When William is the DM-
1st Edition AD&D rules unless otherwise noted; that said, I am playing a lot more retro-clones lately and the game might be Swords & Wizardry (Whitebox or Complete), Basic Fantasy RPG, Delving Deeper, Prentice Blueholm Rules or something else.
Character creation is old school 4d6-lowest d6 for AD&D in order, then pick a race (checking to make sure racial minimums are met),then add racial modifiers, then pick class; or, for most retro-clones, 3d6 in order, check for minimums as necessary, choose class (or racial class).
No Evil alignments for PCs, this also bans chaotic aligned characters when playing retro-clones that use a single axis for alignment, unless previous permission is granted. I have a tendency to prefer to DM for heroic characters, even when we are playing Murderhobo style.
Sub-Races only as purely cosmetic. No races that add or subtract any game modifiers or alter the race in any other significant way.
Death and Dying
Death occurs at -(1/2 CON) +1 rounded up hit points.
0 HP is unconscious (or conscious but immobile) but stable.
Bleeding out occurs a -1 HP/RND when in negative hit points until stabilized. Stabilizing occurs when targeted by any healing spell or having wounds bound or passing a CON check. Stabilization returns a PC to 0 HP and unconscious.
Simple 1d6 party initiative, unless we’re playing with Grognards, then we can go more complex without a problem; in which case, I am partial to AD&D 2nd edition style- 1d10 low goes first modified by weapon speed (modified by my common sense and combat experience) Ties are resolved by higher DEX going first.
Critical Hits and Fumbles-
Any time a player rolls a natural ‘20’ on a to hit roll, it is a critical hit. Damage dice are doubled.
Likewise, if a player rolls a natural ‘1’ on a to hit roll, it is considered a possible critical failure or fumble. To resolve the possible critical failure, roll a d20 and if the result of this roll is also a 1, it will result in a critical fumble. Typically, this means the combatant hurts himself, drops his weapon, breaks his weapon, or just plain falls down. I am aware that this means that a person has a 1 in 20 chance of scoring a critical hit, but only a 1 in 400 chance of fumbling and I am OK with that.
Thank God I Had a F@cking Helmet On-
If you are wearing a helmet and take a melee or missile weapon hit in combat (it does not apply to critical damage, backstab damage, or magical damage) that would reduce you to zero hp or less, hence dead, you can instead declare that the helmet took all the damage and you are at 1 hp, with the helmet irrevocably destroyed, whether it was magical or not. In addition you are but unconscious for 10 minutes plus 1-100 minutes, and cannot be awakened before that time unless healed magically in some way
Courtesy of Erik Tenkar and Joe the Lawyer.
Shields Shall Be Splintered!-
Shields provide the usual +1 bonus to AC. However, they may also be used to “soak” damage from a single attack, thereby reducing damage to zero. Soaking damage destroys the shield.
Shields may also be used against any attack that allows a save for half damage, such as a fireball or dragon’s breath. In that case, the shield is destroyed, as above, and the save is considered automatically successful, thereby guaranteeing half damage.
For magical shields, each +1 enchantment bonus gives a 10% chance of surviving a damage soak.
For more information, and a historical perspective on where I stole this from, see – Shields Shall Be Splintered
The D30 Rule
Courtesy of Jeff Rients-
Once per session each player may opt to roll the referee’s d30 in lieu of whatever die or dice the situation normally calls for. The choice to roll the d30 must be made before any actual rolling has occurred. The d30 cannot be rolled for generating character statistics or hit points.
Awarding Experience Points
Experience points are gained from two sources, treasure and monsters. Characters gain XP from treasure of a non-magical nature, at a rate of 1 XP per 1 gp value of the item. Magic items will give experience points only if they are used, the value based on their XP value in the 1st edition DMG. All defeated monsters (either outsmarted or killed), grant XP based on how powerful they are.
Furthermore, depending on how I feel at the time, and the tone I have set for the campaign, Carousing may be in effect.
The encumbrance system in the book will be ignored; if how much a character is carrying becomes an issue, it will be dealt with intuitively.
Alternately, I may just use James Raggi’s “Lamentations of the Flame Princess” or LotFP encumbrance system, it is streamlined and elegant.