BlueHolmes House rules

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shesheyan
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BlueHolmes House rules

Post by shesheyan » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:45 pm

I'm reading BlueHolmes. Its a great document and fun to read but at the same time I'm reminded of what irked me and my fellow gamers with early Basic editions in 1981-82:

- Low level characters are extremely weak. Who wants to play a wizard with 1 HP for first level? I had to live though that and it was a turn-off.
- Casters don't do much after casting their single spell of the day. They are bystanders until the fighters have taken enough damage the party needs to barricade itself in a room.
- Thieve's skill percentages are so low many of my friends didn't want to play that class. You were trained to be a thief and only get 20% on pick pocket? Your master must think you are a failure.

Anyway, sorry if this sounds like a rant.
If you don't like something fix it ! The rules say so anyway.

Here are the proposed changes for my BlueHolmes mini-campaign :

ATTRIBUTES : 

Apply ajustements to all six, not just four: (use same as Moldvay)

9-12 = 0 / 13-15 = +1 / 16-17 = +2 / 18 = +3



PRIME REQUISITE XP BONUS :

Drop completely.

CLASSES :

Fighter : 

- Start with 10HPs + 7HPs per level after the 1st level (+constitution if any)

- Deal +1 dmg starting at 1st level, +2 at 3rd, +3 at 5th, +4 at 7th, + 5 at 9th, +6 at 11th, +7 at 13th, +8 at 15th, +9 at 17th, +10 at 19-20.



Cleric : 

- Start with 8HPs + 5HPs per level after the 1st level (+constitution if any)

Three At-will Spells : No need to memorize. Usable once per round if not casting another spell.

- Light

- Detect Evil

- Sacred Flame : Range attack - must hit, one target, 60’ range, 1d6 dmg no cover, 2d6 at 5th, 3d6 at 11th, 4d6 at 17.



Thieves : 

- Start with 6HPs + 4HPs per level after the 1st level (+constitution if any)

- Climb Surfaces begins at 60%. 

- Use Wand starts at 30%.

- All other thieves skills start at 50%.

Modifiers :
- Add Racial modifiers

- Add Dexterity bonus when applicable : +1 = +1%, 2 = +2%, 3 = +3%

- Add +2% per level : Level 1 = +2%, Level 2 = +4%

- Subtract penalty for unfavorable conditions : -10% once

- Subtract penalty for complexity level of lock or trap : -10%, -15% or -20%.



Wizard : 

- Start with 4HPs + 3HPs per level after the 1st level (+constitution if any)

Three At-Will Spells : No need to memorize. Usable once per round if not casting another spell.

- Detect Magic

- Read Languages 

- Firebolt : Range attack - must hit, one target, 120’ range, 1d6 dmg, 2d6 at 5th, 3d6 at 11th, 4d6 at 17.

Last edited by shesheyan on Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Sturm
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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by Sturm » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:09 pm

I agree on all three points, and good ideas.
I just gave starting hp as per constitution and free cantrips.

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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by shesheyan » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:48 pm

Sturm wrote:I agree on all three points, and good ideas.
I just gave starting hp as per constitution and free cantrips.
Thank you! I should have thought of those in 1982 ! I would have spent less money on further editions of D&D ! :D :D :D Just joking. I don't regret trying all the editions since my Moldvay starter box.

If I understand you correctly a character with a score of 17 constitution receives 17HPs to start with. That is a good idea.
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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by Sturm » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:32 am

Yes but my goal here is also to minimize (partially) the difference between high and low levels, so giving just 2 or 1 hp per level after the first instead of hit dice. This is all part of a set of house rules which includes also armor absorbing damage but giving penalties to AC (meaning that a PC in light armor is harder to hit but takes full damage if hit while a PC in heavy armor is easier to hit but can absorb much damage).
This is aimed to more story-oriented campaigns where fights can be deadlier and therefore should be a bit rarer and not always to the death, but I think it can also work in more fight-heavy games which will be less deadlier at low levels but more deadlier at medium-high levels in comparison to games using the "regular" rules.

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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by shesheyan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:27 pm

Very interesting. How does it work with magic items like Bracers of Protection ?
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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by Sturm » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:58 pm

They still gives bonus to AC (harder to hit) but you could also have items which instead increase absorption (more durable material), such as the case of magical armor. See below the full explanation I used in my PbP, and feel free to point out anything which seems unbalanced to you, there's always room for improvement:

About my house rule on armor, please note that I never liked much the fact than in BECMI more armor is almost mandatory (at least for warriors) as it improves your AC, so I have and will implement this house rule:
Your AC will get better with level regardless of the armor you wear, reflecting the fact that your PCs get better at parrying and dodging.
All PC starts with AC 9 but warriors, mystics and thieves will eventually have AC-10 at 36th level, while spellcasting classes will reach only AC-3. So now Bofar and Lucius will have a natural AC of 7, the others 8. Dexterity is still a bonus to this AC, as is a shield.
Armor however will not improve your AC, but absorb damage. Leather will absorb 3 points of damage if you are hit, scale 4, chain 5, banded 6, plate 7 and full suit 10.
Armor will instead give a malus to your AC, reflecting the fact they make you slower, easier to hit but more difficult to damage. Leather will give you a +1, scale a +2, chain a +3, banded a +4, plate a +5 and full suit a +8, but up to a maximum of 9. This therefore makes armor very convenient at low levels, when you kinda suck at dodging and parrying anyway. Metal armor however is still not very convenient to wizards and thieves as it hamper the possibility for thieves to use their special abilities and gives an increasing failure change to wizard's spells. Both Thieves and Wizards can use leather without malus in my campaign.
Magical armor is a special case as it still absorb damage as normal armor, normally better, with a minor AC malus.
So a plate mail +2 will absorb 9 points of damage and have only a +3 malus to AC, making it a very expensive, sought and precious item.
Armor still has the massive damage catch, meaning that when fighting things which deals massive damage could be more dangerous with heavy armor than without it, as they can hit you easier and the absorbance of the armor could not be enough to save you. Same is true with high level warriors with weapon mastery and magical weapons, which are expert enough to know where to hit even the best armor.
Another catch is Aim: in melee any character of any level can Aim at an opponent to wound him, accepting a -4 to the hit roll but stunning or inflicting double damage if he/she hits. This is particularly useful against heavily armed opponents. Using Aim could be the only way to harm a warrior wearing full suit armor.
With a range weapon, a character can aim with just a -2 malus.

A further note about Hp. They will be based on your constitution and will rise slowly and only up to a certain point. They will reflect stamina rather than wounds, with some exceptions. Aim is one of them. If someone hits you using Aim, you have a real wound, you are not just tired. Wounds will bleed, weaking you and eventually killing you if not tended.
Missiles or projectiles that hit and are not absorbed by the armor always inflict a real wound (this makes range weapons very dangerous as they should be, as you should be worried if someone is taking aim at you with a bow or crossbow).
A character with a shield can try to parry missiles, but will have a strong penalty at close range.

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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by shesheyan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:01 pm

WOW! very detailed system. Improving natural AC over levels is a very good idea.

I've been thinking about damage absorption for my rpg system. My problem with armor absorbing damage is that many creatures won't be able to hurt the character in plate or full plate. Maybe damage absorption should be a variable (Full suit 1d6+4=10 a range of 5-10 damage. or 1d4+6) not a fixed value ? To keep the characters on edge. You never know when a main-gauche, a fleuret or a sharp fang will slide under the armor and hurt you !
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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by Michael Silverbane » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:29 pm

shesheyan wrote:WOW! very detailed system. Improving natural AC over levels is a very good idea.

I've been thinking about damage absorption for my rpg system. My problem with armor absorbing damage is that many creatures won't be able to hurt the character in plate or full plate. Maybe damage absorption should be a variable (Full suit 1d6+4=10 a range of 5-10 damage. or 1d4+6) not a fixed value ? To keep the characters on edge. You never know when a main-gauche, a fleuret or a sharp fang will slide under the armor and hurt you !
I use variable damage reduction for armor in my own rpg. It has worked pretty well at my table, with one caveat. It requires an extra set of die rolling and adding/subtracting to be done to resolve an attack.

Also, you will need to use a separate term to distinguish the amount of damage dealt before and after it has been reduced by armor ( I use Damage and Injury for this, stolen from GURPS).
It's a big world out there. Go tear it up.

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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by shesheyan » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:35 pm

Back on topic.

I finished reading BleuHolmes over the weekend. Its a massive effort and well worth the price. It contains : all the rules for levels 1-20. 8 cleric spells per level, 20 wizard spells per level. Rules for encounters. A 25 pages creature section, 17 pages for magic items. Treasure hoard rules and tables, travel and wilderness exploration rules. Stronghold construction (Hirelings and Followers) and lastly 6 pages to help you create campaigns.

At 124 this book is packed with everything I need to run an old school mini-campaign. Very happy with my purchase. I'll be using a Mystara Gazeteer for the setting.
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Re: BlueHolmes House rules

Post by Sturm » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:20 am

I avoided variable reduction to avoid further calculation/dices. My solution to the problem of invulnerable heavy armor is Aim. Any PC or creature can Aim at -4 with hand or natural weapons and at -2 with range weapons. A successful aimed hit double the damage or stun (if the attacker choose to stun). That leaves almost invulnerability to full suit, but in this case there is also a massive movement and AC penalty so you have to use your mind, for example devising a way to knock a knight down and then battering him, as it was done in ancient times :)

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