AD&D1e: House Rules


In my campaigns, I use a few house rules designed to create a certain playstyle. I'll talk about each of them in detail in later posts, this is the summary.

  • Open game table - anyone may come or go at any time
  • Bring snacks
  • Character generation: roll 3d6 down the line, choose from fighter, magic-user, cleric or thief. Regardless of rolls, characters may be of any of fighter, magic-user, cleric or thief, but will suffer a 10% malus to XP if they lack a prerequisite attribute. You character may not commit suicide, but if they happen to die, you can roll another character. 
  • No backstory: The Dungeon Master will not test your patience with boxed text, we as a group ask that you return the favour. You don't begin with a story, you create one as a result of play. You will in the game experience a series of events, which you may later choose to tell as a story. 
  • Weapon vs AC: a modified version of these rules are used. 
  • Common Men have 1 weapon proficiency, noncombatants none, and are at -3 to nonproficient weapons; men-at-arms have 2 proficiencies and are at -2 otherwise. 
  • Bracers may be worn. Leather braces worn with no armour provide AC+1, worn with mail or plate they have no effect; plate worn with none, leather or mail provide AC+1, worn with plate they have no effect.
  • Helms: If no suit of armor is worn, a helmet gives a AC+1; a full suit assumes a helm. Helms may provide a malus to surprise rolls, perception and the like. If someone is wearing armour without a helm, any intelligent foe will attack the unarmoured head 50% of the time. 
  • Shield walls grant +1 to AC for each adjoining character (ie +2 for those in the middle, +1 for those on the flanks). A shield wall must be under the command of a fighter of 1st or greater level, should they fall, the wall will break up. 
  • Unarmed fist/feet is available as a weapon proficiency, doing 1d4-2 damage. Some hard metal object (such as sword hilt) or heavy boots grants +1 damage. 
  • Unarmed wrestling is available as a weapon proficiency, the foe if unsurprised automatically gets a free attack at +3 as the grappler approaches, with the grappler getting no AC bonus from Dex, and the victim getting Strength damage bonus/malus to their AC. A successful attack knocks the foe down, a successful second attack grapples them. An Overbear with a shield is at +1, however it may not be followed up with a Grapple. A combatant cannot knock down or grapple a creature in a size category greater than themselves. 
  • Poison requires a weapon proficiency for each type (insinuative or ingestive) or else the non-proficiency penalty acts as a bonus to the victim's save.
  • Fire may hold off animals and monsters of “low” intelligence or below, with them requiring a save vs breath weapon to push past someone with a torch, a pool of burning oil, etc. The save is adjusted by number of animals and size of fire.
  • Hit points: these are regarded as representing parry, as well. A character, NPC or monster reaching 0HP is unconscious. Unless stabilised, they will then lose 1HP per round until they reach the negative of their HD (for monsters) or Constitution (for classed characters) and then die if they fail a Save vs Death; otherwise they are comatose for 1d4 days, and if cared for awake at 0HP with a random attribute reduced by 1. If struck down by a blunt instrument, they will simply remain at their current HP unless further injured. 
  • If raised above 0HP by magic or potions, they may move about normally, but upon casting a spell or doing anything requiring a roll (saving throw, attack, open doors, etc) they must make a System Shock roll; success means operating normally thereafter, failure means death. 
There are a few other small things but players will discover these in play. 

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