House Rules

Since any RPG campaign – particularly one using systems like TSR-era Dungeons & Dragons which threw in a lot of optional rules and left a lot to referee rulings – is going to accumulate a bunch of house rules over time, I thought I’d keep a record here of the different optional rules we’re using and the various rulings I’ve made for the sake of keeping track.

Rules In Use

For the most part I will be using the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition rules, though I will take options from other versions of the rules if I think they’d be handy. (In particular, I suspect I’ll be making regular use of the 1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide simply because of the sheer amount of useful stuff in it.)

Rules Options

Player’s Handbook

Ability Score Generation: Statistics are rolled according to Method II: roll 3D6 twice and pick the best result for each ability score in order.

Maximum Number of Spells per Level: This optional rule is not being used.

Weapon Proficiencies: These are not in use; all characters may use all weapons allowed to their class (but see Weapons Specialisations under House Rules).

Nonweapon Proficiencies: These are not in use.

Secondary Skills: These are in use.

Encumbrance: I am not keeping track of this on a moment-by-moment basis, but may call for an “Encumbrance audit” if I think people are getting silly with how much they are carrying.

Spell Components: These are in use but I’m not keeping track of trivial components – in general, if the spell description doesn’t say the component costs actual money, and it clearly isn’t something super-rare like a dragon’s heart, then I’m happy to assume you have the bits with you.

Weapon Type vs. Armour Modifiers: These are not in use.

Initiative: Group initiative is in use. (Consequently, weapon speed is not used to compute initiative.)

Parrying: This is an option in combat.

Jogging and Running: These are options in movement.

“Complete” Handbooks

Kits: If a player wants their character to take a kit I am willing to consider it. In general I’m likely to be mildly more well-disposed to kits from the “core four” Completes (FighterPriestThief, and Wizard) since they seem to have been designed as a batch, with the later ones coming out in a more haphazard process.

House Rules

Dwarven Clerics of the Smith: Do not have the restriction on edged weapons, but instead may not use any weapon which is not essentially also a tool (defined as an item adapted for a task other than killing things). Axes and hammers are good, for example, but swords are forbidden.

Weapon Specialisations: Only fighters may obtain these, receiving two at first level and receiving an additional specialisation at 6th level, 12th level, 18th level and so on.

Critical Hits: If a player rolls a natural 20 in combat, they only hit their opponent but also do maximum damage for the weapon used. NPCs do not get this benefit.

Reaching 0 HP: Player characters who hit 0 HP do not instantly die and may continue to act as usual, but any wounds they take beyond this are administered using this table (using the Intermediate version of the rules presented). For the sake of keeping my book-keeping sane NPCs don’t benefit from this.

Wizard spell Acquisition at 1st Level: Spells are determined randomly; all 1st level wizards get the essential spells (Cantrip, Detect Magic and Read Magic) and a number of Utility, Defensive and Offensive spells randomly determined (using a modified version of the table in the 1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide).

Vancian spell memorisation bonus for Wizards: This rule was cooked up by Dan for his campaign but I like it so much I’m borrowing it:

Any Wizard may memorise an additional spell at each level of spells they have access to, provided that all of the spells they memorise at that level are different.

Example: A level 5 Wizard would usually be able to memorise 4 level 1 spells, 2 level 2 spells, and 1 level 3 spell. Under this system, they can memorise 5 level 1 spells, 3 level 2 spells, and 2 level 3 spells, providing that each spell is different. They can forego this benefit at one spell level whilst still claiming it at other spell levels; for instance, if our Wizard decides that two Sleep spells (level 1 spells) might be needed in the coming day, they could forego the Vancian spell memorisation bonus for their level 1 spells but still claim it for their level 2 spells and level 3 spells, provided their level 2 or level 3 spells were all different with no duplicates.

Clerical Cure _____ Wounds substitution: So that there is a slim possibility of Clerical utility spells ever seeing any use, I am incorporating the 3E rule that a Cleric may substitute an appropriate Cure _____ Wounds spell of the same level or lower as one of their memorised spells. (So, for instance, if a Cleric has memorised Bless and then needs to heal a comrade, they can cast Cure Light Wounds in place of the memorised Bless spell.)


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