The Altera Chronicles
House Rules - General
For Chad D&D games, set in the Altera world
Rule #0: Spirit of the Rules
When the letter of the rules contradicts the spirit or intent of the rules, the spirit or intent of the rules takes precedence. This rule is somewhat flexible; rulings are made on a case-by-case basis. If the player is given a specific ruling for any aspect of their character, they need to write it down on their character sheet and have it initialed by the DM.
If and when such conflicts arise and need permanent notification, I will make such notes in one of the house rules documents.
The DM has the final call on any confusing or contradictory rule. When a specific ruling is made, such a ruling will be noted on this document.
The DM may approve rules normally not allowed on a case-by-case basis. If the DM decides to allow such things, they should “Sign Off” on such allowances on the character sheet, or a page of notes to be kept with the character. The DM’s initials are sufficient (since most players and DM’s have noticeably different handwriting).
3.0 versus 3.5 conflict
When a conflict exists between 3.0 and 3.5 versions of a specific rule, the better of the two should generally be used.
Wizards of the Coast versus 3rd-party material
With the exception of these House Rules, Wizards of the Coast material should always take priority over any 3rd-party material, whenever any conflict exists. However, when only PART of a rule is different, the entire rule must be used (such as different editions of a class or feat).
Some campaign settings or supplement books have alternate versions of the core (PHB) classes; the players may use these on DM approval. If such approval is made, the player is required to note which version of the class they are using (and have it initialed by the DM just to be sure).
All prestige classes must be approved by the DM before the player may advance in them.
If multiple prestige classes exist with the same name, the player needs to check with the DM and present each version before advancing into such a prestige class (I have most prestige classes I will allow either in digital or hard copy, and I am familiar with most of them, so just requesting by name and which version is usually sufficient).
Certain material is NOT AVAILABLE under any circumstances:
• All Mongoose Publishing products (will eventually translate some of them)
• All AEG products, except Rokugan (below)
• All d20 Modern products, as well as any other material set in a modern or futuristic setting (including the majority of Dragonstar; specific exceptions may be made, I just don’t remember exactly what they are and don’t have access to the books)
• All material dependant on history, social organizations, or other rules specific to campaign settings that is not specifically allowed elsewhere.
• Complete Champion, Complete Scoundrel, and Cityscape; certain exceptions may be allowed with DM approval
This material is excepted from the Campaign Settings restriction above.
• Eberron: Warforged are allowed. Shifters and Changelings may be allowed in rare cases.
Action Points are NOT in use as of this time. (The systems are being translated and will eventually be implemented, when done.)
• Forgotten Realms: For now, case-by-case approval; the majority of the rules are acceptable with varying amounts of adjustment (to remove the cultural dependencies).
Knights of Krynn (both Solamnic and Nerakan) are allowed, names of the Orders changed (Knights of Solamnia changed to Knights of Celestia; Knights of Neraka changed to Knights of Infernus). Names of individual sub-orders will be changed, time and inspiration permitting.
Legion of Steel is still NOT ALLOWED.
Wizards of High Sorcery allowed. Lunar dependency and benefits removed.
• Rokugan (AEG): Lots of stuff allowed; Clan history, folklore, NPCs, and all social structures will need completely changed (on a descriptive and thematic level), but most of the mechanical aspects of things are just fine. (Eventually this will warrant its own full document due to the vast amount of information allowed.)
Void Points are in use, under the same rules as Action and Force points. (The systems are being translated and will eventually be implemented, when done.)
General Rules: Gameplay
1. The DM reserves the right to use information that the players are unaware of, or alter existing information (prestige classes, monster statistics, etc.) as necessary; once an alteration has been made, it is generally permanent, and any information relevant to such an alteration will be noted in this document (or whichever house rules document is most appropriate). Generally, the players will be made aware of any alterations that will actually have an effect on their characters.
2. Any ability or power the good guys can have, the bad guys can also have. The opposite is also true. This does NOT include monster race or creature type (most monsters still remain non-viable for player characters).
3. Characters may use their total value for any given statistic, including bonuses granted by permanent magic items, to determine if they qualify for feats or prestige classes; however, if their statistics are reduced below the requirements (such as by removing the magic item or entering an antimagic zone), they lose access to the feats or prestige classes until the statistic returns to a value that qualifies. Temporary bonuses (such as those granted by spells or limited-duration effects of magical items) do not meet these requirements.
a. Spells that grant temporary Enhancement, Luck, or Morale bonuses stack with magic items that grant “permanent” bonuses, even when those bonuses are of the same type. This also includes temporary potions, oils, and scrolls.
b. Special Abilities that grant temporary Enhancement, Luck, or Morale bonuses, such as Bardic Music, also stack with permanent magic items and spells as noted in 3-a.
i. (Intent: Make bards slightly more useful; keep the “Buff” spells useful even after players have all the magic items; give players a chance against higher-level monsters, especially Epic monsters, without overloading them on magic items.)
4. Player characters will never become Gods during their adventuring career.
a. This does not mean the character cannot claim to be a God; anyone is allowed a certain level of arrogance from time to time. Making such claims will bring its own consequences.
b. The character in question will never have any Divine Rank (including Divine Rank of 0) or the accompanying Salient Divine Abilities and other perks.
c. Any character that does succeed at Divinity is automatically and permanently retired. Input from the player will be accepted when asked for, but no other time. The DM will work with the player on exactly what type of god their character has become.
5. No monster, NPC, or player character can have a Damage Reduction Value (the number after the slash, needed to pierce the damage reduction) higher than +5; any values higher than +5 will be reduced to +5. If the Monster Manuals present such a number, then their Damage Reduction Amount (the number before the slash) increases by 5 points for each point the Value decreases. Again, Gods are an exception to this rule.
6. Experience Point Costs for Magic Items can be reduced or eliminated with “Power Components” as determined by DM. (Working on getting this written up in a useable format.)
7. If something that doesn’t exist that you (the player) think should exist, run it by me. I will make rulings as appropriate.
General Rules: Character Creation
Some of these may need reworded slightly; refer to “Spirit of the Rules” above when in doubt.
1. Each character, no matter how bizarre or seemingly mundane, should be created with a goal in mind, or at least form a few goals within 3-5 gaming sessions. Even though I (the DM) have final say over what happens in a campaign, I am always willing to work with the players to make the experience more enjoyable for them. Also, each character should be unique and memorable in some way by the time they reach level 20 (if they ever do). I will always strive to make games memorable for the players and characters.
2. When in doubt, use the best given version of a rule (the one that favors the players most); do not mix and match rules that conflict. If using classes and information from 3.5, the DM (generally Chad) has final say. If using classes from both 3.5 and regular 3rd edition, the better version of the class (as agreed upon by the player and DM together on a case-by-case basis) is used in its entirety; do not mix and match.
3. Only one version of a specific rule will be in use in any given game; all of the players and NPC’s will be following the same rules.
a. When a specific version of a conflicting rule (one with multiple different versions) is officially adopted as the standard for a campaign, such a decision needs to be written down for permanent reference.
4. Ability Score Generation: The default method used is as follows:
a. Roll 4d6, re-rolling any result of 1 or 2 on any die.
b. Take the 3 highest die results and assign as desired (to best fit your class or concept).
c. Make any necessary adjustments for race or template, if applicable.
5. Ability Score Adjustments: Characters receive a + 1 increase to any 2 ability scores at every 4th character level, and a + 1 increase to all ability scores every 10 character levels.
6. Skill Points and Class/Cross Class Skills: After acquiring a skill as a class skill, the character pays 1 skill point per rank, regardless of what class they advance in. This also includes the so-called “Exclusive Skills” (rule from 3.0 D&D) even though advancement in those skills is normally forbidden from members of all classes that don’t offer them. (This rule is in place to simplify the skill point process, which was easy enough to abuse to begin with, and otherwise just overcomplicated.)
7. Languages and Intelligence: A character learns languages at character creation as stated in the Players Handbook; afterwards, regardless of any increases in Intelligence score, they must spend skill points to learn new languages (1 for Bard, 2 for all others; certain Prestige Classes also offer Speak Language as a class skill. See #1 for further details.)
8. Characters can gain more than one level per “adventure” (night of gaming) and even more than one level per encounter when and if experience allows. Challenge ratings normally too high for the characters (as stated in the DMG) will grant experience accordingly; those too low for the characters will do the same.
a. Every player should write up a general advancement plan for their characters to speed up the leveling process. This does not require that the character absolutely follow it, but it does help streamline gameplay.
b. Players should include in their general advancement plan what prestige classes (if any) they plan on taking, and discuss with the DM if those prestige classes are acceptable for the game and their character.
9. Toughness: Any of the “Toughness” feats qualify for the purposes of meeting prestige class or feat prerequisites. These are: Toughness, Improved Toughness, Dwarf’s Toughness, Giant’s Toughness, Dragon’s Toughness, and Epic Toughness.
10. Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus: These feats (as well as any other Spell Focus feat) use the 3.0 version (+2 to Save DC instead of +1). Additionally, if a class or prestige class grants an ability that functions like a Spell Focus feat, but is not specified as “You gain Spell Focus/Greater Spell Focus/etc. as a bonus feat” then the benefits of that ability always stack with spell focus, even if described as not stacking.
11. Shield Specialization (PHB2): This feat may be chosen for the Tower Shield.
12. Search and Trapfinding: When making a normal Search check, your character is searching the square they are occupying and all adjacent squares. Walls, closed doors, and any other solid obstruction blocks your Search check.
a. You may declare a thorough search of a single object or doorway. If you are searching an unlocked chest or door, you also search the interior of the lid or door and hinges with the same Search check without fully opening the chest or door; you have a chance to find any trap immediately on the other side of a door or inside a chest without setting it off. You make noise normally for opening the door or lid (unless the noise is the result of the trap), but you may attempt a Move Silently check to open the door or lid without making noise.