View Full Version : What house rules do you use?

03-17-2012, 03:35 AM
Title pretty much says it all. I will be starting a group soon and I am curious what some of you use as house rule additions to the Pathfinder system. Included in this would be how your gaming group interprets any rules that may be vague in the books etc.

One of my house rules has always been max hit points per level for the first 10 levels.

I offset this by giving monsters at least 8 hps per level though as a GM.

03-23-2012, 03:20 PM
For me, Pathfinder is my High-magic Hero game. House Rules include, Max HP for the 1st 5 levels, after that, your mimimum HP is half HD (stolen from HM). So if you roll a 2 on a d10, you get 5 instead of 2. But honestly, its been so long since I have played PF, Im not sure how I would like it. The system that Ive been following now for over a year is the new HackMaster, and when I compare the two systems, PF just seems way too over-the-top.

Anoother PF/3.5 hourse-rule is NO favored classes, even if multi-classing

03-24-2012, 12:55 PM
Thanks for your response Griffonwing. I am hoping more will share what they use (if any) for house rules.

04-01-2012, 02:22 PM
i think my opinion will be pretty much null value, since our current houserule is no pathfinder (among others).

this is more due to the fact that one in our group does not seem to like the changes in the combat system (ie, not a big enough improvement), and another likes the changes in the classes, but does not want to effectively force everyone to get another book or books. but should a downloadable (offline) version of the pfsrd become available....

04-11-2012, 09:32 AM
Everyone has a history before they became an adventurer so I tend to talk to the players about what their parents did and what occupation they had before becoming an adventurer. Then I give the characters up to 3 knowledge or craft skills based on their history. The skill is treated like a class skill.

I try to make it a non-combat skill that may still be useful.

I also went to a mana-pool system for magic instead of using the spell levels and memorization.

Though I haven't had a chance to fully test these, you can check out my classless d20 guidelines. They might help you somehow: http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/2437479

I also got rid of material spell components and replaced them with Vices. Basically the player needs to choose three things that he has to do to cast a spell. This can be verbal, gestures (somatic), objects, and auras. Verbal can be chants, prayers, ancient language, etc. Gestures can include dancing, sign language, or other symbolic movement. Objects can be a holy symbol, power crystal, staff, wand, etc. Auras are a visible or audible glow that attracts attention.

If a character doesn't have one of his vices then all spells are treated like they are +1 level per missing vice. Thus a level 3 spell with 2 missing vices is treated like it is level 5 and a spell caster might not be able to cast the spell.

If spell casters don't take the time to study/meditate then they suffer a -2 penalty to their saving throw DCs on their spells per day. They recover that at a rate of 2 per day of study.

I require players to give me three motivations that serve as RP points that I can manipulate in the story. Greedy characters should be focused on wealth. Honorable characters should respond to challenges to their honor, etc.

Instead of the default critical system I use a success level. For every 5 that you beat the AC you gain a bonus. This can be extra damage per the normal rules, disarming them, tripping your opponent, stealing something off their body, pushing them 1d6 feet, etc. This made for more vibrant and dynamic combat that was not just "I attack".

05-14-2012, 08:30 PM
Max HP at 1st level, roll until you get half or more HP every time you gain a level.

Other than that, you can take a look at my upcoming campaign;

Mark Chance
06-17-2012, 09:01 PM
My campaign and house rules info is here (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/wniaa/wikis/main-page). :)

06-18-2012, 01:36 AM
I don't really house rule it much. When rolling stats, reroll all ones, max HP for at least the first level (unless I think they need more). After that, you get bonuses for awesome backgrounds. Like if your family has this sword that's been in the line for AGES, with a legend it might actually be something special, well guess what? You'll get that kinda sword for free, and I say thanks for the wonderful plot point. I find that, personally, 3.5 and Pathfinder don't need much houseruling. Shadowrun, on the other hand... (I'm looking at you, Initiative/combat rounds), though I don't tend to use the Action/hero points. But that's more me not really getting them then anything else.

08-09-2012, 11:11 AM
I enjoy Pathfinder's ruleset. The max Hit Point values at first level are already built into the system, races and classes offer a nice balance, combat flows forward at a reasonable pace, and the skill system has worked to the group's demands and ideas without flaw.

However, I detest using miniatures and a grid, so in an effort to keep things simple and fluid, I have all-but-removed Speed values from characters. Instead, I let players know how many turns of normal movement remain between them and the nearest enemy, obstacle, or item, and I keep a small map of each scenario behind the GM screen. If movement does come into things, all movement values are doubled for PCs and NPCs; so far, this has had little effect on the actual game, but the players feel empowered, and that is the point of such a rule.

08-12-2012, 12:33 PM
Mark Chance - your site has been bookmarked and I will be ripping apart everything you have for more more nuggets. Your house-rule on fermented malt beverages and prostitutes is so old school that it's "Olde Skoole" - but I love it. It rewards role playing (even just hints of role playing, like, "I'm gonna go to the pub and blow 100 gp on drinks and a dinner tonight!") Very nice!!

08-18-2012, 10:29 AM
Ryklu - your enhanced player speeds sound like they'd render ranged weapons useless for enemies. Have you seen that effect yet?

Descronan - your study time rule has me thinking of another one: spell failure chance increases as study time decreases. DCs remain the same.

nijineko - I started my current game with the promise that all versions of d20 would be allowed in. The plan, when confronted with a Pathfinder and 3.5 character, was to take something small from the PF character, and give the 3.5 character a bonus starting feat. Since most of the mechanics are the same, you can run a Pathfinder character in a d20 world without needing the book - just make sure your PF characters write down everything they'll need to know after character creation.

My PF house rule: all previous d20 rules are allowed consideration. CMB you can keep, or toss it out if you remember which ability bonus a defender uses in a trip attack.

08-21-2012, 09:47 PM
DMMike - after seven sessions, the group hasn't experienced a downside to the increased movement speeds, and the increased speeds have not hindered ranged combat. To be fair, we don't use a grid, so I describe enemies' positions in vague terms that reference feet or rounds depending on the scenario.

The difference of movement speed is used as a psychological asset. My thought was this: if the players think they're able to move farther and thereby do more in one turn, they will find creative ways to engage the game while they eschew the idea of simple limitations. So far, the ploy has worked, and the game remains both playable and engaging.

09-13-2012, 04:52 PM
Houserules, Hmmmmm.

A couple from the top of my head,
Ours are max HP +1d6 at 1st level, Rolling Stats: roll 5d6-rerolling 1s and dropping lowest die, Players can only be human (kidding).

09-14-2012, 04:49 AM
Very Simple.

How Heroic do you want your Campaign?

For My games its Go Hardcore or go home. I don't think that Health should ever be a random factor. I consider all HD max HD. Period.

I change crafting. Simplify and improve it using http://paizo.com/store/downloads/spesMagnaGames/v5748btpy8ffg (it can be found for free using google)
Of course with tweaks of my own. Some things should be a lot more simple then others.

I allow 1 skill each level to recieve 2 ranks rather then the limit of just 1 per level for my players. This makes more sense to me as players have the right and ability to specialize more. With a High Intelligence Modifier why shouldn't they if they actually roleplay the training involved with specializing.

I change nothing about the magic really but give more freedom. I allow players to customize spells and reserch them freely given time and GP....reasonably based on other spells. Why can't dancing light have a longer range if you only use 1 light rather then 4? Simple idea and can be quite affective. You shouldn't always need a metamagic feat if you use your head in my opinion.

I make Combat tactics more realistic and difficult. There is a lot of good Roleplaying for sure but combat must be dedicated. This doesn't mean everybody in my Advanced Wizard College Campaign need to memorize and prepare a mass of combat spells....hell animate rope and obscuring mist is all a level 1 guy needs in many situation regarding combat.....then BOOM crossbow bolt to the face from another players Gravity Bow.

The more you take from the game, the weaker it gets because you now have to either Add into it or leave it unbalanced.

The more you add and freedom you give....well that just increases the CR a little now doesn't it :-D.

Oly leanse
09-15-2012, 02:40 AM
I enjoy Pathfinder's rule set. The max Hit Point values at first level are already built into the system, races and classes offer a nice balance, combat flows forward at a reasonable pace, and the skill system has worked to the group's demands and ideas without flaw.

Nick Schaefer
09-17-2012, 05:30 PM
theres a few caviet rules i have, such as if you play the Damphire race you get blood drinker as a bonus feat, however you start play with mild blood addiction
the other is you only get to take back your action if it makes the DM (me) facepalm.
my 3rd rule is if you describe your attacks (i go for the throat) (not called shot) you get a +1 to hit

12-09-2012, 02:15 PM
Man you guys have some nice house rules!

1.) GM crafted weapons- example Druid Quarterstaff of Earthquake, DMG- 1d12+1d12(nature DMG), atk- +5 (must be mended after each use).
2.) HP- max at lvl 1, normal rolls after
3.) XP- We like to level fast so we get full beastiary xp value for each monster unless it's >3 levels under our party level which we get 0 xp.
4.) GM intervention- sometimes we receive help in the way of unseen NPCs from our GM if we are having a difficult time taking down something.
5.) Feats- some prerequisites are overlooked if we have a good reason for wanting a particular feat =D
6.) Death- umm, more of a choice than fact. Sometimes we just go into a comma, other times we choose to let it die and roll something new. One level lower though.

12-31-2012, 06:09 AM
Here are the House Rules we tend to use. Granted, there are a lot of them. Normally folks that tend to have issues with these rules tend to like a more high powered game. If that is the type of RPG experience you prefer, you probably won't like these. :)

4 Rules of Pathfinder and No List

1) If you commit to a game, we expect you to show up on time, regularly and stay to the end. There will be exceptions as everyone has a life, but that is what they should be....exceptions. Similarly, if your character levels, you should have him leveled, sent to and approved by the GM *prior* to the next game session.
2) We abhor powergaming. If you are one of those players that must have a pair of 18s and a pair of 8s in your build, we will not be a good match for you. Similarly, if your first thought for a character idea is a Half-Orc Barbarian with a 2 handed sword, power attack and vital strike, or Elf Monk/Rogue with all the lethal fixings this is also not the bunch for you. If you can deal with ability scores out of build between 10-17 after being equipped (this includes character race penalties/bonuses and your level bonus at 4th but none above that) and don't automatically reach for the done to death overpowered race/class/weapon/feat combos, you'll probably work out. We build our characters from their backstories and personalities outwards, not from mechanics inwards. There should never be a case of you changing either of the former drastically to enhance the latter.
3) We abhor metagaming as much as powergaming. If you ain't there, you ain't there. Shut up. As well it isn't what you know, it's what your character knows. You may bend that first part if you have a newbie at the table. You can present him with options, but the decision should be theirs.
4) When making a character we expect a backstory of at least three pages, not including description and personality. The reason behind this is that twofold. First it give you a firmer grip on what kind of skills/feats etc you might select (see 2) and secondly it gives the GM possible plot hooks with which to hang on you at some point in the game. Again here, try not to be predictable and pedantic. The ‘X killed my family so I grew up bitter sworn to avenge them’ is so old and so overused it is the toothless crack whore of cliches. Being touched by a God or similarly over-powered being in pregame? Also a non-starter. Remember, you are a person first, an above average individual who will step in front of the enemy second. Also remember Occam’s Razor: The simplest explanation is often the correct one. You see a baseball in a living room, a broken window and a bunch of kids outside with baseball gloves and bats. Could some sniper tried to shoot someone through the window? Sure, but chances are, the baseball did it.

There will be some that say “3 pages?!?!?!?!?” This is not nearly as hard as it seems when you take time to put a bit of detail into your family or those you grew up around, your hometown and how your family fit into it. Writing out the key conversations in your life instead of just saying “Ted got into an argument with his Dad and left” not only fills lines, it helps you develop a voice for your character.

Below is the No List. Things in it are not allowed in our games:

No Paladins, fanatical Cavaliers (Regardless of folks say about 'not playing lawful stupid et al', we have yet to see a party with one or the other that doesn't eventually kill the game by either trying to force the party to live by a code they don't want to or by forcing the Pally/Cav to burn his ethics.)
No Gunslingers or guns of any type (Even your most basic single shot muskets are 400 years ahead of the European Dark Ages which by and large has traditionally been the culture and the time period high fantasy settings are drawn from.)
No Monks, Ninjas or Samurais (for campaigns based in Western European Fantasy Settings only)
No Prestige Classes (There are the three or four overpowered options everyone grabs and then there are the rest which are ignored.)
No Magus-Bladebound (Massive mechanical advantage in terms of cash that is offset by a flavour disadvantage that no GM in their right mind would play to the hilt lest they be branded a killer GM)
No Barbarian-Titan Maulers (Gnomes, Halflings and even Dwarves swinging weapons twice their height and incredibly unbalanced to boot just does not pass the physics smell test).
No Alchemist-Mind Chemists, Clerics-Cloistered (Creates a huge inner-party double standard for Knowledge Checks)
No Evil (This also means ‘good’ Necromancers and ‘good’ Assassins etc) (does this really need an explanation?)
No Chaotic Neutral (What the folks who want to wreak havoc at the table with no accountability take when they see there is No Evil allowed)
No Non-Base Races (In our experience folks that want one of the non-base races tend to select those that give them mechanical advantages offset by flavour disadvantages which again never get pushed to where they are a true disadvantage by the GM or Do you really think them villagers have never seen or heard of a Drow bandaging himself from head to toe and trying to pass himself off as a burn victim before? Drow lynchin' is big news, even in Hickville.)
No Non-Paizo material at all (though there may be a couple of minor exceptions among equipment)
No hero points (Just more numbers to keep track of in a game that already has its share.)

We encourage multi-classing however we highly discourage Class Splashing if you multi-class. Recommended: Up to a difference of 2 between primary and secondary class levels. Every four levels beyond 4th add one to the maximum level difference (IE at 9th you could be 6/3 at 12th you could be 8/4 etc)

We also use max HP at first level, roll the rest.

Dependent on GM, there may be other things added to this list for individual campaigns.

Aaaaand.....ducking now.

01-06-2013, 12:49 PM
This thread is chock-full of people who should be helping us make our own game. I should've posted it in the Fantasy general file, but I'm working on an unofficial Pen and Paper Games RPG in the Dungeons and Dragon file. Bring your house rules, and your critical thinking caps.

01-10-2013, 05:50 PM
My house rules can be found here: