‡ Think Lord of the Rings and other books by J.R.R Tolkien, my world is a mixture of Tolkien and Robert E. Howards works. Elves are not as flighty, half elves are not outcasts, halflings are not nomads. It may be simpler and easier for me to write a paragraph like this than list a lot of minute differences. I find the concept that an elf is a child for a hundred years to be rather silly. Or that elves decide to name themselves after whatever catches their fancy. Elves in this campaign are not misplaced hippies with names like Flower or Overflowing Ashtray. Instead they can proudly trace their lineage back thousands of years with complete precision.
‡ Halflings have Low-Light vision.
‡ Character Traits, Unearthed Arcana, page 87).
For now I am allowing the Character Traits into the game, as found on page 86 of the Unearth Arcana. From the book:
Traits are aspects of a character's personality, background, or physique that make him better at some activities and worse at others.
The Character Traits are:
Abrasive, Absent-minded, Aggressive, Brawler, Cautious, Detached, Dishonest, Distinctive, Easygoing, Farsighted, Focused, Hard of Hearing, Hardy, Honest, Illiterate, Inattentive, Musclebound, Nearsighted, Nightsighted, Passionate, Plucky, Polite, Quick, Reckless, Relentless, Saddleborn, Skinny, Slippery, Slow, Specialized, Spellgifted, Stout, Suspicious, Torpid, and Uncivilized.
‡ Character Flaws, Unearthed Arcana, page 92).
For now I am allowing the Character Flaws into the game, as found on page 92 of the Unearth Arcana. From the book:
Flaws are like the flip side of feats. Whereas a feat enables a character to be better than normal at performing a task (or even to do something that normal characters can't), a flaw restricts a character's capabilities or imposes a penalty of some sort.
A player may select up to two flaws when creating a character. After 1st level, a character cannot take on additional flaws unless the DM specifically allows it. Each flaw a player selects entitles his character to a bonus feat.
Unlike traits, flaws are entirely negative in their impact on a character. The Character Flaws are:
Feeble, Frail, Inattentive, Meager Fortitude, Murky-Eyed, Noncombatant, Pathetic, Poor Reflexes, Shaky, Slow, Unreactive, Vulnerable, and Weak Will.
‡ Prestige Classes: Prestige classes will be discovered in game. At this time all character classes are available from the various books. If you want to play a class from a non-WOTC source I need to see it first.
‡ Back by popular demand; the Comeliness attribute is back. Folks with existing characters can either roll a Comeliness stat or just use their Charisma score. New characters will roll a Comeliness score.
‡ Variant: Non-Magical Psionics:
To continue the original flavor and aspects of the original 1st edition campaign this rule is in use.
Under this variant rule, psionic powers aren't magical at all, but a different sort of extraordinary power altogether. Antimagic fields have no power over psionics (and likewise, most psionic abilities cannot interfere with magic.) A creature's special immunities or resistances to magic do not protect it from psionic abilities. (DMG pg 297.)
‡ The use of Psionics prompts a Psionic check as in 1st edition to see if anything notices or reacts to the use of psionics.
‡ I am now using the Fly skill check from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. (pg 96)
This is a class skill for druids, sorcerers, and wizards and dexterity based. Any check penalties apply, and it does not give the ability to fly: only a control method for those that can. For my purposes it is also a racial skill for any creature that can fly naturally; say like a Raptoran.
‡ Attaining new wizard spells upon level advancement.
Player's Handbook, page 57 states, "At each new wizard, she gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on her new wizard level) for her spellbook."
Any new spell a player wants to add to their tome must be agreed to by the DM. The spells out of the Player's Handbook are the ones most agreeable.
‡ Wizards and other spell casters must once again have their list of spells “memorized.” This overturns the house rule in which a spell caster could use any spell off of their list at will. This was creating problems and game imbalances and therefore needs to be returned to the normal core rules method.
‡ Called Shots.
Here is what I will be using until I find something I like better.
“With these optional called shot rules, PCs, monsters, and villains alike can aim their attacks more precisely, potentially to devastating effect. These rules are an optional addition to any campaign, and should be approached with care by the Game Master.”
‡ The feats that are marked as stackable in the books cannot be taken twice at the same time. Therefore a character can take a feat at first level, and then again the next time they are eligible for a feat for example.
I use a large variety of variant rules as found in the DMG, 3.5 edition:
‡ You're (DM) the final arbiter of the rules within the game. Good players will always recognize that you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook. DMG pg. 6
‡ The Bottom Line: "You're in charge. This is not being in charge as in telling everyone what to do. Rather, you get to decide how your player group is going to play this game, when and hwer the adventures take place, and what happens. That kind of being in charge. DMG pg 8
‡ Rules Discussions: "It's probably best if player's don't question your rulings or established rules, propose changes to the rules, or conduct discussions on other aspects of the game (aside from what's immediately at hand) duing the game itself. Such matters are best addresserd at the beginning or end of the session." DMG pg. 11
Okay, those were not Variant Rules, but just points I'd like to stress.
‡ When only one side is aware of the other, the DM runs the first round of combat as a surprise round, each character gets only a standard action. Only those aware of of the other side can take any action at all. DMG pg. 23
‡ Variant: Striking the Cover instead of a missed Target DMG 24 In ranged combat agaisnt a target that has cover, it may be important to know whether the cover was actually struck by an incoming attack that misses the intended target. First, determine if the attack roll would have hit the protected target without the cover. IF the attack roll falls within a range low enough to miss the target with cover but high enough to strike the target if there had been no cover, the object used for cover was struck. If a creature is providing cover for another character and the attack roll exceeds the AC of the covering creature, the covering creature takes the damage intended for the target. If the covering creature has a Dexterity bonus to AC or a dodge bonus, and this bonus keeps the covering creature from being hit, then the original target is hit instead.
‡ Variant: Clobbered DMG 27 Ultimately, damage doesn't matter until a character is unconscious or dead. It has no effect while she's up and fighting. It's easy to imagine, however, that she could be hit so hard that she's clobbered, but not knocked unconsciou or dead. Using this variant, if a character takes half her current hit points in damage from a single blow, she is clobbered. On her next turn, she can take only a standard action, and after that turn she is no longer clobbered.
‡ Variant: Instant Kill DMG 28 Roll Natural 20, confirm crit, roll third time to confirm instant kill
‡ Variant: Skills with Different Abilities DMG 33 A skill check always includes skill ranks plus an ability modifier, but you can use a different ability modifier from normal if the character is in a situation wher the normal key ability does not apply.
‡ Variant: Critical Success or Failure DMG 34 If a player rolls a natural 20 on a check, allow him or her to make another check. If the second check is successful, the character has achieved a critical success with the use of that skill or ability, and osmething particularly good happens.
‡ Variant: Saves with Different Abilities DMG 35 To model unusual situations, you can change the ability score that modifies a save, just as you can with with a skill.
‡ Info DMG 48 A status quo encounter forces the PCs to adapt to the encounter rather than the other way around. Bugbears live on Clover Hill, and if the PCs go there, they encounter bugbears, whether bugbears are an appropriate encounter for them or not. If you decide to use only status quo encounters, you should probably let your players know this.
‡ Info DMG 49 Sometimes, the PCs encounter something that's a pushover for them. At other times, an encounter is too difficult, and they have to run away. 5% of the encounters could have a difficulty of EL +5 higher than the party.
‡ Info DMG 60 Stone walls, iron walls, and iron doors are usually thick enough to block most detect spells, such as detect thoughts. Wooden walls, wooden doors, and stone doorrs are uusally not thick enough to do so. However a secret door built into a wall and as thick as the wall itself (at least 1 foot) does block most detect spells.
‡ Variant: What Disabling a Device Means DMG 70 So a character makes her Disable Devicer check against a trap. What does that success do to the trap? With this variant rule, the answer to that question depends on the amount by which the character beat the DC.
‡ Variant: Upkeep DMG 130 Require each player to pay a monthly upkeep cost based on the lifestyle of the character.
‡ Info: Restrictions DMG 171 It is perfectly acceptable for you to say "In my world…" and then describe whatever changes or restrictions you feel necessary.
‡ Info: How PCs Improve DMG 197 The rules in the Player's Handbook assume that characters have access to everything they need to advance in level - libraries where they can research new spells, trainers, to guide their efforts, and places to practice new sklls and abilities. Research and training aren't a part of the standard rules. They're assumed to be going on in the background. However, you control the background and can decide how you want to handle things such as this.
‡ Info: Learning Skills and Feats DMG 197 Characters pick up new skills and feats as they go up in levels. In your campaign, however, you can require that a character can't learn a new skill or feat they he hasn't been exposed to. For example, a character in the desert can't learn swimming unless he spends time at an oasis.
‡ Info: One Step Further DMG 197 One step further would be to require that a character have an instructor to teach him new skills and feats. Under this approach, a character can't learn to swim unless he has access to a body of water and somoene who can swim willing to train him.
‡ Info: Training Time DMG 197 One week per rank gained in a skill, or two weeks for a feat. A character may work on two skills or feats at once.
‡ Info: Learning New Spells DMG 198 Divine spellcaster just get new spells when they gain the ability to cast them. Their deities, or the powers they revere, take care of it all for them. Arcane spellscasters don't have things quite so easy. Wizards must learn new spells and add them to their spellbooks. For wizards to gain these new spells, assume that it takes one day per spell (but no roll is needed for spells that come with level advancement) and that such research costs twice what it would normally cost to have an NPC cast that spell for the character.
‡ Info: Gaining Sorcerer Spells DMG 198 Each Sorceror contacts an intelligent supernatural entity (anything from a lammasu to a demon) to lean new spells.
‡ Info: Gaining Class Benefits DMG 198 To gain any of the newfound class-based benefits earned by advancing a level, a character needs to perform some overall training. This training requires one week per every two levels, rounded up. Training requires a character to train with a character of the same class who is higher in level and costs 1,000 gp per week. If no such training can be found, the cost is the same, but the time required is doubled.
‡ Info: Familkiars DMG 200 The feat "Improved Familiar [General]" is used. Changes to the rules on familiars in the Player's Handbook are completely under the DM's control. (No player will control their player characters familiar.)
‡ Info: Mounts DMG 201 Care, feeding, defense, and shelter for an animal you only ride to and from adventures can become onerous. If a character spend too much time on issues that concern his mount, the rest of the party members may resent the time and energy spent dealing with a horse. One solution to this conflict is hiring a small number of mercenaries to act as grooms and guards for the mounts while the characters explore the dungeon.
‡ Info: Animal Companions DMG 201 While the class descriptions in the Player's Handbook list the animals available as companions, those lists assume the character spends most of her time in the animals' home territory and treats them well. If she spends most of her time at sea, in cities, or otherwise in places that the animals don't like, her animals are likely to desert.
‡ Variant: Nonmagical Psionics DMG 297 Psionic powers aren't magical at all, but a different sort of extraordinary power altogether. Antimagic fields have no power over psionics (and likewise, most psionic abilities cannot interfere with magic.) A creature's special immunities or resistances to magic do not protect it from psionic abilities.