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Houserule Footnotes: Stocking Stuffers

publication date: Dec 28, 2012
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Houserules are funny things. They often come from a desire to make a game “better,” but one group’s houserules are often seen as terrible fun-killers by other groups. In many cases that’s because different groups want different things to matter in their games, and focus on different elements. This is often a matter of play style – some groups never worry about encumbrance at all, others only look it up if the Halfling rogue tries to carry the orc barbarian to safety, and a few have players recalculate their move rate every time they use a crossbow bolt. As long as everyone is having fun, none of those are “wrong,” but it’s easy to see how houserules designed for one of those groups might be hated by the others.

Which brings us to Stocking Stuffers. The following is a collection of house rules I’ve created or encountered in other groups over the years. Some are in use in my own campaigns, others aren’t. Each is presented as a separate idea, and GMs are encouraged to look them over with a critical eye. If any seem to be a good match for the GM’s home campaign, a quick conversation with the players may be in order. If not, perhaps reading these will spark an idea for a better house rule. At the very least, we hope you enjoy reading these little twists to the normal rules, which we offer free of charge as our holiday gift to our fans, patrons, and fellow gamers.

The houserules included are:

  • Background Skill Points: Characters begin play with 2 additional skill points which can only be spent on Craft, Knowledge, Perform, and Profession skills.
  • Equipment: Rules for Alternate Special Materials and Object Criticals.
  • Spotlight Time: Characters that have the entire group's attention at the moment get bonuses to all of their actions.


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