by Mike Shea on 21 October 2007
I have two D&D games next week - two of them. Over the past couple of years I've gotten back into table top D&D in a big way. Now I have two ongoing playgroups, one that has been together for about four years and one that only recently just started. Our long-term 17th level campaign started to bog down a lot - 3rd edition has a tendency to do that at high levels - so I'm switching it to a level 6 Expedition to Ravenloft mini-campaign.
I wrote up some characters for the players including a warlock, warmage, favored soul, and crusader. I don't allow any of the traditional caster classes in these new campaigns since they end up being a lot more complex than they're worth. I want a fun and fast game, not one that requires constant referencing of the Player's Handbook.
The other campaign is a low level Eberron campaign with a Sword Sage, Binder, Warlock, Favored Soul, and Fighter. It's also a great time with anywhere from five to seven encounters in each four hour session. That's a lot better than the two to three I got in my higher level six hour sessions.
I've also written up some 4E-lite house rules that will get people used to the new 4th edition rules coming out in the middle of next year. The basic idea is to give people enough options to have fun in a battle but cut it down to as close to a single d20 die-roll as you can get.
Here are my house rules:
Classes include: Warlock, Warblade, Sword Sage, Crusader, Rogue, Paladin, Favored Soul, Sorcerer, Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger.
Attributes include 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 mixed anyway you want. At level 8 and level 16 you can bump up one of these by 2.
Hitpoints are calculated by maxing out first level and then adding 1/2 the max die roll rounded up: 1d4 = 3, 1d6 = 4, 1d8 = 5, 1d10 = 6, 1d12 = 7.
Critical hits are automatic, no threat check is needed. All threat ranges on weapons are reduced by 1, minimum 20.
Diagonal movements on a grid count as 1.
Spell damage = five dice max + 1/2 the die roll rounded up: 1d4 = 3, 1d6 = 4, 1d8 = 5, 1d10 = 6, 1d12 = 7.
Turn Undead = 1d6 damage per level, will save for half, DC 10 + cleric level + cha. Favored Souls gain Turn Undead as a class ability.
Rangers and Paladins lose their spellcasting abilities but gain one additional feat.
There are no iterative multiple attacks. Instead add 1/2 character level to all melee and ranged damage. At level 10, characters gain an additional attack at the same attack bonus. Haste adds one more attack.
Characters have two action points per session. These action points equate to + 1d6 roll to any 1d20 roll.
Spell casting characters can turn group buff spells into "Auras" which are permanent but permanently remove one spell casting slot. These bonuses can then be calculated into the character sheets.
There is no extra strength bonus for using two-handed weapons. There is also no power attack bonus for using a two handed weapon. Power attacks trade 1 attack bonus point for 1 point of damage on all weapons.
The damage of weapons for small characters and medium characters are the same.
Skill bonuses = level + attribute bonus + 5 if it is a primary attribute of your class or you're a rouge or you're a human. The +5 does not compound if you happen to be all three.
I recently saw a leaked release of the 4th edition D&D miniatures card. They're making some smart moves like turning reflex, will, and fortitude saves into static numbers like AC so instead of having the defender roll for saving throws, the attacker rolls a spell attack roll. This gets rid of touch ACs and makes the game a lot more consistent. I'm not likely to house rule this but I'll like it when it comes out.
Wizards is also releasing a 1st level 96 page hardback adventure called Keep on the Shadowfell with three double-sided miniature maps included. Assuming they use monsters released in the D&D miniatures set, they have a really good package here. This ties together everything that a DM would need to run the game. I'm a big fan of the Fantastic Location maps but they're too separated from D&D adventures or D&D miniatures to really tie everything together. They apparently didn't sell really well either.
Next summer is going to be a good one for D&D. I can't wait.
Shell and I also went to a no-kill shelter to look for a doggie. They had 200 dogs in a huge area surrounded by trails with trees and foxes and feral cats. We found a few we liked and put an application down on Wagner. Such a sweet guy.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @mshea on Twitter. If you enjoyed this article, please use this link to Amazon.com for your next online purchase.