Here I will write out some of my ideas for modifications to the D&D 3e system. I may not always use these in the games I run, however.


First off, a short discussion on combat mechanics:

The D&D system has always compared the skill of the attacker against the equipment of the defender. A 12th level fighter is just as easy to hit as a 1st level fighter, barring differences in their equipment. I understand that HP are intended to represent the higher level characters' ability to avoid blows, but that has some serious logical flaws, as I mention in my "Rambling Thoughts" page. What is needed is a simple way to represent the higher level fighter's greater ability to avoid blows.

Thus I hereby introduce my first House Rule for D&D 3e: The Parry.

The Basic Parry

Anyone may choose to use their attack as a parry instead. They cannot do this if they have lost the benefit of their dexterity AC adjustment, such as being caught flatfooted or surprised.

To parry, the defender must roll as though to hit, adding all his usual modifiers, with a Difficulty Class of the attacker's roll to hit. If successful, the defender takes no damage.

Note that a certain level of common sense must be applied in the case of what weapons can parry others. A dagger is useless against most larger weapons, although it could be used to parry a rapier. Most large-sized weapons are difficult to parry except with other large-sized weapons or a shield.

Shields receive a bonus to the parry roll equal to their AC bonus. In addition, holding a shield gives the defender one "free" parry attempt without losing his normal attack, although he may still choose to sacrifice one or more attacks for additional parry attempts.

If a second weapon is used for parrying, the normal rules for using two weapons apply.

In addition, here is a new feat: Improved Parrying.

Improved Parrying [General]

You are adept at blocking blows.

Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Expertise, Shield Proficiency, base attack bonus +4 or higher.

Benefit: You get a number of "free" parry attempts equal to your normal number of attacks, using the same bonuses. For example; if you have a base attack bonus of +7/+2, you would get two parries, also at +7 and +2. You may still sacrifice one or more of your normal attacks for additional parry attempts.

And now for my simple text-based character sheet. This can easily be cut'n'pasted into Notepad or other text editor for your own use. If you would rather, you can download it here.


D&D 3e Character Sheet

Name         : 
Race         : 
Age, gender  : 
Occupation   : 
Homeland     : 
-------------------------------------------------------
Description  : 

-------------------------------------------------------
Class        : 
Level        : 
Alignment    : 
-------------------------------------------------------
Strength     : 	()  *Ability modifiers go in parenthesis
Dexterity    : 	()
Constitution : 	()
Intelligence : 	()
Wisdom       : 	()
Charisma     : 	()
-------------------------------------------------------
HP           :              Saving Throws
AC           :            Fortitude    : 
Initiative   :            Reflex       : 
Base attack  :            Will         : 

----Feats/Specials-------------------------------------



----Skills---------------------Ability + Rating = Total



----Magic----------------------------------------------
Spells per day:

Spells Known
0 level


1st level


----Equipment------------------------------------------





----Weapons----


----Armor----


----Backpack----


----Beltpouch----


----Packmule----


Next I'd like to talk about Legendary Items.

The warrior drew his blade from it's scabbard slowly, filling the room with the sigh of metal on oiled leather. "This" he said, "is the sword Glanon Uth Warshild, sword of the original clan-leader from the time of our grandfathers. He who bears it will lead his men to victory so long as his courage holds. You have all seen my courage this day. Will you follow me now?"

Fantasy literature is filled with stories of legendary items that seem to have gained their power simply because of their history. They were not "enchanted" by some white-bearded old mage. The horn that Gerain de Lone blew to warn the people of Fallhaven of the invaders... the sword that could unite the various lords of Britain under one king... the chalice from which Jesus drank at the last supper. These items have a power that goes beyond the rigorous and understood mechanics of wizardry. These are the stuff of legend.

"But surely this is purely the province of the DM." you say. I say why should the DM get to have all the fun?

This house rule allows bards to create Legendary Items, using the items and events in the game and their own legend-making skills.

First you must understand that the DM is the final arbiter of what qualifies as a potential legendary item. The sword that was used to kill a bunch of orcs should probably not be considered - but a sword that was held by a lone warrior who fought an entire clan of orcs, thereby saving a village from certain destruction, losing his own life in the process... now THAT is the stuff of legends.

First, the bard-only feats:

Craft Minor Legend [Item Creation]

You can write the tales and sing the songs of any item or place for a minor effect.

Prerequisite: Bard level 3+

Benefit: If the bard witnesses the legend-spawning event, and succeeds at a Perform skill check at a DC of 20 (one attempt only), then the legend will eventually spread as the bard tells the tale and sings the song on his journeys. The time required for the legend to take hold in the land is two years, divided by the amount by which the bard exceeded the DC.

The actual benefit of the Legend cannot exceed +2 in effect (or two +1 related effects), although later tales written by more skilled bards may increase this.

For example: Isold Silvertongue is there at the Siege of Glandrake Castle, and witnesses the elven lord's heroic sacrifice to save his people. He writes a ballad of the tale, rolls a Perform check and gets a 22 result. That's two points better than the necessary 20, so one year later the Legend of Glandrake Castle has taken hold. The Legend says that as long as an elven lord mans the battlements, the castle cannot fall. The effect: +1 to Morale and +1 to AC to all within the castle when under siege.

Personal cost: Every artist puts a little of himself into his work. Crafting legends of this caliber goes beyond mere storytelling... it's the creation of something magical in the world. The bard loses 1,000xp.


Craft Greater Legend [Item Creation]

You can write the tales and sing the songs of any item or place for a greater effect.

Prerequisite: Bard level 9+

Benefit: Much as "Craft Minor Legend" above, only the DC is 30, the base time required is five years, and the limit on the effect is no more than +5 (or multiple effects totaling 5).

Personal cost: 3,000xp


Craft Eternal Legend [Item Creation]

You can write the tales and sing the songs that echo down the halls of time.

Prerequisite: Bard level 15+

Benefit: Much as "Craft Minor Legend" above, only the DC is 40, the base time required is ten years. The only limit on the effect is whatever the DM decides is appropriate for the event in question.

Personal cost: 5,000xp

Now here are my house rules for Specialist Wizards.

I got this idea while reading the 3e DMG section about modifying classes. It mentioned the possibility of allowing certain spells to be gained as though they were a lower spell level while others were gained as though higher. That got me to thinking about specialist wizards. They've never really seemed specialized enough to me. Other than getting a bonus spell and a few restrictions, they all seem more or less alike. So with that in mind, here is my house rule:

Specialist Wizards

The spells from a specialist wizard's primary school are considered one level lower for purposes of learning and casting. Spells outside of the specialist's school are one level higher. Spells of opposition schools are two levels higher. 0-level spells from the specialist wizard's school are "free" to cast... they do not count against the daily total, and need not even be memorized to be used.

For example: For an Illusionist specialist wizard, Dancing Lights and Ghost Sound are both "free" spells and can be cast at any time without preparation. Change Self, Color Spray, Nystul's Magic Aura, Nystul's Undetectable Aura, Silent Image, and Ventriloquism are all considered 0-level spells to the Illusionist. Blur, Continual Flame, Hypnotic Pattern, Invisability, Leomund's Trap, Magic Mouth, Minor Image, Mirror Image, and Misdirection are all considered 1st level spells.

The Illusionist would have to use a 1st level spell-slot to memorize a non-illusion 0-level spell, such as Mage Hand or Ray of Frost. In order to memorize a 1st level non-illusion spell, he would have to use a 2nd level spell-slot which could otherwise have been used for a 3rd level illusion spell.