House Rules

I borrowed most of these from Michael Curtis and his Archive of the Rotted Moon campaign blog. I figure, if they are good enough for the guy who designed the dungeon, they should be good enough for the guy running the dungeon.

Shields Shall Be Splintered
Anytime you are about to take damage and have a shield equipped, you may choose to attempt to sacrifice the shield in order to avoid incurring the wound. Make a saving throw vs. death and, if the save is successful, the shield is sundered by the blow and destroyed, but you take no damage. On a roll of a natural 20 on the Death Save, your shield survives, undamaged. On a roll of a natural 1 on the Death Save, your shield is destroyed and you still take the damage. In the case of spells that allow a saving throw for half damage, you may invoke this rule if you fail your save against the spell. Doing so successfully reduces the damage by half. In the case of magical shields, invoking this rule successfully means that you take no damage from blows (or half from spells) but the shield loses one “plus” from its enchantment. Thus, a +1 shield would become a normal shield, a +2 shield becomes a +1 shield, etc.

Dutch Courage
Any character may heal themselves by spending twenty minutes binding their wounds, catching their breath, and consuming a pint of wine. Doing so heals the character of 1d6 points of damage. This method of first aid may only be used once per day.

Improved Cure Light Wounds
Due to the “Dutch Courage” house rule, the effectiveness of cure light wounds is increased to reflect the potency of magical healing. Cure light wounds heals 1d8+1 points of damage rather than 1d6+1.

Unconsciousness & Death
I’m pretty sure this is a Gygax house rule (and if it’s good enough for St. Gary, etc etc). When a character reaches zero hit points, he or she is falls unconscious. When a character’s hit point score reaches a negative number equal to their level or -10 (whichever is lower), the character dies. Thus, a 1st level character dies when he or she reaches -1 hit points, a 5th level character dies at -5 hit points, and a 20th level character dies at -10 hit points despite his level.

Encumbrance
I’m going to try out the encumbrance tracking as it documented in Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP) Weird Fantasy Role Playing. The method is significantly simpler than the standard D&D tracking by weight. Each unique item is worth 1 point, small items (such as spikes, arrows, etc) may be grouped as a single item. Worn jewelry, clothing, very small items and leather armors do not count towards encumbrance.

Character wearing chain armor +1 Point
Character wearing plate armor +2 Points
Character is carrying 6 or more different items overall +1 Point
Character is carrying 11 or more different items overall +1 Point
Character is carrying 16 or more different items overall +1 Point
Character is carrying 21 or more different items overall +1 Point
Character is carrying an oversized item +1 Point per item
Points Encumbrance Movement Rate
per turn Exploration
Per round
Combat
Running
per round
Per day
Miles
0 – 1 Unencumbered 120’ 40’ 120’ 24
2 Lightly Encumbered 90’ 30’ 90’ 18
3 Heavily Encumbered 60’ 20’ 60’ 12
4 Severely Encumbered 30’ 10’ 30’ 6
5 + Overencumbered 0’ 0’ 0’ 0

House Rules

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