House Rules


One of the things that bothered me from the first about the new 4E was the length of time that it takes to cast some rituals, and the fact that one needs the components even if one is reading from a prepared scroll. Therefore I am implementing these new rules for rituals. I don’t believe that these will have a negative impact on gameplay, but will instead enhance it.

I am dividing rituals into two classes. For simplicity let’s call them combat and non-combat.

I’m proposing that the casting times of a combat ritual be tied to its level. Non-combat rituals will remains as they are in the PHB. These are the time-consuming and/or difficult tasks such as Raising Dead, Consulting Oracles, setting up a Linked Portal, Brewing a Potion, etc. The casting times of combat rituals will now be measured in rounds based on their level.

In addition, I am changing the rules for reading a scroll so that reading a scroll does not require the material components. It is assumed that the scroll of a ritual is the primed version of the ritual, component cost included.

Anyway, here is my list of what I consider “combat” rituals, and their new casting time (each round = 6 seconds):

Animal Messenger – 1 round

Arcane Lock – 4 rounds (i.e. 24 seconds)

Comprehend Language – 1 round

Detect Object – 10 rounds (i.e. 60 seconds)

Detect Secret Doors – 3 rounds

Discern Lies – 6 rounds

Drawmij’s Instant Summons – 12 rounds

Endure Elements – 2 rounds

Eye of Alarm – 2 rounds

Eye of Warning – 14 rounds

Gentle Repose – 1 round

Knock – 4 rounds

Magic Circle – 5 rounds

Magic Mouth – 1 round

Make Whole – 1 round

Passwall – 12 rounds

Shadow walk – 12 rounds

Silence – 1 round

Tenser’s Floating Disk – 1 rounds

Water Breathing – 8 rounds

Water Walk – 2 rounds

Ammo Usage

PC’s have the option to recover ammo after an encounter. Survivability rate is as follows:

arrows – 50%

javelins – ?

crossbow bolts – ?

hand crossbow bolts – ?

sling stones – ?

Alchemical Formulas

I was re-reading the Alchemy rules and I think that we’ve been doing it slightly wrong. Although there are no skill checks involved in preparing most alchemy formulas, evidently the PC needs to be trained in one of the skills associated with each formula, based on the somewhat vague wording of the feat and what I was able to find online.

Also, like rituals, I believe that it takes 8 hours of study to learn a formula.

That being said, I think that we can continue to use Alchemy the way we’ve been doing it since I am not about to make the PC’s take the Skill Training feat in order to learn Thievery, Arcana, or Nature so he can learn most of the formulas (Thievery being the skill needed for the great majority of the formulas).

To counterbalance that, I would like to institute some kind of skill check either when attempting to learn the formula, or when attempting to use the formula (as with Rituals). The only problem with the latter is that unlike most Rituals, there are no degrees of a formula working successfully. Also, the ritual Brew Potion does not require a skill check in order for the PC to successfully brew a potion.

So maybe a skill check when attempting to learn the formula based on the level of the formula. There are basic DC’s in the DMG that we can use. The difficulty of the DC can also be modified by the following: 1. you have someone to show you the formula decreases the difficulty 2. if you forego the 8 hours of study increases the difficulty 3. if you have a full alchemy lab to practice in decreases the difficulty

Poisons and Alchemical Formulas

Some of the alchemical formulas that act like poisons (i.e. “Ghoststrike Oil”) seemed to be underwhelming. They need a standard action to apply to the weapon, are only good for one hit, and the PC needs to make a successful secondary attack against the target’s fortitude for the poison to work. In cross-referencing with the DMG, I saw that the poisons listed in the DMG all last for an encounter, or 5 minutes, after they are applied. So I am making a ruling that the alchemical “poison” formulas work the same way. That should somewhat alleviate the cost of creating batches, and the action cost of applying the batches.

Weapon Proficiencies

Just a note for the group. I re-read the rules for weapon proficiency. I strongly believe that you can use any simple or military weapon, but that you do not gain the weapon proficiency bonus if you do not have weapon proficiency in the weapon. I am still on the fence whether this applies also to Superior weapons. I would like it to, but Pete almost had me convinced otherwise last session.

Here are my notes to support this:

page 212: circumstantial, but the PHB states that you can use armor that you are not proficient in, but that you take a -2 penalty to attack rolls and to your Reflex defense.

page 215: nowhere does it explicitly state that a person can’t use a simple or military weapon that they are not proficient in. They just can’t use it “effectively”. Though given the wording of the paragraph, a case can be made that one can not simply pick up a Superior weapon.

page 219: the entry that explains Proficiency: “Proficiency with a weapon gives you a proficiency bonus to attack rolls… If you’re not proficient with a weapon, you don’t gain this bonus.” This implies to me that a character could still use the weapon.

House Rules

The Scouring Of The Vale mks1201