House Rules

Here is some brief information regarding some of the rules additions/home rules we will use. For the most part, we will use the rules as written (“RAW”). That being said, the DM may well bend, break, or completely ignore rules on a case-by-case basis where logic, dramatic sense, or the story call for it – story and fun both trump the rules.

From time to time, the DM may permit certain character changes when they fit with a character concept, story, and/or make dramatic sense, or are best for the story. KEEP IN MIND, however, that this door swings two ways. Your character may benefit from these exceptions, but there will also be times when your character will suffer a disadvantage, especially when such would be good for character development or the story.

The following rules additions are subject to change as needed.

Background Feats

All 1st-level characters receive a “background” feat during character generation. For the most part, this feat may be any of those listed in the official rulebooks, although the DM has final say as to whether a specific feat qualifies or not.

In general, a background feat should be connected, in some way, to an element of the character’s history or backstory. This background feat may be switching through retraining like all other feats (although this may not be terribly realistic, it avoids additional bookkeeping).

A character must still meet the prerequisites before he can select a feat for his background slot.

Character Creation Mulligan

If after the first session of the campaign a player finds his/her character is not working the way he/she envisioned, that player may ask for a “mulligan.” The DM can allow the player to make any number of changes to the character to help make the concept work. Each character only receives one mulligan; after it is used, the character must follow normal rules for retraining.

Long-Term Injury

Under standard 4e D&D rules, characters completely recover from injuries with nothing more than an extended rest—they regain all hit points and all healing surges (in addition to all their spent encounter and daily powers). For the most part, this model works best for the game.

On occasion, however, a character will sustain an injury that demands longer, more intensive recovery than an extended rest. Examples include a broken limb, serious trauma, long-term poisoning, and disease.

Under the present game rules, diseases already follow a different trajectory compared to wounds. When a character contracts a disease (whether he knows it or not), the disease follows a “track” for its progress. Over time, if the character succeeds at Endurance checks, the disease lessens and is eventually cured. If, however, the character fails Endurance checks, the disease becomes progressively worse, possibly ending in serious consequences or even death.

We will use the “disease track” model for other serious conditions, although not on a frequent basis. Certain injuries will heal slowly, following a progression (either improving or deteriorating). More severe injuries may require the use of a ritual to completely heal.

Failed Death Saves: The primary situation in which a character acquires a long-term injury relates to failing death saving throws. If a character falls below 0 hit points (but not all the way past his negative bloodied score), he must begin making death saves every round until he returns to positive hit points. Each time the character fails a death save, he gains one check mark; when he accumulates three check marks, he dies.

When a character fails his first death save, he may choose to receive a long-term injury rather than a check mark. In so doing, the character stabilizes at 1 hit point and no longer needs to make death saves. However, he gains a MODERATE INJURY. Such an injury may involve a broken leg, arm, or some broken ribs, or perhaps a head blow. If the character chooses not to receive the injury, he must continue making death saves as usual.

When a character fails his second death save (thereby receiving a second check mark for the day), he may again opt to accept a long-term wound/injury. Doing so stabilizes him at 1 hit point and he no longer needs to make further death saving throws (unless his hit points fall below 0 again). Instead, he receives a SEVERE INJURY. Such an injury is more severe than a MODERATE INJURY and will entail greater penalties.

Finally, after the character fails his third death save for the day, he may instead choose to receive a CRITICAL INJURY. Again, he stabilizes at 1 hit point and need make no further death saves (unless his hit points again fall below 0). A CRITICAL INJURY is represents debilitating damage that will effectively prevent the character from returning to combat without serious medical treatment. If the character does not take this injury, he is DEAD after failing his third failed death save.

By taking an injury (regardless of its level of severity), a character essentially discounts the failed death save for the day. Thus, a character who chooses a MODERATE INJURY is considered to have no failed death saves for the day.

It is possible to accumulate multiple injuries of different levels. At times, injuries combine to become more serious. Two injury levels combine into one injury that is the next step more severe; thus, two MODERATE INJURIES become a SEVERE INJURY, and two SEVERE INJURIES become one CRITICAL INJURY. The DM may allow a character to choose whether to combine two lesser injuries into a more severe one or not. At times, the logic of the situation may dictate what injuries occur and whether they should combine in severity. If a character suffers more than two CRITICAL INJURIES, he is dead.

Recovering from Long-Term Injury: As mentioned, an injury, regardless of its severity level, does not heal through a simple extended rest. Likewise, normal healing spells and skills will not immediately cure the injury. To remove an injury requires either the HEAL INJURY ritual, with the cost varying based on the severity of the injury and the adventuring tier of the character in question.

Alternatively, characters may recovery from injuries over time (a number of days) and with aid of a character making Endurance skill checks (perhaps aided by Heal checks). When recovering from injuries in this manner, successful Endurance checks allow a character to improve on the injury track; conversely, failures can worsen an injury (a badly failed Heal check can also worsen recovery). The frequency of how often a character makes a Endurance skill check varies with the severity of the injury.

Other Sources of Long-Term Injury: Not all long-term injuries will come by a player choosing an injury over a failed death save. There are situations where the DM may rule a character receives a long-term injury due to situational circumstances. For example, a character falling into a 30-foot deep pit may not die outright from hit point loss, but he will likely suffer a long-term injury in the form of broken bones or head trauma.

Luck Points

For details regarding Luck Points, consult this link.

Daily Magic Item Powers

A character may use any item’s daily power once per day, but there is no restriction on how many magic item daily powers he may use in a day. Thus, if a character owns six different magic items, he may use each item’s daily power once a day – for a total of six different daily powers.

Once an item’s daily power is expended for that day, it cannot then be used by another character – you can’t give it to another character to use that daily power, for example.

Selling Magic Items

As a default, characters selling a magic item will receive 50% of the market value. With good role-playing, clever use of skills, and similar tactics, it is possible for a character to receive more than this amount for a magic item. This presumes, of course, finding a willing and interested buyer – such individuals and businesses are not always readily apparent or accessible.

Additional Concepts Regarding Magic Items

Check out the overall philosophy of this campaign in regards to magic items on the Magic Items in Stormfell page.

Solo & Unusual Monsters

On occasion, the adventurers will face an exceptionally dangerous, powerful, or monstrous foe. Creatures such as chimera, dragons, powerful demons, and the like are often encountered at the climax of an adventure. These encounters represent the most powerful challenge most characters ever meet.

In game mechanics terms, these monsters are referred to as “solos” – meaning that they are designed to challenge the party much like five separate monsters would challenge the party. To that end, they have more hit points, more devastating attacks, and superior powers compared to other types of monsters at their challenge level.

To help facilitate solo challenges, and to keep such monsters truly challenging throughout all levels of the campaign, these monsters will use some rules that are different than those used by standard monsters. These are explained as follows.

  • Solo monsters receive TWO sets of turns each round (with the rarest and most powerful such creatures having even more than two turns per round). Each solo turn occurs at a different initiative order. Thus, each time the solo has a set of turns, it may take a standard action,a move action, and a minor action.
  • A solo creature’s immediate action recharges at the beginning of each of its turns. Thus, a solo has the opportunity to make more than one immediate action per turn.
  • Most solo creatures possess triggered actions, either as immediate interrupts, reactions, or even as free actions.
  • A solo creature rolls power recharges only on its first turn each round.
  • A solo creature rolls a saving throw at the end of each of its turns. Such saving throws are typically with a +3 bonus (sometimes higher for truly powerful beasts).
  • If a solo inflicts a condition on an enemy with a duration of “until the end of the creature’s next turn,” that duration is the end of the next turn during which the condition was imposed. For example, if a creature slows a character on its first turn in the round, that target remains slowed until the end of the solo’s first turn on the next round.
  • When characters inflict a condition on the solo that lasts until the creature’s next turn, however, operate as normal – the condition lasts until the creature’s next turn, even if that comes later in the same round.
  • Conditions such as dazed, dominated, or stunned condition only ONE of the solo’s turns. Thus, a solo must be dazed, dominated, or stunned twice to lose a whole round’s worth of actions.
  • Conditions that limit or inhibit movement with a duration of “lasts until the enemy’s next turn” end on a successful save or normally, whichever comes first. Thus, the solo monster can make saving throws against slowed, immobilized, and restrained conditions that normally would last until the end of an enemy’s next turn.

House Rules

Stormfell MarkDMHart