I’m very excited. This is the last post in the Pathfinder: The New Deal series of posts. After this I will have covered every house rule in the game that I thought might have been worth saving or at least worth mentioning. Once our discussions are done here, then I’ll publish a summary of all the changes we are making – the places we are deviating – from the published Pathfinder rules. It won’t be many.
I know there’s something a little perverse about covering Character Generation after Epic Levels, but this post also includes a quick overview of all the other tiny little house-rules that we’ve been using over the years. Some of these I’m happy to jettison, while others I want to keep. Have a read through and let me know if you agree with my choices.
From level 2, you can either roll your hit points or take the average result. The rules as written round the average result down. Therefore a cleric can either add 1d8 hit points or 4 hit points at each level. My house rules, rounded up the average result thus giving the player far more incentive to take the static figure than roll a die.
Barbarians roll 1d12 or take 7 hit points; fighters, paladins and rangers roll 1d10 or take 6 hit points; bards, clerics, druids and monks roll 1d8 or take 5 hit points; wizards and sorcerers roll 1d6 or take 4 hit points.
The reason these house rules exist is that it’s far better for me as a GM (and you as players) if I have a more specific idea of what your hit points are. Encounter are much easier to balance that way. And it prevents certain players (I’m looking at you, Steve) having such fundamentally poor hit points that they are likely to be rendered unconscious by a violent sneeze.
So I would recommend that we keep this rule. It’s also the rule that’s being used in 5th Edition, although my house rule predates this.
If you remember, the house rules introduced new saving throw tables for core classes and prestige classes that replaced those in the official rules. I don’t think that there’s any justification in keeping those rules in light of our new policies. Therefore all base saving throws need to revert to their correct values as stated in the Core Rules. If you are a single class character, then you’ll notice no changes. If you are a multiclass character then your saving throws might increase if you have a lot of base classes, or decrease if you have a lot of prestige classes. I’m sorry that you need to recalculate them again.
Since Unearthed Arcana was published back in 2004 we’ve been using the rules for Weapon Group Feats. I would like to stop doing that now. I want to revert to the official Pathfinder rules which defines all weapons as either Simple, Martial or Exotic weapons. The official rules are on the Pathfinder PRD. They are identical to the rules we used to use in the 3.0 days.
I apologise that this might result in a certain rejigging of the character. Those of you who regularly use more than one exotic weapon may find that the change in rules costs you a feat. However, the Pathfinder rules are more forgiving when it comes to exotic racial weapons. A dwarven waraxe is not an exotic weapon for a dwarf, for example.
Here we come to a house rule that I really want to hang on to. The old house rules are still compatible with Pathfinder, although they need to changed slightly to take into account the Linguistics skill. Here are the house rules in their entirety:
Languages are divided into spoken tongues and scripts (alphabets). If you learn to speak a language you do not necessarily know how to read and write the language. When you learn a specific script, then you automatically know how to read and write any language you can speak that uses that script. For example: Norandon, Salmayan and True Hadradan are spoken languages that sound pretty different; however they all share the same Hadradan script. Therefore when I character who knows how to speak these three languages learns how to read the Hadradan alphabet, he is then able to read and write Norandon, Salmayan and True Hadradan as well.
At character generation all characters know 2 + their Intelligence modifier in languages and scripts. They choose from the list I have for Iourn: there is no Common language, although some languages are more common than others! What languages and scripts they know depends on their character background. Usually certain races will know their racial tongues, but not always. Some players may choose for their characters to be illiterate, and this is a perfectly valid choice.
After character generation, characters gain access to new languages and scripts by adding ranks in the Linguistics skill. For each rank they have in this skill, they can add one spoken language or one script to the number of languages and scripts that they know.
In the written rules there is no distinction between speaking and reading/writing a language. You start with two languages (usually Common and a racial tongue) and a number of bonus languages depending on your intelligence bonus. The choice of bonus languages is limited by race and class with very little wiggle room. I’ve always preferred the house rules, and I don’t want to give them up. It’s never made any sense to me that you can’t have illiterate PCs in an environment where almost everyone is illiterate. Extra languages conferred by certain classes (such as the secret language of the druids) can be an exception to these rules and known in addition to other languages and scripts.
Arcane Spell Failure
And so we come full circle. I don’t like Arcane Spell Failure, and would rather it was completely excised from the game. I don’t see what the big deal of wizards in armour is. Clerics can do it, after all. For me arcane spell failure falls into the same category as Spell Resistance: something that seems as though it’s just there to slow down play and be annoying.
I would love to say that I’m changing the rules here and removing spell failure from the game, but I’m not. It’s back, it only applies to arcane casters (sorry Jon), and it functions in exactly the way the rules state. Circumventing it is only possible if you find a class or prestige class that allows you to circumvent it: which means a new version of the Spell Sword class down the road for Ravenna. No rush, as we won’t return to her until the weekend game after next.
It’s too a big a thing to pluck out of the game, which is a pain. But there we are.