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Monday, November 19, 2012

When Running Your Favorite RPG, What Rules Do You Ignore?

I'd Like to Know the Spell Being Casted by the Magic-User ;)

Pretty much everyone houserules to some extent, but when we think of houserules we usually think of "what we are adding". Sometime, we add to the RPG experience by leaving out, ignoring or tweaking the shit out of some rules.

The next campaign I run will be using the AD&D 1e rules, and there is an assortment of rules, big and small, that I'll be leaving out or horribly tweaking:

Weapon Speed is out - never used it back in the day, not going to even attempt it now.

Demi-Human Level Limits - odds are, unless someone chooses a halfing fighter of a half-elf cleric, we wouldn't bounce up against them anyway. If we reach that level, I won't be holding my PCs back.

Weapon Proficiencies - if it's on your list, you know how to use it. Simple enough. Fighters know them all unless they are truly exotic.

Spell Components Tracking - buy the cheap ones and you have them for life, barring your belongings burning up or getting stripped naked. The more expensive ones will still be tracked.

Helms - what was it, 1 in 6 attacks are made against the un-helmeted head? too much trouble for too little return

Combat Initiative - Spell, Missile, Combat order - if it's your turn based on initiative roll, you go. Counting spell segments to the next boom? Not worth the investment.

Strength Limits Based on Gender - don't expect it to come up, but if it does, I'll be ignoring it

Assassins - Not really a class made for group play. Gone

The might be some more that escape me at the moment, but this is the main list.

What rules to you ignore or remove from the RPGs you run, and why?


  1. When I run AD&D I port over a lot of B/X rules, or rather the lack thereof. So I don't use segments, weapon speed, or a lot of other rules. I also use individual initiative. It runs a lot smoother imo.

  2. I'm not gonna lie.. we never used weight and encumbrance..

  3. We have always ignored the rules for light sources, going all the way back to 1980.

  4. Right now I'm running AD&D and leaving out:

    Weapons vs. Armor
    Rangers having 2HD at first level

  5. Weapons vs. Armor
    Weight and Encumbrance until LotFP idea.
    Weapon speed.

  6. Initiative... GONE! I use a dynamic system where based on your actions, determines your order. It creates a very organic feel to combat versus simply resorting to dice. The only time I use initiative is when two (or more) characters face off and attack. With dynamic initiative, you'd be surprised how little that actually happens. I find my combats are more interesting since I got rid of rolling for initiative. However, when I do, I actually DO USE weapon speed because it is a small complication that enhances rather that slowing the game down.

  7. I have a plan to run an AD&D 1E game, and I am fully of the opinion that it cannot be run as written because some of the rules contradict others (though some things I'd change simply due to personal taste). However, I think that the rules can be run with tweaks, and that removing too many moves the game away from AD&D and back toward D&D - so if getting rid of so much, why not just play BECMI, Cyclopedia, or BX (or S&W or LL or whatever)? Anyway, what I'd change (note that I am lazy, and take most of my replacement systems from Dragon magazine articles of days gone by):

    There are some parts of the DMG Initiative systems that I would drop. This is the biggest place where the rules as written contradict themselves. It forces me to rationalize some of the other parts, but the whole things ends up working better.

    There's a modified Weapon Proficiency system in Dragon 65 that I like, so I'd drop the normal one and replace it with that one. Each proficiency slot is used to learn a category of weapons, instead of a single weapon type.

    I would ignore the DMG Weaponless Combat nonsense, preferring the Weaponless Combat System I from Unearthed Arcana. That's what Gary actually used at his tables, after all. (The only other things from UA that I'd use would be the new weapons, some of the magic items, and a few of the spells, so most of that book would be dropped.)

    I ignore Alignment nearly entirely, replacing it with another system taken from Dragon magazine called "For King and Country", where characters basically declare their allegiances, both temporal and religious. Paladins have a separate set of 10 rules based on orders given to Crusading knights in the 11th century.

    PHB Bards suck. They would be replaced by the Dragon 56 Bard class (and the spell use of that class is replaced by the "Songs Instead of Spells" article in the same issue).

    Psionics would be heavily tweaked, along the lines of Dragon 78 and Hack & Slash Courtney's Psionics document.

    Poisons in the DMG suck. There's a different system that I prefer (again from Dragon magazine).

    I do not like the DMG training costs for gaining a new level, though I like the idea. I'll tweak the exact amount so that low level characters aren't spending more gold than they have xp.

    I'd dump the morale rules in the DMG, but I'd replace them with the rules in Battlesystem (or possibly the ones in the Rules Cyclopedia).

    Gender-based stat limits? Dumped faster than you can say it.

    Encumbrance as written would be ignored. I like the Encumbrance By Stone system as a replacement, but would only invoke it if a character were obviously loaded down.

    The money system of AD&D would go away, replaced by a version of the silver standard.

    So, not really dropping many things so much as replacing them or modifying them.

    A couple of things that I'd specifically keep would include Weapon Speed and Casting Times (those are related), the helmets rule, and Weapon vs. Armor Type. I don't know why people think of those as "too complicated". They're easier than the systems in some popular games like Shadowrun or the HERO System.

  8. I tend to ignore some of the more fiddly firearm rules in Call of Cthulhu, but that's more because they don't come up in play than me making an effort to drop them from the game.


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