House Rules

House Rules

Official Variants

Striking Cover

If an attack roll would have hit the intended target except for the armor class bonus provided by cover, the creature or object providing the cover bonus becomes the target of the attack. If a the cover bonus is provided by a creature and the attack roll is not high enough to hit that creature’s touch AC, the creature does not provide the cover bonus and the original target of the attack is hit. A creature providing a cover bonus may choose to give up its Dexterity and dodge bonuses to AC to make its touch AC lower.

No Automatic Hits or Misses

Rolling a natural 1 or a natural 20 on an attack roll does not mean that the target is automatically missed or hit by the attack. Instead, a natural 1 is treated as a roll of -10, and a natural 20 is treated as a roll of 30.


Any creature that takes at least half of its current hit points in damage from a single attack (not the total damage from a full attack action) is clobbered. On that creature’s next turn, it may take only one standard or move action and may not take a full-round action.

Size-Based Massive Damage

The amount of damage a creature can take from a single attack before it must make a Fortitude save against death varies by that creature’s size category. Medium creatures must save when taking 50 or more hit points in damage, and every size category smaller or larger than Medium changes this threshold by 10 hit points.

Instant Kill

If an attack roll is a natural 20 and hits, roll to confirm the critical hit as normal. If this confirmation roll is also a natural 20, roll a third time. If this attack roll would hit the target, the target is instantly slain. Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to instant kills. There is no way to extend the range of an instant kill trigger; it only happens on consecutive natural 20s.

Critical Fumbles

If an attack roll is a natural 1 and misses, make a Dexterity check (DC 10) to avoid fumbling. If a creature fumbles, the DM will determine a penalty appropriate to the situation. This will usually involve dropping a weapon or attacking the wrong target, but other penalties may apply.

Strength-Based Intimidate

The Intimidate skill uses Strength as its base ability score, not Charisma.

Summoning Individual Monsters

Whenever a caster summons a creature of a specific kind, it is always the same individual creature. Likewise, the second, third, and all following creatures when summoning multiple creatures of the same type are always the same individuals. Any summoned creature that is killed, dispelled, or otherwise banished cannot be summoned again for 24 hours but still takes up its summoning “slot.” This means that for those 24 hours, spells summoning that type of creature summon one less creature than normal.

Action Points (Eberron Variant)

Every time a player character advances to a new level, that character receives a number of action points equal to 5 + half of the character’s level (rounded down). Once per round, a player character may spend an action point to roll 1d6 and add the result to an attack roll, a skill check, an ability check, a level check, or a saving throw. At 8th level, the character adds the higher of 2 d6 rolls, and at 15th level, the character adds the highest of 3 d6 rolls. The choice to spend an action point must be made prior to learning the result of the check to be modified.

Homebrew Mechanics

Gaining a Level

Experience points will be awarded to the player characters at the end of every encounter. If a character has enough experience points to gain a level, the character may gain a level the next time he or she rests for at least eight hours. No additional training is necessary because it is assumed that every character spends some of his or her time training every week. This training should, at a minimum, average out to one hour per day (two hours per day if the character does not have access to the appropriate trainers). If it is impossible for a character to train sufficiently for at least one week, a -20% XP penalty will be applied to that character until he or she resumes training for at least one week. If the character also suffers an XP penalty for unbalanced multiclassing, only the more severe penalty is applied.

Untrained Feats

If a particular use of a skill would normally require a feat, it may be attempted without the feat at a -10 penalty that stacks with any other penalties applied to the skill check.

Special Rules for Ranged Attacks

All ranged attacks are targeted against squares rather than creatures. If the target of a ranged attack is Large or larger, the attacker must select a square of the creature’s space to target. If multiple creatures occupy the target square, the attack will target one of these creatures at random. Size modifiers to the AC of creatures are unaffected by these rules.

An attack with a projectile or thrown weapon against a target at least one range increment away from the attacker is subject to special rules. If there is at least five feet of vertical clearance above the attacker per range increment along the entire path of the projectile or thrown weapon, the attack is resolved as normal. If the vertical clearance is less than the requirement by 5 feet or less, the target is granted a cover bonus to AC. If the vertical clearance is more than 5 feet less than the requirement, the target gains total cover and cannot be hit by the attack. The vertical clearance requirement is lowered by 5 feet for every 5 feet the target is below the attacker and raised by 5 feet for every 5 feet the target is above the attacker. Similarly, the target of an attack by a projectile or thrown weapon does not receive cover from any creature or object that is no more than 5 feet tall per range increment between the attacker and the target. Again, this height is adjusted by 5 feet per 5 feet the target is above or below the attacker. If the intervening creature or object blocks the attacker’s line of sight to the target, the target is granted total concealment (50% miss chance). An attacker can choose to add range increments to an attack, taking a -2 penalty to the attack roll per range increment added, in order to ignore cover by arcing the attack over it. The number of range increments added in this way may not cause the attack to exceed its maximum range (10 range increments for a projectile weapon or 5 range increments for a thrown weapon).

Spell Mishaps

Any spell that fails due to a failed Concentration check, the arcane spell failure chance of armor, or a similar case of caster error will be miscast instead of simply being lost. A miscast will be treated in all ways the same as a magic item mishap. The DM will determine an appropriate mishap. Common examples include affecting the wrong target, having an altered effect, or releasing a burst of uncontrolled spell energy.

Cheap Magic Item Creation

Magic items with a cost of less than 1,000 gp may be created in a fraction of a day. Such items require 1 hour per 125 gp base price to complete. An item that costs less than 125 gp can be completed in 6 minutes per 125 sp base price. These items still require the normal expenditure of XP and raw materials and access to a magical laboratory or workshop.

Action Points As Plot Devices

A player may spend one or more of his or her character’s action points to alter something in the game world that would normally be beyond his or her character’s ability to influence. The DM will determine on a case-by-case basis how many action points such a change will cost. Players may not pool their action points to make drastic changes. This is meant to be a way to make minor changes only.

Table Rules

Off-Topic Conversations

Since we are all friends, a certain amount of off-topic conversation is unavoidable. However, excessive slowing of the game is detrimental to the fun of all involved. The DM reserves the right to dock XP from the character of a player who distracts from the action of the game. This right will only be exercised under severe circumstances.

Rules Disagreements

The DM always has final say on how a particular rule is adjudicated. I will consider opinions from players, but I will not sacrifice large amounts of time to rules discussion or paging through rule books. If you think I got something wrong, approach me about it outside the session or during a break so that we can establish how that issue will be addressed in the future. Under no circumstances will I change the outcome of a previous ruling (one of my previous DMs called this the “No Way-Back-When Machine” Rule).

Dealing With Conflicts Between Players

Inevitably, some of your characters will come into conflict with each other. Hopefully, this will stay in-character and not spill over into conflict between players. If I feel that a conflict is going too far, I will call a break to the gaming session to let the players involved work out a solution. I will only step in to moderate a solution if asked to do so by all involved parties.

Missing Players

We have enough players that we will not have to cancel a game session if one or two players are absent. How the character of such a missing player is handled will depend on the situation. If it would be believable in the game story, the character will head off to take care of personal business. If that is impossible, I will play the character as true to the player’s character concept as I can until such time as the character can believably leave. Regardless of how the missing player’s character is handled, the character will receive half XP for all encounters faced by the party that session.

House Rules

Spire's Shadow Woojitsu