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46

Here's a technique I've used. When I invite people to a game I tell them that the game we're playing is a homebrew system called "Valadil's Game" which is loosely based on D&D. This does a couple things. Firstly, it scares off rules lawyers who want to play RAW. I figure those players aren't compatible with my games anyway and I'd rather just nip ...


43

Speaking as a Rules Lawyer (I try to think of myself as a good guy, i.e. "how can the rules let you do what you want to do"?) and the occasional TD, I've found a couple simple rules work out. No checking the rules on your turn. Look it up while you're waiting. That includes the DM - if you ask the DM if you can do something, you get their best guess; we're ...


39

How do I tell the players "This house rule sucks and we shouldn't do it anymore?" That's exactly how you do it! Say, "This house rule sucks and I think we shouldn't do it anymore." If they object, well... then they don't mind the paperwork. If they agree, then you don't have a problem. Either way they don't feel cheated, because they're part of ...


24

The most important thing I do to achieve this, I think, is to communicate to my players that, while I am responsible for handling the actions of their enemies, I am not their enemy. In fact, I am on their side, because what we are all working to do is enjoy ourselves and put together some bits of story worth remembering. A lot of factors go into this, from ...


19

D&D 3.5 actually has rules for this sort of thing: Unearthed Arcana's character traits and character flaws systems. Traits give you a small bonus for a small penalty. For example, for a fey who can't lie, you might use the Honest trait: +1 Diplomacy, -1 Bluff and Sense Motive. Flaws give you a bonus feat in exchange for a significant non-story penalty. ...


16

Abstractions Before you tweak the combat system, make sure you understand how its abstraction works. A single attack roll is not necessarily a single swipe of a character's sword. Rather, it represents your character trying hard to kill his opponent for the round. It could be a single slash, or it could be a lengthy clash of steel-on-steel coupled with ...


15

I've played with a GM who was extremely adamant about NOT playing by the book. His method was extremely simple: players were forbidden to mention the artifacts of the game during the session dice results rules meta-information The first few times we slipped, he warned about it, then accidents would happen. We never got the meteor he had promised us, but ...


15

I'm going to reword the question: How could you, as a GM, help me, as a PC, learn to relax about the rules? This answer is written in a completely subjective "appeal to Brian" case study. I hope that it tells a persuasive story. T-2: Before the character When I join a group, I expect to discuss how the group works with the GM. I'm very aware of different ...


15

Wizards has pretty carefully balanced combat advantage and flanking and it might be inadvisable to change it. Let's look at some reasons why. This makes the rogue incredibly overpowered. Instead of having to use an at-will power like Clever Strike to get CA when she is around an enemy with an ally, she now has the freedom (with no expenditure of action) to ...


15

Some solutions: Give everyone a free level adjustment of +1 to +3. If they want to play a standard race, they can have an equivalent number of levels in their racial paragon class. Apply templates to the core races to raise their level adjustment. For example, all elves from a certain plane have the half-celestial template. Or, just allow PCs free level ...


14

The Shock Treatment I run a short (one-off) game session using some (not all) of the Original D&D rule set. Each player chooses a class, race, and name; then I give them stats, "all standard equipment", and 5-10 gp (and a couple of spells for mages & elves of course); finally they choose armor and a weapon (fixed dmg 1d6) and max hp. That's it. ...


14

From the perspective of a Game Designer, there is no difference between an official version of the game and homebrew rules. Pathfinder is nothing more than a homebrew itself from the point-of-view of the people who created it (it is a mod of 3.5, the way that the people who crafted it thought would be better). Do not hold the creators of published worked ...


14

I want rid of the constraints of virtually costless material components So basically, you want to get rid of the metagamey excel calculations of how many chicken feathers and sulfur is still left. That's great and a very common houserule. Most of the rounds I know don't even give a feat for this. It's simply ruled that non-costly materials do not have ...


13

Rule number 1: This is your world. Your rule. If you think that firearms would be common to the point of like, even the commoner protects his farm with a shotgun, hey..go for it! Just keep in mind that you would have to make the guns Martial weapon instead of requiring a specific feat. So that any military-grade training will provide training with guns. Or ...


13

Yes, you can craft without spending gold. The description of the craft skill does indeed include paying one third of the item's price for the cost of the raw materials. This is an abstraction, a simplification of the crafting, relieving players and the DM of the shopping for the multitude of different ingredients required for the process. If one can not ...


13

It doesn't need to be. Paranoia already has that play mode baked in. Choose to play Paranoia (xp) "Straight / Dark" and make sure that they start with a higher security clearance, such that they're not the designated punching bags of the complex. By taking inspiration from The Prisoner and playing the computer as competent and not at all slapstick, the ...


13

Since you are doing away with a feat because you feel like the benefit of the feat should be the default, you can look at "mundane" feats that you feel should be the default behavior. Some feats that that in my opinion fit the criteria: Improved Unarmed Strike. You really need a feat to effectively punch someone in the face? What kind of a Barbarian can't ...


13

Fate Worlds: Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie You might find what you want in Fate Worlds Vol.1, specifically "Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie" (KV). It is a mod/campaign where PCs are WWI pilots. Their planes are stationed on a giant flying aircraft carrier, the eponym Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie. Change "planes" to fighters and "flying aircraft carrier" to "capital ship", and ...


12

A few thoughts from a mostly reformed rules lawyer: Hopefully understanding where the lawyer is coming from will help you to reach out better to them. I realize that Rule 0 is that what the DM says, goes. If the player wants to argue and won't listen to anything in game, maybe it's time for a break. Go to the bathroom, smoke a cigarette, walk around the ...


12

One important thing to note is what the merits actually give the character compared to one without the merit. Resources zero does not mean homeless (although it can). Resources represents 'extra money' WoD: Core pg 115 All characters are assumed to have a job or a source of income (trust fund, parents) that is sufficient to cover their basic ...


12

Here are some house rules I've used to great effect – based on the writings of many bloggers and forum posters. Simplify casting times to Short rest and Extended Rest If casting time is less than 1 hour, make it a short rest instead. If it's longer, make it a extended rest. Severely cut the casting cost Cut casting cost by at least 50%. Consider cutting ...


12

Alignment is a description of how you have acted in the past, NOT a restriction on how you act in the future There can be no penalties because alignment is not a straitjacket. This was one thing that 4e absolutely got 100% right (though I prefer the 9 alignments to the 5). Playing out of alignment may anger others who share your alignment, may draw the ...


11

I think that the crucial part is to demonstrate the benefits of your approach. The new players have been taught and shown that, by developing a sense of system mastery and learning the ins and outs of the rules, they are certain to have a fun time and a measure of success. You're asking them to discard those things and rely on their nascent instincts of how ...


11

Generally I try to define, with my players, what "broken" really means. If everyone in the party goes with a fairly optimized build my PCs may be more powerful than average, but it isn't hard to create a positive roleplaying experience by simply writing stories that put them up against more powerful antagonists. Usually though, there are a few abilities ...


11

It will have an effect, because people won't bother with armor. There's no reason to get weighed down/slowed/possibly drowned if people can easily and cheaply shoot at your touch AC instead. From the sounds of it, that's an intended effect of moving things into an Old West style world. The unintended consequences are likely to be in what makes the scissors ...


11

The short of it is that, mathematically: Whether attacker or defender rolls against a flat target makes no difference. None. An opposed roll changes the probability distribution, making it more swingy. About the second point: In d20 you normally replace the target of 10 + mods with 1d20 + mods. So you had a 50% chance of succeeding before hand, ...


11

The best design is to minimize the impact of “setness” Sets are a neat idea, but ultimately you run into real design problems if their full power depends much at all on having multiple items in the set. You want flavor and fun from the set bonuses more than you want power. Ideally, each item on its own is, or very nearly is, worth its cost, and ...


11

Kelgore's Firebolt - No The material component for Kelgore's Firebolt is "a handful of ashes", and the spell effect says that it "conjures a shard of red-hot rock." So no, there is no RAW way to substitute your own pebble in there and have it work. Spells only do what they say they do, and the spell says quite clearly that it conjures a red-hot pebble. It ...


10

First of all, this is not so much a problem, as a design decision. 4e is purposefully designed to let characters start afresh every morning, to make encounter design easier for the DM (and published adventures). Another thing worth noting is the fact that hit points are highly abstract, and don't necessarily represent physical damage characters sustain: ...


10

According to the D&D online compendium, there are some stat blocks for an Arcane Ballista DDI in Dungeon Magazine 155, page(s) 68. Also there's an entry for Trebuchet and Crew DDI, Dungeon Magazine 170, page(s) 96. I'm not sure how useful those are for ship-to-ship combat, though. Look deeper in the D&D message boards - there's a bunch of stuff ...



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