So a couple years ago I started playing Dungeons and Dragons again. I had not played since I moved out to North Carolina (other than a sad attempt with my boys and one of their friends), and it was something I truly missed. In Oregon I ran a few different campaigns that lasted for years and giving them up was one of the hardest things about moving to North Carolina.
A little more than two years ago a friend from work suggested that I check out Roll2.net and find a game online. I was a little skeptical, but I checked it out. I poked around a bit and decided to try running my own campaign. I put out a call for players an soon had a group together. Over the course of the next few months players left and new players took their place. I was learning a lot about how the system worked on top of remembering how to even play D&D 3.5. I am happy to say that I am on to a second campaign now, feeling comfortable with Roll20 and the rules for 3.5 again.
So what is the point? Well the point is that I’m going to be posting a bit of gaming related material here along with the usual writing and such.
To kick off this new addition, I am posting a few house rules that we use. If you use house rules or have a thought or two on the ones I mention here, please share.
- Combined Skill Rolls: Stealth is the average of the Hide and Move Silent skill. Perception is the average of the Listen and Spot skill. Personally I think this just speeds things up in certain situations and makes more sense than having to roll multiple rolls across multiple skills.
- Skill Crits/Fails: On a skill roll a Natural 1 gives a -10 to the skill check. A Natural 20 gives a +10 to the skill check. I know that there is no automatic success for a skill roll of 20 and I like it that way, but I think there should always be that element of chance even once skill levels get high. On truly powerful characters these mods will matter little, but before then they may well be the difference between success and failure.
- Using Spellcraft for Identify: I actually pulled this from an old 2005 Save My Game article titled Identifying Magic Items. I chose Solution 2 and it works well. Low level items are easier to identify than more challenging items and it makes hording pearls less of a thing. It is more of an easy maintenance and playability thing far more useful for higher level players, but it smooths out some of the game play.
- DM Calls Bullshit: If a player does something unexpected and cool, then I am okay with it. If they do something Game Breaking (in my opinion) then I reserve the right to call Bullshit and say it does not work. You are welcome to argue the point later, but if I feel it is necessary to kill it in the moment then I will. Honestly this is more of an anti-Rules Lawyer/Power Gamer rule. A quick search of any given spell or magic item or feat will lead you down the rabbit hole of awful things players can do with said things. Honestly, I had a player ask for the spell Locate City which I was not familiar with. I found articles right off the top describing how to use the spell to destroy a city. I don’t want to have to do that sort of policing, so this rule became a thing.
So this is my humble little list. Personally I think it makes the game a little easier and a little more fun, so feel free to use them all you like. If you have thoughts on them I would love to hear it. Tell me your house rules and maybe I will add them to the list.