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Monday, January 30, 2012

What House Rules Did / Do You Use To Give the PCs an Edge in the Beginning of Play?

Maybe "edge" is too strong a word, but "helping hand" seems so lame ;)

In my AD&D campaigns, it was roll 3 sets of 4d6 (best 3 of 4) and keep the set you wanted.  The DM got to keep the discarded sets as handy dice arrays for NPCs.

I also gave max HP at first level (I hated to see TPKs at any level, let alone first due to bad HP rolls), and counted rolled 1s as 2s for later HP rolls.

Of course, this was all learned after allowing players to use the Unearthed Arcana Stat Generation Aberration.  Used it once - the horror!

So, what little house rules do you throw in to give PCs in your campaigns a slight edge?


  1. I agree on the UA stat generation... I tried it and everyone's stats went through the roof.

    I like the 4d6 - the lowest and max HP at first, too.

    I also give Luck or Wyrd points to the PCs. They can use them to affect events, etc. Sometimes it saves a player from croaking, sometimes not ;)

  2. I use 4d6 discard lowest. For first level hit point generation, I allow the players to re-roll a 1-3 if using a d10 and re-roll a 1 if using a d8. D6's and D4's are as rolled.

  3. Luckily, our poor f/mu/t rolled pretty well... :-)

  4. In my "Phantasy Cave" house rules (intended for low level play) I give players the option to heal all hit points after any combat in which they are hurt. BUT...they have to then roll on an injury chart that gives permanent drawbacks that can only be removed/healed by higher-level magic.

  5. Roll 4d6, max hit points at first level and when I generate a background I usually give them allies, family or mentor that can assist them. But I also usually generate a rival, enemy or villain so maybe they cancel out one another.

  6. 4d6, yada, yada. Max hp at first level. Order of the d30 rule. Monsters only crit every other time, unless there's only one monster. Also, I don't give NPC's the Sleep spell.

  7. 4d6, drop lowest. Max hp at 1st level (except rangers have to roll their 2nd d8).

    For OD&D and B/X games, I give Clerics a spell at 1st level (which they don't get in those versions).

    For OD&D and B/X games, I give thieves d6 since d4 just sucks so hard.

  8. James - what is Order of the d30 rule?

  9. what edge do I give players?


    Like Staples, that was easy. :D

  10. After rolling the six stats (in order), I allow them to swap two rolls for each other. So if you want to move that 15 from your Str to your Int, you can do that, also moving what you rolled for Int to Str, of course.

    Magic-users and illusionists get to choose one of the spells in their starting spell book. It's still subject to the Int-based chance to learn, though. The rest of the spells in the starting book are determined randomly, as normal.

    If you get no stats of 15 or higher, you still have to play the array you rolled. On the bright side, I'm happy to remind such a player that a demi-human multiclass can probably give you enough mechanical affordances to help you look past any sadness you might currently be feeling.

    And because I'm a pushover in those regards, I don't use starting age modifiers. No easy +1 to Str for you!

  11. I must admit, like Guy above, I'm a bit of a softy.

    I let them choose class after they've rolled their stats.

  12. I prefer 3d6 in order but to a max combined negative of -1 or re-reroll your character. However, my players die so quickly I feel confident that even 4d6 drop/arrange would make zero impact on the game.

    I also allow them to bind wounds after a combat for 1d3hp but it takes 1 turn and requires a random monster roll.

  13. @kiltedyaksman - I think you currently have the hard core mantle ;)

  14. My monsters tend to be wary of taking the PCs on, unless they have good reason to suspect the PCs are easy marks.

  15. @kiltedyaksman: Your players die quickly?! I guess they play D&D differently on the Canadian frontier!

  16. 4d6 drop lowest and arrange to taste for character generation, max hit points at first level (roll twice and take highest after that), and Shields Shall be Splintered. Plus, I'm very open to plans that are reasonable and/or amuse the DM. ;)

  17. Splintered shields and 1d30/session are the only ones I keep using.

  18. It all depends on the system of D&D I am playing, but if it's AD&D during character generation they roll 4d6x7 (1 roll is like a mulligan), then arrange as desired, and I give max hit pints at first level. I also use the d30 once per session, but it rarely comes into use. For my new B/X game we're going by the book, except for the popular d30 rule. I keep offering shields shall be splintered, but people keep forgetting about it, in both versions.

  19. These are interesting. I've wrestled with the idea of Splintered Shields but it just feels too powerful to me. If I understand it, you can negate a major damage blow just by sacrificing your shield. Shields, generally, are cheap and easy to find. It just seems too much to negate a major, potentially fatal, blow by sacrifing a shield.

    Then again, everyone else seems to like this rule so maybe I'm missing something.

    What is the 1d30 rule? I've heard it referred to, but have no idea what it means. :)

  20. I use the 4D6 rule as well but with a twist. If you dont like your rolls, you get a second chance to roll your stat's again, BUT the player roll's 3D6 and goes down the ability's and MUST keep their roll's.

  21. Thanks Brendan. That d30 rule is intriguing.

  22. Never required a roll, always allocated max HP for the players at 1st.
    In addition to allowing them to roll up monies, we'd use the C&S 1st backgrounds, to determine if the players inherited.

  23. Always did 3d6 straight up. Hated the 4d6 rules option. Max HP at 1st lvl. In addition to starting monies we also used to roll on the C&S 1st genealogy & background tables to determine what (if anything) the players inherited. Got some interesting player back stories out of that as well. Fighters often got a family weapon or shield, and Knights along with a that, Horse, saddle, tack, and a lance or two.



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