I put together my first house rules. I stole some ideas from people on these boards so I thought I'd share. Hopefully some of my ideas are useful to you, and I would love to check out the house rules of other people to add to my own.
Totoro Pointbuy: 32 points
Aasimar have the traits of the half-elf, as printed, but with a great variety of different appearances. See below under plane-touched for backstory.
Dragonborn have tails. Otherwise, as printed.
Dwarves are as printed.
Eladrin (aka “High Elves”
are as printed, except that they do not die of old age; rather, they fade when they are “done” living, usually at the end of the lifespan as printed in the PHB, though not always.
Elves have Trance instead of Group Awareness, and have Eyes of the Hawk (the ability to see great distances) and Ears of the Fox (the ability to hear pitches higher than those in the human audible range).
Half-Elves have the traits of either human, elf, or eladrin—player’s choice.
Halflings are as printed.
Humans are as printed.
Tieflings are mechanically as printed, though they can have a great variety of different appearances, and see below under plane-touched for backstory.
Note: I plan to use some printed adventures and will substitute aasimar for half-elves in those adventures, and make the occasional human, elf, or eladrin into a half-elf. This way, I can change the fluff without changing any crunch. Obviously, I will also have to pick appearances for aasimar and tieflings. Also, the eladrin and elf mechanical changes don’t really have an impact on stat blocks, though the lack of group awareness might require that I subtract one from the perception of elf allies.
Plane-Touched (still working on some place names, etc.)
Several millennia ago Bael Turath, a human nation, was at war with a great dragonborn civilization. The war was being fought to a draw. Most of the nobility of Bael Turath struck a bargain with a devil to get an edge in the war. The bargain transformed most of the inhabitants of Bael Turath into tieflings. The tieflings turned inward in a very brief but bloody civil war in which all inhabitants who did not agree with the pact were slaughtered by devils, leaving only tieflings. They then turned with renewed vigor on the dragonborn.
There was a group of celestial beings at the time who watched as this unfolded. They desired to help, but were not “invited” so they would be forced to take on a mortal form to have an impact. They knew that they would eventually die in their mortal coils and pass on, but decided to sacrifice themselves to save the world from diabolical domination. Out of respect for those of Bael Turath who turned their backs on the devil, and were slain for it, the aasimar who ultimately fell to earth took on the forms of those humans, though they also kept some of their celestial traits. The aasimar gave an edge in the war to the dragonborn so the tieflings, in a last desperate move, invoked magic sufficient to blast both civilizations to nothing. The world has not yet regained the levels of civilization of Bael Turath and the dragonborn empire.
It is not clear that the devil who was responsible for the creation of tieflings was interested in defeating the dragonborn. His plans may have been more long range. Over the centuries, it has been noted by some scholars that any human with tiefling heritage can give birth to a tiefling and any tiefling can give birth to a human. Tiefling children are more rare than humans, but they seem to arrive at the most opportune times to cause misfortune. The misfortune takes many forms. For example, a person who would have done minor evil may do much greater evil as a tiefling, and is therefore born as one. As another example, a human who was destined to unite the world in peace may be born a tiefling and, just for being a tiefling, be struck down by a champion of good (the champion thereby unwittingly serving as a pawn of evil). A relatively weak-willed human who would have done good in the world might be born a tiefling, and the stress of being a social outcast might drive him to evil. The intricate web could be planned out for many generations. Thus, although an individual tiefling may be the most unwavering ally of good, his tiefling features indicate that he is ultimately a pawn of evil in the struggle between good and evil. Many good tieflings are a bit insecure about the part they play.
The impetus for a fetus to form as an aasimar appears to come from the desires of the mother rather than the influence of an outerplanar creature. Aasimar are cut off from their celestial past and their appearance is not part of a dynamic master plan. Rather, aasimar are born to mothers who want their child to be a champion of good. This does not always translate into an aasimar actually being a hero, and some even slip into evil. Aasimar frequently try to do what they feel is their destiny, heroic deeds, but the lack of any input from a god, or at least no more than anyone else, sometimes leaves them questioning their faith. Tieflings, after all, can easily reach out to the devil and obtain aid and comfort. Aasimar are alone. An aasimar can be born of any human who has angelic ancestry, and any aasimar can give birth to a human.
The long-reaching impact of the aasimar bloodline, however, is that any human with both tiefling and aasimar ancestry can give birth to neither a tiefling nor an aasimar. So the aasimar bloodline serves to prevent tieflings from being born at any time to any person, since the tiefling trait would in time be passed on to all human descendants if the aasimar were not introduced to the world. So it may be that the intelligence behind the introduction of aasimar into the world has more to do with stopping the manifestation of tiefling traits than anything else individual aasimar might accomplish.
Classes are as printed, but I use the name “Marshal” instead of “Warlord” because I hate the name “Warlord.”
Defenders: Fighter, Paladin
Strikers: Ranger, Rogue, or Warlock
Leaders: Cleric, Marshal
Precious metal is valued as follows: A pound of copper is worth 2 pence. A pound of silver is worth 1 £. A pound of gold is worth 50 £. A pound of platinum is worth 100 £. A pound of truesilver is worth 10,000 £.
When platinum pieces are indicated in a price list, use truesilver guineas instead. Truesilver is a type of mithril used for decorative purposes and minting. When astral diamonds are indicated in a price list, use $1 mage coins instead. Residuum is normally stored in mage coins to give them their value; mage coins without residuum are worthless.
Monetary Unit Value Weight
Farthing (Copper) 1/1000 £ 0.05
Penny (Silver) 1/100 £ 0.01
Shilling (Gold) 1/10 £ 0.002
Crown (Platinum) “Platinum Piece” 1 £ 0.01
Guinea (Truesilver) 10 £ 0.001
Mage Coin ($1) 1000 £ 0.01
I don’t spend a lot of time mucking around with converting money from one denomination to another. If you find copper, silver, or gold in an adventure, it is measured in tenths of pounds and carried as treasure until you convert it to convenient denominations. Players can calculate money weight using platinum value because if it becomes a weight issue, you can convert some of your cash to platinum. The easiest way to do this is have a money pouch or money belt that weighs 1 pound (give or take) and don’t mess with it unless you have more than 100 £ cash. At paragon level, start using truesilver. At epic level, start using mage coins.
I am using costs for items circa 1400 in England. Full plate and high quality weaponry might cost a total of 20 £. A castle might cost 5,000 £. Clothing and horses are surprisingly expensive. A horse might cost 1 £, 10 £ for a high-grade riding horse, and as much as 80 £ for a good warhorse. Even the cheapest serf’s shirt might cost 1 pence, a normal (wealthy) peasant outfit will cost 3 shillings, and a fashionable gown might costs between 10 and 50 £. (You read right: More than full plate armor.)
Labor costs less than 1 farthing per day for the cheapest (kitchen servants, pages, etc.); skilled labor typically costs at least 1 pence per day, mercenaries typically cost at least 5 pence per day.
You will start off with about 50 £. If you can’t spend it all, then the remainder will be invested in your house. A cottage costs 2 £, a well-built house might cost 5 £, a craftsman’s house or modest hall might costs 10-15 £, a merchant’s house or stone gatehouse might cost 30 £ or more.
All alignment is gauged from the perspective of the character. If you say your actions are in accordance with one of the listed alignments (as defined below) that is good enough for me. If it gets out of hand, you can still pick your alignment, but you will be insane.
The alignments cover only what they say they do. For example, a Good person will sacrifice himself to protect non-evil beings. How does the Good person react to Evil beings? It doesn’t say—player’s choice.
Characters cannot be Evil, (Evil), or Chaotic. Exception: If no other player chooses to play a Good or (Good) character, you can have evil tendencies and if no other player chooses to play a Lawful or (Lawful) character, you can play a Chaotic character.
The Moral Aspect
Good—You will sacrifice yourself to prevent the deaths of apparently non-evil beings.
(Good)—You will act against your own interests to prevent the deaths of apparently non-evil beings.
Neutral—You may or may not act against your own interests to prevent the deaths of others, but you will not willingly cause the death of others except in self-defense.
(Evil)—You are willing to cause the deaths of non-evil creatures if it is in your interests.
Evil—You are willing to cause the deaths of non-evil creatures even if it is not in your interests.
The Ethics Aspect
Lawful—You believe that all things are owned (e.g., by a person, by a ruler, or by a god). You are willing to die to protect those property rights.
(Lawful)—You believe that all things are owned, and will expend resources to protect the institution of property, even if it does not directly benefit you.
Unaligned—You will protect property rights if it is in your interests to do so (this likely includes protecting the commonly owned “commons”
, but you will not interfere with the property rights of others.
(Chaotic)—You are willing to interfere with the property rights of others (e.g., steal) if it is in your interests.
Chaotic—You are willing to interfere with the property rights of others even if it is not in your interests.
The Standard Alignments
Lawful Good—You own a realm or are an agent of the owner (e.g., emperor). The owner of a realm is responsible for ensuring that all non-evil folk are protected from death, and that chaotic and evil acts are punished. An owner of a realm that is unable to do so should be assisted unless removal from power is necessary.
Lawful Neutral—You own a realm or are an agent of the owner. The owner of a realm must punish chaotic acts (note that murdering a subject of the realm is an attack on the owner of the realm’s “property;” so LN enforcers typically treat evil acts similarly to chaotic). However, visitors to the realm are not your business unless you are ordered to make them your business; only subjects of the realm are protected. An owner of a realm that is unable to prevent chaos should be assisted or replaced. You will give your life to protect the realm and follow your liege’s instructions to the death.
Lawful Evil—You own a realm or are an agent of the owner. The owner of a realm can act as he sees fit, but must prevent chaos and must allow subjects of the realm to treat their inferiors as they wish (including hunting them for sport, if desired). An owner of a realm who does not prevent chaos and allow superiors to treat inferiors as they like should be replaced.
Good—You may refuse to protect property rights if it is not in your interests, but you will die to prevent the deaths of apparently non-evil beings.
Unaligned—You live in the commons along with everyone else, and you will help defend the commons because it is in your interests. However, you will not necessarily prevent the deaths of others unless it is in your interests (or costs you nothing).
Evil—You will defend property rights if it is in your interests, but you are a sociopath and love to kill others even if you do not benefit in any way.
Chaotic Good—You feel no compunctions about stealing, but you will give your life to protect apparently non-evil folk from death. This includes refusing to kill someone who is assaulting you because you stole from them, even if that may result in your death.
Chaotic Neutral—You feel no compunctions about stealing, and see no need to prevent the deaths of others, though you will not cause their deaths except in self-defense. You are willing to kill in “self-defense” if someone assaults you after you steal from them.
Chaotic Evil—You steal what you want and kill what you want. Unfortunately, you enjoy this so much that you steal and kill even if it is not in your interests to do so.
All players must choose a replacement character concept in case their characters die, assuming death is a possibility (see below).
If a character is killed in combat, the player must decide whether the character stays dead before the death strike description. If the player does not want the character to stay dead, he will miraculously still be alive when the encounter ends. If the character dies, the player’s replacement character will be introduced as quickly as reasonably possible.