The Bruke's Lair

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House Rules

House Rules Version 2.3

Revised February 6th, 2016

The Glorantha campaign setting has some features that, to properly represent the setting's flavor, require special rules in Dungeons & Dragons. The following notes are my best attempt to craft a coherent set of house rules to maintain the feel and style of the original source material. While no list could possibly cover all possibilities, I am hoping that I've covered most of the main aspects and that later additions to these rules will be minimal. If, in the future, it does become necessary to alter a rule then all players will be advised of the change at least one game session before it takes effect and may (at my discretion) have the option to retcon their characters if necessary to prevent the change from harming an already established character concept.

Creating a Character

Player characters will follow the standard rules unless otherwise noted here. If a character dies and a player must make a new character later in the game then that new character will begin at one level lower than the level of the lowest level surviving character.

Ability Scores

Players should use the point-buy system outlined in the Player's Handbook. Characters that were created by rolling attributes (as that was previously an option) may keep their rolled scores but all new characters must use the point-buy system.

As a point of reference, most non-player characters that I will design (as the DM) will be built using 15 to 20 points; I will use 25 to 30 points for particularly important NPC's that are meant to be unique or otherwise special. These point-buy values do not take into account any increases due to advancement in levels; those modifications can raise a NPC's attributes higher than the point-buy system would normally allow.

The campaign is based around the assumption that most characters will have a sum total (at first level and after applying racial modifiers) of all their ability scores that is somewhere in the range of 72 to 80; the sum of all the modifiers to their ability scores should be between 6 to 10 and they should have at least two ability scores with modifiers of +2 or more.

Races

It is expected that all player characters will initially be human - there are elves and dwarves (and stranger things) in the world of Glorantha but they are far less common than in other campaign settings and are currently not available as an option to players. When (if?) the characters ever make friendly contact with non-human NPCs then the befriended race will 'open up' and become available as an option for new player characters.

Humans, like all races in Dungeons & Dragons, possess several racial traits. For this campaign, the Ability Score Increase and Languages traits listed in the Player's Handbook are replaced with the following traits:

  • Ability Score Increase: You may choose to increase two ability scores by 1 point each, or a single ability score by 2 points.
  • Languages: You can speak one language that is appropriate to your nationality; this is referred to in-game as your 'native' language. If your Intelligence ability score is greater than or equal to 10 then you may either speak a second human language or else be able to read and write your native langauge. If your Intelligence ability score is greater than or equal to 12 then you can read and write in any language that you can speak, and automatically know a second human language.

Note that the rules presented here for languages are only for new characters; once a character is in play they can learn additional languages during play if the opportunity arises. The maximum number of languages that may be known to a human character is equal to one (their native language) plus their Intelligence ability score modifier. Languages gained by way of a class feature or background option do NOT count against this limit.

Each human character must have a clearly defined cultural heritage (an ethnicity and/or nationality) as a sub-race. While there are many different cultures and nations in Glorantha, I'm choosing to limit what I post here to those that would be normally seen in the Dragon Pass region (as that's where the campaign's initial chapters will occur); if you want to create a character from a distant land you may, but be prepared to explain how and why that character is now so far from their home.

A character's sub-race will determine his choices for class and background, as detailed in the following set of accordian panels:

Grazer

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Lorum Ipsum (game features of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Lunar Citizen - Tarsh

While over 90% of the people living in Tarsh are conquered Orlanthi barbarians, there are some few citizens of the Lunar Empire's more refined territories that, for one reason or another, have choosen to live in Tarsh.

Lorum Ipsum (game features of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Orlanthi - Lunar Tarsh

The great bulk of the peoples living within the borders of Tarsh are Orlanthi barbarians who have accepted Lunar rule.

Lorum Ipsum (game features of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Orlanthi - Sartarite

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Lorum Ipsum (game features of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Orlanthi - Tarsh Exile

Not all the peoples of Tarsh have accepted the yoke of the Lunar Empire; those that actively resist live in exile near Kero Fin.

Lorum Ipsum (game features of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Classes

The standard rules for Dungeons & Dragons assume that all races (and ethnicities) will have access to all classes; this assumption does not fit with the races and cultures of the world of Glorantha. Some cultures are civilized while others are barbaric; some are theistic while others embrace sorcery. A character's race and ethnicity will limit his or her class options so be sure to review that section, above, for details.

In addition to restrictions to which class a character may take there are also some variations in the abilities and features of each class. Some, like the Fighter and Rogue, are nearly unchanged while others, like the sorcerer and cleric, are heavily modified. Please review the appropriate section below for details.

Bard

As entertainers, bards are found in nearly every culture across Glorantha.

Barbarian

While the Orlanthi people are normally described as barbarians, the actual barbarian class represents specialized warriors from within that culture.

Cleric

Every society in Glorantha acknowledges some pantheon of gods and thus the cleric class is open to all sub-races of humans. Priestesses of the Red Goddess often begin as clerics of one of that pantheon's lesser gods before multi-classing into either Sorcerer or Warlock.

Druid

Druids are relatively rare in the Dragon Pass region of Glorantha. The class is not available to most sub-races of humans.

Fighter

Violence is common in Glorantha and as a result, the fighter class is available to every sub-race of human.

Monk

Monks, as presented in the Player's Handbook, are not common in the Dragon Pass region. I'm still looking at this class.

Paladin

The features of the paladin class depend upon the god to which the character has pledged their service. Note that not all gods are commonly available to all ethnicities; it would be exceedingly rare to see a citizen of the Lunar Empire become a paladin of Maran Gor and few Orlanthi would even consider becoming a paladin of Yara Aranis. A few examples follow:

Humakt is the lord of the Death Rune his mastery over death is without equal even among the gods; his paladins are deadly warriors but poor healers.

Maran Gor is that part of the earth which is violent and dangerous; her paladins learn how to rend the earth and tame quake beasts. Her paladins are rare even in the lands of the Tarsh Exiles, and unheard of beyond the borders of Tarsh and Sartar. All paladins of Maran Gor must be female; no men are accepted into their ranks.

Basic Class Features

  • Hit Points: Use the standard rules.
  • Proficiencies: Use the standard rules. Paladins of Maran Gor favor axes and maces but are none-the-less proficient with swords and other weapons.
  • Saving Throws: Use the standard rules.
  • Skills: Use the standard rules.
  • Equipment: Use standard rules.

Special Class Features

  • Divine Sense: This ability now detects malign spirts, undead, and creatures tainted by Chaos. The number of uses is based upon Wisdom instead of Charisma.
  • Lay on Hands: Use standard rules.
  • Fighting Style: Use standard rules. Paladins of Maran Gor favor 'Dueling' and 'Great Weapon Fighting'.
  • Spellcasting: Use Wisdom as the spellcasting ability, not Charisma. Likewise, use Wisdom to determine how many spells may be prepared.
  • Divine Smite: Change the type of damage dealt from radiant to bludgeoning, and the dice used from d8 to d6. Add a requirement that the target must make a Strength saving throw (against a DC of 8 plus the paladin's proficiency bonus and Strength bonus) to avoid being knocked prone. If the roll to attack was a critical hit, the paladin may immediately choose to cast Earth Tremor as a bonus action (with the normal cost of one spell slot); if cast this way, the Earth Tremor effect is centered on the target of the smite instead of the paladin herself.
  • Divine Health: Resistance to acid and poison replaces the standard immunity to disease.
  • Ability Score Improvement: Use standard rules.
  • Extra Attack: Use standard rules.
  • Aura of Protection: In addition to the standard benefits, those allies within the aura of protection of a paladin of Maran Gor gain advantage on any rolls to resist being knocked down due to terrain or effects relating to earth quakes.
  • Aura of Courage Use the standard rules.
  • Improved Divine Smite: Change the type of damage dealt from radiant to bludgeoning, and the dice used from d8 to d6. Add a requirement that the target must make a Strength saving throw (against a DC of 8 plus the paladin's proficiency bonus and Strength bonus) to avoid being knocked prone. If the roll to attack was a critical hit, the paladin may immediately choose to cast Earth Tremor as a bonus action (with the normal cost of one spell slot); if cast this way, the Earth Tremor effect is centered on the target of the smite instead of the paladin herself. If the paladin is also using the Divine Smite class feature then the damage stacks and the Strength saving throw is at disadvantage.
  • Cleansing Touch: Use Wisdom instead of Charisma to determine the number of times this feature can be used.

Sacred Oath - Maran Gor

Paladins of Maran Gor receive the following Oath Spells (note that there are three for 3rd level - this is correct and not an error).

Level Spells
3rd bane, hunter's mark, earth tremor
5th earthen grasp, protection from poison
9th meld into stone, erupting earth
13th stone shape, stone skin
17th transmute rock, wall of stone

Paladins of Maran Gor may channel divinity to achieve one of the following effects:

  • Calm The Beast: As an action, the paladin may present her holy symbol and speak a prayer to Maran Gor. Each quake beast within 30 feet of the paladin, which can see and hear her, must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it becomes docile and/or obediant for up to 1 minute (or until it takes damage from an ally of the paladin). If the same quake beast is repeatedly affected by this power than the paladin may attempt to permanently tame it by use of their Animal Handling skill.
  • Sunder Earth: As an action, the paladin may present her holy symbol and invoke Maran Gor to open sunder the earth and open a chasm. A chasm created this way begins at any edge of the hex/square in which the paladin is standing and extends outward. The chasm has dimensions of 5 foot by 10 foot by 20 foot; the paladin can specify which value applies to depth, length, and width so long as each value is used only once per chasm. If a chasm is created under a creature's feet they can attempt a Dexterity saving throw (the DC is the same as the paladin's spell save DC) to leap to an adjacent hex/square to avoid falling; those that fail fall and take normal falling damge. The bottom of the chasm is considered difficult terrain.

Design Note - I'm still trying to determine the 7th, 15th, and 20th level Sacred Oath features.

Orlanth is the chief and king of the Storm pantheon; his paladins specialize in leadership and both in war and in mediation.

Yara Aranis is known as the savage goddess; she was conceived to terrorize and slay the horse nomads and her paladins primarily focus on fighting mounted opponants.

Ranger

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Rogue

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Sorcerer

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Warlock

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Wizard

Lorum Ipsum (description of sub-race)

Permitted Backgrounds: Acolyte

Permitted Classes: Fighter

Other Notes

Lorum Ipsum