User:Ghostwheel/3.x House Rules

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House Rules I Use in my 3.x Games[edit]


  • No death by massive damage.
  • Use the new "death and dying" rules found at the bottom of this page.
  • However, if one is healed while still active and under 0 HP (such as while using the Diehard feat), one's healing does not being at 0 HP, but from whatever their current total is.
  • Crossbows don't provoke Attacks of Opportunity when fired.
  • Sneak attack (and other Precision damage) deals 1/2 damage to creatures immune to crits.
  • Psionic tattoos can be created with a ML higher than the minimum required to manifest them.
  • Iterative attacks use this variant.
  • Size modifiers to checks apart from AC and attack (such as Grapple, Trip, Bull Rush, and similar checks) are the inverse to the bonus/penalty one gains to one's AC/attack roll. Thus, a gargantuan creature gains +4 to the above special attacks, while a colossal creature would gain +8.
  • To cast a spell defensively you must make a Concentration checks with the DC equal to 10 + spell level + highest BAB of all threatening creatures. For every creature over the first that threatens, this rises by +2. (For example, if you want to cast a level 0 spell and are threatened by two creatures, one with a BAB of +3 and another with a BAB of +2, you need to make a concentration checks with a DC of 15. (10 (base) +0 (spell level) +3 (highest BAB) +2 (second creature)))
  • Change to Tumble: This works exactly like the PHB version of Tumble, except that the "base" DC of tumbling through the area threatened by an enemy is equal to 10+its BAB instead of a flat 15. So tumbling through the threatened space of a creature with a BAB of 3 is 13. To tumble through an area occupied by an enemy, change the tumble check's DC to 20+its BAB instead of a flat 25. So tumbling through the space of an enemy with 6 BAB requires a DC 26 check. As it's noted in the PHB, the DC to tumble through the threatened area or area occupied by a creature rises by 2 for each creature after the first, with the higher BAB deciding the base DC.
  • Characters use this standardized save variant.
  • The DCs of abilities, spells, powers, and so forth that characters use becomes 10 + 1/2 their character level + the prime ability score of that ability + miscellaneous modifiers. Miscellaneous modifiers (such as Spell Focus, Heighten Spell, Ability Focus, and the like) may not increase the DC by more than two.
    • Augmentation of psionic powers and other scaling improvements to the DC do not raise the DC at all.
  • The DC to resist a coup-de-grace is equal to 15 + 1/2 character level of attacker + ability modifier that would normally be added to the character's attack roll.
  • Ability damage/drain instead deals damage equal to the target's level for each point of damage dealt, and grants -2 to all checks dependent on the targeted ability score for a number of rounds equal to the amount of ability damage/drain dealt.
  • Negative levels instead deal damage equal to twice the target's level for each negative level dealt, and grant -2 to all checks for a number of rounds equal to the number of negative levels dealt.
  • Forced movement does not provoke Attacks of Opportunities unless specifically stated.

HP, Healing, Downtime, and Character Creation[edit]

  • 25 Point buy, using Pathfinder's point buy rules.
  • Gain max HP for every level.
    • An alternative to this is to gain Max HP -4 +1d4 HP per level. Thus, a Fighter would gain 6+1d4 HP per level and a Rogue would gain 2+1d4 HP per level.
  • Characters gain a Defense bonus to AC equal to 3/4 of their BAB. This bonus is added to both their Flat-footed and Touch AC, but disappears when the character is helpless.
  • Healing Surges are in use. One may use them in combat by taking stock of the situation.
  • Spells and abilities that have a duration of 1 hour/level last until the next time a character rests, or their normal duration, whichever is longer.
  • Creatures add their Constitution score to their total HP. This is a one-time gain, and is not gained again at any level but first, and is changed retroactively with changes to Constitution. This is in addition to their Constitution modifier at every level.
  • The addition of one's Constitution modifier to HD when determining HP is unchanged by any boosts to Constitution granted by items, wishes, tomes, or level-up bonuses.
    • For example, a level 8 barbarian who had 14 Constitution at level one and currently has 22 (14 (Base) + 4 (Item) + 4 (Level up)) would have 134 HP (12 for base Barbarian + 2 from Constitution at level 1 multiplied by 8 for his level = 112, +22 for his current Constitution)
  • Change to one's Intelligence does not effect the number of skill points one gains at every level; this bonus is set at first level.
    • For example, if a character has 18 base Intelligence and later brings it up to 22 from level boosts and a headband of intelligence, they would still only add +4 from their Intelligence modifier to the number of skill points they'd receive at every level.
  • Characters are healed of all ailments apart from diseases and their effects when they sleep. This includes level drain, ability damage (not caused by a disease), penalties due to spells, etc.
  • Instead of the usual progression, characters gain a feat at every odd level. No flaws are used.
  • Size modifiers to the Hide skill are the same as one's bonuses/penalties to AC from one's size. Thus, a Tiny creature gains +2 to hide, while a fine creature gains +8 to hide. In a similar vein, creatures gain that same bonus or penalty to their Escape Artist check.
  • Level-Independent XP Awards are used--these make it far easier for the DM to calculate XP.
  • Apart from the base dexterity bonus to AC that's limited by armor, any other modifiers from ability scores that are added to AC are considered Shield bonuses to AC and do not stack with each other. The sum of one's shield bonus to AC (if any) and one's Defense bonus to AC from BAB can be at most equal to 3/4ths one's character level +2.
  • Grace Points are in use
  • LA Buyoff is not used.


  • Balance CWBL is in effect (both top and bottom halves).
  • Poisons cost differently. Here's the original post by Wrecan on the WotC boards. Alternate page if the previous link is unavailable.
  • Magical ammunition costs 1/10 that of enchanting a weapon (move the decimal place over one place), and magical ammunition is always recoverable as long as it don't break; magical ammunition breaks if it inflicts more damage than its hardness. Magical and precision damage (such as Sneak Attack, Death Attack, and Sudden Strike, Flaming, Corrosive, and so on), do not count towards magical ammunition breaking.
  • Ghost Touch weapons affect Ethereal creatures

Spells and Powers[edit]

  • Polymorph doesn't change your Type.
  • Certain effects (such as some spells, blindness, paralyzed, and a few others) are subject to a 4e-style save at the end of one's turn. That is, one has a 50% chance of breaking out of said effect. This is true for both players and monsters.
  • Bull's Strength line of spells (Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance, etc) gives an unnamed bonus to the ability score.
  • Instead of death, Save-or-Dies now deal 10 damage per caster level on a failed save.
  • Psionic users may have more than one astral construct out at a time.
  • Most spells and powers take an extended time to cast or manifest. However, they also recharge with time, though the amount of time they take to recharge can change spontaneously with the changes in the magic field inherent to the universe.
    • This goes for spells cast as spell-like abilities, or from items regardless of whether they are wondrous items, staves, or wands. Until the recharge period is up, one can't cast the same level of spells (or the same spell for specific recharges) through any means.
  • HP gain from a spell, power, fast healing, regeneration, and the like cannot heal a character over 1/2 his total HP unless it triggers a healing surge.
  • Powers can't be manifested without having a display.

Changes/Clarifications to Specific Feats[edit]

  • Touch of Golden Ice is considered an Extraordinary Special Attack of one's base form.
  • Mindsight is blocked by anything that would block a Detect Thoughts spell or Read Thoughts power, meaning an inch of common metal, 3 feet of wood, 1 foot of stone, or a thin sheet of lead, as well as beings that are mindless or are under the effect of spells and powers such as Mind Blank.

Changes/Clarifications to Specific Classes[edit]

  • Classes that have medium BAB gain a +1 Competence bonus to attack for every four levels they have in the class under special conditions, and these bonuses stack with each other even between classes. Here are some examples:
    • Rogues: When they flank
    • Ninjas: In a round in which they use abilities that use up Ki Points
    • Monks: When they use Flurry of Blows
    • Swordsages: When they use a martial Strike
    • Factotums: During a round in which they spend Inspiration points. (Round begins on their turn, ends at the beginning of their next turn.)
    • Scouts: When they skirmish
    • Psychic Warriors: On a round they gain or lose psionic focus, as well as the round after they've manifested a power
  • The Divine Mind's BAB is replaced with that of the Fighter.
  • Druids use the Shapeshifter variant from PHB2.
  • Turning undead is now a standard action that deals 1d6 damage/cleric level to all undead within 30' of the cleric. The affected undead get a Will save (DC 10+cleric level+charisma modifier) for half damage. Clerics who would normally gain Rebuke Undead instead heal undead within 30' for 1d6/cleric level. Paladins work as one would expect; they turn undead as a cleric 3 levels lower. Undead with Turn Resistance may subtract a number of dice equal to their Turn Resistance from the damage they would take. This does not affect the amount healed by clerics with Rebuke Undead. When using this ability against incorporeal creatures, you do not have to roll the 50% miss chance; turning hits them automatically.
  • Wilders have a straight 15% chance to suffer from Enervation when using Wild Surge, regardless of how much they surge for.
  • Any prestige class that normally grants full casting/manifesting throughout its entire progression loses a single level of casting at its first level.
  • Lurk augments that last for a whole round:
    • Additional Sneak Attack
    • Solid Strike
    • Ignore Concealment
    • Deceptive Strike
    • Sneak Attack Undead
    • Ghost Touch
    • Aligned Attack
    • Sneak Attack Constructs
    • Planar Attack
  • Healers (from the Miniatures Handbook) cast spells from their spell list spontaneously instead of preparing spells. (Similar to Beguilers and Warmages)
  • Unofficial Shadowcaster Errata by its Author (Original Can be found here)
    • 1) Grant bonus mysteries per day based on Int. These would work just like bonus spells. For instance, if your Int is 14, you can cast one extra mystery of 1st-level equivalent and one of 2nd-level equivalent per day. (Note that each mystery does give an equivalent level, even though you don't learn them by level.)
    • 2) Eliminate the rule that says you have to take mysteries in a given Path in order. If you want to jump around, so as to broaden your versatility, you can. You must still have at least one mystery of any given level equivalent (1st, 2nd, etc.) before you can get a mystery of the next higher level within a type (Apprentice, Initiate, Master), but they need not come from the same Path.
    • 3) Eliminate the rule that says you get a bonus feat equal to half the number of paths you have access to. Instead, you get a bonus feat equal to the total number of Paths you complete. Thus, while you are no longer required to take the entirety of a given Path, there's still encouragement to do so.
    • 4) Allow the shadowcaster to swap out mysteries, like a sorcerer does spells, with the caveat that if you suddenly "un-complete" a Path, you lose a feat as well.
    • 5) Once your Apprentice Mysteries become supernatural abilities, change the save DC from 10 + equivalent spell level + Cha to 10 + 1/2 caster level + Cha. This makes them useful even against high-HD opponents, and follows the pattern for other supernatural abilities.
    • (And BTW, the warp spell mystery shouldn't say that it allows a Will save. The caster level check determines success or failure.)
      • Newer Errata here supersedes the above.