[Whiteleaf Discussion] House Rules

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[Whiteleaf Discussion] House Rules

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:55 pm

This is an Index of mechanical house rules for games using the Whiteleaf setting, a companion thread to the Basic Setting Information, the Character Creation Guidelines and arguably the Miscellaneous Infodump. It will eventually contain all currently-standing houserules for my campaigns set in Whiteleaf (and most of them will also be used for any other campaign I might choose to run, unless they sharply contradict the setting - eg the modification to wand size would not apply in Eberron or anywhere else, since it specifically reflects Whiteleaf cosmology, but functionality changes to classes and spells and so forth will almost always transfer over).
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Wands, Staves, and Virges

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:02 pm

Wands contain 63 charges rather than the standard 50, and their purchase price and market value are increased by 25% from the values in the DMG. (For the sake of player convenience, "partially depleted" wands which happen to have lost exactly 13 of their charges are generally easy to find.) It is also sometimes possible to purchase an inexpensive wand-like item known as a virge, which holds only 8 charges. A virge costs 1/4 as much as a corresponding wand (so if the DMG prices a given wand at 10,000 gp, the 64-charge Whiteleaf version costs 12,500 gp, and an 8-charge virge containing the same spell would cost 3,125 gp). This means 4 virges would cost as much as a wand which contained 8 times as many charges, making them suboptimal choices for adventurers who can routinely afford wands; they are primarily for the benefit of amateur spellcasters among the common folk, and their availability has in turn lead more and more people to dabble in wizardry or pursue clerical apprenticeships.

The market price for any 64-charge wand (assuming no extraordinary components in the stored spells) is Spell Level x Caster Level x 960 GP. Treat a 0-level spell as if its caster level was 1/2 (so at caster level 1 it will cost 480 gp). A virge costs 1/4 of this total, despite having 1/8 of the charges, since some of the cost must go toward the creation of the physical wand, and even with few charges the wand must be somewhat sophisticated in order to channel the energies of a powerful spell.

Sample Virges and Wands• 00,120 gp = Virge of Light (8 charges)
• 00,240 gp = Virge of Cure Light Wounds (8 charges, cures 1d8+1)
• 00,480 gp = Wand of Light (64 charges)
• 00,480 gp = Wand of Cure Minor Wounds (64 charges, cures 1)
• 00,960 gp = Wand of Cure Light Wounds (64 charges, cures 1d8+1)
• 00,960 gp = Wand of Magic Missile 1 (64 charges, fires one missile)
• 01,200 gp = Virge of Magic Missile 5 (8 charges, fires three missiles)
• 01,440 gp = Virge of Eagle's Splendor (8 charges)
• 02,880 gp = Wand of Magic Missile 3 (64 charges, fires two missiles)
• 04,800 gp = Wand of Magic Missile 5 (64 charges, fires three missiles)
• 04,800 gp = Virge of Cure Moderate Wounds, Caster Level 10 (8 charges, cures 2d8+10)
• 05,760 gp = Wand of Eagle's Splendor (64 charges)
• 05,760 gp = Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds (64 charges, cures 2d8+3)
• 08,640 gp = Wand of Magic Missile 9 (64 charges, fires five missiles)
• 06,720 gp = Virge of Cure Critical Wounds (8 charges, cures 4d8+7)
• 09,600 gp = Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds, Caster Level 5 (64 charges, cures 2d8+5)
• 10,720 = Virge of Stoneskin (8 charges)
• 14,400 gp = Wand of Cure Serious Wounds (64 charges, cures 3d8+5)
• 19,200 gp = Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds, Caster Level 10 (64 charges, cures 2d8+10)
• 26,880 = Wand of Cure Critical Wounds (64 charges, cures 4d8+7)
• 42,880 = Wand of Stoneskin (64 charges)
Virges are regarded as even more disposable than scrolls due to their negligible size (similar to a long pencil) and are considered something of a toy. An arcane virge is like a set of "training wheels" for wannabe wizards and youths born with sorcerous talent, and several churches mass-produce orison and canto virges and give them out to the most pious children of their better tithers, in the hopes that their devotion will eventually gain the deity's attention and allow them to activate the virge as their first clerical action.

Craft Virge is available as a separate feat at caster level 3, but it is seldom taken since anyone who takes Craft Wand at level 5 gains the ability to make virges as well as regular wands. (Selecting Craft Virge essentially means committing yourself to never gaining your fifth caster level, and nobody deliberately intends to spend their life at level 3, so apart from occasional multiclass dabblers, anyone planning on opening a virge dispensary will probably just do a bit of adventuring before they settle down into the mercantile life - even if they aren't fit to raid dungeons, it's well-understood that they can work their way up the ladder of wizardly or clerical advancement just by taking on a long string of relatively safe escort missions and the like, usually arranged through guilds which partner large groups of vulnerable apprentices with a few more talented journeymen.)

The feat Craft Staff has Craft Wand (or Craft Virge) as an additional prerequisite, simply because it doesn't make sense to me that you would be able to make staves but not know how to make wands, given that the same principle operates them.
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Spell and Power Changes

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:05 pm

Officializing a thumb rule that I've been using with loose regularity for some time - to reduce the confusion with character and caster level, "spell level" is now renamed "spell grade". (The proper form is "grade-X spell", rather than "Xth-grade spell", although I'm likely to screw this up frequently. Just try to remember that you're not at Hogwart's.) Thusly, Magic Missile is a grade-1 spell, and Dismissal is a grade-4 spell for clerics or grade-5 for wizards. Wands can contain up to grade-4 spells, so a cleric could make a Dismissal wand but a wizard could not. (Staves, of course, don't care.) Likewise, certain spell effects interact with the spell grade in a predictable fashion, so the concept is loosely acknowledged by in-game magical scholars, though by more roundabout and imprecise names than those we use in the rules.

The following spells and psychic powers have had their names changed for campaign setting purposes.

Blindness/Deafness => Strike Senseless.
Prayer => Fortune's Favor
Holy Word => Word of Higher Truth
Word of Chaos => Doggerel

The following spells and psychic powers are actually houseruled:

* Virtue - now grants +3 temporary hit points rather than +1.

* Hold Portal - Increases the force-open DC of a door by 10 rather than 5.

* Control Object (power) - This cannot usefully benefit from Empower or Maximize metapsi, becuase the damage dice you're rolling come from the object rather than the power.

* Chameleon (power) - This has been decreased from Egoist 2 to Egoist 1, verifying that it costs only 1 pp to manifest, regardless of whether you're a Psion or a Psychic Warrior.

* Ghoul Touch - Just to add a bit of extra flavor, this 2nd-level spell does not paralyze an Elf unless the caster level is at least 4. (Since the caster level is never less than 3, I might want to think about a tougher restriction, but for now I'm going with the simplest version.) This mirrors the Ghoul/Ghast thing, which is a bit silly, but it fits the flavor of the first character I've assigned the spell to, and that's usually how things work in my campaign - once I get a cool idea, I run with it at whatever cost.

* Sleep (and similar spells) - A creature affected by the Asleep condition receives a second Will save against whatever condition affected it, enabling to potentially wake up just before it is attacked. A reflexive awareness roll replaces this Will save in the case of creatures which are sleeping naturally. Thusly, executing helpless sleepers is difficult, although still possible - and it is easier to abandon a sleeping victim in the presence of danger than to personally execute them. (This is supported by the same psychology which is used to explain the poor aim of Stormtroopers in "Star Wars"; putting someone down in cold blood is a lot more instinctually difficult than slaying them in the chaos of battle - or simply failing to take adequate care for their safety, out of apathy rather than ruthlessness.)

* The various Orb spells from Complete Arcane - these are all Evocations, except for those with Acid in their name.

* Rope Trick - You can't sleep in the extradimensional space created by this spell, as you must continually cling to the rope while it appears to hover over a vast empty expanse. Not even the most acrophilic creature can rest contentedly in this bizarre arcane situation, and no amount of McGuyvering will make it possible, as the relative crudity of this weakest "cosmorphic" spell wreaks havoc with the inner-ear balance (or equivalent in any other creature's anatomy) and thus defeats any attempt to relax while inside the barely-stable dimensional pocket. The spell remains useful for temporarily hiding from a patrol of guards or the like, but its use is never sufficient to the purpose of getting 8 hours of sleep, so that the spell slot containing it may be refilled along with all your others.

* Hustle (power) - This is Psychoportation rather than Psychometabolism, and is on the exclusive discipline list for Nomads rather than for Egotists. (Its availability to Psychic Warriors and for users of the Freedom mantle remains unchanged.) Egoists instead have access to Psionic Lion's Charge.

* Greater Magic Weapon - The spell may affect a set of 50 shuriken, as is implied but not stated in the text.

* Energy Flash (power) - this looks really weak, dealing the same damage to one creature that Energy Bolt deals to an entire line of creatures, and requiring a touch attack first, with the only advantages being dazing the target, and requiring a Fortitude save instead of Reflex even when the chosen energy type isn't Cold. Dazed status is a decent debuff, of course, but this hardly seems worth adding all those restrictions AND upping the power level...still, this is a classic example of where I'm not sure on the balance issues, as it's entirely possible that this power's ability to break the game is significant enough to be worth how much it was hamstrung. So for the moment, I'm making only one change to it: since an object can't be dazed, you'll absolutely never want to use this power to target one, and thus I'm repurposing the Sonic power choice. For now, it still deals less damage just like the other sonic powers, but as an added-value thing since creatures generally don't have Hardness to bypass, it calls for a Will save rather than Fortitude, giving you the ability to use it to good effect against fighters and the like who would otherwise have an easy time resisting. (Against Clerics, you're still screwed.)

* Earth Walk (power) - may be manifested as an immediate action, such as in order to catch yourself while falling. (I'm fond of making houserules like this, which don't significantly increase an ability's power, but give it extra applications that make it more interesting and add versimilitude to the game.)

* Control Body (power) - makes your Intelligence replace the target's Strength or Dexterity if you force them into a fight, but this doesn't let you apply the bonus to damage on rolls which don't normally receive one, such as with crossbows.

* Psionic Minor Creation (power) - unlike the spell, this power can create cold iron. (This has yet to be counterbalanced by the introduction of an antipsionic material which the power cannot create but the spell can.)

* Energy Adaptation (power) - Contrary to the RAW, I'm ruling that this does not gain a descriptor when manifested, since you do not choose an energy type for it as with Specified Energy Adaptation. (I could rule instead that it gains all four descriptors, if it seems necessary later.)

The following clerical domains and psionic mantles have been adjusted:

* The Luck domain's 3rd-level spell is not Protection from Energy, but the spell titled Prayer in the PHB, which I've renamed "Fortune's Favor" as a better description of its effects.

* The Life mantle now grants the power Body Adjustment at level 3 rather than level 5, as a 2nd-level power which costs 3 pp to manifest. This offers a more interesting and perennially useful Level 2 power in that mantle than the situational From the Brink, and means that the power is not rendered completely useless by Touch of Health (which could otherwise heal the character of a guaranteed 10 points of damage for the same price he would pay using Body Adjustment to heal 1d12; augmenting BA makes it significantly less stupid and the result may be excessively strong with this reduction, but I'll risk it). Body Purification remains a 3rd-level power for the Life Mantle. Thusly, a Life Ardent with both of these powers manifests them differently than either a Psion (for whom they are both 3rd-level) or a Psychic Warrior (for which they are both 2nd). This makes sense, given that an Ardent has more HP to heal than a Psion, but still much more power-dependant than a Psychic Warrior who relies on weapons and feats.

* The Conflict mantle contains Graft Weapon at its normal power level of 3, having been printed showing it at an utterly absurd level 5. It's barely worth the 5 pp it costs to manifest, let alone boosting that to 9 for absolutely no reason.

* If a character with the Light and Darkness mantle has Low-Light Vision or Darkvision from his race, he inevitably has both as a result of the "granted ability" of the mantle. Therefore, if he manifests the Elfsight power, he gains the benefit of the mantle's "granted ability" as though he had always possessed the LLV which Elfsight has given him. Thusly, he chooses when manifesting Elfsight to either double its range, or to add 30 feet to the range of his darkvision. Also, see "Psionic Deeper Darkness" below, which is added to this mantle.

The following general rulings apply to various categories of spellcasters

* Arcane spellcasters never use a divine focus for any of their spells; where the text says they do, this is assumed to be a misprint. For instance, they use painted clay tiles as foci for Protection from Energy and Resist Energy. Magic Weapon uses "powdered lime or carbon", just as Greater Magic Weapon uses both. Pass Without Trace uses a black glass lens when cast by an Assassin.

* Divine Bards may be able to cast several cleric spells without use of a divine focus, depending on the spell in question. So far the ruling is "yes" for the following spells: Calm Emotions.

* Cloistered and celebrant clerics use a divine focus, instead of any arcane focus or cheap material component, when casting spells they gain over standard clerics. Such spells include Message and Unseen Servant.

* For the first time I have actually added a brand-new "spell" (actually a psionic power) to the game: Psionic Deeper Darkness. Possessed as a PsLA by the Yuan-Ti (and their Whiteleaf counterparts the Valuska), it is only available as an actual power to users of the Light and Darkness mantle, who get it as a 3rd-level power. Previously this Mantle possessed no power at that level, which is the kind of oversight I prefer to correct. I don't like how large the area of Deeper Darkness is, compared to Control Light, and I really don't like the "one day per caster manifester level" duration, but for the moment I'm leaving them as-is, so that an Ardent with this power will compare favorably to a Cleric with the corresponding Spell. (I might later change it to have the longer duration as an augmentation option, if I can find a precedent.)

Also check the petty houserules for a lot of minor adjustments to spells, such as alternate foci or material components for arcane versions of spells that were originally divine, as well as for domain and mantle adjustments and various spot-rulings to limit abuse. (This is now mostly done, but continues to be an ongoing process, as these rulings are scattered across various game and sample-character threads and have never been fully centralized.)
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Class Changes

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:06 pm

Officially instituting the rule I've previously debated: a specialist Wizard may choose Conjuration or Transmutation as his only barred school. (This rule may eventually be superseded by a planned revision to the spell school system, which would substantially reduce the number of Conjuration spells; no such changes to Transmutation are being considered at the moment, and it likely will continue to benefit from this rule.)

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While it is conceivable I could regret this when I see some munchkinny build, it is unlikely, so I am officially moving the Monk's final bonus feat from level 6 to level 5, so that he doesn't gain it at the same time as a normal feat.

Addendum: If you select a Monk Fighting Style (as described in Unearthed Arcana), you gain the Style's last bonus feat at 5th level, but still do not gain the Fighting Style's special ability until 6th level.

Further addendum: This is true only if your sixth level will be a Monk level. Those taking 5 levels of Monk and then going into a PrC do not gain the final Monk bonus feat. (If a character lies about his future build intentions, or changes his mind afterwards, the DM is within his rights to remove the feat, or withhold the character's next build-scheduled feat gain in order to have the character "select" the bonus monk feat at that level.)

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A Marshal increases his major aura's bonus to +2 at level 6, not 7, and to +3 at level 13, not 14. It still increases to +4 at level 20.

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Easily one of the most fragrant piles of horseshit in D&D RAW: Dragon Shamans lack in-class access to Knowledge: Arcana, and thus are unlikely to recognize dragons on sight. This is being fixed immediately.

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The Paladin of Tyranny loses Heal and gains Intimidate as class skills.

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The Favored Soul class lists Knowledge: Arcana as a class skill. I have decided that this should instead be Knowledge: Religion. While the Favored Soul doesn't have the formal training of a cleric, he still is more likely to know the names, practices and mythology of deities, the mechanics of healing and undeath, and how to distinguish angels from devils from demons, rather than having knowledge about spellbooks, magic gems, dragons, the Astral Plane and so forth.

Favored Souls of deities whose portfolio suggests that Arcana is more appropriate may continue to use it in place of Religion, but for the majority of FS'es, Religion is a better fit; you can always leave it at 0 ranks if it's out of character.

(In theory a more complex arrangement of favored skills which makes up for a deity with a weak selection of domain spells or a poor favored weapon might be desireable; not being up to the bother I am going with a simple rule for now.)

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If a Beguiler creates a Silence field around a victim, the victim will usually notice the cessation of ambient noise and immediately become aware of a suspicious circumstance. Thusly, the Ring of Silent Spells combines poorly with a beguiler's Cloaked Casting class feature; at least half the time, the target will be mentally on his guard and thus have his Dexterity bonus to AC "in general", even if he doesn't have it with respect to a hidden Beguiler. Cloaked Casting does not work in this circumstance.

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Divine Mind Revisions:

- As the first step in rehabilitating a godawful class known as the Divine Mind, I am reducing the time necessary to switch between its Psychic Auras at the early levels, from 1 hour to 1 minute. This is still an eternity, and doesn't come even close to making the class good, but any bolder and more decisive changes must wait until I better understand their ramifications. This change won't affect gameplay at all, it just reduces the fluff absurdity involved in the entire party sitting around for half the adventuring day while its psionic-paladin twerp switches from defense to offense to tracking mode and back again two or three times.

- A Divine Mind knows one power even at level 1, which it may manifest using the power points from its Wild Talent feat. This power must be the Level 1 power of its Mantle. Its manifester level for this power is 1, and it manifests using Wisdom rather than Charisma. This is in addition to its standard Powers Known (I may have to add a second level 1 power to some Mantles which only have one, or I may just leave those as suboptimal choices for DivMs at the low levels).

- Contrary to the text, a Divine Mind does not need to have an alignment within 1 step of the god he professes to serve, as does a cleric; being psionic, the Divine Mind does not actually gain power from that god, who regards him as a lay worshipper and thus doesn't closely police his alignment activities, unless he starts engaging in highly visible action which reflects poorly on the church or directly threatens it.

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The Totemist gains a second Chakra Bind at level 5 rather than level 6, and likewise gains the class feature "Totem Chakra Bind: +1 Meldshaper Level" at the same level. Thusly, he not only gains access to non-totem chakra binds for the first time, but can actually use one without giving up the totem he's had for the past three levels. As always, he gains no new soulmelds or essentia at this level, but his essentia capacity in all receptacles doubles at the next level (which is why I feel that level doesn't need any class features otherwise, and so am bumping them earlier).
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Cameos

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:10 pm

Psionics in Whiteleaf are not a function of "crystal power" for the most part; they are instead a highly personal, intuitive form of metaphysical transformation, answering not to the complex and highly formal rules of magic but to the underlying mechanisms of the sentient mind, which are relatively few in number but far more difficult to bend and exploit than the arcane codes by which magic operates. Magic is wielded in equal measure by the gods themselves and by those with the arrogance to defy them, but in either case it follows strict rules, and the manipulation of those rules requires a sophisticated series of mental leaps, which are codified in the form of somatic gestures and occult incantations. Though two mages may recite different sets of mystic syllables in order to produce near-identical spells, in each case there is a consistent underlying pattern which their incantations echo the same way, and this is precisely why language (either in the form of spoken words or hand signs) is an ideal metaphor for the visualizations needed to channel magic - the "pronunciation" may vary, but the word must remain essentially the same, in order to carry the meaning (or, in the case of a spell, the power) which is its entire raison d'etre.

Psionics is different. While scholars of psionics have identified and standardized certain basic power effects, these are more akin to shapes or colors than words, in that they form a basis to expand upon rather than an inmost essence to translate verbatim. Thusly, while the language of magic is symbolic, the language of psionics is pictorial. To capture psionic power in physical form, you do not write it on a scroll - you illustrate it in the form of a small drawing or painting, referred to as a cameo because it is most commonly enclosed in a locket for safekeeping until it needs to be displayed (more extravagantly, the blank interior of the locket itself can be used, but it's more traditional to use a bit of paper, or something like a leaf or a chip of bark, to suggest the transient nature of these one-use items).

Real artistic skill is not a necessity for the creation of cameos; as one brings the power in question to the forefront of one's mind, and stops just shy of actually manifesting it, images appear in one's mind and one gains the ability to intuitively illustrate the feeling which gives rise to the power. One need not even have paint or pencil, just some solid material to serve as the canvas; the picture is ectoplasmically etched upon the surface, and an alchymist who scraped off the "paint" and tried to identify it would go mad from the attempt, if not for the fact that the ectoplasm dissipates and reappears on the cameo almost immediately after such damage. Rarely, a truly ancient cameo may seem as though the picture has weathered away, but in most cases the image remains preserved indefinitely, vibrant with the power within, awaiting the moment of its release.

A "live" cameo, one which still contains most or all of the powers invested in it, is brilliant in color and rich with symbolism, and more than a few have fallen into the possession of art collectors who mistake them for ordinary paintings of exceptional genius. The best tell-tale sign of a particularly vibrant painting's status as a cameo is that it cannot be accurately copied; faithful reproductions of every detail of the image nonetheless seem to lack a certain "spark", and this is of course rather literal. What makes the picture seem to truly "live" is the psionic energy that pulsates within it; only a psionically aware individual can "address" the cameo and see through the symbolism, identifying the power which resides within, although sometimes a tell-tale detail of the artwork may give a clue (for instance a cameo containing the Energy Wall power might seem to contain a wall of flames in the picture's background, which flickers when viewed indirectly). In any case, extracting the power from the cameo (either to manifest or to add to one's personal repetoire) causes some of that quintessential lustre to fade from the image, making it seem more banal and less inspired, until the removal of the last power from the cameo causes the picture to vanish altogether.

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Truespeak

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:16 pm

Truenaming is possible in Whiteleaf, but Truespeak is not a primordial language of awkward nonsense syllables. Instead, it is the art of speaking with excruciatingly precise word usage, enunciation, and a special modulation of vocal tone - similar to the Bene Gesserit Voice - whereby the Common Tongue (formally known, not without reason, as Angelic Saxon) is transmuted into a vessel for control rather than mere communication. Characters who pursue the Truenamer class or any related prestige class must speak Common, while those who merely cast a few truename spells can get by with just a Truespeak check after they've learned the proper names.

Because the Truespeak skill in Whiteleaf represents practiced diction rather than a unique mystical language, a deafened character may substitute a Truespeak check for the 20% failure chance for every non-Silent spell he or she casts. The DC of this check is 10 plus the level of the spell. Thusly, a character with a total Truespeak check of 19 cannot fail to speak a spell correctly, even though he cannot hear himself.

(I may expand this to include Silenced characters, with a much higher Truespeak check, but am far less certain this is appropriate. In general I like to get rid of flat percentage chances, in favor of character-calculateable things, but Silence is a 100% failure chance, so giving the character an out is more questionable. I'm comfortable with Deafened, as it gives characters other than Truenamers a reason to learn Truespeak, albeit not much of one.)

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Initiative

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:23 pm

Not sure if this is a house rule or how it actually works, but I think per the rules, you roll Initiative once and then that's it; my ruling instead is that if anything alters your Dexterity modifier during the fight, your position in the inish roster rises or falls accordingly. Thusly, casting Cat's Grace on yourself will give you your next action a little bit sooner, while using Contagion to give an opponent the Shakes (causing him to suffer Dexterity damage) might cause him to hesitate long enough that an ally of yours acts before him instead of the other way around.

This also applies to anything which adjusts Initiative directly rather than through Dexterity. Of note, this ruling makes spells which inflict the Deafened status more immediately useful, since they forcibly delay the target's next action.

Note that if you raise an opponent's Dexterity so that his Initiative rises higher than the action you do this on, it just means he is the next to act; you can't make him miss his action for the turn this way. Let me know if you see any other unreasonable exploits as a consequence of this rule (please use the House Rules Discussion thread rather than replying here).

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Skills

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:00 pm

Adding a couple of extra Synergy bonuses, something I plan to do a lot of as the idea occurs to me.

* If you have 5 ranks in Perform: Dance, you get a +2 synergy bonus on Move Silently checks.

* If you have 5 ranks in Balance, you get a +2 synergy bonus on Perform: Dance checks.

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Use Magic Device and Use Psionic Device are not separate skills, even though Whiteleaf does not use Magic-Psionics Transparency; no matter how different magic and psionic items are, you should not require separate skills to "cheat" at each of them, since this rather defeats the entire purpose of cheating. Thusly, they are combined into a single skill called Use Mystic Device. ("Mystic" is an umbrella term that can apply to magic, psionics, or even the poorly-understood art of "spiritcraft" or "soulwork". However, nobody has yet created a significant number of items to access the latter powers, and for now they continue to qualify as magical.)

Use Mystic Device is a class skill for any class which has ever been printed with either of the previous Use Device skills.

Further reading on the subject of Magic-Psionics Non-Transparency.
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The Rebuy Rule

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:32 pm

When adding your first level of a new class to a pre-existing character, you may spend any number of those skill points to "repurchase" ranks in any now-class skill which were previously cross-class, and then respend the overwritten skill points as appropriate for that previous class. For example, Bob the Fghter previously had two cross-class ranks of Spellcraft; upon adding a level of Wizard, Bob can spend 2 of his Wizard skill points on ranks 1 and 2 in the Spellcraft skill, then respend 4 skill points as a Fighter (perhaps purchasing 4 ranks in a Fighter skill such as Intimidate, or 2 in a different cross-class skill like Tumble).

Test this rule for possible borkage.

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INHERENT FEATS

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:32 pm

Whenever a character gains weapon or armor proficiencies automatically as a result of his Race or Class (not when selecting them at a particular level of a Class which gives a bonus feat), the proficiency feats gain the {Inherent} tag. Inherent feats may not be Retrained, and the spells Embrace the Dark Chaos and Shun the Dark Chaos (both in Fiendish Codex I) may not interact with them. (Whether the "Dark Chaos Shuffle" should work at all is still under consideration - they are eighth-level spells, casting two of them in a day certainly ought to do something, and rearranging a character's feats isn't that insane an effect for such an amount of magic - but regardless, they certainly cannot be used to give an Elf spellcaster a bunch of extra Reserve Feats or the like in exchange for his automatic elvish weapon proficiencies.)

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Race Houserules

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:35 pm

I've posted so many Elves with a range of 10 feet on their secret-door detection that I can only assume I decided I was making it a house rule at some point, without thinking to actually mention it anywhere. Rather than fix them all, I'll just officialize the rule now. It's still not much damn good, after all, but at least now you can hope for it to apply, without having to have two elves hug the walls of each 10-foot corridor you march down.

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Half-Orcs receive a +2 racial bonus to the following skills:
* Intimidate. Half-Orcs have a well-deserved reputation for violence and can easily trade upon it.
* Sense Motive. A lifetime of casual mistreatment makes the slow-witted and unpopular Half-Orc naturally suspicious.
* Survival. Half-Orcs have a strong self-sufficient streak and are at home in primitive surroundings.

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Centaurs have Low-Light Vision rather than Darkvision. (Bloody everything has darkvision dammit.)

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Unintentional houserule! Karsites (or at least members of the Quatrinate Hegemony's "House Kar-see-tayz", who are the only "Kar-sights" known to exist on Whiteleaf at this time) get +2 STR instead of +2 CON.

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I might regret this, but it seems to me that it really sucks to restrict the Half-Dragon Paragon Class to characters who've taken the actual, +3 LA Half-Dragon Template; it's too interesting, and none of the other paragons have that steep an entry point. Therefore I'm ruling that the RPC can also be taken by Draconic characters, who must choose a color of dragon parent if and only if they take a level in the Half-Dragon RPC. The third level special ability of the RPC does nothing if the character doesn't have the half-dragon template with its corresponding breath weapon. A draconic character, if he has not taken level buyoff to remove his +1 LA, may choose to forgo gaining a level at any point in his career, and when he would then gain the next level, he may instead upgrade his template to Half-Dragon, choosing a dragon color if he hasn't already done so. (You don't need to be literally half-dragon to have the higher-level template; you just need to get in touch with your dragon ancestry.)

Since Draconic creatures are much more boring than full Half-Dragons, I've never been tempted to use them; perhaps now I will be. The ability to go "two deep" in the RPC without being an actual half-dragon is of particular use to (Draconic) Sorcerers, who can gain a d12 hit die or two, and some extra skills, without sacrificing any caster levels. (They do have to wait a level or two longer to get higher levels of spells, which certainly hurts, but it's something at least.)

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Ruling, regardless of whether we use the Dragon Compendium rules for Dvati or the version I homebrewed before seeing them: either way, if a Dvati has an Aura such as those created by the Marshal or Dragon Shaman class, then both of her bodies emanate the Aura to the same range, potentially doubling the number of hirelings affected, although the Aura's effects do not stack if a person is in range of both emanations.
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Magic Items and Treasures

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:47 pm

* Amulets of Natural Armor cost 3/4 as much as equally powerful Rings of Protection, since they do not protect against touch attacks.

* Cognizance Crystals (which are still crystals for the moment, though this is likely to change) cost half as much as specified in the Expanded Psionics Handbook.

* The Quaal's Feather Token - Anchor can do nothing other than anchor a boat. It does not transform into an actual anchor, or if it does, it gains only the shape and volume of an anchor, not any weight or hardness or the like beyond what it had as a feather. It holds a boat anchored simply by virtue of that being its magical purpose, not by virtue of any physics that allow a normal anchor to work.

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I've begun using the "Magical Locations as Treasure" system sparingly, and I'm houseruling that in some or all such cases, the rule in the books which says "each character may only gain a magical location's benefit once" is suspended. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

So far, the following locations can be reused indefinitely.
* Crystal Node
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Affiliations

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:47 pm

* A character's Affiliation score always includes "+1 per 2 character levels", but this should actually be "+1 per 2 effective character levels"; racial hit dice and level adjustment are included. Thusly, an ECL 8 doppelganger with no class levels is worth more to the affiliation than a level 6-7 wizard, all other factors being equal.

Speculative rule only:
Rather than the static rule that a character can only gain one affiliation's benefits per day, I'm going to be adjusting that to reflect the more complex realities of a character trying to wear many hats. Some affiliations by their nature must be kept secret (spy rings and thieves' guilds spring to mind), but others will encourage cooperation and even cross-pollination (if the government and the church are in bed together, a character should be capable of enjoying status in both organizations without having to schedule appointments on alternating days). Work out some rule complicated enough to address this.

Tentative rule - an affiliation can have one "pillar" per X points of scale or capital, where each "pillar" offers a different route to gain points within the affiliation, creating a pyramid where any one route can reach the top but a blend of multiple routes gives you the best chance of it. For example, the Wintervein Dwarves could have a Warrior pillar, a Religion pillar, a Geneology pillar and an Alchemy pillar; this way, the Lord of Wintervein may well have expertise in all these areas, rather than just having fought on the frontlines in a large number of citadel defenses.

List of affiliation types by class:
Barbarian - Tribe, Fighting Company
Bard - Spy Ring? Cabal?? College??? Business????
Cleric - Temple
Druid - Druid Circle
Fighter - Fighting Company, Government
Monk - Fighting Company, Temple
Paladin - Fighting Company, Temple
Rogue - Thieves' Guild, Spy Ring, Business
Sorcerer - Cabal, College
Wizard - College, Cabal
Psionics - College, Cabal, Spy Ring, Business

New affiliation types proposed: Artistic Troupe.
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Staying Alive

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:54 pm

I won't make you starve for lack of iron rations, that wouldn't be interesting gameplay, so assume that the needs of basic survival are handwaved except in the case of extreme environments, which you won't be placed in unless you choose to go.
I'll just make this official and say that players needn't spend money on food. It's assumed that they are earning and spending trivial quantities of money which aren't counted toward their WBL (which is an actual in-universe thing because reasons); I've debated instituting an "Upkeep" rule which charges a cost for room and board and similar "lifestyle" things, but until I get it arranged, the whole thing will just be handwaved.

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Armor Class Rulings

Post by willpell » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:55 pm

Not sure if this is right, but I'm ruling that AC bonus from a shield does not apply to your AC when immobilized; I'm assuming you have to actually interpose the shield against blows actively, and that it offers no significant protection just by sitting there, since the opponent can easily aim where it isn't. The same logic might apply to armor too, but the mechanical distinction between an armor bonus and a shield bonus will suffice for now.

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White-Earthed Leafcana

Post by willpell » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:26 pm

What follows is the complete text of a point-by-point assessment of every variant system listed in the Unearthed Arcana sourcebook (which I regard as the "fourth corebook", exceeding even the Expanded Psionics Handbook in its utility to any campaign setting, if only as a source of inspirations rather than actually playable rules). Or at least all the ones I could find. As you can see, not many of the rules are actually in use for now (green), but very few of them are banned outright either (red); there are quite a few which I am considering to various degrees (signified by gold or orange depending on whether I am leaning more toward yes or no). The color blue indicates that I have not yet made up my mind; if you see purple, it indicates that I legitimately have no particular opinion (I don't really expect to be using that one at all, given that forming opinions is kind of my shtick).

Environmental and elemental race variants - used sparingly to add interest value. The only inclusions thus far are the Air Goblins and the Desert Elves, although the Jungle Gnome tempts me based solely on her art, and the Water Orc is a possible candidate to replace the typical version.

Level Adjustment buyoff - Used without hesitation; may get an upgrade to suit the campaign's non-Epic status and make Half-Celestials or various high-end Savage Species (eg Stone Giants) playable.

Bloodlines - very sparingly used, since they are mechanically poor design.

Paragon Classes - used, and I need to homebrew a number of them for my extra supported races, such as Heivolk and Illumines.

Variant Classes - mostly used, either as-is or as springboards for further elaboration. The domain wizard is a possible exception, as it has not been fully evaluated.

Mix-and-match classes such as Wild Shape Ranger - approved on a case-by-case basis (for instance, Feat Rogue is available only with specific permission, for characters particularly designed to break the rules of the very universe they're living in, because they're just that awesome and/or that insane - neither status is normally available to a PC, though exceptions to that rule itself are similarly possible).

Wizard Specialist Variants - used sparingly; the list may need adjusting in view of my intention to rejigger the eight schools. But in general, I figure the wizard doesn't need much help; anything optional which alters it will only be used if the player finds this advantageous, and very seldom will that be in the sense of "I'm intentionally making myself less game-breaking in order to provide a better overall story". NPCs may have these when it helps to make them more distinctive, but players (who lack the need to stand out from equally-faceless masses; this is one of the few respects in which my desire to make all people within my universe equal is definitionally impossible, and thus I must unavoidably discriminate) must argue very convincingly to enjoy the same privilege.

Spontaneous divine casting - as presented here this is probably not used, unless it presents some advantage compared to the Favored Soul and the Mystic; turning with a level check is probably also not used, but druidic aspects are probably fine with anyone who wants to handicap the game's single strongest class except maybe Wizard. (Perhaps the same druid is also permitted to gain a Domain as described in the sidebar, essentially making him a "spirit druid" who lacks wild shape but casts extra spells. Then again, the aspect variant looks crappy enough that maybe it should just be split off into its own class, a rendering of the 4E Warder, with about three times as many daily uses of "Wild Shape" since you burn through them up to four times as fast as with standard wild shaping, and don't get extra shifts to Elementals).

Prestige Paladin, Bard and Ranger - Not currently used, though I plan to investigate them as options.

Gestalt Characters - Not currently used, though being considered as a way to combine several low-tier classes into a single decent one. Currently contemplating Warlock/Binder along with Knight/Marshal/CWSamurai, Monk/PsyWar, Lurk/Rogue, Scout/Ranger and so on; might allow Wizard/Truenamer or even Sorcerer/FavoredSoul, but certainly not Wizard/Psion or anything cheesy like that.

Fractional BAB and Base Saves - Currently not used, but this could change.

Generic Classes - Go screw yourself. Probably not even worth evaluation, certainly not for any purpose I can think of.

Maximum Ranks, Limited Choices" skill system - The single-class version of this is basically just Pathfinder, aka the no-thinking version of the D&D skill system, and thus it hardly even qualifies as a variant. My first attempt at comprehending the multiclass aspect failed miserably.

Level-Based Skill Checks - Obviously not used. Except maybe in a rather sadistic dungeon, designed to torture Whiteleaf's creative characters by turning them into shallow cliches.

Complex Skill Checks - Perhaps eventually used. For now they're too complex for me to evaluate. Having since done the evaluation, I am still on the fence, but leaning strongly toward instituting broad-spectrum use of this system.

Traits - Restrained use is encouraged, as they personalize characters but also overcomplect them. I'd rather not have to memorize a laundry list of highly situational +1 and -1 modifiers; if the character takes Traits to add flavor to his character, it becomes the player's responsibility to remind me of their effects, especially negative ones (and "forgetting" to disclaim thusly will result in XP penalties and/or negative NPC attention).

Flaws - System greatly expanded and assumed to be in use by default. Flawless characters are boring anyway, and absolutely everyone could use two more feats, even if I end up giving extra Feats away like candy regardless. (Could be rolled into the Feat Points system which I'm experimenting with.)

Spelltouched Feats - Possibly a neat springboard, but too distracting to see regular use, unless I come up with a very efficient way of getting them onto my "DM Screen" for easy reference. If they are included, they should NOT count as regular feat selections! The "unbalancing" effect is no concern, given that the DM controls absolutely when they are applied; prohibiting them from adhering to spellcasters and other high-tier characters is even more reasonable than with Item Familiars, as formal study of magic (or of psionics, which is after all a form of anti-magic) prevents the serendipitious interaction between external magical forces and the unique vagaries of the target's soul, as souls are specifically shielded against mages' attempts to fully comprehend them.

Weapon Group Feats - A possible option for fighter-centric enhancements later.

Craft Points - Possibly worth integrating with some aspects of the Artificer or Magewright classes from Eberron (neither of which Whiteleaf allows as-is, given that I dislike the "tinkertoy" nature of magic items inherent in that setting's magical theory).

Additional Favored Class feat - As if this meant anything. But I'll probably include it in the feat list just in case.

Character Background - Not sure what exactly this is.

Class Defense Bonus - Maybe something to consider, given that Armor Class is considered weak.

Armor as Damage Reduction - Probably not, although it might be worth trying.

Damage conversion - Very unlikely.

Injury - Definitely not in use. Hit points are a flawed system, but this is obviously far worse.

Slower Magical Healing - A neat idea, but not worth the bother.

Vitality and Wound Points - Too complicated.

Out-of-turn Dodge - No.

Reserve Points - This might be worth considering eventually.

Massive Damage changes - Maybe but probably not.

Death and Dying - Likely not, although it could improve playability of undead and construct characters who don't get a death cushion.

Action Points - Extremely mixed feelings.

Combat Facing - Highly desirable but probably too much work.

Luck Checks - Absolutely not. The last thing the game needs is more luck.

Hex Grid - Tragically impossible on the Internet. Might use in an IRL campaign if I could find affordable hex paper.

Enhancement and Touch AC - Worth consideration.

Variable Modifiers - Hell no.

Bell Curve Rolls - FSCK no! We will NOT encourage mediocrity.

Players Roll All The Dice - Not in my game; maybe I'm a bit of a control freak, but I believe in building suspense (and occasionally fudging dice outcomes) for the sake of a better story. Not even my desire to avoid work would authorize this.

Magic Rating - Seems unlikely to be desirable.

Summon Monster Variants - Oh sure, pay MORE attention to wizards. Maybe in an all-mage campaign, but not otherwise.

Metamagic Components - Love this concept, although it's very effort-intensive.

Metamagic and Sorcers 1 - Yeah, sure, why not.

Spontaneous Metamagic - No way.

Metamagic and Sorcers 2 - Guh, no.

Daily Spell List - NO already! So many people trying to get sponcasting!

Spell Points - Definitely not; I like keeping psionics different from magic. Vancian magic is an imperfect concept, but D&D wouldn't be D&D without it.

Simplified NPC Spellcasters - A formalized system for cheating; how droll.

Recharge Magic - Good concept, horrible execution. Not used.

Recharging Magic Items - The Empire is very eco-friendly. Definitely allowed.

Legendary Weapons and Scions - Largely obsoleted by Weapons of Legacy; may see some use.

Item Familiars - Allowed only for characters with NO spellcasting/psi-powers. (Still deciding whether relatively weak classes like Warlock and Incarnate could use it; flavor dictates the answer should be "no", and I'll probably use other methods to power those up.)

Incantations - Great concept, but will require careful scrutiny.

No spell resistance against energy damage - Hrmmmm..... Legitimately no clue whether this should be the case.

Contacts - Good idea; is this the right execution, though?

Reputation - See the previous entry.

Honor - Not used. Too nebulous a concept to codify this way.

Taint - Possibly used, but with the Heroes of Horror rules, not these.

Sanity - Likely not worth the effort of instituting.

Puzzles and Hints - Sounds legit, but narrow.

Test-Based Prerequisites - A fine idea for actual play, but disrupts the enjoyable process of character optimization, which is most of the actual fun I get out of D&D, given how hard it is to arrange the logistics of a group game.

Level-Independent XP Awards - Not sure I see the upside.

XP Bonus Pool - Way to overcomplicate. Ad-hoc awards should be just that.

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Tome Bonuses Stack

Post by willpell » Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:42 am

I see no particular reason why a person who plunks down 55,000 gp and buys a Tome of +1 Inherent Bonus to an Attribute should not have the ability to stack that bonus if he later finds a second such Tome. I'm sure there's some reason for declaring they don't stack, but I'm going to go out on a limb and rule otherwise for my campaign. Not that these books are easy to find (many standard magic items are freely available for purchase in "antique shops" and "novelty retailers", but not ones as pricey and valuable as these)...still, if you are able to get your hands on them, go nuts.

Stacking rules remain normal in all other cases.

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Re: [Whiteleaf Discussion] House Rules

Post by willpell » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:48 pm

Added a new spell modification: the Calm Emotions spell no longer requires Verbal components.

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Re: [Whiteleaf Discussion] House Rules

Post by willpell » Mon May 02, 2016 3:29 pm

New rule: The Warchief prestige class from the Miniatures Handbook, which has the distinction of being one of the only prestige classes you can qualify for in a mere 3 levels (all it requires is Base Attack Bonus 3 and a story prerequisite), now includes Martial Lore among its class skills. For the moment I will stay away from adding this skill to any base classes, but putting it on an obscure and fairly weak PrC seems perfectly reasonable to me.

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Re: [Whiteleaf Discussion] House Rules

Post by willpell » Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:01 am

(All posts above this one are due for review, and will be edited when they are formally confirmed to be true in Whiteleaf campaigns going forward.)

The Duskblade class's spell list is amended to include the following four cantrips (so that all Duskblades of INT 14+ do not all have the same four Cantrips, as demonstrated in the three sample packages shown in PHB2, and cannot choose any others regardless of additional INT). All of these cantrips are from the Spell Compendium, and no other spells from that book are cleared for addition to the class's list at this time.
* Electric Jolt
* Launch Bolt
* Launch Object
* Sonic Snap

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Re: [Whiteleaf Discussion] House Rules

Post by willpell » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:59 pm

The most overpowered feat in Magic of Incarnum is Midnight Augmentation. Rather than disallow this feat, I've come up with a neat solution - require the utterly worthless Psycarnum Crystal feat as a prerequisite for it. No character would ever take Psycarnum otherwise, not unless there were no other Incarnum feats they qualified for (and this is borderline impossible, since no fewer than seven others exist which have no prerequisites, apart from the CON 13 requirement of all Incarnum feats). Therefore, using it as a feat tax on a fun-but-broken feat with similar themes strikes me as the best answer.

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