House Rules

Introduction

The following House Rules were agreed upon, and tested, by Bill, Eddie, Ian, Micky, and Robbie. They are designed for high fantasy campaigns of epic proportion, while balancing the game mechanics of Pathfinder at the same time. We erred on the side of buffing before nerfing.

Links

Pathfinder Online Rules – These are the official rules being used. Core Book, Bestiary, Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Combat, and Ultimate Magic.

3rd Party Pathfinder Online Rules – This website is MASSIVELY easier to navigate, but any content on this site that is not from the 5 core books must be approved first.

Character Creation

Use the standard Pathfinder Rules with the Home Brew rules listed here. Starting stats: 16, 16, 14, 14, 12, 12.

Races

Race Points
Pathfinder did not balance the races, or even the cost of Race Points. Gnome Magic and Svirdneblin Magic having the same exact cost, charging 1 point for Linguist on Humans and Half-Elves, and the low base value of 8 on Half-Orcs are only the tip of the iceberg in this matter.

Dwarf: No changes to Dwarves.

Elf: New Elven Weapons (Weapon Familiarity) will be listed in the Equipment section. Elven Immunities may be substituted with Fire/Cold Resist 5. Elven Magic may be substituted with either Deep Magic (+2 Dispel Magic and Spell Penetration) or Skill Focus Know: Arcana or Spellcraft.

Gnome: For Hatred choose 2 subtypes from Humanoid and Outsider categories that makes sense for the game world (such as Naga in City of Crypts). Gnome Magic is substituted with Svirfneblin Magic (see Race Points).

Half-Elf: For Elven Immunities see Elf. Linguist and Multitalented can substituted with either Skilled (+ 1 skill point per lvl) or Focused Study (Skill Focus at levels 1, 8, and 16).

Half-Orc: New Orcish Weapons (Weapon Familiarity) will be listed in the Equipment section. The skill bonus to Intimidate may be substituted for any skill of their choice (represents the adaptation of their human blood). Orc Ferocity can be substituted with Scent.

Halfling: For Weapon Familiarity choose two weapons that make sense for the game world (such as Shortswords). The skill bonus on Climb can be substituted with Stealth. Slow is removed, Halflings have a base move of 30’.

Human: Gain Skill Focus.

Attributes: Any race may substitute their attribute modifiers with +2 to any one attribute.

Classes

Barbarians
As the new “Tank” class of Pathfinder the following changes are designed to make a Barbarian excel at tanking without hurting his DPS which is already below other pure DPS classes.

  • All Barbarians gain DR 1/- at every even level. This replaces any DR currently in place on the normal level progression chart which starts at level 7.
  • Rage: No AC penalty, no fatigue penalty, hp are temporary, cannot start/end in the same round.
  • Tireless Rage: Unlimited Rage per day (no longer limited by x rounds per day).
  • Heavy Armor Specialization: Gain the Heavy Armor Proficiency Feat and do not suffer any movement penalties in Heavy Armor.

Bards
Several Archetypes, such as Archaeologist and Bladed Dervish, fix most issues the Bard has as a class. Upon reviewing their spell list they need very little adjustments.

  • Bards gain 8 skill points per level.
  • Bardic Knowledge: A core feature of Bards is removed by all Archetypes that make Bards viable in our opinion. As such Bards never lose Bardic Knowledge.
  • Archaeologist Archetype: Archaeologist’s Luck should read “He can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + his Charisma modifier. At each level after 1st a bard can use Archaeologist’s Luck for 2 additional rounds per day.”

Clerics
Clerics, Oracles, Wizards, and Sorcerors all suffer from a fundamental problem. Their sister classes have the exact same spell list, but static casting and spontaneous casting will always leave one class as the weaker version. Balancing spell casting to be closely equal while each class has specific niche advantages is the only solution.

  • Clerics spontaneously cast spells as the Oracle does (use Cast/Known per Oracle); however their list of Known spells is set each day during spell preparation when praying to their gods.
  • Spells Cast/Known progress at every odd level. Bump up the spell progression one level starting at level 3 (level 4 cast/known is gained at level 3).

Druids
Druids are largely ok as is. We discussed giving them spontaneous magic as well, but ultimately decided against because of how powerful they already are. However we wanted to ease the burden of memorizing healing spells, while also controlling some of the overpowered and underpowered animal companions available.

  • Spontaneous Casting: At character creation choose to be able to spontaneously substitute any memorized spell with either Summon Animal per Druid, or Inflict/Cure per Cleric.
  • Animal Companions: In an upcoming Animal Companion section, 3-6 archetypes will be created to choose from instead of any currently existing Animal Companion options.

Fighters
Fighters are largely outclassed by all other melee builds (even those with lower BA’s). Steadfast grants them a truly niche ability and allowing them to access feats earlier lets their niche mastery of Feats truly shine.

  • If a Fighter uses their bonus combat feats to purchase a Feat with attribute requirements they may ignore it.
  • Feats that denote one specific weapon (such as Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization) apply to any weapon the Fighter is proficient with.
  • Bravery: This is replaced with a new class feature named Steadfast.
  • Steadfast: Steadfast is gained at every level Bravery would have been gained. This grants the Fighter immunity to status effects taken from the Paladin Mercy list. At 2nd level choose from the 3rd lvl list. At 6th level choose from the 6th and under list. At 10th level choose from the 9th and under list. At 14th and 18th level choose from the 12th and under list.
  • Feats with level requirements are 4 levels lower now. So a Feat requiring level + 11 BA would require only a +7 BA for a fighter. If feats have other mandatory requirements (such as a + 11 BA for Greater Two Weapon Fighting, those cannot be ignored.

Monks
The largest issue with this class is the lack of viable weapon options. Players hate seeing awesome magic weapon drops and never being allowed to use them. That said, Monks have been given too much like Rangers. Expect another nerf to this class in the future after more play testing.

  • Small PC’s use normal Medium tables.
  • Unarmed combat can substitute natural weapons.
  • Monk Unarmed Damage can replace the weapon damage of any weapon the Monk is proficient with. This includes natural attacks.
  • Monks only get two saves high. Pick one save at character creation to be your low save.

Oracles
Clerics, Oracles, Wizards, and Sorcerors all suffer from a fundamental problem. Their sister classes have the exact same spell list, but static casting and spontaneous casting will always leave one class as the weaker version. Balancing spell casting to be closely equal while each class has specific niche advantages is the only solution.

  • Spells Cast/Known progress at every odd level. Bump up the spell progression one level starting at level 3 (level 4 cast/known is gained at level 3).

Paladins
Paladins are largely ok, but lack any “feeling” of scaling. Aura Mastery largely fixes the feeling of Paladins that their Auras are weak while also giving them something that scales with level and has a meaningful impact on the party.

  • Aura Mastery: +5’ range on all Auras at levels 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18.
  • Improved Lay on Hands: At level 8 the Paladin may divide the healing done between themselves and their target however they wish. This applies when targeting someone else and the Mercies affect both equally.

Rangers
The Ranger is a Hybrid class that can do everything except for being a pure caster. Add in the Feat Boon Companion and Rangers become the most potent class in game. As a Hybrid class with far too much power we opted to buff their existing advantages while lowering their BA.

  • Rangers follow the Cleric/Rogue Base Attack Progression.
  • Rangers gain 8 skill points per level.
  • Ranger’s get their animal companion at full Druid level, without the need for Boon Companion, at level 1.

Sorcerors
Clerics, Oracles, Wizards, and Sorcerors all suffer from a fundamental problem. Their sister classes have the exact same spell list, but static casting and spontaneous casting will always leave one class as the weaker version. Balancing spell casting to be closely equal while each class has specific niche advantages is the only solution.

  • Spells Cast/Known progress at every odd level. Bump up the spell progression one level starting at level 3 (level 4 cast/known is gained at level 3).

Warlocks
As a classic favorite, we wanted the option to still play one. However as no one wanted to spend the time reworking Warlocks for Pathfinder, we opted to steal and modify a conversion done by Redcap’ Corner.

Wizards
Clerics, Oracles, Wizards, and Sorcerors all suffer from a fundamental problem. Their sister classes have the exact same spell list, but static casting and spontaneous casting will always leave one class as the weaker version. Balancing spell casting to be closely equal while each class has specific niche advantages is the only solution.

The Wizard however is still weaker than a Sorceror due to how much better Sorceror abilities are. The following is meant to address that.

  • Bonus Feats are at every 4 levels now (4, 8, 12, 16, 20), and Scribe Scroll is replaced by Bonus Feat.
  • Wizards spontaneously cast spells as the Sorceror does (use Cast/Known per Sorc); however their list of Known spells is set each day during spell preparation from their spell books.
  • Spells Cast/Known progress at every odd level. Bump up the spell progression one level starting at level 3 (level 4 cast/known is gained at level 3).
  • Wizards do not suffer from Opposition School penalties.
  • Arcane Bond: The item, if turned into a magic item through Craft Item feats, costs no experience and can be created in an 8 hour ritual that can be completed during spell preparation. This combined experience and time “cost break” may only ever be used once. Alternatively a Wizard may choose to turn an existing magic item into their Arcane Bond during Spell Preparation. Arcane Bond items never use up an Attunement slot.
  • Familiars may use the BA of their master if better.

Warlocks
Warlocks are a fan favorite with our group, but no one wanted to sit down and do a complete conversion to Pathfinder. So we cribbed someone else’s and put it here with links to their abilities. See the Warlock section in the Wiki.

  • Melee Eldritch Blast: Invocations can only create one weapon or affect one weapon (no dual wielding Eldritch Blasts).
  • Eldritch Blast: You may make one attack as a Standard Action, or you may take a Full Attack Action to take as many attacks as your Base Attack allows (all melee/ranged).
  • AoE Eldritch Blast: Applying any Blast Shape that makes Eldritch Blast affect more than one target requires a Standard Action.

Skills

  • All classes that only get 2 Skill Ranks per level now gain 4 Skill Ranks per level.
  • Use Magic Device is limited to Alchemist, Bard, Ninja, Rogue, and Warlock.

Feats

Caster Only

Midian Descent: Requires Level 1, Caster (City of Crypts, New Feat)
The blood of ancient evil Midia runs in the player’s veins, no matter how thin. The DC’s of all spells and effects of the player casts are at plus 2.

Midian Heritage: Requires Midian Descent (City of Crypts, New Feat)
A stronger strain of Midia lingers in this players veins, usually a Zhondish, Ur-Nammu noble, or Tartessan merchant. The magical power of Midia swirls in the player, powering his magic. All spell damage dice are upgraded one step, ex. D4 to D6.

Midian Legacy: Requires Midian Descent (City of Crypts, New Feat)
Midia’s magical legacy empowers this player. As a result, he may cast one extra spell of each level available to him per day, ex. a first level wizard may cast two base spells per day instead of just one.

Midian Pureblood: Requires Midian Heritage, Midian Legacy (City of Crypts, New Feat)
By chance or connivance, this character’s strain of Midian blood runs pure. The magical might of ancient Midia surges through his veins. He may substitute his Charisma score for his prime casting stat. If Charsima is already their prime casting stat, it rises by 2 points.

Unholy Secrets: Requires Caster or Warlock, Non-Good Alignment (City of Crypts, New Feat)
This feat treats the casters prime ability score for determining bonus spells, effects, and bonuses as if it were two points higher, ex. a Wizard with a 17 Intelligence would be treated as if he has a 19 Intelligence for purposes of determining spell saves and bonus spells. A Warlock with this feat gains one extra Invocation whenever he gains a new tier of Invocation, i.e. a 1st level warlock would know two least invocations.

Fighter Only

Balanced Weight: Requires Fighter (New Feat)
Attack penalties for fighting with two weapons are reduced by –1. Alternatively, you may use a one-handed weapon in your off-hand, treating it as if it were a light weapon with the normal light weapon penalties.

Improved Balanced Weight: Requires Fighter level 4, Balanced Weight (New Feat)
Attack penalties for fighting with two weapons are reduced by –2 and you may use a one-handed weapon in your off-hand, treating it as if it were a light weapon with the normal light weapon penalties.

Shield Deflection: Requires Fighter (New Feat)
When using a shield you gain your shield bonus against touch attacks.

Tower Shield Specialization: Requires Fighter (New Feat)
When using a tower shield you do not take the –2 penalty on attack rolls because of the shield’s encumbrance.

Good Only

Blood of Heroes: Requires 1st Level, Good Alignment (City of Crypts, New Feat)
This Feat represents those who are descended from the bloodlines of the greatest, god-touched heroes. The player may re-roll any one roll per day.

Luck of Heroes: Requires 1st Level, Good Alignment (City of Crypts, New Feat)
Heroes are inherently lucky. +1 Luck Bonus to all Saves.

Warlock Only

Dark Pact: Requires Warlock, Midian Descent (City of Crypts, New Feat)
Midian warlocks were famous for their powers. This feat allows a warlock to add 2d6 to the damage of his Eldritch Blast.

Blood Pact: Requires Dark Pact (City of Crypts, New Feat)
Some Midian Warlocks achieved unheard of power. This feat allows one extra invocation per level of invocation available.

Unholy Pact: Requires Blood Pact (City of Crypts, New Feat)
The mightiest Midian Warlocks were able to produce incredible Eldritch effects. The character may add one extra invocation to his Eldritch Blast.

Unholy Secrets: Requires Caster or Warlock, Non-Good Alignment (City of Crypts, New Feat)
This feat treats the casters prime ability score for determining bonus spells, effects, and bonuses as if it were two points higher, ex. a Wizard with a 17 Intelligence would be treated as if he has a 19 Intelligence for purposes of determining spell saves and bonus spells. A Warlock with this feat gains one extra Invocation whenever he gains a new tier of Invocation, i.e. a 1st level warlock would know two least invocations.

New Feats

Armor Training: Requires Strength 13 (New Feat)
You suffer no movement penalties from wearing armor.

Dexterous Strike: Requires Dexterity 13 (New Feat)
You may apply your Dexterity bonus as a damage modifier instead of Strength.

Forceful Willpower: (New Feat)
You may substitute your Cha mod for your Wis mod on Will saves.

Leadership:
Cohorts accompanying the party get a full share of all loot while they are there. This includes any major, special, or unique items.

Monkey Grip: (New Feat)
You gain 5’ threat when using a 2H weapon. This does not stack with Lunge.

Precise Reflexes: (New Feat)
You may substitute your Int mod for your Dex mod on Reflex saves.

Powerful Fortitude: (New Feat)
You may substitute your Str mod for your Con mod on Fortitude saves.

Push Off: Requires Strength 13 (New Feat)
You may apply your Strength bonus to your Initiative instead of using Dexterity.

Ranged Mastery: (New Feat)
Purchasing this Feat gives you Point Blank Shot & Precise Shot.

Weapon Specific Feats
Feats such as Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, and Improved Critical will now choose a Weapon Group per the Weapon Training class feature of Fighters.

Banned Feats

  • Hammer the Gap
  • Two Weapon Rend

Mechanics

GOLDEN RULE
I reserve the right to tell you “NO!” at any time. If you find some crazy amazing thing that you know is broken and don’t forewarn me ahead of time, expect this to be applied to you more often than normal.

Character Death/Retirement

  • If you make a new character some grandfathered rules which have been deemed unbalanced or broken will not be available for your new character, even if it is a positive retirement.

Character Generation

  • Starting Attributes: 16,16, 14, 14, 12, 12
  • Players may select up to 2 Flaws, which may be activated by the GM or players once each per session.

Critical Rolls

  • If a critical failure is not covered in combat by a crit card, the character provokes an attack of opportunity.
  • Critical successes on CMB checks grants the attacker a free attack action similar to an Attack of Opportunity.

Hit Points

  • No HP bonuses for leveling in your FC, only +1 skill point or an alternative racial favored class option.
  • Standardized HP: d12=12, d10=10, d8=8, and d6=6.

Immediate and Swift Actions

  • These are separate from each other.

Natural Attacks

  • Natural Attacks have a crit threat of 19-20/x2.

Readied Actions

  • Readied actions do not alter your Initiative.

Sneak Attacks

  • The Feat Gang Up allows ranged attacks to apply SA damage; however, the extra attacks from Rapid Shot and Manyshot cannot ever apply SA damage unless within a bow’s improved damage range of 10’.

Weapons

  • Weapons have been changed. Please see the Equipment section of the Wiki.
  • All melee Two Handed weapons grant x2 attribute modifier for damage.
  • Bows threaten a 10’ area and can make Attacks of Opportunity.
  • Bows use Dexterity for to hit and damage.
  • Bows get a +1 damage step if firing upon someone within 10’.
  • Bows base weapon damage is per 2H weapons.
  • Bows count as 1H weapons for damage modifiers, such as Power Attack and Attribute bonuses.

Magic

Buff Spells

  • Buffs that ONLY buff and have no type of damage effect may be cast as a Move action.
  • Some spells may be excluded from this without warning in game.
  • All spells must be approved on a case by case basis.

Frigid Touch

  • Frigid Touch causes your hand to glow with a pale blue radiance. Your melee touch attack deals 4d6 points of cold damage plus an additional 4d6 cold damage every four levels beyond 3rd (to a maximum of 12d6 at 11th level). The spell also has a chance to cause the target to be staggered for 1 round (Fort save for no Staggered effect, the damage cannot be saved).

Mirror Image

  • Requires a Standard Action to cast.

Multi-Spell

  • This class feature is gained by all spell casters at level 10. This allows the caster to use a Move action to cast a spell as if they were using a standard action to do so. This allows a caster to cast 2 spells a round or to cast a spell and make a standard action as well.

Quicken Spell

  • No longer exists.

Spell Books

  • You begin play with a spellbook containing all 0-level spells, five 1st-level spells, three 2nd-level spells, plus a number of additional spells (for both levels) equal to your relevant Attribute modifier.
  • At each new level you gain two new spells of any spell level that you can cast (research, practice, etc…).

Experience and ABA’s

ABA Awards

  • $5 game food = 1 ABA
  • $10 game food = 2 ABA
  • $15 game food = 3 ABA
  • $20 game food = 4 ABA
  • Transportation resulting in you going out of your way = 1 ABA
  • Showing up on time = 1 ABA
  • Filling out an adventure log = 1 ABA
  • Tracking ABA’s (points gained and how they were spent) and Exp’s = 1 ABA
  • Exposing a broken mechanic (that your character can use) that gets nerfed = 1 ABA
  • Suprising the GM = 2 ABA
  • Completing a Story Arc = 3 ABA
  • Changing the World = 4 ABA
  • Staying in character almost the entire night with MINIMAL out of character conversations = 3 ABA

ABA Purchases

  • All ABA’s cost 8 points each
  • New Skills: Gain +1 Skill Ranks per level, retroactive.
  • Improved Skill Critical: One Skill crits on a 18-20.
  • Damage Reduction: DR 1/-, stacking. (may purchase once)
  • Rerolls: Reroll 1/day. (may purchase twice)
  • Rerolls: 1/day (declare before rolling) roll twice and choose the better result. (may purchase twice)
  • Feats: Any Feat.
  • Feat Specialization: Feats that affect one thing (such as Weapon Focus) may affect up to 3.
  • Take 20: Take 20 1/day on a Skill chosen at time of purchase. (once per skill)
  • Take 20: Take 20 1/day on any skill. (may purchase once)
  • Channel Energy: Channel Energy 1d6 1/day, stacking.
  • Smite Evil: Smite Evil 1/day, stacking. (may purchase once)
  • Movement: +5 Move, stacking. (may purchase once)
  • Plot Point: The equivalent of rolling a natural 20 on a pivotal encounter to make something happen in game. A NPC will fall in love with someone, enemies may become allies, a trusted companion may betray a master, etc… Player input (consensus vote) can affect the outcome especially if the effect is considered to either be under/over powered. (may be purchased one time for every non-Plot Point ABA purchase made)

Experience Points

  • If you miss a game night you will be awarded 1/3 of the normally awarded exp.
  • You may take one free miss each campaign where you will receive full exp.
  • If you miss due to work or being sick you will receive full exp.
  • If the GM cancels a game he will award the players 1/2 of the total exp required for their next level (not taking into account the player’s current exp total).
  • Games being cancelled due to too many players cancelling or special circumstances (such as holidays) don’t grant the players any special bonuses.
  • All new characters will start off at the current highest level in the party -1. If all players are the same level then the new character starts off at that level.

Magic Items

Magic Items

  • Items may be worn as makes sense. Ie., you could wear two belts, three amulets, and five rings. However you could only wear one pair of boots.
  • Some more powerful magic items will require you to become Attuned to the item. You gain 1 Attunement slot at level 1, and an additional at levels 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20.
  • All items of +5 or greater always require an Attunement slot.
  • Armor and Shield enchantments cost the same as Weapon enchantments.

Magic Item Creation

  • Item creation either takes 8 hours with full experience costs or takes the full time to make with zero experience costs. The decision is made when the item is created.

Disenchantment

  • A one hour ritual that destroys a normal magic item (nothing cursed, intelligent, epic, etc…) and produces Mage Crystals equal to 25% of the value of the existing item.
  • Some cursed, holy, and unholy items can be disenchanted and carry the blessings and curses with the Mage Crystals.

Monsters & Templates

High Fantasy Settings

  • High fantasy campaigns will use the full level for determining all DC’s, not 1/2 of the level.

Templates for PC’s

  • If only some players are receiving Templates, the general house rule will be that they gain everything but the bonus Feats and Attribute modifiers.
  • Some “exceptional” attribute bonuses may, at GM discretion, offer + 1 to + 3 still so long as the impact upon game balance isn’t noticeable.
  • Nothing will ever give a player a Slam attack without special GM dispensation.

House Rules

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