House Rules

This is a description of all house rules and where they came from.  Not all may be in use in a given campaign.

Ideas From Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed

Hero Points

AE Pg 162

Whenever a player commits a selfless act or a brave deed that is deemed especially heroic, he gains a hero point.  These are given entirely at the DMs discretion.  

A hero point may be used in the following ways:

  1. Add a +20 bonus to any die roll
  2. Add a +20 bonus to an attack roll, if the attack succeeds by 20 or more (i.e. the point was not needed), the player may choose to:
    Make the the attack a critical hit
    Blind the opponent for 1d10+4 rounds
    Stun the opponent for 1d3 rounds
    Slow the opponent for 1d6 rounds
    Give the opponent a -5 penalty to attacks
  3. Add a +20 bonus to a saving throw, if the save succeeds by 20 or more (i.e. the point was not needed), the player may choose to negate the spell's effect on himself entirely (i.e. like having evasion on a fireball)
  4. Add a +20 bonus to AC for 1 round
  5. Take an extra turn out of initiative order
  6. Sidestep normal rules in a heroic fasion

The last use involves DM discretion and allows for such actions as: Throwing your sword across the room to cut the rope holding the chandelier, causing it to fall on the demon allowing the few seconds needed for the party to escape with its lives.

A final use for hero points is to avoid death for the character.  Since the universe is inherently Karmic, a true heroic act is noticed by higher powers.  Any character with at least one hero point is granted a reprieve with two caveats.  First, there is a permanent physical cost to being saved from death in this fashion (e.g. blindness, loss of a limb, ability point loss, phobia, magical loss).  Second, it uses up all hero points currently allocated, not just one.

Con-based Dying (Death's Door)

AE Pg 150

Normal (without this rule, or for characters without a con bonus)

Disabled:    0 hitpoints
Dying:        -1 to -9 hitpoints
Death:        <= -10 hitpoints


Disabled:    0 to -(con-bonus) hitpoints
Dying:        < -(con-bonus) > -(con-score)
Dead:         < -(con-score)


14 constitution

Disabled:    0 to -2 hitpoints
Dying:        -3 to -14 hitpoints
Death:        <= -15 hitpoints

Ideas from Dragonlance Campaign Setting

Mystic class

I have created a divine character that does not need to prepare spells.  Though nothing like the Dragonlance mystic (which seems underpowered in any setting that includes true clerics), it is detailed here.

Concrete Story Awards

DLCS pg 193, DMG pg 40

I like the ideas for making the story awards in the DMG more concrete:

Combat Awards

Only combats germane to the story grant XP, no rat breeding/skeleton machines.

Noncombat Awards

Anything that is a challenge grants experience based on how difficult it was for the party.  For example, convincing the town mayor that an actionable threat exists.  Experience is granted based on the difficulty of the challenge:

Difficulty CR Award
Simple Party Level - 2
Easy Party Level - 1
Average Party Level
Difficult Party Level + 1
Formidable Party Level + 2

Mission Goals

Each character and the party as a whole are being driven to act by goals.  Each time a goal is accomplished, XP is awarded.  This encourages characters to think about what their characters want and to set goals and attain them.  XP is awarded, per player, as a percentage of current XP.

Goal Achieved Award Earned Example(s)
Personal, Minor 10% Healing the wing of an injured bird
Personal, Major 20% Finding your mother's killer
Party, Minor 25% Finding the target of the next assassination attempt
Recovering the Rod of Shandrulaarr
Party, Major 50% Saving the princess
Rescuing Anyaka and returning her to Langston

Roleplaying Awards

Playing a character with a unique personality is worth experience.  Staying in character despite the wishes of the party, or the urging of common sense is worth more.  Every time XP is awarded, 0 to 100 XP per level will be awarded based on the expressiveness of the character and on the difficulty of staying in character for the session.

Dungeon Master's Guide

Persistent Summons (Summoning Individual Monsters)

DMG pg 37

Whenever a summoning spell is used, it always gets the same particular creature.  Spellcasters capable of summoning should have statistics, hit points, and a name for each creature that could be summoned in this way.  Changes can be made when new spell capabilities are attained.  Death, prevents the creature from returning for 24 hours as normal.  Creatures can be improved, granted items, or otherwise altered only by actual contact (e.g. the planar ally, planer binding, or gate spells, or by traveling to the creatures home place via, e.g. plane shift)

Neal's Invention

Readied Equipment

Drawing a weapon can be done as part of a Move Action, with a BAB of at least +1.  There are three slots that qualify: left side, right side, and belt; only light weapons may be placed in the belt. (examples: sword, shield, and dagger or spiked chain, longbow, kukri) 

Other items may also be readied for easy access.  There are two slots for these (pockets).  Items that may be placed in pockets include potions, scrolls, wands, silversheen, etc.  These items are readied and sheathed as weapons above.

All other items must be stored in a container or worn, requiring a move action and an attack of opportunity to ready.  Note some items explicitly make exceptions (e.g. haversack, potion belt).

No character may wear two belts at one time.  Belts include potion belts, belt pouches, and spell component pouches.

No character may wear more than one backpack.  

No character may wear more than one quiver, unless he doesn't wear a backpack, in which case, he may wear two quivers.   (for simplicity's sake a wooden case of 10 bolts counts as a
quiver, and bolts can be fetched from it just as easily)