Rules Tweaks

Build options

  • We will be using a 28-point buy system
  • Your point total can be modified by one or more perks or flaws to your character
  • Starting gold: Take 4 times the maximum gold for your class at 1st level to purchase any mundane items. No magic items allowed at the start, contact me about unusual items.
    (Note for chars starting at 3rd lvl this should be 6x max starting gold)
  • Max HP at 1st level, roll beyond 1st.
  • Be sure to check out Character Creation for more info


  • A character must undergo some form of training in order to learn a new (trained)skill, new feat or add a new class.
  • This means you will need to find an instructor or means of training:
    • For example, a stable-master could teach you the Handle Animal skill or the local guard captain might be able to show you how to employ Power Attack
    • Some abilities, such as knowledge skills can be learned from study, perhaps in a library
    • Other player characters can be your mentor
  • A character leveling up represents practice and application of your chosen class
  • Characters increase known skills through use: In order to spend the skill points you earn at level-up you need to justify that you have used that skill during the level (or train).

Heal skill

  • New skill use: Bandaging. This comes as part of the heal skill, allows a character to apply bandages to a wounded character in combat. Bandaging is a full round action and grants temporary hitpoints (<= max hp). See Bandaging

Brutal Criticals

  • I usually rule that critical hits dealing a significant portion of the victim’s health can break bones, sever limbs, etc
  • Critical fumbles are also likely to cause mishap (injury, broken weapon, mis-target, etc)
  • This will generally happen to the monsters more than the players (we would run out of PC’s much quicker than monsters!)
    • There is nothing quite as satisfying as slicing a goblin in two on an epic critical
  • However serious injury to a PC from a crit is possible
    • Please contact me if you are uncomfortable with this
  • Additionally you can have an exceptional success at a skill check (well above the DC) or a disastrous attempt (well below the DC)
    • In most cases doing poorly on a skill check just means it takes longer, but you may for example break one of your tools trying to pick a lock, or ruin a first impression on a botched diplomacy check

Caster Changes

Spell casting times:

  • This is a bit of a throwback to 2e.
  • Unless the spell has a special cast time, it takes a number of segments equal to the spell level to go off.
  • For example if your init is 14 and you start casting a 2nd level spell on your turn, it will go off on init 12.
  • Spell options and targets must be chosen when you start casting.
  • This change servers a few purposes:
    • It encourages casters to use tactics and planning
    • It balances the discrepancy between martial and caster classes at higher levels

Spell V,S,M will be used

The mechanics of casting are often glossed over in many campaigns. I intend to focus on them in this one.

  • Please include the V,S or M notations to your spells known on your character sheets
  • To cast spells with a Verbal component you need to be able to speak clearly.
    • Bonus if you come up with words to recite ahead of time
  • To cast spells with a Somatic component (gestures) you need to have a free hand.
    • This can cause difficulties for the typical cleric wielding a mace and shield. See Gaining a free hand for tips.
  • We will also use Material components. However, instead of carrying around bat guano and the like, casters have the option of using Personal Foci.
  • Think about the effects of your spells as well. Everyone’s magic is a little different – how do your spells look?

Note that I will allow the related metamagic feats to negate the above (silent spell, still spell, eschew materials, quicken spell) provided you can find someone to teach you.

Caster Bonuses

These are designed to make lower level casters a bit more viable.

  • “pure” casters gain 1 extra spell cast per day for level 1-4 spells
    • pure casters are cleric, wizard, sorcerer, etc, as opposed to hybrid such as ranger, paladin, bard
    • This is in addition to bonus spells from high int, wis or cha
  • Wizards get bonus cantrips equal to double their bonus 1st level spells
    • For example a wizard with 16 int would get 2 bonus 0-level spells
    • This indicates wizard’s extensive use of cantrips during training
  • Wizards may also ritually recite utility spells from their spellbook out of combat without memorizing
    • Spells that normally take 1 action take 1 full minute to ritually recite
    • This may only be used with spells that give no combat advantage
      • Knock or Comprehend Languages would apply but Invisibility or Bull’s Strength would not

Identify Spells

As hinted in the intro, identify spells do not work as well as they used to anymore. You can still attempt to use them, but you may get a misleading answer or the magic item may simply refuse to reveal some or all of its powers.


PHB3.5 p.170 Counterspells “use a spell’s energy to disrupt the casting of the same spell by another character”

  • Under the rules as written you must have readied an action, successfully identified the opponent’s spell being cast and cast the same spell or (in most cases) Dispel Magic.
  • I am also allowing a reverse effect spell to counter or mitigate a spell being cast the same way:
    • For example if your enemy were casting Cone of Cold you could use Burning Hands as a counterspell. Since Burning Hands is a lower level spell it would not completely negate the cold spell but it would reduce the effect.
  • Additionally a counterspell may be attempted as long as a character has not acted yet in the round.
    • This means that you do not have to have a higher initiative and ready an action to potentially counter a spell
    • Countering this way uses the standard action portion of your turn on the opponent’s initiative; you can still move on your own initiative.
  • Whether you had readied an action or “jumped ahead” to counter, your action and a daily spell are expended.

Martial Options

  • Fighter feats may be spent on Stances and Maneuvers (similar Swordsage from Tome of Battle but more limited)
  • Stances confer a small passive bonus in certain circumstances
  • Maneuvers are unique to each character, a kind of “signature move”
    • Typically can be used once per encounter
    • May be discovered, honed and improved through battle experience

Rules Tweaks

Land of Suldaire EternalShadow EternalShadow