A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons
Below is a link to a document containing House Rules. In this document are alternatives to the normal Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 d20 rules.
UPDATE: The 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons corrected most of the issues I had with the 4th edition, I strongly recommend you using it instead of this. I will leave this post for those of you who want it, but it is no longer supported and there will be no more revisions or updates.
I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons since it came out in the late 1970’s. I eagerly awaited each new release of the game and embraced all of the new rules. With each new release it got better. When 3.0 was released I saw it as a re-visioning of the original game with more logical and consistent rules. It was soon followed by 3.5 which corrected some of 3.0s failings. I had great expectations for the 4.0 release, but I was greatly disappointed. Instead of streamlining and simplifying the rules, it was a whole new game. I’m not saying that it is a bad game, it simply isn’t one that I choose to play. Others felt the way that I do and other companies have tried to “fix” D&D v3.5. The Pathfinder RPG is an attempt to improve on 3.5. While Pathfinder is an improvement over 3.5 they didn’t go far enough, in my opinion, to simplify the 3.5 rules. There are also some rules-light game systems based on the d20 SRD v3.5 such as Basic Fantasy and others but after reviewing them I found most of them to be too light on the rules for my taste. So, instead of throwing it all out and starting over, I decided to simply make the changes that I felt v3.5 needed to make it easier and faster to play.
I have developed a set of “House Rules” designed to meet the following criteria:
1. Character creation and promotion should be simple, fast and easy.
2. The rule set should be fully compatible with other v3.5 stuff (adventures, sourcebooks, etc).
3. Complicated rules should be simplified to the point where you can play 90% of the time without having to look up a rule.
The intention is to simplify and speed up play, bringing back a lot the feel of the original D&D game while preserving most of the enhancements that the d20 game provides.
To accomplish this we use the Players Handbook v3.5 (abbreviated here as PHB), with some modifications. The major changes are:
No Multiclass characters. You will be playing iconic D&D characters. These are the 11 core classes, without regard to race or sex, with each class being the “typical” stereotype character for that class.
No Feats. Each character class has its own set of special abilities; additional abilities are added as the character advances in level.
No selection and distribution of Skill Points. You get a set of core skills by class. These increase as you increase in level.
No Proficiencies. You can use the weapons and armor you start with and can quickly learn to use others in-campaign.
No Alignment. Or, more accurately, there are no alignment related game rules and effects. Character alignment is optional. We will substitute “Unholy” for “Evil” in most Clerical spells and effects.
No separate rules for Bull rush, Disarm, Overrun, Sunder or Trip. These are replaced with one simple “heroic actions” mechanic.
No Attacks of Opportunity. Characters are required to make an ability check (a “heroic action”) to attempt to pass through a threatened square, or perform non-attack actions within a threatened square. This eliminates the need for Attacks of Opportunity.
Rules for Grapple, Turn Undead, nonlethal damage and Counterspells have all been simplified.
The house rules included in the PDF file linked to below are not intended to replace the Players Hhandbook (PHB), but to supplement it. Many of the rules from the PHB have been repeated here for convince. Wherever something is mentioned for which I haven’t provided adequate information (Darkvision for instance) refer to the PHB.
You can download a free copy of these house rules in a PDF file here: Dungeon-n-Dragon-Lite
The above file contains a Character Record Sheet, but here it is as a seperate PDF file: Character Sheet
Here are some Fast-Play Character Sheets.
Hare is an Animal Companion / Familiar Character Sheet.
Corrections and changes are posted in this addendum.
As always, I would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions.