Borderlands/Houserules

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Some of this is genuine rules variants, and some of this is either material customized to my game world and style, or clarification/extension on printed rules. I'm trying to be clear which is which.

Character Creation

see also Character Creation

Traits, Templates, and Skills

Background traits
Race, nationality, languages
  • New and Adjusted racial templates are being used, either to fit into the campaign world better or to cater to some of the GMs quirks. Due to some of my other house rules, the costs of some templates have changed, as have the details of others. Please review this page if taking a non-human race.
Advantages and Disadvantages
  • New prices for Appearance (positive and negative) and an explanation.
  • Reawakened (Basic Set, page 80) is available as a Power Up. This replaces the ability of Knights to buy combat skills "on the fly" (as mentioned in DF 3). This comes in two "levels":
  • Reawakened (Emergencies Only, -30%; Focused: Your Template Skills, -20%) [5].
This allows "skilling up" in Combat or other crisis points only, and the skill bought or improved must be situationally appropriate (if a Knight grabs a Battle Axe, he learns Axe/Mace). No money or time needs to be spent in training, but enough free character points must be available and are spent as normal.
  • Reawakened (Focused: Your Template Skills, -20%) [8].
With this version, you NEVER need to spend money or time training Focused skills (or techniques or spells), just points. Normal training is needed for non-Focused skills and other abilities.
"Your Template Skills" covers your template wildcard skill, and all Primary and Secondary skills on the template. Template-less characters can buy similar Reawakened advantages, but the scope of the Focus will need to be defined in advance and is subject to GM veto.
It is perfectly valid for characters that start play with Reawaked to keep unspent points "in reserve" for use with Reawakened as needed.
  • A Clarification on Pyromania - this is a 5 point disadvantage and thus equivalent to needing to shower more regularly, not Compulsive Arsonist.
  • A Clarification on Low TL in DF - The rules for Low TL in the Wildman template are too harsh for a 5/level disadvantage, but some guidelines are needed to prevent it from being free points for physical characters.
  • Guidelines for Sense of Duty: Nature for Borderlands characters, to understand what the expectations are.
Job/Character templates
  • The Alchemist lens for the Artificer template is available, as are the short-duration potion rules and all the equipment from that article.
  • I am using Rev. P. Kitty's Backstab rules and adding Backstab (Knife), Backstab (Shortsword), and Backstab (Smallsword) to the list of Thief advantages (4 point advantage gets you the Backstab technique at equal-to-Skill, partial purchases are not available - you're either committed to being a nasty backstabber or not).

Gear

  • I've had to make up scaling rules for things other than weapons and armor, and for SM +2 creatures (i.e. Ogre or Kentauros barbarians). This doesn't overwrite any of the existing rules, it just expands on them a little. I've also added rules for Fat and Skinny characters.

Combat And Other Excitement

Physical and Mental "injuries"
  • The interaction between Cutting damage and armor DR has been modified.<br/>Cutting weapons have a harder time penetrating armor than piercing or impaling weapons, but when they fail to penetrate they can still transmit energy through the armor like a bludgeoning weapon.<br />If a cutting attack fails to do more than twice the damage resistance of the armor, it fails to penetrate and penetrating damage is treated as crushing. <br />This rule applies to all equipment-based armor unless otherwise noted, and DR from magical spells. Natural Damage Resistance with the Tough Skin (or fur) limitation is not covered by this rule, but Flexible, Touch Transmissive, and unmodified DR are.
Example: Connell is wearing DR 4/2* mail with Fortify +1 when an Orc swings his axe at him. The Orc hits and does 10 cutting damage. Connell has DR 5 vs cutting attacks, so 5 points are absorbed and the remaining 5 points are treated as crushing, causing Connell to lose 5 HP. If the orc had done 11 damage, 5 points would have been absorbed and the remaining 6 would have been treated as cutting with the +50% modifier to penetrating damage, causing Connell to lose 9 HP.
  • Fright Checks are being severely simplified to speed gameplay and reduce "time out" type effects on players. NPCs will also benefit from this rule, however! Note that supernatural fear effects can trigger standard style fright checks instead of the modified version (especially fright checks caused by Elder Things!) Both versions still get the usual modifiers if triggered in combat (+5), from Combat Reflexes and Fearlessness, or for Phobia triggers (based on the Self Control level).
  • Being set on fire is dangerous: If your clothes, hair, or skin have been actually set on fire by burning damage, DR from low tech armor does not protect, nor does Tough Skin DR, but other forms of innate DR will.<br />Note that any attack that does 10 points of damage (bonfire levels) automatically ignites clothing and leather armor and equipment (Basic Set p433) and has a 16 or less chance of setting even live flesh on fire if you are exposed to it for 10 seconds.<br />Even 3 points of damage (a torch) has a 6- chance of setting flesh on fire after 10 seconds, and will set part of your clothes on fire immediately.
Defenses
  • House Rule - Parrying Unarmed Attacks (Basic Set page 376) does half damage, not full damage. For full damage, Wait and perform a Stop Hit instead.
  • Clarification - Run Around Attacks (Basic Set page 391, box) are when a character starts or moves through a front hex, and attacks from a rear hex. Moving from a side hex to a rear hex and attacking does not count as a run-around, and instead is a true attack from behind. Naturally, starting in a rear hex and not going anywhere before attacking also counts as an attack from behind.
  • Clarification - On a similar note, moving from on-the-level to overhead and then attacking in the same turn does not count as an Attack from Above for the purposes of defense penalties unless the victim had no idea it was coming.
  • Clarification - If attacked from a position where you cannot see your attacker due to position rather than invisibility (eg, from behind) but your attacker isn't making any special effort to be hidden, then you may still attempt to defend, as if being attacked by an invisible opponent. The usual Hearing-2 roll is required to try to defend (per Basic 549) at all; if successful the -4 to defenses for blindly defending applies. <br/>However, visibility isn't the only problem when defending against attacks from behind. For "normal" humanoid characters, "behind" is one of the arcs where shield bonuses to defense do NOT apply and Block is forbidden - and Parry is at a -2 penalty for being a very awkward location and angle to try to get your weapon into.
  • Double Jointed characters may ignore the -2 to Parry attacks from behind, but still may not attempt to block and must still cope with visibility problems.
  • Characters with Peripheral vision do not need to make a Hearing roll to defend against attacks from behind, and only suffer a -2 to "blind" defenses instead of -4 against back attacks. They still have the position penalties.
For your convenience, here is a table summarizing the modifiers from position to defense and how they "stack":
&nbsp; Normal Flexibility Flexible Double Jointed
Normal Vision Hearing-2 or no defenses at all. Dodge at -4, parry at -6, no block, no DB. Hearing-2 or no defenses at all. Dodge at -4, parry at -5, no block, no DB. Hearing-2 or no defenses at all. Dodge and parry at -4, no block, no DB.
Peripheral Vision Dodge at -2, parry at -4, no block, no DB. Dodge at -2, parry at -3, no block, no DB. Dodge at -2, parry at -2, no block, no DB.
360 Vision Dodge at no penalty, parry at -2, no block, no DB. Dodge at no penalty, parry at -1, no block, no DB. Dodge and parry at no penalty, no block, no DB.

Magic

  • High spell skill cannot reduce final modified Energy cost below 1.<br />Area and leveled spells calculate their total cost as usual, applying reduction last as usual. Then if the cost is reduced to 0, bump it back to 1.<br/>Some weird mana levels, artifacts, and effects may remove the "minimum of 1" rule or offer further discounts.
  • Sacrifice magic will be available to Holy (and Unholy) spell casters, mostly in consecrated areas. The GM is still debating for other sources. Sentient sacrifice is generally cause for a lightning bolt to the face, but properly conducted animal sacrifice is considered normal and socially acceptable.
  • Alternate Mana levels will be used.<br />No and Normal Mana remains as written.<br />Low Mana comes in two levels, imposing a -3 to spell skill, and -6. Otherwise treat as "Low Mana" for all purposes (Recover Energy etc.)<br />High Mana comes in two levels, and grants a skill bonus (+3 and +6). Otherwise treat as "High Mana" for all purposes (Recover Energy etc.)
  • Mana levels fluctuate based on a schedule and a random table roll, moving between between Low -6 and High +6. Approximately 40% of the time the Mana levels will be "Normal". Locations will feature aspects, patches of No Mana, Very High Mana, Twisted Mana, Wild Mana, and possibly other thaumatological hazards.
  • An alternate pricing scheme for Armour Enchantments is in effect (plus a couple of new enchantments are available!).