On August 24th, the topic of the day is my favourite house rule. I had to scratch my head for this one. I had to think which things we do were published rules or one which the group thought of. I’ll have say my favourite house rule is advancement in Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition.
First, we use advancement as a pacing mechanic. Originally, we awarded experience and when the group accumulated enough they would level. Then one session, several members of the group were comparing experience to learn where they are at. We award the same experience to the whole group whether you were there or not. We found out that everyone had a different number and I, with the role of DM, hadn’t tracked how many experience points they should have.
We had a discussion if folks are interested in tracking experience points and most didn’t want to. They just cared when they would level up. They didn’t wish to have a game-able experience system either. Thus, we established we just wish a pacing mechanic. We decided to level the characters up after a certain number of adventuring sessions or when a significant event happens in the narrative.
This freed me up rather than plan out specific encounters, I could vary the difficulties and didn’t need to concern myself with experience points award for social encounters.
Additionally, when the PCs level up, we are flexible for retraining. If a player is really not enjoying their character, we prefer to redesign the character to fit what they wish rather than they being stuck with it. This rarely happens in the Questers United group. Originally, Erica who plays the dragonborn Medrash, decided to do a rune priest which is a support character. As she was playing, she wanted to hurt stuff and wasn’t enjoying the supportive role of the rune priest class. She mentioned that next time she makes a character, to remind her to play a striker role to do lots of damage. I suggested to her we can completely change Medrash to be a striker role. She told me the core concepts of Medrash that she wishes to keep and within those parameters, Medrash became a blackguard of fury. Honestly, a Paladin with rage issues fit the character more than the Rune Priest class. Now, she is having fun with the character in a mechanical way.
Another part of advancement we changed is applying the inherent bonuses rule for magical items. This is an optional rule from the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 which replaces the enhancement bonuses from magical arms, armours and neck slot items with a level based bonus. I like that optional rule since you don’t have to give a specific weapon, armour or neck slot item every five levels. I can give a wider variety of items to the group.
What house rules do you have in your games? How did it develop?