Every game has house rules. It’s a hallowed tradition. GMs like to impose their idiosyncrasies on a game, people who host the game like to keep their sanity while dealing with a hungry horde that descends upon their demesne once a week for hours on end. Things as chaotic as roleplaying games need rules. End of explanation. :)
Gaming house rules
- The One Rule : The GM is always right. (this rule has been around since D&D was invented. I don’t invoke it much, but keep it handy to resolve arguments. :)
- The Rule of Self: The PCs are not supposed to be quote-real people; they’re supposed to be heroes, characters from an epic saga. They are supposed to be larger than life. That’s why they’re fun to play. Enjoyment of the game (for everyone, not just you) depends largely on how you portray the character and tell his or her story. Reach deep down into your gut when you roleplay. Find the action. Let it flow.
- The Rule of Privilege: As a player, you may occasionally1 invoke “player’s privilege”. If there’s something in the world that your character finds, learns about or meets that you (the player) feel is crucial to telling the PC’s story well, then you call “privilege” on that place, item or NPC. The GM must then make every effort to bend the plot to integrate the privileged thing into the story line.
- Example: Sir Robin is staying at the Inn of the Scribe & Pelican. The Inn’s serving wench is the beauteous yet very coarse and lowbrow Gretta, who instantly catches Sir Robin’s eye. Sir Robin’s player says, “Time out! I call Player’s Privilege on Gretta. I want Sir Robin to build her up in his imagination as a highborn lady fallen on hard times. He’ll do the whole courtly-love-slash-chivalry thing. Of course, it’ll end badly.” The DM nods his agreement: now Gretta will be a recurring NPC, so Sir Robin will have more opportunities to woo his “lady”.
- Example 2: Frong the Barbarian finds a mysterious cup in a stash of loot. The cup is carved with the names of the reaver-kings of the Old Country. Frong’s player says, “Players privilege! This is no ordinary cup: this is the Skull Cup of Kingship. It is part of the long-lost regalia of my clan! Any barbarian who sees me drinking from this cup will either acknowledge me as a reaver-king or challenge me for the kingship by Trial of Earth and Sky.” The DM clarifies that, as there are no more reaver-kings, the title would be wholly ceremonial and mostly a “barbarian thing”. Frong’s player agrees, and now that cup is the Skull Cup of Kingship.
1 There are systems of rules for this, and I’ve tried a few. I think it works best as a free form thing. A word of caution: don’t overdo it. Having too many of these ‘plot loops’ open at a time is distracting and, inevitably, less fun. As a rule of thumb, calling Player’s Privilege once every 2 levels is plenty, once per level as a maximum.
Critical hits/fumbles.Critical hit/fumble rule : Rolls of ‘20’ on attack dice can cause critical hits. To know if you rolled a critical, roll d20 once again and check your weapons unmodified maximum damage. If your second roll is under that number, you score a critical hit.
- Critical fumbles work on the same mechanic, but activate on a roll of ‘1’.
- Example 1. Sir Robin attacks a gazebo with his flaming longsword +3. He rolls 20! This is a possible critical hit. He rolls d20 again: 11! His longsword does d10 damage unmodified, so he does not get a critical hit.
- Example 2. Frong the Barbarian attacks the gazebo with his masterwork great axe. He rolls 1! This is a possible critical fumble. He rolls d20 again: 10! His axe does 2d6 damage, for an unmodified maximum of 12. Frong fumbles, and must draw from the critical fumble deck.