Thursday 18 June 2015

The Ten Foot Polemic Unified House Rule Document - 2015 Update

It's that time again! A year since I last piled all my house rules into a single document, and thus a year of continued FORGING RULES IN THE CRUCIBLE OF PLAY.

My house rule page has been updated and the house rule document along with it.
I also changed the pages around because I've printed them out into cute little A5 booklets for table use.

Check this out

Changes and reasonings thereof follow in a sort of changelog:

Char Gen

  • Your Random Failed Profession now gives you two skill points to be assigned as you wish, so long as you can justify using them in your job. That's all you get forever unless you're a Specialist though.
  • Changes to ammo dice:
    Gunpowder and shot are now bought together (though the shot pouch and powder horn are two items for encumbrance purposes).
    1d12 is now the biggest ammo die because anything bigger is boring and never runs out.

Living Standards


  • Rations are for healing, unless you're in a situation where food isn't relatively plentiful like a desert or far beneath the earth.
  • Spend a turn eating a ration during the adventuring day to heal 1d6 HP. This is limited only by your number of rations. Standard rations must be cooked for half an hour before eating so they're bad for dungeons - especially since cooking creates smoke and delicious scents that wandering beasts might follow.
  • Rations and camping gear in the wilderness count as Comfortable conditions for healing. This is to encourage hunting and/or bringing food with you for long trips away from civilisation. Tents and cookpots are a must. (Living Standards again)
  • Hunting is slightly simplified from base LotFP - success takes half a day's overland movement, failure takes it all.

Downtime Activities

Combat Options

  • Gambits have been messed around with since Logan's original house rule post.
    Now I have both hit as "it happens", both miss as "ironic reversal", and one-hit-one-miss as "minor success or success at cost".
    This means that the positives and negatives can naturally balance out. Try to trip, they could trip you. Try to jump across the room and shank them straight in the throat, they could turn at the last minute and stab you right in the heart.
    Naturally players are told the potential consequences of success or failure before they roll.
  • Wrestling has been better codified as per this wrestling post.

Big Purple d30 Rule

  • The original big purple d30 rule has one minor issue, scalability! With higher player numbers literally any creature can get burst down by a gang of hoodlums hopped up on the Big Purple.
    Now it's a stake-raising fate-tempting thing.
    The big purple d30 starts on the player's side. Anybody can use it to replace a roll, but if they do it goes to the DM. The DM can use it to replace the same sort of roll at which point it goes back to the players.
    If you use it to hit, I use it to hit. If you use it on a fumble roll, I use it on a fumble roll.
  • Alternatively buy me a beer to get it back for free. This works super well because somebody will use it for damage and I'll keep eyeing it evilly until I get a free beer.


  • New! Take a dead character to a safe place for burial and you can buy up their experience points on a 1:1 exp-for-sp basis. Money is spent on grave goods, parades, bar tabs, the works!
    It's like a no-consequence carousing.
    This makes higher level characters get way better funerals than low level woobies, and means Johnny Newguy gets left in the dungeon because nobody cares about him, whether player or character.


  • I was letting people stack up to ten smallish items (torches, rations and oil flasks mainly) into one encumbrance slot. That's down to 5. This feels like a happy medium between my original misreading and LotFP's actual brutal no-stacking-torches thing.
    I was going to go with 3 but that makes adding things up harder.
  • I had a thing originally where you got three pouches of quick-access items which ended up lame. I cut that out. Now it's just "in your hands" or "in your inventory". Weapons are always in scabbards and stuff and can be grabbed and used in one round as per base LotFP.
    Sleight of Hand is the way to instantly grab anything out of your inventory. Specialists can be people who have exactly the right thing at the right time. Sleight of Hand also lets you sheathe a weapon, whip out another, and attack with no penalty. Dem hands.


Investments and Business Ventures

  • Tweaked from LotFP! Investments kick in every month and you can influence how well the business does through in-game actions. Business Ventures post here.


  • New! A combination of 5th edition building costs and LotFP property buying.

New Skills

  • Added Arcana to replace Architecture. Arcana skill post here.
  • First Aid now causes 1 point of damage when you fail on a 6. This is to make First Aid more of a gamble for poorly trained schlubs. One time I had a guy argue that he should regain 1HP per hour on average by First Aiding himself on an off-day, so this is for him.
  • Successful Music now gives a +2 on reaction rolls for music-appreciating creatures. It still sucks on purpose. I put quasi-magical sheet music in a dungeon to enable bard shenanigans but the players missed it.
  • Stealth is now rolled when someone might see you, not before the fact secretly by me.

Class tweaks

  • Clerics can create talismans.
  • Elf abilities are slowly filling up as more people take Elves of different types.
  • Goblins get buddies from second level. Down from third because buddies is kinda the goblin gimmick.
  • Necromancers require Last Breath to give orders to undead under their control. Each dose lasts ten minutes (and thus generally lasts a whole combat) but if you want to micro-manage your minions you'll need to kill a bunch of people
  • Otherwise, these classes are holding up really well! And none of the players have gotten bored with the options yet.

Friday 12 June 2015

Talismans for the Faithful

After having only a single Cleric in my group for a while, suddenly I have four.
A TPK will do that to a group.

One of them, after a couple of sessions, wanted to know if he could differentiate his guy by giving his converts of his Crossbow God some sort of bonus with crossbows.
And so, talismans.

A Cleric can create talismans from second level onwards.
The power of a God's talisman is chosen by the Cleric’s player. It should be specific, conditional and related to their god. Mechanical benefits will not exceed a +1 bonus.
The God of Thieves might grant a bonus to hiding in shadows, for instance, or the God of Light might give a benefit to AC when standing in direct sunlight.

To gain the benefits of a talisman the bearer shalt have no other gods before the Cleric's deity. They must convert to the Cleric's religion and follow any holy strictures thereof. It is the Cleric's player who has final say on whether a character has been living up to their god's standards enough to benefit from a talisman.
A character who converts to another deity may never again benefit from the talisman of their former religion, even if they convert back later. The gods will not be mocked.

Talismans can be created only on a Sunday.
To create a talisman, simply cast Bless on a holy symbol of your god in a place sacred to them.
The value of the holy symbol and the quality of the altar do not matter, only that the Cleric believes in it.
A Cleric of the Moon could enact an opulent ritual with a finely crafted half-moon diamond necklace blessed at the lunar cathedral of the Moon Goddess, or a simple ritual blessing a crudely worked moonstone under the night sky, or anything in between.
The talisman's powers last until the morning of the following Sunday.

A cleric can, of course, benefit from his deity's own talisman.

The idea here is to allow Clerics to be a bit more unique, and give benefits to party members who convert to their god.

Making talisman-crafting a Sunday-only activity is meant to encourage parties to have a day of rest while the Cleric blesses a bunch of talismans. This amuses me.
Making talisman-crafting reliant on the Bless spell means that Clerics can only make as many talismans as they have spell slots. The higher level the Cleric, the more of their flock can benefit from their holy gifts.
The week-long time limit is to make sure that Clerics won't just stockpile these suckers, and means they'll run out of juice after a while when the Cleric is dead.

Having multiple Clerics means that they might compete for converts! This also amuses me.

The intention behind characters never benefiting from a talisman ever again if they swap gods is to encourage faith.
But mainly, if I'm honest, it's to forestall the inevitable bit where someone tries to deck themselves out in five holy charms and swap gods on the fly to get the best benefits.

Currently in my game I have the following depending on who's shown up today -
Crossbow God: +1 to hit with Crossbows
God of Darkness: +1 to hit when in the dark
Mushroom God: +1 vs fungus-related saves
and another Cleric who hasn't decided on his god but has decided that his talisman makes his censer-mace warm enough to heat incense.