Volume 1 Issue 36 – House Rules

Just because it’s in the book doesn’t mean it’s written in stone. This
week RFI discusses house rules. Also on the agenda is a listener
question on how best to fortify a castle. And Creature Feature Theater
returns this week with a guest DM. All of this and more is on this
weeks Roll For Initiative.

Intro 00:00.000

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Sage Advice 18:58.000

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Via E-mail RFIStaff@gmail.com

Table Manners -House Rules 41:12.103

RFI House Rules Thread

Creature Feature Theatre – 1:10:10.000

The Lumpers ” Spare Parts” Part 4 1:54:13.880

Poll of the Week / Outro 2:05:01.758


5 thoughts on “Volume 1 Issue 36 – House Rules

  1. My house rules are the following:
    1- max hit points at 1st level.
    2- rolled 1 is a ” funny” fumble ( aka shot a arrow into your fighters waterskin) rolled a 20 is a crit x2 damage.
    3- helments add 1 to AC.
    4- I use weather rules all the time, spring, summer, fall and winter.
    5- each character gets 1 and only 1 “save my butt” card. can be used for anything, from not taking the fireball to the face to not falling off the cliff to his death.
    6- i add +4 hit dice to all dragons, i make the bigger and bad in my adventures.

  2. So far i only have one house that i use and its on character creation and its you roll 4d6 take away the lowest but if your lowest is on two dice you re-roll and take the highest even if its worse and repeat again if necessary.

  3. I’m catching up on past episodes and hit this one. I’m the one who originally raised the house rules question and used the OD&D (White Box, or 3 Little Brown Books, whichever you prefer) example of rolling all of your hit points each time you level up instead of rolling one die and adding it to the total.

    Yes, this was an original rule found in the 3LBB, though it has to be inferred from a chart instead of being explicitly spelled out in the rules. Page 17 of Volume 1 (I’m looking at my DriveThruRPG.com copy, so it will be page 19 on the PDF) shows the statistics regarding classes. The second column from the right is labeled Dice for Accumulative Hits, and shows a steady upward progression for each class (for instance, a Veteran (Fighting Man with 0 XP) has 1+1 Hit Die, while a Warrior (Fighting Man with 2,000 XP) has 2 Hit Dice.). Note that nowhere on the experience tables are numerical levels given, only level titles (even though numerical character levels are referenced for the rest of the book).

    Page 18 (Page 20 of the PDF) explains it thusly:

    Dice for Accumulative Hits (Hit Dice): This indicates the number of dice which
    are rolled in order to determine how many hit points a character can take. Plusses
    are merely the number of pips to add to the total of all dice rolled not to each
    die. Thus a Super Hero gets 8 dice + 2; they are rolled and score 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5,
    6/totals 26 + 2 = 28, 28 being the number of points of damage the character
    could sustain before death. Whether sustaining accumulative hits will otherwise
    affect a character is left to the discretion of the referee.

    This is different than 1E AD&D, which explicitly states on page 34 of the Player’s Handbook:

    Hit points are determined by hit dice. At 1s level a character has but one
    hit die (exception: rangers and monks begin with two dice each). At each
    successive level another hit die is gained, i.e. the die is rolled to determine
    how many additional hit points the character gets.

    Personally, I prefer the original method. First of all, whenever a character levels up, you only have to look at the appropriate character chart to see how many dice to roll. It’s much easier for people who are new to the game to look at their class chart and see that they should now roll X number of dice for their hit points instead of looking at a chart, seeing how many hit dice you should now have, then only rolling one die and adding it to their maximum HP total.

    Secondly, people love to roll dice, and the more they roll, the better they feel about it. So when a character goes from level 7 to 8, it feels good to pick up those 8 dice and heft their weight in your hand. It lets everyone get a taste of what it feels like to be a magic-user slinging a fireball.

    Thirdly, it gives everyone a chance to look forward to something. I’m sure everyone remembers those times that they rolled a “1” for hit points when they level up. You only get to roll one die, and it comes up as the lowest possible value? That sucks, and it’s something that the player will remember for a lot longer than you’d think. But if the slate gets wiped clean each time, then that player not only gets a chance to roll a lot more hit points, but more dice also mean that rolling low on one of them doesn’t feel nearly as bad.

    Fourthly, it makes energy drain much easier to deal with. Roll your new hit dice and you’re done. No more trying to remember what you rolled, or hoping that the margin you wrote it in didn’t get overwritten when you were trying to tally the total amount of gold in a vampire’s horde.

    Now, I tie this in with two house rules: You can never “lose” hit points when you gain a level, and you can never “gain” hit points when you lose a level. This means that when a character gains a level, they can’t have fewer hit points than they had before. So if a 3rd level Fighter with 21 hit points gets less than 21 total when they level up, they keep their old value. Similarly, if a character loses a level, their new hit point total can’t be more than their old hit point total.

  4. As far as critical hits and fumbles I like the system published in Best of Dragon Vol. 5 (I forget the original issue) where every hit might be critical and every miss might be a fumble. To calculate the percentage chance for a crit all you do is subtract the minimum number needed to hit from what you actually rolled (after modifiers). So if you need a 12 to hit and you roll a 17 then that gives you a 5% chance of a critical hit. If you land a critical then you roll on the tables provided in the article to see what kind it is depending on weapon type. Inversely with fumbles, if you miss then the chance of a fumble is the difference between what you needed to hit and what you rolled. To me it’s a bit more plausible than the natural 20 rule without being overly complicated.

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