left arm|break left arm|disable left arm
5|1d4 CON damage|1d3 CON/STR damage|pierce lung 1d4 CON damage & fatigue
6|decapitation|crush head|pierce head[/TABLE]

Innis Cabal
2008-07-09, 06:49 PM
he removed the line about discouraging spell casters in the material line. And i never knew that was a house rule, i thought it was in the core book you needed materials.

2008-07-09, 06:56 PM
@Prophaniti, the reason I cut the bonus skills at first level from x4 to x2 is because I want low level characters to have a fewer number of skills that they exceed at than higher, the 50% bonus to skill points from class will let you have fewer total skill ranks between level 1-3, and more after that. Along with the max ranks decrease at higher levels.
I want characters to become more versatile *and* powerful at higher levels, and I wanted to limit the number of half-orc barbarians with only 1 skill point per level, now they'll gain 6 skill points per level, instead of 4. Even with a int-score of 3, the barbarian will have 2 skill points per level. But a first level barbarian with no int-penalty or bonus skills will only get 12 skill points instead of 16.

@Zeta Kai, thank you. :smallsmile:

@Innis Cabal, uh yeah. About that. Perhaps a bit shameless of me to remove a line like that, sorry.
Perhaps I should explain it, the reason I want the players to bookmark their spell components is because the characters will have to do just that, or take the eschew materials feat. I figured it would be part of the role-play experience.

2008-07-09, 07:11 PM
1) The only thing I'd do is define exactly what "soft" armor is, to avoid confusion

2) So every time you get hit, its a fort save or stun for 1d4? Did you mean take damage to wound points?

3) Ok

4) This is a really neat idea

5) Ok

6) Good

7) If you feel it is right

Oh, and you set class balancing and your fatigue point system as #4 :smallwink:. I wouldn't mind these changes, though I agree that the materials thing will give caster's headaches.

2008-07-09, 07:29 PM
1) Padded, Leather, Chain Shirt, Hide, Chain Mail count as soft.
Though, since I've never actually worn any armor like that I can't say for sure that they are soft. The point was that a chain mail doesn't protect you from a sledgehammer that much.

2) When all vitality is lost and you take damage, make a fort save vs stun. You don't have to make fort save when you still have vitality left, you neither risk losing limbs or instantly dying (unless you take a LOT of damage :P)