House Rules and Updates

Every group eventually finds they have some misgivings with the system, or at very least find that it could be improved with the addition of new elements. Here are the house rules I’ve implemented for this campaign – if you don’t agree with them, please send me a message on OP or email me, and we’ll find a solution that everyone can live with.

Further down the page are updates – these rules have nothing to do with me, they were thought up by Wizards. I merely thought they were important enough changes to mention here, especially since they probably aren’t available in print.

Monster Upgrades

We’re killing the monsters too fast! Seriously, though, I’ve noticed that a lot of the foes that hit the table just aren’t making a very realistic threat, so I’ve created a fix for the non-standard monster roles. To me, this seems necessary mostly due to the fact that as characters gain levels, they get substantially better powers, but monster abilities tend to remain limited, especially as far as resistance to unusual forms of attack. These fixes are subject to change pending how well they playtest. Also, some monsters include special rules that make them perfectly usable without these additions, such as Marut Escorts.

Minions: At this level, AoEs tend to kill all of them in the first round, sometimes before they even get a turn.
  • Paragon Cannon Fodder: Minions of level 16 or higher have 2 hit points. Any source of damage dealt to them does a maximum of 1 damage (except for critical hits, which drop them instantly). After taking the first point of damage, they become bloodied.
Elites: Inordinately hampered by conditions.
  • Wipe the Slate: When the elite first becomes bloodied, it makes a save against all conditions affecting it that a save can end, except effects given by the attack that bloodied it. It does not get its normal +2 bonus to these free saves.
Solos: Crippled by conditions, which are way too easy to stack to absurd effect. Also, solos without multiple turns tend to have limited options in the second half of the fight.
  • Bloodied Tenacity: When the solo first becomes bloodied, it gains an action point.
  • Unstoppable: When the solo would be stunned or dominated, it is instead dazed.
  • Resiliency: Once per round as a minor action, the solo can make a saving throw against any one effect on it that will end after a PC’s turn. It does not get its usual +5 to this save.

Earning Rerolls and Derolls

Roleplaying is not all about who’s got the biggest sword or the largest explosive spells. It’s about storytelling – making a complicated, meaningful character whose presence can transform an otherwise blank and unadorned story into a narrative that hinges on their decisions. Good characters inspire the DM to change the story and its elements in reaction to them – allies single out the characters they find most inspiring, while villains curse the name of the party member they hate most. NPCs form lasting relationships (good or ill) based on the character’s actions, and the long-buried histories of the players may come back to remind them of their origins. This involvement inspires the players to portray their characters even more strongly, and the game evolves from an excuse to drink Dew and roll dice into a shared experience that will be remembered for years by all involved.

To foster this train of thought, I offer a free reroll (redeemable whenever) to any player who contributes to this narrative (or in layman’s terms, anyone who finds a way to make me glad I DM’ed). This contribution can be in the form of a clever solution to an in-game problem, a well-crafted prop to add to the immersion, a moment of inspiring roleplaying, or even just a random occurrence that results in a laugh around the table.

Conversely, anyone who detracts from the game earns a deroll, which is a forced reroll mandated by the DM that usually ends up getting saved so as to make you miss with a daily power or something equally important. Acts that earn derolls may include things like perpetuating an out-of-game conflict, destruction of property, inappropriate or not-welcomed behavior, cheating, excessive metagaming, wildly out-of-character decisions, inter-party conflict, or making the DM look bad in front of his family. Derolls largely exist as a deterrent, rather than a punishment. If you’re earning a lot of them, then odds are somebody’s not having fun at the table with you around.

As of this update on May 9, 2010, I am very pleased with the group’s commitment to this story. Keep it up, guys!

Auras

As of the May 2010 update, auras with automatic damage stack. This means that four monsters emitting auras that deal 10 acid damage a round each (not unheard of in Wizards products) deal a total of 40 acid damage each turn to every character in the area. On the other hand, auras that inflict penalties don’t stack – only the most severe penalty is applied. In order to avoid instant TPK scenarios and to make the rules more consistent, I’m implementing a new houserule:

Overlapping auras do not stack, even if they deal different damage types. Creatures who find themselves affected by multiple auras only take the most severe penalties and the highest single amount of damage (after applying resistance).

Fusion Damage Types

A fusion damage type results from a power or ability that does a singular quantity of damage that has multiple damage keywords attributed to it. The 13th level Wizard encounter attack power, Frostburn, for example, deals 3d6+Int fire and cold damage, which I will refer to as fire/cold fusion damage.

The old rules stated that powers with multiple damage types (or fusion damage) divided the damage they dealt evenly among the types involved. This meant that Frostburn dealt half fire, half cold damage, and could be partially resisted by a creature with either kind of resistance. Creatures that had resistance to both fire and cold were able to apply both of them, drastically reducing the amount of damage they received, and making fusion damage weak compared to single-type damage powers.

Newer rules state that fusion damage is treated like a new damage type entirely, and it ignores the resistances of creatures that only resist a portion of the keywords involved. Under these rules, a Frostburn spell ignored either cold resistance or fire resistance. Only a creature with both resistances could shrug off damage from the spell, and only using the lowest value. For example, a creature with resist 10 fire and 5 cold would gain resist 5 against fire/cold fusion damage. I find that this ruling makes fusion damage powers much harder to defend against than single-type damage powers.

As a compromise between these two extremes, I’m implementing the following house rule (not the most simplistic, but more realistic):

To determine resistance to a fusion damage attack, take the sum of the defender’s total applicable resistances, and divide by the number of elements in the attack.

[For example, a creature hit by a fire/cold/acid fusion power with resist 20 acid and 5 fire would take its total resistance (25) and divide by 3, for a total of 8, rounded down.]

Aid Another

The DC to aid a skill or ability check is equal to 10 plus half the level of the person you’re helping. If you succeed, you give them a +2 bonus. If you fail, you give them a -1 penalty for getting in the way. Aiding an attack does not require a roll, but you must be in a position where you can make a basic attack against the enemy and spend a standard action to give your ally a +2 bonus to their next attack roll. Aiding defense also requires no roll, but you must remain adjacent to the ally you’re defending, and you must be able to see the creature you’re defending your ally from when you spend your standard action.

Updates

Falling

Even if you are not trained in Acrobatics, you can make a DC 15 check to hop down 10 feet safely. If you are trained, you can make a check whenever you fall to reduce damage. If you reduce the damage to zero, you are not prone at the end of the fall.

Creatures only fall 500 feet in a round, and get an action on their next turn if their original height was greater. If by the end of their turn they have not taken an action to fly, they fall another 500 feet, and this continues each round until they land.

Flying

Creatures without hover do not need to move to remain airborne. The only benefit granted by hover in the current rules is the ability to remain aloft even while stunned.

Creatures knocked prone in the air fall, but they reduce their effective falling distance by their fly speed, and may land safely if they descend less than their speed. Flying creatures subject to a fall of more than 100 feet (20 squares) may make a DC 30 Athletics check as an immediate reaction. On a success, they descend 100 feet and then stop falling.

Forced Movement

Pushing, pulling, or sliding a creature usually only allows you to move them horizontally. The only legal targets for vertical movement are flying creatures, creatures that are being moved through water or another similar substance, and creatures on an incline that can support them. This means that you can do things like pull flying targets to the ground, push monsters underwater, and slide foes up or down stairs, but you cannot bull rush an earthbound target into the air, nor pull a creature into a pit with you.

Additionally, targets teleported into any kind of hazardous terrain (including into the air so that they’ll fall) get a saving throw. If they succeed, the teleport fails.

House Rules and Updates

The Coalition's War elfshire