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Thread: GM House Rules and Posting Guidelines

  1. #1

    Post GM House Rules and Posting Guidelines

    The Cardinal Rule: Let’s All Have Fun!

    Have fun, and support the fun of other players! Good teamwork and good roleplay with your comrades will, in time, supply some of your best memories of our campaign.

    -->If you are not having fun, PM the GM about it and be specific. I’ll do my best to remedy it. If you are still not feeling engaged, do not feel obligated to keep playing. There will be no hard feelings. Fun is why we’re here!

    -->Any obvious Player vs Player behavior will not be tolerated because it KILLS FUN. Don’t steal from each other, or withhold treasure or information you discover, or attack each other with intent to harm or kill.

    Posting Frequency: Post once per day would be appreciated, but more is welcome. We take "off" on Fridays and Sundays, no posting is expected those days and you can use them for catch-up. (I am open to discussing which day of the week should be the "off" days.)

    If one week goes by without you posting (especially during an encounter), I will remove your character from the action and we will have a chat about how soon you can resume.

    EDIT RE: Terminating a Character: If you disappear for three full weeks or more without contacting me or informing me you need to be absent ---your character is out, permanently. I hate to do this. But after awhile, disappearances are just too disruptive for other players---and the GM not knowing if the absence will be another day, or another week, makes it too hard to run the encounters smoothly.

    Format and Style Rules for Posting:

    1) Narrate your posts in the third person and present tense, like this:

    Flint ducks her arrow. He gives the Opparan guard a saucy wink. "Miss me?" he asks.

    2) Put all dialogue in "quotation marks" and in BOLD to make it easier to see and thus respond to, and any purely internal monologue in ITALICS (and any use of colored text is completely optional). Posts should look like this:

    “Madam,” the paladin of commerce says to the barmaid, “your local whiskey is overpriced. May I suggest an appropriate markdown?”

    The half-orc glares at the man who is still holding out his outstretched palm. Everyone in this bar so obsessed with stupid humie metal disks, WHY?!

    3) During a combat round (or any time you are making a d20 roll to determine the success of an attempt to do something) be sure to include your standard action and move action (and any free action or swift action) in a clearly labeled OOC post, like this:

    The sorcerer almost regrets what he is about to do. His dragon claws come unsheathed as he rushes at the arrogant elf. “You call me a half-blood?” He slashes at him. “Well you’re less than half right.”


    Free action to gain dragon claws from draconic bloodline.

    Move action to *square J9 beside the elf. (*This will make sense when there is a labeled grid map to look at.)

    Standard action to melee attack the elf with Draconic bloodline claws.

    *Authentic Forum Dice-rollAttack - ( d20 ) [9]

    *Authentic Forum Dice-rollDamage - ( d4 ) [3]

    Later we will go over what exactly to include in your attack rolls. However you should ALWAYS include the attack roll dice (which is ALWAYS a d20) and ALWAYS include the damage roll dice (which varies from a d3 to a d12 depending on your weapon of choice).

    4) Some general tips for posting...

    -->Carefully read every post that comes before the post you are creating.

    -->Respond with attention to detail concerning the content of the other posts, especially if a question or dialogue or attack or bit of roleplay activity is directed at your character.

    -->Sometimes a simple reaction post is fine (especially since we are posting 5 days a week, ideally). But it's always better to move the game forward by posting some meaningful dialogue or definitive action of your own that gives other players (and the GM and NPCs) something provocative to respond to.

    -->Never narrate the responses of other players, or NPCs, to something your character did or attempted---instead, let other players or the GM respond accordingly.

    -->Re-read your own post carefully right after you post it. Make any adjustments necessary, so that it will make clear sense to someone who is reading it for the first time.

    House Rules:

    We will use the “Rules As Written” (a.k.a. RAW) for Pathfinder, which I will introduce slowly and individually, and with clear explanations in another thread in order to make them more beginner friendly. But here are some exceptions to the "Rules As Written" which we'll call the House Rules:

    1) GROUP Initiative: This determines which group (the Heroes or the Enemy) goes first, and which group goes second in the combat encounter rounds. GM will roll-off between the highest party member Initiative and the highest enemy Initiative. (*Normally every PC and NPC rolls individually and acts from highest roll to lowest, but that would drastically slow down PbP combat.)

    2) Campaign Bonus Feats (in addition to any from a Class): These will be assigned by the GM. Everyone’s first level Campaign Feat is “Quick Draw.” Third level, "Rapid Reload (all crossbows). Fifth level "Toughness" and "Combat Expertise." Seventh Level "Manifested Blood" or "Heritage" as GM assigns it, IF you took the group backstory element "Bello's experiment subject." Ninth Level Improved Unarmed Strike. Eleventh Level "Eldritch Claws."

    3) The Mercy Rule: Heroes (and NPCs) may choose to deal non-lethal damage WITHOUT the usual -4 penalty to attack rolls in the RAW. (This makes knocking out an enemy a more viable option by not penalizing you for avoiding the killing's like saying you decided to clip the enemy with your weapon instead of hitting directly.)

    4) Carrying capacity will be a little flexible. (I am not going to strictly enforce the written rule by slowing down your movement speed if you carry more than your “light load” capacity, which is determined your Strength score BUT medium armor will still slow your movement. So long as I know you understand how encumbrance works, we’re good to go.)

    5) Hero Points: These are bonuses awarded for various things at the GM’s discretion, currently +2 per player per month because I want to. There is now a maximum of 6 to how many Hero Points you can have at one time. You may spend only one Hero Point at a time. Each Hero Point spent gives you an instant re-roll WITH A +8 to the roll, and you take the better result of the two (instead of being stuck with the second roll, as the original rules state).

    In order to make Hero Points work in a PbP game (where we lose the spontaneity of tabletop playing), you may use a Hero Point to reroll a saving throw OR an Ability Check with a +8 AFTER the result has been declared by the GM.

    If you wish to use a Hero Point to reroll an attack roll or Skill Check roll with a +8, however, you must do so immediately (BEFORE the GM reveals the result).

    6) Survival Skill Check for tying someone up: In the Rules as Written (or RAW), the appropriate modifier of the d20 roll for tying someone up is not specified (unless you are grappling someone who resists, and use d20+CMB while he is pinned), AND the DC for escaping from ropes/bonds is 20+CMB of the person who tied the knots.

    In our game, the Survival Skill check will be rolled to tie knots when binding someone who is not resisting or is unconscious. (Someone who is resisting, well that requires a series of Grapple checks to pin them, then another of the same check to tie them up, as is outlined in the RAW. Then you can "improve" the binding with a Survival Skill check afterwards.)

    The Survival Skill check to tie someone up efficiently will be set at DC 15. Circumstantial modifiers are possible.

    The base DC of the Escape Artist check will be 20+ the tying up character's Survival Skill ranks (rather than 20+CMB of the tying up character).

    For every 5 points that your Survival check exceeds the "tie up efficiently" DC 15, there will be a situational modifier increase of +2 in the DC of the Escape Artist Skill check. (The reverse will also be true: for every 5 by which you fail the DC 15, there will be a decrease of -2 in the DC of the Escape Artist check.)

    7) Exotic Weapons That Are No Longer Exotic (and do not impose a -4 penalty for not having Exotic Weapon Proficiency): Repeating crossbow (heavy or light)

    8) Rapid Reload update: If you have the campaign Feat Rapid Reload, you may reload a crossbow (light or hand crossbow) as a FREE action. You may also reload a heavy crossbow (*or repeating crossbow with a new case of 5 bolts) as a MOVE action. Also reloading any crossbow still provokes an AOO.

    ***Normally it is a Move action to reload a light or hand crossbow and a Full-Round action to reload a heavy crossbow with one bolt or repeating crossbow with a case of 5 bolts.

    ***In the Rules as Written, you must choose only ONE type of crossbow when you gain this Feat and apply the Feat to that ONE type (light, hand, or heavy). For our game this Feat applies to ALL crossbows you can wield, including repeating crossbows (which according to House Rule #7 are no longer Exotic) so that play will be streamlined and ranged combat options will be expanded.

    9) NEW: You may Ready an Action for up to THREE triggers (but you can only ready ONE action as your response).

    Example: If he runs, if he casts a spell, or if he takes a 5 ft step, I will attack.

    Updated 11-24-19

    Some Rolls That Are Made Exclusively by GM

    1) Concealment:
    If there is what is called a "miss chance" to an attack roll because of concealment (miss chance 20% against a target in fog or a target benefiting from the entropic shield spell for example) the GM will roll the percentile dice after the player has rolled an attack roll.

    2) Attacks of Opportunity in response to the enemy (or enemies') Movement(s) or Standard Action(s): One of Pathfinder's more complex mechanics is the Attack of Opportunity (because it is dependent on a number of conditions and avoiding it gets tricky and could get us tied up in mechanics during combat). It will speed up gameplay if the GM just rolls this openly for your PC who was near enough to make the attack roll, especially because a successful AOO can change the outcome of the enemy's attempt immediately. The Attack of Opportunity (or AOO) has been further explained in the official Pathfinder Mechanics thread.

    3) Initiative Rolls: This determines which group (the Heroes or the Enemy) goes first OR second in combat encounters (See House Rules #1 above for full explanation).

    I will add others as they come up. *I have been rolling most Saving Throws, unless there is not a time crunch in which case I might ask for player roll.
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-21-2020 at 10:36 PM. Reason: edited posting frequency

  2. #2


    New House Rule for Prepared Divine Spellcasters: "Desperate Prayer"

    NEW House Rule #10:
    If your PC prepares divine spells in the morning (as a paladin, cleric, ranger, or druid) then in Pathfinder RAW (Rules as Written) you must prepare every spell in every slot ahead of time, chosen every morning during "meditation," and once selected these spells cannot be changed.

    **The only exception in the RAW is that a cleric may spontaneously turn any prepared spell into a cure spell of equivalent level, for example "burning" a level one prepared bless spell to spontaneously cast cure light wounds instead in its place.

    Our House Rule "Desperate Prayer" will cut prepared divine casters some slack by allowing them to leave one spell slot blank, of the highest level spell they can cast at their current level, every day. That blank spell slot can then be used to spontaneously cast ANY spell from the appropriate list (cleric or paladin or ranger depending on your class).

    Hence the name "desperate prayer" because the rule is meant to gives you that spell you wish you'd prepared when you need it most. I think this rule will takes the pressure off prepared divine spellcasters and make such classes a little more fun to play.

    But all other prepared divine spells must be selected in the morning as RAW states, and you should inform the GM in the Planner (or I will PM you a reminder) which spells you have prepared currently. Your prepared spells will be noted in the QuickSheets thread for everyone's ready reference and updated constantly with what has been cast already, etc.
    Last edited by magrat4; 10-28-2018 at 06:46 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Books allowed when building or leveling up

    List of Books Allowed When Building or Leveling Up: *all official Paizo Pathfinder material (*no Mythic, no gunslingers, no summoners, no psonics, no Words of Power from Ultimate Magic)

    Look for copyright information, and don't stop looking till you find it, if you are unsure what is official Paizo Pathfinder material.

    see as your best resource (but nothing that is not Paizo Official Pathfinder material....NO THIRD PARTY, NO STARFINDER, and also NO PISONICS).
    Last edited by magrat4; 06-01-2020 at 03:55 PM.

  4. #4


    NEW HOUSE RULE #11: Hero Points Change (re: Cheating Death)

    If you have 2 (or more) Hero Points you may spend 2 of them to immediately cheat death, avoiding the HP loss (or other effect) that would kill you and instead becoming STABILIZED at -8 HP. (You may also use this effect to spare the life of your own companion creature.)

    NEW HOUSE RULE #12: Hero Points Awarding and Maximum Allowed

    Changing the award from "once per week depending on 5/7 days participation" to "2 per month period, for every player."

    Changing the cap to 5.

    GM will no longer use "anti-hero" points to try to make an encounter more challenging.

    UPDATED 6-1-20
    Last edited by magrat4; 06-01-2020 at 03:53 PM.

  5. #5


    **GM note: my gaming group has always done this spell this way since the days of 3.5 and I do not know if this is really a House Rule or how it would already work in the game, but let's assume the former.

    Lesser restoration the spell activates immediately when drinking a potion, but when cast by a spellcaster with that spell on their list, OR from a wand or scroll, it takes the usual three rounds as listed in the spell description.

    Lesser restoration cures d4 to a single ability score (or dispels---i.e. cancels---an effect lowering an ability score), and removes the fatigued condition, AND upgrades exhaustion to fatigued.


    Last edited by magrat4; 04-28-2020 at 06:38 PM.


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