View Full Version : ...How do you keep all this straight?

2013-07-27, 12:21 PM
I'm a novice DM aspiring to be intermediate, and I'm beginning to look into homebrew fixes for what seem to be flaws of the system e.g. how iterative attacks work. I've even addressed a few things like this before which I simply wanted to be more realistic, such as penalties to move silently for chain shirts, and a reduction in move silently penalty for leather.

The problem I'm having is that there are a LOT of these patches that I want to implement, and they're all in different places. Even if they were not in different places, some of them have specific rules and functions, and I'm not sure I would remember to look up the patched version instead of the one in the PHB or whatever counts for it.

So for those of you who use patches for your go-to system, how do you keep all of the information in the same place, and how do you remember what fixes have been made? More importantly, how do you let your characters know what changes you've been making so that the more experienced ones aren't taken by surprise?

2013-07-27, 12:32 PM
I have seen many people create a single document which lists all of their changes - often organized by the chapter in the PHB that they affect. The document can either be a full description of every house rule used, or a short summary (probably that you write) with direct links to the full descriptions.

I took it a step further and wrote a completely new, more or less self-contained core rulebook. But most DMs don't change enough to warrant that investment.

2013-07-27, 12:56 PM
I'd generally recommend putting the changes together in a GoogleDoc format, or linking them all in a common location, such as in your signature or in the first post of an OOC thread.

I would also recommend implementing only one or two changes at a time, give the new rules a try with either NPCs or willing PCs, before moving onto the next changes. This way, you can have a good idea if the rules work or not for your intended purpose. Also, if something suddenly doesn't work properly you can identify the problem as a single rule change, rather than trying to figure out which rule out of a dozen caused the problem.

Also, generally I would recommend making these changes with a new game rather than an ongoing one. If you are changing an ongoing game, then make very sure that everyone playing is fine with the changes going into effect beforehand. I know that I'd be rather upset if I was playing a ranger/rogue in chain shirt and suddenly the universe switched itself around by changing how move silently and BAB worked.

2013-07-27, 12:57 PM
First, don't take your rules too seriously, being a good DM has nothing to do with making minor rule changes, it has more to do with knowing the general sense of reference and balance. An expert DM will go "yeah, that seems about right" rather than "I took an hour this one time and calculated it exactly... let me find my reference sheets..."
Kind of like cooking, you smell the ingredients, you taste and smell what you have on the go, if it seems right you add it in, if it doesn't work out then it's probably just going to be "interesting" rather than "epic", and that's totally ok.

Second, it's a learned skill, your brain gets exercise, it becomes easier.


Here's a good podcast, it'll take you 200-300 hours to listen to it, but it covers a lot of banter on DM theory.