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Judge my Houserules and Races - Low Magic PCs, High Magic Enemies


Homebrew


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The houserules I'm about to link have been made for use in an online (Roll20) campaign that I hope to start in the next month or two. The premise: the PCs are non-spellcasting characters (not even 4th level spellcasters) in a world where humanity is threatened by powers that DO have magic. Lycanthropes, demonic cults, undead armies, orcish incursions, dragons, the works - they're all here, along with evil spellcasters, and the players have to contend with these threats without spellcasters of their own, nor with scrolls or potions from the local Magic Mart.

Now, I know some people are going to immediately be annoyed by this. Let me clarify: the players in this campaign are ALL going to be people that were specifically interested in this style of campaign. It's meant to be hard, and it's meant to have permanent death, among other things. So, the people participating in this game are interested in its concept. I'm not thrusting this on unaware players.

With all that said: I want someone to double check my stuff. I'm bad a analyzing my own material fairly, and I want someone to tell me if any houserules or races I've created seem like bad decisions given the context.

Without further ado, here come the links:
Men-at-Arms - House Rules

Men-at-Arms - Characters (Incomplete)

Please post here with your thoughts, judgments, comments, and concerns. Critique my stuff! Yell at me! Give me attention!

Liberty's Edge

I am not a fan of the changes with the sling, crossbow, and hit points below zero.

Slings are not a fast weapon to shoot in the same way a bow is. I woul dnot change it.

While the crossbow generally hits harder than a bow (the English longbow would be an exception), the crossbow isn't even close to being on par with an early firearm. If you want to represent the strength of the crossbow, I suggest giving it a +1 bonus to damage at point blank range.

Setting the hit points below zero to Constitution x2 will likely only lead to party members not taking action to save fallen comrades since they know they have a larger buffer. You want urgency when a character is in danger of dying. I really would not change anything. Let them feel their mortality.

I did read up on your races, but I found the changelings to be quite odd and their evolution history to fell somewhat canned. Races would not evolve as neatly as the changelings appear to. If you want to use them, I suggest you let the details of the evolution be lost in history and simply describe how their recent culture fits into your world through the last 5 to 10 generations (depending on how well history is recorded).


Quote:
I did read up on your races, but I found the changelings to be quite odd and their evolution history to fell somewhat canned. Races would not evolve as neatly as the changelings appear to. If you want to use them, I suggest you let the details of the evolution be lost in history and simply describe how their recent culture fits into your world through the last 5 to 10 generations (depending on how well history is recorded).

It's not an evolution history. Changelings in this setting are literally people who were kidnapped as children. You are never born a changeling; you are made one by the Fey.

It's also not a separate culture. They're humans, and they live among humans, and they try to come across as humans.

Basically, think of it this way: the only playable 'race' in this setting is Human. Half-orcs are just the result of humans and orcs having kids; death-touched are just human individuals that have had a close brush with death that changed them; and changelings are individuals that were kidnapped by the Fey as children. They're all still humans - well, arguably not the half-orcs, but you get the idea. They share the same culture (assuming they come from the same nation).

Quote:
Setting the hit points below zero to Constitution x2 will likely only lead to party members not taking action to save fallen comrades since they know they have a larger buffer. You want urgency when a character is in danger of dying. I really would not change anything. Let them feel their mortality.

The one concern I have here is that I want the players to have less risk of dying when they survive one hit near 0 HP (say you have 4 HP left and you're still standing) when an orc swings his greataxe two-handed and knocks them out.

See, in this setting there are VERY few potions. There are no magic wands of healing. There are no friendly wizards selling you scrolls at your convenience. Ergo, there's very little in-combat healing, and it mostly takes place outside of combat (I need to further flesh this out, but fights are generally not something you walk away from looking unscathed after the healing is done).

Plus, this lets me throw x3 crit weapons at my players without feeling guilty when a monster rolls a nat 20.

Quote:

I am not a fan of the changes with the sling, crossbow, and hit points below zero.

Slings are not a fast weapon to shoot in the same way a bow is. I woul dnot change it.

While the crossbow generally hits harder than a bow (the English longbow would be an exception), the crossbow isn't even close to being on par with an early firearm. If you want to represent the strength of the crossbow, I suggest giving it a +1 bonus to damage at point blank range.

Ah - it's not meant to simulate realism. It's to make those weapons more useful, so that they're actually viable options. The crossbow's touch-to-hit IS based off its lethality when it was first introduced in Europe (it's disdained by knights in this setting as a dishonorable weapon), but I also chose that so if someone wants to use a crossbow it's actually comparable to a bow user's build (since bows are generally better).

Likewise, the reload limitations on slings have always annoyed me and I wanted people to be able to build to use them if they wished. Ergo, reload speed made the same as a bow.

--------------------

I know I sound like I'm just defending myself here, but I DO want to make clear why I made the decisions I did before I proceed.

First thought: I can change the text behind the Changelings to make it clearer they're not a species, but individuals, if you think that would help.

You ARE right about wanting urgency when people are dying - but I don't know. There SHOULD still be urgency, because enemies will coup de grace the fallen members at times; just because someone is downed doesn't mean you stop trying to kill them, necessarily. I think I can probably make the enemies' tactics more brutal if I go this route, but perhaps there's a good marriage to be found between giving the players a too huge "I'm down" buffer and making this permadeath world turn into reroll central? Any suggestions?

The ranged weapon changes, though, are probably going to stay as they are. I want slings and crossbows to be worth considering.


Shorticus wrote:

The houserules I'm about to link have been made for use in an online (Roll20) campaign that I hope to start in the next month or two. The premise: the PCs are non-spellcasting characters (not even 4th level spellcasters) in a world where humanity is threatened by powers that DO have magic. Lycanthropes, demonic cults, undead armies, orcish incursions, dragons, the works - they're all here, along with evil spellcasters, and the players have to contend with these threats without spellcasters of their own, nor with scrolls or potions from the local Magic Mart.

Now, I know some people are going to immediately be annoyed by this. Let me clarify: the players in this campaign are ALL going to be people that were specifically interested in this style of campaign. It's meant to be hard, and it's meant to have permanent death, among other things. So, the people participating in this game are interested in its concept. I'm not thrusting this on unaware players.

With all that said: I want someone to double check my stuff. I'm bad a analyzing my own material fairly, and I want someone to tell me if any houserules or races I've created seem like bad decisions given the context.

Without further ado, here come the links:
Men-at-Arms - House Rules

Men-at-Arms - Characters (Incomplete)

Please post here with your thoughts, judgments, comments, and concerns. Critique my stuff! Yell at me! Give me attention!

Very nice. I am thinking of starting a P8 game myself, and this looks like a synergistic set of house rules for that.

Regarding crossbows: The touch AC works, but is powerful. Personally, I would probably have them ignore an amount of Armor bonus, or just half armor bonus. Just a thought.

What my group has done with crossbows, is lengthened the reload time for the heavier types, with reloading mechanisms (belt and hook, crows foot, cranequin) reducing this time. The Rapid Reload feat reduces it one step, so there is a minimum amount of reload time. In effect, light crossbows can fire no more than once per round, heavys are slower, and we introduced the Arbalest as an exotic weapon that does 2d6 damage. Most important is that each type has a base Str (light +0, heavy +2, and Arbalest +4, and they can be increased to +2, +4, and +6). However, crossbows are treated as two-handed weapons, so at maximum they can do +3, +6, and +9 damage. Inadequate strength increases reload time.

Put this all together, and you can model an Arbalest crew (with a Pavise [huge tower shield] for cover) using a cranequin to reload a powerful weapon over several rounds. On the PC side, you can have a heavy crossbow with a +6 damage bonus that fires once per round.

The last option I would add, especially if slow crossbows are embraced, is to allow Deadly Aim to benefit from the two-handed weapon rule and grant +3 damage per -1 attack.

In regard to your death and dying rules, double Con is workable. To add to urgency, you could increase the rate of dying to 1d4 per round. A half step would be negative Con + HD. So and 8th level fighter with a 16 Con would die at -24 hp.


I think I like the ideas of increasing bleed-out rate and making them ignore some armor. I'll be considering those carefully, and probably implementing both.

I hope you can get something out of these house rules!


Good to see some free men at arms stuff out there. ;)


After reading thru the free men at arms campaign setting stuff and seeing some of the commentary here, might I suggest changing the term Changeling into something else, like "Foundling" (kinda like what you did with Death-Touched/Dhampirs)?

Unfortunately, the name Changeling (you mighta been going with the White Wolf/Onyx Path version though) has kind of a loaded D&D/OGL history with being associated either with PF's female hag offspring or Eberron's Doppleganger-lite. ;)

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