Bludstein House Rules
Yeah, I know how much everyone loves extra GM rules. I hope not to have many additions that affect gameplay, but I do have a few house rules that I like to use. Some of these are flexible to change if the group wants. I am always happy to discuss them.
1. Respect the other players. Your characters may not get along, but individual players must always be courteous and respectful to one another. I generally work on a 3 strike system for individual offences, but I have no tolerance for sexism, racism, insults, or similar behaviour.
2. Try to keep it PG. Yes, the players may all be adults, but there are often children around in gaming settings, including my own home. Yes, D&D combat involves gore and there may be adult-ish situations when adult chacters interact, but try to keep it tasteful.
3. I want players to have fun. As much as possible, I will endeavour to say "yes" to your ideas or creative role-play, as long as it doesn't break the story. If you say something like, "hey, my character knows a guy who can get us that" or "hey, my character has an acquaintance who lives in this town", I'll try to roll with it. Something like, "hey, we may be nearly dead in the bottom of this dungeon, but my healer buddy just showed up", that might be pushing it too far.
3a) The bigger the change, the more effort may be required. It's a magical world and you can likely steer events in any number of directions. This will be easier as characters and the party gain recognition and influence. More drastic changes will require more effort and planning, but most things will be possible with time. Sometimes you won't see results for a certain period of time. If the party, for example, sends a messenger to deliver a message to a distant town, I will estimate the length of time it will take the messenger to get there, deliver the message, be given a response, and return. I keep track of all major events in a calendar. If the party wants to wait for an expected event, there is always work to be done in Bludstein that can quickly pass days or weeks. Time spent in Bludstein could itself result in more influence for characters and/or have direct impacts on the community and the world beyond.
4. Bonus XP: While scenario XP will be evenly distributed amongst PCs, with half-shares to NPCs, I will often reserve 5-10% of scenario XP as bonus XP for one or more characters who had a critical role in resolving the scenario.
5. Down a player: If we're down a player, their character can still tag along in "zombie mode", acting as close as possible to how they acted when player-controlled, earning half-XP.
6. Down 2+ players: To keep everyone engaged with the story, I'll usually recommend taking a break and either cancelling or switching to boardgames for an evening if we're down 2+ players.
7. It's an especially dangerous corner of a generally dangerous world: The Sepia Uplands are dangerous. The worst monsters may not sit around and wait until your characters are powerful enough to take them on. There could be situation where the wisest course of action is to run swiftly in the opposite direction. I generally won't spring TPKs on the party, but if you decide to charge into a foolish situation despite (usually) warnings, bad things can happen.
8. Diagonal Movement: Okay, I promise not many more house rules, but the first session reminded me that the 5e rules-as-written allow the weird diagonal spring. Ever second move on a diagonal will cost 10' of movement to make for a more natural radius of movement from a starting point.
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