An Unnatural Union
House Rules - Mechanics
Rationale: Passive perception, as described, is a little awkward. Its intent is to speed up gameplay when performing certain tasks in a repetitive nature, or for something your character “would normally see”. Dan explicitly has expressed disdain for the mechanic, as it takes something away from the gamer. I concur. Passive perception will still be computed, but will remain behind the DM screen. It will be used when the DM wants to make checks against perception, such as stealth checks. The DM will use his/her judgment on whether or not the player “would normally see” something (note: the DM can use passive perception, just keep it behind the screen). Think of it this way: perception is “perceive”, an action. It is an activity you perform. Passive perception is “situational awareness”, the background processing your brain does on information while you focus on other things.
Initiative will be recorded for each player and all NPCs. An application will be used to track initiative. It will be updated round to round.
Rationale: Players have complained that the ability to “spam” Cantrips marginalizes resource management in the game. That being said, there are some classes whose design is critical to the idea of having access to certain kinds of Cantrips. As such, I’ve introduced a resource mechanic to Cantrips to limit their usage, while at the same time, not being completely punitive.
Cantrips now have a casting limit. Each Cantrip can now be cast a number of times equal to your spell casting bonus (minimum of 5) per short or long rest, depending upon your class’s spell recovery mechanic. Casting each time beyond your limit requires extreme physical exertion. Players casting beyond this limit will incur a level of EXHAUSTION. An additional level of exhaustion is incurred per multiple of the players casting limit. For example, Wizard with a casting bonus of 6 can cast Fire Bolt 6 times. If she casts Fire Bolt a 7th time, she will incur 1 level of EXHAUSTION, up to a limit of 12 casts. Casting a 13th Fire Bolt incurs an additional level of EXHAUSTION.
Rationale: The intent of the long rest in 5e is to effectively act as a “save point”. Players who make it to a long rest gain full hit point (HP) recovery. This mechanic completely breaks down in a one-shot campaign, provided the DM allows it. Players have complained that this takes some of the danger out of encounters. This is undoubtedly true. That being said, resorting to 1e, 2e or ASSoH rules effectively means that either DM’s have to completely retool monster encounters (as wipes would almost be guaranteed with how hard monsters hit in 5e), or there would be excessive amounts of down-time in a game. Therefore, the solution proposed uses a rest healing variant method, based upon p266 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide:
Only 1 long rest per 24 hour period is allowed.
Players start with a pool of recovery hit die (HD) equal to their current level. These HD are expended to recover HP. Players do not regain HP during rest without expending hit die.
During a long rest, a player may choose to expend one or more HD to regain HP. For every HD expended, players regain 1HD (i.e., roll your HD) plus their constitution modifier in HP.
During a short rest, a player can also recover HD except he/she must also use a Healer’s kit in order to regain HP. One use of the Healer’s Kit is needed per HD recovered.
Players regain HD equal to 1+LEVEL/4, rounded down, per long rest. e.g., a level 1 player regains 1HD per long rest, a level 7 player regains 3HD per long rest. A level 12 player regains 5HD per long rest. This metric is more forgiving to low level characters, and becomes increasingly less forgiving as players level up.
Scrolls can be read by anyone. However, only those classes versed in magics or the arcane language can read the scrolls without risk. Any class who does not understand arcane runes (e.g. barbarians, fighters, most thieves, etc.) can attempt to read the scroll, but must pass a DC10 intelligence check. If they fail, the spell mishaps according to the mishap rules of the DMG, p140 (roll a 1d6 for the mishap result).
Excessive ninja looting (i.e. looting in the middle of battle) is frowned upon. Don’t be surprised if your ninja looting is met with a cursed item or a horrible trap. Outside of combat, when multiple PC’s wish to loot the same body, the DM will ask players to roll a raw D20 for initiative to determine who gets to go first to claim the spoils. A rising tide lifts all ships; don’t fill your net at the cost of everyone else’s.
Rationale: Feats are an optional game design element that players can choose in lieu of taking a flat stat increase. These allow players greater variety and specialization in their characters. That being said, some feats have awkward interactions, are too boring, or are flat out too strong.
Note: The following Cantrips cannot be acquired through any means other than class leveling: Eldritch Blast, Sacred Flame, and Vicious Mockery.
Reason: These are Cantrips which are class-defining. Allowing any class to take it in lieu of 2 stat points removes some of the flavor from the game.
Lucky – not allowed
Reason: too strong
Savage Attacker – not allowed
Reason: Free rerolls take the RNG out of the game too much
Crossbow Expert – “Being within 4 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls with a crossbow”
Reason: RAW applies to all attacks
Dungeon Delver – In addition to existing benefits:
You feel right at home in a dungeon. As such, you can stand watch for up to 6 hours and still gain full rest benefits.
Reason: Dungeon Delver is just too weak
Grappler – You are allowed to grapple creatures up to 2 sizes larger than you, but this is performed at a disadvantage. You cannot move grappled creatures 2 sizes larger than you.
Reason: One of the aspects of Grappler was effectively removed when the grappling rules were rewritten. This change replaces that aspect.