House Rules

(Note: Any house rules that I don’t use are striked through. Any additions or alterations will have a note.)

House Rules – Character Creation

Bonus Cantrips/Orisons

Any character that receives an ability bonus to level 1 spells per day may also apply that same bonus to their level 0 spell slots per day (prepared) or known (spontaneous).

Read and Detect Magic
All prepared spellcasters automatically know read magic for free. It does not take up a spell preparation slot for the day.
All spontaneous spellcasters automatically know detect magic for free. It does not take up a known spell slot.

Witch Spell List
Witches add acid splash to their 0-level spell list. It must be prepared normally.

Cleric/Oracle Spell List
Clerics and Oracles gain Disrupt Undead on their list of available level 0 spells, which must be prepared normally.

Ranger & Paladin Spell List
(At some point, these classes are getting level 0 spells. This will probably appears a class variant. However, it is butt that they miss the boat on these abilities, or have to spend spell slots on them while others don’t.)

Divine Casters and Level 0 Damage Spells
Any divine caster that receives a level 0 damage spell (including many now, with the change to Spark) may replace (but not add to) this spell on their list with any other level 0 damage spell that does a different type of damage. The damage type must be the most appropriate option for that caster’s deity or otherworldly source of power. This applies to Summoners as well. Disrupt undead is too specific, and doesn’t count for this rule.

Deities’ Favored Weapons
Any class that receives proficiency in its deities favored weapons gains access to any and all of the weapons listed for their deity in this setting. Furthermore, if the character already gains proficiency with that weapon due to another character feature (a trait, a feat, a class, a race, etc.), then she gains a +1 sacred bonus to hit while wielding a favored weapon of her deity.


A character’s traits – the so-called “half Feats” or “mini-Feats” may come from the same “type” of list; you do not need to pick them from different categories. Characters begin with 2 traits.

Adopted Trait

As per the note on the SRD, adopted only allows you to buy a trait from another race which would not otherwise make sense for your own.

Racial Ability Adjustments

If a racial ability score penalty conflicts with your character concept, you can choose to ignore it, but you also must give up one of the positive adjustments.

Altered Feat: Toughness

This Feat now grants a character maximum Hit Points +1 at each level, rather than rolling for Hit Points normally. If this Feat is selected later on, these maximized Hit Points are not retroactive, though the extra +1 per level is.

Clarified Skill: Knowledge (local)

Characters do not need to buy local knowledge multiple times. However, they may only roll this knowledge if they have any feasible understanding of the city or region they want to understand or work within. Characters need only have an appropriate tie in their background or to have developed this through story and roleplay. As an alternative, in a pinch, a character could spend a story token to develop a reason to apply this knowledge.

House Rules – Character Advancement

Race & Preferred Class Benefits from the Advanced Player’s Guide

Instead of 1 Hit Point/1 Skill Point for a level in your preferred class, players may choose to gain one of the alternative benefits described in the race section of the APG. Race is not a limiting factor – you may select any alternative preferred class benefit that you feel suits your character. So if you’re a half-orc bard, but would like the gnomish bard’s preferred class benefit as an alternative, go for it.

Hit Points

Instead of rolling for hit points, you may take 3 on a d6, 4 on a d8, 6 on a d10, or 8 on a d12. You must make this choice before rolling. A story token may be spent for a re-roll. See the story tokens file for details on that particular re-roll.
Hit points must be rolled in front of a witness.

Story Tokens

At each even level, characters gain +1 player token. They may only have a maximum of half their character level (round down) player tokens at one time, so consider using what you have if you’re approaching the new level milestone.

Adding Class Skills

When a character gains an ability point as a result of leveling (every 4 character levels), she may also choose to add a skill of her choice as a class skill. This skill should make sense based on the choices the character has made in the game so far, or where the player would like their character to go in the future.

Retraining Feats

When a character gains an ability point every 4 levels, she may also choose to replace a known Feat with a new one. She still needs to fulfill any prerequisites for this new Feat, as well as the other Feats she keeps. If you wish to retrain more than one Feat – for example, if you have a “chain” of Feats you no longer wish to use – you may do so, but you must do so all at once, and each additional Feat you retrain costs 1 story token (this is considered a Harmless token use).

Story Feats

Every 5 character levels, a character may spend player tokens to gain a Feat (1 player token per 5 levels). You may spend these tokens at any time after becoming eligible, but you’ll get the feat next time you rest (not instantly and spontaneously). Feats gained in this way cannot grant offensive combat bonuses or access to metamagic, unless they are Origin or Achievement Feats.


In addition to skill points, a language may be gained retroactively if a character’s intelligence bonus increases after character creation.

New Materials

Whenever new books come out – or you happen to find new material online that the DM is likely to approve, or whatever – if you find new Feats, spells, prestige classes, etc., and would like to swap it for something you already have, that’s certainly possible. Talk it over with your GM and work out the details; usually it’ll be a 1:1 swap, though sometimes it might work a little differently. However, if you are giving up something that your character has used often, is well known for or has otherwise figured prominently in the past, you should come up with a darn good in-game explanation for the swap.

House Rules – Session Rules

Natural 20

A roll of a natural 20 on a d20 is always a success, no matter what difficulty or modifiers might be in place. There is only one controlling rule: You must have been allowed to roll in the first place. For example, someone without trapfinding cannot disarm a magical trap, even if they roll a 20 for Disable Device, as non-trapfinders are not even allowed to attempt to do so. This goes for NPCs as well as PCs.

Natural 1

A roll of a natural 1 on a d20 is always a failure, no matter what bonuses or benefits might be in place. This may be a “botch,” a “fumble,” or a “critical failure.” (To determine this, roll the check again. If you would have failed a second time, the failure is exceptionally bad.) Exactly what this means depends on the type of roll you botched. If it’s a skill check, not only did you fail, but something actively bad happens as a result. If it’s a saving throw, you take the worst possible effect. If it’s an attack roll, you lose any remaining attacks for the rest of the round; if you have no attacks left, you may instead be considered flat-footed until your next action. If it’s a concentration check, you lose the spell and may be flat-footed, etc. Note that this also applies to bad guys as well as good guys…

Out of Combat Healing

All spells, potions and other healing effects received outside of combat are assumed to heal the maximum amount. (No roll required.) This does assume the characters have a certain amount of safety and time to catch their breath, so even if the characters are not actually battling for their lives, they may not receive this benefit if they are too harried or imperiled. If in doubt, consult the GM as to whether or not the situation counts as still in combat.
Effects that do not cure hit point damage, such as those that repair ability score damage, are not maximized in this fashion.

Guidance Spell

The +1 bonus from guidance may be invoked after a roll to add to it, rather than needing to be used before the roll. This may be done after the result of the roll is declared, though whether or not the +1 will matter is not free knowledge. The spell still needs to be cast in advance and waiting to be invoked for this to apply.


Whenever you have to round up or down, follow these rules. Player characters and “named” NPCs always round favorably – round up when inflicting damage, for instance, and round down when receiving damage. Goons, grunts and other minor characters always round unfavorably.

Secret Rolls

Certain rolls may be made privately by the GM, in order to maintain tension and create necessary moments of uncertainty. Perception, Stealth and Disable Device are the most common skills for this use, but they are not the only ones. In some cases, for example, Knowledge checks might be made in secret, in order to keep players guessing about how much information they can trust. Only regular skill rolls will generally be made in secret; special class abilities, spell use and the like doesn’t fall under this rule unless specifically noted. In addition, even if a roll is made in secret, the player will always be informed if the result of a roll is a natural 20. The player may spend a harmless token to force a secret roll to be made un-secret, or even make the rule themselves.

“Tie Goes to the Character”

This is not always literally true – for example, if a monster rolls to hit and ties the character’s AC, that’s a hit – but more of a philosophy. Simply put, it is that when in doubt, if no rule seems to cover the circumstances, no immediate ruling presents itself and no previous experience seems relevant, the ruling goes the PC’s way and the game continues on. The exception to this rule is when the GM spends chips to fight dirty, in which case the exact opposite applies, and rulings default to the baddies instead. Nasty!

House Rules – Items & Components

In lower magic settings, where magic shops are not available in every town, it is important to keep track of rare components which can be used in item creation or with demanding spells. The necessary components can vary with character, but pay attention to what you need for a particular spell because it may not be available everywhere. Be sure to stock up if you find it in a place and can’t be certain you’ll get more later.

In addition to this, professions that produce particular items can be very helpful. Profession: herbalism for example may be quite useful in getting various herbs and plants that would provide rare components commonly used in most item creation, but especially in potion brewing and mundane alchemy. Profession: miner, as another example, would be a great way to get gemstones (in the right places) that are often of use in divine magic.

The particulars of an area, the DC for finding and preparing something, and how much a character can offset the need to spend gold outright and find a shop will be up to the DM. However, it’s always good to pay attention in an appropriate place. Caves or old mines are a great place to find gems, but it can be time consuming. Thick forests might be great for herbs, but be sure not to stomp over the tracks you were meant to follow, etc. etc.

House Rules

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