Deus Ex Machina
This is a game still under construction at the moment. Also, this will be first time running a Pathfinder game; I have DM’ed 3.5 since it’s release. Over time, I have collected a huge amount of homebrew rules for 3.5, and I don’t expect it to be any different for Pathfinder. So, a lot of changes from the norm, and likely more to come as I learn the system better. The only things allowed are from Paizo Pathfinder. No conversions from 3.5 and no third party publishers. This is for everything; feats, spells, domains, magic items, equipment, etc. Exceptions would be listed below. Also, no prestige classes; ask me again after 20. No evil, I run those games but they are totally different critters.
*I will be using the pantheon from 3.5, will tweak the domains to fit. Sub-domains available only by asking.
Step 1 – Stats – I do a straight point-to-point stat system. Everyone gets 90 points to distribute, but no stat can be lower than 10 or higher than 18 (before racial bonuses/negatives). So, no stat will be lower than 8 or higher than 20; this means no +4 or -4 racial stats. I would prefer if you have no final stat below 10. I’ve given you a huge point pool, there’s really no excuse to be below 10.
*A note on this; you are a hero, an elite/exceptional being with power beyond normal members of your race. The medieval/D&D environment is not a friendly, comfortable place for anyone. Good, Evil, monsters, magic, planar beings, and so on. A ‘normal’ person is 10 in all stats. However, a ‘normal’ person in this setting would be considered exceptional in our society. It’s a hard environment to survive in, so a 10 does not mean average 2013 human. With a 10 in intelligence, wisdom, charisma; you are not ugly, stupid, or rash. If you desire to roleplay yourself that way, I have no problem with it. However, don’t think because you have a 10 intelligence that you have to play yourself as stupid; you’re just not exceptional. Same goes for all the physical stats, a 10 strength does not make you weak and I hardly will enforce you to play like it.
Step 2 – Races – This one is a bit confusing because the races are terribly unbalanced (especially some of the substitutions). I will be using the Pathfinder race creation guidelines to make them more equivalent to each other. We will be using the core and featured races (no Dhampir); I will be changing them all to fit the following rules. They will be within 10-12 RP, only standard abilities can be taken, and no ability will cost more than 3 RP. No negative abilities for the most part. I think ‘slow’ is the only one I would allow, and that’s just because it does make sense for dwarves. Picking a race that has negative abilities means I will take them out first and then re-balance. There are a few races that will need reductions anyway. Taking an entirely new race is possible as long as it fits the world and we can come up with a good background/society. These will of course be based on a theme and meta-gaming a super race is just not going to fly. For any of the races, if you want something that’s not thematically correct, don’t bother asking, I’m going to say no. However, I will not let you take a race that’s less than 7 RP. It’s just too easy to pick something that would boost it up without changing the concept. I don’t mind if you pick something considered ‘not optimal’, I just don’t want the relative curve to be that off from the start. Shoot + Self + Foot is not allowed! :)
Step 3 – Classes – Core classes only, but there will be changes to several of them. Archetypes allowed on a case by case basis, all need to be approved by me. I HATE policing spell lists, so there will only be spontaneous casters. Wizard and sorcerer will be merged together in a way. Permanent intelligence bonuses will add to spells known while charisma will still be the stat for casting numbers and spells per day. You’re considered a sorcerer, but you will get both classes in-class skills, a familiar, and the feat at every fifth level. Clerics are now spontaneous and can cast everything in the book, minus anything that is opposite alignment or something your god will just not permit (thematically). Being positive or negative energy just affects channeling. If you or your god is good, you are automatically positive energy; this is also the same for evil. Only neutral characters that worship a neutral god can choose which energy they channel. If you pick positive energy (or are forced to do so), I will give you Versatile Channeler for free. This is to mitigate the deficit of useful damaging Cleric spells. No Ur-Priests allowed, you have to pick a god. Paladins, druids, and rangers are spontaneous as well. Instead of your god deciding not to allow certain spells, casting/acting in certain ways will cause loss of favor. This is more of a thematic issue than a hard and fast rule. Bards and druids still seem underpowered, so more leeway will be allowed with archetypes.
Step 4 – Magic items are all case by case. Creation rules will be different. You will not be allowed to craft and travel. Also, certain effects can be stacked and no others. There is a decent list in the 3.5 magic item compendium that explains ‘common’ effects. Those are going to be the exceptions. I will either photocopy the table or provide it on the site somewhere. Of course, some things may be allowed if they are thematically appropriate. I do like ingenuity, just don’t be surprised when I make it fit the power curve. Also, creating your own spells will be allowed if you really want to work on it with me.
Step 5 – Level/Start – I do encourage background, and you may be rewarded based on what you have created. I don’t like to start at level 1. I’ve done it many times and I discovered I prefer 3rd or 5th. I’m not entirely sure what level this game will begin at, but I am leaning towards 5th right now. What items you start with will be based on base gold for the level and background availability. Only stock items will be allowed at the start. There will be a limit on how many things you can have with you. No haversacks or the like at the start.
Step 6 – Ask – Just ask. I do like ingenuity, so if you like something that fits thematically, just ask me. I’d like to think I’m a reasonable person. If you can cite me good balanced examples and precedence, I will consider the idea. I like to put a lot of thought into my games, so I will have to think about anything funky for a bit before answering. Making a clear and logical argument will help immensely, but I am the final say in the matter. Don’t mistake my reasonability for a way to argue every little game point with me. That is just annoying for everyone. If you do want to discuss something like this, it will be out of game.
Step 7 – Don’t go there – Seriously… sometimes, just don’t go there. A great example is Sunder. You want to make an entire character concept focusing around sunder? Fine, but then I will start to be a whole lot more serious about item destruction. You want to use Mordenkain’s Dysjunction? Sure! Just don’t be surprised when I use it back. I have a tendency to stay away from things that just fuck the party over with one missed save, like instant death, it’s just cheesy to do instead of making the encounter actually more challenging. However, if you build something forcing some of my less harshly enforced rules, then I will start to enforce them to the letter. Trust me, it’s far worse for everyone else in the world to have X than it is good for you to have X. There was a spell in 3.0 DnD called ‘Hide Life’. It basically made every wizard/sorcerer a lich by encasing a body part that had to be destroyed in order for them to actually die. My husband asked if he could take the spell. I told him, “Okay, but you do realize that every single arcane caster in the world would be stupid to NOT do that same thing.” He, wisely, chose not to open that box. Granted, he would be almost unkillable, but so would every other arcane caster in the world. So.. seriously…just don’t go there…