For a long while, I have wanted to document all the House Rules which I like enough to make use of in my games. I’ve always been somewhat bad at codifying House Rules. Many of them come and go, their effect on the game only occurring when I remember to implement them, or when they seem appropriate. In some cases, I haven’t even figured out a good way to get the rule down on paper, simply allowing certain actions sometimes, and disallowing them at other times, all by GM fiat. All of the players spread throughout the games I GM are very understanding, laid back folk, so it hasn’t become an issue. However, I know only too well that my failure to solidify what is and what is not in the rules has a potential to come back to bite me in the future.
And so this page has been born. Below are all the House Rules which I include in my games. If, in the future, I add or remove any rules, I will make a new post describing the rule (or why I felt it no longer had a place in my game) and I will update this post to reflect the new ‘House List.’
Let me say right off that I do not have sources for most of these rules. Many of them were penned by far more inventive GMs than myself. However, due to acquiring them from my brother fa/tg/uys or from some other un-citable source, most will not have sources. If anybody would like to make a correction, please leave a comment, and I’ll make sure credit is given where it is due.
Natural 20 Crits: Any roll of a natural 20 on an attack roll is an automatic critical hit. Any other rolls within critical range must still be confirmed normally.
Skill Check Critical Success/Failure: When rolling skill checks, a natural 20 is treated as a roll of 25 (20 + 5), while a natural 1 is treated as a roll of -4 (1 – 5). Add skill ranks and other modifiers normally.
Shields Shall Be Splintered: Anytime a character who wields a shield takes physical damage, they can opt to sacrifice their shield to avoid taking that damage. Masterwork or Magical shields can block a number of blows per day equal to the shield’s equivalent numerical bonus (+1 to +10) without sundering. If the shield is used to avoid damage a number of times in excess of it’s equivalent numerical bonus, it is destroyed. Magical shields can also be used to automatically save against damaging spells. Treat this as two blows against the shield. Magical shields regenerate this damage whenever the character rests for 8 hours. Shields otherwise act normally.
Diluting Bad HP Rolls: At each level, players roll their character’s total HD, and add their Constitution modifier * their character level to it. If the resulting number is higher than the character’s current max HP, then it becomes that character’s new max HP. If it is lower, then the character retains their current max HP. Here are two examples:
Valeros the Fighter is level 5. He has a constitution modifier of +3, and a max HP of 40. After killing some Skeletons, Valeros has gained enough XP to reach level 6. Normally, he would roll 1D10 + 3, and add that number to his HP. Using this House Rule, though, he instead rolls [6d10 + (3 * 6)]. He rolls exceptionally well, getting a result of 70! Valeros Max HP is now 70, up from 40 in one level.
Valeros continues to adventure, and eventually gains enough XP to reach level 7. He rolls [7d10 + (3 * 7)] for his new max HP. Unfortunately, his rolls are not so good this time, and he only gets a total of 64. Since this is lower than his previous roll of 70, his max HP does not change.
This list will change a great deal over time, I imagine. Particularly as I am sure I’m forgetting one or two that I normally employ in my games.