House Rules

In large combats, players often have little control over the outcome of events when it isn’t their turn. This can lead to boredom if a player’s attention drifts between his turns, threatening to distance him from the outcome of events. One method of dealing with this problem is to put more dice rolling into your players’ hands. Page 25 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide presents the defense roll variant, in which the player rolls his character’s AC against each attack, rather than using the character’s standard static AC number. This variant has the drawback of slowing game play (since now every attack requires two rolls to determine success instead of only one). An option that avoids this drawback is to put all the dice rolling in the hands of the players during combat.

With this variant, PCs make their attacks just like they do in the standard rules. Their opponents, however, do not. Each time an enemy attacks a PC, the character’s player rolls a defense check. If that defense check equals or exceeds the attack score of the enemy, the attack misses. To determine a creature’s attack score, add 11 to the creature’s standard attack modifier (the number it would use, as either a bonus or penalty to its attack roll, if it were attacking in an ordinary situation using the standard rules). For instance, an ogre has a standard attack modifier of +8 with its greatclub. That means that its attack score is 19. To make a defense check, roll 1d20 and add any modifiers that normally apply to your Armor Class (armor, size, deflection, and the like). This is effectively the same as rolling a d20, adding your total AC, and then subtracting 10.
Attack Score: 11 + enemy’s attack bonus
Defense Check: 1d20 + character’s AC modifiers
If a player rolls a natural 1 on a defense check, his character’s opponent has scored a threat (just as if it had rolled a natural 20 on its attack roll). Make another defense check; if it again fails to avoid the attack, the opponent has scored a critical hit. When a PC attacks an opponent, he makes an attack roll against the opponent’s AC as normal.

With this variant, NPCs and other opponents no longer make saving throws to avoid the special attacks of player characters. Instead, each creature has a Fortitude, Reflex, and Will score. These scores are equal to 11 + the creature’s Fortitude, Reflex, and Will save modifiers. Any time you cast a spell or use a special attack that forces an opponent to make a saving throw, instead make a magic check to determine your success. To make a magic check, roll 1d20, add all the normal modifiers to any DC required by the spell or special attack (including the appropriate ability modifier, the spell’s level if casting a spell, the adjustment for Spell Focus, and so on). If the result of the magic check equals or exceeds the appropriate save score (Fortitude, Reflex, or Will, depending on the special ability), the creature is affected by the spell or special attack as if it had failed its save. If the result is lower than the creature’s Fortitude, Reflex, or Will score (as appropriate to the spell or special attack used), the creature is affected as if it had succeeded on its save.
Magic Check: 1d20 + spell level + ability modifier + other modifiers
Fortitude Score: 11 + enemy’s Fortitude save modifier
Reflex Score: 11 + enemy’s Reflex save modifier
Will Score: 11 + enemy’s Will save modifier
If a player rolls a natural 20 on a magic check, the creature’s equipment may take damage (just as if it had rolled a natural 1 on its save; see Items Surviving after a Saving Throw, page 177 of the Player’s Handbook).

If a PC has spell resistance, his player makes a spell resistance check against each incoming spell that allows spell resistance. A spell resistance check is 1d20 plus the PC’s spell resistance, minus 10. The DC of this check is equal to 11 + the attacker’s caster level, plus any modifiers that normally apply to the attacker’s caster level check to overcome spell resistance (such as from the Spell Penetration feat). That value is known as the attacker’s caster level score. If the spell resistance check equals or exceeds this number, the spell fails to penetrate the PC’s spell resistance. To beat a creature’s spell resistance, a player makes a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) against its spell resistance, just as in the standard rules.
Spell Resistance Check: 1d20 + SR – 10
Caster Level Score: 11 + attacker’s caster level + modifiers

The spell point system presented here allows casters to more freely pick and choose which spells they cast each day. Every spellcaster has a reserve of spell points based on class and level (see Table 5–3: Spell Points per Day). Characters also gain bonus spell points from a high ability score (just as a normal spellcaster would gain bonus spells from a high ability score; see Bonus Spell Points and Bonus Spells, below). These spell points provide the magical power behind the caster’s spells: She spends a number of spell points appropriate to the spell’s level to cast the spell (see Casting Spells, below). Once spent, spell points are expended until the caster has sufficient time to rest and prepare new spells (see Preparing Spells, below). In addition to the stated number of spell points per day, a cleric and priest get a number of domain spell points which can only be spent on domain spells. A specialist wizard gets a number of specialty school spell points which can only be spent on spells from their chosen school. The numbers after the “+” in the entries on this table represent those spell points. Domain and specialty school spell points are in addition to any bonus spell points the cleric, priest, or specialist wizard receive.

Table 5-3: Spell Points Per Day
Level Bard, Magus, Alchemist,
Inquisitor, Summoner
Specialist Wizard*
Druid, Witch,
Universalist Wizard
Priest* Paladin,
Sorcerer, Oracle
1st 1 1+1 1 1+2 - 3 -
2nd 2 2+1 2 2+2 - 4 -
3rd 3 5+4 5 6+8 - 5 -
4th 6 9+4 9 10+8 0 15 -
5th 10 14+9 14 18+18 1 18 1
6th 13 22+9 22 26+18 1 36 1
7th 18 30+16 30 38+32 1 44 1
8th 26 42+16 42 50+32 4 70 4
9th 32 54+25 54 66+50 5 82 5
10th 39 70+25 70 82+50 5 116 5
11th 51 86+36 86 102+72 10 132 10
12th 61 106+36 106 122+72 13 174 13
13th 70 126+49 126 146+98 14 194 14
14th 86 150+49 150 170+98 21 244 21
15th 100 174+64 174 198+128 26 268 21
16th 111 202+64 202 226+128 29 326 29
17th 131 230+81 230 258+162 30 354 30
18th 149 262+81 262 290+162 37 420 37
19th 169 292+81 292 307+162 42 452 42
20th 180 324+81 324 324+162 52 486 45

With this variant, spellcasters still prepare spells as normal (assuming they normally prepare spells). In effect, casters who prepare spells are setting their list of “spells known” for the day. They need not prepare multiple copies of the same spell, since they can cast any combination of their prepared spells each day (up to the limit of their spell points). For example, Mialee the 4th-level wizard has an Intelligence score of 16. When using the spell point system, she would prepare four 0-level spells, four 1st-level spells (three plus her bonus spell for high Int), and three 2nd-level spells (two plus her bonus spell for high Int). These spells make up her entire list of spells that she can cast during the day, though she can cast any combination of them, as long as she has suffi cient spell points.
Bonus Spell Points and Bonus Spells
Any spellcaster who would normally receive bonus spells for a high ability score receives bonus spell points instead. In effect, the character can simply cast more of her spells each day. To determine the number of bonus spell points gained from a high ability score, first find the row for the character’s ability score on Table 5–4: Bonus Spell Points. Use whichever ability score would normally award bonus spells for the character’s class (Wisdom for clerics and druids, Intelligence for wizards, and so forth). Next, find the column for the highest level of spell the character is capable of casting based on her class level (even if she don’t have a high enough ability score to cast spells of that level). At the point where the row and column intersect, you find the bonus spell points the character gains. This value can change each time her ability score undergoes a permanent change (such from an ability score increase due to character level or one from a wish spell) and each time her level changes. For example, Mialee the 4th-level wizard has an Intelligence score of 16 and is capable of casting 2nd-level spells. The number on Table 5–4 at the intersection of the 16–17 row and the 2nd column is 4, so Mialee has 4 extra spell points to spend each day (in addition to the 11 points she gets for being a 4th-level wizard). If Mialee’s Intelligence were increased to 20 because of a fox’s cunning spell or a headband of intellect +4, she wouldn’t gain any additional bonus spell points, since those effects produce temporary changes, not permanent changes. However, when she reaches 5th level, her bonus spell points would increase from 4 to 9 (since she is now capable of casting 3rd-level spells and thus uses that column), and her overall total would increase from 15 to 25. A character who would normally receive bonus spells from a class feature (such as from wizard specialization or access to a domain) can instead prepare extra spells of the appropriate levels, domains, and/or schools. The character doesn’t get any extra spell points (and thus can’t cast any more spells than normal), but the added flexibility of being able to use the bonus spell more than once per day makes up for that.

Table 5-4: Bonus Spell Points (by Maximum Spell Level)
Score 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
12-13 - 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
14-15 - 1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
16-17 - 1 4 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
18-19 - 1 4 9 16 16 16 16 16 16
20-21 - 2 5 10 17 26 26 26 26 26
22-23 - 2 8 13 20 29 40 40 40 40
24-25 - 2 8 18 25 34 45 58 58 58
26-27 - 2 8 18 32 41 52 65 80 80
28-29 - 3 9 19 33 51 62 75 90 107
30-31 - 3 12 22 36 54 76 89 104 121
32-33 - 3 12 24 38 56 78 104 119 136
34-35 - 3 12 27 48 66 88 114 144 161
Table 5-5: Spell Point Cost
Spell Level Spell Cost
1 1
2 3
3 5
4 7
5 9
6 11
7 13
8 15
9 17

For instance, a specialist wizard can prepare one extra spell from the chosen school of each spell level that she can cast. A cleric can prepare one domain spell (chosen from among his domain spells available) of each spell level that he can cast. For example, if Mialee were an evoker, she could prepare one additional spell per level, but that spell would have to be from the evocation school. Once it is prepared, she can use that spell just like any of her other spells, casting it as often as she has spell points. Another example: At 1st level, Jozan the cleric gains a bonus 1st-level spell, which must be selected from one of his two domains. Once it is prepared, he can use that domain spell just like any of his other spells, casting it as often as he has spell points. For class features that grant bonus spells of a nonfixed spell level (such as the dragon disciple’s bonus spells), the character instead gains a number of bonus spell points equal to twice the highest spell level he can cast, minus 1 (minimum 1 point) each time he gains a bonus spell. This is a fixed value—it doesn’t increase later as the character gains levels—though later rewards may be larger as appropriate to the character’s spellcasting ability. For example, a 4th-level fighter/4th-level sorcerer who gains a level of dragon disciple gets a bonus spell. Since the character is capable of casting 2nd-level spells, she receives 3 bonus spell points (2 × 2 = 4, 4 – 1 = 3).
Spontaneous Spellcasting
Characters who cast all their spells spontaneously—such as bards and sorcerers—don’t have to prepare spells. They can cast any spell they know by spending the requisite number of spell points. Characters with the ability to cast a limited number of spells spontaneously (such as druids, who can spontaneously cast a summon nature’s ally spell in place of another spell of the same level) are always treated as having those spells prepared, without spending any spell slots to do so. Thus, they can cast such spells any time they have sufficient spell points. Under this system, the Healing domain becomes a relatively poor choice for good-aligned clerics, since they gain less of a benefit for that domain.
Regaining Spell Points
Spellcasters regain lost spell points whenever they could normally regain spells. Doing this requires the same amount of rest and preparation or concentration time as normal for the class. Without this period of rest and mental preparation, the caster’s mind isn’t ready to regain its power. Spell points are not divorced from the body; they are part of it. Using spell points is mentally tiring, and without the requisite period of rest, they do not regenerate. Any spell points spent within the last 8 hours count against a character’s daily limit and aren’t regained.
Each spell costs a certain number of spell points to cast. The higher the level of the spell, the more points it costs. Table 5–5: Spell Point Costs describes each spell’s cost. 0-level spells cost no spell points to cast. If a spellcaster is capable of casting 0-level spells, she can cast a number of 0-level spells each day equal to three + the number of spell points gained by that class at 1st level.
Spellcasters use their full normal caster level for determining the effects of their spells in this system, with one significant exception. Spells that deal a number of dice of damage based on caster level (such as magic missile, searing light, or lightning bolt) deal damage as if cast by a character of the minimum level of the class capable of casting the spell. Spells whose damage is partially based on caster level, but that don’t deal a number of dice of damage based on caster level (such as produce flame or an inflict spell) use the spellcaster’s normal caster level to determine damage. Use the character’s normal caster level for all other effects, including range and duration. For example, a fireball deals a number of dice of damage based on the caster’s level, so when cast by a wizard using this system, it deals 5d6 points of damage (as if cast by a 5th-level wizard, which is the minimum level of wizard capable of casting fireball). A sorcerer who casts the same spell deals 6d6 points of damage, since the minimum level of sorcerer capable of casting fireball is 6th. A character can pay additional spell points to increase the dice of damage dealt by a spell. Every 1 extra spell point spent at the time of casting increases the spell’s effective caster level by 1 for purposes of dealing damage. A character can’t increase a damage-dealing spell’s caster level above her current caster level, or above the normal maximum allowed by the spell. For example, even at 7th level, Mialee’s lightning bolts deal only 5d6 points of damage (just like a 5th-level wizard) unless she spends extra spell points. If she spends 1 extra spell point (making the lightning bolt cost 6 points rather than 5), the spell deals 6d6 points of damage. A second extra spell point would increase the damage to 7d6 points, but she can’t spend more points than this, since her caster level is only 7th. If she 10th level or higher, she could spend a maximum of 5 extra spell points on this spell, raising the damage up to 10d6, the maximum allowed for a lightning bolt spell. Similarly, her magic missile spell only shoots one missile unless she spends extra spell points. An extra 2 spell points increases the caster level from 1st to 3rd, granting her one additional missile. She can spend a maximum of 6 additional spell points in this manner, increasing her effective caster level to 7th for damage purposes and granting her a total of four missiles. If she were 9th level or higher, she could spend a maximum of 8 extra spell points, granting her five missiles (just like a 9th-level caster).

House Rules

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