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9/02/2014 10:56 am  #1


House Rules?

I am generally loathe to indulge too greatly in house rules, but I have a couple I like for AS&SH (more or less swiped from DCC). What house rules do you maintain?

Starting Hit Points: Each character starts with a roll of their class hit die (plus Constitution modifier) and a bonus 1-4 hit points for being a zero-level character prior to adventuring.

Starting Weapon Skills: Each 1st level character may begin with one new weapon skill of their choice. Additional new weapon skills are gained at the regular intervals (q.v. Weapon Skill).

 

9/02/2014 2:16 pm  #2


Re: House Rules?

Ability scores are rolled as 2d6+6 and assigned freely.
Nonhuman races work basically as in AD&D.
Hit points for first level are automatically the maximum possible roll.
No Alignment.
All characters advance every 100 XP. Each adventure get the characters about 25 to 35 XP, depending on length and the degree of success.
Spellcasting and spellcasting clases are almost completely replaced with the magic system from the D&D 3rd Edition Expanded Psionic Handbook. There is only mage (based on the framework of magicians) and warmage (based on cleric).


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

9/02/2014 2:47 pm  #3


Re: House Rules?

In order to encourage my players to roll 3d6 in order for their ability scores, I give them a couple of rerolls later in the chapracter-generation process if they do so. So they can reroll their starting HP or starting gold or both--and for each of those rerolls they don't use, they start the game with 50 XP.

Oh, and Warlock Fire Lords get the hand candle ability!

 

9/02/2014 3:46 pm  #4


Re: House Rules?

So far we have the following:

Attributes are determined by 4d6 drop lowest, arranged to taste.

Starting HP is the maximum possible (assuming 1st level characters). Upon attaining a new level, either a single die of the appropriate size is rolled its result added to the previous total, or all hit dice are re-rolled and the new total is kept (unless it's lower than the previous total, in which case you simply increase your HP by 1).

When a sorcerer casts Augury, the 7-in-10 chance of the spell's succeeding is rolled in the open. Upon failure, the spell simply provides no answer.

 

9/02/2014 3:52 pm  #5


Re: House Rules?

Yora wrote:

Spellcasting and spellcasting clases are almost completely replaced with the magic system from the D&D 3rd Edition Expanded Psionic Handbook. There is only mage (based on the framework of magicians) and warmage (based on cleric).

Ooh, how does this work? I'm not familiar with 3rd Edition.

     Thread Starter
 

9/02/2014 3:56 pm  #6


Re: House Rules?

Ynas Midgard wrote:

...all hit dice are re-rolled and the new total is kept (unless it's lower than the previous total, in which case you simply increase your HP by 1).

Neat, this is always how I interpreted OD&D. The result was that high level characters always had pretty decent hit points, since a poor roll would always be replaced by a better one at a later level.

Everyone's house rules also reminded me of something I always do for Ability Scores, but never really thought of it as a house rule. Each player rolls 3d6 in order, but may roll as many sets as they want until they are happy with a set of scores. They can't "go back" or "save" a set, mind you—if they are fairly happy with a roll, they are better off settling on it and keeping it!

I actually got this from many roleplaying computer games, where you roll your stats in the beginning of the game but nothing is really stopping you from rerolling continuously. I figure if I often do it on a computer game, who am I to keep my players from doing the same. It also ends up with players really liking the characters they make, without sacrificing the old-school "3d6 in order" format.

Last edited by Galadrin (9/02/2014 3:57 pm)

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9/02/2014 4:57 pm  #7


Re: House Rules?

Galadrin wrote:

Yora wrote:

Spellcasting and spellcasting clases are almost completely replaced with the magic system from the D&D 3rd Edition Expanded Psionic Handbook. There is only mage (based on the framework of magicians) and warmage (based on cleric).

Ooh, how does this work? I'm not familiar with 3rd Edition.

It's basically a mana-system. A first level character knows 3 psionic powers and has a number of power points per day. A first level power costs 1 power point, a second level power 3 pp, third level 5 pp, and so on. You can cast any of the power you know at any time, as long as you still have power points to pay for it. There are no spell slots. The power you know are fixed and you can never switch them out, but you add 2 more powers to that list at every new level.
The most interesting element, that makes the whole thing special, is that you can spend more than the minimum cost of power points to cast a power. A second level power may cost a minimum of 3 pp and deal 3d6 points of damage, but if you're a 7th level character, you can spend up to 7pp and increase the damage to 7d6. There is only a single charm power. At 1st level, when you can spend 1 pp, you can use it to charm a person. As you get higher levels you can spend more points when you cast the power, which allows you to also charm animals, dragons, or demons. You don't have to learn hold person and hold monster as two different powers, you just learn it once and unlock additional use options as you increase in level.

The best thing about it is that conversion of standard D&D spells is often very simple. The cost of power points is always defined by the power/spell level, and when it's a damage dealing spell, the number of damage dice is always equal to the number of pp you spend to cast it. It often makes sense to merge spells that have similar powers of different strengths at different spell levels, but that's not very hard to do. But all the stuff about initiative, what kind of action to take, spells being interrupted, and so on can still work exactly as they do for regular spellcasters in whatever game you are playing. You can use the powers in AS&SH, AD&D, Pathfinder, ACKS, or whatever without having to alter them for different initiative systems and the like.

And it's completely free. (Might require being familiar with 3rd edition to understand, though.)

I use it primarily because I don't like the idea of spell slots. I want my campaign to represent a world in which a spell is something you learn once and can do as much as you like until you get too exhausted to continue. The idea of adding and removing magic modules to your mind seems a very special and unique one, which just is completely out of place in a generic fantasy world or game. And other than spellcasting, D&D works perfectly well as a generic game.

Last edited by Yora (9/02/2014 4:58 pm)


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

9/04/2014 6:48 pm  #8


Re: House Rules?

I'm just gearing up to run ASSH, and have just recently written out my house rules. I'm happy to say there is not much I wanted to change. As follows:
1) Use a slot/matrix spell system for magician spells (not cleric). Basically you know your spells and don't have to re-memorize, the spell charts are matrices that are used to cast anything in your repertoire (from ACKS).
2) Introduce Summoning spells from the Bard games Atlantean trilogy, along with select other spells such as Preserve, Necromantic Healing, and Soulstone. Also the potion and enchantment rules.
3) Limit classes, deleting the Paladin and a couple of others that don't feel 'Clark Ashton Smith' to me. Strip the Ranger spells.
4) Use Wisdom as Sanity. From Akratic Wizardry.
5) Allow more background skills, and (maybe) d6 rolls based on INT and WIS. Backgound will cost one or two points, and INT 3-8 get one point, INT 9-12 get two, INT 13-16 get three. Some skills will cost one point and some two points. They work as per the rules.
6) Use modified Akratic Wizardry rules for hit points. Everyone automatically gets full hit points to start. This is 'body points', actual serious physical damage. Then an ordinary roll on top of that. So a fighter with an average CON will start with 10 body and 1d10 hit points. And so on. The body pts. represent serious wounds and I have a chart to show either a big scar or a crippling injury that takes a while to heal if taken.
7) Flip over to ascending AC. I think using AC 10 as unarmored.

Anyway, that's mine.
 

Last edited by famouswolf (9/04/2014 6:49 pm)

 

9/04/2014 7:59 pm  #9


Re: House Rules?

Don't really have any yet, but I'll post some once I do. It's pretty much inevitable that everyone's going to tweak the rules here and there to suit their needs. 


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

9/05/2014 11:13 am  #10


Re: House Rules?

When running Hyperborea, I use everything as written. I did fiddle with ascending A when I first used the system, but didn't really find that it was worth it.

AS&SH is by far my favorite system and intend to use it in my home campaign, but it is lacking demi-humans so I plan to write up the various playable races for my own setting at some point, but have not gotten around to that.


ravengodgames.blogspot.com ~ cartography, writing, game design
Author, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
 

9/05/2014 12:02 pm  #11


Re: House Rules?

Found this in Jason Vey's Acheron supplement.  I'm using this as a houserule for any old-school D&D-esque system, including AS&SoH:

The Power of Wine

“Wine!” gasped the king from the couch where they had laid him. They
put a goblet to his bloody lips and he drank like a man half dead of thirst.
“Good!” he grunted, falling back. “Slaying is cursed dry work.”
--Robert E. Howard, “The Phoenix on the Sword”


Wine—standard, normal, everyday wine—is also a powerful restorative in
the Conan narratives. It warms the blood and gets warriors and adventurers
back on their feet. Whenever a character is wounded, he can drink a flagon of
wine, mead, or grog, and instantly recover 1d6 hit points per level of the
character, per flagon or flask drunk. No character can benefit from this more
than once in a 24-hour period, and if a character drinks more than two flagons
(four for fighting-men), he may begin to suffer the effects of drunkenness, at
the DM’s discretion.

EDIT: I'd probably cap this at 1d6 of healing.

Last edited by francisca (9/05/2014 8:34 pm)

 

9/05/2014 12:10 pm  #12


Re: House Rules?

I don't have any "house rules".  I do reserve the right to apply only as many of the rules as I think appropriate at any given time. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

9/05/2014 12:19 pm  #13


Re: House Rules?

For player's that go old-school and pick 3d6 down the line I have a random table of boons that they roll twice on - mostly little bonuses to certain actions, attacks, etc., but they can also potentially start play with a minor magic item if they're lucky (4d6 drop lowest, gets nothing). 

I nicked the Akrasia/Crypt's & Things sanity, black magic and hit point rules. 

I made all of the cultural types have more of an affect on characters; A bonus to FA when fighting mounted for Kimmerians, Picts get +1 HP at ever level, Hyperboreans have a +1 to Intelligence, but are always one category worse on the reaction table with non-Hyperboreans, etc.

Beyond that, I use the "shields shall be splintered" rule, that lets a player turn a critical hit into a normal hit and a normal hit into half-damage and the shield is ruined or ripped from their grasp.

That's it really, AS&SH does just about everything else exactly how I like it when I want to run/play a swords & sorcery long-form campaign. For one shots and mini-campaigns our group still goes back to DCC RPG from time to time.

 

9/05/2014 12:31 pm  #14


Re: House Rules?

My house rules:

1. Max hp at 1st level. Re-roll 1's for hp at all other levels.
2. Ascending AC.
3. Carousing per Jeff Rients.
4. 100 gp / level / month / upkeep. Covers room, board, minor expenses, training, research, non-exotic spell components. Henchmen are 50 gp / level / month for upkeep.
5. Combat runs like B/X rather than RAW. RAW are pretty good, but I always unconsciously revert to B/X.
6. Free henchman at 2nd level. This means no 500 gp recruiting cost  You still pay upkeep and need to share loot with them.
7. Henchmen must always be lower level than the boss. Henchmen who reach the same level must go off on their own. Henchmen may stop gaining XP one shy of advancing to same level as boss if the player wishes. This is the Riker Rule.

 

9/05/2014 7:45 pm  #15


Re: House Rules?

chrisj wrote:

5. Combat runs like B/X rather than RAW. RAW are pretty good, but I always unconsciously revert to B/X.

To be honest, I think this may end up happening for me as well. Actually, that brings up a good point. Can someone clarify the philosophy behind AS&SH's Combat Phases? I'm sure there is some cunning thinking behind it all, but from the initial flip through of the rules it came off as seeming a little superfluous. Do you use them, and what is the gain of doing so? What are they intended to model?

And that reminded me of another house rule I might employ (stolen from gamebooks):

Encumbrance Slots: Instead of calculating the weight of all carried goods, each character has a number of inventory slots for carrying equipment on their person equal to their Strength ability score. Each slot holds one permanent item (such as plate armour or a sword) or a given number of expendable items (a quiver of 40 arrows, 6 torches etc.). A character can also stow smaller items in backpacks and bags (which each take up an inventory slot), but the additional number of slots that are provided by baggage may also not exceed the character's Strength ability score. Thus, a Thief with Strength 8 may have 8 slots for his ready-to-hand equipment as well as 8 slots of baggage for stowed away items. Worn clothing never takes up inventory slots.

Last edited by Galadrin (9/05/2014 7:46 pm)

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9/05/2014 8:50 pm  #16


Re: House Rules?

Galadrin wrote:

]To be honest, I think this may end up happening for me as well. Actually, that brings up a good point. Can someone clarify the philosophy behind AS&SH's Combat Phases? I'm sure there is some cunning thinking behind it all, but from the initial flip through of the rules it came off as seeming a little superfluous. Do you use them, and what is the gain of doing so? What are they intended to model?

It's the same as the combat round from the Holmes Basic set (more or less).  It was a little more baroque than the Moldvay Basic combat round.
 


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

9/06/2014 9:39 am  #17


Re: House Rules?

Blackadder23 wrote:

I don't have any "house rules".  I do reserve the right to apply only as many of the rules as I think appropriate at any given time. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Haha, well said!

After reading through a few more posts, I realized that I do give max HP at first. Apparently I've been doing that so long I don't even recognize it as a house rule anymore.


ravengodgames.blogspot.com ~ cartography, writing, game design
Author, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
 

9/06/2014 9:58 am  #18


Re: House Rules?

Blackadder23 wrote:

Galadrin wrote:

]To be honest, I think this may end up happening for me as well. Actually, that brings up a good point. Can someone clarify the philosophy behind AS&SH's Combat Phases? I'm sure there is some cunning thinking behind it all, but from the initial flip through of the rules it came off as seeming a little superfluous. Do you use them, and what is the gain of doing so? What are they intended to model?

It's the same as the combat round from the Holmes Basic set (more or less).  It was a little more baroque than the Moldvay Basic combat round.
 

 
It seems to me that it hardens back more to miniatures wargaming than later combat systems. When I first read through it, I kept field battles in mind and it made sense to me. In play, it took some getting used to but it works well. I use a dry erase board divided in sections and it helps to things flowing.


ravengodgames.blogspot.com ~ cartography, writing, game design
Author, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
 

9/06/2014 11:13 am  #19


Re: House Rules?

There really isn't any deep-rooted science to it. Part of it is that I cut my teeth on the Holmes system as BA23 notes. To this day have a great appreciation for what the good doctor accomplished with his presentation of the original game. The other part is this: Over the years my players have thrown a lot of nonstandard combat actions at me. Spell casters would want to step back 10 feet and cast a spell; an archer would want to move up 15 feet and then loose an arrow; or a swordsman would want to bridge the distance to his enemy and attack without having to make it as reckless as a "charge attack." I found that on a week to week basis, I wasn't handling my resolutions with consistency -- sometimes I would say, "Fine, but you go at the end of the round," and in other cases, I would say, "Sorry, but that is going to take your character two rounds to complete." I wasn't a big fan of 2e -- I felt the game was emasculated in some ways, with the removal of demons, the terrible blue art, and a plethora of other things. But I did like a few things about it, such as a melee combatant being able to move half and attack, and missile shooters being able to do the same at a reduced ROF. I felt these were resonable adjustments. With AS&SH, I attempted to create a flexible combat system that I felt could handle most (never all) the sorts of combat actions my players had thrown at me over the years. I'm hoping that in the next iteration (in hardback) the inclusion of several combat examples will help to reveal the strength of my choices. Or who knows -- maybe you will look at my examples and say, "OK, I get it, but I still want to do it like Modvay," which is perfectly fine, too.


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

9/06/2014 11:28 am  #20


Re: House Rules?

I use the combat phases as quidelines to determine who goes first and last during a round, in case that it matters. But since the players announce their actions at the same time, it usually becomes obvious if any of them want to delay their action until others have done theirs, so it's rarely neccessary.
Most of the time either all PCs go first and then all enemies, or first all enemies, then the PCs. More differentiation usually doesn't seem necessary to me.


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

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