First Rule Changes

These rules are in the playtest stage. For comments and discussion, please go to the Forum section HERE. The intention behind these changes, and my reasons for implementing them can be found HERE.


Speedier Combat

In order to speed up combat, as well as make it less about numbers and a little more grounded in style and description. I am implementing the following changes. They are intended to make combats more fun for all.

Action Dice

Every character has access to a pool of action dice that represent the cinematic hero’s knack for seemingly superhuman actions, or the lucky breaks he enjoys as his enemy’s weapons fail or miraculously miss. Action dice are one of the most powerful tools in your character’s arsenal, but just as you’re armed with your own special reserve of good fortune, so is the DM…

Hero Tokens

Hero Tokens are, in essence, greater than Action Dice, but are similar. Hero Tokens allow one to do break rules a little more effectively, and overall give a higher advantage to the player than Action Dice. They are both pools of sorts, and you will start with a fixed amount at the beginning of each session. You lose both, if they are not used up during the session. Action points my be freely awarded during play, however, and you will gain EXP for gaining them (during play), regardless of if you use them. Hero Tokens have been adjusted slightly with the introduction of Action Dice, but not greatly.

Cinematic Combats

Cinematic Dice are rewards with additional dice for describing characters’ actions in an evocative manner. The out-of-game rationale for a Conematic bonus is that well-described actions keep the game interesting for everyone and help the DM set the scene. In game, they represent the capacity of epic heroes to be truly spectacular when they take risks and act like heroes. Again, they act similarly to Action Dice, but should be thought of separately. See Cinematic Dice for more information.

Meaningful Mooks

Even though the Mook rules have helped to speed up combat, I am implementing the following addition, primarily to make mooks a bit more significant. Defeating them helps you combat their Boss. This represents information and tactics gleaned by fighting the underlings.

Mook Dice are separate from Action Dice, but function in similar ways. Spending Mook Dice (see link) does not require any special cinematic description (see Cinematic Combat above) but as always, fanciful descriptions may enhance your chances for extra Action Dice.

Hit Points/Injuries

This house rule is a modified version of the Wounds and Vigor optional rules from Ultimate Combat, as well as Strain/Injury optional house rule from the Paizo Messageboards. These rules will help when the party is low on clerics, and gives the Heal Skill a bit more importance.

Quick Overview

  • All creatures have both Hit Points and Injury Points. Hit points do not represent wounds. Injury points represent wounds.
  • Most damage will go against your Hit Points.
  • Any damage from critical hits, special attacks, or the “final blow” which puts you below zero hit points represent injuries that do not heal without treatment. Treatment can be the “Treat Deadly Wounds” application of the Heal skill, or magical healing.
  • All Hit Points will replenish automatically with a quick rest and refit (see below). If you don’t proceed to the next encounter immediately, but take a few minutes to get your act together, catch your breath, and gird your loins, all the Hit Point damage that doesn’t represent physical injury is recovered.

Rest and Refit

If a character has sustained Hit Point damage during an encounter, this damage can be recovered with a rest and refit.

  • The character must have five to ten minutes where they are neither threatened by further encounters nor suffering additional ongoing Hit Point damage (e.g. thirst, starvation, extreme heat or cold). During this time, characters regain their composure, perform minor armor and weapon repairs, and catch their breath.
  • A character may tend to another’s Injury damage through use of magic or the Heal skill during the rest and refit without compromising their own recovery.

Cheating Death

There’s nothing more humiliating for a hero than an ignoble death — fumbling while climbing a cliff, failing a critical save against an acid pit trap, getting backstabbed by a common (standard) goblin during a Dramatic scene… These aren’t the ways a hero should go out. Fortunately there is now a loophole: heroes can often Cheat Death, beating the odds to adventure another day. Like all miracles, though, Cheating Death has a price.

Called Shots

Called Shots will be implemented shortly. The rules are based on those from Paizo’s Ultimate Combat. The basic rules will apply, and one can use Hero Tokens, Action Dice, Cinematic Dice and Mook Dice to accomplish the very difficult. The major changes to the Official Optional rules will concern the way damage is applied. Given the right circumstances, enemies may be taken out in short order with the liberal use of Called Shots.


Fantasy adventure is fraught with peril — terrifying dragons, hordes of savage humanoids, and devastating magic can rattle even the stoutest heroes to their core. Morale is a house rule utilizing a more “realistic” way to model stress and fear. When used, it affects all characters, even the PCs. Right now, you don’t need to worry about knowing any of the rules. If and when Morale comes into play, it will more likely affect the enemy rather than the party, and with Hero Tokens, Action Dice and Cinematic Dice, it is unlikely that the heroes need worry about such trifles.

Campaign Qualities

Campaign qualities can be used in two ways — as permanent effects or as temporary conditions. Permanent campaign qualities are active for the duration of the campaign but the I can add temporary campaign qualities to an adventure at any time by spending one or more action dice. Temporary campaign qualities last until the end of the current scene, making them a great way to represent fleeting effects, dramatic episodes, and other exciting moments.

The permanent qualities have already been set forth at the beginning of the campaign, and so are already well known. At any time a specific temporary quality is in effect, I will make sure everyone is aware of the quality. Here is a sample temporary quality:

Luck plays a significant role in the world. Action dice increase by 1 die type (i.e. d4s become d6s, d6s become d8s, etc.), to a maximum of d12. Also, a character may spend any number of action dice when boosting an attack check, skill check, or save.

Fun stuff. I will likely place a tented card in front of me, or affix a post-it to my laptop to remind everyone.

Standard or Dramatic Scenes

Every scene is either “Standard” or “Dramatic,” indicating its general importance to the plot and/or the trouble characters will face therein.
During a Standard scene, the playing field is generally level and the chance of overall success is high. All standard rules apply.
During a Dramatic scene, the odds are stacked against the PCs and success is far from assured.

Many rules change…

  • The GM may spend any number of action dice on NPC die rolls and when healing NPCs.
  • Standard adversaries (including Mooks) may activate critical successes and hits.
  • Player characters may not Cheat Death.

Monster Stew

This is not so much a rule as a declaration. All these rules are being implemented to facilitate more fun and faster combats. Additionally, creatures from the various Bestiaries and their RAW components may no longer suit the new style of play. Also I wish to keep a sense of wonder and surprise in the game, and to throw in the occasional monkey-wrench and unexpected turn.

That said, do not presume to know anything about monsters. Certain things that have been a staple of D&D may no longer hold true. Trolls may or may not be vulnerable to fire. Goblins may die in one blow, or it may take many more. The hill giant shaman may be more than a simple adept.

There are still some things you can expect, however. Dragons are to be feared. The bigger a creature is, the more likely it is to be very deadly. It may be useful to do research regarding a known enemy (creature or humanoid) before tangling with it. It may have an invulnerability, or a weakness that you can exploit.

The object of this alteration is for awe and mystery, as well as to mix things up and make it more fun. I will try to stay consistent to the world, and to the campaign.

A few notes on monsters

  • Adjusted Damage Reduction: We all get frustrated with DR. It slows things down horribly. I am essentially removing it from the game. If a specific substance would otherwise defeat DR, an attack from that type of substance will instead deliver 1 Injury Point in addition to the normal Hit Point Damage, or add 1 Injury Point to any Critical Damage done. If a creature happens to have a vulnerability to the substance, it deals damage according to RAW (plus dealing a total of 2 Injury Points per hit or +2 if the attack is a Crit. This also means that a creature which is out of Hit Points will usually die with the first attack affecting its vulnerability.
    • For creatures who have Damage Reduction listed as DR/-, one may bypass the DR by spending an Action Die, Cinematic Die, or Mook Die. In this case, the die does no extra damage, but directly bypasses the listed DR. Also, DR/- will not protect it from any type of Injury Damage.

As new issues arise, they will be addressed on this page.

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First Rule Changes

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