House Rules April 12, 2016
House Rules v1.0
So I wanted to write down some of my rule interpretations and house rules ahead of time so we can start (hopefully) on the same page. My approach to role-playing games is to try to use the rules to render the action of the game in as reasonable, if not realistic a manner as I can. To me, the various game mechanics exist as a flexible framework to help the DM determine how to resolve a situation or assign a chance of success to an action. The rules also exist to help manage the power of the characters/bad guys so that our imaginations don’t create an impossible/ insurmountable challenge every round.
While these rules may complicate the game in some ways, my hope is that they also serve to streamline or otherwise fix rules that don’t always work or make sense. Feel free to ask for my view on a given rule and if I come up with something that sound convincing, I will write it down.
Basic House Rules
• No Psionics, you may encounter creatures with supernatural or spell like abilities that resemble psionics, but I have no interest in adding another magic system to the already complicated game.
• For skill checks, if success is not possible, a roll of a natural 20 allows a re-roll with a bonus equal to your character level, a second natural 20 is considered a success even if the re-roll could not otherwise succeed.
• Skill checks, where failure has consequences, you fail on a natural roll of 1 even if the check would have normally been successful. Failing a skill check where there is a normal chance of failure with a roll of 1 typically brings negative consequences. If you have an ability that would allow you to “take 10” in a stressful situation, you may choose to take 10 normally.
• Recovering from running – From the OGC: You can run as a full-round action. If you do, you do not also get a 5-foot step. When you run, you can move up to four times your speed in a straight line (or three times your speed if you’re in heavy armor). You lose any Dexterity bonus to AC unless you have the Run feat.
You can run for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution score, but after that you must make a DC 10 Constitution check to continue running. You must check again each round in which you continue to run, and the DC of this check increases by 1 for each check you have made. When you fail this check, you must stop running. A character who has run to his limit must rest for 1 minute (10 rounds) before running again. During a rest period, a character can move no faster than a normal move action.
You can’t run across difficult terrain or if you can’t see where you’re going.
A run represents a speed of about 13 miles per hour for an unencumbered human.
If you run and fail a check you are not able to run again until you have rested. This means you must take no more than a move action for 10 rounds, thought those rounds need not be consecutive (so a character could take a standard or full round action for several rounds, and delay or interrupt resting).
• Two creatures of a similar size (i.e. within one-size category) cannot occupy the same square, unless one of the creatures is serving as a mount for the other. A large creature may squeeze to accommodate a medium or smaller creature in one of its squares, but accepts all the penalties associated with squeezing.
• Recovering from the “helpless” condition in an occupied square – If you or your opponent recover from helplessness while occupying each others square, the first combatant to have an action must either: exit the square to the nearest legal square. If the not previously helpless opponent acts first, it is subject to normal attacks of opportunity from surrounding foes (but not from their former opponent, unless they have an ability that prevents them from being flat-footed and have the means to attack) if it takes more than a 5’ adjustment.
If the formerly helpless combatant acts first, and they are prone, they may crawl to an adjoining legal space as a move action that draws an attack of opportunity; or stand up in their current space (which drawings an attack of opportunity) and then move (which may provoke an attack of opportunity as normal).
If, on their turn, the first combatant cannot make a legal move to exit the square (surrounded by opponents and solid objects, or fails an acrobatics check to pass through an occupied square for example), then they must fall prone in that square and forfeit their action for the round, at which point the second combatant must exit the square (wash, rinse, repeat until someone makes it out).
• Protection from [Alignment] The first level protection spell presents two problems. The first is the text implies that it protects against all charm/compulsion effects. Considering this is a first level spell available to many classes, I think that interpretation overpowers the spell. Instead, I am going with the FAQ from the PFSRD:
Does protection from evil (good/law/etc.) work against all charm and compulsion effects? Or does it just work against charm and compulsion effects where the caster is able to exercise control over the target, such as charm person, command, and dominate person (and thus not effects like sleep or confusion, as the caster does not have ongoing influence or puppet-like control of the target)?
The latter interpretation is correct: protection from evil only works on charm and compulsion effects where the caster is able to exercise control over the target, such as command, charm person, and dominate person; it doesn’t work on sleep or confusion.
The other issue is, what about true neutral alignment? To address this, add the spell Protection from Neutral to all spell lists that include Protection from [another alignment]. This spell functions as Protection from [another alignment], but only protects from spells cast by true neutral opponents, and attacks from true neutral attackers.
• Hideous Laughter This spell is considered language dependent for the purposes of special abilities that provide a bonus to saves versus spells that are language dependent. If the target of the spell cannot understand the caster (no common language for example), they must be able to clearly see the caster, or they receive a bonus to the save as if they were of a different type than the caster.
• Lame Oracle Curse – The text in the PSFRD is the same as the book: “One of your legs is permanently wounded, reducing your base land speed by 10 feet if your base speed is 30 feet or more. If your base speed is less than 30 feet, your speed is reduced by 5 feet. Your speed is never reduced due to encumbrance.” So the “trade-off” for the curse is that encumbrance does not slow you down. The text does not say anything about other penalties for carrying a heavy load, so I would say they are still enforced. So, with a heavy load, the lame human oracle carrying a heavy load in light armor has a move of 20’, +1 max Dex, -6 check penalty, and a x3 run. If they put on medium or heavy armor, their speed is reduced by 5 feet (unless they are level 10 or higher). If they carry more than a heavy load, up to x2 heavy load, then they can still move at 20’ (or 15’) per round, but they lose their Dex bonus to AC (and any other AC bonus that says you lose the bonus if you are denied your Dex bonus to AC). Once the Oracle exceeds the x2 heavy load, their movement speed is unaffected, but they are staggered (having to spend a move action each round just managing the load). At x5 heavy load, the Oracle is crushed by the weight of what they are carrying and take 1d6 non-lethal damage each minute they try to carry the load. If they pass out from the non-lethal damage, the start to take half that amount of lethal damage until the load is removed. However, they can continue to move (staggered) at their original speed as long as they are conscious.
• Spell casting/material components: If you are a spell caster and cast a spell with a material component with a value of less than 10 gp, you may use a spell component pouch to account for the item (see below). If the material component costs 10 gp or more, you must have purchased the item in advance and track it on your sheet (not just mark off gold as you cast the spell). Similarly, you must provide a focus when one is required.
A spell component pouch costs 10 gold pieces and contains enough “things” to cast 20 spells. You may recharge a spell component pouch by spending eight hours using any of the following skills vs a DC of 10 (subject to circumstantial modifiers), Knowledge Nature, Knowledge Arcane, Knowledge Religon, Survival, or Spellcraft. You recharge as many uses as you exceed the DC. You may attempt to hurry by increasing the DC by 2 for every hour you reduce the search time by with a minimum of one hour.
• I have never liked the association of certain knowledge skills with identifying monsters. So, add the following skills to the skills list:
i.e. Knowledge (type)
If you take/use these skills instead of the current knowledge skills, you reduce the CR of the creature for purposes of how much you know about the creature by ½ the number of ranks you have (minimum of 1). If you take knowledge (sub-type), you reduce their CR by the number of ranks you have. If you take knowledge (specific race/creature) you reduce their CR by the number of ranks, and automatically succeed on checks made to know something about the creature, even in stressful circumstances.
Buying and Selling Magic Items
My goal is to make acquiring magic items materially different than buying mundane items without making the process unduly burdensome. In general, if you want to buy an item and is it well within the buy/sell limit of a city you will typically be able to buy it. If you are looking for something more powerful or special, it will require some time and roleplay.
I also want to allow for some creativity and realism in the magic item economy. Item swapping is an option for characters who have time and skill to trade items rather than buying and selling.
• Item swapping – if you have a magic item and want to swap it for an item of more or less the same value (within 10%), you should, under the right circumstances be able to find someone to trade with using diplomacy.
Swap a magic item: To find a buyer Diplomacy (DC 15+1/1000gp (round down) of the item you are trading).
Modifiers: +1/1000gp value of the item above the buy/sell limit of the location.
+2 to +10 if attempting to find a buyer in a hostile or unfriendly area.
-1 to -10 if attempting to find a buyer in a favorable location.
Time: one day
Try again?: yes, you can try once each day to find a buyer
Take 10/Take 20?: Yes and Yes (20 days)
Once you have found a potential buyer with the right item, each party can choose to just make the even swap (this is typical of friendly buyers). Otherwise they must haggle. Each party makes a diplomacy or bluff check (depending on whether they are approaching the trade honestly) opposed by the other’s sense motive roll. The trader with the highest total (add the results of each roll together) “wins” and gains an advantage of 10% for every 5 points they win by. So for example:
Rathnar wants to swap his recently found 8310/1000-3). Rathnar has no ranks in diplomacy but has a , and being stuck in town for three weeks waiting for his cohorts to craft magic items he elects to take 20, and finds a buyer the day before they head out.
He and the buyer sit down to haggle. The buyer is actually somewhat skilled at bluff and has a 0). Rathnar rolls a 13 diplomacy (15 total) and a 16 sense motive (so total 16). The buyer rolls a 12 diplomacy (so 17 total) but only a 7 sense motive (so total 8). Rathnar wins his opposed roll by 7 and the buyer wins his opposed roll by 1. Since Rathnar had the bigger win (6 more than the buyer) he has the advantage and can ask up to 10% more for his item than the buyer (since he beat the total by more than 5 but less than 10). The buyer will have to add at least 830 gp to their offer if they want to make the trade. If Rathnar wanted to take this opportunity to develop the buyer as a contact, patron, etc, he could forgo the advantage in exchange for a free diplomacy roll to improve the buyer’s attitude (assumed to start at indifferent) with a bonus of +5 for each 10% profit given up.
• Shopping for high value items/magic items: Generally, mundane items with a value below the buy/sell limit of a given location are always available. The quantity may be limited; however, typically the total cost cannot exceed the buy/sell limit. So if the buy/sell limit of a town is 50,000 gp, and you want to buy a fleet of warships (say 25,000 gp each), you can only buy two. This limit is typically monthly, though items that take a long time to manufacture (like warships) may take longer to “recharge”.
Magic items are somewhat more limited in availability. Generally, single use magic items (including wondrous items that disappear after use) are available up to the buy/sell limit of the location with the limitation on quantity discussed above and subject to the caster level limits discussed below. Charged items (rods, wands, staffs, etc) and permanent magic items are limited to ½ the buy/sell limit, and the caster level limit discussed below. Items worth up to the buy/sell limit may be commissioned up to the caster level limit. Alternatively, the character may use diplomacy to try to find the higher value item (worth up to 50% more than the buy/sell limit) to be resolved by the DM.
In addition to buy/sell limits, locations have a rating for arcane and divine caster levels. The level indicates the highest level arcane or divine item crafter available in a location. This does not necessarily indicate the highest level caster in the area (the high priest of the Temple of Iomedae may have more important things to do than spend three months crafting some high level rod). Again, diplomacy may allow you to exceed the limit (maybe you can convince the high priest that it is worth her time).
Crafting Magic Items
Crafting magic items works as described in the appropriate source book except as discussed below. For the most part, this is intended to address the non-mechanical part of crafting items. It is also intended to enforce the rules as written in a way that considers the economics and limitations of a medieval world.
• Scrolls – Magical scroll ink is fairly generic and sold in bottles of 20, 50, 100 and 500 gp value. Magical ink will keep for up to a year in temperate conditions, but dries up more quickly in hot or very hot conditions. Scroll ink freezes at 0 degrees.
You must also have one sheet of parchment per level of spell inscribed (2sp each).
When crafting a scroll, deduct the cost of the scroll from your supply of ink. While you must mark off the sheets of parchment from your supply, do not consider them in the cost of the item (so the cost is 100% ink).
• Potions – Brewing a potion requires access to at least an alchemists kit, if not an alchemist lab. The crafter can attempt to improvise using clean containers, a campfire and simple utensils, but adds 5 to the craft DC. Potions require a “base,” typically very pure water; “ingredients” eye of newt etc; the material components (if any); and a catalyst. These materials constitute the “wort,” non-magical liquid that will become the potion. In order to brew a potion, the brewer must purchase the materials for the wort that equal the cost to brew the potion. Alternatively, the materials may be supplied, either from appropriate materials at hand (water from a create water spell, items found in a wizards lab, etc). Most ingredients can be found using appropriate knowledge skills, survival skill and time. The magic catalyst can be purchased in 100 gp vials from alchemists, and retains its potency for a month in temperate conditions.
Many alchemists sell pre-made wort for particular potions that allow the brewer to simply enchant them (cutting the crafting time in half). Wort generally lasts a week in temperate environments. The cost of pre-made wort is typically 50% more than the cost to brew the potion.
• Arms and Armor – Crafting arms and armor requires access to a workshop appropriate to the item being enchanted. The cost to “rent” such a space (if any) is in addition to the cost to craft the item. A crafter can attempt to use a makeshift workshop (or a workshop appropriate to a different item), but doing so adds 5 to the DC to craft the item.
Crafting arms and armor requires a masterwork item to be enchanted. In addition, the crafter must supply additional materials consistent with the enchantments being applied equal to the “magic cost” of the item. These are typically available from armorers, weaponsmiths, alchemists, and magic shops. Divine crafters typically require fewer material components, but instead their costs reflect sacrifices to their deity and donations to their order.
• Rod/Wand/Staff – Crafting these items requires an appropriate workshop (typically a wood working shop, but certain items may require different circumstances depending on their description). For Rods that are treated as a weapon, a masterwork version of the weapon may be used, decreasing the crafting time by one day. Otherwise, the crafter must supply magical ingredients and reagents equal to the cost to craft the item (less the cost of the masterwork weapon, if used).
Wands can be crafted using discharged wands as a base. If the wand contained a different spell, it reduces the crafting cost by 100 gp. If it is a wand of the same spell, it reduces the crafting time by one day and the cost by 200 gp (minimum of one day crafting time and 375gp).
• Rings and Wonderous Items – Crafting these items requires an appropriate workshop and a masterwork or object ‘d art of the appropriate type for the item being crafted. The balance of the cost is embellishments, ingredients and magical reagents.