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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    I've finally decided to write up my houserules. I haven't gotten them all down yet - I'll have to write them down as I think of them - but I was hoping to have people see what they think.
    Regarding the Races part, some of them are fairly homebrew setting-specific, but still based on the core races. Also, this was originally a joint project with Goff. He was the one working on the races. I forgot to get them off him, and I'm not going to ask him for them now, so this is just to the best of my memory.
    Finally, a while ago I started a thread called Killing Save or Die, in which I sought ways to make save-or-die spells less anticlimactic. This includes, more or less, the results of that thread.
    I've included some notes on where I'm not completely sure of my own ideas.

    Serpentine's Houserules
    Races
    Humans
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Human base land speed is 30 feet.
    • 1 extra feat at 1st level.
    • 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
    • Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.
    • Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.

    Dwarves• +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, dwarves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Dwarf base land speed is 20 feet. However, dwarves can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).
    • Darkvision: Dwarves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and dwarves can function just fine with no light at all.
    • Stonecunning: This ability grants a dwarf a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A dwarf who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a dwarf can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A dwarf can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
    • Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves may treat dwarven waraxes and dwarven urgroshes as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
    • Stability: A dwarf gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
    • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison.
    • +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items.
    • +2 racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Terran, and Undercommon.
    • Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass dwarf’s fighter class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing
    - This is the normal "underground" dwarf, in my game a Hock-Barrock dwarf. There's another variety, the Hill dwarf, but I haven't figured out how to change them yet.

    Elves
    Sylvan Elf
    Small and fine-featured, Sylvan elves are flighty and mischevous, and have an affinity for fey and the joys of life and nature. Their hair and eyes range widely in colour, but usually dark hair and natural-coloured eyes such as blue and green. They prefer light, unrestraining clothing of natural textiles in bright shades.
    • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • +2 Diplomacy checks with Fey creatures.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Favored Class: Sorcerer. A multiclass elf’s sorcerer class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
    • Sylvan elves can cast Prestidigitation and Dancing Lights once per day.

    Arbour Elf
    Taller and grander in physical appearance than others of their race, Arbour elves have a reputation for being aloof and arrogant (even by elven standards). They usually have pale hair, often of silver or gold, and often have amber, violet, bright blue, piercing green or similar type eyes. They prefer regal, elegant clothing of white, silver, yellow, or gold, with cloaks of deep blue or purple.
    • +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Favored Class: Wizard. A multiclass elf’s wizard class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
    • Arbour elves can cast Prestidigitation and Mage Hand once per day.
    - Can't think of a skill for them to have a bonus in.

    Bog Elf
    Bog (or Wild) elves are barbaric and tribal. Bog elves’ hair color ranges from black to light brown, lightening to silvery white with age, and their eyes are usually of earthy colours such as brown, hazel or green. They dress in simple clothing of animal skins and basic plant weaves.
    • +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
    • +2 Knowlege (nature) checks.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.
    • Bog elves can cast Dancing Lights and Ghost Sound once per day.
    • Favored Class: Ranger. This trait replaces the high elf’s favored class.

    Drow
    • +2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma.
    • Darkvision out to 60 feet.
    • Spell-Like Abilities: Drow can use the following spell-like abilities once per day: dancing lights, darkness. Caster level equals the drow’s class levels.
    • Weapon Proficiency: A drow is automatically proficient with the hand crossbow, the rapier, and the short sword. All elven weapons are considered Martial, not Exotic.
    • Automatic Languages: Common, Elven, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Aquan, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Gnome, Goblin.
    • Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds drow for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
    • +2 Knowledge (dungeoneering)
    • Favored Class: Wizard (male) or cleric (female).

    Gnomes
    Also see the Gnome monster listing.
    • +2 Constitution, -2 Strength.
    • Small: As a Small creature, a gnome gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
    • Gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
    • Low-Light Vision: A gnome can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers and any other gnome weapons as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
    • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions.
    • Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by gnomes. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.
    • +2 racial bonus on Listen checks.
    • +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Gnome. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, and Orc. In addition, a gnome can speak with a burrowing mammal (a badger, fox, rabbit, or the like, see below). This ability is innate to gnomes. See the speak with animals spell description.
    • Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with animals (burrowing mammal only, duration 1 minute). A gnome with a Charisma score of at least 10 also has one of the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation. Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + gnome’s Cha modifier + spell level.
    • Favored Class: Bard or Wizard. A multiclass gnome’s bard or wizard class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.

    Half-Elves
    Also see the Half-Elf monster listing.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, half-elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Half-elf base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Immunity to sleep spells and similar magical effects, and a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against enchantment spells or effects.
    • Low-Light Vision: A half-elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    • +1 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
    • +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks.
    • Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf.
    • If raised by humans, half-elves gain one extra feat at first level. If raised by elves, all elven weapons are considered Martial rather than Exotic.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
    • Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass half-elf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.

    Half-Orcs
    Also see the Half-Orc monster listing.
    • +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma.
    A half-orc’s starting Intelligence score is always at least 3. If this adjustment would lower the character’s score to 1 or 2, his score is nevertheless 3.
    • Medium: As Medium creatures, half-orcs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
    • Half-orc base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Darkvision: Half-orcs (and orcs) can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and half-orcs can function just fine with no light at all.
    • Orc Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-orc is considered an orc.
    • Orc weapons are considered martial rather than exotic.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Orc. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, and Abyssal.
    • Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass half-orc’s barbarian class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty.

    Halflings
    Also see the Halfling monster listing.
    • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength.
    • Small: As a Small creature, a halfling gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
    • Halfling base land speed is 20 feet.
    • +2 racial bonus on Climb, Jump, Listen, and Move Silently checks.
    • +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.
    • +2 morale bonus on saving throws against fear: This bonus stacks with the halfling’s +1 bonus on saving throws in general.
    • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with thrown weapons and slings.
    • Automatic Languages: Common and Halfling. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, and Orc.
    • Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass halfling’s rogue class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

    Planetouched
    Aasimar, tieflings and other planetouched are custom-made according to the ancestor creature. The following is a guide, rather than hard rules.
    • +2 ancestor creature’s best ability, -2 ancestor creature’s worst ability.
    • Resistance 5 to one energy the ancestor creature is immune or resistant to.
    • +2 to the ancestor creature’s two best skills.
    • Darkvision 60ft or low-light vision, if the ancestor creature had it.
    • +4 to saves against one supernatural effect the ancestor creature is immune to (e.g. petrification).
    • Possibly a penalty to reflect a vulnerability of the ancestor creature.
    • 1d4 distinctive physical features.


    Basics
    Abilities
    Automatically have an 8 and a 10. Other 4 rolled with 5d6, drop lowest 2. Rerolls at the discretion of DM.

    Skills
    Some cross-class skills may be swapped for class skills if the DM is convinced that it furthers the character concept.
    Each character receives 1 extra skill point per level to be spent on one “hobby” skill – Craft or Profession, or another skill that doesn’t directly benefit the class if it can be justified as “hobby” to the DM.

    Rolling
    A natural 1 on a roll approximately counts as -10. A natural 20 approximately counts as +30. For example, a character has 20 ranks in Balance. A natural 1 would be approximately equivalent to a total of 10. He may not fall, but probably can’t move or do much else, either. A natural 20 would be about equivalent to a total of 50, and so would allow the character to succeed at whatever they intended to do and also possibly anything with a DC of up to 50.
    Very high rolls may grant a bonus on a subsequent check.
    A skill, or possibly other, check greater than 40 may replicate a spell, magical or supernatural effect or ability at the discretion of the DM and imagination of the player.


    Save or Die Spells
    Save or Drop Deads
    Finger of Death, Wail of the Banshee, Circle of Death, Slay Living, Weird, Phantasmal Killer, Symbol of Death
    The target falls to -5 hp, and automatically fails all subsequent stabilisation checks. Break Enchantment (or a higher-level Cure spell used in the same way) removes the spell and returns the target to 0hp and unconscious. When the target falls to -10hp, they fall into a coma, are helpless, and take appropriate penalties for starvation and thirst if necessary. In order to come out of the coma, someone must perform 5 successful consecutive Heal checks (DC = Spell DC), and Break Enchantment cast at the same time.
    - Cure spells work?
    - -5hp?
    - Remove Curse for lower-level spells instead of Break Enchantment?

    Cloudkill
    As “Save or Drop Dead”, but comatose victim dies 1d4 rounds after reaching -10hp if not removed from the cloud.
    - Necessary?
    - Anything else?

    Flesh to Whatever
    Flesh to Stone, Glass strike, etc.
    Target takes 1d6 Dex damage per round as their body turns to stone from the inside-out. When the target reaches 0 Dexterity, they are solid stone (or whatever). Cat’s Grace delays the transformation according to the extra Dex granted. Remove Disease slows the transformation by 1 round/3 caster levels. Break Enchantment ends the transformation. Once complete, removal applies as normal.
    - Remove Disease as slower?
    - Any other slowing spells?

    Baleful Polymorph/other Transformation
    Transformation takes 2d4 rounds to complete. The Will save to retain self-awareness occurs the round after completion. If this save succeeds, the target may reattempt the Fortitude save in a number of rounds equal to ½ the caster level, at a new DC of the spell DC + the amount by which the first attempt was failed. If this save fails, the target may try again every 1d4 days + 1/previous attempt, at the new DC + 1 per attempt. A character that failed the initial Will save may retry in the same manner as the Fortitude save, before undergoing the Fortitude attempts.
    - Too complicated?

    “That Was So Cool” Spells
    Power Word Kill?, Implosion, Destruction
    The force of these spells has a magical kick-back that blasts the caster. If the target makes their save, the caster takes ¼ of their pre-spell hp in damage. If the target fails, the caster takes ½ their hp in damage (Reflex save for half).
    - Or takes ½ or ¼ of the target’s HD (eg. 6d12HD = 3d12 damage)?
    - Too harsh?

    Disintegrate
    A target that fails their Fort save takes 2d6 points of damage each round, for a number of rounds equal to Caster Level. Cure spells retrieve HP, but it can only be stopped before death with Break Enchantment.
    - Any other ways to stop or delay it?
    - 2d6 Con instead?

    Green Beam of Prismatic Spray
    Target takes 1d6 Con/round until dead, or Break Enchantment used.
    - Another spell to stop/delay it?


    Soooo... Thoughts?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
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    Default Re: [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    I'd like to just warn you about balancing your races.

    Penalties to mental stats don't balance physical stat bonuses, since many classes ignore some or all mental stats and adding more bonuses and penalties means that a race gets more advantages at the cost of dumping stats they didn't need to begin with.

    It's even worse if it's charisma, since no-one but the face and a few specific classes are ever really going to care about cha.

    So every melee class will go straight to half-orc now, because int and cha are already worthless to them, so they're basically getting extra str and con for free.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    Well, just about everything I've heard about half-orcs has said that they're weak, so this might balance it out. In any case, at least in my game character concept comes first, second and third, and I don't think any player in one of my games would choose half-orc just for that. But thanks, that's the sort of thing I definitely need to keep in mind.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Another_Poet's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Cloudkill
    As “Save or Drop Dead”, but comatose victim dies 1d4 rounds after reaching -10hp if not removed from the cloud.
    - Necessary?
    - Anything else?
    Shouldn't the victim be dead upon reaching -10 hp? That is the normal rule. You seem to be adding 1d4 rounds of extra life, is this intentional?

    If you're granting them an extra 1d4 rounds of life "if not removed from the cloud" then it's actually safer to leave a person in the cloud. After all, normally they die at -10 hp but in the cloud they live until -(10+1d4+damage from cloud) hp.

    Disintegrate
    A target that fails their Fort save takes 2d6 points of damage each round, for a number of rounds equal to Caster Level. Cure spells retrieve HP, but it can only be stopped before death with Break Enchantment.
    - Any other ways to stop or delay it?
    - 2d6 Con instead?
    Yes, 2d6 Con makes more sense.

    Also, for all these spells you sare saying "Dex damage" "Con damage" etc. But I would make it ability drain, not damage. Damage is easily restored even at mid levels which goes beyon balancing the spells and puts them into "nerfed" territory. You don't want to hit someone with disintegrate and see them come back at you one Lesser Restoration later.

    ap
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2009-04-02 at 11:15 AM.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Well, just about everything I've heard about half-orcs has said that they're weak, so this might balance it out. In any case, at least in my game character concept comes first, second and third, and I don't think any player in one of my games would choose half-orc just for that. But thanks, that's the sort of thing I definitely need to keep in mind.
    Well, they're weak in a lot of ways, but they make some of the best barbarians already, so adding con makes it silly to ever go elsewhere for a class like barbarian (or any physical class that doesn't rely on int/cha).

    To make the half-orc better I'd suggest giving them other race features, rather than ability modifiers.

    If you're happy with them dominating physically then there's nothing to worry about, they certainly will suck for any class that's heavily reliant on mental stats.

    I'm glad to help. ^_^

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    Quote Originally Posted by Myou View Post
    I'd like to just warn you about balancing your races.

    Penalties to mental stats don't balance physical stat bonuses, since many classes ignore some or all mental stats and adding more bonuses and penalties means that a race gets more advantages at the cost of dumping stats they didn't need to begin with.

    It's even worse if it's charisma, since no-one but the face and a few specific classes are ever really going to care about cha.

    So every melee class will go straight to half-orc now, because int and cha are already worthless to them, so they're basically getting extra str and con for free.
    Actually, penalties to mental stats normally do balance with physical ones. Remember that your average mid-to-high level spell caster can normally wipe the floor with a melee character of the same level. In the first few levels, this advantage is huge, but it's usefulness goes away as the PC's gain power.

    Personally, I think the half-orcs look quite fine as-is. However, if you want to keep the Charisma penalty, you should either give them a bonus to Intimidate, or let them use their Strength/Constitution modifier for the checks. I've always been partial to +2 Strength, -2 Intelligence myself.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5]Houserule Critiquing (+ Save or Dies)

    When balancing stats, its usually a good idea to look at favoured classes - if a race has a bonus to strength and favours a traditional melee class then it's probably going to be tricky to balance with mental stat penalties.

    If its favoured class is Wizard and it has an Int bonus, then it's not inclined to care about a Strength penalty.

    Dexterity should almost always be balanced by a hit to another physical stat or two mental stats - virtually anything not clad in +42 full plate or turning into a wolverine every three minutes could use a decent Dexterity score.

    I wouldn't be surprised if half-orcs were considered weak because they don't do too well at 'Big five' classes, rather than actually being weak for almost all builds.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2009-04-02 at 01:36 PM.

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