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1/26/2019 9:01 pm  #1


My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

I appreciate any feedback.  These are a hodgepodge of my houserules from various games that I have run throughout the years that I've chosen to use with ASSH.  I've not run the game yet, just read the rulebook a lot.  These houserules are what I'm looking to implement in my Blood Island game, in part.  This is a first draft of the bulk of them, and it is still a work in progress. 

Do any of these rules break the game, or screw things up on levels i am not aware of yet?  What are your thoughts?

Blood Island Houserules

We will be using Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea as the ruleset.  Second edition, not first.  The second edition is available as a pdf for 20 bucks, and its worth it.  We will be using Roll20 to play the games, and Obsidian portal and MeWe to keep track of post and between game matters.  I will not have a set time and day for all the games, because I've noticed that most games that which are run at the same time, are played by the same people, and once you get a set of regulars and a couple of substitutes, no one else really get the chance to play in that world. I want to play it on different days and times of the week so as to ensure that as many people who want to play it, can play it. Also, it's really fun when one group does something that another group has to deal with in a later session. That to me is a true living breathing setting.  This is a non-flailsnails game.

Style of game: West Marches hexcrawl.

Read this:
http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/78/grand-experiments-west-marches/

Watch this:
https://youtu.be/oGAC-gBoX9k

Being a West Marches style game, players will venture out into the wilderness on a hexcrawl.  One player is responsible for putting together a group and setting out on an adventure based on a rumor or desire to explore a certain area.  Once that player gets his group together, he will contact me as the DM to try to schedule a game.  I’ll need a few days notice in order to make sure I have something prepared for the game.  Sessions last 3-4 hours, depending on the time of the day and day of the week.  The player who puts the group together also acts as group leader and has final decision over major group conflicts and decisions.  Essentially the “caller” from AD&D days.

Races allowed: all from the book plus Vikings.  Basically they are Norsemen from Sweden about 1000 years ago in earth time, who were banished there by Loki about 2000 years ago Blood Island time.  Though I said there are Wanderers from all times and places a human may have existed in the multiverse, there are very few who aren’t Hyperboreans.  Fifty at most. They are for the DM to use.  Players are limited to Hyperboreans and Vikings.

Classes allowed:  all

Magic system:  as written

Ability Scores:  Roll three times at 4d6, drop lowest die. Roll two times at 5d6, drop the two lowest. Roll once at 6d6, drop the three lowest.  Arrange all scores where you want them to be.  If your PC's scores still suck after all this generosity, tough s***.  All rolling for character ability scores is to be done either in game, or pre game with me.  Not that I don’t trust your rolls, I just take a perverse delight in mocking people who roll shitty characters. 

Character Background vs. Character Backstory:   A character’s personal backstory, the narrative of where they come from, why they adventure, and their goals in life, etc., cannot be anything that makes them special in any way, or that sets up some quest that they must do---i.e. their sister was kidnapped by orcs and it is their life’s mission to rescue her.  They are a blank slate, a nobody from nowhere that matters.  Basically, their choice of background shouldn't drag all the other characters along on a boring-ass mission that only matters to them, is what I’m saying here.  Backstory is essentially meaningless—what matters is the story going forward.  What they do with their life, the victories they achieve, battles won, glory and gold gained, as their fame spreads across the land is what matters.

Alignment:  Alignment doesn’t really matter that much, as long as you play your characters consistently, and if there is an inconsistency, have a good reason for the variation.  

Searching:  You don’t just walk into a doorway of a room and say “I search it”, and roll a check to determine if you find traps, or anything and everything hidden in the whole room.  When searching, a roll is made every ten minutes of player time.  Ten minutes is enough time to thoroughly search a ten by ten area of wall, floor, or ceiling, or a bed, chest, cabinet, etc.  Some things may take longer depending on size and DM discretion.  All searching will involve touching, smelling, listening and looking unless you specifically tell me otherwise.   Also, tell me exactly what, if anything, you are doing to search other than looking, smelling, listening or touching.  Some things will not be found no matter the search roll unless you do something specific while searching, like looking specifically for a false bottom in a chest.  Lastly, as I said, while players are searching is a wonderful!!! time for a DM to roll random monster checks.  Usually one per every five or ten minutes of searching.  Search away, but watch your ass!

Coinage System:  1 pp = 10 gp = 100 sp = 1000 cp  Electrum = ½  gp

XP and Leveling 

Experience:  The gold value of certain items that you loot on an adventure, AND manage to bring back to your home town or safe base, counts towards XP.  This applies to coins, gems, jewelry, art objects, precious items, tapestries, finely carved furniture, etc.  In other words, when it comes to coinage,  if you loot 30 gp, 40 sp, 100 cp, and 10 pp, and make it back to your town or fortress of keep, you get:

30 XP for gold
4 XP for silver
1 XP for copper
and 100 XP for the platinum.
Note:  the standard weight of coins is 50 coins = 1 lb.  

If you get stuff like gems or art or jewelry or the other special non-mundane valuable items listed above  you get the gp value of those things as XP.  So a 150 gp gem = 150 XP.  You get that in XP that whether you sell the gem or ornate desk or musical instrument or keep it. Gems, jewelry, fine art and fancy expensive items tend to keep closer to their full value when trying to sell them.  Middlemen generally want to buy at a discount so they can make a profit, but skipping middlemen may make it take longer to sell the items.
 
If you bring back mundane gear or items, like the armor or weapons of an enemy, and sell it, you get XP for the gp you made off of the sale.  Generally ½ price is for undamaged gear, but gear used in combat is rarely undamaged. Same applies to things like, crates of food, casks of beer, etc.  However these items tend to keep closer to their full value as stated in the PHB.  It all comes down to the law of supply and demand.

Note that if you keep any gear or mundane items for personal use, you do not get the gp/XP value of that gear.  For example, if you went into the adventure wearing leather armor, killed a guy wearing chain mail, and wear his chain mail, you do not get XP for the gp value of that chain mail.  You’ll probably have to spend some time and money fixing it up first though.  The benefit of the item is that you’re tougher so you can gain more XP on your own.  

In some cases it might be worth sacrificing the XP that could be gained by selling it, and stockpiling items like armor shields and weapons if your character or group someday wants to outfit a mercenary company, army, or even personal bodyguards, hirelings or henchmen.  It might be cheaper to stockpile now than to purchase it all later.  However, you will need a place to store it all, which may involve a cost.  

You do not get XP for the gold piece value of any magic items or magic gear that you loot.  It is assumed that the magic itself will help you gain more XP than you normally would be able to achieve without the magic, so that is the reward for looting the magic.  Likewise, it is highly doubtful that you will be able to sell all but the most simple and inexpensive of magic items, due to the value of the item and the costs and risks involved, but if you sell that magic item, you do not get the XP value for the gold made on the sale.

Ways to get EXTRA XP:

Obsidian Portal:  A player can gain lots of extra XP for their character if they post weekly on Obsidian Portal.  NOTE:  all posting below related to the session just played must be done within 2 days of playing the session. XP Rewards are as follows:

1. Draw and upload a character portrait to the Forum: 250 XP (one time bonus)

2. Do a session summary in the Adventure Log FROM YOUR CHARACTER’S PERSPECTIVE of at least 100 words in length (in other words write it out as if your character wrote it): 100 XP Per Character Level…in other words this reward scales with your level.

3. Post the same session summary on the Blood Island MeWe group:  25 more xp per Character Level.

4. Draw and upload to the Media Library a map that you drew when playing: 100 XP.  Cross post to MeWe:  25 xp.  One map per session per player.

5. Draw and upload to the Forum a picture of a monster that you fought (to the best of your imagination as to how it looked): 100 XP.  Cross post to MeWe:  25 xp.

6. Add NPC name plus some info about that NPC to the Forum list: 50 XP per NPC—-Only the first one to do it gets the XP!!!
(An NPC is a person you met while playing that has some significance, not just the guy selling fruit at the booth on the street.)

Exploration XP:  

1. Exploring a new hex:  100 xp per person in the group who survives.

2. Clearing a hex: means you spent 5 days in that hex and cleared it of monsters (temporalily at least) and explored it thoroughly enough that you discovered most stuff in it:  500 xp per person in the group who survives

3.  Making it back alive to home base at the end of the session:  150 xp.

Other XP Awards:  Clever use of ability, figuring out a puzzle or something difficult, achieving a major goal: All at the DM’s discretion.

Leveling Up:  When a character gains enough XP to be able to level up, it doesn’t automatically happen like in a video game.  The character needs to go back to town or another safe place (not just a closet in a dungeon where he hides and tries to sleep in terror) and while in town needs some down time to perfect his skills.  A character is assumed to always be practicing to get better, trying out new abilities and feats during the adventure, whether in combat or during rest periods while adventuring, but in order to perfect them he needs time to reflect after the dangers of the dungeon, and practice in a peaceful calm environment.  The need for this decreases as a character levels up as follows:

Levels
Time Needed
Location Requirements
Cost
1-4
1-8 days -1 day per current character level (min. 2 days)
Decent sized town/city/village with resources like locks to buy, people to spar with, etc.
100 gp per day
5-8
1-6 days -1 day per current character level (min. 1 day)
Any peaceful safe place, like a wooded glade, etc.  Not in the middle of a dungeon or monster infested forest.
No cost.  External resources no longer needed
9+
1 day
Any peaceful safe place, like a wooded glade, etc.  Not in the middle of a dungeon or monster infested forest.
No cost.  External resources no longer needed


There is usually both a time and a cost involved with this practice.  The costs come from the acquisition of gear, materials, books, maybe asking to be trained or to spar with by someone who is better than you, etc.  That part does not need to be role-played out.

The amount of days you need to practice is determined by the DM by dice roll.   You won’t know how many days it will take until it is over.  Note that things like scribing new spells into books, making magic items, or selling items, identifying magic items, carousing, etc, cannot be done during this period of training.  You need to focus on the training itself.  

Note that if you are spending all or part of a day naturally healing, you cannot count that day as a day towards leveling up.

Carousing:  I may add tables for that later.  Not sure yet.  






Combat:  

This is where most of the changes to AS&SH are.  Two main reasons for the changes:  1. to incorporate the odd equipment from Stravikland, and 2. to make combat simpler than AS&SH does it.  

Order of Combat

1.  Surprise Check:  A group is surprised on 1-2 on a d6.  The result of surprise is the surprised party loses all actions that round.  It is rolled by the DM who will impose any situational modifiers he deems appropriate.  Tied cancels each other out.  Sometimes even having knowledge that an enemy is in the other room can result in a surprise. For example, if that enemy has a well prepared and rehearsed ambush set up to be triggered by the PC’s entering a room, the party will be surprised.  In that case, the surprise acts more as a trap, either with or without a saving throw (DM discretion) rather than as an NPC or monster encounter.  This is up to the DM.

2.  Characters State Intended Actions.   Some actions, like those of casters, may be interrupted depending on what happens below.

3.  Initiative Rolled:  Roll group initiative on a d6.

First Strike: When two weapon-wielding melee combatants first clash, the one with the longer reach  weapon strikes first, regardless of initiative results.  Reference the applicable weapon class (WC) for each weapon (see Vol. I, p. 116: Table 48). If the difference is 2 or greater, the combatant with the higher WC attacks first. This rule applies strictly to the initial clash of melee weapon wielders; it does not transpire on subsequent rounds. First strike does not apply to missiles, spells, devices, and the like; neither does it pertain to the natural attacks of monsters (e.g., claws, horns, teeth).

4.  Resolve Actions:  Each side goes in whatever order they want, once it’s their side’s turn to act, but Don’t Dawdle!  Or else the evil DM may have the enemy start taking actions.

5.  Check Morale

Movement and Combat:  A character can move his full movement rate at any time during combat, taking all or some of it before or after an attack.  

Firing missile weapons into melee is dangerous for your allies engaged in melee. Roll to-hit.  If you miss, there is a 50% chance it might hit someone else.  If a die roll determined that it did hit someone, the DM will roll to see who it might have hit, enemy or ally, by assigning each a number and rolling a d100 to determine which might have been hit, then roll another to-hit roll against that person’s AC to see if it did hit.  If so, roll damage.  If players take the time to search the battlefield for arrows after combat, they can recover 50% of the ones they shot, and 75% for things like throwing axes or daggers.  Magic items will have a higher survival rate.

Critical Hits and Misses:  A Critical hit is when you roll a natural 20 on a d20 to hit in combat.  A critical miss, or fumble as it is also known, is when you roll a natural 1 on a d20 to hit in combat.  

Natural 20 = PC has a choice, to be made before he rolls the damage die:
1 Double the damage die roll
2 Roll 2 of the damage die
3 Max the damage die

Natural 1 = PC has a choice:
1 Do nothing the next melee round, or
2 Choose to have the attack against yourself, roll another d20 to see if you hit yourself, and if so roll damage, but you can still attack the next melee round.

Supercriticals:  I've developed a new rule related to criticals.  Basically, I played in a game where there were two bears in a pit and one character said he had no problem jumping into a pit to kill them.  Now to me that just defies all logic and sense.  No sane person would ever jump into a pit to take on two bears with just a sharp piece of metal in their hands.  He mentally did the math and figured he could take them out due to the damage they each deal per round.  To me, DnD is not, nor should it be, a game of "out-mathing" the opponent.  

It seems to me that in real life no matter how tough you are, anyone could always land a lucky blow and kill you in one shot.  A spear through the eye.  A dagger thru the heart.  Whatever.  That same thing should apply in DnD, or else there would never be any fear of certain fights.  People should always fear dying in a fight, even if its just against a miserable little kobold, just like in real life.  So here's my new rule.  It's called a Supercritical.  

Basically you do a critical the same way.  Get a natural 20, roll the extra damage according to the method you choose.  A supercritical works like this:   After you figure out the critical damage on an enemy, (or vice versa because criticals and supercriticals also work for the enemy against you) you roll another d20.  If you roll another natural 20, or if your PC is 8th level or higher, a natural 19 or 20, then you do a supercritical.  

In order to calculate the damage done with a supercritical, you roll 3d20 and add up the total.  You then multiply the damage you did on the underlying critical by the number you got via 3d20.  If the underlying critical damage was 25 and the 3d20 number was 15 then the total damage done for that one hit was 375.  That number cannot be reduced by anything else, unless there is some spell I'm not aware of, which I'll deal with on a case by case basis as that situation may arise.  

Hence from here on out, be aware that in any fight at any time there is a chance that one blow can kill you and vice versa.  Remember though that I give XP for not just killing the enemy, but for gold looted and for overcoming or beating the enemy in some way.  In fact the more clever the way you defeat the enemy, the more XP I'm inclined to give.  I'd multiply the underlying XP due to level by some factor depending on how cool your solution was.  

Battlescars:  Another new rule I’m implementing is called Battlescars.  Basically, as it stands now according to the rules a person could be in 5000 fights but because of always having a cleric nearby, they’d always have a baby face, with nothing to show they’ve ever even nicked themselves shaving.  For now on, any critical or supercritical blow or massive damage (see below) has a chance to leave a battlescar, even if the wound is magically healed.  Battlescarring determination is a multi-stage process:

1  If a critical or supercritical is scored against you, or you take a system shock, the percentage chance that it leaves a permanent battlescar (that stays regardless of the method of healing used, magical or otherwise,) is equal to the HP of damage done by the critical or supercitical or massive damage rules from below.  If the critical/supercritical/massive damage against you was 67, then on a 67 or lower on a d100 (rolled by the player) there is a permanent battlescar.  Note that this means that on a crit of 100 or more, there is no need to roll percentile dice.  You have a battlescar.

2  Location is determined by a d20 roll as follows:

1: upper right leg  2:  lower right leg  3:  upper left leg  4:  lower left leg  5:  upper right arm  6:  lower right arm   7: right hand  8:  upper left arm  9:  lower left arm  10:  left hand   11:  throat/neck  12:  face.  13: chest   14: stomach   15: back   16: right ass cheek   17: left ass cheek   18: right ear mangled   19: left ear mangled   20: players choice 
  
Note that the damage location is determined regardless of armor worn.  The blow just slipped through.  That’s why they only happen with criticals or supercriticals, or in the case of massive damage.  

The type of scar is related to the type of damage done.  Piercing vs. slashing vs. acid vs. fire vs. frostbite, etc.  

The exact location of the scar on the determined body part is up to the player, especially as to the face and neck.  Put it where you want.

Note that battlescars may affect how people treat you, for good or for bad.  

Massive Damage:  Any time a character takes dmg from one blow or attack that reduces them down by more than 75% of their max hp, their system is hit with the following effects, to be determined on a d6:

1-2 No effect
3-5 Character is stunned for 1-3 rounds, meaning he is disoriented and can do nothing except wander around aimlessly.
6    Character is stunned and prone, knocked flat on his ass for 1-6 rounds and cannot stand on his own two feet before that, evenif helped up by another player.

Also any character who gets their system shocked has to roll to see if they are scarred as per the rules above.

Advanced Combat Rules, Moves, and Tactics.

This section takes the place of the Advance Combat options on pg 254 of AS&SH.  These are the only ones available.  Additionally, if one of the below actions duplicates an action from somewhere else in the book, the one below supersedes the ones in the book.  Any contradictions will be dealt with in-game, just bring them to my attention.

Two Weapon Fighting:  Players who wield two weapons simply gain +1 to attack and get to attack with only one weapon.  The other weapon simply serves as a distraction, enabling them to attack better. No fancy dex calculations go into it, no ambidexterity rules, penalties, or any of that crap.  Any Fighter or thief based class or subclass that can use a shield can wield two weapons.  

Two-handing it:  Players who wield any one-handed melee weapons two-handed add +1 to damage.  Any class can do this.

Cleave:  if you get the killing blow, you get another swing at an adjacent creature.  You get to repeat this in one combat round for as many fighter levels as you have.   Only Fighters and their subclasses get this.

Parry:  you can take no other actions, but your AC is reduced by 4.  Any class can do this.

Press:  +2 bonus to hit, +4 penalty to AC.  Only Fighters and their subclasses get this.

Defensive Fighting:  -2 bonus to AC, -4 penalty to hit.  Only Fighters and their subclasses get this.

Charge:  move at full rate, x2 damage, but +2 penalty to AC.  Any class.  

Aim:  takes a full round to prepare while looking at the intended target without interruption, where you get no Dex bonus to AC, but you are +4 to hit on the next round.  Any class

Attack from Behind:  no dex or shield mods apply and you are +2 to hit.  Any class

Invisibility:  you have a -6 penalty to hit them if they are invisible, they hit you as if from behind, and you have no chance to hit them with missile weapons.  Any class.  

Change Weapons and Attack in the Same Round:  you are -2 to hit in that round and can only do it if you just drop the weapon, not sheathe it.  Any class

Hold Action:  happens simultaneously in the next round with the specific event you are holding for.  Any class

Arrow Setting: The archer spikes his arrows in the  ground, angled before him so as to gain a faster rate of fire; preparation time is thus required. With his arrow so arrayed, a 3/2 rate of fire improves to 2/1, 2/1 improve to 5/2, and 5/2 improves to 3/1. Use of this technique precludes movement during combat.  Fighter and thief and their subclasses only

Ready Shooter: If a shooter enters combat with crossbow cocked, arrow nocked, or wand aimed, he can discharge it before any other actions are taken, regardless of initiative results; essentially this attack is a phase zero action. If more than one side has a ready shooter, the results are determined in order of highest dexterity (or simultaneous). After this advanced combat action is executed, the phases of combat ensue as normal, with no cost to the participating characters.  This maneuver is available prior to the first round of combat alone and cannot be performed by surprised shooters. N.B.: Although a crossbowman can walk about the dungeon labyrinths with weapon cocked and loaded, a bowman will ruin his bow in short order if he makes a habit of keeping it drawn taut (not to mention how exhausting this practice can be).  Any class.


Starting Equipment:  If you’re a viking, you get to roll as per the books and buy what’s available from the equipment list of Blood Island as described below.  If you’re a Hyperborean, you get to choose from the list of available gear in the AS&SH book.  However, if Hyperborean, once you get to Blood Island, the gear you have is very valuable if steel.  Also, once you get to Blood Island, you are now restricted to buying off the Blood Island equipment lists, with costs and features as described below.   

Equipment Purchased in the Blood Island Demi-Plane:

Rather than rewrite the equipment tables, as a general rule any item that has metal like swords, maces, arrows, metal shields, steel scroll cases, steel mirrors, etc now cost ten times the cost listed on the table. 

Spears, Arrows and Crossbow bolts with whalebone or stone arrow heads:  Cost half the price of the steel version in the AS&SH book, but do -1 dmg, with a minimum of 1 dmg.  

Melee weapons with whalebone or stone blades, spikes, etc:  Cost half the price of the steel version in the AS&SH book, but do -1 to attack and -1 to damage due to dullness and lack of heft.  Also, if you roll a natural 2 with them, there is a 25% chance they shatter and are useless.

Armor made with whalebone instead of metal:  Cost half the price of the steel version in the AS&SH book, weigh the same due to having to increase the thickness of the whalebone pieces to make it the equivalent of the steel.   If you get hit with a natural 20 while wearing that type of armor there is a 25% chance it will shatter and become useless, making it the equivalent of leather.  Note: there is no whalebone equivalent of chainmail, banded, platemail, or full plate.

Shields:  No adjustments.  Though if they contain any steel in them, the cost is ten times more.

 

1/27/2019 6:34 am  #2


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Man! Lot of fun ideas packed into these adjustments. I need to read through it a couple of more times to process them fully. The supercritical sounds gnarly, but I suppose it only comes up very rarely though - perhaps just enough to explain a few of those wild stories told in drunken taverns. 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

1/29/2019 4:17 pm  #3


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

The supercritical rule does stand out from the rest of them http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png
 If you haven't already heard it, Joe, there is a statistical argument against critical hits which has made the rounds of OSR forums.  Basically it says that any crit system which applies to all combatants will endanger the PCs vastly more than the monsters.  I'm not sold on the actual statistics, but I agree that any crit rule makes combat more deadly for PCs.  Your aim appears to be to inspire players to take combat more seriously, but I think you can do that without going to the extreme of a possible 120x damage on one hit (or 60x max damage -- the theoretical outcome of rolling five 20s in a row in your game!) 

I do like your example of the two bears in the pit.  Let's try a test I'll call "what would Conan do" (WWCD, if you will)!  Would Conan have simply jumped in the pit and taken the claw and bite damage?  Probably not; in fact, any D&D character worth their salt would try other things first -- spells, missile fire, poisoned meat, or good old flaming oil.  And if we're talking the real Conan he would have pulled a trick like decapitating both bears with one swing in mid-jump, or knocking their heads together and letting them tear each other apart.  But, if it came down to Conan having to take some paw hits, he'd be ducking and weaving, trying to minimize the hits.  This is modeled in-game by taking 10 or so points of damage when he actually had 50+, as do many heroic level characters:  after all, hit points are "the ability to withstand and minimize physical damage through a combination of experience, fitness, physicality, skill, and no small amount of luck" (2e rulebook, p.130).  To put it as crassly as one gamer I know, Conan enters the bear pit with a large reserve of "luck" and leaves it with a few scratches and a lot less luck.  On the other hand, a chance crit by one of the bears could make it a very bad day. 

I will write again about some of your other rules.  But to wrap up for now, I think your basic critical hit and fumble rules are sufficient.  One can also use the optional crit table found in the AS&SH 1e rulebook.  The rule I use is exploding damage on a 20 (ie. a longsword rolling 1-7 points damage would be treated as normal, on an 8 roll and add another die, and so forth.  A two-handed sword doing 3d4 would have a much higher chance of one of the dice exploding, making it a weapon that crits more frequently (and reasonably so). 

~ Q-sub

Last edited by Q-sub (2/01/2019 1:45 pm)

 

1/29/2019 8:42 pm  #4


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

thanks for the input guys.  I've heard that argument about crits being more deadly for players.  it makes sense.  lemme think on it some more.  

     Thread Starter
 

1/30/2019 8:09 am  #5


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

joethelawyer wrote:

thanks for the input guys.  I've heard that argument about crits being more deadly for players.  it makes sense.  lemme think on it some more.  

AS&SH and its ilk don't model "realistic combat" very well, but they do model "heroic combat" well. I wouldn't change anything about the critical hit rules to make combat deadlier in AS&SH. As Q-sub points out Conan, certainly a sane hero, would have beaten the bears when lesser mortals (lower level) would succumb: Hit Points model that well, even if they are "unrealistic". The most I would consider in AS&SH is adding specific descriptions of critical hits (maimed limbs, bleeding punctures, etc.) for flavor and RPing purposes. Add in the statistical slant against the players and I think it's even less of a good idea for "heroic" RPing, but if you're going for "grittier" it does make sense. Depends on what you're trying to model.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

1/30/2019 11:08 am  #6


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Statistically, the system described kills pretty much any character once in every 400 attacks, which seems a little rough in a combat-heavy game like AS&SH.

My players chose to go with the RAW for crits even knowing the risks when I left it up to them. It's a little like the prisoner's dilemma only with more daggers. It's not really a statistical argument -- it's more that they care about their characters while I as DM don't give a crap about what happens to any PC or NPC. From where I sit, there are always more out there in the world. From where they sit, success matters. But apparently, cool trumps all!

I try to foreground the idea that combat is a failure and that whenever it's avoidable, one should because it always, no matter whether there are supercrits, carries the risk of death and wastes resources that you will need later on. But sometimes my players just want to roll dice, you know?

Sometimes I think it might be worth doing two systems: regular, "heroic" combat for fights with some interest to them and something like this a lot of time to keep from getting bogged down: https://cavegirlgames.blogspot.com/2018/03/one-roll-fights.html

 

2/02/2019 9:12 pm  #7


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

joethelawyer, on a less critical note (pun intended!) I said I'd share some thoughts on your other house rules.  Let's start at the top...

"This is a non-flailsnail game."  Whilst I'm no more a fan of flail snails than I am of flumphs or lava children, I'm not sure what you mean here. 

West Marches.  Had to look this up, pretty cool.  Reminds me of a persistent setting I used to play in back in the OpenRPG days.  I have to say, the prospect of a true "living campaign" with a large player/GM base, set in Hyperborea and using AS&SH rules, really sparks the mind!

Bonus XP.  I like these rules.  

Leveling Up.  Looks ok, though I'm puzzled why the time and cost requirements would decrease at higher levels, rather than the opposite.

Carousing.  Will this be Drunken Debauchery, or something of your own devising?

Crits:  we already talked about them, but I want to give your random hit locations a mention.  When I first saw it I said "hmm, a d20 hit location chart?  I could use this!" ... and then I saw the results for right & left ass cheek. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/stoned.png


Combat rules:  Don't seem too much different from the core rules, but I didn't look very hard.

Equipment:  the scarcity of steel (or is it all metal?) reminds me of Tekumel.  For clarity, is the cost studded leather, which has a bit of metal in it, also x10?

~ Q-sub

 

2/03/2019 11:53 am  #8


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

House rules for AS&SH, any experienced DM uses them and develops them over time. I suggest that if you have never run this "system" then go by the book and then develop as you become more experienced in the system. It may make it easier for you overall.

The two things that I would definitely not use in my game are:
1. Super-Criticals.
This seems a little unnecessary. 375 pts of damage? I personally would go with the system that is already available as outlined in the book.
2. Player ability score generation.
4d6 (3 times) or 5d6 (2 times) or 6d6 (1x) this also seems a little over the top. What this is going to do is create demi-gods.  I think you will find that there will be no variety in character stats. If you are shooting for the group of Delta Force Operatives than this is what you will get. Everyone will be extremely above-average (and above) in everything.

It all comes down to what you are trying to achieve. 

Keep the ideas flowing.


-They call me DM Angelo
My current Campaigns 
 

2/03/2019 5:05 pm  #9


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

It takes a lot of guts to post your creation out there for everyone to critique and I hope your campaign is successful. I am offering my honest opinion and I hope I am not coming across as too critical.
 
West Marches "play on the fly" campaigns heavily favor hardcore players who have tons of free time and are heavily engaged in the game. Do you have a large stable of players who fit the bill?
 
For the past 15 years or so, my friends and associates have pitched many ambitious unstructured, 100% player-driven sandbox campaigns. They invariably fizzle after an initial period of enthusiasm. Every. Time.
 
The reasons are numerous but I feel the big ones are:
 


  • Choice overload. Players claim they like purely unstructured play but in reality they like clear objectives at the table, even if only to reject them and do their own thing.
  • The level of time and engagement required for a West Marches style game is hard to sustain for most players.
  • Casual players are discouraged because the setup heavily favors people with a lot more free time. Most players are casuals.

 
Your experience point system heavily favors people with a lot of time to pour into the game. I get what you are trying to do (incentivize player engagement) but, like rewarding good roleplaying, it is a bad idea with good intentions. Player engagement should be its own reward and a DM encourages it by running a good game.
 
Other posters have advised about the pitfalls of the supercritical system; I feel like it was designed with the hit point bloat of later editions in mind. The optional critical hit system on page 258 of the 2nd edition rules is plenty deadly. 
 
You have some great ideals like carousing and I'd suggest pouring your creative energy into a robust downtime system. I wish the best for your game and hope my observations have given you some things to consider.

Last edited by Brock Savage (2/03/2019 6:58 pm)

 

2/03/2019 5:19 pm  #10


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Q-sub wrote:

"This is a non-flailsnail game."  Whilst I'm no more a fan of flail snails than I am of flumphs or lava children, I'm not sure what you mean here. 
~ Q-sub

FLAILSNAILS: This is a wonderful tradition that grew out of the community of online gamers where you can use your character from whatever your home game or system in a given DM's game of whatever. So like I have a 4th lvl. BD&D thief that has played in a bunch of different homebrew systems, Traveller, etc. And the DM will do their level best to give you XP that translates into your system.

 

2/03/2019 7:23 pm  #11


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Handy Haversack wrote:

FLAILSNAILS: This is a wonderful tradition that grew out of the community of online gamers where you can use your character from whatever your home game or system in a given DM's game of whatever. So like I have a 4th lvl. BD&D thief that has played in a bunch of different homebrew systems, Traveller, etc. And the DM will do their level best to give you XP that translates into your system.

I didn't know that, thanks Handy!  This sorta describes the current PbP I'm in, where characters from all OS editions are allowed and everyone levels up after each "7-room dungeon" episode.  It's worked fine except for the time someone wanted to bring in a 5e character...

 

2/04/2019 2:50 pm  #12


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Brock Savage wrote:

For the past 15 years or so, my friends and associates have pitched many ambitious unstructured, 100% player-driven sandbox campaigns. They invariably fizzle after an initial period of enthusiasm. Every. Time.
 
The reasons are numerous but I feel the big ones are:


  • Choice overload. Players claim they like purely unstructured play but in reality they like clear objectives at the table, even if only to reject them and do their own thing.
  • The level of time and engagement required for a West Marches style game is hard to sustain for most players.
  • Casual players are discouraged because the setup heavily favors people with a lot more free time. Most players are casuals.

 

Yup.  I have had this exact experience.  
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

2/04/2019 4:58 pm  #13


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

For me and my table, that is far too many houserules, especially for a solid system like AS&SH,

Then again, I'm not a lawyer.

 

2/04/2019 8:19 pm  #14


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

francisca wrote:

For me and my table, that is far too many houserules, especially for a solid system like AS&SH,

Then again, I'm not a lawyer.

HAHAHA!  Yep same here, I am BTB on this one!

 

2/07/2019 10:38 pm  #15


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Like many others here, the supercritical system stood out for me.  Here is our version of criticals:

Natural 20 is a critical.  Roll a second d20:

1-15: x2 damage
16-17: x3 damage
18-19: x4 damage
20: x5 damage

The multiplier is applied after all bonuses.  And we use exploding dice.  This also applies to healing spells so you can benefit there.  For damage causing spells, if the target rolls a 1 on their save, crit rules apply as above.

Fumbles occur on a natural 1.  That means you lose an action the next round and may incur an AC penalty.

For death, characters are unconscious at 0 hit points and dead at -10.  They have a number of minutes equal to their constitution score to be brought back to 0 or they die.  Also, anyone taking more than 50 points of damage from a single attack (like a spell or breath weapon) must make a system shock roll or die.

Incidentally we also have a few other special rules that might apply criticals for certain characters.  For example we have an organization of undead slayers in our campaign world.  They instantly kill undead with certain rolls.  It's a natural 20 for levels 1-4; 19-20 for levels 5-8; 18-20 for levels 9-12; and 17-20 for levels 13 and above.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

2/07/2019 10:45 pm  #16


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

I forgot to add and didn't see it in the original post, but following the old MERP method, we allocate bonus xp for delivering or surviving criticals.  In general it's 50 xp per severity level of critical delivered (100-250 spread) and 100 xp per level of critical received (200-500 spread). 

So you may want to add this for survivors of your "super" crits!


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

2/08/2019 5:59 pm  #17


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

lots of great stuff to think about here guys.  thanks for all the input. 

as for the cost to level as you get higher, that goes back to the martial artist thing.  at a certain point you are your own teacher.  

i don't mind the deadliness factor with the supercriticals.  thats what i'm aiming for.

i probably won't do carousing.  as a player i would hate it so why impose it on the plasers while dm'ing. 


 

Last edited by joethelawyer (2/08/2019 6:05 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

2/08/2019 6:39 pm  #18


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

OK taking from what you guys suggested above, here's the new supercritical. Get a natural 20, roll the extra damage according to the method you choose.  A supercritical works like this:   After you figure out the critical damage on an enemy, (or vice versa because criticals and supercriticals also work for the enemy against you) you roll another d20.  If you roll another natural 20, or if your PC is 8th level or higher, a natural 19 or 20, then you do a supercritical.  Roll another d20 to see what you multiply the total overall damage you just rolled for that one attack by: 1-15: x3 damage
16-17: x4 damage
18-19: x5 damage
20: x10 damage

     Thread Starter
 

2/09/2019 2:47 am  #19


Re: My Tentative Houserules. What do you think?

Speaking of criticals, our Labyrinth Lord party suffered their first casualty in the Barrowmaze tonight as Sir Godfrey, party leader and fearless paladin, fell to the scimitars of a bone golem, which inflicted a nasty critical made worse by exploding dice.  Ironically it was literally the last room the group had planned on exploring since they were already weakened and totally out of healing spells or potions.  He was avenged, however, as both bone golems in the room were similarly destroyed by criticals inflicted by the PCs.  That at least made his death epic and memorable.  They limped back to Helix laden with booty and using an unseen servant to carry the corpse...


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

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