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4/25/2019 9:59 am  #1


House rules and changes to rules

What rules have most of you guys changed or houseruled? What are some of your general alternatives?

In being new to the game there are a few things I'm tempted to houserule/change.  Things like the 2 phase combat rounds, possibly multiple attacks, maybe change descending Armor Class to ascending Armor Class, etc.

Last edited by Spellbinder (4/25/2019 12:40 pm)

 

4/25/2019 12:26 pm  #2


Re: House rules and changes to rules

I've done trials of house rules off and on, but have reverted to mostly RAW: my only changes now are specific to my setting (Old Terra) and the backgrounds specific to it. So my Atlanteans are nothing like Hyperborea's, I have other human cultural backgrounds, and I have my own Secondary Skills tables (cribbed from other sources).


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

4/25/2019 12:39 pm  #3


Re: House rules and changes to rules

The main thing I am kind of iffy about and trying to wrap my head around in the book is the 2 phase combat rounds and how the actions pan out between the phases.  I fear my more modern raised gamers in my group may hate consulting the table to see how to space out actions per phase according to attack rate and movement value.

     Thread Starter
 

4/25/2019 12:42 pm  #4


Re: House rules and changes to rules

rhialto wrote:

I've done trials of house rules off and on, but have reverted to mostly RAW: my only changes now are specific to my setting (Old Terra) and the backgrounds specific to it. So my Atlanteans are nothing like Hyperborea's, I have other human cultural backgrounds, and I have my own Secondary Skills tables (cribbed from other sources).

For secondary skills tables do you mean that you added a skill system to the game? I'd love to have a concise skill list to use in the game with the classes.  I love having skills in these games.
 

     Thread Starter
 

4/25/2019 3:15 pm  #5


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Spellbinder wrote:

The main thing I am kind of iffy about and trying to wrap my head around in the book is the 2 phase combat rounds and how the actions pan out between the phases.  I fear my more modern raised gamers in my group may hate consulting the table to see how to space out actions per phase according to attack rate and movement value.

Yes, it does take some getting used to, but over time I find it begins to make sense. The one discussion we've had recently is "Should Melee go before Missile?" in each Phase. And we may try flipping those two.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

4/25/2019 3:18 pm  #6


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Spellbinder wrote:

rhialto wrote:

I've done trials of house rules off and on, but have reverted to mostly RAW: my only changes now are specific to my setting (Old Terra) and the backgrounds specific to it. So my Atlanteans are nothing like Hyperborea's, I have other human cultural backgrounds, and I have my own Secondary Skills tables (cribbed from other sources).

For secondary skills tables do you mean that you added a skill system to the game? I'd love to have a concise skill list to use in the game with the classes.  I love having skills in these games.
 

No, the opposite actually: no skills added, but backgrounds like Escaped Slave, Graverobber, Sky Pilot, etc. But no skill lists: I make liberal use of the 1d6 Non-Standard Task rule and just wing it.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

4/25/2019 5:54 pm  #7


Re: House rules and changes to rules

The thing is, you don't need to have a skill list for players to hem and haw over. Just assume they are good at things related to their class and background and use the x-in-6 resolution mechanic. These games' simplicity are the best thing about them. Lots of other games have more elaborate skill systems if that's what you're after.
2-phase combat is unique to the game, almost a trademark. It works so well I'd port that to other OSR systems and not the other way around. But I do use the BX/Moldvay way of organizing the phases, namely Move→Missile→Magic→Mêlée rather than As&sH's Mêlée→Missiles→Magic→Movement. But if you hate your players' spellcasters, than by all means go by the book.

Edit: Also, please try the game as is, without preconceptions about what you think it needs for houserules. You might be surprised, probably pleasantly.

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (4/25/2019 6:06 pm)


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
 

4/25/2019 7:20 pm  #8


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Spellbinder wrote:

What rules have most of you guys changed or houseruled? What are some of your general alternatives?

In being new to the game there are a few things I'm tempted to houserule/change.  Things like the 2 phase combat rounds, possibly multiple attacks, maybe change descending Armor Class to ascending Armor Class, etc.

Why are you changing this game? 
Embrace it. Learn it. Try it....
 


 
 

4/25/2019 7:58 pm  #9


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

The thing is, you don't need to have a skill list for players to hem and haw over. Just assume they are good at things related to their class and background and use the x-in-6 resolution mechanic. These games' simplicity are the best thing about them. Lots of other games have more elaborate skill systems if that's what you're after.

Agree with this, and that's what I was getting at with my point. An example might help: I have one PC who's an Escaped Slave. His character will know proper obeisances, how to appear inconspicuous in a room, how to prepare meals, etc. I judge the x-in-6 chance on a per situation basis, and it is decoupled from class and level. 

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

2-phase combat is unique to the game, almost a trademark. It works so well I'd port that to other OSR systems and not the other way around. But I do use the BX/Moldvay way of organizing the phases, namely Move→Missile→Magic→Mêlée rather than As&sH's Mêlée→Missiles→Magic→Movement. But if you hate your players' spellcasters, than by all means go by the book.

Interesting: we discussed a Missile->Melee->Magic->Move sequence (just based on how we perceive each action is quicker than the one after it).

 


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

4/25/2019 8:15 pm  #10


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Uhm, I don't think the table on p244 is meant to show the order of actions in a given phase. The way I read the text is that Phase One actions are ordered from highest to lowest initiative (e.g. if the enemy caster rolls a 6 and the party only rolls a 5, the sorcerer - if stays stationary - gets to cast their spell before the party's frontline gets in melee range). The table wouldn't really make sense otherwise anyways - why would half move + melee attack combos be resolved _before_ half moves sans attack?
(I hope I wasn't misreading your posts.)

 

4/26/2019 5:40 am  #11


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Ynas Midgard wrote:

Uhm, I don't think the table on p244 is meant to show the order of actions in a given phase. The way I read the text is that Phase One actions are ordered from highest to lowest initiative (e.g. if the enemy caster rolls a 6 and the party only rolls a 5, the sorcerer - if stays stationary - gets to cast their spell before the party's frontline gets in melee range). The table wouldn't really make sense otherwise anyways - why would half move + melee attack combos be resolved _before_ half moves sans attack?
(I hope I wasn't misreading your posts.)

No, you weren't misreading my post at least, and I think you're right now: it just seems like a sequence, since they're not alphabetically ordered. Now that I reread the Initiative section on p.244 it's clear that within a Phase the priority of determining action sequence is 1) Highest Initiative Roll, 2) If same Initiative Roll, in order of Dexterity Score, 3) If same Dexterity Sore, Simultaneous. Thanks!


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

4/26/2019 6:07 pm  #12


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Ynas Midgard wrote:

I don't think the table on p244 is meant to show the order of actions in a given phase.

Tell that to my referee.

Ynas Midgard wrote:

Uhm

What's up with that friend?


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
 

4/28/2019 4:22 am  #13


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

Ynas Midgard wrote:

I don't think the table on p244 is meant to show the order of actions in a given phase.

Tell that to my referee.

Like I said: why would move+attack combos go faster than simple moves? : P

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

Ynas Midgard wrote:

Uhm

What's up with that friend?

Oh, that was meant to represent /ɜːm/, a sound I normally use to signal surprise (which I then follow by disagreement and an explanation). I could have typed it as "erm", instead, but "uhm" is visually more pleasing. Just my way of inserting a little conversationalism to written communication.

 

7/12/2019 10:31 am  #14


Re: House rules and changes to rules

I’m considering changing the combat matrix to a more B/X style, i.e. 20s are hits even into the negative ACs. I don’t think it will unbalance the game, and it cuts down on having to write all the way to -9 on the character sheet.


Tim D
 

7/12/2019 11:31 am  #15


Re: House rules and changes to rules

mordegast wrote:

I’m considering changing the combat matrix to a more B/X style, i.e. 20s are hits even into the negative ACs. I don’t think it will unbalance the game, and it cuts down on having to write all the way to -9 on the character sheet.

HAHAHA! Love it!


 
 

7/17/2019 10:33 pm  #16


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Yeah, we ignore the phased combat system entirely and just play it like Labyrinth Lord/Basic D&D, except that we roll d10s for initiative by side.  Determining who exactly goes in what order after that is based pretty much on common sense/position in the encounter.  Our other big house rules are exploding dice and more lethal criticals than in the RAW.  I also now use a hit location die (courtesy of the 2d20 Conan rpg) to describe the crits.  And yes, 20 always hits (and causes a critical) and 1 is a miss and a fumble.  Other than that, we pretty much follow the RAW.


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

7/18/2019 3:47 am  #17


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Spider - with the exploding dice, I assume you are referring to damage dice?

I also run our combat as per LL or S&W with everyone just taking one big phase in initiative order.  This is not because of any objection to the phases as written, but simply to keep things simple and fast for the players.  We don’t use figures or floorplans to track movement, but just allow things to evolve freeform where the action plays out in our heads (the graphics and special effects can be SO much better there!).  But, I suspect the AS&SH two-phase action would be much more tactical and engaging for tactically-minded players if we were using figures and floorplans.

Re the topic thread, my house rules tend to orbit around avoiding insta-character death (death on failed save, level draining, death spells).  This is not because I think the original rules are bad per se (indeed, I know these have merit and can really affect the style and feel of a game), but simply because they don’t suit our gaming style.

 

7/18/2019 3:54 am  #18


Re: House rules and changes to rules

rhialto wrote:

No, the opposite actually: no skills added, but backgrounds like Escaped Slave, Graverobber, Sky Pilot, etc.

Expanded or more detailed backgrounds would be a nice addition for fleshing-out both PCs and NPCs.

I’ve not really looked into this in much detail.  Do folks have preferred lists for this sort of thing?

 

7/18/2019 5:19 pm  #19


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Doctor_Rob wrote:

rhialto wrote:

No, the opposite actually: no skills added, but backgrounds like Escaped Slave, Graverobber, Sky Pilot, etc.

Expanded or more detailed backgrounds would be a nice addition for fleshing-out both PCs and NPCs.

I’ve not really looked into this in much detail. Do folks have preferred lists for this sort of thing?

I use Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque for inspiration: Vol. 1 has a d100 table of such backgrounds.


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

7/19/2019 12:35 am  #20


Re: House rules and changes to rules

Yes, damage dice explode.  So if you roll 8 on a d8, keep rolling until it's not a 8 and add up the results.  But this also applies for healing spells so they can be more effective too.  As for crits, it's pretty simple.  Natural 20 is a crit.  For spells if the save roll is a 1, that's a crit.  Then you roll another d20:
1-15: x2 damage
16-17: x3
18-19: x4
20: x5

As for dying, at 0 hp you're unconscious and have a number of minutes equal to your CON score to be raised to 1 hp.  At -10 you're dead.  If you take more than 50 hp of damage from any 1 attack, you must make a system shock roll to survive.  And save or die poisons etc. still kill you.  None of this 5E multiple save crap.

Also, all PCs get a 20 HP "kicker" at 1st level.  I cribbed this one from Hackmaster.


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

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