Saturday, August 12, 2017

5E rules hack for a West Marches style game

  Character Creation

The first hack I've made for 5e is changing character creation for a West Marches style game. I feel it's really simple, and also it gives more of an OSR feel. This forces players to not rely on their character sheet, but to rely on their own wits. I completely cut out backgrounds because I felt it was too much of a gimme, and far too powerful for the type of game I'm trying to run.

Standard Character Creation
  • Roll 3d6.
  • 1st level
  • PHB and volos races only (Volos is my pick. You can pick any other book or just stick with PHB. But I'd stick with the one extra book only. It makes things simpler).
  • PHB classes and most recent UA Ranger (Minor tweak: Primeval Awareness still uses spell slots and is reduced to 1/2 a mile. Just, too strong for my game since my hexes are 6 miles).
  • UA classes on a case by case basis (I say this because there's some really cool stuff being worked on that I myself may gloss over. But don't be afraid to say "No" to something broken).
  • No exotic languages unless your race/class specifies. For example, Dragonborns get draconic.
  • No UA feats
  • starting gold is based on class
  • There are no backgrounds: any combination of 3 skills, languages, or tool proficiencies.
  • Everyone buys their equipment with their starting gold.


Leveling Up

One of the more questionable components I've hacked is the leveling up system. It's way less forgiving than before, but feels more rewarding when you do level up. The requirements are as follows:


  1. You must have the proper amount of XP
  2. You must have the proper amount of Gold to level up
  3. You must spend the time to level up
  4. You must be back in town.
  5. You must find someone to train with.


    Once you have all five of these prerequisites, you can then level up. It sounds like a headache, and just one more thing to book keep. However, it gives me and my players more verisimilitude. It feels like the world is persistent and real, and that they learn new techniques over time. The former just felt as if they were leveling up in a video game. The point of this is give a little more crunch. I use this at my table and had a lot of success. It breaks up the monotony of the same thing OVER and OVER again. We had some good RP moments that we wouldn't have had if this rule was not in affect, and also helps set a general pace for the party. Eventually, it's wise to just hand wave the RP moments unless the player chooses otherwise. But, it leaves the option on the table for things to be fleshed out if you so choose. Also, it pushes my players to want to explore(we'll get into this later), to want to gather riches, and find these long lost secrets. Because let's face it, if they don't explore, they don't level up. This is all subject to change. I may even go for straight up gold-for-xp in the future. But, for now, this works for me. Hopefully, if you decide to use this, it works for you too.


Character Death

This is pretty inevitable. But to combat the complete loss of a character, everyone has a set starting point if they die: 1/2 xp, 1/2 gold, and roll on the magic items table below that. I chose to do only consumables and rings since I may get a lot of complaints that their wizard wouldn't use a magical great axe.

Conclusion

    For the most part, this is some of the meat and potatoes of my games. It's served me well so far. It makes the players treasure their treasure more, and treasure their PC's all the same. Tell me what you think. Below are the tables I use. Steal them all, and enjoy them.

My next post will probably be on how I reward xp. I do it purely on exploration. Forgive the line spacing at the end. Blogger was really finicky with copying and pasting from docs into here. Until next time!

Starting Wealth by Class
Class
Gold
Artificer
5d4 x 10 gp
Barbarian
2d4 x 10 gp
Bard
5d4 x 10 gp
Cleric
5d4 x 10 gp
Druid
2d4 x 10 gp
Fighter
5d4 x 10 gp
Monk
5d4 gp
Paladin
5d4 x 10 gp
Ranger
5d4 x 10 gp
Rogue
4d4 x 10 gp
Sorcerer
3d4 x 10 gp
Warlock
4d4 x 10 gp
Wizard
4d4 x 10 gp


Beyond First Level
Note- This includes living expenses for the time being. This is considered all of your downtime for those days of leveling up.
Level
Prerequisites
Level 1 to 2
200 GP and 2 days of training
Level 2 to 3
500 GP and 3 days of training
Level 3 to 4
1500 GP and 3 days of training
Level 4 to 5
2500 GP and 4 days of training
Level 5 to 6
3000 GP and 5 days of training
Level 6 to 7
3200 GP and 6 days of training
Level 7 to 8
6000 GP and 7 days of training
Level 8 to 9
9000 GP and 8 days of training
Level 9 to 10
11000 GP and 9 days of training
Level 11 to 12
22000 GP and 10 days of training
Level 12 to 13
50000 GP and 11 days of training
Level 13 to 14
55000 GP and 12 days of training
Level 14 to 15
60000 GP and 13 days of training
Level 15 to 16
70000 GP and 14 days of training
Level 16 to 17
85000 GP and 15 days of training
Level 17 to 18
90000 GP and 16 days of training
Level 18 to 19
100,000 GP and 17 days of training
Level 19 to 20
150,000 GP and 18 days of training


Starting gold beyond 1st level  Table
Level
Magic Item
2
1 x common
3
2 x common
4
1x common 1x uncommon
5
2x common 1x uncommon
6
2x common 1x uncommon
7
1x common 2x uncommon 1x rare
8
1x common 3x uncommon 1x rare
9
1x common 2x uncommon 1x rare
10
1x common 2x uncommon 1x rare
11
1x common 2x uncommon 1x rare
12
2x common 2x uncommon 2x rare
13
2x common 3x uncommon 2x rare
14
3x common 3x uncommon 2x rare
15
3x common 3x uncommon 2x rare
16
3x common 3x uncommon 3x rare
17
3x common 3x uncommon 2x rare
18
3x common 4x uncommon 3x rare
19
4x common 4x uncommon 3x rare 1x legendary
20
4x common 4x uncommon 3x rare 1x legendary


Magic Item Table by Rarity

Common Magic Items

1d10

1-5
Potion of Healing
6-10
Potion of Climbing


Uncommon Magic Items

1d12

1
Oil of Slipperiness
2
Philter of Love
3
Potion of Animal Friendship
4
Potion of Fire Breath
5
Potion of Greater Healing
6
Potion of Growth
7
Potion of Hill Giant Strength
8
Potion of Poison
9
Potion of Resistance
10
Potion of Waterbreathing
11
Bag of Holding
12
Ring of Warmth


Rare Magic Items
1d10
1
potion of gaseous form
2
potion of invulnerability
3
potion of mind reading
4
potion of stone giant strength
5
potion of superior healing
6
scroll of protection
7
staff of healing/6 uses then destroyed
8
Bag of Beans
9
chime of opening
10
potion of clairvoyance

Legendary Magic Items... still under construction. I have time.

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