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Author Topic: Favorite House Rules  (Read 4223 times)

Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Favorite House Rules
« on: August 31, 2016, 06:40:32 PM »
I've played so many campaigns with varied tweaks to the rules. I tweaked many of the subsystems in different ways at different times, and most of the DMs with whom I played did also. I assume house rules were common as groups tweaked the game to match their preferences.

So, what are your favorite house rules?

Double hp at first level? Smaller hit dice for PCs?
Alternate classes or class abilities? New classes?
Changes to surprise? Initiative?

Do tell!
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Offline Dizzy

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2016, 07:37:11 PM »
I seem to experiment with house rules in every campaign I run.

Sometimes I do max HP for first level, crits & fumbles, and sometimes I don't.

Typically in any OSR game I run I do group initiative d6 higher wins, ties go to players. I've been experimenting where I just roll 1-3 players go first, 4-6 monsters go first. Anything a bit more crunchy where it seems individual initiative will have more of a noticeable effect, like 5e, I just run it as is.

Ascending AC is the only thing I can think of that I almost always use, and usually pick a ruleset or clone that already incorporates it.

I'll work with players with alternate classes or abilities, but I don't bring them to the table myself.

I guess my houserules are never perfect and I'm always tweaking them.

Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2016, 09:08:31 PM »
The constant tweaking is an issue for me. I'm wanting to put together a rules set that reflects the best of all the tweaks. The problem is that I don't remember all of the tweaks. Age has a way of erasing many of those pesky memory things.  :-[

I recall making new classes, though piecing together all of them is difficult. Some new PC races, though I'm much less interested in that sort of thing these days. Tweaks to initiative and turn order, hp accumulation, that sort of thing.

I recall both the "max hp at first level" and "double hp at first level" made for slightly less cautious players, so think something along those lines would be good. I'm looking at front-loading the hp-accumulation process and then tapering off how many hp can be gained at later levels. The average at name level would be much the same, though with lower max hp possible. I recall playing OD&D with smaller hit dice for fighters and then using smaller hit dice for an AD&D campaign and thinking that was fun, so reducing the max possible doesn't seem to make things untenable.
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Offline ian54

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2016, 09:11:39 AM »
My group always used THAC0 for players, which I don't think is standard 1e, might have been from a Dragon or White Dwarf rule or perhaps in an adventure.

Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2016, 09:31:17 PM »
I think THAC0 first appeared in 1e, in a reference table listing it for monsters. It wasn't offered up as standard for PCs until 2e.

I'm torn on this one. THAC0 makes things easier. It doesn't provide the extra "20" entries that appeared on the TO Hit tables, though, with some 20s successful with a lower roll + modifiers and others requiring a natural 20 roll. That detail is lost with a simple THAC0 setup. I guess a rule along the lines of anything that requires a 21 or better to hit also requires a natural 20 could work in the same fashion.
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Offline Fjw70

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2016, 08:49:27 AM »
My group always used THAC0 for players, which I don't think is standard 1e, might have been from a Dragon or White Dwarf rule or perhaps in an adventure.

I know the Dragonlance modules used it and probably some others as well.

When I do play 1e (which has been a while now) I use some house rules inspired by later editions:

-- Acsending AC and BAB
-- using dex as the attack stat for light melee weapons

Things such as that.

Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2016, 07:56:36 PM »
When I do play 1e (which has been a while now) I use some house rules inspired by later editions:

-- Acsending AC and BAB
-- using dex as the attack stat for light melee weapons

Things such as that.

I think a lot of the stuff that appeared in later editions arose from house rules in earlier edition play. I first encountered the idea of kits when playing with a guy who'd played lots of OD&D, as something used in the groups he'd played with. A caravan guard was a fighter with a caravan guard kit that customized the character--weapons typical of caravan guards, contacts in cities along trade routes, that sort of thing.

While I never used the ascending AC tweak, I met a guy who said it was used in a game he'd played in a bit. I don't know how widespread it was, as that was the first group I'd heard of that formally adopted it. I think most folks who played for any length of time and did the math for To Hit rolls noticed it could be done that way.

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Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2016, 08:00:49 PM »
I know a lot of the tweaks I made were intended to fit the rules to my specific settings. So when I had settings that didn't have halflings or gnomes, then there were no such PCs, accordingly. I also tweaked classes to reflect the setting's lands. Some undead couldn't be turned, blahblahblah.

That's a good part of why the tweaks were usually different from campaign to campaign. The other part was I just wanted to see how things played out with the changes.
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Offline Shiftkitty

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2016, 08:32:04 PM »
We threw out the whole Vancian magic system. We tried several other ways to cast magic, finally settling on a combination of skill check and magic point system. It still needs some adjusting, but it works for us.
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Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2016, 09:25:48 PM »
I played in one campaign that used a spell point system. I didn't learn all of the details on it, as I wasn't playing a MU. I've read some renditions of spell point systems used with AD&D. Is there a document spelling out (!) how yours works?

I'm also looking at using the PH tables to show how many castings can be made without having to make skill checks, with each casting beyond the table slots requiring checks and penalties and fatigue/hp loss.

The addition of cantrips in UA also makes low-level MUs more useful.
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Offline Shiftkitty

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 08:52:22 PM »
No document, as we're still tweaking things, but your INT score times 5 is your base chance of success on d%. As for the points, we're still trying to balance it. We were trying to account for level, INT (or other relevant ability) while not skimping or piling on the spells available. Contrary to the Vancian system of wiping spells from your mind as they are used, we want more of a system that lets you get better at spells you use frequently, just like real-life practice.
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Offline DocMindwipe

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2016, 04:10:41 PM »
favourite houserule? Hmm.... probably.... "you don't need any rules" would be the best one ;)

Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2016, 06:22:54 PM »
No document, as we're still tweaking things, but your INT score times 5 is your base chance of success on d%. As for the points, we're still trying to balance it. We were trying to account for level, INT (or other relevant ability) while not skimping or piling on the spells available. Contrary to the Vancian system of wiping spells from your mind as they are used, we want more of a system that lets you get better at spells you use frequently, just like real-life practice.

I'm looking at pulling an idea from one of Gary's other games and having spells that can be used at a moment's notice, others that require some time and effort (a roll) to recall, and then those that the MU won't be able to recall in enough detail to cast without spending time (while not adventuring) in review. As you say, not skimping and not piling on the spells is tricky.

I also want to use the tables from the PH to indicate how many of each level the MU can cast without a chance of failure and accumulating fatigue (and perhaps other issues). The more "extra" castings of any given level, the greater the penalties and consequences.

I suspect tweaking the spells a bit would be necessary to keep it balanced. As I planned to change the level rating of some spells, remove some, add new ones, and otherwise play with the magic system, the tweaking isn't extra work that wasn't going to be done, anyway.
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Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 11:02:56 PM »
Worked out hp progression. As I mentioned before, I want ho totals to be lower than standard AD&D hp, and front-loaded in the progression. Got it worked out.

Each character has a base of 5 hp + CON bonus as a lvl 0 proto-character. To that, the per level hp get added. The largest HD for any class--Fighters--is D6+2, and that's only for the first couple of levels. It steps down after that to D6+1, D6, D3+1, D3. The MUs get a D3 for a couple of levels and then step down to a D2.
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Offline Pladohs Ghost

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Re: Favorite House Rules
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2016, 08:49:38 PM »
Have been thinking about level progression and PC development. I don't think the TSR editions really offer much in the way of progression for the higher levels, once hp accumulation slows. I'm working on ways to change that.

I've decided on 20 levels of advancement. The 36+ of BECMI just doesn't interest me. I'm viewing Lvl 10 as "name level," so 10 levels of advancement to get there and then 10 levels of high-level play and advancement.

In the brainstorming I've done already, I've figured out ways in which characters can advance that aren't simply adding more bonuses to proficiencies. There'll have to be tracking of reputations and social networks and political influence, among other things, from early levels onward. It's been an interesting exercise to think about high-level character development; I've a much better appreciation of a character's full career span, now.
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