View Full Version : Houserule Handbook

2007-08-03, 12:32 PM
Housrule Handbook

Houserule threads tend to keep popping up, so maybe itís time to get thing organized. We could have long discussions about which houserule is the best, but thatís not the point here. Iím gathering this boards wisdom in a nice thread without judging. This doesnít mean Houserules shouldnít be discussed. When somebody states wizards are undepowerd and should get more spell, HD 12 and full BaB I expect people to show this misguided person in a kind and gentel way the errors of his views and a link to TLNís guide. Of course these houserules will not be incorporated in the Handbook. All Ďbalancedí rules will be, even if they contradict eachother.

Note: Classes will not be incorporated in this thread because whole servers could be (and probably were) filled with Fighter Fixes alone. In the same spirit there will be no room for reworks of the whole or large parts of the system.

Contents Table

1) Races.
2) Skills.
3) Feats.
4) Casting.
5) Misc.
6) Classes.

2007-08-03, 12:33 PM

Base Races

Strong race, but taken as the scale to balance.

-2dex instead of -2 cha.


Favorite class: Wizard instead of Bard.

+1 Skill/LvL.
+2 Listen, Search & Spot instead of +1.

+2 Survival.
Bonus Feat: Intimidating Str. (Use Str instead of Cha for intmidate).
Drop -2 on Cha OR Int. Prefered to drop Int.


Monster races

Drop +2 on Con OR Dex. Prefered Con.
Gain -2 Cha.
Drop LA +1.

2007-08-03, 12:35 PM


Roll with 2d10 for a more average effect.

A natural 1 should be treated as: -10, roll an extra die and distract the number.

Retrain Skills: Replace max 6/# new gained Skills every LvL.
Note: Prereq. Skills can not be relocated.


All Classes gain +2 Skills/LvL
All Characters gain 4 free skills in a Profession, Craft and/or Knowledge.
All Classes gain a Free ClassSkill (No UMD)
Spot Listen & Search are always class-skils. Max Ranks may be capped as Cross-Class.
Bards gain a free Perform Only Skill.
Most Classes: Increase the amount of class-skills drastically, keep character concepts in mind.
Ex. Dex based Fighters should get tumble, escape artist, balance, ...


Open Lock is incorporated in Disable Device.
Spot & Listen are combined in Awereness.
Forgery & Decipher script are combined in ...
Move Silent & Hide are combined in Stealth.
Jump, Climb & Swim are combined in Athletics.

2007-08-03, 12:36 PM


Characters gain a minor bonus Feat ased on their background. (Ex. Skill Focus, Stealthy, regional feat, ...)

Characters gain a minor bonus feat based on their Abillities (Ex. High con gets run, endurance, thoughness, ...)


Dodge gives a permanent +1AC. Prefered only in light armour.

Improved Critical adds with Keen Weapon.

Natural spell:
- dropped.
- metamagic feat +1/+2
- counts only for one shape. Can be taken Multiple Times.

Quick Draw applies to all items.

Two Weapon Fighting gets you Improved & Greater automaticly. You may strike with both weapons as a standard action/at the end of a charge.

Weapon Focus: You gain the greater variant as soon as you meet the prereq. You can relocate the feat (and similar) with some training to another weapon.

Weapon Specialization: You You gain the greater variant as soon as you meet the prereq.

2007-08-03, 12:37 PM


One mental stat determines the highest LvL spell & Bonus spells. An other determines the DCís. Ex. Wizards cast on Int, get DC on Cha.

Forces Specialization or just drop 2 schools (1 extra to specialize)
All spell takes a full round to cast.

Specialist might get extra benefits: Free spell Focus, +1DC.
This counts extra when using the Drop 2 Schools Rule, especially for diviners.

Divine Casters Spell list is limited to his gods theme.

Fizzled spells should be rolled for on the Wild Surge table.

0th LvL Spells:
- Gain your modifier/stat/LvL extra spells.
- Gain at will from certain LvL.
- spontaneous caster know all 0th LvL Spells.

Sorcerors can change 1/day a spell they know with 1 hour of meditation;


Spells dropped:
-the Polymorph Subschool.
-Rope Trick & Mageís Magnificent Mansion.

Range from Dimension door to close, Teleport Mechanicly becomes Dimension Door, Greater Teleport becomes Teleport.

All summoned/gated/called/... creatures lose there own summoning abilities.

2007-08-03, 12:38 PM


Your Con Score determines your max negative HP. Ex. 8 con = dead on -8, 20 on -20.

Your gain HP:
-Auto Max.
-At least Average.
-Take Average.
-Roll twice, take best/take reroll.
-Reroll your first 1/Always reroll 1
-Reroll your first roll below average/Always reroll below average.


Determine stats:
6 x 4d6
6 x 4d6 reroll al ones 1 time/untill there are no ones
7/8 x 4d6, drop lowest.
Roll 2/3x (above method), pick a serie.


In the First round characters are only Flatfooded against Enemies with an initiative check of 5 or more then theirs.

When you lose more then half your current hp you drop 5 point in the initiative order.

When threathened 5 Foot Steps can only be taken within your enemies Threathrange.

Multiclassing & Templates

All Templates get +1/2 LA rounded extra. This keeps the multi-templating within limits.

Multiclassing is free.
Multiclassing is free within the characters concept.
Multiclassing is free, but under DM's supervision. (this is the safest and best one)

PrCs are a gift, not an easy dip. Players should earn & treasure PrCs. Prereq. should be handled mildly:
-dropping them and make the player role-play.
-allow later fulfillment.
note: Minimum LvL should always be taken in account.

2007-08-03, 12:39 PM
Reserved for later.

2007-08-03, 12:42 PM
why not have a section for "minor" class varients, stuff like the following, one that i use in my own game

Druids loose animal companion access
Rangers loose spell casting, gaing full animal companion access

also, under feats, i would suggest: Natural Spell does not exist.

2007-08-03, 12:59 PM
Giving the Specialist mages a free feat in their discipline is nice.

You can limit the polymorph school by delaying a few spells a few levels and using current limitations.

Just make Alter Self a level 4 spell and Alter Self Planar a level 5 spell.

Have the polymorph spell confer the benefits of Baleful Polymorph (Basically a 1 HD creature in most instances).

Alter Shape Change to a level 8 spell using the current Polymorph rules.

Bonus feats tied to ability scores.

2007-08-03, 01:36 PM
Could you explain 'Bonus Feats tied to Ability scores' a bit further?

a) High int: More feats

or more like

b) High dex : Gain TWF

2007-08-03, 03:03 PM
On Gestalt:

The XP table is multiplied by 1.5 for gestalt characters. (i.e. takes 1500 xp to obtain 2/2, 4500 xp to obtain lvl 3/3, etc.)

Like a member of any other class, a gestalt character may multi-class, but further multi-classing a gestalt characters faces a special restriction. A gestalt character who gains a level in any class other than their gestalt combination may not continue to gain levels in in the gestalt class until they take a number of levels in the new class equal to the gestalt levels+1. Example: Guthor, the half-orc gestalt fighter/rogue5 wants to become a mage. He decides to pick up a few levels in sorcerer. After obtaining six total sorcerer levels, he may again decide to progress in the gestalt class.

The multi-class restriction does not apply to prestige classes, nor does it apply to the NPC classes found on page 107 of the DMG.

2007-08-03, 03:55 PM
Could you explain 'Bonus Feats tied to Ability scores' a bit further?

a) High int: More feats

or more like

b) High dex : Gain TWF

Every campaign is different. It's a game but it is odd that a PC with scores way over an average person with 10s and 11s doesn't pick up an extra feat or two particularly in their strongest areas the areas that would have developed the easiest naturally.

In many games you can take up to 2 Flaws for Feats you really want which are usually pretty strong for the PC class. Most Fighters don't take 2 Flaws and then pick up Educated and Skill Focus Weapon Smith.

Based on Flaws I'd grant up to two lesser bonus feats based on Mental and Physical abilities. As long as the PC has average base ability scores 10+ and a base 14+ before template or any other modifiers or subtractors in a physcial and mental ability he can gain up to two lesser bonus feats which is achievable with 25 point or better.

Keeping it simple if a PC has a physical or mental attribute 14+ they can have one of the mechanically weaker bonus feats tied to their primary ability score and or class.

Physical: Acrobatic, Agile, Athletic, Dodge, Endurance, One of the Militia feats, Mounted Combat, Run, Stealthy or Toughness.

Mental: Deceitful, Diligent, Educated, or one of the Cantrip spellcasting feats, or Self Sufficient, a Skill Focus for a class skill, while a primary spellcaster could also take a Spell Focus while a Sorcerer could pick up Spell Mastery like a Wizard (Normally just 1 or 2 extra level 1 known Spells).

Some Regional Feats could qualify.

Really strong feats like Improved Initiative, Adaptive Learning for skill based campaigns (if a human or other qualified race PC wants that then buy it with a regular feat) or Precocious Apprentice which grants a lot to a level 1 spellcaster wouldn't be an option.

2007-08-03, 04:32 PM
Add +1/2 to All LA Races and Templates for stacking purposes rounding down with odd numbers (First, Third, Fifth Template......). It will have no effect on a single template and will address the synergies from stacking templates.

For example Dragon made Hengokai +0LA vice +1 LA in Oriental Adventures.

Planetouched is a pretty strong +0 template with Darkvision, some energy resistances and some positive ability modifiers.

Half Fey and Phrenic are +2 LA templates.

Stacking it onto a Hengokai PC would be a +1LA not +0 and stacking it onto Half Fey or Phrenic would be a +3 LA template.

2007-08-03, 05:05 PM
I am not sure exactly what you are trying to achieve here, since even though many people will agree on the problems with the current rules, few will choose the same solution.

I am mostly ok or indifferent with the changes, except the Skills part which I really dislike.

In the First round characters are only Flatfooded against Enemies with an initiative check of 5 or more then theirs.
Skills and now this... You *are* out to get the Rogue ! :smallconfused: :smallwink:

Alter Shape Change to a level 8 spell using the current Polymorph rules.

What do you call the current Polymorph rules ? The Polymorph subschool ?

I would just ban shapechange and allow players to create spells to turn into specific shapes (or groups of shapes).

I would have a lot to say, but let's just start with a few points :
- Ranger spells can be useful ; please clarify if you meant spells -> companion to be a houserule or an optional variant.
- Natural Spell can be made into a +1/+2 metamagic feat.
- drop 3 schools to specialize ??
- I don't see the need to change the Teleportation spells. They could be said to work like this in a specific setting, but why a general house-rule ?
- Sorcerers get Eschew Materials at 1st, probably some other bonuses later
- I would grant only 1 domain to Cleric at 1st, another a few levels later.
- make the powerful arcane PrCs lose one or several caster levels (Incantatrix, Iot7V...)
- ...

2007-08-03, 05:55 PM
I call the Polymorph rules the current spell text descriptions with all the monster variants available particularly planar monsters with a template like Planetouched or Aasimar or Tiefling or other Planar race. So simply bumping up the required spell level to cast those spells addresses many of the concerns people have with them.

Kurald Galain
2007-08-03, 06:00 PM
* Limit of one presclass per character
* Enter presclasses through roleplaying rather than strict requirements
* Dwarves/Half-orcs cannot be wizards because on some campaign worlds that doesn't make sense
* No godless clerics (i.e. those of an "idea" other than a deity)
* Wizard: add elementalist specialties from the 2E Tome of Magic

* Retraining: at levelup, may drop existing skills by up to 6 points total, and add those points to other skills instead.

* Regional feat is free. They're all pretty low-powered anyway.

* If a spell fizzles (e.g. attacked and failed concentration check), roll on the Wild Surge table.
* For cleric spells, every god disallows certain spells that are totally inappropriate to that god (e.g. healing spells for a god of destruction, or deception spells for a god of law).
* Starting at level 5, wizards can use all cantrips at will (DM should veto abuse), clerics can use orisons at will except for Cure Minor Wounds.
* Alternatively, per wizard/cleric level above 1st, the character can select on cantrip/orison to cast at will, except as above.

* No intiative, combat rounds occur simultaneously.

* No "black market" for magic items; players can't order e.g. a +3 reflective glamored fortified chainmail just because they need one.

2007-08-03, 07:47 PM

1) I'm not trying to get an 'ultimate houserules you should use' list here. The point is I gather the most common & handy houserules in all there variants. People who, for example, want to use a half-elf, but find them to weak can take a look here to get some ideas.

2) Here you address the second point of the thread: Discussing Houserules. If you can be more specific about your problems with the Skill-Houserules I could get into this further.

The rogues get the shaft? Yes I know, giving everybody more skills matters more to low skill types then to the skill monkey. but here this:

- I haven't had time to post comment with the houserules. These comments should note these things and why they are good, what rules should be used together, ...

- By adding Skills together (which are mostly Rogue Skills) You free up skillpoints.

- The 'attack with two weapons as a standard action'-rule boosts the rogue immensely. Getting 2 sneak attacks in on a surprise round is deadly.

- On the rogue: I've been thinking to increase the Sneak range to 60, but this might be to good so I'll wait for some comment on this.

3) The drop 3 school thing: This is based on the previous rule: Forced dropping 2 School. Lose a third to Specialize.

Kurald Galain

No Dwarf/Half-Orc wizards seems more Campaign Setting Specific then a general houserule, the same goes for the 'ideal'-cleric. These are fluff and have no mechanical influence (A Cleric Worshipping the god of Law or the Ideal Law should gain roughly the same powers, but unbound to a church)

Could you give more explenation on the 'no initiative'-idea? If nobody goes first, who goes first then? :)

Thanks for the input everybody, I'll edit them in.

2007-08-03, 08:04 PM
For me personally;

Bards can be lawful.
Sorcerers get all Cha-based skills as class skills (sans perform).
Characters may gain other class skills based on character concepts.

Actually that's all I can think of...

Kurald Galain
2007-08-04, 04:09 AM
the same goes for the 'ideal'-cleric. These are fluff and have no mechanical influence
It is common around here for DMs to forbid "ideal" clerics regardless of setting. Removing a character option sounds like houseruling to me :smallsmile:

Could you give more explenation on the 'no initiative'-idea? If nobody goes first, who goes first then? :)
Well, nobody. They go simultaneously. This assumes you don't use the battle grid either, but it makes combat slightly more abstract and a LOT faster, plus people start to rely less on one-shotting and more on actual tactics, and this encourages the DM to make better fight descriptions than "you hit. you miss" by combining stuff.

2007-08-04, 04:14 AM
Improved Critical adds with Keen Weapon.

Uhh, Improved Critical STACKS with keen? So a character with Imp. Crit Falchion, a +1 keen falchion will have a 12-20 threat range? How is this balanced?

2007-08-04, 04:23 AM
- Replace XP requirements to make magic items with Spell Power - ie. 10 xp = 10 level 1 spells or two level 5 spells.
- Staves and Wands have only 10 charges they recharge 1 per day automatically
- Tower shields do not exist, Large shields are as big as a medium sized being can use without impieding themselves
- Sorcs can meditate for 1 hour once per day to shift a spell they know

2007-08-04, 04:38 AM
Stat rolling method for more high-powered campaigns: 4d6 reroll all ones before totaling, drop lowest roll (making the lowest possible score a 6 if you rolled 4 2's).

2007-08-04, 07:43 AM
Kurald Galain:

-Good point, but I've dropped the classes section again. It's a can of worms I don't like to touch, maybe I'll do a complete handbook of class houserules sometimes.

-When the wizard cast a fireball, the ranger shoot at him while the fighter charger the ranger.

I can see the fireball & arrow be shot at the same time, but there are some questions:

Does the wizard needs to make a concentration check Vs the rangers damage?
Does the fighter get an AoO Vs the ranger for shooting in melee?
Does the fighter gets caught in the fireball?


The stacking rule is no favorite of mine, but some people tend to allow it.


- If i'm correct your caster can now create unlimited magic items as long as he spends some of his Spell/day on it? Which is not much of a problem when your in downtime, or am I missing something.

- So for 750 GP you get 10d8+10 healing/Day. A mid-lvl party can easily buy ten of those. for 100d8+100/day for 550 hp on average?
According to the guideline for creation 10 CLW/day would be
1 x 1 x 1800 x (5/10) = 3600, you offer it almost 5 times as cheep.

- What about the roman army?

- Isn't this to powerfull? Yes I know the sorceror is the weaker caster, I know he lacks flexibility, but whith this his highest LvL spell will always be right for the job.

Kurald Galain
2007-08-04, 08:02 AM
Kurald Galain:
-When the wizard cast a fireball, the ranger shoot at him while the fighter charger the ranger.

Well, this needs a somewhat more freeform-oriented DM, which may or may not be everybody's taste. Hence it being a house rule :)

It tends to make spellcasting slightly easier since interruption doesn't work, but any decent wizard has a maxxed concentration skill anyway.

The fighter does not get an AOO against the ranger because he was charging while the ranger shoots (they didn't start adjacent). The fighter probably gets caught in the fireball, given the area of effect of that thing, but he probably would have been anyway for charging distance.

2007-08-04, 08:10 AM
Half orcs have +2 Con to balance the stat penalties.
Dwarves can choose -2 Dex or -2 Cha.
Gnomes have +2 Int instead of +2 Con.
Hobgoblins have LA +0.

Intimidate can be used with either Str or Cha, depending on the situation and the type of threat issued.

Called creatures cannot use any of their calling or summoning abilities while they are under the effect of a calling spell. No infinite Titan loops.

2007-08-04, 08:45 AM
Ĺorcs really dont need +2 con modifier as well, they are allready a powerfull warrior class, getting +2 to the prime stat for smashing things with a big weapon, and losing 2 points in what would have been your dump stats anyway.
on top of that they also get Darkvision.

2007-08-04, 11:31 AM

I'm afraid there will be a lot of Half-orcs in you games.

Making the dwarf even better, now he can chose his dumpstat.

A base race increases a casting stat? Bad idea, every wizard would want this. this is the exact reason grey elves (and a lot of other sub-elves) should be disallowed.

have you taken a look at the hobgob lately?
+2 dex, +2 con & No negatives? I've given them +2 dex, -2cha.

Str instead of Cha is a solid idea, people like to give this to the half-orc for example. As I recall this is also a feat, a crappy feat, but a feat.

No infinite loops is a good idea. I presume DM's disalow it anyway, ut making it a rule might be better.

Fax Celestis
2007-08-04, 11:34 AM
The hobgoblin would be a good LA+0, but it's a rather shoddy LA+1.