2097 D&D House Rules (as per Paul's request)

edited June 14 in Story Games
UpdateFor a more current overview, see here instead.

House rules

Removed skills

  • Deception
  • Performance
  • Persuasion
  • Insight
  • Intimidation
  • Investigation

If you want your character to say something, say it. If you want your character to look in a drawer, say that you look in a drawer.

(I can get onboard for using these skills together with the new downtime rules in Xanathar, where you can, for example, use Persuasion to roll on the Carousing table.)

Using arrows

  • You only have to pay arrows when it’s established that an arrow must have been released.
    • When their HP is reduced to zero by your attack
    • When the arrow is caught
      • For example, when someone catches your arrow (monks can do this)
  • If you do use extra arrows beyond that, that’s how many you can recover after the fight.
    • Not necessarily the same arrows, but the same amount, maybe some are lying around.
    • As an example of “extra” arrow usage, you might shoot an arrow that gets stuck in the owlbear’s thick hide.

This rule means that you can (by making attack rolls against their AC) threaten someone with a drawn, loaded bowstring and their HP will be reduced by sheer terror. This rule means that you can (by making attack rolls against their AC) take successive turns aiming at someone and reducing their HP by reducing their position, their chance of surviving the fight. This rule also means that you can just spam arrows at someone, releasing an arrow every round. You describe your shooting in a way that’s cool to you or that makes sense in the situation.

Distances & Speeds

We don’t use any maps, playing boards or other minaturized spatial representation.

Edit:Oh, wow, this part has changed a lot. We now use a system kinda similar to The One Ring with volley rounds and backrank/frontrank.

Initiative systems

If one side has light — on their own person, i.e. holding torch or having a lit shield, not a lantern set down on the floor — that person, and all their allies in the same mêlée group, strike before opponents who don't have such light. If the light situation is equal, who ever is on their home turf strike first.

“We go to the statue room”

Since we don’t use maps & minis, I’m more generous when players speak in predicate terms of where they want to go and not super punishing about them getting lost.

“Left”, not “North”

I describe rooms as you would see them from your own POV, not from above. I use the room we’re playing in, I make gestures, I try to make it vivid.

Encounter checks

“Wandering monster checks” are now “encounter checks” that the players make. They can use inspiration on these. I use whatever dice is in the particular module or region we’re in, but if needed I flip it so that high is safe, low is danger.

Inspiration

I hand out tokens for “good roleplay”. I want to have the strict definition “when being true to your character gets them into trouble” (inspired by Fate) but I sometimes can’t help myself and give it out for other cool stuff as well.

You can have any amount of such tokens but if you want to give yourself, or someone else, advantage or disadvantage, the price is all of your tokens, no matter if you have 1 token or 30 tokens. This is to emulate the “you either have it or haven’t it, it doesn’t accumulate” nature of RAW inspiration.

Also we emphatically don’t use the common house rule that you can spend insp to get a second chance after a failed roll. You have to place your bet before you roll. This is RAW, but, since that house rule is so common this bears mentioning here.

Also we’ve had the insp tokens serve double duty to be drama tokens from Dramasystem. I.e. you get one from the other when you give in (or from the pool if they have none), you get two from the other if you give in when you really don’t want to give in (and if they don’t have two, this can’t happen), and they get three from you if you override them trying to give you two in that way (and they keep their two – again, you need to have three for that to happen).

So that’s a way for it for the amount of tokens you have to matter.

The Searcher

A simpler class, inspired by Searchers of the Unknown and Three Sixteen. Explained here. For non-gamers dropping into our world.

Comments

  • edited April 2018

    From other games

    Petitioner / granter

    Especially when talking to NPCs.

    This system takes place inside the DM’s head. But it’s vital. Explained here.

    Finch style trap finding

    Explained here.

    ACKS style market classes

    How many diamonds are on sale in this city? I need them for my spell. Explained here.

    Options from UA

    Players make all rolls

    Instead of monsters rolling vs player’s AC, players make defense rolls against monster’s attack value. Instead of monsters rolling saves vs players spell DC, players make spell attacks against a number derived from the monster’s save stat.

    I’ve tweaked this rule in two ways: fixed the math and made it so that you can spend your next action in advance to dodge now.

    Options from the PHB

    Feats & MC

    We resisted two years but now they are allowed. But… it sucks that multiclassing based on Cha is so OP. This part of the game is definitely the weakest part of 5e.

    Encumbrance

    We’ve used the optional extra rule for some games and not for other games. Usually we don’t use it.

    No point buy

    Point buy is an optional rule and we don’t use it. Standard array, or 4d6-drop-lowest-rearrange. Have a witness while rolling stats.

    Options from the DMG

    Targets in Areas of Effect

    I rely on this rule. So good. P249.

    Lingering Injuries

    When you get reduced to zero HP. P272.

    Cleaving

    But not the other combat options, specifically we're not using Flanking. Rogue can sneak attack, yes, but w/o advantage.

    Other stuff

    We also sprinkle in options from UA, Xanathar’s, Elemental book etc etc. Carefully, and to taste, and usually not, but it’s nice to have.

    And we use the official conversion rules they released, we switched from using Stan Shinn’s system to the official one. I worked through the math and I was satisfied. That’s not a slight on Shinn, his stuff took him way more effort to do and also it came out years before WotC’s document did. I just like their method more.

    I have this note pasted on the inside of my screen. The conversion rules have been adapted to use the “Attack value” since we use defense rolls. And the Targets in Areas of Effect formula has been condensed, but, same math.

    Writing up this document, it dawned on me that I also want to paste some of the ACKS market class stuff onto that screen, but I haven't yet.

  • I forgot to say that knowledge skills are used as passives. That also cuts out rolls.
  • Wow, this is fantastic. I wish all games had such a clear formulation of what options are in play and why.

    I love having a different class/rules for drop-in players - thoughtful design. How often do you end up using that, and does anyone ever play a Searcher in the long-term?

    Two other questions:
    In ordinary fights, the listed ranges don’t on spells, weapons and movement speeds don’t matter. All questions of range is just yes, yes, yes. Can my weapon reach them? Yes. Can they run up to me? Yes.
    Sounds excellent. What happens if someone is trying to prevent someone to get to a certain place or engagement? (Like, "Hey, let's defend the Wizard while he prepares his spell.")
    [...] you get two from the other if you give in when you really don’t want to give in (and if they don’t have two, this can’t happen), and they get three from you if you override them trying to give you two in that way (and they keep their two – again, you need to have three for that to happen).
    I have trouble understanding this part. Can you help clarify?

    Does it mean you can't be persuasive if you don't have two tokens, for example?

    Fascinating mixture of Inspiration and Drama Tokens here, where it serves both purposes. I like how the number of tokens you have simultaneously does and doesn't matter. Cool!

    Does this ever mean that a player with a pile of these tokens might be hesitant to use their Inspiration, in your experience?
  • I love having a different class/rules for drop-in players - thoughtful design. How often do you end up using that, and does anyone ever play a Searcher in the long-term?
    I've had some use it for months and months. No one in my new group, yet.
    I'm pretty happy with people not using it. Many people kinda resent being given "training wheels" while others are super hesitant to do any nerd stuff so they're happy with the Searcher.
    What happens if someone is trying to prevent someone to get to a certain place or engagement? (Like, "Hey, let's defend the Wizard while he prepares his spell.")
    I don't know anyway to prevent him from being shot with bullets or arrows. To defend him from melee engagements you can engage the foes in separate melee groups some distance away from the wizard and when they try to leave you, you get opportunity attacks on them. That's a tactic every class can do. Conversely, if you have the protection fighting style, you can do the opposite -- stand next to the wizard and impose disadvantage on the foes with your shield.

    Also you can engage with the environment, blocks, crates, walls etc (in predicate space rather than precise ranges and positions).
    Does it mean you can't be persuasive if you don't have two tokens, for example?
    The player who adjudicates whether or not a character is persuaded is the player that plays that character. Having two tokens is a way to make an exception to that -- you can't force exactly what you want, but you can force a significant emotional concession.
    Fascinating mixture of Inspiration and Drama Tokens here, where it serves both purposes. I like how the number of tokens you have simultaneously does and doesn't matter. Cool!
    That contradiction is a bit of a darling of mine. Maybe it's too clever for it's own good but I think it's interesting.
    Does this ever mean that a player with a pile of these tokens might be hesitant to use their Inspiration, in your experience?
    Maybe that tension is good? But I'm not sure how they feel. Usually having a big pile of them is meant to be a sign that "hey, you should've used insp more", but the contradiction dilutes that which is a sign that maybe this house rule is a bit flawed.
  • edited April 2018
    Great answers, Sandra. Sounds like an excellent set of house rules.

    I can't tell whether "that tension is good" without having played. I, like you, think that contradiction is very interesting and rather novel. Worth experimenting with!

    Reminds me a touch of Eero's "princess game", where having a strong pile of dice or tokens translated to higher status in your interactions with others.

    I'm still not following how the tokens work as emotional pressure or concessions, though. Can you help me out?
    [...] you get two from the other if you give in when you really don’t want to give in (and if they don’t have two, this can’t happen), and they get three from you if you override them trying to give you two in that way (and they keep their two – again, you need to have three for that to happen).
    Does it mean you can't be persuasive if you don't have two tokens, for example?
    The player who adjudicates whether or not a character is persuaded is the player that plays that character. Having two tokens is a way to make an exception to that -- you can't force exactly what you want, but you can force a significant emotional concession.
    So:

    * Ashira wants something from Max.
    * Max says, "No way would my character do that!"
    * Ashira hands him a token. "Oh, ok!" Says Max, and gives in.

    Or is Max *forced* to give in when she offers him the token?

    How do we know when you "really" don't want to give in? Is it just a question of the player saying, "No, that's going to take two tokens from you!"?

    Now, if you offer me two tokens, can I refuse, but only by giving you three in return? And does that mean that I *can't* refuse an overture that's backed up by two tokens, unless I have at least 3 myself? That sounds like tokens would be an incredibly powerful influence, especially since I don't necessarily control when I can earn more.

    And what does an "emotional concession" look like, if you're not actually giving in to the demand or plea?

    I can't quite parse that first sentence I quoted from you, above, I guess! Sorry. It sounds interesting, though, so I'd like to understand it.

    Also, do these tokens come into play when interacting with NPCs? If so, do NPCs get piles of tokens, too, or what?
  • And we use the official conversion rules they released, we switched from using Stan Shinn’s system to the official one. I worked through the math and I was satisfied. That’s not a slight on Shinn, his stuff took him way more effort to do and also it came out years before WotC’s document did. I just like their method more.
    Who is "they"? What system are we converting? Whose method for doing what? What are you talking about in this paragraph?
  • Who is "they"? What system are we converting? Whose method for doing what? What are you talking about in this paragraph?
    Thanks, I had a brain lapse while writing it.

    WotC released rules to convert adventures from B/X, 1e, 2e, 3e etc. We use those rather than Stan Shinn's fan made conversion rules which have very different math.
    "They" = WotC

    * Ashira wants something from Max.
    * Max says, "No way would my character do that!"
    * Ashira hands him a token. "Oh, ok!" Says Max, and gives in.

    Or is Max *forced* to give in when she offers him the token?

    How do we know when you "really" don't want to give in? Is it just a question of the player saying, "No, that's going to take two tokens from you!"?
    OK so this system is from Dramasystem, and we don't always use it. (Sometimes we just want a less drama-focused game.)

    Here is how it works if&when it's in play:

    * Ashira wants something from Max.
    * Max knows that if he gives in, he'll get a token, and if he is steadfast, he'll give a token
    * Max chooses how to react.

    But, you never say "No way would my character do that!"
    You say "No way, I won't do that." Because you act these scenes out in character.
    And the way they're acted out, how persuasive Ashira's character can be in her actual choice of words, arguments, leverage, pleading, etc etc that will affect how Max reacts.
    (That's true even if we don't use the tokens.)

    And if the one who is supposed to pay one token don't have any tokens, they can pay from the "bank". That's another way more insp enters the economy.

    Now, if Max is steadfast and Ashira wants to override his decision, she can pay two tokens. She can't force him to give him exactly what she wants, but something significant. And to counter that, Max has to pay three tokens.

    And if the one who is supposed to pay two or three tokens don't have any tokens, they can't force or override in that way.
    Also, do these tokens come into play when interacting with NPCs? If so, do NPCs get piles of tokens, too, or what?
    NPC:s have a shared pool that's separate from the "bank". So every human at the table have their own pool + there's a big bowl at the center of the table. The DM's pool is for all the NPC:s combined.
  • Houseruled Spells & Abilities

    Material components

    The RAW in 5e is that if a material component costs money (like the 300 gp diamond for Revivify), you need to actually have the component. And if the material component doesn’t cost money, there are two ways to get around the material component: you can assume that it’s something you already happened to have in your component bag, or, you can use your arcane focus instead of the material component. (Of course if you happen to not have your component bag or your arcane focus at hand, but happen to have the actual material components, that’s good too.)

    I think this is a very good rule and I want to keep using it.

    However I’m going to add prices to some of the components, for light-giving and food-giving spells. I want you guys to be starving and lost in the dark.

    New players… I don’t want them to be overwhelmed by all the rules, both RAW and house. Anyone who can genuinely convince me that they were unaware of this rule are assumed to have components enough for four uses of these spells and I’ll also wave the weight requirement for those four uses.

    Continual Flame

    In the RAW, this already costs 50GP, but then burns forever.

    But in the house rule you can put in rubies of any cost, and then burns one hour for every GP that ruby cost. Like if you put in a 100GP ruby it burns for 100 hours. So don’t lose it.

    Dancing Lights

    A bit of phosphorus or wychwood, or a glowworm. Weighs the same as one coin and costs two copper pieces.

    Daylight

    Kept as RAW – no component added, you can have this for just the slot cost.

    Goodberry

    A sprig of mistletoe worth 5sp weighs 1lb (or like 50 coins). (It isn’t that heavy but it is fragile and therefore extra encumbring.)

    Half the weight compared to a day’s ration and feeds ten people instead of one? A good deal for one slot.

    Light

    A firefly or phosphorescent moss. Costs 1GP and weighs the same as 8 coins.

    Other food- and light- giving spells

    Just because I missed them doesn’t mean that they don’t cost. Let me know and I’ll add them here.

    Movement and targets

    Generally, all spells that hit an area now affect a specific number of people. (This is an option from the DMG.)

    The general formula is the area divided by five and rounded up. Except cones, divide them by ten. And lines, divide them by thirty. So a 100 long line can hit 4 people.

    If it has been established explicitly that people are standing unusually far apart, subtract 1d3 and if they stand unusually tight&huddled together, add 1d3 to the number of targets.

    Some spells and abilities I’ve created specific rules for. I do these as we go and so far it’s three:

    Fire Elemental “walk-through”

    • In ordinary fight, no more than 5+dF (or 3+1d3) enemies and no more than 1 mêlée group can be lit just by moving through them.

    Thorn Whip

    Thorn Whip in ordinary fight:

    • If you attack someone in another mêlée group, you pull them out of it.
    • If you attack someone outside any mêlée group, you pull them into yours.
    • If you attack someone in your own mêlée group, it’s just another attack.
    • You can also pull them into caltrops or similar, instead.

    Thorn Whip in Chase or Volley works with the listed ranges.

    Getting pulled out doesn’t trigger opportunity attacks, the rule book says:

    “You also don’t provoke an opportunity attack when you teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction. For example, you don’t provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe’s reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy.”

    Ray of Frost

    Ray of Frost in ordinary fight: - if you are frosted, you can’t run from one mêlée group to the next, but you can move into mêlée groups if you’re out, or out of mêlée groups if you’re in - if you aren’t frosted, you can move between mêlée groups.

    Ray of Frost works best in chase or volley, where it works with the listed speeds.

    Moving between mêlée groups on your own (if you’re not pulled), that triggers opportunity attacks.

  • edited April 2018

    House rules

    Removed skillsDeceptionPerformancePersuasionInsightIntimidationInvestigationIf you want your character to say something, say it. If you want your character to look in a drawer, say that you look in a drawer.
    It evidently works for some, but I am absolutely against using Player Conversation as opposed to Character Conversation. In other words, having the player convince the GM rather than the character convince the NPC.

    Before you rip my head off, let me explain:

    My character is a construct, a being that I put together to play out a story. Part of that might be making this character a witty conversationalist, intuitive interrogator or expert seducer. Now just as I, a real-life person, could not put together the knife-fighting moves to kill a grizzly bear, it is entirely likely that I could not negotiate, seduce or interrogate my way out of paper bag,

    By removing the mechanics that allow my character to be far more persuasive, seductive or intuitive than I am as a player, you are removing my ability to create a communication-led character. No tabletop systems require a player to physically fight the GM in order to defeat an NPC in combat, yet that is essentially the road being taken in removing the mechanics for communication and replacing it with player input.

    BY all means encourage role-playing. Ask the player to give some hint as to what their character wants to say and how they want to say it. Maybe allow a bonus to the dice roll if the player comes up with a really good concept. But then let the mechanics, like an editor or stylist polishing a basic concept, take that rough idea and frame it in the way that the character would express it.
  • edited April 2018

    Sadurian, that is something that I’d rather take to another thread. For example this one, or start a new one.

  • I, a real-life person, could not put together the knife-fighting moves to kill a grizzly bear
    And who's fault is that? Everyone in my playgroup is at that level of physical, intellectual, spiritual and social prowess.

    That's why we need the traits, ideals, bonds and flaws — to reward us for portraying characters with flaws and weaknesses that we don't have in order to make the game more interesting and challenging. This includes the NPCs. When we portray the PCs and NPCs we have to pull our punches. It is our job to try to mockingly, and with pity, portray the PCs and NPCs like the puny ants they are compared to our own gigantic stature radiating with wit and brilliance. Real life hold no challenges for us anymore, no conflict. It's become boring since everything is so easy. That's why we play D&D.
  • And who's fault is that? Everyone in my playgroup is at that level of physical, intellectual, spiritual and social prowess.
    And how did we get that way in the first place? By playing D&D with these rules. By actually practicing negotiation, sleuthing, investigation, problem solving, persuasion, reason in a world of make believe where if we fucked up, only our character's were at stake.

    And also there are spells in the game? You can use detect magic, disguise self etc etc


    Like, last session the party came upon a bunch of dradkins smashing up a sephus rock. And they yoinked the rock while casting an illusion spell that made it look like the rock was still there. It only fooled the dradkin for one round but that was enough for the party to hightail it out of there. Pretty awesome♥
  • edited April 2018

    Sadurian, that is something that I’d rather take to another thread. For example this one, or start a new one.

    That's fine. I wasn't looking start a discussion, merely an observation on your choice of house-rules. The fact that you have introduced/altered those rules shows that you are happy with it. I'm not calling anyone out for preferring one style over another.
  • ♥★
  • edited May 2018
    Probably has some repeated knowledge for you guys but I am tired & just wanted to copy and paste from our own campaign website:

    Wilderness

    I traveled far and wide through many different times, what did you see there?

    Looking for Food and Water

    I was too lazy to look it up last Tuesday so I just used the “standard DC” (15) and ruled that you had to travel at a slow pace.

    I looked up the real rules now and they differ from what I ran with in some ways, I made four mistakes. The first one isn’t that big of a deal, but 2, 3 and 4 could’ve made a big difference.

    1. The DC can vary by type of terrain. For the jungles let’s bring it down to 10. For deserts let’s kick it up to 20.
    2. You can forage both at a normal and at a slow pace. (Slow pace is good vs ambushes, but, normal is OK enough for food&water searching.) ← This is probably the biggest mistake I made, but luckily the pace didn’t make that much of a difference
    3. More than one person can look.
    4. You make one roll for both food&water combined. If you fail, you find 1d6+Wis pounds of food (every person needs to eat 1 pound of food per day) and a separate 1d6+Wis gallons of water (every person needs to drink 2 gallons of water per day).

    So you really earned those XP you got for making it back home to Port. Congratulations. It’s still going to be dangerous but the rules mistakes I was running with made it significantly more dangerous.

    Purify Food & Water spell

    As far as the spell Purify Food & Water goes, I’m going to house rule for jungles that one slot expenditure of it gives advantage on all of the d6:es of food the party finds that day. I.e. it doesn’t really make it easier to find anything but it makes you able to eat/drink more when you do.

    When there is obvious water (by a river, or at or near the ocean), you can choose between using it like that or alternatively (your choice) spend a slot of it to get any amount of drinking water. I.e. it can help you forage, or it can convert known water.

    (It explicitly says in Tomb of Annihilation that water in rivers and on the ground normally is not fit to drink.)

    Real World Human Water Needs

    For those who think that drinking 2 gallons per day sounds like a lot, and I don’t, you can pretend that in the D&D language one gallon is less than in America. You drink less but you also can carry less and you also can find less. The same rules apply though.♥ 1 gallon per day back home, 2 gallons per day here in this hot humid green hellforest.

    Starving

    You need to eat one pound per day. Eating half a pound counts as half a day without food which can be a good way to stretch out your resources.

    The first three+Con days without food, you are fine. Every day after that you gain one exhaustion level. There’s no save.

    Clarifications from “Veins of the Earth”

    You can reset your days by eating triple the amount of normal food (5e PHB only says “a normal day of eating” so it’s a good thing Veins was more clear) or by eating someone humanoid (such as a kobold, human, or elf).

    Once you’ve entered that starving state, you gain one extra exhaustion level every time you pass up such an opportunity to reset. For example if your friend breaks their leg and you don’t eat them.

    Thirsting

    You need to drink two gallons per day (here in the heat. In normal climate it’s one gallon per day). If you drink 2 gallons you are fine.

    If you drink 0 gallons

    There is no save. You gain one exhaustion level if you have 0 exhaustion levels. You gain 2 exhaustion levels if you have 1 or more exhaustion levels. Hello, death spiral.

    If you drink 1 gallon

    You can make a DC 15 constitution save. With disadvantage if you’re wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or heavy clothing. With -5 if you are travelling at a fast (as opposed to normal or slow) pace. If you fail the save it’s as if you had drunk 0 gallons and you will gain one or two exhaustion levels as per above. Hello, death spiral.

    I also forgot that you get +5 to navigation when travelling slow (and +5 when travelling fast). This would’ve made a big difference. Good to learn it.

    For navigation, only one person can roll — that is still correct. I guess that’s where I got the misunderstanding that that also applied to foraging.

    “You are lost 1d6 hours then you can roll again” from the DMG ← doesn’t apply to ToA. ToA has a bigger scale with one day per hex instead of a few hours per hex, and simplified rules.

    You were reluctant to roll, you just said “we don’t go back into the forest helt enkelt” but the hexes are big patches of various terrain. The map just is representative of the most common terrain on the hex, which also sets the DC. 15 for rivers and jungles, 10 for lakes and coastal areas.

    Hidden rolls for where you go when you’re lost

    It’s a secret 1d6 roll. I could draw playing cards A,2,3,4,5,6 and reveal them once you find your way, or I could roll under cups and then lift the cups once you find your way. Let me know if this is what you want or if you are OK with me keep doing the hidden 1d6 roll. 1 is north, 2 is northeast, 4 is south etc. (You might accidentally end up where you want to go, too.)

    Canoes

    OK if you get canoes the rate you can travel faster on the river (even upstream). 2 hexes per day instead of one. River and Flask misremembered it when you were asking them but I just double checked the rules.

  • Fifteen & Twelve/Twenty

    I know a lot of DCs (usually there is a DC from a rule, from an opposing NPC, or from the module text) but when I don’t I have two standards. 15 when there’s a possible-and-reasonable yes/no. And when I have an idea on how to succeed at a serious cost, I like to offer a twelve/twenty.

    The DMG p 242 suggests 15/20 for the same purpose but I’ve changed it to 12/20 to better match the probabilities in Dungeon World and Apocalypse World, since I harvest them for many ideas for these successes-with-costs. In those games there’s about a 40% chance to get a success-with-cost and I like that better than 25%. I mean if there’s only a 25% of the ternarity of the operation mattering then why bother, I could just use a DC 15 yes/no instead.

    Also a 12 is nicer to you than a 15 is and the DC for a full-no-strings-attached success is the same, 20. So it’s a win/win for you too.

    In the session yesterday, I offered a DC 12 for finding that particular Flaming Fist squad, and a DC 20 for also not losing yourself in the same process. (I.e 1-11: you lose them and yourself, 12-19 you find them but don’t know where you are, and 20+ you find them and you also know where you are.) A DC 12 might sound like an overly easy test to find a squadron in a five mile radius area (the hexes are 10 mile diameter), but, the cost was so big so I don’t regret giving you that offer. And you were smart to not take it.

    DC 10 and DC 20

    There is one situation where I think DCs 10 and DC 20 makes sense and that’s for passive knowledge – we changed them to “B-färdigheter” a la Drakar & Demoner and then it’s up to me to think “is this piece of knowledge something you would definitely know (no check needed), easily know (DC 10), maybe know (DC 15), possibly know (DC 20) and definitely not know (no check needed) and then compare it to your passive knowledge score. Matthew was doing this a lot, he wanted his character to be knowledgable. I don’t like having to be subjective but hey that’s the DM’s job sometimes T_T to be a subjective referee and make unusual & subjective calls. T_T

  • edited May 2018

    Sleeping without a tent

    Before Xanathar’s came out I came up with a house rule together with some friends, which was this: normally when you sleep your exhaustion levels move one step to 0. But when you sleep without a tent, I thought it would move one step toward 2. (I.e. make it worse if you didn’t have exhaustion but make it better if you had severe exhaustion.)

    But Xanathar’s now has clearer guidelines for uncomfortable sleep:

    You neither gain nor lose exhaustion levels and you only regain ¼ of spent hit dice.

    And it repeats the rule for forgoing long rests completely: * DC 10 con save or suffer one exhaustion level. * The next day it’s DC 15 con save. The next day it’s DC20 and so on. * Resets to DC 10 after one long rest.

    I’m not sure if sleeping in the merciless rain with disease-carrying insects counts as uncomfortable sleep or forgoing sleep. I’ll think about it some more. Use tents.

  • I'll post this PDF link here too.
    It has a summary of all the spatial predicate stuff + rules for who the monsters attack a la TOR/DU.
  • edited March 21
    Predicates rule. I wonder if Mêlée groups can be represented by patterns on paper, with a sidelist of exceptions (reach and aerial) ? That would make it easier for beginners : just place your miniature or token on the zone you want. Then you could simply connect different melee groups with a pen.
    There could be various IA for Monster targets.
    These pieces of advice cost me nothing.


  • However, I found that just connecting mêlée groups didn't work because combatants sometimes leave one group and join another.

    I use cards, which is good because I can tap them once the player has done their main action. The downside is that I wanted it to be pure totm and I kinda shy away from any sorta… "representation". The closer we get to miniatures, the sooner our first person dungeon crawl experience turns into some sorta Gauntlet or Zelda style top down game where the little ants are the ones in danger, not us.
  • OK, so it's a pattern that has to be mentally held by each player. The cheatsheet on the table can be enough.
  • But while each player can remember who they are fighting it's hard for the DM to keep track of everything so some sorta spreadsheet, table, or diagram is something I'm always thinking of. Esp good if it keeps track of monster hp.
    The prob is that I'd need 3 dimensions. Monsters × Heroes × Rounds.
    (Not that I need to keep track of past rounds but that if I don't have a time axis to scribble along, I'd have to erase the previous rounds mêlée rounds to make room to record the new ones.)
  • OK I came up with a solution so I can ditch the cards. They've worked fine for the last six months but as usual I post on here and think everything is final and then three seconds later I get a bunch of ideas.

    image

    One line per hero.

    Top left: four columns for "Special" (Armor of Agathys, Conjured beings), "Aggro" (if the monsters hate them, i.e. Sneak Attack and similar), "Conditions" (if the monsters can get in with adv/disadv) and "Front rank" if the hero is in the front rank.

    Then the list of hero names.

    Then a column where you draw one line each time the hero makes their main turn action. [Don't do it for Action Surge or similar]. This is the equiv of tapping the card in the old system.

    Then the mêlée group cross-reference area, in which there is a column per monster.

    Underneath, each monster column has their starting HP, maybe a name, and then how much damage they've taken (I suck at subtraction so with this I can count up instead of down). Monster conditions such as grappled or Vicious Mockery can go in mixed in among the HP calcs.

    In the example, Ashinell and Ran are in the back rank,
    Fox, Ran and Troll have taken one action each,
    Troll has taken 14 damage (heroes need to keep track of their own HP on their sheets),
    and Fox and Troll are in a mêlée group together.

    Plenty of space underneath the monster names to jot down monster HP.
    Am thinking that maybe three square wide monster columns are better, will try that.
    All of this is unplaytested. I've been thinking about this for years (I started even before I came up with the "card" system) and finally something shook loose in my head.
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