House Rules Dwimmermount Campaign

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I ran Dwimmermount for more than a year. We ended around the turn of the year. These are some of the House Rules I used. These are just some basic house rules. I’ll post some of my more advanced house rules in separate posts.

Generating Ability Scores

Ability Scores are determined randomly by rolling and assigning the result in order of the listed ability. Demihumans (dwarves and elves) roll 3d6 and sum all three dice to determine ability scores. Men roll 4d6 and sum the highest three dice, dropping the fourth die.

The only change to this rule I would make would be to permit characters to always at least gain 1 hit point. Despite the overall trend of benefiting players, they always bitched like little babies when their hit points did not go up at all.

HIT POINTS

Each class has a HD type. To determine starting hit points, roll your initial hit die. Each time you gain a level, you earn an additional hit die and roll your HD again. If the sum is greater than your previous hit point total, increase it. Otherwise, it stays the same.

Your Constitution modifier, if any, adds to the total sum of hit points rolled (not each HD rolled). The exception is the Fighter, who may add their Constitution modifier to each HD rolled.

Example: Bob’s character is a Fighter with a 1d8 HD at 1st level. He rolls a 2 for starting hit points. He survives to 2nd Level, which increases his HD to 2d8. He rolls 2d8 and gets 13. This is higher than his previous hit point total, so he increases hit points to 13. At 3rd level, his HD becomes 3d8. Bob rolls them all and gets 10. Since this is below his previous hit point total, his hit points remain at 13.

At 10th level and above, continue earning and rolling your hit dice as outlined above instead of gaining the +1 or +2 outlined in the AEC.

I really liked this system, in that the players always had to choose between equipment, scrolls, etc. and experience points. It meant that treasure became a resource and conservation of resources became a way to gain more XP. However, I also didn’t like that not much benefit came from funneling 1,000s of gold into the local economy other than a bigger guild hall and some access to better goods. I might use something like Courtney Campbell’s carousing / training system next time.

EXPERIENCE POINTS

Experience points are earned by spending treasure accumulated while adventuring on frivolous intangibles (revelry, tithing, etc.). For each 1 GP worth of treasure spent on these things, the character earns 1 XP. Experience is not earned for treasure spent on equipment, property, bribes, spell research, etc.

There are several types of treasure that can be found within Dwimmermount and the surrounding areas:

  • Valuables; coins, gems, jewelry, etc.
  • Maps; copies of your maps can be sold and the value can be spent on XP
  • Lore; sages who purchase secrets of the dungeon can be sold and the value spent on XP

Note that in this game each class has its own XP required to increase in level. Because of this and the way spending GP for XP works, treasure can be spent asymmetrically on characters to “level them up”. This decision should be made by the players strategically, depending on the circumstances of play. Though, it may be easier and cause less arguments to just split treasure evenly and permit each player to make their own decisions about XP.

WEAPONS & ARMOR

Every class can use any weapons or armor. However, magic-users cannot cast spells while wearing armor heavier than padded and need both hands free to cast. And, thieves cannot use their skills while in armor heavier than leather or using a shield.

Note: This also applied to Elves who cast spells. I’ve always thought that Elves being able to freely cast spells in plate armor was ridiculous, so multi-class elves would have to wear lighter armor to cast spells. Speaking of multi-class characters…

Multiclassing

Demihumans may choose to multiclass at character creation. Use these rules.

Track experience for each class as individual totals. When you spend treasure for XP, the total is split evenly between each class you belong to.

e.g. As an Elven Thief/Magic-User, you earn 500 GP worth of treasure and decide to spend it all on XP upon returning to town. You would apply 250 XP to your Thief XP and 250 XP to your Magic-User XP.

A single class character will generally be a level ahead of multiclass characters. In the early game this could mean the difference between survival and death. In the later game it means quicker access to more powerful abilities, especially for spellcasters.

At first level, use the largest HD between your classes to determine starting hit points. Each time you increase level in that class, roll for hit points as normal. Do not roll for hit points when you increase in level for the other class.

e.g. As a 1st level Elven Fighter/Magic-User, you use the Fighter’s HD to determine hit points (1d8 vs. 1d4). When you reach 2nd level in Fighter, you would reroll hit points using 2d8. However, when you reached 2nd level in Magic-User, you would not reroll hit points.

A multiclass character always uses the best saving throws and attack values between their classes.

e.g. As an Elven Magic-User 5 / Thief 6, you would use the Thief saving throws and attack values.

As noted previously, a magic-user has a spellbook that contains a collection of their commonly known spells (the ones they start with) and spells they have discovered, stolen, or researched.

SPELLBOOKS & SCrolls

All magic-users begin play with a spellbook containing the following spells: Detect Magic, Identify, Read Magic, and Scribe. In order to add a new spell to a spellbook, a character must find a copy of the spell (in another spellbook or on a scroll) and use Scribe to add it to their spellbook. This process – as outlined in the spell description – takes 1 hour per level of the spell. Powerful magic-users may research new spells, summon them into existence, and then Scribe them into a spellbook.

Scrolls permit a magic-user to cast more spells per day than they normally are permitted through memorization. A magic-user may activate and imbue a spell into a scroll from their spellbook. This permits anyone who can read magic to cast the spell from the scroll. Once it is cast, the scroll crumbles to dust and the spell returns to its origin spellbook. Using Scribe to create a scroll costs 100gp per leve of the spell worth of rare materials that are consumed in the creation of the scroll.

Spellbooks and scrolls can be damaged or destroyed. Scrolls that are destroyed send the spell back to its last origin spellbook. Spellbooks must be recreated using the Scribe spell. This process – as outlined in the spell description – takes 1 hour per level of the spell. And, each spell must be restored using this process. Thus, a magic-user recreating a spellbook with two 1st level spells and a 2nd level spell requires 4 hours. There is no cost other than to purchase a new spellbook (15gp for 100 pages).

About the author

Michael Pfaff

It's pronounced P-aff -- the first 'f' is silent. I live in Louisville. I like games and reading about games. I hope to write about gaming stuff here.

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By Michael Pfaff

Michael Pfaff

It's pronounced P-aff -- the first 'f' is silent. I live in Louisville. I like games and reading about games. I hope to write about gaming stuff here.

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