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Character and Rules Guidelines
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Thread: Character and Rules Guidelines

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Character and Rules Guidelines

    (Updated January 19, 2015)
    1. We will primarily play using Dungeons and Dragons, fourth edition rules. Various games may additionally utilize some material from 13th Age, which is largely compatible with fourth edition D&D.

    2. In general, I will stick close to the rules as they are written. I will try, but not always succeed, to inform players of any significant changes I make to the rules. I'll be the arbiter of what counts as "significant," but I will listen to your feedback. EXCEPTIONS: Monsters may be altered significantly, and will be used without advance notice. Also, the actual names of powers, feats, classes, and so on, may be changed.

    3. The rulebooks currently used [subject to updates from time to time] are listed below. Some rulebooks may not be fully used; details will vary between the different adventure settings.

    • Player's Handbook
    • Player's Handbook 2
    • Player's Handbook 3
    • Dungeon Master's Guide
    • Dungeon Master's Guide 2
    • Monster Manual
    • Monster Manual 2
    • Monster Manual 3
    • Adventurer's Vault
    • Adventurer's Vault 2
    • Arcane Power
    • Divine Power
    • Martial Power
    • Martial Power 2
    • Primal Power
    • Heroes of the Fallen Lands
    • Heroes of the Feywild
    • Heroes of Shadow
    • Dark Sun Creature Catalog
    • Eberron Campaign Guide
    • Eberron Player's Guide
    • The Book of Vile Darkness
    • Demonomicon
    • Draconomicon - Chromatic Dragons
    • Draconomicon - Metallic Dragons
    • Manual of the Planes
    • Open Grave
    • The Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea
    • The Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos
    • Underdark
    • Dragon Magazine Annual
    • 13th Age

    4. I try to use WOTC's most current set of rule updates, and consider them "in-play" as soon as they are released. Specific exceptions will be noted in this thread.

    5. Material outside of those rulebooks will not be accepted, except that which I determine to use, personally. In other words, don't expect me to readily agree to use any inclusions from various sites or even other official D&D material. Previously, the only inclusion I agreed to was the "Wish Upon a Star" article from Dragon Magazine #366. Now that Dragon Magazine Annual which contains that article has been added to the list of available rulebooks, there are no current exceptions in effect.

    6. I may add additional rulebooks to those in use at any point during the campaign. I will make the determination as to how much, if any, player characters can benefit from new additions. I will announce when a new rulebook is added.

    7. Players must have access to the fourth edition D&D Player's Handbook. I don't care what form this takes, but it must be the complete rules with proper page indexing.

    8. Players are not required to have access to any other rulebook. [However, see Guideline 13.]

    9. Players will not be penalized for demonstrating knowledge from other rulebooks, including the Dungeon Master's Guide or the Monster Manual. Player advice will be welcomed, but player knowledge will not trump my rulings.

    10. Characters will be created using Method 1 or Method 2 (player's choice) from the Player's Handbook.

    11. Characters will begin at the level of experience specified by the game (games on hiatus are italicized) they join. As of the most recent update:

    • Aucothian Campaign - 5th level
    • Dispositio Diabolum - 13th level
    • Romance of a Fallen Country - 2nd level
    • Istao Mission Adventures - 2nd level

    12. All race, class, build, and power combinations from the included rulebooks may be employed, except where noted in the material for each specific setting.

    13. A player may use any allowed race, class, build, or power combination, provided the player has access to the complete rules for them. The complete rules mean more than just the mechanical information, and include the full description of the rule in question, such as specific limitations on feats or the alignment restrictions for divine classes based on their deities. I realize there are some issues of fairness here, but my rationale is that a deva invoker should not be any more powerful than, say, an elven ranger. Therefore, players who only have access to the Player's Handbook are not at a disadvantage. If you wish more options, you must have access to the appropriate material. In essence, players must have complete access to the information of any ability they seek to incorporate into their characters. Using such online aids as D&D Insider is acceptable, but the information must be available in full, not as just a summary, and readily accessible to the player.

    14. Similarly, players who wish to replace the Ritual Casting feat with Alchemy must have access to the Adventurer's Vault.

    15. Players may use any of the mundane equipment presented in Adventurer's Vault without needing access to the rulebook. I will present a list of allowed and affordable equipment upon request. Mundane equipment from other sources, such as the Heroes of the Feywild book, will require access to the rules in question.

    16. All players should make use of the special Character Background rules from the Player's Handbook 2. A summary of those rules is given in post #3, below. Please remember that you are not limited to the list of backgrounds presented in any rulebook, so you should never choose a background just for the "allowed" skills.

    17. Characters may be Good, Lawful Good, or Unaligned. Evil and Chaotic Evil characters will not be allowed. My interpretation of alignments is thus: alignments represent a contract between the player and the Dungeon Master concerning how the character in question will be run.
    • At a minimum, Lawful Good characters actively support the benevolent and just aspects of society and civilization, and work to the benefit of populations of sentient beings who are legitimate members of those societies and civilizations.
    • At a minimum, Good characters work to the benefit of populations of sentient beings who do not espouse repugnant values or engage in harmful behaviors. They are nominal members of societies and civilizations, provided such entities are not oppressive or malevolent.
    • Most unaligned characters are nominal members of societies and civilizations, provided such entities are not oppressive or malevolent. At a minimum, they will not willingly work to the detriment of populations of sentient beings who do not espouse repugnant values or engage in harmful behaviors.
    • Alignments follow a principle I call "one act of evil." That is to say, good actions and evil actions are not weighted equally; one evil action can be enough to overwhelm all good actions up to that point, depending on the nature of the act. A simple example follows: a healer who has tirelessly and heroically saved countless lives poisons one patient because that patient expressed an interest in a fruit the healer finds revolting. Regardless of considerations of the healer's sanity, that one act is sufficient to label the healer as chaotic evil: evil, for harming an undeserving person, and chaotic for having a motivation that defies the rational norms of society.
    • Lesser evil acts do not necessarily result in an immediate change of alignment, but it remains the case that evil acts are considered to have a much greater impact than any store of good acts.
    • Evil characters are not irredeemable, but they must consciously reject the reasoning that led them to evil in the first place before any subsequent actions can be considered to have an effect on their alignment.
    • The in-game consequences of an alignment shift may vary, but the issue is one between myself and the player and may be resolved in the context of player participation. If the alignment shift was caused by understandable, and on some level, sympathetic, in-game circumstances, that is nowhere near the same as one which comes about by a breach of trust in terms of how I expect PCs to conduct themselves.
    • These guidelines are not intended to be laws that are picked over word-for-word. Where possible, common sense must prevail in their execution and interpretation.

    18. Deities in The Unquiet Lands are as listed in the Player's Handbook. Non-divine characters do not need a patron deity, but may choose one (or more) anyway. Divine characters must have a patron deity who is Good, Lawful Good, or Unaligned, and whose alignment is compatible with the character's according to the rules for that character's class. The specifics of religion will vary depending on the game. There may be in-game repercussions to certain selections, and these will be discussed in their appropriate threads, such as the Deities and the Empire thread for the Aucothian Campaign.

    19. Equipment may be purchased according to the normal rules, but coinage and currency will also be discussed in different threads depending on the game, such as the Adventurers and the Empire thread for the Aucothian Campaign.

    20. Be as creative or as straightforward as you wish in developing your character's background. Imagination may be rewarded. Doing it "by the book" will not be punished. However, be prepared to come to a consensus with me concerning how your character fits into this world. There are certain constraints that must be observed, and I will try to list the major ones below. However, I will make a sincere effort to accommodate your desires. If, in the end, we cannot agree and you go elsewhere, it will be my loss.

    21. Your character must be able to functionally work with the other characters, just as you must be able to cooperate with the other players. Please keep that in mind as you develop your character's background.

    22. Your character is a hero, or is about to become one. This is not a story about the cook, the woodcarver, and the diplomat, unless they are also the rogue, the shaman, and the warlord. In particular, when the party is beset by zombies on the shores of the Haunted Lake, for instance, you need to be able to hold your own.

    23. As your character makes his or her way in each setting, they must be able to function in a variety of environments, just as an adventurer needs to be able to deal with a variety of dungeons. A character who cannot show their face in a city, or one who must automatically commit an execution-worthy offense in a magnate's hall, may not be usable from the start. Even a tribesman from the remotest mountain village should be assumed to have enough common sense and have heard enough vague stories about the world at large to keep their head out of the hangman's noose during the course of a dinner with the local aristocrat, if the player allows it to be the case.

    24. Do not lift an existing character wholesale. Even if drow were allowed in the campaign, a drow ranger named Drizzt would not be. I don't mind characters that are homages to existing characters, but woe betide the player who sneaks an exact replica past me, if I come to find out about it later.

    24. I will gladly accommodate unbalanced parties. If everyone chooses to play a half-orc warden, so be it. In one of the better campaigns I played in, the party consisted entirely of human fighters, through no reason other than coincidence. No matter what else may happen, that will at least give us something to talk about.

    25. However, I have no objection if players wish to make their characters with an eye to characters already developed. To that end, players may freely look up the race and class, but not the alignment, of any already-made character.

    26. If you leave the game, I will retain the use of any characters you have submitted to me. While the character is of course yours, their existence in the game world is mine. At my discretion, I may give them to other players to run, use them as NPCs, or dispose of them. As a matter of general courtesy and simple maturity, I will never use a player's character to somehow "get back at" a player who is no longer in my game.

    27. I will be tracking changes for my own records, but players are responsible for keeping track of changes to their characters. This is particularly true for treasure obtained, but also applies to expended items, physical load, and level advancement.

    28. Players are responsible for supplying me with reasonably up-to-date copies of their character sheets. At a minimum, a new and complete character sheet should be presented every time a character gains a level of experience. Simply noting the differential changes to a character's abilities is insufficient.

    29. While players may store character records for their own use through any means they wish, character sheets should be supplied to me in a form that can be stored without requiring Internet usage. In other words, they should be provided in a text or pdf format.

    30. Character sheets should be complete, containing information such as languages spoken and physical load carried.

    31. A reference should be provided, noting, at a minimum, the rulebook where each of the character's powers, feats, magic items, features, and other specifics comes from. Rulebook and page number would be preferred. It should be expected that there will be occasions when the original player is not available to play the character, so in addition to helping me, this information and that in point 30 above should be provided with an eye to making it easy for another player to run the character when needed.
    Last edited by Umiushi; 01-19-2015 at 05:39 PM. Reason: updated list of rulebooks

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