Dr. Dave's House Rules

David P. Summers
copyright 2004

They say you aren't really familiar with a system until you've decided you have to change some things. J Here are the house rules I use in my fantasy games….

o A starting character may not put more than 100 points into stats.
(To push for a bit more balance.)
o Extra Fatigue is 5 points/level (10 points/level after character creation).
(I just think that fatigue is too useful for mages to support some of the prices published.)
o Combat Reflexes doesn't give a +1 to defense, but only costs 5 points.
(This is redundant with higher skill. Just buy your skill up.)
o Maneuvers are not used.
(To much complexity. Many are just too cinematic.)
o Optional specialization gives a bonus of +3, not +5.
(A +5 bonus is too large for a mere -1 penalty.)
o Illiterate is the Default. Literacy is a 10 point advantage.
(Not really a house rule. The settting is mostly illiterate.)
o Eidetic Memory doesn't give a bonus to skills. It allows you to learn new skills faster and to recall things as mentioned in Basic. It is 1/2 the cost listed in Basic.
(I just consider EM one of the biggest point crocks out there.)
o Use the language table at a -3 for all languages but your native one.
(Seems to solve the "a 1/2 point makes you fluent" problem.)

o Armor doesn't give PD. Shields give PD as normal. All defenses are at a +3 (if I hadn't eliminated the +1 due to Combat reflexes, I would have made it +2).
(The distinction between PD and DR has always been a fuzzy one. This way you don't have to recalculate your defenses when you are hit on differently armored locations. It is easier for the GM to come up with challenging combats without a lot of armor, giving wider range of antagonists and lets rewards be for plot success rather than looting the expensive armor of the enemy.).
o A Retreat uses up the step (in "step and ...") from your next turn.
(Just to keep taking a retreat from being an automatic choice.)
o When attacking, for every 2 points you under your weapon skill by, your opponents defenses are reduced by 1.
(Speeds up combat a bit. Gives some benefit for a good, but not critical, attack roll.)
o A Pot Helm covers areas 3-4. It does not cover swings to the head (except from rear). A larger helm ("medium helm"), will cover swings to the head and costs $150 and weighs 6.5 Lbs. A nose guard will provide PD 1 for the face (no DR) and raise the cost to $200 and weight to 7 Lbs.
(This kept coming up. Wasn't sure what was official. So I went with this.)
o If you are attacked from behind, you may make a hearing-2 roll to be able to defend at a -4 to -6.
(Just sort of something we settled on.)

Spell Casting:
o When casting spells, the fatigue cost is reduced by 1 for every 5 points you roll under your based skill level.
(So fatigue use is less automatic and "mathmatical". Character don't automatically buy spells to a 15.)
o Reverse Missiles does not exist.
(I hate things that simply make you invulnerable. Where's the challenge?)
o Missile shield gives you 1 Pd/point of energy used.
(I hate things that simply make you invulnerable. Where's the challenge?)
o Invisibility is replaced with a bonus to stealth.
(Challenging an invisible fighter means having to structure combats around them…)
o Mages need a will-3 roll to cast in close combat without concentration.
(It sort of came up…)