Ability Score Point-Buy
Ability scores will be determined via a 20-point buy system.
Reasoning: Makes sure no character outshines another, or is not fun because it is weak.
Each time you level up, you may choose to roll for your hit-dice, or take the average. The decision to take the average must occur before the roll. If you roll a 1 you may re-roll, but at a step lower dice.
Reasoning: Gambling is fun, but not everyone wishes to do so. I do not want my players to be extra-ordinarily weak because they rolled a bunch of ones.
We use the Background Skills rules set as outlined in Unchained.
Reasoning: I think it's a superior rule set.
We use the Skill Unlocks rules set as outlined in Unchained. However you don't need the Signature Skill feat, act as if you had it for every skill.
Reasoning: Makes skills more fun.
PC vs PC Bluff
If player characters try to lie to one another yet the players know the truth, the players must use Bluff & Sense Motive. Otherwise no roll is made and it's reliant upon roleplaying.
Reasoning: This way players can't metagame.
You can always go with your natural hunches but if you roll sense motive to oppose a Bluff or to "Hunch" you must go by the result.
Reasoning: Players shouldn't be forced to use game mechanics when roleplaying well works better, but rolling should still have meaning and you shouldn't be able to supersede them if you don't like them.
We don't use the Diplomacy rules as written (except for Gather Information). Most often roleplaying will decide how influencing and interacting with NPCs works out. In the cases where success isn't clear from the roleplay we will use something very similar to D&D 4E's skill challenge system.
You roll a diplomacy check every so often in the midst of a social encounter. You must accumulate three successes before three failures in order to accomplish whatever your desire was. Intimidation may be rolled instead under certain circumstances.
Reasoning: The diplomacy rule as written are clunky, unsatisfying, and generally not fun.
We do not use experience points, instead players level up at the GM's discretion. We use the Staggered Advancement as outlined in Unchained, each session gaining a partial level (sometimes will not get one, or will get several at the GM's discretion).
Reasoning: I think there are certain limitations with the standard leveling up and use of experience points.
Automatic Bonus Progression
We use the Automatic Bonus Progression system from Unchained minus the weapon & armor part of the rules. However we do not reduce wealth because of it.
Reasoning: It removes the need to buy the 'default' magic items and keep track of when to upgrade them to keep up with the game’s math (Amulet of Natural Armor, Ring of Protection, Cloak of Resistance, Headband of MENTAL STAT and Belt of PHYSICAL STAT). It removes that automatic money-sink. It opens up those slots for other interesting magic items, instead of these super-generic ones that just add numbers. Much like how the point-buy system assures players start with equivalent power levels, this assures that players maintain equivalent power levels.
If playing a summoner you must use the unchained version. While it is recommended that you use the unchained version of the Barbarian, Rogue, and Monk, you may choose the 'chained' versions if you wish.
Reasoning: The Barbarian, Rogue, and Monk classes were 'unchained' as a buff and for simplicity, so if you wish to use a arguable lesser version it's fine (especially because some archetypes only work with the 'chained' versions). The Summoner was 'unchained' for balance reasons as a nerf.
AlignmentWe use the Changing Alignment system from Ultimate Campaign with the following exceptions:
- You do not receive the -1 penalty for your alignment shifting.
- You decide whether or not your alignment should shift not the GM (you're encouraged to ask other players and the GM's opinion). The decision is made in between sessions not during.
You may not choose to start as Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil without running it by me first. If your alignment shifts to either of these alignments we will have a discussion to make sure you're not hurting the game.
Class based alignment restrictions are not in effect except for the following: Paladins must be Good, and can only worship Good deities. Antipaladins must be Evil, and can only worship Evil deities. Hellknights must be Lawful, and can only worship Lawful deities. Clerics must be within one step of their god. Otherwise there are no alignment based restrictions to which god you may worship.
Reasoning: I don't think people are static beings, and this system allows your alignment to reflect your character as he grows and changes. As for the alignment restriction, an Evil character in a Good group does nothing but causes problems and decreases the fun. As for the class restrictions I wanted to open up what alignments classes allow and which gods characters can worship, but retain the identity certain classes get from their gods.
Encumbrance & Equipment Management
We do not use the encumbrance rules, instead it is up to the DM's discretion how much anyone can carry.
We hand wave how you carry your equipment around. It's assumed you carry your stuff around in a pack (though your free to carry it around in other containers) but it will rarely be interacted with (ie. have your pack stolen, your not fitting through some place because your pack is too big, etc.) it's pretty much ignored.
Reasoning: Encumbrance is boring and annoying. The logistics of carrying all your equipment is dull, we're all prepared to employ some suspension of disbelief when it comes to how much characters can fit in their backpack and on their person. It's also kinda dumb, I mean how often do you see a huge backpack in character art?
We do not use the age category rules, though you're still expected to be within a race's life-span, and special effects that alter a person's age such as spells might.
Reasoning: I want my players to be able to choose their age based off of role-play reasons instead of gameplay reasons. It also helps avoid certain min-max builds.
Leadership Feat Removal
The Leadership Feat is not available for selection.
Reasoning: This feat allows you to have a NPC (or NPCs) to follow the party around. Just talk to me, I'm happy to accommodate things like this for the story's sake and often you'll find yourself getting NPC to join the party or hang around without having to waste a feat or have them meet the restrictions this feat puts on you. The followers aspect of the feat allows up to literally hundreds of followers which is not something I'm ready to let you do for a single feat.
We use the Stamina and Combat Tricks system from Unchained, specifically the Fighter Bonus Feats Only version.
Reasoning: Makes the fighter a bit stronger, and much more fun & interesting.
If you roll a natural 20, before confirming the critical, you do max damage. Then you roll to confirm, and if you confirm you roll the extra damage normally.
Example: Your character sheet shows you do 1d6+3 damage upon a successful hit. You roll a natural 20 on an attack roll, and confirm the critical. You do 9(6+3) + 1d6+3 damage.
The player adds an additional x1 to their critical multiplier every time they roll a natural 20 while trying to confirm the critical hit and rolls again. The player continues to do this until a natural 20 does not show up.
Reasoning: This way rolling a natural 20 during an attack is always exciting.
Swift Action Economy
You may choose to replace a move action with a swift action.
Reasoning: Swift actions are supposed to be things that are so easy you can do them without taking up your standard or move actions. It makes sense that if you want to do a lesser action you can replace a more complicated one. This is consistent with the idea that you can replace a standard action with a move action.
If you do an action that is completely unexpected you get the drop on your opponent and initiate a surprise round at the GM's discretion.
Reasoning: Rules as written there ends up being an inconsistency, and the person 'surprising' the other actually receives no advantage and maybe even a disadvantage. For example say a PC charges at a NPC. They are both aware of each other. This aggressive action causes initiative be rolled before the charge actually occurs. Say the NPC wins initiative and uses his move action to move out of the way, behind something that would block the charge. Then the PC goes and does something other than charging, then the charge that caused the NPC to move never occurred. Meaning the NPC would be reacting to something that didn't happen, and any logical advantage the PC had to trying to surprise his opponent is lost.
When casting a spell you spend the gp cost for the material components you need as you cast the spell. In regards to in-game fiction, when casting a spell it assumed that you bought the material components you needed beforehand.
Reasoning: Buying materials takes up valuable session time.
You don't have to keep track of mundane ammunition (arrows, bullets, etc.). There may be a time when I hold you to exactly what's on your character sheet, but I will let you know ahead of time.
Reasoning: Reduce minutia.
We use the 'Emerging Guns' gun rarity.
Reasoning: Pricing & world building.
Spells & abilities with an area of "radius [something], centered on you" count out from the edges of the creature.
Spells & abilities with an area of "cone" follow the following chart:
Reasoning: The first rule is consistent with Paizo FAQ ruling with creatures larger than medium. RAW you pick an intersection meaning a "5ft radius burst, centered on you" would only effect 4 squares instead of 8. A creature could be adjacent to a creature using this ability and remain unaffected.
The second rule is mostly consistent with Paizo's released material but clears up a contradiction in the CRB between this image and this quote, "The point of origin of a spell is always a grid intersection."
Magical healing works by accelerating the rate at which someone heals.
The benefit to this is that it has almost a 0% infection rate and minimizes scarring. Healing naturally is prone to infection and will leave more pronounced scars.
Raising creatures from the dead is difficult, and as such there are few people in the world able to do it. Raise Dead, Resurrection, and any other spells that raise characters from the dead must be run by the GM before selection.
In addition, after being resurrected from death, the raised character suffers from resurrection sickness for one week.
Resurrection Sickness: The creature is barley able to speak, perceive, or have coherent thought - steadily gaining back their senses and capabilities over a week.
Reasoning: I like the concept that death is more permanent and raising someone from the dead requires a lot of effort.
Some languages have a real-world equivalent.
- Common - English
- Elven - French
- Orcish - German
- Catfolk - Native American mix
- Dwarven - Irish/Scottish mix
- Azlanti - Chinese/Japanese mix
- Celestial - Hebrew
Reasoning: I had a character come in from our world so we had to determine how he understood common.
You may choose the Mimic familiar that I have created stats for. It was created using other familiars as a base, and the mimic in the bestiary.
Custom Variant Channeling
You may choose the Chaotic Variant Channeling that I have created.
Reasoning: Quetzalcoatl & Slenderman is for lore reasons. The One True God addition is to allow Christians the ability to worship their God in-game. The Game Master is just for fun.
You may choose the Nekojin race that I have created.
3rd Party Content
You may not select any third-party content without my permission.
Reasoning: A lot of 3rd party content is unbalanced. Run it by me and I'll make a ruling on a case by case basis.
I do not host games that include more than 3 players.
Reasoning: I find that 3 is the perfect number of players. It allows proper amount of time for each player to interact and RP without it being too time-consuming and boring other players waiting to do something. It also assures that encounters do not take an overwhelming amount of time.
I do not host games that include couples.
Reasoning: Couples, while there is inherently nothing wrong with them, present some unique problems. If a couple is in midst of a personal fight, it will often negatively effect everyone's game. If the couple is there more to play with each other than to play with the game, if one can't make a session the other becomes lax and dull during that session. In a similar vein if one couple is unable to make a session often the other cannot make it. Often couples will take increased interest in each other's actions and motivations, and disregard the other players'.
Price to Pay
Simply everyone needs to contribute in some way. Some examples of contribution that we have done in the past: driving, DMing, bringing drinks and snacks.
Reasoning: There are many different ways to handle the cost of playing. Many groups have a pot where everyone puts a dollar in every session, and the group decides what game-related things to purchase with those funds. There are also many ways groups handle compensating the DM for the effort he has to put in over the PCs, such as one where the DM doesn't pay for food, and the rest of the group splits the bill among each other. We have no fee-per-session, and since we are not exactly what I'd call, 'financially stable' there is no longer an entry fee.
There are some things that come up that Paizo has not given an official rule on, the following rules are me making a decision off of unclear rules.
Wielding 2 Two-Handed Weapons
A four-armed creature can take the "Two-Weapon Fighting" feat chain.
- SOURCE: The NPC statblock for Metweska from book 6 of the Iron God's first-party adventure path authored by Crystal Frasier shows a Kasatha with the "Two-Weapon Fighting" and "Improved Two-Weapon Fighting" feats.
A four-armed creature can wield 2 two-handed melee weapons.
- SOURCE: The Metweska statblock referenced above shows a Kasatha wielding 2 chainsaws.
When applying penalties to attack and damage from two-weapon fighting the weapon that is held with a primary hand and an off-hand is treated as a weapon held with a primary hand and the weapon that is held with two off-hands is treated as a weapon held with an off-hand.
- SOURCE: The Metweska statblock referenced above shows a Kasatha receiving the penalties to attack rolls from two-weapon fighting in this manner. Even though the statblock is incorrect and shows all attacks 2 less than they should be (the attack roll should include +1 for the enhancement bonus for the weapon, +15 for BAB, +1 for the Weapon Focus feat, +1 for the Greater Weapon Focus Feat, +1 for the STR mod, +3 for the Weapon Training special attack, and -4 for Two Weapon fighting with the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat) the fact that both weapons share the same attack bonuses and the 2nd chainsaw receives one less attack than the 1st one shows that the above primary and off-hand designations are correct.
- The Metweska statblock referenced above shows a Kasatha receiving the bonuses to damage rolls from two-weapon fighting in this manner. Even though the statblock is incorrect and shows the damage being 1 less than than what it could possibly be before even adding the bonus to damage from strength (the damage roll should include +1 for the enhancement bonus for the weapon, +3 for the Weapon Training special attack, +2 for the Weapon Specialization feat, and whatever the amount of damage from the +1 STR mod should be for a minimum of +6 before STR mod is considered), the fact that there is a difference between the two weapon's damage output shows something must be affecting the weapons differently from each other. The only thing that could possibly be is her STR mod, all other abilities she has that effect her damage output apply to both of her weapons no matter how they are wielded. That means her first weapon is receiving a 1.5x STR mod bonus to damage from attacking with a two-handed weapon (which in the case equates to +1), and her second weapon is only receiving a 0.5x STR mod bonus to damage rolls for being an off-hand weapon (which in this case equates to +0). If the second weapon was receiving just the bonus to damage from attacking with a two-handed weapon the damage would not differ from the first weapon. If instead the second weapon was receiving the bonus to damage from attacking with a two-handed weapon stacked with the bonus to damage for being an off-hand weapon the damage would end up not differing from the first weapon (As stated in the CRB p.12 & p.179 you add not multiply modifiers so it ends up being [STR mod] x (1.5 + -0.5) = [STR mod] x 1 = 1 x 1 = +1).
Reasoning: While this is a hotly debated topic, it is my opinion that Paizo has ruled on this with it's first-party material cited above.
Kneeling & Sitting
Kneeling and sitting are not conditions or combat maneuvers and provide no benefits or bonuses.
Reasoning: Kneeling and sitting are only referenced in a chart in the CRB, they are not even listed under conditions like prone is. They give half the bonuses and penalties as prone but the action to do it is not listed. Standing up from prone is a move action, it becomes difficult to make standing from kneeling and sitting less than a move action while keeping them from being easily abused. Since it's only ever mentioned once, and that mention is incomplete I treat it as an accidental inclusion.
Feats that apply to spell-like abilities do not apply to your blasts.
You take burn before performing the action, but complete the action before falling unconscious.
Metakinesis does not take a longer action.
Reasoning: These feats devalue features of the Kineticist and create a power problem. Calculating burn increases several stats that affect what your using that gave you that burn, with no judgment on if it happens before or after I had to make a judgment call. The burn is enough of a cost for metakinesis.
Creatures that catch on fire use the information listed in the burn ability for determining how it functions.
Reasoning: The catching fire rules are unclear on what actions it is to make the automatic reflex save and roll on the ground. The burn universal monster ability provides the same function without the confusion.
As a Summoner You Summon the actual Creature
When a Summoner summons his Eidolon he summons the actual creature as per summoning subschool of conjuration spells, however he gets to modify the creature in various ways as outlined in the Summoner's abilities (this is what I take the word "aspect" to mean).
Reasoning: There is a contradiction in the Summoner's Eidolon entry. It specifically says that the Eidolons are, "treated as summoned creatures," except they are not sent back to their home plane when the duration of the spell that summoned them is over (because obviously they haven't been summoned by a spell) but instead are sent back to their home plane when other criteria is met (ie. -con score, banished, etc). So since summoned creatures are the actual creatures ripped from their home plane and forced to serve you for a limited time depending on the spell (ie. summon monster) before returning to their home plane either immediately because they have survived long enough for the spell to expire or they have been banished, or because they were killed and reform 24 hours later Eidolons must be the actual creatures being summoned.
However it also states that, "The eidolon forms a link with the summoner, who forever after summons an aspect of the same creature," (Important to note that it then does away with the word aspect and refers to the aspect of the eidolon simply as the eidolon). What does aspect mean? Consider the following:
- "The eidolon’s physical appearance is up to the summoner."
- The eidolon can experience "death" and can be "slain" (specifically calling out those words and obviously referring to it reaching -con), and yet can return (be summoned) a day later.
- It doesn't heal naturally unlike all other living creatures in Pathfinder.
- "The eidolon takes a form shaped by the summoner’s desires," ie. the summoner chooses it's evolutions and gets to re-decide them every time the summoner levels up.
- The eidolon grows stronger as the Summoner does.
With these details we have to assume that aspect means that we are not actually summoning the creature.
In conclusion, there is a contradiction in the book where it both says you summon an aspect of the Eidolon (not the Eidolon itself), and that you summon the Eidolon itself. If it is the actual creature then what does the verbiage about aspect mean? If it is an aspect then it does not in fact get, "treated as a summoned creature," and what exactly is being returned to it's "home plane" when dismissed or slain? The best way I can reconcile these two is to define aspect as meaning the actual creature but modified.
House Rules Currently Suspended
For one reason or another these rules are not currently being used, but I plan on using them again in the future.
Cost of Living Tax
We use the Cost of Living Tax as outlined in the Core Rulebook.
Reasoning: As stated in the book, "Handling minor expenditures (food, rent, taxes, idle purchases) in detail during play, and tracking every time a PC pays for a room, buys water, or pays a gate tax can swiftly become obnoxious and tiresome."
Critical Hit Deck
We use the critical hit deck. Upon a confirmed critical, a player draws a card from the deck and follows the instructions on it.
If an attacker has Weapon Focus (or x3 crit modifier) for the weapon he confirmed the critical hit with, he may draw two cards from the deck and choose one of the results (from his attack type) to apply. A character with Greater Weapon Focus (or x4 crit modifier) may draw three cards. The player draws an additional card every time they roll a 20 while trying to confirm the critical hit. The player continues to roll until a natural 20 does not show up.
A player may instead roll normal damage and hold on to one card. He can exchange this card at any time to negate a critical fumble.
If your weapon has a x3 or higher crit modifier you may choose not to draw at all and roll damage as you would as if we were not using the deck.
Critical Miss Deck
We use the critical miss deck. Upon a confirmed critical miss, a player draws a card from the deck and follows the instructions on it. The players draws an additional card every time they roll a 1 while trying to confirm the critical miss. The player continues to roll until a natural 1 does not show up.