The Dark Desent
I have the same house rules as my older brother so here is a copy of the house rules
Klutz and Critical:
Both the Klutz and Critical systems have been revised. Instead of a simple automatic fail after rolling a one, the character must roll percentiles. Based on the die result, an additional bad effect occurs (or may not occur, based on the specific circumstances). Everything from simply missing an enemy to breaking thieves tools in the lock are possible. Likewise, instead of a simple critical multiplier that increases damage, each multiplier provides a roll on the critical hit table (so x2 is one roll, x3 is two rolls, etc.). In addition, Constructs, Undead, creatures with no discernible and other enemies normally immune to critical hits are no longer immune. While they are immune to some of the effects on the table (such as the chance of rolling a damage multiplier) some of the effects can still be used against them (such as automatic sundering).
Play it as it lies, I say. Just because your little die fell the scary two feet to the floor doesn’t mean that the outcome of the roll changes. As long as it doesn’t land on carpeting (because a die on carpet usually has no clear top face), the die is still fair game. If it falls into a vent, behind a couch, or into another hard to reach place, it just makes the die roll more dramatic, adding to the fun of the game.
These are stupid. Just because the ‘cliche’ Paladin doesn’t know how to pick a lock doesn’t mean that they all find it inherently difficult. Who’s to say that while working on the City Guard a scrawny Paladin without the strength to bash the door of the thieves guild hideout hasn’t learned to compensate by learning to pick locks? For every cross-class skill there’s a justification for why it could be included as a class skill, so just treat everything as a class skill.
The ‘PC Liberty’ Clause:
A lot of little things are allowed to slide. As long as a valid justification is made for why a class feature, feat, or other such rule should be modified, and the modification is a permanent change for the character and not just a tool to be used during opportune moments, it will probably be allowed to be used. That being said, all such things must be cleared with the DM first anyway, and he reserves the right to go back on the decision if the aforementioned modification reveals itself to be unbalanced or otherwise abuse of game mechanics.
Rulebook vs. World:
Just because the Monster Manual claims that a creature functions a certain way, has certain weaknesses, or is otherwise built in a specific manner doesn’t mean the world necessarily will reflect that. This was proven when the pale tentacle faced creatures from the underdark, despite being called Illithids, were in fact not at all psionic. There may be more cases of this, so basically don’t try to memorize the Monster Manual to get an edge, because it probably won’t help.
Shondratasha, The Goddess of Chaos:
In addition to the world’s established pantheon, all campaigns run at my house, regardless of setting or system, are subject to the occasional interference of Shondratasha. Usually she limits her interference to minor die roll changes or spontaneous healing/hurting, but with Chaos one never knows. It’s been a long time since she’s actually stepped in to affect gameplay, but when in a tight pinch and in need of a good die roll, bribing her with Cheetos or other such appeals may draw her attention. Be warned, bribes usually attract attention, but not necessarily help. If Chaos only helped and never hurt, it wouldn’t be very chaotic.
Bluff, Diplomacy, and other NPC Interaction skills:
Roleplaying is the top priority of this campaign, not running a simulation. If you want to bluff your way out of a tight spot, you’re going to legitimately have to come up with a good excuse. Die rolls are meant to back up what you do in character, not do the work for you. Particularly good roleplaying (believable bluffs, clever diplomacy, description embellishing an intimidate attempt, etc) may result in bonuses to the check. Particularly bad roleplaying (rubbish lies, lazy diplomacy, or vaguely waving a sword around) may result in penalties to the check. The bottom line is that the rules are made to facilitate roleplaying, you don’t roleplay to justify the rules.
In addition to the standard loot and experience, exceptional roleplaying or simply doing something cool in-character will result in the awarding of a Drama Card. Drama Cards may be used at any time appropriate from the card (some have specific circumstances they must be used under) as a free action. Drama Cards originally appeared here for use in a 4E D&D Campaign. I’ve taken the liberty of modifying many of the cards to make them more 3rd Edition compatible, but the fundamental concepts remained the same. The Drama Cards are really pretty awesome, and I want to give proper credit where it’s due, so if you didn’t click on the link leading to the original posting of them, you have another chance right here.
The D&D Alignment system is too strict to be of my liking. Destroying a town of innocent people is evil by the rules, even if by doing so you kill a monster who’s plan was to rise to power and then destroy the town. For cases of moral ambiguity, the standard alignment system is tough, and most characters don’t fall under a set alignment anyway. For that reason, the alignment system has been mostly scrapped and replaced with a new one. Instead of a set system that pervades throughout the universe, things are more relative on the good-evil scale. Likewise, Lawful and chaotic are relative based on the character. A character who follows a strict set of rules he has made himself, but that the rest of the world views as chaotic, is considered lawful so long as he follows his own rules. Likewise, a character who tends to follow the world’s rules, but does so with no real reason or dedication is considered to be more chaotic. Divine spells based on alignment are cast relative to the deity’s perspective (so a chaotic character casting defense against law may not gain the benefits against some “lawful” creature if the deity powering the spell is more lawful than the creature is).