Help me finalize some house rules...

There are three in particular I think I might add, but I want to get opinions on them first…

  1. Weapon Proficiency Proficiencies: I thought a good proficiency would be one that allows a character to use a single weapon type outside of those available to their class. So a wizard might learn to use a bow or a sword in addition to his normal, small selection, for instance. Do you think this would upset the class balance too much or is the cost of using up one of your general proficiencies for each weapon type a good exchange in order to allow some leeway for classes?

  2. Cantrips and Orisons: One of the few things the 5E playtest got right is using Vancian magic while still including a few minor spells as ‘at-will’, the type of spells that would be useful in daily magical research, like Mage Hand, or small offensive spells, like Magic Missile (especially in my games where I use true Vancian magic, not the ACKS version). I thought proficiencies would come in useful here, something like ‘Spell Internalization’ where the wizard burns a single, low level spell into his mind permanently, and may cast it freely.

Obviously, this is something that needs to be restricted to spells of much lower level, but not spells like Sleep, Charm, etc. I was thinking the restriction would be spells that are level one, single target and instantaneous effect, for a start, with higher level wizards (5th-10th and 11th to 14th) becoming capable of adding spells of 2nd and, eventually 3rd level.

Any ideas on how to make this work effectively without having wizards become uber-powerful?

  1. Another idea I thought was pretty keen was the Advantage/Disadvantage system which has you roll one extra die and take the best or worst of the two in situations in which you have advantage or disadvantage. The same sort of thing used in Barbarians of Lemuria for Boons and Flaws.

Now, WotC, being the way they are, overused this idea for every little possible advantage and disadvantage (you’re opponent sneezed, you have Advantage!), and I would restrict it to situations of clear and definite advantage and disadvantage, like ambushes and fighting invisible creatures. I think it fits the OS mentality, where DM adjudication is paramount, better than the newer strains of D&D where it has to be rigidly defined for every situation to avoid arguments, but what do you lot think?

  1. You could open up Martial Training, and make it a General. It would effectively be the same as Weapon Proficiency then.

  2. Make “Spell Mastery” a Proficiency that applies to one spell that neither harms (including blinds, in the case of Light) nor heals?

In an ACKS context this is an incredibly powerful ability, I don’t think my players could ever convince me to emulate it.

A possible “downgrade” might be giving additional first level spells equal to Wis or Int stat, not exceeding the spells granted by the class. So an Int 17 Mage could cast 2 1st level spells a day, when he reaches 7th lvl the Mage could cast 5 – three for class, two for Int bonus.

I still think this is an incredibly over-powered advantage. The Old game, and ACKS, both seem to treat magic as a very finite resource. Even a 14th level Mage cannot affort to cast spells frivolously.

  1. Simple. Every time a +/-4 is granted, use Advantage or Disadvantage. This is mostly going to be due to Ambush, fighting Blind or in the dark, or while trying to inflict Non-Lethal Damage.
  1. Cool, I missed that somehow. Good solution that will allow for a few more character concepts (a warrior-mage, for instance) without having to resort to a new class.

  2. I agree with the idea of finite resources, and even prefer it, I’m just trying to figure out a way to give some of the newer players, who are all new to the old school, a small incentive. But you’re probably right, it shouldn’t be necessary.

Alternately, there was an idea I saw once that seemed pretty cool and very old school, and that was allowing wizards with a particular spell memorized to perform minor magic effects related to the spell without expending it. For example, a wizard with fireball memorized, could use his finger as a match, make smoke come out of his ears, etc. Nothing too powerful, but which could be used for utility purposes or as a method of showing off wizardly power.

  1. That’s what I was thinking.

Hmm… point 2 reminds me of this post by the guy who was running Caverns of Thracia.

As for 3, you could even use the advantage mechanic for things like proficiencies that provide +4 for each addition time they’re taken.

Ugh, my links aren’t taking. Was supposed to point to

Used Advantage/Disadvantage last night and it worked a treat. I was allowing folks to shoot into combat using it with the added wrinkle that if you hit with one die and missed with the other, you hit your ally, instead. Yes, I know you normally aren’t allowed to fire into melee, but I haven’t transitioned the players fully from B/X to ACKS yet.

Jedavis, that link was exactly what I had in mind, only I’ll be going full Vancian magic for wizards in my game, so it works pretty much as I imagine it was described in Fight On. I’ve totally ditched the idea of ‘Spell Mastery’ although some utility spells like ‘Mage Hand’ from AD&D might make an appearance as proficiencies in the future, to go along with similar ones in ACKS.

Definitely changing Martial Training to a General proficiency.

I just wanted to say that I think this is an awesome idea. I like how the effects are linked to a parent spell in the spellcaster’s repertoire - guaranteeing a character concentrating on fire spells will have different effects on hand over an illusionist, etc.

Consider it stolen. I may limit the number of cantrips to double the caster’s intelligence or wisdom bonus, just to keep it from getting out of hand or to prevent option paralysis. It will also encourage the player to define a narrow range of powers specific to their character.