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Enhanced House Rules
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Enhanced House Rules Version 1.2 Silverfist Productions 1993
[Net note: Consider this to be my exhaustive list of house rules. They touch in some way or another on most aspects of the AD&D 2nd Ed. Game, but its modular build-up makes it possible to incorporate any part you like. I have been reading parts of the archives at greyhawk.stanford.edu, so I am aware of most of the alternatives presented there. I have talked all changes over with my players and revised where they thought it appropriate - that caused version 1.1 . I got some feedback after mailing this to interested members of ADND-L - so the EDND rules are now in version 1.2 . If you want to see a version 1.3, or (who knows) version 2.0 then you will have to give me some more feedback. The text was written for my players, so I have added 'net notes' giving more information where I thought it was useful. A general note is that my revisions on the whole create somewhat stronger characters than the official rules (more hit points, specialization, better ability scores); as a DM I have never had problems with this: I simply made the adventures somewhat harder. The two major advantages of the revisions are that some 'unrealistic' rules are dropped, and that players get a chance to really develop their characters in a custom-made way.
INTRODUCTION The following changes to the AD&D 2nd Edition game have their origin in feelings of dissatifaction with the original rules. Some have been designed to give the players greater freedom in developing their characters; others have been introduced in order to make my campaign world more 'realistic'. The changes are, of course, only applicable in my Forgotten Realms(TM) campaigns. They are not intended to be the final word on these matters - players who feel dissatisfied with my rules are encouraged to create their own versions. Playtesting will then show which one adds the most to the fun of the entire gaming group.
Rolling Ability Scores [Net note: if you like the idea behind this system, but you consider it too generous, then just decrease the number of dice players can roll to 26 (or whatever, though 18 is the minimum) d6's.] I allow only one method of rolling PC's in my game worlds. It is based on an article that appeared in a Dragon several years ago. The underlying idea is quite simple: the player is allowed to roll 31d6 for the six ability scores of his or her character. A player can freely allot these dice, but 3d6 is the minimum for any ability score: e.g. a player intent on getting a real strong, but clumsy Fighter may allot 9d6 to Strength and Constitution each, 4d6 to Dexterity, and 3d6 to the other three abilties. For each ability score the three highest rolls are taken (note that this is not obligatory: a player who wants a weak character, but rolls 18 on 3d6 may lower this to 8, 6 or whatever, but he or
she cannot use these points to increase another ability score). These values then have to be modified according to the race of the character (see Character Races). The following table shows the distribution of 28d6 for prototypical members of each Character Class (the player should allot the other 3d6 as he or she considers most appropriate for the character he or she wants to play): Character Class STR Fighter Paladin Ranger Commander Thief Bard Mage Illusionist Abjurer Conjurer Diviner Enchanter Invoker Necromancer Transmuter Cleric Druid Specialty Priest Assassin Crusader Warlock Magician Sorceror Avenger 7 6 6 6 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 5 5 Var 6 6 6 4 4 4 INT WIS DEX CON CHA 3 3 4 3 6 4 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 3 3 Var 4 3 6 6 6 4 4 6 6 4 3 4 5 5 6 5 6 5 4 6 5 7 6 6 4 6 3 4 6 6 5 3 4 3 7 5 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 6 3 4 Var 6 4 5 6 4 6 6 4 6 6 4 5 4 3 4 6 4 3 6 4 5 5 4 Var 5 5 5 4 4 4 3 6 3 6 4 6 3 5 3 3 4 6 4 3 3 5 6 3 4 3 4 4 4 STR 12 STR 12, WIS 13, CON 9, CHA 12 STR 13, WIS 12, DEX 12, CON 14 STR 13, WIS 10, CON 14, CHA 13 DEX 9 INT 11, WIS 11, DEX 12, CHA 14 INT 9 INT 9, DEX 14 INT 9, WIS 13 INT 9, CON 13 INT 9, WIS 14 INT 9, CHA 14 INT 9, CON 14 INT 9, WIS 14 INT 9, DEX 13 WIS 9 WIS 12, CHA 13 Fighter / Thief Fighter / Thief Fighter / Mage (Illusionist) Thief / Mage (Illusionist) Cleric / Mage (Illusionist) Thief / Cleric Minimum Scores
The table also shows the minimum abilities for characters of each class. Note that almost of them are different from those in the PHB. In all cases, the minima have been lowered so as to make it easier for a player to get the character of his or her choice. The six 'new' Character Classes are simply new names for the multi-class characters (see Character Classes). When a player has decided on the race and class of his or her character, he or she is allowed to roll up three sets of ability scores that meet the minimum scores (after racial modifications). The player can then choose which of the three sets he or she retains for the character.
Character Races [Net note: more races, more fun. My players do NOT volunteer for playing drow, because I take most races' xenophobism very seriously. But if a player wants to take up the challenge, then there is no problem for me. I allow more variation in ability scores, because it gives characters more personal identity, without unbalancing the game - simply make the adventure somewhat harder.] The following races can be chosen for PC's: Race Human Dwarf (Mountain, Hill) Dwarf (Duergar) Gnome (Hill) Gnome (Svirfneblin) Halfling (All) Orc Half Orc Elf (High) Elf (Grey) Elf (Wood) Elf (Wild) Elf (Snow) Elf (Dark) Half-Elf STR 18 18 18 18 -1 18 -1 18 -1 18 +1 18 +1 18 -1 18 -1 18 18 18 -1 18 -1 18 INT 18 18 -1 18 -1 18 +1 18 +1 18 18 -4 18 -4 18 +1 18 +1 18 18 -1 18 18+1 18 WIS 18 18 +1 18 18 -1 18 18 18 -2 18 -2 18 18 +1 18 18 -1 18 18 -1 18 DEX 18 18 -1 18 18 +1 18 +2 18 +2 18 18 18+1 18 +1 18 +1 18 +2 18+1 18 +2 18 +1 CON 18 18 +1 18 +1 18 -1 18 -1 18 -1 18 +1 18 +1 18 -1 18 -2 18 -1 18 18 18 -1 18 -1 CHA 18 18/1 18/6 18 *1 18 18 18/6 18/4 18 18 18 18/3 18/2 18/8 18
Other races are possible too: Gnolls, Minotaurs, Brownies, ... But those races can not be chosen without the agreement of the DM. The Table also indicates the new modifiers for the various character races: e.g. an Orc with maximal ability scores will have Strength 19, Intelligence 14, Wisdom 16, Dexterity 18, Constitution 19 and Charisma 12 (18). The two special signs in the column for Charisma have the following meaning: '/' indicates that the character has a lower Charisma score when dealing with humans (the dominant race in the Realms), '*' indicates that Hill Gnomes are treated by Humans as if their Charisma was one higher than it really is. The real Charisma is used for interactions between the non-human character and members of his or her own race. The modifiers for Charisma may disappear when the local population gets to know the true nature of the character: e.g. the way Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow, is slowly accepted in Icewind Dale. In an adventuring group, the modifiers normally disappear after a few months of traveling together. Note further that in the Realms any child of an Elf and a Human is a Half-Elf (the general 2nd Edition rule does not hold), and that "The Elves of the Forgotten Realms are of human height, but much more slender." (Cyclopedia of the Realms p.41)
Character Classes [Net note: Most of you will probably consider the new hit die system outrageous. Know therefore that in our Realms, Greyhawk, Dark Sun & Ravenloft campaigns, we allow players at each level to roll the appropriate die (e.g. d10 for Fighters) twice and take the highest roll. My new system makes only Fighters significantly better (on average 8 hit points per level) when compared to our old system (on average 7 hit points per level); but my players agreed with the upgrading of the Fighter class. If you like the idea, but not the increased hit points, then you can subtract 1 from the fixed number of hit points a character receives at each level and/or you can change the d4 roll by a d3 roll - the combination of both decreases the average amount of hit points at each level with 1 1/2, so that the values get close to those the original system gives, but without its unrealistic total random aspect. The new hit die system also removes the useless anxiety associated with reaching a new level. What should be a great occasion often boils down to a nervous player hardly daring to throw the die that will determine his or her new hit points total. And when a 1 or 2 comes up, the player often goes into a deep depression for some time. It spoils part of the fun.] * First some general remarks: - All combinations of races and classes are allowed: there is no a priori reason why an Elf should be banned from the Paladin class, or why a Dwarf would find it impossible to become a Mage. Still, there are good reasons for the relative scarcity of these combinations. Most of these have to do with the different cultures of the races: e.g. Elves and Orcs do not have Lawful Good deities in their pantheons, so characters of these races will have to find a deity of another race who is willing to accept them as true followers; Halflings and Dwarves do have Lawful Good deities, but Paladinship is not something highly valued in their cultures; Dwarves do not often live in woods, so Druids are therefore extremely rare among them - and Dwarven deities do not consider nature very important; ... . But for Dwarves, Halflings and Gnomes there is another reason why they do not often meddle in wizardly magic: these races are themselves inherently magical (cfr. Table 9 on page 21 in the PHB), so that spells have a tendency to go awry when a member of one of these races casts them: this chance of malfunctioning is 20%. There is one exception to this: Gnomes have no difficulties with Illusion/Phantasm spells. That explains why Gnomes often opt for specialization in this school of magic. Nevertheless, the problem for spells of other schools remains. Therefore Gnomish Illusionists have a habit of being devout followers of one of their gods (although occasionally Leira will also 'adopt' a Gnome): these gods then make sure that spells of other schools of magic hardly ever (never say never to a Gnome) misfire: this chance now becomes 5% per casting. Gnomish Illusionists who fall out of favor with their gods had better take care when attempting to cast a non-illusion spell. (Note: the multi-class options for Illusionists are only open to Gnomes). - All level restrictions are removed. Elves, Orcs and Halflings, for instance, can also become 20th level Fighters. The reason why there are no 42nd level Elven Mages is that all amounts of experience points needed to obtain a level after the 20th are now double those of the previous level: e.g. a 20th level Fighter needs 3,000,000 XP, a 21st level one needs 6,000,000 XP, a 22nd level one 12,000,000 XP, etc. Once one reaches 20th level there is really not much one can learn anymore, so improvement becomes increasingly difficult - most adventurers either retire at these levels or leave the Forgotten Realms(TM) for other planes of existence.
- All characters now gain a new hit die up to, and including, tenth level (versus ninth level for Warriors and Priests in the PHB). This change has to do with the modified Proficiency System (cfr. infra). - The hit die system is also changed. This modification was designed in order to make the random element smaller, so as to make impossible unlikely cases of 3rd level Fighters with 9 hit points (bad luck when rolling; and notice that this Fighter probably trained and fought as hard as the other Fighter in the group who was lucky and has 25 hit points at 3rd level). The new system also allows finer distinctions to be made between the various classes, and makes it possible to reflect the way characters spend their time (this will become clear later on, see Proficiency System). This is the new table: Character Class Children Mages Magicians Thieves & Sorcerors Druids & Avengers Bards & Warlocks Clerics & Assassins Crusaders Paladins Rangers & Commanders Fighters Specialty Priest Hit Die d4 d4 +1 d4 +1 1/2 d4 +2 d4 +2 1/2 d4 +3 1/2 d4 +3 1/2 d4 +4 d4 +4 1/2 d4 +5 d4 +5 1/2 d4 +Variable
This means that a Thief receives for his or her new level 2 hit points (a fixed amount) plus the result of a d4; a Paladin receives the result of the d4 plus 4 hit points on uneven levels and 5 hitpoints on even levels. This table of course increases the average number of hit points of characters: e.g. any 7th level Fighter will now have on average 55 hit points - without Constitution bonus! But I don't think this will cause any difficulties, as the monsters have grown stronger too – they have d4+4 hit points per hit die. For the curious: 0th level NPC's have d4+2 hit points, militia members have d4+4, and Barbarians, when they are re-introduced, would get d4+6 hit points per level. (One last note: for each level, one is allowed to roll only once. This system is character friendly enough). - The 10% XP bonus for characters with high ability scores is dropped. There are several reasons: given my character creation method, nearly everybody would get this bonus, so that it wouldn't be of any use any more in differentiating the characters. Secondly, it causes difficulties in calculations. And finally, characters with high ability scores should get a 10% or 20% penalty, because they find things going for them so easy, that they actually learn less from what they do. - New character classes are allowed, as are kits from the various Complete ... Handbooks, although the DM has the final word on the exact capabilities (and the XP table) of each character class - kits are considered to be classes in their own right, not variations on a class. * Fighter: Besides the new hit die system, there is only one change: when a Fighter decides to become proficient (see Proficiency System) with a weapon, he or she automatically also becomes
proficient with the other weapons of the same weapon group (the weapon groups are listed on p.52 of the PHB): e.g. when a Fighter learns how to wield a hand axe, he also gains enough experience for wielding a battle axe without penalty. This change has its origin in the fact that Fighters spend more time practicing, and trying out weapons, than any other character class. * Ranger & Paladin: There is more than the new hit die system for these classes (they are now, like all other classes, also allowed to specialize in weapons, but that aspect will be treated under Proficiency System). The spheres a Ranger or Paladin (in both cases granted by a deity) has access to for casting spells are those spheres that Specialty Priests of their deity have major access to. Rangers and Paladins use the revised rules for spellcasting (see Magic & Spells). * Commander: This class is added to the AD&D game (see Appendix A). * Thief: Except for the new hit die system, there are no new rules. * Bard: Besides the revised hit die system, the Bard class is also changed in a number of ways. The idea behind the changes was to bring the class closer to the 1st Edition Bard. - A Bard may cast Priest spells of up to (and including) third level if he or she has this spell written down in a spellbook - the chance of learning new Priest spells is determined in the same way as that of learning Wizard spells: consult Table 4 of the PHB on p.16, but use the Bard's Wisdom score. The Bard only has access to spheres that are major spheres for the Specialty Priests of his or her Deity (these spheres are listed in the Forgotten Realms Adventures sourcebook, and, for non-humans, in the Monster Mythology). Bards that do not fulfill their religious duties will find that they can no longer cast Priest spells. - As for Wizard spells, there is no longer any limit to the number of spells per spell level that the Bard can have in his or her spellbook. - Bards use the revised rules for spellcasting (see Magic & Spells). They are also allowed to cast Wizard spells when wearing leather or padded armor, but the casting time (except for spells with only a verbal component) is doubled in these cases. When wearing armor heavier than leather or padded, only spells with only a verbal component (of the Wizard class, there are no problems with Priest spells) can be cast succesfully, still at their normal casting time. - Bards now use the following THAC0 table: 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 1 Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl
That is: a first level Bard has a basis THAC0 of 20, and a seventh level Bard has a basis THAC0 of 16. - As these changes make the Bard more powerful, he or she will have to follow the XP level advancement table of the Fighter class. - The Bard no longer automatically attracts followers at tenth level after building a stronghold. * Clerics: Besides the new hit die system, there are also other changes. These were devised with the intention of prompting players to opt for Specialty Priests, because they have more interesting role playing profiles than the generic Cleric. A Cleric is from now on considered to be someone who has devoted his or her life to promoting a certain way of life (an alignment one might say), not so much as the tenets of a single Deity. A Neutral Good Cleric will therefore pray for his spells to
all Neutral Good deities in his or her pantheon (he or she may still have a 'favorite' deity, of course). - Clerics retain their ability to turn (or command) undead, but because the links with their deities have become weaker, they are limited to casting spells of up to (and including) sixth level. Only in exceptional circumstances (when a catastrophe is near and there are no Specialty Priests in the neighborhood) will a deity grant them the use of seventh level spells. For Clerics of non-human races the level limit may be even more stringent, as their deities often are not as generous with spells as human deities. The following table summarizes the spell level limit for the various races: Race Human Dwarf (Mountain, Hill) Dwarf (Duergar) Gnome (Hill) Gnome (Svirfneblin) Halfling (All) Orc Half-Orc Elf (High) Elf (Grey) Elf (Wood) Elf (Wild) Elf (Snow) Elf (Dark) Half-Elf Level Limit 6 6 5 5 5 5 3 4 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
- A Cleric is allowed to use all types of weapons, as there is no deity anymore to impose restrictions. - Clerics use the revised rules for spellcasting (see Magic & Spells). - A Cleric now uses this THAC0 table: 1 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl Lvl
That is: a first level Cleric has a basis THAC0 of 20, while a seventh level Cleric has 16. (This change is no real improvement for the Cleric on the original table, but the THAC0 no longer jumps with two numbers at a time - something quite unrealistic).
* Specialty Priests (e.g. Druids): The revised hit die system is also used for Specialty Priests. The fixed (but see Proficiency System) amount of hit points a Specialty Priest receives each level depends on the kind of deity he or she serves: Specialty Priests of Azuth only receive d4 +2 hit points each level, while those of Tempus get d4 +4 1/2; Druids receive d4 +3 hit points each
level. The same variability holds true for the minimum abilty scores a Specialty Priest must have: those are mentioned in the Forgotten Realms Adventures sourcebook and in the Monster Mythology, and give an indication of the number of dice for each ability score a player normally roles with when creating his or her character. - Most Specialty Priests use the revised THAC0 table for Clerics, but Specialty Priests of a Deity of Love and Healing get another one, more akin to the Wizard THAC0 table. - The other detailed information (special abilities, spheres, weapons and armor allowed, and whether or not the turning (or commanding) ability is granted, ...) is not reproduced here, but can be found in the two books mentioned above. - Specialty Priests know few spell level restrictions. This table indicates the limit, if any (a number between brackets means that spells of that level can only be used by Specialty Priests with 19 or more Wisdom. When there remains a limit, e.g. for Orcs, then know that deities may grant higher level spells under exceptional circumstances):
Race Human Dwarf (Mountain, Hill) Dwarf (Duergar) Gnome (Hill) Gnome (Svirfneblin) Halfling (All) Orc Half-Orc Elf (High) Elf (Grey) Elf (Wood) Elf (Wild) Elf (Snow) Elf (Dark) Half-Elf
Level Limit 6 (7) 6 (7) 6 (7) 6 (7) 4 (5) 5 (6) -
- Specialty Priests also use the revised rules for spellcasting (see Magic & Spells). * Wizard (Mage & Specialists): There is more than the new hit die system for Wizards of all kinds: - Wizards gain bonus spells in a manner similar to Priests: consult Table 5 on p.17 of the PHB, but use Intelligence instead of Wisdom. But note that just as for Priests, these bonus spells do not allow a Wizard to cast spells of a higher level than he or she would normally be able to. - There is no longer any limit to the number of spells per spell level that the Wizard can have in his or her spellbook.
- Wizards use the revised rules for spellcasting (see Magic & Spells). They are also allowed to cast spells when wearing leather or padded armor, but the casting time (except for spells with only a verbal component) is doubled in these cases. When wearing armor heavier than leather or padded, only spells with only a verbal component can be cast succesfully, still at their normal casting time. * Multi-Class (Assassin, Crusader, Warlock, Magician, Sorcerer, Avenger): These six classes are at the moment the only multi-class options (no Fighter/Mage/Thief anymore). As the new names indicate, it is my intention to have them replaced by new, 'simple', character classes which combine only specific abilities of each class and which have normal XP level advancement tables. Nonetheless, these options are still open at the moment. Multi-classed characters combine all the abilities of the two original classes, but also the restrictions. To represent the extra time and experience this demands of the character, the amount of XP needed to gain a level is also higher: add the XP needed for the level of the original classes and multiply that sum by three (NOT two, because doing two things at once is far more difficult than doing them apart): e.g. a 2nd level Assassin needs 9750 XP (2000 for the Fighter side and 1250 for the Thief side make 3250; 3250 x 3 = 9750). This implies that multi-class characters always gain a level in their two original classes at the same time, thus no more 3rd level Fighter/5th level Thief (this is to make the transition smoother when the 'simple' Assassin is introduced). The hit points a multi-class character gains each level are determined in a similar way: an Assassin would get d4+3 1/2 hit points each level (that means 3 at uneven levels, and 4 at even levels: a Fighter normally gets d4+5 1/2, a Thief d4+2 - together d4+7 1/2, which divided by two gives d4+3 3/4, which is rounded down to d4+3 1/2). Players must choose for a multi-class character when creating it; characters are not able to become multi-classed when their adventuring career has begun. This is because they are then so accustomed to their 'normal' way of acting that they have lost the plasticity for class combinations. Multi-class characters are able to 'lose' a class whenever they want to: they simply stop practicing their skills in that class, and are considered 'single-class' characters from then on (so they cannot become multiclassed again; their XP total is lowered so that they stay on their level in their single class). These characters do retain the abilities they have gained in their 'lost' class: e.g. a seventh level Assassin who decides to develop only his Thief, keeps the THAC0 and extra hit points of his Fighter side at seventh level; but when he or she reaches eighth level Thief, he or she only gains d4+2 hit points and improved thieving skills.
* Dual-Class: any character can at any time in his or her career decide to try to learn a new class. As this is not an easy thing, the character will have to spend some time converting to his or her new class. There are two ways of doing this: either the character finds another character of the appropriate class who is willing to teach him or her the basics of the new profession. Such teaching lasts half a year (only three months when changing within a group: Warrior, Wizard, Priest, Rogue: e.g. From Fighter to Ranger or from Specialty Priest to Cleric), and costs whatever the teacher demands. During this period the character cannot go adventuring. Any week-long interruption of the training means that it will take two weeks more to train the character for his or her new class. At the end of the teaching period, the character functions at 1st level in his or her new class. However, the character still needs to acquire one quarter (or one eighth when in in the same group) of his or her original XP amount, before becoming a 'true' 1st level character in the new class. The other way is more something of do-it-yourself: the character tries to learn the skills of the new class by himself. The more experience the character has in his or her original class, the more difficult this is. To reflect this, the character must acquire half (or one quarter when in the same
group) his or her original XP amount while converting before reaching 1st level in the new class. This will often be difficult: a 4th level Fighter switching to Mage must gain about 4000 XP as a 0th level Mage: without spells that is (although he or she will probably learn the first spell at 2000 XP, but this is up to the DM). Until the character has reached a higher level in his or her new class, he or she should try not to use the abilities of the former class. Any encounter in which this happens will result in only half the normal XP being awarded. When the character has attained a higher level in his or her new class, he or she can freely switch abilities without XP penalties. But note that the character can no longer gain levels in his or her former class - unless, of course, the character switches again to his or her original class (a process which takes one month of formal training or one fifth of the XP gained in the new class). Characters can switch as many times as they want to, as long as they meet the minimum scores for the new class.
Proficiency System [Net note: I suppose this is the revision I am most proud of, as it really allows for custom-built characters. Like the idea, but consider it too strong? Then decrease the fixed number of proficiencies characters receive at 1st level by two, three or four. That should keep specializations down. And also do not forget to make the characters swim for their lives during one of the first adventures, and let them find clues in languages they do not know, ... . And NPC's are specialized too, of course. The fact that there are no more weapon restrictions removes stereotypes: what is this guy carrying? A couple of daggers and a staff. Oh, well I have got this hunch that it is a mage. The Paladin becomes a weaker fighter than the other Warriors, because I have always felt this class (and its opposite) to be vastly overpowered. Paladins's days do not last 30h per day, so if they want to do their prayers, then will have less time to spend on body development and weapon mastery.] The proficiency system was overhauled so as to allow players to create more specialized characters. The new system is based on the idea that characters have a certain amount of time to spend in developing their skills; so clearly, the character should be able to choose which skills. Nevertheless, there still have to be limits, as otherwise any character would spend more time studying the anatomy of all things living, so as to be able to backstab them more efficiently. (I am still thinking about a way in which such a system of unrestricted development could be made to work, but as it will surely be extremely complex (e.g. everything you learn should facilitate learning some other things, but hamper other, and leave untouched other again), I am not spending much time on it). Therefore, most skills still reside with their respective classes: no backstab-skill, no cast-first-level-Wizard-spells-skill, no turn-undead-skill, ... . But the new system does allow more than the original one, and as such it should be an improvement over it. * There is no longer any fundamental difference between Non-Weapon Proficiencies and Weapon Proficiencies - both are now simply called Proficiencies. Characters at 1st level have these amounts of proficiencies (add their native tongue(s), the ones related to Intelligence (Table 4 on p.16 of the PHB) and any their class gives them for free):
Character Class Group Warriors Rogues Wizards Priests
# Prof 7 5 5 6
These proficiencies can be spent in any way the character sees fit: all of them can be used for learning how to use weapons or all can be spent on non-weapon skills. Non-weapon skills can still require more than one proficiency, and skills of another group still take one more proficiency to learn). Weapons cost one proficiency to become proficient with when they belong to the list of weapons that the character was allowed to use according to the official rules (e.g. a Wizard could use daggers, staffs, knives, darts and slings), two otherwise (there is no a priori reason why a Wizard would not be able to wield a long sword, but, given the rest of his or her training, it does take more time). * There is more to it however: all classes can become specialized in the use of a weapon or weapons. All this takes are proficiencies: for the first extra proficiency in a weapon (i.e. the first one after the one(s) needed to become proficient with the weapon), a character gains +1 to hit and +1 damage with the weapon. More proficiencies for the same weapon either increase the chance to hit by 1, or the damage by 1 (the highest bonuses a character can get through specialization are +3 to hit and +3 damage) - the player must choose and write this clearly down somewhere. So a character with four proficiencies in a weapon he was allowed to use in the official rules has +3 to hit, +1 damage with the weapon, or +2 to hit and +2 damage, or +1 to hit and +3 damage. This variability allows for different fighting styles: for duelists, for instance, drawing first blood is far more important than inflicting more damage. Note also that characters can take only one specialization at each level. Next to this, Warriors (and multi-classed characters with a Fighter part) also get multiple attacks for specialized weapons (see Table 35 on p.52 of the PHB). For Paladins, these extra attacks stop at 6th level (i.e. they only get a 2/1 attack cycle when reaching 13th level - see Table 15 on p.26 of the PHB), for Rangers and Commanders at 12th level (i.e. they can never have a 5/2 attack cycle). Fighters know no restricions and also have an edge over the other classes, because it is easier for them to become proficient with weapons (see Character Classes), so they can spend more proficiencies on weapon specializations. * Characters gain one proficiency on reaching the following levels (it becomes progressively harder, because one has to spend more time on practicing ever more skills): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20 * What's more, when attaining a level higher than 1st and lower than 11th, a character can decide to work more or less on his or her physique than is usual for that class. Working more on it costs time, working less on it gives time to learn something else. This translates into game mechanics in this way: a player can 'swap' hit points with proficiencies (and vice versa) at the rate of two hit points for one proficiency. The hit points swapped can only be those that a character automatically gains at each level lower than eleventh, not the result of the d4 roll that is added to that fixed number: e.g. a Ranger at attaining 4th level decides she wants to learn Heraldry and Singing; she only gets one proficiency at 4th level (cfr. supra), so this would normally be impossible – but wait: if she works one hour per day less on her body development, she could do it! Result: instead of gaining 5+d4 hit points for her 4th level, she only gains 3+d4, but she gets two proficiencies, and so she can learn the two skills she wanted to. In the same way, a Mage can decide to spend a
proficiency not on learning a skill, or on learning how to use a weapon, but on improving his physique: instead of 1+d4 hit points, he gains 3+d4 hit points for that level. * New proficiencies are encouraged, and all those published in the various Complete ... Handbooks or in Dragons, or available on the Internet can also be used - but inform the DM when you take one of those, so that he or she has some idea what should happen when the player says: "I'm trying to ... ". From Dragon numbers 153 & 169: Wine Tasting, Alchemy, Chemistry, Wine Making, Haggling, Astronomy, Stealth, Street Fighting, Goldsmithing, Orienteering, Street Sense, Tailing, Riding Seaborne, Eavesdropping, Botany, Calligraphy, Cartography, Diplomacy, Geology; Other new proficiencies are Strategy (Int +1), and Two- Weapon Style (N/A) - both are in the General group. Two-Weapon Style lowers the penalties non-Rangers have when fighting with a weapon in each hand: for each slot taken, the penalties for each hand drop by 1, so that a character with one slot only has a penalty of -1 on his or her main weapon, and a penalty of -3 on the other weapon. A character with four slots has no penalties any more. This proficiency is cumulative with Dexterity, but cannot give a to hit bonus of +1 or more on either weapon - only the penalties are decreased.
Equipment For the time being, there are only a few changes: * A new weapon, the two-handed battle axe. It delivers mighty blows: d10 damage to small and medium creature, 4d4 damage to large creatures. It has a weapon speed of 9, weighs 12 pounds and normally costs about 40 GP. * To reflect the true lethal power of crossbows, their damage is upgraded: light crossbow quarrels inflict d6 damage on small, medium and large creatures; heavy crossbow quarrels inflict d10 damage on small and medium creatures, and d8 damage on large creatures. * Medium and large ('body') shields now give an armor class improvement of two. Bucklers and small shields still give an improvement of 1. * The simplified money exchange rate now is : 1 PP = 10 EP = 100GP = 1000 SP = 10,000 CP = 100,000 BP
Magic & Spells [Net note: At any rate, it makes spellcasters much more versatile, as they do not have to tell in advance which spells they take along. We have tried this out for years now and it does not pose any problems – it simply makes playing one of these characters more fun.] * The spell system of the official AD&D 2nd Edition game is replaced by a Spell Point System (SPS). - A character's number of spell points (SP) can be easily determined: multiply the amount of spells of a given level that the character is allowed to cast by the level of those spells, and sum all multiplications. For example: a 3rd level Mage with an Intelligence of 17 (which implies that she gets two extra first level spells and two extra second levels spells - cfr. supra) has 10 SP, because she is allowed to cast four first level spells (two because she is 1st level, and two because of her high Intelligence), and three second level spells (one because of her level, and two because of her
Intelligence): (4x1) + (3x2) = 10. Note that she does not have 13 SP: the extra third level spell her Intelligence allows her to cast, only comes into the account when she reaches 5th level and she may cast third level spells: she will then have 20 SP (= (6x1) + (4x2) + (2x3)). Also note that the SP amounts for Sorcerers (Cleric/Mages) are kept separate, but that Bards have only one SP total from which they deduct both Wizard and Priest spells. - Each spell costs an amount of SP equal to the level it has. Thus, a Magic Missile costs 1 SP, while a Fireball costs 3 SP. - A character can cast spells as long as he or she has enough spell points for the spell. BUT: no character can cast spells of a higher level than he or she is normally allowed to cast, even if the character has enough spell points for the spells and, for Wizards and Bards, even if the character has the spell in his or her spellbook. Hence, a 3rd level Mage with 10 SP is not allowed to cast Chain Lightning (6 SP) or Wish (9 SP). This is not unrealistic, as the character simply does not have the experience and the ability to invoke magical energies of such power and intricacy (but magic-rich areas may boost the character's spell ability). Priests are limited in a similar way, as deities do not think the low- level character has shown himself worthy enough of receiving high-level spells although a deity is of course free to grant the high-level spell if he or she finds it necessary to further the 'right' cause. Both for Wizard and Priest spells, there is no limit any more on the number of times a character can cast a specific spell, providing of course that the character has enough SP and that the spell level limit is not exceeded. - The time a character needs to study (Wizardly magic) or meditate (Priestly magic) to regain spent spell points is one hour (this is needed to clear one's mind completely of other thoughts) plus ten minutes per spell point: e.g. to regain 10 SP a character needs to study or meditate two hours and forty minutes. For those who can cast both Wizardly and Priestly magic: the one-hour period of preparation is only needed once. Note that a full night's sleep will not in itself restore any spell points; and that characters who haven't slept for a full day (24 hours) are too tired to regain spells - at least six hours of sleep are needed. * When in dire straits, Wizards and Bards can use their spellbooks as scrolls: after the casting, the spell disappears from the spellbook. * Copying spells from a scroll or a spellbook to another spellbook takes 1 hour per spell level. Wizards and Bards still have to roll to check whether they succeed in learning a new spell. * No psionics will be used in my Forgotten Realms(TM) campaigns for the time being. * Players of Wizards and Bards take note: the content of their characters' spellbooks must be described in detail, i.e. they must have an index which says which spells are on which pages. This will be used when the spellbook is damaged - by water, fire and the like - to see which pages were made illegible or destroyed. In this way, parts of the spellbook can still be used. If there is no index of the spellbook, then it will be automatically assumed that the entire book is wasted – you were warned.
Combat [Net note: save or die make for poor amusement: there is not much fun in failing a save and being dead. I do not mind players dying, but not because of a *single* die roll. The critical hit system is used to keep things simple: the other ones I have found on the net require more die-rolling, and do not take care of all circumstances (what is a hit in the abdomen on a jelly?). Moreover, they violate the AD&D abstract hit points idea - something I like about this game (I play MERP and WFRPG for the bloody and messy details). Its abstractness also allows DM's to describe such effects of the blow as the situation makes acceptable.] These are the revisions to the official AD&d 2nd Edition combat system: * Whenever a save vs spell, poison (or whatever) must be rolled for which failure means instant death (the save or die rolls), this is changed in: failure means 50 hit points damage and two obligatory System Shock Survival rolls (failure on one (or two) of these rolls means the character has died after all, provided of course that the hit point damage hadn't killed him or her already). * When a character suffers massive damage (50+ hit points) from a single attack, he or she also has to roll a System Shock Survival roll to survive (not a save vs death magic). * Life Energy Levels are used in encounters with undead, and for spells that drain experience levels (see Appendix B). * Two-handed use of a weapon that is normally used single-handedly imposes a to-hit penalty of 1, but gives a damage bonus of 2. A proficiency specifically taken for the two-handed use of a weapon eliminates the to-hit penalty. * Critical hits (20 on a d20) are now resolved like this: A critical hit means that the attack has done more than normal maximum damage: the player may add the character's maximum damage for that weapon and the result of a d10. A 10 on this d10 implies that the player may roll another d10 (this is repeated each time a 10 is rolled on this d10) and sum all the values: e.g. a Thief with Strength 17 (damage +1) wielding a long sword +3, in which he is specialized twice (+2 damage) rolls a 20 for his attack against an Ogre: maximum damage is 12+1+3+2 = 18. The player rolls a d10 and comes up with 10, so he rolls again and rolls 7: this superb attack did (18+10+7 =) 35 hit points damage. * Fumbles (1 on a d20) can be divided in three cases: fumbles on a saving throw vs magic of some kind, fumbles when attacking, and fumbles on ability checks: - Fumbles on a saving throw mean that the character is particularly unlucky: if the spell normally deals damage (e.g. a Fireball), the character takes extra damage equal to one half or one quarter (save again) of the original damage; if the spell itself deals no damage, the character still takes d6 damage from the side-effects (e.g. stumbling and dislocating an elbow when the spell took effect); if this extra damage is utterly unlikely (e.g. casting Sleep on somebody who is already sleeping naturally in a soft bed), then there is none. - Fumbles when attacking mean that the character has totally miscalculated his or her swing/throw. The character takes d6 hit points damage (e.g. from tripping and hitting a table, from cutting oneself, or from spraining a wrist or ankle): if a 6 comes up, another d6 must be rolled (this procedure will last until the character is dead or another number comes up), and the values must be
summed. - Fumbles on ability checks are dealt with on a case by case basis; they will often involve an extra ability check versus Dexterity to see how just how bad the maneuver was, and damage will then be determined. * The combat round (1 minute) is replaced by the combat segment (10 seconds), so that fights will take less time - in game time that is. The speed factor of a weapon now indicates the amount of seconds it takes to deal a blow with the weapon; and, similarly, the casting time of spells indicates the number of seconds it takes to cast the spell (except for spells with a casting time of 1 round or 1 turn: they still take 1 minute and 10 minutes to cast - these spells are thus very impractical in the midst of combat). The problem of the duration of spells (a duration in segments would make some spells nearly worthless) is 'solved' in so far that combat-related spells (e.g. Hold Person) now have durations in segments, whereas the others retain their duration of rounds – the remaining problems will be treated on a case by case basis when they occur. (This change was inspired by the hectic swordplay one can see in fantasy movies, and by the fact that it was unrealistic that Wizards who had cast a short spell (e.g. a Power Word Stun) were not allowed to do anything else during the round - with the combat segment this problem is alleviated, because spellcasters now hardly have the time to do something else before the new combat segment begins). * When a character who has multiple attacks with a weapon fights a monster or character whose attacks all come at the same time (e.g. claw/claw/bite; or fighting with a weapon in each hand), the order of attacks is determined in this way: roll intiative for the two parties and add their respective weapon speeds; then divide that sum by two (or three when a Fighter has 5/2 attacks) for the character with multiple attacks to find when the first attack takes place - the second attack comes at the normal time. E.g. A 10th level Fighter specialized in the long sword (two attacks per segment) battles a Cleric wielding a mace. The initiative rolls are 6 for the Fighter and 3 for the Cleric. Combined with their weapon speeds this gives 11 for the Fighter (6+5) and 10 for the Cleric (3+7); still the Fighter gets the first attack, because 11/2 is 5 1/2. The order in this segment is thus Fighter (5 1/2), Cleric (10), and Fighter (11). Note that if the Cleric had used a dagger, he would have attacked before the Fighter got in any attack at all: 3 (Initiative) + 2 (weapon speed) = 5; and if he had used a two-handed sword, his single attack would have come last in the round: 3 + 10 = 13. * Also note that characters who are spellcasting lose all dexterity bonuses while they are doing so (this is not an addition to the official rules, but a reminder of them). * A new concept, Body Points, will be used for cases when a sleeping, immobilised or magically Held character is attacked. A character's body points score is his or her maximum amount of hit points at first level: these hit points can be considered the character's ability to take physical damage - all hit points that are gained later are due to experience, i.e. knowing how to take less damage from an attack. To slay a character that cannot defend himself, one need only bring his or her body points to -1, after which he or she will slowly bleed to death at -10 (the attacker can quicken this process of course). Moreover, any attack on a helpless creature is considered to be an automatic critical hit (cfr. supra): so the weapon does maximum damage and a d10 (possibly more) is rolled for extra damage. Given that combat segments are used, things should become more realistic. E.g. an immobilised character with 50 hit points, has only (say he was a Fighter with 16 Con and rolled a 3 for his hit points on 1st level: 5+3+2=) 10 body points, the attacker with her dagger does 4 body points damage and rolls a 4 on the d10 for the critical: that segment the character is brought to 2 body points (and hit points, for that matter). He will probably die the next round, because the attacker can again inflict maximum damage with her dagger and will roll again with a d10.
Monsters also have body points: their score is equal to twice their hit die, plus bonus hit points (if any). For instance, a Troll with its 6+6 hit die has 18 body points, while a Storm Giant (19 hit die + 2-7 hit points) has 40 to 45. The Storm Giant will thus still be very difficult to kill with a single blow, which is realistic, given the size and volume of the creature: even a sword stuck deep into his chest can only damage a part of the huge heart. (This improves on the official, but optional rule that allows one to kill any sleeping or held creature with one attack). If an entire party attacked the helpless Storm Giant in a single segment, however, this would probably prove lethal for the creature, as three swords stuck through one's heart is a bit much to take - and live.
Appendix A Commander Ability Requirements: Strength: 13 Wisdom: 10 Constitution: 14 Charisma: 13
Examples Most of the famous warriors we know were Commanders - not Fighters. The names of Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Achilles, Spartacus, Charlemagne, Boromir or Alexander have become immortal, not because these people were unsurpassed swashbucklers, but because they led huge armies of devoted soldiers, conquered kingdoms and founded empires. They and others like them, Jeanne d'Arc, Dzenjis Khan, Shaka Zulu, Sitting Bull, Toshiwara, shared the vision and the ambition to command their people in order to create 'a new world order'. They are in a 'class' of their own. Ability scores, alignment, and races The Commander is a subclass of the Warrior, and he or she follows the same level advancement table as the Paladin and the Ranger. He or she should have minimum ability scores of 13 in Strength and Charisma, 14 in Constitution, and of 10 in Wisdom. These high ability scores are needed to put a natural limit on the ratio of Commanders versus Fighters: there is only one Commander per 50 Fighters. He or she needs a powerful swing and a well-developed body in order to command genuine respect from his or her soldiers, charisma to inspire them, and feeling for the right move during a battle. All Commanders must have be somewhat neutral in their alignment, so Lawful Neutral, Neutral Good, Neutral Evil, True Neutral and Chaotic Neutral are the options for the characters. Succesful Chaotic Neutral Commanders are rather rare, as they seldom attract large numbers of soldiers. Neutral Good and Neutral Evil Commanders are hampered by the fact that they are themselves choicy about the kind of troops they want to command: a Neutral Evil Commander can't do much with a division that refuses to slaughter civilians, whereas a Neutral Good one will refuse to accept a division known for its atrocities into his or her army. That is why most Commanders are either True Neutral or Lawful Neutral (e.g. Eltan in the Forgotten Realms(TM) - note that his division leaders are Commanders in their own right). The neutral aspect in their alignment has to do with the fact that a Commander must be able to
make sacrifices (e.g. sending a group of soldiers to their sure deaths in order to buy time for the others). He or she must impose order on the troops, but may not be too predictable. Finally, a Commander always has to keep some distance from what is happening at that moment: he or she is interested in winning the war, not the battle. If a Commander loses his or her neutrality (voluntarily or through magic), he or she loses all advantages of this class and becomes a Fighter of the same level (all excess XP are lost): only something akin to a quest will allow the character to regain the fame and respect needed for being a true Commander. If the alignment of a Commander is changed magically to the opposite alignment, then there are no penalties, as there will always remain a neutral aspect (e.g. from Neutral Good to Neutral Evil or from Chaotic Neutral to Lawful Neutral True Neutral characters retain their alignment). Such a Commander will, however, often experience trouble with his or her soldiers: they are not accustomed to the new style of leadership, which may result in insurbordination or even mutiny. All character races can be Commanders, although most are Humans, Dwarves, Orcs or HalfElves. Few Elves consider warfare interesting enough to spend their whole lives practicing it. Halflings are seldom imposing enough to attract non-halfling soldiers, which, of course, restricts their opportunities as empire builders. Gnomes, on the whole, don't feel like taking warfare seriously, so few among them aspire a career as a Commander. Half-Orcs seldom win the trust of Humans or Orcs alike. Portrait It is every Commander's dream to lead huge armies into battle, to become immortalised in songs and poetry, to found a new dynasty. It will be obvious that few Commanders ever reach that goal. Most of them start out as adventurers in an attempt to gain treasure and fame as fast as possible (both are needed when attempting to raise an army). Once they think they have enough of both some never think they have -, they will try to realize their goals: a lot of them find out that they have to be content with commanding their own castle or city; others are hired by wealthy rulers; others still become mercenary captains. Something all of them have in common, however, is ambition and a desire to have tales of their exploits spread by Bards. That is why these two classes seem to have a natural affinity for each other: many a bard guild was built at least partly with money of a Commander Lord who only asked the spread of his name and fame in return. Commanders are dominant and assertive characters, who know what they want to achieve in life. They trust in the power of their sword, but not blindly - they are also aware the power of the word. So they are cunning diplomats, calculating everybody's strengths and weaknesses so as to devise a sound strategy. They will often want to lead the adventuring group they belong to, as they correctly - consider themselves to be born leaders. Only if another character is clearly more powerful than the Commander, will he or she be willing to obey orders. Commanders at all times try to appear as nobles, so they wear clothing that represents this aim. The weak spots of any Commander are his or her pride and over-confidence (e.g. Boromir). A negative comparison: Paladins try to eradicate all evil in order to serve their deities; Commanders only battle evil when it presents an opportunity to increase their reputation or when the evil forces threaten to disturb the plans of the Commander. Combat The Commander uses the THAC0-table and the saving throw table of the Warrior. Because he or she is searching for glory, he or she chooses a style of combat that is somewhat more concerned with making a big impression than with being efficient. Therefore, Commanders have to take their first weapon proficiency, and their first specialization in a two-handed weapon (the two-handed use of a one-handed weapon is also allowed): the two-handed sword, the bastard-sword, the two-handed battleaxe, a lance, ... . Commanders can also become proficient with all other weapons, but their first choice must be a 'large' weapon, capable of inflicting much damage. (Compare this with the
antlers of stags: the larger the antlers, the stronger and healthier the stag is supposed to be). As for a Commander's armor: he or she will avoid using a shield whenever someone can see it (unless of course that someone won't be able to tell the tale). This is because Commanders do no want to give the impression that they are afraid of being hit: it is bad for morale. Another reason why Commanders do not often use shields is, of course, that they prefer two-handed weapons. Any type of armor can be worn by a Commander without penalties for his or her abilities, but it will be clear that Commanders prefer suits of expensive custom-made full plate that glisten in the sun - a sight meant to inspire awe in all who see it. Special Abilities Besides the power of his or her voice (cfr. infra), a Commander also has a few other characteristics: * A Commander gets the Heraldry proficiency for free, because it reflects his or her fundamental interests. * Commanders also get a limited version of the Etiquette proficiency for free: it only helps in interactions with knights and monarchs about issues related with warfare and politics. Hence, any Commander knows how to deal with a king or cavalier, but not how to address a patriarch or an archmage. * All Commanders have a coat of arms, which they display on their banners. When the Commander has reached 5th level, the presence of such a banner on the battlefield will increase the soldiers' to hit chance with 5% (i.e. +1 on attack rolls), and their morale by 1. When the Commander has reached 11th level, damage is also increased by 1, and the morale bonus becomes +2. After 17th level, the morale bonus rises to +3. Loss of the banner during a battle has dire consequences: all bonuses are lost, and the soldiers now have a -1 penalty to hit and a -4 on morale. Followers As a Commander dedicates his or her life to performing courageous feats and informing the world about them, it should come as no surprise that he or she attracts more and higher-level followers than a Fighter. * When a Commander reaches 9th level (the name level of the 1st Edition: 'Lord'), he or she will attract soldiers for every stronghold he or she builds or conquers: these soldiers are similar to the ones 9th level Fighters attract (see pp.26-27 of the PHB). * When a Commander reaches 11th level and becomes Supreme Commander, his or her name is known so far and wide that another type of followers offers its services: adventurers. These adventurers will often continue to lead their own lives (and may get killed on their adventures, but someone else will then replace the fallen one), but are always ready to come to the Commander when or she sends a message. They do not work for free, but are nonetheless content with about one third of what someone their level would normally ask for his or her services. The first of these adventurers present themselves when the Commander reaches 11th level, the last when he or she reaches 13th level. At that moment his or her campaign staff is complete.
For the Commander's 11th level (roll d100 twice) : 1 Warrior: 01 - 90%: Fighter 91 - 95%: Ranger (only with Neutral Good Commanders, otherwise a Fighter) 96 - 100: Commander 01 - 33%: Specialty Priest of the Commander's deity 34 - 66%: Mage (25% chance of specialist) 67 - 100: Bard
Both are between 3rd and 6th level (2+d4). For the Commander's 12th level (idem): 1 Warrior: 1 spellcaster: idem, but no second Ranger or Commander 01 - 50%: One of the other two possibilities 51 - 100: the other one
Both are between 4th and 7th level (3+d4). For the Commander's 13rd level (roll 1d100): 1 Warrior: idem, but no second Ranger or Commander 1 spellcaster: the one the Commander does not have Both are between 5th and 8th level (4+d4). The DM will determine race, alignment and personality of these elite followers. Naturally, a Neutral Evil Commander will never attract a Neutral Good Mage - unless, of course, the Mage is on a mission to kill this dangerous tyrant.
Raising the Army As has been mentioned repeatedly, every Commander dreams of mobilizing an army one day. The size of this army is determined both by the amount of money the Commander has spent on spreading his name and fame during the last five years before the call to arms (per 1,000 GP spent, a Commander attracts 20-200 0th level soldiers), and by what he or she has performed during those years (a Commander who slew a couple of dragons and a beholder will motivate more people than one who only sat in his or her castle: for the first Commander the number of soldiers attracted per 1,000 GP would be something like 170; for the second one something like 75. A Commander who last three battles in a row will attract no more than 20 soldiers per 1,000 GP). These 0th level soldiers arrive within three months after the call to arms. They are untrained, and do not own a decent armor or sword. Therefore, a Commander who is interested in keeping them alive, will provide all of them with equipment (leather armor and short sword or short bow can be considered a minimum). Then he or she will train them intensively for at least one month, after which they become 1st level Fighters. These soldiers cost the Commander an average of 1 GP per month - equipment not included. A huge army will clearly cost a Commander enormous amounts of money. And that is why most of them start out on an adventuring life: it is still the fastest way to get
rich. In addition to these soldiers, a Commander will normally hire a smaller amount of better trained, and more expensive, specialist troops: their types and wages can be found on p.108 of the DMG. The combination of the mass of 'spell-fodder' and the experienced shock-troops should enable the Commander to start his or her own war.
The Power of the Word Through experience, Commanders learn to make good use of their voices, facial expressions and body postures: they are orators, not only capable of inciting courage and new strength in tired and desperate soldiers, but also of forcing people to stop dead in their tracks, overcome by fear. Translated into game terms: * A Commander can inspire a single creature that can understand him or her with so much fervor that the creature's adrenalin level is raised dramatically: it starts to convert its fat and muscle tissue into energy. After one round of inspiration, the creature gains 2 hit points per level of the Commander (this may raise the hit point total of the creature above its normal maximum). This effect lasts one turn. During the last round of the turn, the Commander can inspire the creature again: this causes the effect to last one more turn, but also costs the creature one point of Constitution. This re-inspiring can take place as many times as the creature has Constitution points (no hit points are lost for low Constitution during the effect of the inspiring), but once the creature reaches 5 (or lower) Constitution, it has to make a system shock survival roll or collapse. Collapsing has the same result as when the Commander chooses not to/is prevented from re-inspire the creature: the creature suddenly loses all bonus hit points: this may cause a sudden death if the inspired creature had only a few hit points left. Each lost point of Constitution can be regained by a week of rest or by the casting of a Heal-spell. Inspiring is also very taxing for the voice of the Commander: he or she cannot use command words (cfr. infra) until at least one turn has passed after the last inspiring. * A Commander can inspire his or her troops (or companions) before a battle. After three rounds of talking, all creatures within 10 feet per level of the Commander receive bonuses of +1 to hit, +1 damage and +2 on morale. This effect is only applicable to creatures that are friendly to the Commander and that can understand him or her. The inspiration of a Commander is cumulative with that of a Bard. * At higher levels, Commanders have enough mastery over their voices to put so much power in a single word that it can control the actions of creatures for a short period. These effects are not magical, as they are not based on divine energy or on intricate formulas - as a consequence, the effects cannot be dispeled by Dispel Magic. But magic is stronger than the 'mundane' command words of a Commander, so their effects can be overruled by spells: e.g. the audience captured by a Commander through his or her Fascinating Speech can still be Enthralled by a Priest; and Free Action will negate the effects of the Halt command word. Because all command words are related to charms and enchantments, Commanders receive a +1 bonus per five levels on their saving throws versus spells from this school or sphere (this bonus is cumulative with Wisdom bonuses and magical protections). These are the command words: Level 1 Level
Command Words Cause Panc, Cry of Courage, Detect Charm, Order
2nd Level 3rd Level 4th Level
Cancel Charm, Cause Rage, Fascinating Speech, Halt! Soothing Words Aura of Confusion, Aura of Valiance, Cancel Paralysis, Supreme Command Aura of Chaos, Aura of Terror, Cry of Emotions, Halt Monsters
And this is the command word advancement table for Commanders (note that the spell point system is also used for Commanders, although the effects are not magical): Level Level 6 Level 7 Level 8 Level 9 Level 10 Level 11 Level 12 Level 13 Level 14 Level 15 Level 16 Level 17 Level 18 Level 19 Level 20 Point Advancement 1 2 2, 1 2, 2 2, 2, 1 3, 2, 1 3, 2, 2 3, 2, 2, 1 3, 3, 2, 1 4, 3, 2, 1 4, 3, 2, 2 4, 3, 2, 2 4, 3, 3, 3 4, 4, 3, 3 4, 4, 4, 4
Commanders can 'invent' new command words without any of the problems associated with researching new spells. Nevertheless, the DM will probably allow targeted creatures a +2 to on their saving throws when the Commander is still trying out his or her new command word. First Level Cause Panic Range: 30 yards Duration: d4 rounds Area of Effect: 1 creature/4 levels
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 Saving Throw: Negation
Cause Panic causes one creature to flee in panic at maximum movement speed away from the Commander for 1d4 rounds. A succesful saving throw against this effect negates it, and any Wisdom adjustment also applies. Of course, Cause Panic can be automatically countered by Cry of Courage and vice versa. The somatic component are threatening gestures.
Cry of Courage Range: 10 yards Duration: Special Area of Effect: 1 creature/4 levels
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 Saving Throw: Special
The Commander instills courage in the command word recipient, raising the creature's saving throw rolls against magical Fear attacks by +4 for one turn. If the recipient has recently (that day) failed a saving throw against such an attack, the command word immediately grants another saving throw, with a +4 bonus to the die roll. For every three levels of the Commander, one creature can be affected by the command word (one creature at levels 1 through 3, two creatures at levels 4 through 6, etc.). This command word has no effect on undead of any sort.
Detect Charm Range: 30 yards Duration: 1 round/level Area of Effect: 1 creature/round
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Negation
The Commander can use this command word to detect if a person or monster is under the influence of a Charm spell, or similar control such as Hypnosis, Suggestion, beguiling, possession, etc. He or she talks to the creature for 1 round and analyses its reactions to see whether it behaves abnormally. The creature rolls a saving throw vs paralyzation and, if successful, the Commander learns nothing about that particular creature from the inquiry. A Commander who learns that a creature is being influenced has a 5% chance per level to determine the exact type of influence. Up to 10 different creatures can be checked before the command word wanes. If the creature is under more than one such effect, only the information that the charm exists is gained. The type (since there are conflicting indications) is impossible to determine.
Order Range: 30 yards Duration: 1 round Area of Effect: 1 creature
Components: V Casting Time: 1 Saving Throw: Special
This command word enables the Commander to command another creature with a single word. The command must be uttered in a language understood by the creature. The subject will obey to the best of its ability only as long as the command is absolutely clear and unequivocal; hence, a command to "Die!" causes the creature to fall in a faint or cataleptic state for one round, but thereafter the creature revives and is alive and well. Typical commands are back, halt, flee, run, stop, fall, go, leave, surrender, sleep, rest, etc. No command affects a creature for more than one round; undead are not affected at all. Creatures with Intelligence of 10 (high) or more, or those with 3 or more Hit Dice (or experience levels) are entitled to a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. (Creatures with 10 or higher Intelligence and 3 Hit Dice/levels get only one saving throw!)
Cancel Charm Range: 30 yards Duration: 1 round/3 levels Area of Effect: 1 creature/round
Components: V Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Special
With this command word a Commander can try to make charmed creatures behave normally again. First, he or she has to talk with the creature for one round. The creature is then allowed a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. If this saving throw succeeds, the Commander learns nothing. If it fails, the Commander knows if the creature is charmed in some way. If the Commander decides to talk to the creature for one more round, it is allowed to make a second saving throw against the original save attack - the Commander rouses the creature's Self so that it can make another attack against the control of the Charm.
Cause Rage Range: 30 yards Duration: 1 round/level Area of Effect: all creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 5 Saving Throw: Negation
All creatures in range that can understand the Commander have to roll a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. Creatures that fail their saving throw go berserk and automatically attack the nearest enemy with their weapons or, if nothing else is available, with their bare hands - not with spells. As long as they are berserk, these creatures gain a +1 bonus to hit, a +3 bonus on damage rolls, and 5 extra hit points. If there are no enemies around, the creature has to roll a succesful Wisdom check in order to avoid attacking the nearest creature. Creatures that make the original saving throw are immune to the effects of the command word. The Commander that utters Cause Rage also has to make a saving throw or become berserk. A Commander can also use this command word to become berserk himself, automatically failing his save, but without affecting other creatures.
Fascinating Speech Range: 30 yards Duration: Special Area of Effect: all creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Negation
A Commander using this command word can enthrall an audience that can fully understand his or her language. Those in the area of effect must save vs paralyzation or give the Commander their undivided attention, totally ignoring their surroundings. Those of a race or religion unfriendly to the Commander's have a +4 bonus to the roll. Any Wisdom adjustment also applies. Creatures with 4 or more levels or Hit Dice, or with a Wisdom of 16 or better, are unaffected. To use the command word, the Commander must speak without interruption for a full round. Thereafter, the fascination lasts as long as the Commander speaks. Those enthralled take no action while the Commander speaks, and for d3 rounds thereafter while they discuss the matter. Those entering the area of effect must also save or become fascinated. Those not enthralled are 30% likely every turn to hoot and jeer in unison. If there is excessive jeering, the rest are allowed a new saving
throw. The speech ends (but the d3 round delay still applies) if the Commander is successfully attacked or performs any action other than speaking. If the audience is attacked, the fascination effect ends and the audience reacts immediately, rolling a reaction check with respect to the source of the interruption, at a penalty of -10. Note: When handling a large number of saving throws for similar creatures, the DM can assume an average to save time: e.g., a crowd of 20 men with a base saving throw of 16 (25% success chance) will have 15 men fascinated and 5 not.
Halt! Range: 30 yards Duration: d4+1 rounds Area of Effect: 1-4 creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 5 Saving Throw: Negation
The command word holds up to 4 humans, demi-humans, or humanoid creatures in place for two to five rounds, as they are overcome by sheer terror. The Halt! command word affects any bipedal human, demihuman, or humanoid of man-size or smaller, as long as the creature can understand what the Commander is yelling at it. Thus, a 10th-level fighter could be halted, while a deaf kobold could not. The effect is centered on the Commander, and it affects persons selected by the Commander within the area of effect. If the command word is used against three or four creatures, each gets a normal saving throw vs paralyzation; if only two creatures are being attacked, each rolls its saving throw with a -1 penalty; if the command word is used against but one creature, the saving throw die roll suffers a -2 penalty. Saving throws are adjusted for Wisdom. Those who succeed on their saving throws are totally unaffected by the command word. Undead creatures cannot be halted. Halted creatures cannot move (although trembling certainly occurs) or speak, but they remain aware of events around them and can use abilities not requiring motion or speech. Being halted does not prevent the worsening of the subject's condition due to wounds, disease, or poison. The Commander uttering the Halt! command word can end the effect with a single utterance at any time; otherwise the command word lasts for 1d4 +1 rounds.
Soothing Words Range: 30 yards Duration: 1 round/level Area of Effect: all creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 5 Saving Throw: Negation
This command word causes all creature in range to feel peaceful and forgiving unless a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom, is made. It affects angry, berserk and fearful creatures alike. Note that a Commander who is himself berserk can not use this command word to cool down.
Third Level Aura of Confusion Range: 1/2 yard/level Duration: 1 minute/level Area of Effect: all creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Special
This powerful command word is many a Commander's favorite, although it carries quite some risk for the Commander as well. The Commander spends 1 round making himself or herself berserk (see Cause Rage), and then charges into battle. There must be a real challenge for the Commander (20 Orcs, 3 Trolls - DM's decision, but never a single creature, even if it is a great wyrm); otherwise, the command word has no more effect than Cause Rage. If sufficient challenge is present, however, the Commander becomes such a fearful sight that he or she creates mayhem within half a yard per level. Enemy troops in this area suffer effects similar to those of a Confusionspell (p.232 of the PHB - but treat a roll of 1 as Cause Panic), if they fail a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. This the kind of power that enables Commanders to change the outcome of a battle that is going against them: with some luck, it may route the enemy troops.
Aura of Valiance Range: 1/2 yard/level Duration: 1 Turn/level Area of Effect: all friendly creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 6 Saving Throw: None
With Aura of Valiance, a Commander fills the friends or troops close to him or her with courage. The effects of this command word last for 1 turn per level of the Commander - but ends early if the Commander is killed or withdraws from the battle. During that time the Commander cannot be made to flee by magical means (Cause Fear, Fear, ...) or by the effects of another Commander. The Commander can, of course, at all times flee voluntarily, but this ends the effect. Other creatures friendly to the Commander that stay within range receive a +3 bonus on morale checks and on saving throws vs spells like Fear.
Cancel Paralysis Range: 10 yards Duration: 1 round/3 levels Area of Effect: 1 creature/round
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Special
This command word resembles Cancel Charm: the Commander talks to a creature for 1 round, after which it is allowed to roll a second saving throw versus the attack that paralyzed it. This is due to the inspiring words of the Commander: through an ultimate effort of will the creature tries to regain control over its limbs. The command word only affects creatures that can understand the commander. Each paralyzed creature is only allowed one extra saving throw.
Supreme Command Range: 30 yards Duration: d4+1 rounds Area of Effect: 1-5 creatures
Components: V Casting Time: 3 Saving Throw: Negation
The Commander can use this command word to influence the actions of up to five creatures for two to five rounds. The Commander need but utter a single word, and the creatures will, if they can understand him or her, obey his or her command to the best of their abilities. Typical commands are: Sleep!, Halt!, Flee! Undead are not affected at all. Creatures with Intelligence of 10 (high) or more, or those with 3 or more Hit Dice (or experience levels) are entitled to a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. (Creatures with 10 or higher Intelligence and 3 Hit Dice/levels get only one saving throw!).
Aura of Chaos Range: 1/2 yard/level Duration: 1 minute/level Area of Effect: all creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 minute Saving Throw: Special
This powerful command word has allowed many a Commander to turn the tables during a battle. The Commander spends 1 round making himself or herself berserk (see Cause Rage), and then charges into battle. There must be a real challenge for the Commander on the battle-field (e.g. 5 Ettins - DM's decision, but never a single creature, even if it is a great wyrm); otherwise, the command word has no more effect than Cause Rage. If sufficient challenge is present, however, the Commander becomes such a fearful sight that he or she creates mayhem within half a yard per level. Enemies in this area suffer effects similar to those of a Chaos- spell (p.166 of the PHB - but treat a roll of 1 as Cause Panic), if they fail a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. Note that only creatures with 5 or more hit die or levels are allowed to save.
Aura of Terror Range: 1/2 yard/level Duration: 2 rounds/level Area of Effect: the Commander
Components: V,S Casting Time: 6 Saving Throw: Negation
The Commander that utters Aura of Terror manages to make his or her swings look more dangerous than they really are, so that he or she appears as a divinely inspired warrior hacking and slashing at everybody and everything that approaches him or her. This is so frightening a sight that all creatures (also those friendly to the Commander) that approach within half a yard per level of the Commander have to save vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom. Those that fail their saving throw flee for 2d10 rounds, running at maximum speed away from the Commander (if someone makes it impossible for them to do so, they will try to hide in as remote a place as they can find). Creatures that make their saving throw can attack the Commander normally - note that these creatures have to save again if they leave the area of effect and want to enter it again.
Cry of Emotions Range: 30 yards Duration: Special Area of Effect: 1-10 creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Negation
This command word enables the Commander to use his or her voice and gestures to influence the emotional status of up to 10 creatures. These creatures are allowed a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom, to avoid the effects of Cry of Emotions. The Commander can choose one emotion from the list on p.157 of the PHB (cfr. Emotion), and the creatures that fail their their saving throw suffer from that effect. The effect lasts as long as the Commander keeps speaking while speaking, he or she is allowed to parry, but no to attack. The Commander can also change the emotion, but the affected creatures are then allowed a new saving throw.
Halt Monsters Range: 30 yards Duration: d4+1 rounds Area of Effect: 1-4 creatures in range
Components: V,S Casting Time: 1 round Saving Throw: Negation
Halt Monsters enables the Commander to frighten up to four creatures in such a dramatic way that they are unable to do anything but tremble for one plus d4 rounds. The creatures must have minds (but need not be humanoid) and must be able to hear, although they need not understand the language of the Commander. If the Commander targets only one creature, it gets a saving throw vs paralyzation, adjusted for Wisdom, with a -3 penalty. When two creatures are targeted, they save at -1. Three or four creatures save normally.
Appendix B Life Energy Levels (LELs) I also feel that -the energy-draining ability of undead is a grossly unbalancing feature of the AD&D 2nd Edition game.- (Dragon 167, pp.74-75 - but my system is somewhat simpler) That is why characters have a LEL, next to their 'ordinary' experience level. These LELs are used for all forms of level-draining: spells, undead, artifacts, ... . This change was prompted by the practical problems that resulted from energy-draining attacks (what was a character's Climb Walls-percentage three levels ago?; what spells are lost from memory?), and by the fact that it is not realistic that a character 'loses experience': when a character is drained for the first time, he or she should actually gain experience. It is not my intention to make undead less powerful, but simply to make them dangerous in a slightly different way. * New LELs are gained together with the normal experience levels: a 1st level character starts with 1 LEL, and when he or she reaches a new experience level, he or she also gains a new LEL. * When an energy-draining attack occurs, LELs are drained instead of experience levels. With each LEL drained, the character loses one point of Constitution (possibly losing bonus hit points due to a high Constitution; a Constitution score of 6 or less results in hit points lost). If the character's LEL or Constitution reaches 0, he or she dies and becomes an undead creature of the type that killed him or her. Energy-draining now does what the name says: it drains a character's vital forces, thus weakening him or her. Characters that are brought near death in this way actually
become lighter and increasingly translucent. Nevertheless, the character always retains his normal experience level and the abilities associated with that level. * Constitution points that were lost due to an energy-draining attack can be regained in several ways: for each half day the creature spends outdoors on the surface he or she recovers one point of Constitution (indoors this is only one point per day; and creatures that stay underground only regain one Constitution point per week - this has to do with the scarcity under the ground of positive energy particles emitted by the sun); a Negative Plane Protection-spell (a third level Priest spell) cast specifically for this purpose also gives one point of Constitution back, even when the affected character is living underground; and a Restoration-spell cast for the purpose will restore all lost Constitution points at once. A Limited Wish-spell works as Negative Plane Protection, while a full Wish can replace Restoration. * Life Energy Levels can only be regained on a on-by-one basis by the castings of Restoration or Wish: i.e. each casting of such a spell only gives a single LEL back. * The Wizard spell Chill Touch remains unchanged; Enervation and Energy Drain from now on also apply to LELs, not to normal experience levels. (Death Spell and Finger of Death use the new rule for save or die – see Combat). Artifacts and the Sword of Life-Stealing also drain LELs: a character whose LEL or Constitution is reduced to 0 in such a way dies, and becomes an undead (Wight, Wraith, Spectre, or Ghost depending on the level of the character, the circumstances, and the exact cause of death).
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