DM Tools - House Rules


House Rules

The following "house rules" are completely optional guidelines designed for running a campaign in Khoras using D&D v3.5 rules. I use these rules and guidelines for my own role playing games and with my own group. I include them here only to give other game masters an idea of the numbers and house rules I use, but these are, in no way, required or canon. Feel free to use or ignore, as your discretion.

To my own players... these house rules are in effect for all of our campaigns.


Racial Stats and Bonuses for D&D v3.5

The following table gives the basic racial stat adjustments and characteristics of the various Khorasian races. Charisma modifiers apply only when dealing with other races.

Race STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA Move Notes and Special Abilities
Aswani -1 +2 -1 0 0 0 50 Heightened sense of hearing gives +4 to any listen.
Heightened sense of smell gives them a smell check like a listen check.
Extremely agile: +2 on tumble, jump, climb, swim, move silently.
Innate "magic sense". Ability to sense magic (presence and intensity only) in close proximity.
Avarian -2 +1 0 +1 0 0 30/60 Capable of true flight.
Extremely sharp vision gives +4 on spot and search checks.
Baenite +1 0 +1 +2 0 -2 30 Immune to bright light, flashes and other such temporary blindness.
Borrellian +1 0 +2 0 0 0 30 Take half damage from cold, but double damage from heat.
Immune to bright light, flashes and other such temporary blindness.
Dwarf 0 0 +2 0 0 -2 20 Can see in the dark and other traits as given in PH v3.5
Elf 0 +2 -2 0 0 0 30 Can see in dim light and other traits as given in PH v3.5
Eshtari 0 0 0 0 +1 +1 30 No noteworthy traits. They are very similar to humans.
Grum -2 +2 0 0 0 +1 20 Extremely agile: +2 on tumble and climb.
Very stealthy: +3 on move silent rolls.
Human 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 None. Humans are the frame of reference.
Magrakian +2 -1 +5 -2 -2 +1 30 Half damage from fire, frost, acid and electrical attacks.
Magrakians have very poor sense of smell and taste.
Dull senses: -1 to spot, search and listen.
+4 on rolls against poison and disease
+2 on base armor class due to naturally thick coarse hide.
Ogre +4 0 +3 -1 -1 -1 30 +1 base armor class due to thick skin
Phellysian -1 +4 -1 0 0 0 40 Heightened sense of hearing gives +2 to any listen.
Heightened sense of smell gives them a smell check like a listen check.
Extremely agile: +3 on tumble, jump, climb, swim, move silent
Saridian -1 +1 -1 +3 0 0 30 None
Saurian +1 -1 +1 -1 0 -2 30/60 Excellent swimmers: +8 on swim checks.
Ability to hold breath 3 times as long as human.
Harothi can enter "battle dance" berzerk rage as a barbarian.
+3 on armor class due to tough scaled hide.
Secambru +7 -2 +4 -4 -2 -1 50 None
Sybrenar +1 0 +2 +1 0 0 30 +1 on armor class due to thick, coarse skin.
Trossoli -2 -1 -2 +3 0 -3 20 -1 on armor class due to thin skin and tender flesh.
Vaullian +1 -3 +1 +2 +3 0 10 +1 on armor class due to very thick skin.


Modifications to the Combat System

Fumble - On any roll of a 1, you provoke an attack of opportunity.

Modifications to the Magic System

The Drellis Effect

During Drellis phase, you cast your spells as if you were two levels lower.
During Karrym phase, you cast your spells as if you were two levels higher.

This doesn't affect your total daily allotment of spells, only the characteristics of the spell (range, area of effect, damage, etc).

Orichalcum and Power Crystals

Orichcalcum and power crystals are two types of minerals that are potent sources of magical energy and can be used by wizards to power spells. Both of them are somewhat rare and quite expensive.

Orichalcum is like a rechargeable magical battery. It can be used to store magical energy and can be reused many times (typically, a piece of orichalcum can be recharged up to 50 times). One pound of orichalcum stores the equivalent of one spell level of energy. Therefore a 5 pound brick of orichalcum would store enough energy to unleash two second level spells and one first level spell. Orichalcum is unaffected by the Drellis Effect. Orichalcum will detect as “magical” for any type of detect magic spell or ability if it is "charged". If it is depleted (i.e. an empty battery) it is a mundane item and will not register as magical under any type of detect magic scan.

Orichalcum Addiction
Orichalcum is dangerous to use. Overuse of the mineral can cause a mage to develop an addiction to it. If the mage uses orichalcum, he must make a Will roll at the end of the day. The DC of the roll is 10 + (twice the number of spell levels cast using orichalcum). For instance, if a wizard casts 6 spell levels worth of magic using orichalcum, he must roll a Will save at DC 22. A failure indicates that his addiction increases by one level as indicated on the table below.

Orichalcum Addiction Levels
Level 0 Not addicted. Mage may cast spells normally.
Level 1 Minor addiction. Mage must use orichalcum at least once per day or must roll Will save DC 15+spell level  to successful cast any spell. A failed roll results in a misfire of the spell.
Level 2 Moderate addiction. Mage must use orichcalcum at least partially for any spell he casts. Otherwise Will save DC 20 + spell level to successfully cast spell and avoid a spell misfire.
Level 3 Severe addiction. Mage can only cast spells using orichalcum and must power the spell entirely with orichalcum. Failure to power the spell entirely with orichalcum requires a Will save DC 30 + spell level to successfully cast a spell and avoid a spell misfire.

Addiction can be cured with time. For each week without orichalcum use, the mage gets to roll a Will save DC 20. Success means his addiction is reduced by one level.

Power Crystals
Power crystals are similar to orichalcum. However, power crystals much more intensely charged. A one pound crystal contains five spell levels of energy. They are mined in quarries like any other mineral. They come out of the ground fully charged. They are not rechargeable and can only be used once. When a power crystal is depleted of energy, it turns into a dull, smoky grey piece of lifeless glass. If struck with enough force, a power crystal will crack or shatter. A power crystal that has magical energy in it, if shattered, will release all of that energy in an explosion.

Both orichalcum and power crystals are dangerous to use as a mage who overuses either of them can become addicted. Power crystals, in particular, are dangerous to use if used in large quantities.

Power crystals have an addiction power which is identical to orichalcum. In addition to the risk of addiction, power crystals have the following:

1 hit point of damage for each spell level cast due to the strain on the mage

For every 5 spell levels used with power crystal, the user suffers a -1 penalty to STR, DEX and CON. This penalty lasts one day. So, if a mage were to cast 7 spell levels using a power crystal, the user would suffer 7 points of damage immediately and a -1 to STR, DEX and CON the following day.


Scrolls in my campaign work a little differently than in traditional D&D... scrolls are just words on paper, essentially. So, a non-magical scroll is just that. Non magical. Let’s call it a “mundane scroll”. Words on paper. It could be written in any language. It could be a spell written in one of the classical spell coding systems. Regardless it’s just information written down. That’s all. If it’s a spell and you are a wizard, you could copy that information into your own spell book. No problem. It’s just information.

A “magic scroll” is a magic item. It’s actually got a specific spell that will be triggered if you read what’s on the scroll. The text on the scroll functions like a command word. You just have to read it. And it could be anything. It’s not a copy of the scroll, it’s a read-activated magic item. If a wizard wanted to, he could make it a poem written on that scroll. Or a long flowery speech. Or a single word. Every scroll is different. If you read the text, the embedded spell goes off. Depending on how the scroll was created, it might be a “single use” item or it might have multiple uses. You might have to read the entire thing or you might have to read ANY word on it. It could even have more than one spell option. It could have 4 different pieces of text, each activating a different spell, for example. Anything is possible and every scroll is unique because it’s a magic item. The whole idea behind a magic scroll is that you activate it by reading it. So, anyone who can READ the scroll can fire off the spell or activate the magic. Obviously, you must be able to read and the scroll must be written in a language you understand. When you’re done reading the scroll, the text might vanish or it might not. It depends on what the creator of that item wanted it to do. In any case, the magic is expended (unless the creator specifically enchanted the scroll such that it has multiple uses).

Spell Coding Systems

Spells must be written in one of the classical "spell coding systems" used in Khoras. These are "classic" systems of arcane mathematics, eldritch runes and ancient glyphs... the language of spells that only wizards understand. It is possible for a wizard to know more than one code, just as any person may speak more than one language. In order to translate a spell from one code to another, you must know both codes. The spell Read Magic does not exist. If you want to copy a spell from one code system to another, and you don't know both, you can always go to a major city and hire a wizard who does have the necessary knowledge of the codes to copy the spell for you.

Changes to the Skill System

Use Magic Device

This skill is eliminated. We will not be using it. Every magic item is unique. Some require a command word. Others require thought to activate. Some have a button. There are no items in Khoras that will "only work for wizards" or "only work for evil characters" or "only work for 5th level characters or higher". Class, level and alignment are metagame concepts and cannot be the basis of item activation. Therefore, no items will be class, alignment or level dependent (or any other ill-defined metagame concept). If an item has a command word, anyone can say it, regardless of class or level or alignment. The same goes for any other activation method.


Tracking is a separate skill now. It is not a part of the Survival skill. Tracking is a class skill for Rangers and a cross-class skill for everyone else. The associated key ability for Tracking is Wisdom.

Language Skill

In order to speak a language other than your native tongue, you must take the language skill for that specific language. Furthermore, the mastery of the language depends on your skill rank in that language. There is no associated “key ability” with language. This skill is trained only. Every character is assumed to be fluent (skill rank 3) in their native language. For any other language other than your own language, you must spend skill points to learn that language. In addition, if a character wishes to learn to read and write a language, he or she must spend one additional skill point. A character can only increase skill in a language by one skill rank level per character level.

Skill Level Ability
1 Simple greetings and basic phrases only. Beyond this, the speaker has a 15% chance of knowing any particular word or phrase. Speaker has a very thick accent.
2 Speaker can carry on only a very basic conversation about simple topics. The speaker has an accent and has a 50% chance of knowing any particular word or phrase.
3 Fluent. Speaker knows the language as well as a native. The speaker can carry on a normal conversation and exhibits only a slight  accent. Speaker understands most colloquialisms, slang and idioms.
4 Complete mastery of the language. Speaker is able to discuss the most complex topics with ease. Understands the most subtle shades of meaning.  Speaker does not have any accent at all. In fact, the speaker is also able to identify regional dialects and accents and can even mimic them.



This website was last updated February 29, 2024. Copyright 1990-2024 David M. Roomes.

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