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Vad’s House Rules

These are rules I have for my homebrew games. This is a living document and will likely have changes as things come to pass.

Table Rules

These rules come from David Schirduan at Technical Grimoire. Modified as Tékumel has sex, sexuality, torture, and slavery. I run an adult game with complex relationships and politics being a part of PC’s lives.

Respect the everyone else playing, everyone’s here to have a good time and hopefully create a shared story.

If you say it, it happens. You are playing your character at this time.

Bring your character to life.
Players either see their character as a vehicle to kill monsters and solve puzzles (like a video game avatar) OR their character is the hero of a story no one else knows.

Good plans don’t roll.
Try to make this true as often as I can: players who prepare and invest energy in a plan shouldn’t have that plan ruined with a bad roll. In fact they shouldn’t have to roll at all if the plan is good enough. – You may have to remind me if I’m the DM.

Fight dirty.
Don’t hold back in combat, let players make dumb mistakes, or go easy on them when they just mindless attack everything. Characters should be afraid, desperate, careful.

The answer is not on your character sheet.
encourage players to think for themselves rather than just hoping to have the right ability or item.

Changes to Class Abilities

Fighting Styles

Any class that gains a Fighting Style (Fighter, Paladin, Ranger) can choose from an expanded list.

So a Paladin who wants to have Archery or Two-Weapon Fighting, it can happen.

Second Wind

At higher levels you add an additional d10 to regain hit points. At 5th 2d10 + Level, at 11th 3d10, and at 17th add 4d10.

Fighter: Eldritch Knight

Eldritch Knights can have get a spellbook and add spells to the spellbook similar to wizards. Their “Spells Known” are the number of spells they can have prepared\memorized.

Paladin Divine Smite

A Paladin can charge a missile weapon (spear, dagger, arrow, etc.) that they must use that round with a Divine Smite. Regardless of the missile hitting or missing the target, the spell slot is used.

Rogue: Arcane Trickster

Arcane Trickster’s can have get a spellbook and add spells to the spellbook similar to wizards. Their “Spells Known” are the number of spells they can have prepared\memorized.

Warlock Eldritch Invocations

All Invocations meant for expanding the abilities of the Eldritch Blast cantrip are used on any and all cantrips the warlock knows.

Examples.

Agonizing Blast: All cantrips get your Chr modifier added to the damage dealt on a hit.

Eldritch Spear: All cantrips range is doubled, up to 300ft.

Repelling Blast: All successful cantrips push the creature 10ft away from you.

Prepared Cantrip Spells

Spellcasters can learn multiple different Cantrips and put them in their spellbook. They then prepare the Cantrips they wish to use similar to any other spell. This applies to all spellcasters.

Weapons & Equipment

Spears

Spear: For referencing, a spear doubles as a quarterstaff for abilities, skills, and spells, it then does Bludgeoning damage when used as a quarterstaff.

Spear, Short

Melee weapon (simple, spear)

Damage: 1d6 Piercing

Properties: Range (20/60),Thrown, Versatile (1d8), Reach (5 ft).

Weight: 3 lbs.

Spear, Long

Melee weapon (simple, spear)

Damage: 1d8 Piercing

Properties: Two-Handed, Reach (10 ft).

Weight: 8 lbs.

Quarterstaff

Melee weapon (simple, staff)

Damage: 1d6 Bludgeoning

Properties: Versatile (1d8), Reach (5 ft).

Weight: 4 lbs.

Feats

Changes to existing feats, as described in Feats: The Good, The Bad, and The Suggestions.

Actor

Skilled at mimicry, dramatics, and performance you gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20
  • You have an advantage on Deception and Performance checks.
  • You can mimic the speech of another person or the sounds made by other creatures. You must have heard the person speaking, or heard the creature make the sound, for at least 1 minute. A successful Insight check contested by your Deception check allows a listener to determine that the effect is faked.

Armory Apprentice

Replaces Lightly Armored, Moderately Armored,and Heavily Armored

You have trained to master the use of all armor, gaining the following benefits:

  • Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20
  • You gain proficiency with all armors and shields
  • You gain proficiency with four weapons of your choice

Dungeon Delver

Alert to the hidden traps and secret doors found in many dungeons, you gain the following benefits:

  • You have advantage on Perception and Investigation checks made to detect the presence of secret doors and traps.
  • You have advantage on saving throws and ability checks made to avoid or resist traps.
  • You have resistance to the damage dealt by traps.
  • You can search for traps and secret doors while traveling at a normal pace, instead of a slow one.
  • You have advantage with Thieves Tools to unlock locked doors and disable traps.
  • Well underground or in tight corridors (5′ wide), you can travel at a normal pace and move stealthily.

Linguist

You have studied languages and codes, gaining the following benefits:

  • Increase your Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You learn three languages of your choice.
  • You can create written ciphers. Others can’t decipher a code you create unless you teach them, or they succeed on an Intelligence check (DC equal to your Intelligence score + your proficiency bonus), or they use magic to decipher it.
  • You gain advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against any spells that are cast utilizing a vocal component in a language that you understand.

Keen Mind

You have a mind that can track time, direction, and detail with uncanny precision. You gain the following benefits.

  • Increase your Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You always know which way is north.
  • You always know the number of hours left before the next sunrise or sunset.
  • You can accurately recall anything you have seen or heard within the past month.

Shield Master

Anyone with this feature can use there shield to:

  • Attack someone as a bonus action to knock the target prone, push someone 5ft, or cause 1d4+STR bludgeoning damage. They can also use their normal attack action, before or after using their bonus action.
  • If not incapacitated, you can add the shield’s AC bonus to any Dexterity saving through you make.
  • If the subject of a dexterity save lets your take half damage on a save, you instead take no damage on dexterity save.

Tenacious

Replaces “Durable” & “Tough”

Hardy and resilient, you gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2).
  • Your hit point maximum increases by an amount equal to twice your level when you gain this feat. Whenever you gain a level thereafter, your hit point maximum increases by an additional 2 hit points.

Weapon Master

You have practiced extensively with a variety of weapons, gaining the following benefits:

  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Choose 4 weapons. You become proficient in them and you add your proficiency bonus to damage rolls when you use those weapons.

Companions (animals, mounts, NPC’s) in Combat

If a player has companions they control in combat (animal companion, squire, PC controlled NPC, mounts, etc.) the Player determines the order they go ON THEIR PC’s TURN.

Example.

PC (Tsol): Rolls a 12 for initiative, the PC has a +2 so 14.

Tsol has 2 guards, and a dog companion.

The Player decides Tsol will go first, blasting the enemies with ranged spells, then his guards will more forward and attack the closest creature, and the dog will run off to the back to attack ranged enemies in the back.

End Turn.

Next Player.

Skill Challenges

Choosing the Skills (and non-skills) for the Challenge

Present the party with a problem or scenario and let them decide how best to deal with it rather than drawing a box of skills and secondary skills to confine your players, give them free rein to come up with a creative solution. Reward creative thought, award successes for non-skills too, for example if the players want to use a magical item, or a spell in place of a skill. Perhaps they bribe the gruff city guard rather than try to use the persuasion skill.

Level of Complexity

Easy, medium, hard, deadly encounter.  Note: complexity differs from difficulty. Complexity only refers to the number of steps involved in the challenge, not how difficult those steps are. To be successful the players will need x number of successes before 3 failures.

Complexity Successes Failures
14(2)3
26(3)3
38(4)3
410(5)3

Skill Difficulty Class

Very Easy 5

Easy 10

Medium 15

Hard 20

Very Hard 25

Nearly Impossible 30

Dealing with Failure

Failure shouldn’t end the adventure, it should just change the path the players need to take.

Possible Consequences for Failure

• Increase the CR of the next encounter or raise the DC of the next skill roll

• Wandering monster

• Loss of a resource (Spell slot, per-rest power, hit dice, etc.)

• Apply a condition (poisoned, fatigued, etc)

• Inflict a curse or disease

• Expenditure of money or time

• Decrease an NPC’s attitude a step

• Disallow additional uses of that

skill

• Damage

• Impose disadvantage on the next roll

**A good skills challenge should:**

• Involve each player

• Use several skills

• Allow successes from non-skills

• Reward creativity

• Measure how well the PCs succeed, not if they succeed.

Melee Attack Actions

Disarming and Disarmed

The attacker makes an attack roll that is contested by the defender’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the attacker wins the defender is disarmed and the weapon falls to the defender’s feet. The attacker’s roll is at disadvantage if the defender is holding a weapon in two hands. The defender’s roll is at advantage if it is larger than its attacker, or disadvantage if it is smaller.

The defender has disadvantage on attack rolls and loses their reaction if they attempt to pick up the item within melee range of the attacker. This remains in effect even if the attacker draws another weapon and attempts to pick up the item dropped.

Flanking

When a creature and an allie are adjacent to an enemy and on opposite sides or corners of an enemy’s space they gain a +1 to attack rolls.

A creature that is larger than an enemy and its size overlaps two corners of a creature, it gains this benefit.

Shove

(PHB 195)

An attack to Knock Prone of from you. Attacker makes a Strength (Athletics) check contested by targets Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics). If attacker wins, they can choose to Push a creature 5ft away or Knock defender Prone.

Knocked Prone

A creature knocked prone has disadvantage on attacks and no reactions on the round they stand up within melee range of the attacker who knocked them prone.

Shove Aside

(DMG 272)

An Attacker uses the Shove attack to attempt to move a target to the side instead of back. The attacker has disadvantage on its Strength (Athletics) check when attempting to shove aside someone.

Moving through a hostile creatures space.

Overrun

(DMG 272)

You try and force your way through a hostile creatures space. As an action or bonus action, you make opposing Strength (Athletics) checks, and if successful you move through the hostile creatures space as difficult terrain. The hostile creature can still use their reaction to make an opportunity attack if you move out of their threat range.

Tumble

(DMG 272)

You can try and tumble your way through a hostile creatures space. As an action or bonus action, you make opposing Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks, and if successful you move through the hostile creatures space as difficult terrain. You can do this even from a prone position. The hostile creature can still use their reaction to make an opportunity attack if you move out of their threat range.

NPC – Minions

From Monster Manual (4e) p.282

Minion: Minions are designed to serve as shock troops and cannon fodder for other monsters (standard, elite, or solo). Four minions are considered to be about the same as a standard monster of their level. Minions are designed to help fill out an encounter, but they go down quickly.

A minion is destroyed when it takes any amount of damage. Damage from an attack or from a source that doesn’t require an attack roll (such as the paladins divine challenge or the fighter’s cleave) also destroys a minion. However, if a minion is missed by an attack that normally deals damage on a miss, it takes no damage.

Madness Points and Madness Levels

Characters keep track of their levels of madness like they would track their levels of exhaustion. For every 4 Points of madness, you gain another Level of madness.

1-3) First level of Madness: Each time you suffer another point of madness you suffer the same temporary madness, just rolling a d10 to see how many minutes you suffer from the madness this time.

4-7) Long-Term Madness. For each point the character surfers the same Long-Term Madness, just rolling a d10x10 to see how many hours they suffer from the madness.

8) 8th point of madness and you have a Indefinite Madness and reset your madness points to 0.

Skill Challenges

This concept again comes from ideas put down for D&D 4th edition. These ideas come from Boccob’s Blessed Blog.

Choosing the Skills (and non-skills) for the Challenge

Present the party with a problem or scenario and let them decide how best to deal with it rather than drawing a box of skills and secondary skills to confine your players, give them free rein to come up with a creative solution. Reward creative thought, award successes for non-skills too, for example if the players want to use a magical item, or a spell in place of a skill. Perhaps they bribe the gruff city guard rather than try to use the persuasion skill.

Level of Complexity

Easy, medium, hard, deadly encounter. Note: complexity differs from difficulty. Complexity only refers to the number of steps involved in the challenge, not how difficult those steps are. To be successful the players will need x number of successes before 3 failures.

Complexity / Successes / Failures

1 / 4 / 3
2 / 6 / 3
3 / 8 / 3
4 / 10 / 3

Skill Difficulty Class

Very Easy 5
Easy 10
Medium 15
Hard 20
Very Hard 25
Nearly Impossible 30

Dealing with Failure

Failure shouldn’t end the adventure, it should just change the path the players need to take.

Possible Consequences for Failure

  • Increase the CR of the next encounter or raise the DC of the next skill roll
  • Wandering monster
  • Loss of a resource (Spell slot, per-rest power, hit dice, etc.)
  • Apply a condition (poisoned, fatigued, etc)
  • Inflict a curse or disease
  • Expenditure of money or time
  • Decrease an NPC’s attitude a step
  • Disallow additional uses of that skill
  • Damage
  • Impose disadvantage on the next roll

A good skills challenge should:

• Involve each player
• Use several skills
• Allow successes from non-skills
• Reward creativity
• Measure how well the PCs succeed, not if they succeed.

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1 Response

  1. 2019-01-22

    […] It is all playtest material released August 2018, the the final version is expected August 2019 and I know a few people looking forward to it. I’ll be sticking with a slightly modified version of D&D5e [VAD’s House Rules]. […]

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