Azuria House Rules & Game Concepts
Hero points give the player a way to directly influence certain die rolls. They are a way of representing that intangible something extra within a hero to squeeze out a last bit of effort in order to overcome some great obstacle. The warrior who harnesses every last ounce of strength to land the killing blow, a mage who by monumental effort throws off the effects of a vampire’s mind control, or the rogue who knows she has only one chance to escape the maw of a purple worm – such are the moments that heroes live for. And their ability to put just that little bit of extra “something” into their efforts are what distinguish them from just another adventurer.
How hero points work
- Each day a PC gets a pool of hero points equal to their level. Renewing points requires a night’s rest, just like renewing spells.
- Hero points can be applied to any one attack or damage roll, saving throw, initiative or skill check, or added to armor class against one attacker. Rolling a natural 1 is still a failure on attacks and saves.
- For any given roll, from 1 to a maximum of 5 points can be used, but the use and number must be declared before the roll is made. Points are used whether the roll is successful or not.
- Hero points may only be used once in a round.
- Hero points may also be used to self-stabilize if a PC goes below zero hit points. If this happens, all remaining hero points are used up for the day.
- It is possible that certain worthy foes also have hero points and will use them accordingly.
Magic armour is no more encumbering than normal clothing. Part of the magic imparts a lightness and flexibility it didn’t have before. It still takes a certain skill to wear it and move around in it, so you still need the requisite proficiency and any arcane spell failure chances still apply.
REASON: This is done in order to make armour practical to still use at higher levels. We found in the past that beyond a certain point no one wanted to wear armour any more. They could afford to equip themselves with bracers and rings that gave them exactly the same protections, so there was no need to suffer the disadvantages of wrapping themselves in leather or steel. The game begins to lose some of its flavour when this happens. “Behold the shining knight in his…um, bracers of armor +8, ring of protection +3, and frilly shirt and silk pantaloons.”
For those of you that remember, this is the way magic armour was treated back in
1st edition as well.
Magic creation does not cost experience points. It instead costs time and money. The specifics of how this works are detailed elsewhere. What’s more, you don’t need a separate feat for every type of item, just one general “Item Creation” feat, though you still need to meet minimum level requirements. You also must have access to a fully stocked lab/workshop.
One of the reasons I think they put in the XP requirement for item creation is that time doesn’t have a lot of meaning in many campaigns, since groups often jump from one campaign to the next. Since time is very meaningful in our campaigns, it works better as a cost mechanisms than penalizing characters XP.
As far as item creation feats, it simply seems unnecessary and overly restrictive to have eight separate feats for creating magic. No character will use more than a couple of feats on item creation, because they are so valuable and must be used elsewhere. And really, why is placing an enchantment on a piece of steel shaped like a sword so different from placing one on a piece of steel shaped like a shield or a ring? And because of the time restraints inherent in creating magic, player characters won’t be churning out dozens of items anyway.
Also, it is entirely possible for a non-magic using class to create a magic item, though it’s a bit more difficult and involved. A fighter for instance should be able to enchant her own sword, or to improve upon an existing enchantment. This is done through pursuing certain quests and goals. For example, say the Fighter wishes to have her +1 Longsword be Flaming. She might start by going to the Great Library in Greyhawk and pay a sage there to tell her how to turn the blade into a Sword of Flame. The sage might then direct her to plunge the blade into the heart of a certain volcano in the Hellfurnaces. Upon getting to the volcano, the Fighter might find out that it is the home of a Red Dragon. For an amount of treasure or an extra magical item, the Dragon might consent to taking the sword to the heart of the volcano. Thus, at the end of the adventure, the Fighter has paid money or treasure to the sage and the Dragon (say 1,700gp worth), and done more than enough adventuring to be worth the extra 1,300gp worth of treasure owed for the enchantment.
Protecting items and bodies These rules have been implemented as a way to try and balance the number of powerful magic items that begin to appear at higher levels of play.
As the central characters in the ongoing story, the player characters see lots and lots of magic on their fallen victims. Purely from a game-balance perspective, if they kept everything they found, the campaign would quickly get thrown out of kilter as each character became a walking magic shop. The DM would have to compensate by giving opponents even more magic, and the vicious circle would continue. Conversely, from the player’s point of view, they may have a prized magic item they have had for most of their careers, something with as storied a history as any character, maybe even a name. A big bad guy comes along, knocks the character unconscious with a lucky blow, and makes off with the item just like that.
So, what to do? We came up with the concept of being able to protect magic items with a form of contingency spell. So, for instance, one could stipulate that if they drop below zero hit points then their prized Staff of the Magi will teleport home.
Such protections are not cheap; otherwise everything on a person would be protected. But if only the most valuable items can be protected, that still means the characters will end up with piles of +1 daggers and rings. Not so. The material components that go into making the protections are usually lesser magic items, and the more powerful the “lesser” item is, the better the protection. So that takes care of all the extraneous magic that many higher level characters accumulate. What’s more, such protection is one-use only – if an item gets teleported home, then its protection is used up, and it must be reapplied again.
But how then can a group ever capture a really nice magic item from an opponent if all the good stuff is protected? The answer is that those lesser magic items can also be made into magical dusts that can be used to counteract the protections on an item. So that if a certain item has +4 protection, someone would have to use dust equivalent or equal to that +4 if they want to prevent the item from disappearing.
This allows the player characters to still acquire nice magic items, but at a price, and it prevents them from getting every goody an opponent has – and at high levels, there are going to be quite a few goodies.
This concept has been expanded to include protecting someone’s body itself. There is simply too much damage that can be done to a body if it falls into enemy hands, not the least of which is preventing its resurrection. So a body can also have protection on it, which can also be counteracted by powerful enough dust. This body protection and dust uses the same concept as item protection, but the process of protection and the dust used to counteract it are different.
So when an opponent dies, the player characters often have to make some quick choices – do they dust the body, so that their enemy can’t be making a reappearance anytime soon? Or do they dust that magnificent magical axe that was tearing through them moments ago? If they’re lucky two of them have powerful enough dust that they can get both. But then there are those boots of flying too…
The specific rules for all this are detailed under Creating Magic Protections and Dusts.
Psionics are extremely rare, but they do exist. One of the members of the group that liberated Azuria is rumoured to be an accomplished psionicist. The Scarlet Brotherhood is known to have many powerful psioncists in their ranks.
NOTE: You likely won’t see much of this. It’s included mostly for consistency, but most of our (Sharon’s & Shawn’s) experience with psionics is from the 1st edition. Neither of us has any real working knowledge of 3.5, so don’t expect to feel the force flowing through too many folks.
Protecting a building or area from physical intrusion and/or shielding it from scrying – There are rooms or areas that are built so as to keep out unwanted visitors, both physical and magical. There are various means to achieve this, some more expensive than others.
Ethereal Stone – A rare and special type of stone whose existence extends into the Ethereal plane. This blocks passage by ethereal creatures, as well as those in the Plane of Shadow, and can also block some forms of scrying. Does not block teleport or plane shifting, but does block dimension door.
Wall of Force – If created as an enclosed sphere, it will block dimension door and teleport, but not plane shifting. Blocks some scrying, but not all.
Lead Sheeting – This will block pretty much everything, including dimension door, teleport, and even plane shifting. It also blocks scrying.
Forbiddance spell – Note that this does not prevent scrying or divining about what is inside its area of effect. It also has inherent limitations: chiefly, needing a password to overcome the alignment restrictions, as well as being subject to dispelling. This makes it less desirable for the protection of many buildings and areas.
It is possible to combine types of protection for greater effect. For example, here is a description for the walls surrounding a high-security vault – obscenely expensive, but it was built for a king: Normal ethereal stone surrounds a 2-inch sheeting of iron. Beyond this is special ethereal stone with such a high percentage of metals in it that passwall won’t work. It is also magically infused such that any other spell targeting it (such as disintegrate) must overcome SR 24, plus it gets a Fort save +20 to resist the effect. The rooms themselves are faced with 1 foot of heavy granite. Between this stone and the special ethereal stone is a layer of multiple metals: steel, iron, lead, copper, tin and a thin sheet of adamantine.
Magic is everywhere, and it’s created from a lot of things. Some of the things it is created from are the parts of powerful creatures, particularly important parts like the brain, blood, or heart. It’s the concept of there being mana, or inherent power, in living things, and the more powerful they are (or were), the more power is within them and their various parts. And different parts are good for different things. So one might use the skin of a displacer beast to create a cloak of displacement, or the blood of an umber hulk in the ink for a stoneskin scroll.
Consequently it is not unusual to see your mages descend on a fresh corpse like hungry ghouls and whip out scalpels and collection jars in order to capture some prized body part for possible use in crafting future magic items.
There are no hard and fast rules here, but using appropriate body parts will usually result in an item that is better and/or cheaper than the standard book item. Creativity is encouraged.