General

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Die Rolls: DM will be using a screen some of the time, and not at other times. All player die rolls will be made on the table. Basically, if it doesn’t stop flat on the surface of the table, it doesn’t count, so this means if a die is tilted, or it falls off the table, or is rolled on a book being held in the lap, it does not count.

Mortality: Keep in mind that in the new Monster Manual, there have been HUGE changes to some of the standard monsters, and they have set it up in such a way that a single monster at the equivalent level can (and from what I can see, will) provide a challenge for a whole party. First off, I’ll warn you that if you rely on player knowledge, you will probably die. They have changed the monsters to the point where tried-and-true tactics will probably not work, so stay on your toes. More importantly, they have set it up so that the monsters can pull cool stuff out of their asses just like the characters do, and the balance looks like it’s much better than the previous challenge ratings were. The upshot of this is that I would suggest you take all combats seriously, as with the better balance, along with the milestone system, and your powers coming back so much faster, I will not be pulling punches during combat. Smart foes will concentrate on the tactically important characters, vicious animals may stop to savage a fallen foe, instead attacking the next in line, spellcasters will blast you from unaccessable positions, etc. I will try to make combat areas as detailed as possible to help you plan, but the point here is that if a monster has an option to do something devastating to the party, they won’t hesitate, so you may want to work on strategy together before hand, ways to communicate during combat, etc. I will not be unfair characters, but I am also not going to be unfair to monsters and cripple them all by being stupid or timid.

Player Death: I’m really tired of characters not ever being able to die. It makes for a lack of drama at critical points, and less of an investment in the character. The new rules allow for character death, although there’s a process of bad things that have to happen for it to happen, so I don’t think we’re going to alter it at this point.

Attendance: We all know that real life sometimes has to come first, but absences really detract from the game, particularly the kind of serialized stores that I like to tell, and even more so when they are unexpected. In order to discourage this, I am working on implementing a sort of “pro-ration” to experience that works based off of how far in advance you let me know you are not going to be there. Additionally, if the story cannot allow for a character to “poof”, I reserve the right to allow someone else to play the character for the night, and reap a portion of the experience and/or treasure. Also, the concept that your character cannot die while you are away is GONE. Mua, muahaha. Seriously, if you are not going to be at the game, you should not be rewarded by your character going God Mod, and still getting experience and treasure. By this reasoning, NOBODY should ever show up, and you’d all be Epic without ever risking anything. If you provide another player with a current character sheet at the current game, and state that they are going to play the next session for you, I will still award you 100% experience for that session, but give a small portion of that (probably 10%) to the player who backed you for the session. After that point, the experience starts to go down, and not having a current character sheet at the table when the next game is played is an automatic 50% xp penalty, on top of any pro-ration. Treasure disbursement is up to your group, I will not intervene.

Character sheets: Keep your character sheet updated all the time. If you are adding things to it that are not printed on the sheet, make sure you make a notation as to why it’s there. I reserve the right to review your character sheet at any time, and if you can’t explain why something is on there, I can (and will) arbitrarily take it away. Mistakes do happen, but if you want to pull out a ring that you say you bought 6 months ago, I better know about it, or you have notations on it, sometimes that sort of thing is pretty ridiculous (although it can be fun, right Kirin?)

Rules interpretation: Obviously, we’re going to spend more time that we have in the past looking at rules. I really don’t mind this, but I’m going to try to keep some kind of log on rulings that have been made. GM Fiat is always the ultimate decider. I do play a little fast and loose with the rules sometimes for drama, so don’t be surprised if things change from time to time, I reserve that right, I am god after all (god with a little ‘g’, note. I’m not that delusional…yet)

Additional Books: We all know that WotC is going to put out more and more books as time goes on. I’m most likely not going to buy any additional books for some time. If you decided to get a book for yourself, that’s your choice. If you want that book to add content to the game, you need to be willing to loan that book to me for the length of time it takes me to read through it. (I read pretty quick, but again, real life intervenes, and yes, I literally mean you have to give me the book until I have finished reading it.) Personally, I would suggest that you not bother buying any additional books specifically to enter into the game, as even after having read through the entire thing, I reserve the right to still say “no”. I’m still stinging from those 1000 gp regen rings I allowed into the Dragonhold campaign, I’d much rather delay letting something into the game rather than have that kind of fiasco again.

Spell Prep: I had a big long section here on how we were going to take care of spell prep time, but the new system seems to negate that for the most part. Wizards will still need to decide what Daily spells they have for the day, but this shouldn’t take as long as previously. If we run into long spell prep times, I will put into effect a “spell loadout list” rule, where the caster in question will have 2-3 loadout lists that they can choose from to speed spell prep time. Part of the tradeoff for being a spellcaster is versitality vs. knowing what you’re capable of. Rastlin and Elminster don’t spend 15 mintues figuring out what they’re “capable of” in the middle of an emergency situation, they know what they can do, and you should know your character. (and before anybody think’s I’m reaming on particular people about this, I’m as guilty as anybody else, with my rouges having to run through a list of 100 items for the one that works to “break” the encounter.)