My Ruleset

Over the course of this blog's life, I will be suggesting and sharing various rules and systems for use in your games. As I write this, I already have posts that give different opinions/strategies for handling a single mechanic in your game... so clearly I cannot be using all the rules I have written about in one system.

This page is where I will be recording a single, coherent set of rules that, in a perfect world, I would use in all of my games. It is subject to change as play-testing or future inspiration strikes.


Ability Scores
  • The standard six. Roll 3d6 in order, SEVEN times. The seventh number can be switched with one of the first six, if the player chooses. Either way, the remaining number x10gp is starting gold used to buy starting equipment.
  • Strength > 12 gives +1 to melee attack rolls. Strength > 14 gives +1 weapon damage. 
  • Dexterity > 12 gives +1 to ranged attack rolls. Dexterity > 14 gives +1 Armor Class.
  • Constitution is added to total Hit Points at first level.
  • Intelligence of 10 + (spell level) is required to cast Arcane spells.
  • Wisdom of 10 + (spell level) is required to cast Divine spells.
  • Charisma of 10 + (spell level) is required to cast Illusion spells.
Checks Against an Ability
  • Roll equal to or under ability score to succeed.
  • Only used when failing an action could represent a serious setback to the player character, AND the action isn’t covered by another rule. Otherwise, just say "yes (but)" or "no (but)" and move on.
Saving Throws
  • When a combatant is at or below a certain Hit Point threshold, some magical effects and spells will require them to make a saving throw against one of their six abilities, or suffer some additional effect. 
  • Just like a check, roll equal to or under your ability score to succeed.
Hit Dice and Hit Points
Healing and Death
  • Each full night of rest heals all HP and half of total HD.
  • When resting (i.e. not actively fighting or exploring), spend HD to heal rolled value in HP.
  • At half maximum HP, you are bloodied. (Just a point of reference, no inherent rules)
  • At 0 HP, you are helpless (possibly unconscious). Will wake in 1 hour with 1 HP.
  • At -1HP to -9HP, you are dying. Lose 1 HP per turn until stabilized.
  • At -10 HP you are dead.
Initiative
  • None. Combatants act in whatever order seems appropriate, and is narratively consistent.
  • Obviously, everyone gets one turn before anyone can get a second turn.
  • Let people with a surprise advantage all act once first.
Armor Class
Attack Rolls
  • These are used for everything from attacking, grappling, tripping, shoving, disarming, etc.
  • Melee attack rolls: 1d20 + Class bonus + high STR bonus.
    • Melee attack damage: Weapon damage + Class bonus + high STR bonus.
  • Ranged attack rolls: 1d20 + Class bonus + high DEX bonus.
    • Ranged attack damage: Weapon damage + Class bonus + high STR bonus.
Critical Hits
  • Whenever a natural 20 is rolled on an attack roll, the attack automatically hits, and uses twice as many dice for damage.
Fumbles and Ammo Tracking
  • Don't track ammo normally.
  • Whenever a natural 1 is rolled on a melee or thrown weapon attack roll, roll a die:
    • Evens: the attacker drops their weapon or gets it stuck. 
    • Odds: the attacker’s weapon breaks. 
  • A natural 1 on an unarmed attack roll deals 1d6 damage to the attacker.
  • Whenever a natural 1 is rolled on a ranged (missile) weapon attack roll, roll a die:
    • Evens: the attacker is out of ammo. 
    • Odds: the attacker breaks their bow string, sling strap, or other equivalent weapon mechanism.
  • If a player character fights without armor, and while wearing no more clothing than a loin-cloth, brassiere, boots, belt, and helmet, they may add +1 to attack rolls and Armor Class.
Advantage and Disadvantage
  • Choose one at first level. You can get a second Good-At if you take a Bad-At.
  • Having a Good-At means you fail forward, or succeed exceptionally.
  • Having a Bad-At means your successes are qualified and your failures are horrible.
Spellcasting
  • All done in-game. No spellcaster classes, just other classes that can pick up a magic tome and risk life and limb for some magic power.
Classes, Races, Equipment, Spells, etc.
  • These change the most from game to game. Some rules of thumb are:
  • Illusionists are not specialist wizards, their magic is very different (almost psionics).
  • Race-as-class for all non-humans. Elf is a class, dwarf is a class, orc, lizardfolk, halfling, etc.
  • Half-elves, half-orcs, etc. are either raised by humans (any class) or by their non-human kin (gain levels as that race-class).
  • Healing magic is sharply curbed/nearly non-existent. HP is abstract and combat is fun, so I am fine letting players spend HD throughout the day to heal to allow for more dangerous encounters. But magic that literally sews wounds together is akin to a near-miracle.
Experience Points
  • 1 XP per gold piece (GP) spent.

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