dnd

House Rules

Electronics.

No electronic devices, esp. texting, at the table. I have physical copies of the PHB and spare dice for players. Pencil, paper character sheet required; these may be obtained from and stored with your DM.

Darkvision and Superior Darkvision.

It is insane to think that the blackest night can compare to the unrelenting lightlessness of deep dungeons and the underdark. However the PHB makes it clear that Darkness applies to night time, except when there is a particularly full moon. As such, I introduce Pitch Darkness.

There four kinds of light — Bright Light, Dim Light, Darkness, and Pitch Darkness. Pitch Darkness functions exactly like Darkness, except as pertains to Darkvision and Superior Darkvision.

In the PHB (and the MM at DM discretion), any race with the trait Darkvision or Superior Darkvision uses these traits instead:

Darkvision.

You have superior vision in dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of  you as if it were bright light, and you can see in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. In any light other than Pitch Darkness, your eyes catch the light, glowing in their natural color. You cannot see in Pitch Darkness.

Superior Darkvision.

You have Darkvision. In addition, your eyes are adapted to the darkest foul places in all the realms; you have Infravision.

    Infravision.

    In Pitch Darkness and Darkness, you can discern heat emanations as colors within the range of your darkvision, as if there was dim light. While using this ability, your eyes glow red. You can't read normal texts or discern color using this ability. If a source of bright light is within the range of your darkvision, you cannot use this ability.

    In Darkness, you may switch between Infravision and the regular spectrum as a free action. At the start of your next turn, your eyes adapt to the new spectrum. In Pitch Darkness, you must use Infravision; if coming from a brighter place, it takes until the start of your next turn for your eyes to adapt.

    While in Pitch Darkness, if suddenly you are bathed in a radius of bright light, you must make a DC 15 Constitution Saving Throw or be Blinded until the start of your next turn.

    (Note, maladeptness in direct sunlight is subsumed into Sunlight Sensitivity. Also note, drow are comfortable with candles and faerie fire, although they would rather extinguish them.)



Paragraph Topics

  1. Introduce a pivotal character from the character's past.
  2. Briefly describe a pivotal principle, thought or philosophy of the character, and where it came from.
  3. Summarize or elaborate on a single scene or moment the character experienced in the last session. Describe it in all its vivid glory.
  4. Assume your character is assessing his PC party members; like a secret agent, compiling analytical overviews on their personalities, actions, skills, behaviors (esp. odd). Build a new assessment of one or two party members based on their actions in the last session.
  5. Your character has ambitions and dreams. Even if the ambitions or dreams haven't changed, narrate a moment from last session where your character daydreamed about their ambitions and dreams (perhaps in a moment of their downtime).
  6. Your character has weapons and items, new and old. Pick one, and describe its origin story, or a story that always comes to the character's mind when they see the item.
  7. Expand on something on your character sheet: tell a story about how the character thinks of the topic the item represents. Eg STR: Describe your character's thoughts during a pivotal moment that comes to your character's mind when faced with "strength" related keywords. Eg flaws: Describe your character's thoughts during a pivotal moment that comes to your character's mind when faced with a reminder of that flaw (eg, drinks too much: describe an associated moment of drinking that bears lightly or heavily on the character's mind).
  8. Special: This must always be done: Update your character sheet completely.
  9. Summarize last session from your character's point of view. Warning: this should take longer than the others to complete.
  10. Describe, with lots of technical details (parries, dodges, manoevres, kicks, feints, cuts, taunts, expressions, pace, edges used from the environment, tactical intent, stance, responses to surprises, yielding, demoralization, sacrifices made, hand motions, swirling capes, magical item usage, magical incantations, the pitch and song of your voice, the summoning of power through a focus, the manipulations of components, the touch of the weave, the bath of the divine, prayers, mental focuses, recollections inspired, fears inspired, the weight of alignment, concessions to bystanders, motivations), what a fight would look like between your character and a foe at least as powerful as you.



Character Creation

About Bonds, Flaws, and Ideals

Each of your characters will have two personality traits, one bond, an ideal, and a flaw. In the PHB, each background has tables of suggested personality traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws. Please don’t pick the flaws and bonds you think will be least relevant to the campaign in order to minimize your attachment to the world. Instead, pick bonds and flaws that you want to play out in game, which interest you and which you want to become part of the story. You don’t have to pick off the table in the Player’s Handbook (they differ between backgrounds, so if you don’t like the suggested ones for your particular background, shop around), but the bonds and flaws you come up with should go along the lines of those you see in there (also see the attached list of Bonds). A new mechanic in 5th Edition is Inspiration, which gives you a bonus on any D20 roll of your choice. Inspiration is awarded when your role play is inspired: such as when you play your character in accordance with the personality traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws you have chosen for your character.

When creating a character, you will choose both a Background and a Class; please think about how the two intersect in the life of your character.  Your character is either on their first adventuring mission, or is about to take up their first adventuring mission. Backgrounds are intended to illustrate what your character did immediately before this:

For example, say you are playing a Monk (Class) and you are thinking about taking the Sailor Background because it offers some cool appealing features. What does being a Monk have to do with sailing? It has something to do with it if your monastery is a floating pagoda, or if it is the home of the fabled sea-going monks—it would be fairly easy to integrate both these monastic and professional backgrounds. The Sailor background intends you to have maritime contacts, experience on long voyages, former rank/marine job experience, and sailing knowledge. Maybe your monastery knows secret routes through seas, rivers, or lakes, and runs a business carrying commercial goods to support the monastery. These monks would sail those secret routes.

Or maybe your monastery dispatched you on a long sea voyage to recover a sacred relic that has been uncovered somewhere along the Sword Coast, and you are heading to the city where the PCs meet to meet a contact who can fill you in further on where to recover the relic. Maybe you joined the famous floating monastery to learn their powers, knowing full well you would betray your brothers to join a rogue, power hungry political faction. You managed to hide your duplicity (or so you think), but you have severed your ties to most of your monastic resources. When you got word that your new friends were ready for you, you skipped out on the first merchant ship that sailed into the harbor, and you are currently headed to your destiny in that black network. It’s up to you what you choose, but if your background seems complicated or contorted, maybe try to think outside the box to recreate a simpler (that doesn’t mean less interesting) one.

Remember, whatever your character’s background, they’ve chosen or will be about to choose to give up everything they have to live a life of itinerancy in pursuit of treasure, artifacts, power, righteousness, or dreamy-eyed adventure. (Or have they? Maybe you are on a mission specifically issued by your organization. Maybe your organization encourages members to follow their hearts and conscience, but it didn’t necessarily sanction your mission.)

*Our setting is the Sword Coast of Faerûn, an established D&D setting. Here is a non-authoritative map of Faerûn (this map is from 3rd edition) — but just for context, as your characters most likely won’t know much about the greater world.

(*Maybe.)

Directions and Parking

We meet in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, which is about a 13 minutes drive northeast from Bijou. I rent at the Pine Cone Resort on Highway 50. It's not usually possible for more than one or two guest vehicles to park in front of my apartment, but there are other places to park. If you do end up parking down by 50, there is a nice staircase on the south side of Toast.

  • Sam's Place is a now closed bar with plenty of parking.
  • There is a dirt strip along Lakeview Dr. that only occasionally fills up.
  • I've seen people park at "Toast Only" parking, but they're technically not supposed to.
  • If you see a place that doesn't block others at Pine Cone Resort, go ahead and park there.
  • Parking / directions map included on request!