House Rules

Jeff’s House Rules for Pathfinder

This is my list of house rules for my Pathfinder games. Not all players and game masters have the same game style, and it is best to make sure styles are compatible before beginning a game. Read these rules carefully and ask for clarifications.

Campaign

Campaign Type

Legal books/Sources for play

Characters

Character Creation Method

XP and Loot Division

Preparation for Leveling

Hit Points

Gear

Item Creation

Death

Variant Spontaneous Casting System

Hero Points

Combat

Familiarization with The Rules of Combat

Pay Attention to Combat

Ranged Penalties

Killing Enemies & Non Lethal Damage

Healing

Misc

HeroLabs

Obsidian Portal

Attendance

Game Balancing

Table Manners

Campaign

Campaign Type

My campaigns tend to be character-centric. I expect that players will come up with an interesting character concept, a personality and a background. Players are required to come up with “plot grommets” — places for plot hooks to latch onto. This can be personal goals, mysteries, NPC relatives, organizations or just about anything that will draw the character into adventure and action. If there is some story element you want your character to encounter during the campaign, let me know and I will try to accommodate you.

Despite this focus on the characters, I will not be pulling punches as a game master. This is not a pure role-play game. Characters need to be capable party members who are willing to be part of a coordinated group. If your character isn’t worth the other characters keeping him around, he’s not welcome in the game. Please keep in mind that death and even the rare party wipe are very real possibilities in my campaign. Careful attention to battle tactics will be critical to survive tougher encounters. The party is given a number of advantages (improved HPs), tools (Hero Points) and resources (powerful one time use items) to help give them every chance to succeed when faced with even overwhelming odds (or when things go awry) . However, when everything is depleted, or things are not going to plan, unusual options, such as retreating should never be completely ruled out.

Legal books/Sources for play

The Core Rule Book and Advanced Player’s Guide are the principal books we will be using. Options from Ultimate Magic are available, however beyond that, players will need to consult with me.

Characters

Character Creation Method

I have generated 20 sets of equivalent point-buy stats appropriate for the power level of the campaign. Roll a d20, give me the number and I’ll send you your stats. You may place them in any attribute you wish.

XP and Loot Division

XP will be awarded at the end of the session and is divided among all the players (and party NPC’s) evenly. Treasure may be divided as the party sees fit, however party NPC’s expect a full share of gold and items appropriate to their party roles.

Preparation for Leveling

It is every player’s responsibility to be ready for leveling. While the GM generally does XP at the end of the session, he may do it earlier if it results in the party leveling and it’s appropriate. Players on your team do not want to wait while you review dozens of feats, so please be ready with your choices for leveling beforehand.

Hit Points

At each level, characters will receive hit points equal to half of max + half of die roll. For example a fighter would receive 5 + ½ d10.

Gear

Each character is issued a “Backpack of Mundane Gear”. This unique and wonderful item has the following capabilities: It contains 1 of every item that costs less than 1 gold piece and is small enough to fit in a backpack. It also contains a flint and steel, grappling hook, cooking kit, 50 feet of rope, ink, and a crowbar. Somehow it also contains a 10’ pole. If you place 50 of any type of mundane ammunition into it, it will then have an infinite supply. None of these items (including the backpack itself) weigh anything at all.

Item Creation

Generally item creation is not recommended, however given the way time is handled in Kingmaker, item creation is acceptable.

Death

Death is always a possibility for your character. In Pathfinder death is not always permanent. I will generally make methods available to raise or resurrect your character. If your character dies and does not want / cannot be resurrected, you can create a character with the following guidelines.

You will receive a new set of stats as outlined in character generation. You will keep the same XP amount on your new character. You will start with equipment and gold based on the Pathfinder wealth per level table. The GM may veto any item choice. In order to avoid artificial monetary inflation, party members may not ‘loot’ the corpse of a fallen PC. However, at GM discretion, the party may retrieve those items clearly lent on a temporary basis which belongs to another member of the party. The party may also take those items temporarily for RP reasons…such as mailing them to the family of the deceased.

Variant Spontaneous Casting System

We’ll be using Phil’s variant spontaneous casting system for spellcasters who normally prepare their spells in advance (including clerics, druids, paladins, rangers, and wizards). A spellcaster using this variant prepares the same number spells per spell level as normal. The caster can then spontaneously cast any spell she has memorized until she has used up all her casts of that level – just like a sorcerer. Unlike what a sorcerer can do, a spellcaster using this system can’t cast a lower-level spell in place of a higher-level spell.

Clerics and druids retain their normal spontaneous casting options (‘’cure ’’or ‘’inflict ’’spells for clerics, ‘’summon natures ally ’’spells for druids). Such spells are always available for spontaneous casting (as if the character prepared it for free).

Metamagic would be prepared in a similar fashion.  Example: A 12th level wizard can memorize 3 level 5 spells.  He may choose Cloudkill, Hungry Pit and Maximized Magic Missile.  During the day, he may cast 3 cloudkills, or 3 pits, or 3 maximized magic missiles, or any combination of those spells…but once he casts 3 of them, he’s out of fifth level spells until he rests.

Spontaneous casters cannot use this system, since they already have their own casting method. Since this system makes memorized casters relatively more powerful, spontaneous casters get extra known spells based on their primary stat. Players will need to inform me, during their rest sessions (or in between sessions) if they wish to change out spells on their memorized list with some in their book.  Otherwise, I presume that you are using the same spells as before.  It is important that we’re on the same page as to which spells you have actively memorized. 

Hero Points

We use the optional Hero Points rules found in the Advanced Players Guild. Please familiarize yourself with those rules .

The following are additional ways Hero Points may be used. .

  • Hero points may also be spent bring any spell to mind from the caster’s repertoire (Wizard’s book, priest’s available list, etc) even if they have exhausted all spell casting for the day. Divine casters may not use hero points, however, to cast spells against their alignment or deity/domains. (Move Action, once per day)
  • For casting, hero points may be used to add 4 to the DC of a saving throws and/or the roll to beat spell resistance before rolled (Immediate Action, Once per battle). In the case an enemy has both spell resistance and the ability to save against the spell, the bonus applies to both.
  • Hero points may be used for a “second wind” as an immediate action. This restores 25% of the hero’s HPs, and increases all save bonuses and total AC by 2 for 1 round (Once per battle).

Combat

Familiarization with The Rules of Combat

Pathfinder is a complicated game, and no one person, including the GM, is expected to know all of the rules, all of the time. However, everyone at the table is expected to have read through the rules of combat a couple of times over by their fourth session. Players should be familiar with the general rules of combat, especially how it pertains to their character and/or playstyle. Players are also expected to familiarize themselves with those feats, skills, class features and spells that their character will be using in combat. Character may prepare detailed character sheets, notes, etc to make such information easy to reference at the table.

Pay Attention to Combat

Please make sure you are paying attention to combat. When it is your turn, a time limit of about 15 seconds to decide what you want to do is in effect. If you’re not sure, and you haven’t made your decision within that time frame, the GM may declare that you have delayed or passed your turn.

Ranged Penalties

The core rule book describes a number of factors which can affect the accuracy of a ranged attack (including ranged ray attacks). However, two come into play far more than others, and players who used ranged attacks must be familiar with them.

  • Shooting or Throwing into a Melee: If you shoot or throw a ranged weapon at a target engaged in melee with a friendly character, you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll. Two characters are engaged in melee if they are enemies of each other and either threatens the other.
  • Cover: To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC).’’

Therefore, it is possible to suffer a -4 penalty to your attack AND have an opponent with a +4 AC cover bonus (For a net penalty of 8) , if both these conditions apply (For example, your ally is engaged with a monster, and at the same time, is in between you and the monster). I have personally confirmed this often misunderstood ruling with Paizo.

Killing Enemies & Non Lethal Damage

Unless the party declares otherwise during the battle, all enemies taken below zero hps are considered dead if not revived by an enemy healer during combat. Note that a party cannot simply state they are never using lethal means to the GM. Their intentions must be announced at the beginning or during combat (before an enemy is slain). This system has the advantage that, as long as a party calls it, an enemy they take down will not be considered killed unless he is finished off by a spell that specifically kills as it’s effect (Power Word Kill, disintegrate, etc.) or a player purposely does a killing move. However, it has a disadvantage in that, if the party forgets to declare, an enemy may be accidentally killed.

Healing

After eight hours of uninterrupted rest, all party members are fully healed of hit point damage.

Misc

HeroLabs

The GM uses HeroLabs to keep track of all party progress. Players are welcome to keep track of their own sheet independently, or occasionally ask the GM for PDFs / Printouts from Herolabs. Regardless, each party member should keep notes about inventory, gold, etc, as the GM is human, and occasionally forgets to put certain information into HeroLabs.

Obsidian Portal

We use Obsidian Portal to keep important information about the campaign, communicate, etc. Furthermore, side stories about individual characters, including some “Side RP” may be found on the forums. Please make sure to sign up and use this valuable tool. Players should check the site at least once per week for new updates and forum posts.

Attendance

Attendance to games is important. However, it is understandable that life occasionally is more important. If you cannot make it to a planned session, it is generally considered good manners to inform the GM ahead of time.

If a player regularly misses more than a quarter of the sessions, he or she may receive a warning from the GM that they risk expulsion with further absence. Note that new players (including those who joined a newly formed game), may not receive such a warning before expulsion if they miss a few games out of the first half dozen or so.

Game Balancing

Occasionally, players are able to put together a certain build, spells, items, etc., that, despite being completely within the rules (including special allowances by GM), the end result is something that the GM considers too overpowering for a particular stage of the game.

In most circumstances, the GM will attempt to address this in game, sometimes behind the scenes. However, it may occasionally be necessary for the GM to take a more serious step. The GM may approach the player and discuss the concern. The GM will usually work with the player to make the smallest (and incremental) changes possible.

Should the player feel that the changes or direction of changes are absolutely detrimental to their vision and enjoyment of the game, the player may suggest a change of feats, spells, etc., to address the concern of the GM. It is always the goal of the GM to work with the players, co-operatives, for the enjoyment of all concerned.

Table Manners

First, and foremost, this is a game, and everyone is here to have fun. We take our fun seriously, but not too seriously. Leave the drama at home! Treat the GM with respect. The GM may not be perfect, and may even rule wrongly against you, but a little politeness and respect goes a long way towards a mutual agreement.

During combat, pay attention. When it is your turn, be ready to act. Have the appropriate dice ready to roll. If you want to do something outside of the ordinary, make sure you have the rules ready for GM reference. This goes double for spell casters. Have spell descriptions at the ready! Assuming that you are not waiting for the GM to resolve something, you should announce what you want to do, move your token if applicable, and roll the necessary dice within 15-20 seconds after your name is called to play.

If you have questions during the game, feel free to ask. However, the GM may table your concern for after the session, and if it affects game play, make an on the spot judgment to keep things moving.

House Rules

Kingmaker: A Home in the Wild Maquadex Maquadex