Third Sunday at Eric and Chris'
If a house rule is significantly imparing your enjoyment of the game, please discuss it with me out of game and we will see what we can do to make it work better for you. Similarly, if there is something you think should be house ruled, let's talk about that, too.
THIS DIDN’T WORK, AND NO LONGER APPLIES. I tried to use it a couple of times, and all that happened was people argued about it, which isn’t fun. Alignment is not handled prescriptively, it is handled descriptively. Instead of players declaring their characters are particular alignments and then being unable to do things because of that choice, characters' current alignments will be determined by their actions. Each character sheet will have an alignment matrix on it. When a character takes an action that the GM or the group deems particularly Good, Evil, Lawful, or Chaotic, your alignment moves one step in that direction. Alignment has an attached mechanic – when a character attempts an action that is particularly Good, Evil, Lawful, or Chaotic, and already has points on that axis, they gain an equivalent bonus on that action. For example, a character with two points in Law who attempts a particularly Lawful action gains a +2 bonus to that action, and moves one more step toward Lawful. Only the highest bonus counts, so a character with two points in Law and one point in Good would get a +2 bonus on a Lawful Good action, not a +3 bonus. There is no associated penalty for taking actions contrary to one's current alignment. E.g., a Good character who takes an Evil action does not suffer a penalty to that action, they simply move one step toward Evil.
THIS HAS BEEN MODIFIED. It slowed progression way more than I anticipated, so encounter experience counts as normal. Money spent and “cause” expenditures experience remains as described. Experience points awards for encounters will be half what is normally expected. The party does not need to "win" an encounter to gain experience, but "losing" an encounter will yield less experience than "winning." A "win" does not necessarily mean combat. If a band of highwaymen sets on the group, bluffing and intimidating them into fleeing is just as much of a win as cutting them all to tiny bits. Sometimes, engaging in combat at all is a "loss." A negotiation between representatives of two kingdoms who both genuinely want a peaceful resolution that descends into combat and starts a war is a loss for everybody involved, regardless of who survives the initial fight. "Winning" is a matter of achieving your goals, not standing over bloody corpses. This provision is intended to reduce the "murder" part of "murder hobos."
Experience will also be awarded for money spent – when you acquire treasure and then use it to buy things you get experience points. So, yes, you will gain more experience just for sleeping in a private room at the Inn instead of in the common room. This is also motivation to incrementally upgrade equipment, armor, and weapons. This sort of experience is awarded at 1XP per gp spent.
Each character will also have a cause that they can spend money on – the particular cause will be agreed between the GM and the player. When the character spends money on this cause, they gain experience at a rate of 2XP per gp spent. Generally speaking that money is gone, but in some cases the XP can be traded back in to gain money at a rate of one gp gained per 4XP spent. For example, a character's cause might be fine clothes – if the character spends 1000gp on fine clothes, he gains 2000XP. Later, if he really needs money, he can sell some of those clothes. If he sells some of his fine clothing for 100gp, he also loses 400XP. If a character's cause is to aid orphans, money she gives to the orphanage gives her experience, but she cannot take back money from the orphanage by giving up experience. Money spent toward a cause cannot directly aid the character or party. If a character's cause is to give money to temples of Pelor, only money donated for no consideration counts for double experience. Buying healing potions from a temple of Pelor would yield that character only standard 1XP/gp experience.
THIS DIDN’T WORK AND NO LONGER APPLIES.Players will not know how many hit points their characters have at any particular time. I will keep track of each character's remain hit points. This means when a character takes damage, I will not tell you how many points of damage you take. Rather, there are conditions that characters may progress through that will indicate roughly where they are hit point wise – for example, a character who is under a particular percentage of hit points might suffer a penalty to all actions, have movement reduced, or something similar. The same conditions will not always occur at the same point. The mechanic is nearly identical to the condition mechanics. When a character rests or takes an action to heal another (such as casting a spell), that player will roll the effect as normal, and know the results. However, if a character is healed by an NPC, uses a potion, or something similar to that, I will not announce the result. I will let players know the general state of their characters health, and if someone is about to take an action that I deem wasteful, I will let them know – e.g., if the cleric is about to burn a healing spell on someone who is down 1 hit point, I will let the party know that is probably a wasteful action. The point of this mechanic is not to trick you into getting your character killed or into wasting resources, it is to reduce hit point-based metagaming. I will sometimes use the system to achieve narrative goals, so attempts to analyze who gets what conditions when won't necessarily yield useful information if you are trying to decode the system, so please don't try. However, I promise you I will not use the system to arbitrarily screw with or railroad the party.
When a character attempts an action, before rolling any dice, the player can declare "I fail," and the character fails that attempt. I will then give the player a success token. The success token can be redeemed to automatically succeed on a future roll. This success is not just a straight success, it is an outstanding success. For example, if used on an attack, it doesn't just yield a hit, it yields a critical hit doing max damage. A character can only have one success token at a time. This will not be a "freebie" – don't think you can exchange a minor, insignificant failure for a major success. If a character is going to negotiate the purchase of a loaf of bread and the player declares they fail, do not expect the character will simply pay full price. More likely the character will end up in a fight, thrown in jail, or something like that.
ROLE PLAYING BONUSES – Be descriptive, and you will get bonuses from time to time. If you are trying to intimidate someone, speak in character and make some credible threats, and I may give you a bonus to your roll. When you try to do something, tell me more about what you are doing, and I may give you a bonus. Don't expect to get a bonus every time you speak in character or describe what you do to check for traps, but expect that it will happen sometimes. Except in very limited circumstances, I will not give you a penalty. However, if you threaten an NPC with calling the city guard, and (known or unknown to you) his brother is a captain of the city guard, well… then you're getting a penalty. But I won't give you a penalty on your attempt to inspire your troops just because your speech wasn't inspiring in the real world.