by swmabie, Jul 5,2011

House Rules for 4e PbP

The following house rules are in use in any PbP that I am DMing, unless otherwise noted.

  • • [[Dnd:Swmabie/MC-HR | House Rules specific to Multiclassing]]
  • • [[Dnd:Swmabie/DS-HR | Dark Sun-specific house rules]]

Character Creation for Higher Levels
• Social Modifiers based on Character Race
Class Skills - Removed
SpellBook Attack/Utility Power Choices
• Rituals, Alchemy, & Martial Practices
• Inherent Expertise feats
• Weapon Multiclass feats
• Multiclassing
Hybrid Talent
Combat Order
• Map Priority
• Fight or Flight
Weapon/Implement/Armor Sacrifice for Re-roll
Skill Improvisation
• Embedded Minor Actions
• Free Action Attacks
• Light Sources
3 Dimensions
Alternatives to the Vampire Class

Character Creation, higher levels

If you are creating a character starting higher than level 1:
• Unless noted in the individual game, any class is allowed with the express exception of the Vampire class (see the very bottom of these House Rules regarding alternatives to that), any theme is allowed with the express exception of the Fatedancer, and all races and backgrounds are allowed. (However, note the Racial Profiling house-rule.)
• In some campaigns, some non-standard races will be allowed by refluffing others (for example, refluffing Kobolds as Silt Runners in a Dark Sun campaign).
• You are permitted 3 magic items, which includes Alternate Rewards, of Level+1, Level, and Level-1. You also have the value of a Level-1 item in coins, which you may spend for other non-mundane items (including Rituals, Recipes, and Consumables). These items — including any purchased ones — can only be Common or Uncommon, not Rare. (All Rituals are considered Uncommon.)
• Mundane items (which includes all Mounts and anything listed as Gear) are Free, with the caveat that the maximum cost of an individual item is no more than the "Major Purchase" for the appropriate level (from the "Pocket Change" table).
• No matter how much money is spent, once character creation is completed you have the "Minor Purchase" amount (from the "Pocket Change" table) in coins.

Racial Profiling

The following will be used to handle "racial relations" in most cases:

Races legal to a game will be divided into 5 categories:
Common & Accepted — No adjustment to social checks
Uncommon & Accepted — -2 to Social Checks
Uncommon but Not Accepted — -5 to Social Checks
Rare & Accepted — -4 to Social Checks
Rare & Not Accepted — -10 to Social Checks
Note that the terms are in relation to the local area and people involved; it is possible for any race to be on any list, depending on the circumstances.

The listed modifier will be applied in social situations in which the characters are not familiar to the other participants. The DM reserves the right to adjust the numbers according to the situation in question. Once the characters have become familiar to those they are dealing with, these modifiers will be reduced, even potentially eliminated.

"Class Skills" Removed

• With the exception of "free skills," which the character gets by being a certain class, there are no limitations in which skills may be chosen by a character during creation or during play.
• The minimum number of skills — both chosen and free - that a character may take during character creation is four (4). (Classes affected: Barbarian, Battlemind, Berserker, Fighter, Hybrid, Knight, Slayer.)
• In implementing this rule change, you may retrain any one skill immediately, and any other changes are per the normal retraining rules, and any character which has fewer skills that they ought may immediately use their open slot to train.

Spellbooks — Attack/Utility Power Choice-at-Use

• Any classes which use "Spellbooks" for attack or utility powers (as opposed to Rituals or the like) may use one or the other, similar to the Skald's method for choosing which to use. In other words, the character has both from each slot available for use, until one from that slot has been used.
• If both powers in a particular slot are Encounters, then both powers are available again once they have recharged at the next short rest, and either may be used for the next time; or if something recharges the power during the encounter (such as a Power Jewel), the option may again be made. Likewise, if both powers in a particular slot are Dailies, then both powers are available once they've recharged at the next extended rest (or, again, it somehow happens earlier).
• If one power in a slot is an Encounter and the other is a Daily, then once the choice has been made it remains that way until the next extended rest; if the power used is the Encounter, it may be used as often as legally allowed, but if the Daily is used then neither can be used again. And the only time the selection can be changed is if something recharges the Daily's use.

Rituals, Alchemy, and Martial Practices (oh my!)

• Non-Essentials Martial-class characters (Fighter/Weaponmaster, Warlord, Ranger, & Rogue/Scoundrel) may take the Practiced Study feat for free. (This does not apply to those who are multiclass whatevers.)
• Non-Martial classes may take Practiced Study feat if they are trained in Athletics or Endurance (ie, alternative pre-requisite).
• Characters with the Ritual Caster feat/feature may use up to their level in Rituals per day without component cost, over and above any free rituals they have at their disposal.
• Characters with the Alchemist feat/feature who gain rituals at certain points (including character creation or certain levels) may take recipes instead.

Inherent Expertise

At level 1, every character will be given free Weapon and Implement Expertise feats as per the PHB2 of whatever type required for the character, which give a +1 feat bonus to Attacks at level 1, +2 at level 11, and +3 at level 21. This bonus will not stack with any other feat bonuses the character may have.

The purpose of this is to ensure that the PC will be getting feat bonuses at regular intervals, so that if they player does not wish to expend a feat slot on an Expertise-type feat, they will not have to do so, though they may still wish to in order to get any other bonuses for having the appropriate feat. These were changed from Level 5/15/25 to Level 1/11/21 to match the errata'd versions of these feats.

Weapon Multiclassing

Weapon Training/Proficiency Feats (such as Bola Training and the like) which are listed as Multi-Class will not count as Multi-Class, nor are the related Novice/Expert/Specialist feats. However, any other prerequisites for taking these feats are to be followed.


[[Dnd:Swmabie/MC-HR | The House Rules for Multiclass Characters may be found here.]]

Hybrid Talent

If you are a Hybrid, you may take the Hybrid Talent feat multiple times, selecting a different power each time. Note: The character builder can only be made to handle two hybrid talent feats (regular and Paragon); any further taking of this feat will have to be handled off-Builder.

Combat Order

Players in the same "combat block" (PCs contiguous in the initiative order) will be released to go at the same time. Any deviation from the previous round's order (or from the initial order, if in the first round) will be treated as a Delaying passively, using the normal Delay rules; Dazed and Dying characters, and any others who may not normally be allowed to do so, may Delay passively (but not actively).

Map Priority

Unless otherwise noted in a game's OOC thread, any differences between the Map and positions listed in the DM's Status Report default to the Map being Correct.

Fight or Flight

The rules for "Fight or Flight," published in an Unearthed Arcana article in Dragon 396, are in use for all games. The Fight or Flight phase will be at the end of each round. If the DM determines it unlikely to be used, this may be waived, though characters who have already acted during the round will not be released to go again until all have done so, unless the character in question is Actively Delaying.

Weapon/Implement/Armor Sacrificing

The Reckless Breakage rules from Dark Sun may be used at any time, regardless of setting, as modified herein:
• Whenever you roll a Natural 1 in an attack roll, you may sacrifice your weapon (whether magical or non-magical) or magical/superior implement and reroll the attack. If there are multiple targets in the initial attack that qualify, only one may be re-rolled.
  • • If the weapon is non-magical, or if it is a plain superior implement, it breaks if the second roll is a miss.
  • • If the weapon/implement is magical, it breaks if the second roll is a miss and is a natural 1-5.
  • • Non-magical, non-superior implements may not be so used, as there is no sacrifice in losing such an item.
• Whenever an enemy rolls a Natural 20 against you in an attack roll, you may similarly sacrifice your armor (unless it's non-magical cloth) in order to make the enemy re-roll the attack.
  • • If the armor is non-magical, it breaks if the second roll is a hit.
  • • If the armor is magical, it breaks if the second roll is a hit and is a natural 16-20.
• At DM discretion, NPCs may use these options as well only if they have the equipment in question (as opposed to natural weapons/armor), but the items in question will break no matter what the result of the re-roll is, and the NPC will be penalized as appropriate in attacks, damage, and defenses (-2 to attacks or defenses, -5 to damage).

Skill Improvisation

Any player may attempt to use any skill in an improvisational way.
In general:
• The PC shall describe what they are attempting to do, including (if feasible) whatever consequences of success and/or failure they see fit, and the DM will determine the action to be used, the difficulty of the attempt, and any bonuses or penalties which may be applied.
• The Skill being used should be easily justifiable for the intended result.
• These improvisations may be used to simulate effects of Attack Powers, including (but not limited to) the imposition of Conditions, moving through enemy spaces, forced movement, and anything else other than the dealing of damage.
• Each improvisation will be handled on case-by-case basis, with DM having final say on any differences from these general rules (including which Conditions, if any, are imposed), and the DM reserves the right to decline such a use at any time for any reason.

Minor Actions during other actions

If a Move or Standard action allows a character to move more than one space (other than by Teleportation), the character may use a Minor action at any point along that movement; for example, opening a door or picking up an item along the way. The only universal exception to this is a Charge — one cannot use a minor action while charging, unless they explicitly have something which allows them to do so after having made a charge attack (this does include the expenditure of an Action Point). The DM reserves the right to decline such a usage on a case-by-case basis.

Free Action Attacks

There is no limit to the number of Free Action Attacks one may make in a single turn.

Light Sources

Light Sources will work as follows:
• Light will emanate from the source in a Burst of the appropriate size, using the rules for Cover for a close burst/blast.
• Any space which would rate as having Superior Cover but still has Line of Sight is stepped down in terms of lighting (Bright to Dim, Dim to Dark).
• Any space which would rate as not having Line of Sight is not directly affected by the original light source.
• If the original light is Dim, there is no further effect.
• If the original light is Bright, then a secondary burst equal to twice the original burst is also present.
• The secondary burst is of Dim light, and follows the same rules as the primary burst.
• Exception - Bull's-Eye Lanterns: The person using a bull's eye lantern determines which direction they are aiming it by designating two contiguous spaces of equal distance from the origin. Line of Effect to those two spaces are determined, then bright light is applied to the spaces from the origin to the full range of the lantern (10), using the same rules for the primary burst. After that, any space adjacent to a Brightly lit space is Dim; and using the same lines of effect, Dim light will go to a full range of 20 from the lantern. (Anything which works in a similar principle will also follow these guidelines.)

D&D 3D!

• Combat is treated as being in 3 Dimensions in all cases, whenever necessary and/or possible.
• To that end, [[Dnd:Swmabie/3D | my personal rules for 3-dimensional combat]] are loosely applied to any and all combats, and may be called upon at any time.
• This includes, but is not limited to, Ballistics, Higher Ground, Determining Cover, Flanking, and Attacking while Falling.

Alternatives to the Vampire class

Alright, I'm sorry. I am under normal circumstances one of the biggest, loudest voices for player choice, and allowing the player to do what they want. However, from the moment it first appeared, the Vampire class has bugged the heck out of me, and I just cannot accept it in any of my games, as a class.

A large part of it has to do with the fact that I don't view "vampirism" as a class. A racial thing? Sure. A bloodline? Absolutely. A theme, like the Werebear and Wererat and Werewolf? Heck yeah. But a Class? Sorry, I can't grok that.

Have your heart set on being a Vampire in one of my games? Alright, fine, no problem, there are alternative solutions to your query:
  • • Race: The Vryloka race seems pretty vampiric to me. While it may not be all Dracula for your taste, it's certainly along the same lines as the Shifters for lycanthropy.
  • • Bloodline Feat: There is a series of Bloodline feats, starting with Vampiric Heritage. While the fluff for it is Dhampyr, the feat itself says: "You are considered a vampire for the purpose of effects that relate to vampires." Seems pretty good to me.
  • • Theme: "But there isn't a Vampire Theme," you say. That's right, there's not. But there's this crazy attempt at a Vampire class, which can (as far as I'm concerned, anyway) be re-built as a Theme, should you really want to go that route. It won't be easy, and it will take some work, and will be a cooperative thing between at least me and you, but it is an option, and if you really have your heart set on the Blood Drinker power, I suppose I can help work on making it a reality for you.