A Time of Darkness
House Rules Base
House Rules: AD&D 2nd Edition
Characteristics are purchased on the following table:
Human characters may spend 40 points, and non-human characters may spend 36 points.
Exceptional strength is not rolled at character generation, but instead increases with levels. The only exception to this are Aasimar or Half-Orcs, who if they spend the points for an 18 Strength, their
- Exceptional strength may improve a maximum of one category (18, 18/01-50, 18/51-18/75 etc.) per level.
Hit Probability – these modifiers apply to melee combat only.
Damage Adjustment – this modifier applies in full to melee combat, at 3/4 (round normal) to heavy thrown weapons (> 1 lb), at 1/4 to small thrown weapons and to specially constructed bows (not crossbows) and at 1/5 to darts and knives.
Exceptional Strength Racial Maximums:
Human, Dwarf, Half Orc & Aasimar
Use optional rule for additional non-weapon proficiencies.
The maximum number of spells/lvl is not used.
Additional Magician Spells:
(2)-1st 2nd 3rd
(2)-1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Surprise Penalty – a low intelligence increases the chance of being surprised.
Reintroduced from Unearthed Arcana.
Racial Modifiers: Dwarves, Gnomes, Githzeri -1
Halflings, Humans 0
Half-elves, Tiefling +1
Elves, Aasimar +2
Comeliness may be selected as by the player, but should be within 4 points of their charisma score (before racial modifiers).
New Races (and one old one): Aasimar, Githzeri, Half-Orc & Tiefling
Aasimar are half human, half creatures of the upper planes. They have an ethereal look to them, with pointed ears and
fine features. To summarize the standard aasimar abilities, they have infravision to 60 feet, they receive a +1 bonus
to surprise checks due to keen senses, they take half damage from heat and cold, and they receive a +2 saving throw
bonus vs. charm, fear, emotion, or domination effects. In addition, all non-wizard aasimar get 10% magic resistance.
Githzeri are a human offshoot race originally a slave race of the illithid (Mind Flayers). Githzeri, if not spellcasters,
have 5% magic resistance per level, but this resistance is not controllable and applies even to voluntary spells.
Githzeri have a +2 saving throw versus mental attacks including psionics, and standard infravison (60’).
Tiefling are half creatures of the lower planes. Their appearance is varied.
Because of their varied backgrounds, tiefling appearance can be quite varied. Roll on the table below six times and keep any three. It is also possible, and even likely that not all tieflings will have the same innate powers.
The tiefling ability table may be rolled on five times, the results used in place of the standard infravision (60’), darkness 15’ radius ability, and resistances (1/2 damage) to cold, fire, electricity and poison.
Small horns on forehead
Small horns on temples
Single horn on forehead
Long, thin face
Fangs in mouth
All teeth are pointed
Extremely long nose
Very small (almost unnoticeable) nose
Extremely long eyelashes
Extremely deep-set eyes
Six fingers (including thumb)
Three fingers (including thumb)
Fingers one inch longer than normal
Arms six inches longer than normal
Legs six inches longer than normal
Long, thin tail
Spiny ridge on back
Spiny ridges all over body
Body covered in short fur or long hair
Body covered in striped markings
Extremely greasy skin
Small feathers rather than hair on 10-100% of body
Roll twice again, ignoring rolls above 89
Roll three times again, ignoring rolls above 89
blur one time per day
charm person one time per day
chill touch one time per day
comprehend languages one time per day
darkness, 10’ radius once per day
detect good/evil two times per day
detect magic three times per day
ESP one time per day
invisibility two times per week
know alignment one time per day
mirror image one time per day
misdirection one time per day
pyrotechnics three times per week
suggestion one time per week
summon swarm one time per week
vampiric touch one time per week
whispering wind one time per day
half damage from fire
half damage from cold
half damage from electricity
half damage from acid
+2 saving throw vs. fire
+2 saving throw vs. electricity
+2 saving throw vs. poison
+2 saving throw vs. cold
+2 saving throw vs. acid
+2 saving throw vs. petrification/polymorph and paralysis
+2 saving throw vs. rod/staff/wand
+2 saving throw vs. spells
Roll twice, ignoring results over 95
Roll three times, ignoring results over 95
Half-Orcs are the offspring of a human and an orc. Most of the offspring of such being typically orcish. However,
some one-tenth or orc-human mongrels are sufficiently non-orcish to pass for human. Half-Orcs have infravison to
60’ distance. Half-Orcs have a maximum Intelligence of 17, and a maximum wisdom of 14.
Elves: do not sleep, but instead must meditate, relax etc. for approximately the same time as humans sleep. Elves also show no effects of aging until death (for game purposes treat as having light sleeper proficiency at a +2 modifier).
Resistance to Magic:
Dwarven, Gnomish, and Halfling resistance to magic is clarified as follows: The saving throw bonuses apply to all attacks of purely magical nature except petrifaction to which all the “earthy” races are somewhat vulnerable. These bonuses do not apply to attacks which have a physical/elemental basis (fire attacks, wind wall, etc.).
Racial Adjustments for Thieves:
Multi-Class and Dual-Class: Every race may multi-class… no race may dual-class… there are no level restrictions.No class receives any experience point bonus for high characteristics, however, humans receive a +20% experience point bonus.All Character Classes receive a maximum of 10 hit dice at 10th level.
Possible Multi-Class Combinations
Note: Dwarves and Halflings may not be any combination with a Wizard.
Fighter: A single class fighter may specialize in as may weapons as he/she has proficiency slots… a multi-class fighter may only specialize in one weapon.
Paladin: A paladin may only specialize in one weapon (must be melee weapon)… the only multi-class available to them is Paladin/Cleric… if they do so, the loose the spell casting ability of the paladin, but the paladin may have an additional 2 magic items of clerical nature. A paladin’s aura of protection is the same as a “Protection from Evil 10’ Radius” spell. Paladin’s spell casting ability is at 4 levels higher than in Player’s Handbook (i.e. starts at 5th level)
Ranger: A single class ranger may specialize in as may weapons as he/she has proficiency slots… a multi-class ranger may only specialize in one weapon. Rangers loose the species enemy, but instead gain a +1 “to hit” and damage against “giant class” opponents (bugbears, ettins, giants, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, ogres, ogre magi, orcs and trolls. Ranger’s Hide in Shadows and Move Silently is as three levels higher. Rangers are difficult to surprise gaining a +1 to the roll. There are no alignment restrictions on Rangers.
Cleric: Unlike Wizards, clerics need not memorize spells… they may call upon any spell the deity allows up to their limit per day. For purposes of any healing spells, the cleric’s spells comprise a power pool. That is, a 3rd level spell can be split to 3 1st level Cure Light Wounds. Once split, those spell levels can only be used for curing spells.
Druid: Druids do not exist as such… see specific deities for clerical variants.
Wizard: At the time of spell memorization, the wizard may instead save a number of spell levels, to use later as a “mana pool”. The spell levels may then be used to cast any wizard spell the caster knows at a 1 per 2 ratio… thus a 1st level spell would take 2 spell levels from a mage’s mana pool. Time spent to memorize spell levels is not changed by this procedure. The mana pool provides a 1:1 casting ration.
At first level everyone receives maximum hit points. Thereafter, use the following table + Constitution modifiers, multi-class divide appropriate points by number of classes. Constitution bonus for Con above 16 is applied to Warrior levels only. All fractions are rounded up.
H.P. for levels 2-10
H.P. for levels 10+ (no Con bonus)
Proficiency Slots (Altered)
Weapon Proficiencies may also be spent on the following:
Ambidexterity (Cost 2 weapon Proficiencies): Allows the user to use his primary weapon with no penalty and with the same number of attacks. Also when attacking with two weapons the primary and secondary weapons are only at -2 modified by the dexterity reaction adjustment.
If the character devotes a weapon proficiency to style specialization, he gets a +1 AC bonus when using any one-handed weapon in one hand and nothing in the other. Additionally, he may devote an extra proficiency slot to have a total AC bonus of +2.
Two-Handed Weapon Specialization:
If the character devotes a weapon proficiency to style specialization, he gains the ability to use a two-handed weapon in 1/2 the area normally required to utilize such a weapon, and can even use a two-handed weapon from horseback (however a fumble while on horseback with a two-handed weapon means an automatic hit on the steed as well as the loss of the weapon.) Additionally, he may devote an extra proficiency slot and get a bonus of +1 damage with any two-handed weapon or appropriate one-handed weapon wielded in two hands (he has trained in imparting more momentum without loosing recovery) .
Improvement of Non-Weapon Proficiencies:
For every extra-non weapon proficiency slot spent, the proficiency is improved by 2 points.
New Non-Weapon Proficiencies:
(any not listed below or in Player’s Handbook, must be approved by the DM)
1d10 sp 0
1d10 gp (Dex + Wis) / 2. Dwarves, gnomes and halflings suffer a -3 penalty when riding horses as opposed to ponies.
Survival: Survival may be use in other environment at a -2 to -4 penalty.
Warrior Number of Attacks:
Hand and Light Crossbows, Slings, and Heavy Thrown Weapons (Hammers, Hand Axes, Javelins etc) use the same table as melee weapons. Note: Heavy Crossbows may be reloaded at light Crossbows rates if the user has 18/91 or above strength and the crossbow is designed for such use.
Small throwable items such as rocks (1d2 damage) or holy water vial (but not flammable oil), may be thrown at the same rate of fire as thrown dagger.
Weapon specialization is changed. The only effect of weapon specialization is to change the number of attacks; it moves the number of attacks one level category higher. Weapon specialization costs 1 weapon proficiency for each method of attack (melee or thrown)… thus being specialized in dagger for purposes of melee and thrown combat would cost 3 weapon proficiencies… this however, only counts as one weapon specialization for reasons of multi-class restrictions.
The following optional rules are used: Parrying (Players Handbook p 100)
The unarmed combat rules in second edition are not used. Instead a person may do 1-2 points damage (which is always treated at subdual damage: note that not all creatures take subdual damage, so only 1/4 of the damage would apply). A -4 penalty (+ non-proficiency penalty) is given when attacking armed opponents or monsters. A fighter or rogue may spend two proficiency points to become a person trained in some form of marital art. This will allow he character to do 1d4 damage (normal or subdual), and to attack armed opponents and creatures without penalty.
Attacks with Two Melee Weapons:
This technique moves the user’s number of attacks one category higher. The off-weapon attacks when the user would not normally get an attack with only one weapon. To gain the benefit of weapon specialization, only the primary weapon need be specialized in. When attacking, all character but rangers (wearing studded leather or lighter armor) suffer penalties to their attack rolls. Attacks made with the primary weapon suffer a -2 penalty, and attacks made with the second weapon suffer a -4 penalty. The character’s dexterity reaction adjustment modifies this penalty.
Instead of attacking to damage, a character may attack to disarm. The character must announce this maneuver at the beginning of the round at it receives a +1 initiative modifier, then a successful attack at -4 against the opponents AC; if successful, the opponent must make a saving throw against breath weapon modified by dexterity and magical bonuses of the weapon being disarmed. To disarm a character of a two-handed weapon, the opponent is entitled to two saving throws… if either saving throw is successful the opponent is not disarmed.
Firing into Melee:
It is possible to fire into melee without the dangerous side effects (see DMG p62), but the character is at -2 to -4 penalty to hit. If you miss due to the modifier, you have hit a comrade. Both these problems may be eliminated if the character is in melee range himself, however, only thrown weapons may be continuously used at melee ranges, other ranged weapons such as bows, crossbows, and slings may only be used once as melee range is entered.
Entering into Melee with Archery Troops:
Once a person enters melee range with some kind of archer (someone armed with a bow, sling, crossbow, blowgun, etc.), that archer may no longer attack with such weapons.
Retreat (see DMG p 59)
Withdraw- to make a successful withdraw attempt, either the character withdrawing or the character covering must make a successful (non-damaging) attack against their opponent.
Fleeing- an opponent is entitled to one free attack at +4 (not multiple attacks).
A shield wall is a useful combat tactic… for every shield wielding person adjacent to a shield wielding person, a +1 AC (maximum +2 obviously) is applied to attacks from the front.
The base movement for humans, half-elves, and elves is 12", which means 120 feet per round. The base movement for dwarves, gnomes and halflings is 8" (changed from 6"), which means 80 feet per round. Moving stealthily is at a maximum of 1/4 normal movement.
Dexterity and Movement Penalties for Armor & Shields:
Studded Leather or Ring Mail
Breast Plate and Leather
Brigandine, Scale Mail
Elven Chain Mail
Improved Mail or Half-Plate
* Dexterity Penalties apply only to Dexterity Check, and appropriate Proficiency check, not for purposes of AC. Dexterity penalties are doubled for purposed of the swimming proficiency.
** Movement penalties total are one better for dwarves, gnomes, and halflings.
Note: Magical Bonuses reduce penalties (Dexterity and Movement) by 1 per plus for armor and shields.
Characters sometimes have to fight on unstable ground. When such situations come up, the GM decides what the force of the ground movement is. If it is sufficiently violent, characters will have to make d20 rolls against Dexterity at the beginning of each combat round to stay on their feet. Note: having a hand free allows a +2 bonus on Dex rolls if there are objects to grab onto, such as on the deck of a ship.
Big Monster Digging Up
Yes at Dex
Yes at Dex +3
Yes at Dex
Yes at Dex -6
Ship Deck Slightly Rolling
Ship Deck Rolling
Yes at Dex +3
Ship Deck Storm Tossed
Yes at Dex -3
Polearms may be used to attack from the second rank. Such attacks are made at a -3 penalty, and only 1/2 damage bonus (round up) from strength is applied.
Riding in Combat (see DMG p76):
- Engaging in combat without a riding proficiency:
- The character get no dexterity adjustment and is -1 to AC additionally.
- The character attacks are at -4 to hit.
- No spellcasting (wizard or clerical) may be made.
- Ranged attacks from a moving horse suffer the following penalties:
1/2 move = 0
Full move = -2
Charge move+ -4
- A wizard must make a successful riding proficiency roll to cast a spell while moving.
- No attack may be made with a small melee weapon, unless the opponent is also horsed or larger than man-sized.
- Two-handed melee weapons may not be used (see exception in two-handed style specialization above).
- Attacking with two weapons is not possible while riding.
- Heavy crossbows may not be reloaded on horseback, unless the user has 18/91 strength and an appropriately designed crossbow.
Critical Hits and Fumbles:
A critical hit is scored when a natural 20 is rolled, followed up by another attack roll which hits the target (if the second attack roll fails, it is still a normal hit). A critical does twice normal damage with all modifiers. A critical does double dice damage.
A fumble occurs when a natural 1 is rolled, followed up by another attack roll which misses the target (if the second attack roll succeeds, it is only a normal miss). A fumble can result in a variety of results, but usually means you disarm yourself (requiring a full round to retrieve your weapon). The DM will decide what the fumble does based upon the situation.
Round: a round is re-defined as 12 seconds.
Segment: a segment is re-defined as 1 second.
Each person rolls a 2d6 and subtracts their dexterity reaction modifier. Spell-casters then add the casting time -1 of the spell to this number. This number is the segment that the attack goes off. Fighters and others who get multiple attacks in a round, roll one die for each attack.
Actions are executed form segment 1 to segment 12. If for any reason an action generates an initiative count above 12, then the action executes at segment 12. If a spell requires multiple rounds to cast, the initiative is only rolled at the round the spell goes off.
If a person gets multiple attacks in a round, he could get multiple initiative numbers in the same segment. In most cases, multiple attacks may not be launched in the same segment; they must wait till the next segment. It is possible for the attacker to lose one or more attacks if they go off late enough in the round. Various attack combinations are considered 1 attack for purposes of initiative (claw attacks from a cat or avian… firing both bolts from a double crossbow). Weapon speed factor is not used in this campaign. Magical weapons do not normally subtract form initiative, but there exist a fairly common class of magical weapons that do get an initiative modifier.
Wands, staves, rods, and miscellaneous magical items have the appropriate modifiers given in the item descriptions. Scrolls are treated exactly as the spell would be cast (a +3 initiative modifier is applied if the scroll must first be prepared).
Initiative may be delayed until later in the round. However, if this is done when casting spells or utilizing magic items… then if the segment count is above 12, the action does not occur until the initiative count for next round, but any casting time already accounted for in the previous round is subtracted from the casting time for the new round. Spells or items may be “cast”/“used” and the effects held until a later segment or even round.
Movement in Combat:
A person may move up to 1/2 of his/her movement and attack/cast spells/use items. Movement may only be done once per round, before or after attacking. Once per round the character may also shift their position by one meter. No movement action may be taken after segment 10 of the round.
Spell Casting in Combat:
A mage gets full AC bonus due to dexterity when in combat.
If a mage is hit and damaged during spell casting, the caster is allowed to make a saving throw as an equivalent level fighter versus Spells with NO modifiers to be able to use a spell in the round or not lose the spell (i.e. continue casting). A mage must make the same special saving throw if he/she fails a saving throw versus a damaging spell (if no saving throw is allowed, i.e. magic missile, then the mage gets only the special saving throw).
Normally a mage can perform no other action except movement in a round in which he casts a spell. However, if the spell is interrupted before segment 12, he may still utilize a magic item or make 1 physical attack (he may only make 1 attack even if normally permitted more) at his normal initiative plus 1 segment or 1 segment after the spell is interrupted. The use of magic items assumes that there is enough segments left in the round, use same rules as for delayed actions if not enough segments.
Unlike normal, level draining is not permanent (unless drained below level 0). It comes back at 1 level per week.
It is very rare to find a save or die poison. There are no save or die poisons. Poisons in this campaign will normally do damage, or in the case of more exotic poisons subtract from a characteristic (subtract dexterity for a paralytic). Sometimes 1/2 damage/effect will be taken even if the saving throw is made.
Changes in the Magic System:
Spells do not “max out” at a certain level, but instead continue to accrue dice etc. (A 15th level wizard can cast a fireball for 15 dice).
Saving Throws versus Magic:
Saving throws with physical effects (fireball, lightning bolt, etc) are saved versus breath weapon not spell. Note dexterity bonus (reaction) functions as a bonus in most cases.
Scrolls are used at the level of the reader, never at the level of the maker of the scroll.
Any creature or character with innate abilities (paladin’s laying on hands) may use any one ability and still act normally in the round unless that ability is an attack action… using two special abilities requires the entire rounds worth of actions.
Stacking Magical Bonuses:
Melee and thrown weapons have a maximum magical bonus of +5.
Missile weapons and their projectiles (arrows, bolts etc.) have a maximum bonus of +3 each.
Armor has a maximum magical bonus of +5.
Shields have a maximum magical bonus of +3.
General Protective devices (rings and cloaks) have a maximum bonus of +3.
Bracers of Defense range in AC from 8 to 3 (starting value of 8 with +1 to +5 AC bonuses).
The AC bonuses from magical armor and bracers of defense do not stack.
The AC bonuses from magical armor and rings of protection do not stack.
The AC bonuses from shields and cloaks of protection do not stack.
Note on Weapons:
Exceptional Quality weapons may be purchases at 5 times normal cost, these weapons have a +1 to hit modifier (Bows, crossbows, & slings are can be exceptional, but not arrows or bolts).
Battle Axe, Two Handed
Sword, Rapier 2
1 may be thrown as a hand axe
2 Rapier is a light weapon designed for speed not strength. The user may use dexterity “to hit” bonus instead of strength, but only 1/2 (round up) of any strength bonus applies.
3 +1 AC when used as a parrying device against melee attacks.
Changes to Weapon Damage:
Note: only flight arrows (1-6 damage) for bows are used in this campaign.
- Crossbows & Polearms receive a +1 to hit bonus.
Heavy Crossbows (Arbalests) may be reloaded at light crossbows rates if the user has 18/91 or above strength and the crossbow is designed for such use.
At point blank range (20 feet), an armored target is treated as if his AC were three worse than his actual AC.
A person re-loading a crossbow is at +2 to hit, and gains no dexterity bonus. A person may not move while re-loading a crossbow.
Notes on Armor:
Exceptional Quality armor (must normally be at least partially metal armor, but some special materials [dragon hide etc.] change factors) for times 5 cost (AC +1).
Field Plate and Full Plate are not available in this campaign; Plate Mail (Base AC 3) has the best base armor class.
Breastplate and Leather (AC 6, 25 lb, 80 gp)
Infantry and pikemen are often equipped with a breastplate that is worn over a long leather coat.
Half Plate (AC 4, 40 lb, 300 gp)
Elite foot troops and most medium and heavy cavalry wear half-plate armor, which consists of plate protection for the torso, thighs, and lower arms. Whereas plate mail comprises plates that are worn over chain mail, half plate comprises plates worn over soft leather.
Improved Mail (AC 4, 50lb, 180gp)
Chain mail is improved by reinforcing it with small metal bars threaded through the links.
New Shield Rules:
Main Gauche & Buckler
+1 AC vs melee attacks from front and side
+1 AC vs all attacks from front and side
+2 AC vs all attacks from front and side
Body (Tower) Shield
+2 AC vs melee attacks,
+3 vs missile attacks from front and side.
The following coins are used in this campaign:
adamanitum piece (ap)
1,000 gold pieces (gp)
mithril piece (mp)
500 gold pieces (gp)
platinum piece (pp)
5 gold pieces (gp)
gold piece (gp)
1 gold pieces (gp)
gold piece (gp)
10 silver pieces (sp)
gold piece (gp)
100 copper pieces (cp)
Price List for Common Magical Items:
Potion of Healing (2d4+2 hp)
Potion of Extra Healing (3d8+3)
Clerical Scrolls (up to 4th level)
+1 arrow/bolt/dart/sling bullet
7,500 gp and up