Korovia - The Free License Fantasy World
|Chapter Ten: House Rules of Korovia
New characters in Korovia start the game at 2nd level with 2000 gp worth of belongings. Items may include things like potions or scrolls, but no permanent magical items without DM approval. Belongings could also include land, such as a house, a small ship, a business, or even a small fortress that is in bad shape and needs repairs. Players should confirm such valuable things with the DM while creating their character.
With regards to the small fortress idea, keep in mind that a keep costs 150,000 gp. Thus, if a PC did own a keep, it likely needs about 149,000 gp worth of repairs. Otherwise it is just land with ruins on it. A simple house in comparison is only 1000 gp, and thus is ideal for PCs just starting. The DM promises thieves will not steal your house, and the authorities, etc will not seize it or burn it down. Rather, a house is an excellent base of operations (or place to heal up) and the DM respects and appreciates that.
The advantage of starting at 2nd level allows PCs to be multi-classed at the start of the game. Monks and paladins may multiclass in Korovia, but must maintain their alignment and certain other restrictions still apply.
Optional: A player also has a choice of picking a NPC character from Chapter 6, and play that character instead. Certain NPCs don’t adventure however, so the DM has final say as to which NPCs can also be played as a PC. NPC Characters above 10th level cannot be played by anyone but the DM.
Optional: Players returning to Korovia have an option of picking up their old characters, and playing their old character instead of a new one. With this example and the one above, keep in mind that level advancement will likely be quite slow. The character will be essentially a “Gandalf” amongst rookie hobbits.
Extra Feats: A 1st level PC can gain an extra feat by trading in 10 skill ranks. This may only be done at 1st level during character creation. Any feats gained through this must be relevant to the PC’s class (i.e. A wizard could not gain a fighting-related feat, but could gain a feat related to spell-casting or magic item creation). A PC is limited to gaining two extra feats using this house rule. Thus a 1st level human fighter could have 5 feats, but would lose 20 skill ranks.
Extra Hit Points: A 1st level PC can gain extra hit points by trading in skill points on a point for point basis. A maximum of 4 points may be exchanged this way, and this rule may only be used at 1st level during character creation.
Players should not bother keeping track of experience points. Characters go up a level when the DM says they go up a level. This also means that the only limit to creating magical items for a spellcaster is how much wealth a character has. Characters may notice that their progression slows a bit however if they abuse this by mass-producing scrolls, potions, +1 swords, etc. all the time.
Gnomes have two favoured classes: Bard and Illusionist. Gnomes (regardless of class) always have the option of using the skill Craft Contraption and gain a +2 bonus on it. Gnomish contraptions usually don’t work properly however, but they can be useful and amusing. Have fun! See more about races in Chapter 4.
Elves and Halflings can always use ranks in Spot or Listen normally even if the skill is crossclassed.
Rangers and druids should use D&D 3.0 rules when it comes to animal companions. They may still use 3.5 rules, but there are options in 3.0 (such as having multiple wolf companions) which are beneficial. Where druids in 3.0 receive double their level in HD, rangers will receive equal to their level in HD. Certain monsters can also become companions, with DM approval. An elvish druid or ranger could get a griffon as a companion for example. The griffon would have to wait for PCs at the entrance to any caves or dungeons however.
Paladins have the option of getting a companion animal or a squire instead of a special mount. A companion animal could be a blink dog or a different LG animal. A celestial eagle perhaps. A squire would be a younger paladin who serves and helps the PC.
Free-Range Druids: Druids in Korovia sometimes worship gods of nature. Otherwise they worship nature as a whole, and the gods/goddesses of nature are simply a pantheon that the druids pay homage to sometimes. Game-wise this means a druid can sometimes ask a specific god for aid (extra spells that may be cast Sorcerer-style) and it may be granted, but only if the druid has made a point of worshipping that god actively in the past. See Piety Rules below.
Piety Rules: Clerics & Paladins (or just anyone who worships a god/goddess and does a good job of it) can sometimes get special benefits. Piety Rules are based on an old Dragon Magazine article that keeps track of how many religious deeds a PC does. Paladins and Clerics are automatically subject to piety rules because if their piety score falls into negative territory (usually due to evil or blasphemous acts) then a Cleric or Paladin could be excommunicated (and lose some of their powers) until they redeem themselves.
Auto-Repairs & Food: While gaming, players don’t need to keep track of silver and copper pieces. Likewise it is automatically assumed that they buy new clothes, repair their weapons, buy spell components, food, etc. and pay for it. The only time they need to keep track of these things is if they’ve just been robbed and have no money, or if they are trying to buy something that costs more than a single gp.
Material Components: When casting a spell, characters may substitute “similar” material components for others if the real thing is unavailable. E.g. The PC might swallow a cockroach instead of a spider in order to cast Spider Climb. The DM has the final say as to whether a particular component is “similar” enough.
Auto-Critical: When rolling a critical attack, there is no need to confirm the critical. It is a critical. Rolling an 18 or 19 with a weapon that has a better threat range does not guarantee a critical however, as the weapon has to actually hit the AC of the creature. Only a Natural 20 is a guaranteed hit. If the 18 or 19 does actually hit in the case of a scimitar/etc, then roll critical damage.
Damage Reduction: A successful hit against a creature with damage reduction always does a minimum of 1 point of damage. So if a person attacks a monster with damage reduction 10, and they only deal 6 points of damage, they still do 1 point of damage. If they dealt 11 points of damage, the damage reduction works as per the normal rules: 1 point of damage. This can be very useful when fighting a monster that has damage reduction 15/+2 where the party would need a +2 weapon just to hurt it. While it may take a LONG time to kill it 1 point at a time, this is still better than dealing no damage at all the entire time. This rule becomes very important if the party grapples and captures the creature. HOWEVER, this house rule only applies if the creature is physical. Use the normal damage reduction rules if the creature is insubstantial (such as a ghost). This rule could be reinstated however if a PC was fighting on the astral or ethereal planes. This rule and the rule below will be used most often at the start of a campaign and will be phased out as PCs get to higher levels where they have access to +1 or better weapons.
Act of God: Rolling a Natural 20 has the ability to affect creatures that have damage reduction. The PC or NPC simple “ignores” the damage reduction rules for that one attack. For example, a PC hit a creature with damage reduction 10/silver with a Natural 20, the creature will basically lose its damage reduction for that one attack. The PC is considered to have hit a “vulnerable spot” where the creature is not immune. HOWEVER, like the house rules for damage reduction above the creature hit must still be corporeal. This rule does not work against ghosts or elementals. This rule and the rule above will be used most often at the start of a campaign and will be phased out as PCs get to higher levels where they have access to +1 or better weapons.
Clerical Guidance: Clerics (and Paladins) may, at any time, ask their god for a sign. If the player roleplays this “asking” well, and with much exuberance, a sign may indeed be given. This is not a spell and is unreliable because the “sign” could be merely a coincidence, but it can be quite useful for roleplaying and making decisions.
Active Roleplaying: Attempting to negotiate with the enemy (although rare) through roleplaying gives a PC a +2 or +4 bonus to any relevant checks. This bonus is meant as an encouragement to do this more often, not to abuse this. The PC must still be able to communicate with the desired creature. Trying to bluff your way past a gelatinous cube is NOT going to work, but trying to talk to a dragon or ogre instead of killing it will be noteworthy. The bigger the target creature, the more likely the bonus will be a +4. Circumstances vary.
Brownie Points: The DM keeps track of players that bring food for all, offer their house/apartment for gaming in, gives rides to other players, etc. Double points if you bring the DM chocolate milk. Brownie points may be spent to reroll a saving throw, push another character out of the way and save their life, or reroll an important skill check, etc. They cannot be used for increasing the initial stats of a character, rolling for damage (unless the PC was hit by a fireball and is already close to death and would like damage reduction applied) or anything related to dealing extra damage. Brownie Points are usually only spent in life threatening situations.
Dodge Feat: Dodge gives a +1 dodge bonus to AC (and reflex saves) against ALL creatures. The user must be wearing light or medium armour however, or else the feat is useless.
Mounted Combat: The feat Mounted Combat is no longer a feat. Any character with 1 rank in Ride may automatically use Mounted Combat as an ability they possess.
Armours: Hide Armour is now light armour and has the same statistics as a chain shirt. Elves and Half-Elves have the option of buying a mithral shirt (1100 gp) at the start of the game. Elvish chainmail or elvish plate is out of the question however, and such things must be bought at higher levels.
Martial Weapon Feats: If a character uses a feat to gain a martial weapon and later becomes a warrior, they gain the feat they used back and may use it for a new feat.
Longbow & Shortbow: A longbow may be used as quarterstaff without penalty, and a shortbow may be used as a club without penalty. Thus an archer who has an enemy come within club range may use a shortbow as a club as an attack of opportunity, or may quickly draw a light weapon, such as a dagger, and attack with it instead.
Improvised Weapons: Warriors may improvise weapons freely. Picking up junk and throwing it or swinging it is what fighters do best. They receive a –2 to attack with an improvised weapon, but the benefits can make for excellent roleplaying. Non-warriors may improvise, but with a –4 penalty. An improvised weapon is considered to be an Exotic Weapon, and thus a feat can be used to become proficient in it. A fighter on a ship could for example pick up a small anchor and use it as weapon (essentially a really big club). Depending on how eccentric the fighter is, they may decide to keep the anchor and become proficient in it.
Shield Deflection: A shield provides a deflection bonus, which is not only useful in combat. It may also be useful against a dragon’s breath weapon, a basilisk’s gaze attack or even a fireball. Apply the AC bonus to any relevant saves. A wooden shield may be scorched right through and a metal shield may melt, depending on the circumstances, but it may be worth it to keep the PC alive. Anyone standing directly beside or behind someone using a shield may also gain this benefit. Please also pay attention to cover bonuses during such situations, as a cover bonus stacks with a shield bonus. A PC hiding behind a column and carrying a large steel shield is significantly more likely to survive a breath weapon or fireball and highly unlikely to be affected by a basilisk.
Quick Draw: Any character can draw a small (light) weapon or missile as a free action. The feat is required for anything larger. Quick Draw also allows a character to pick up a weapon or object as a free action. E.g. A villain dropped a potion the previous round and it can now be picked up as a free action, or a weapon that falls from a disarmed opponent can be picked up the next round as a free action. Characters using only one hand in combat, may also draw an item with their other hand, but might forfeit their shield bonus (if any, situation varies depending on whether the PC is in a melee or not and at what point during a round they drew the item).
Base Attacks Stack: When calculating the base attack bonus of classes with the same base attack rate, add the two together and calculate accordingly. For example the classes rogue, monk, cleric, druid and bard all have the same base attack rate. When calculating the combined base attack bonus, add their combined levels and then calculate. A 2nd level monk/5th level rogue would normally have a +4 base attack, but if they are stacked together, the bonus is +5.
Weak Saves Stack: When calculating the weakest save bonus of a multi-class character, stack the levels like above. For example rogues and wizards both have weak Fortitude saves. A 2nd/2nd rogue/wizard has a Fort save of +0. Using this rule however calculate as if they were a 4th level character with weak Fort saves, which would be +1.
Characters who have ranks of druid, the call familiar ability, a paladin mount and/or a cohort from the Leadership feat may make a special deal with the DM to have a single creature (or person) instead of having combinations of the above. A paladin/wizard with a mount, a familiar and a cohort could effectively trade those three in for a more powerful companion/ally.
Bonus Spells: When calculating a spellcaster's spells for the day, use their Chief Ability (Int for Wizards, Chr for Bards/Sorcerers, Wis for Clerics) and apply the total bonus instead of one of each level, and divide that bonus by their spell levels. Meaning, a 2nd level wizard with an 18th Intelligence has 4 bonus 1st level spells that she can cast each day. When the same wizard gets to 3rd level she would instead get 2 bonus 1st level spells, and 2 bonus 2nd level spells, per day. At 5th level, she would get one 1st, one 2nd, and two 3rd level spells. A wizard with a lesser Intelligence would divide it differently. When in doubt, ask the DM.
Wizard Specialists: When choosing an opposition school, just pick one (Divination is not allowed to be an opposition school). Specialists are relatively common in Korovia.
Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus Feats: In 3rd edition they gave a +2 bonus to spell DCs. In 3.5 rules they give only a +1. Use the 3rd edition version.
Spell/Power Penetration Feats: Double the bonus for the Feats. It is rare that Spell/Power Resistance is used, therefore the bonus should be +4 instead. Greater Penetration (no pun intended) is therefore +8.
Alignment: Characters returned from the Afterlife have the option of changing their alignment without penalty. Characters who change their alignment without reason will lose a level (or be held back while other PCs progress). Since a PC who has died and been Raised/Etc has already lost a level, it’s unnecessary for them to lose 2 levels. If the DM suspects a problem with a PCs alignment, this will be discussed in advance in an effort to have the character maintain their alignment rather than face the results.
Players who miss a Game: Will have their characters act as medics and bodyguards while they are gone. Their characters will not gain any levels or items, but happily their character is guaranteed to be alive when the player returns the next time (and will have all their items intact). If the character is inconvenient, they may be left in the nearest town and will have spent their time twiddling their thumbs, passed out drunk on the floor, etc (the spent time cannot be used to create magical items or make a craft/etc). They will rejoin the party at the next convenient time/location.
Dibs!: Players will not call dibs until ALL of the items have been read out. Only then may characters divide things up, preferably as evenly as possible. Some items may be geared specifically towards a certain PC and their character concept, and the DM has the option of enforcing this. Any unclaimed items (usually potions) will be placed in a communal bag which PCs take turns carrying. If the party forgets who has the communal bag, roll randomly.
Character Death, although rare, is serious. If they cannot be raised, the player will have to create a new 2nd level character. Character levels should vary anyway, as some PCs should always be more experienced than others are. The new PC will gain levels relatively quickly however (due to larger challenges) and soon will be just below the others in their group.
Chapter 1: The History of Korovia
Chapter 2: Towns, Cities & Guilds
Chapter 3: Cosmology & Gods
Chapter 4: Races & Classes
Chapter 5: Feats & Skills
Chapter 6: NPCs & Plots
Chapter 7: Spells Chapter 8: Monsters Chapter 9: Treasure & Special Items Chapter 10: House Rules Chapter 11: Maps