House Rules

Here is a list potential issues we have had in Pathfinder, and ways of dealing with them.
I want all of your feedback, questions, etc.

Issue: Make the game more heroic/Harrow cards weren’t the answer.

  • Hero Points — like the Harrow Cards, but with more flexibility. This is the one I am most on the fence about.
    Here are two additional ways of getting temporary hero points:
  • causing character gets deathblow narration — cool roleplay; potential hero point
  • dying character get death monologue — cool roleplay; potential hero point (for next character)
    And an additional way to spend them:
  • Spend 5 hero points for a +1 stat bonus. Can be spent immediately if you are about to gain a hero point that would put you over the limit.

Issue: reduce non-dramatic rolling

  • heal spells can take 5 per d8 instead of rolling outside of combat [again, saving on dice rolling in non-dramatic situations]

Issue: no death spiral; only the last hit point matters; make hit points matter more

  • Wound Thresholds Optional Rules (Pathfinder Unchained) — death spiral, but not too steep; I like it.
    -1 to all d20 rolls if below 75% hit points, -2 at 50%, -3 at 25%. Also, you are only Disabled (not dying), up to negative of your CON modifier. Below that, dying as normal.
  • As an alternative for average hit points every level, both the player and GM each roll for hit points, take the highest; if a tie, +1 (up to max) [trying to prevent too much spread in hit points]

Issue: make combat more mobile and dynamic

  • can Vital strike on a charge
  • can interrupt a move to attack if BAB is +6 or higher (-1 per 5’ moved after the first 5’)
  • if succeed on attack by 10 or more, max normal damage
  • I would also like to encourage more combat maneuvers
  • reasonable amount of time (15-20 seconds) to begin acting (or asking for clarification of situation), or will go on delay [keeps combat moving]

Issue: Let’s make magic more interesting.

  • Words of Power (Ultimate Magic, p. 162) — definitely want to explore this; a more flexible and “Dresden-esque” magic system
  • Spellblight (Ultimate Magic) — its a fair balance with Words of Power
  • Rituals: By spending 10 minutes performing the proper ritual, in addition to the normal casting time of a spell, a spellcaster may cast any spell they know (for spontaneous casters), is in their spellbook (for prepared casters with a spellbook), or is on their spell list (for prepared casters without a spellbook) without having to prepare the spell first, and without expending a spell slot. A wizard cannot cast spells from their opposed schools as rituals. [allows for more out of combat scenes]

Issue: over-reliance on the numerical bonus gear.

  • Automatic Bonus Progression (Pathfinder Unchained) — definitely interested in implementing, but would like full player feedback. reduces dependence on the “Big Six” kind of items
  • Scaling Magic Items (Unchained) — interesting, particularly when woven together with Automatic Bonus Progression. Makes the items you do have eveolve over time.

Issue: Not enough skill points, and/or not where we need them, and/or do more interesting things with skills

  • Background Skills
  • Skill Unlocks

Issue: changing your mind on class/feat/ability choices.

  • Retraining (Ultimate Campaign) — absolutely

Issue: the abstraction of Alignment. How do people feel about the alignment system? I don’t have a true fix here, just an observation that it is far from perfect.

  • Honor (Ultimate Campaign) — nice system for a campaign or character centered around codes, but not for everyone. This system could be applied to individual characters only; this would affect Paladins, Cavaliers, and Samurai the most.

Some campaign-specific optional rules

  • Reputation and Fame (Ultimate Campaign) — I would like to take more advantage of this for World Without Limits; For Glory, For Empire; and Brave New World
  • Downtime (Ultimate Campaign) — interesting with skill changes, even more for World Without Limits or For Glory, For Empire
  • Kingdom Building (Ultimate Campaign) — good sandbox subsystem; required in For Glory, For Empire, could be used in World Without Limits and The Light In the Darkness
  • Investments (Ultimate Campaign) — interesting pairing with the downtime rules

Here is a list of published optional rules that seem too clunky for the payoff, but I am willing implement with 100% agreement from players.

  • Armor As Damage Reduction (Ultimate Combat)
  • Called Shots (Ultimate Combat)
  • Designing Spells (Ultimate Magic)

Clarifications and Standing Table Rulings

  1. Reasonable amount of time (15-20 seconds) to begin acting (or asking for clarification of situation), or will go on delay [keeps combat moving]
  2. Paizo FAQ and Errata and the PRD ( trumps the PFSRD (
  3. If we need to look up a rule, one of the players not currently acting does so, but to preserve the flow of the encounter the GM can make a judgement call and we keep going. If the judgement call deviates egregiously from how the rules are written, we can rewind the scene.
  4. Heal spells can take the average, rounded up, per die of healing effect instead of rolling outside of combat [again, saving on dice rolling in non-dramatic situations]
  5. When a character (player or non-player) is not actively using a skill they do not roll for it but instead use 10 + skill level as their result for a check.
  6. When using a weapon to perform a combat maneuver (e.g., sunder, disarm, trip), you may apply any to-hit bonuses you get for using that weapon to your CMB check.
  7. If an opponent is unaware of you, they count as flat-footed to you. The instant they become aware of you (like after a sword to the back), they no longer count as flat-footed, unless there is another situation or condition that causes them to be flat-footed.
  8. Quick Draw currently lets you sheathe a weapon as a swift action. I propose if you have Two-Weapon Fighting and Quick Draw, you may sheathe both your weapons with the same action. [closing a rule quirk]
  9. Any reference to planes are now “realms” and all references to planes needs to be reviewed for interactions. Realm Warden feat has been proposed, but not finalized.
  10. Rounds of Rage (or like abilities) are counted when starting that ability, and at the beginning of the character’s turn. If a character begins a turn with the ability active, ends it, then activates it again the same turn, that would count as two rounds for the rounds/day limit.
  11. If succeed on attack by 10 or more, max normal damage
  • Paizo FAQ and Errata and the PRD ( trumps the PFSRD (

House Rules

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