house rules, 1, Magic items and Identify, combat movement, fumble, game time

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Some folks may think I had lots of house rules. I don’t believe I did. But I did use a typed booklet of how I understood the game rules to work. I know some folks see that as pretending to be official, but it isn’t. When I started reading the 1E books there was no one for me to talk to who was also playing the game. Internet accounts were not available to very many back then, and I wasn’t reading gaming magazines in 1979.

Magic items under Identify magic-user spell.

After reading over the Identity spell description, I saw that the exact number of pluses an item had would not be easily known. So I told players that a e.g a magic sword could be determined to have a vague number of pluses, but not the exact amount. So a magic sword with a +1 or +2 would be identified as a sword of few pluses. Three or four pluses was amagic sword of several pluses and 5 or 6 pluses identified as a sword with many pluses. I didn’t tell them until months later that many +6 items were unique. If a +6 sword, dagger, etc. ever broke, there was no replacement.

The same would be true for magic items with charges. A percentage range would be the result of Identify. If the percentile roll is close, a result within 10 percent of the total charges would become known to the caster of Identify. For every 10 percent higher than the roll needed, the range is wider. So an item with 50 charges, and 20 percent roll too high, would give a result of ’40-60 charges’. Rolls below the required amount, give more accurate results, but the exact number wil never be known. Unless the players keep track of how many times the item has been used, then it stops working. That count will be accurate.

Price lists for character purchases.

Magic items were never for sale to characters. Sometimes I might allow healing potions to be found in town for gold pieces, but that was rare. Most of the time I had a General Store typed up, a few times I just had a generic price list available for the players to read. I will include price lists for the various towns as I type up the dungeons.

Leading questions

What is a leading question ? Player, asks “what is behind that door ?” or “Are there any monsters behind the door ?” or “If my character hits the monster with a sword, will that cause damage ?”

If they didn’t have their characters do anything that would help them determine what is behind the door, thats a leading question. I don’t answer leading questions.

Movement, combat

My dungeons were shown to the players as floor tiles that were 2 inch by 2 inch squares representing a 10 foot by 10 foot area. We used 25 mm miniatures. I bought some tiles and made the rest out of old beige manila folders using a t-square and pencil. Then went over the drawn tiles with a drafting pen to make the movement squares more visible.

movement items
rate worn action possible
15 inch normal clothing, Bracers move 4 or less, action of Defense, Monk, or Barbarian move 5 no action run 6 and roll 4d6 vs. Dex if roll over Dex, fall down.

12 inch any magic armour or mail, move 3 or less, action leather, elfin chain mail move 4 no action run 5 and roll 4d6 vs. Dex if roll over Dex, fall down.

9 inch banded, chain mail, padded, move 2 or less, action ring mail, studded leather, move 3 no action thief with Boots of run 4 and roll 4d6 vs. Dex Elvenkind moving silently. if roll over Dex, fall down.


6 inch bronze plate, field plate, move 1 or less, action full plate, plate, scale, move 2 no action splint, thief moving silently run 3and roll 4d6 vs. Dex if roll over Dex, fall down.


4 inch encumbered 9 carrying max move 1 or less, action weight load for that move 2 no action character’s strength ) run 3 and roll 4d6 vs. Dex if roll over Dex, fall down.


Turning around takes one hexagon of movement.

1 hexagon = 3 and one-third feet. 3 hexagons = 10 feet.

A Barbarian can run or move 15 inch up to 9 game-hours out of every 24, if the character has taken no damage. The percentage damage taken of the character’s total hit points is the percentage decrease in the 9 game-hour time interval. e.g. A Barbarian with 45 hit points has taken 23 hit points in damage. 9 times 0.51 = 4.59 game-hours available at a 9 inch movement rate.

All other characters can move at a 15 inch movement rate for a maximum of 6 turns (thats one game-hour). After 6 turns, the character must drop to 6 inch movement rate for 4 game-hours of walking, or sleep for 2 game-hours, before returning to the 15 inch rate. If the character continues at 15” rate over the 1 game-hour limit, the player must roll 4d6 vs constitution per turn over the one game-hour limit. Failure means a total physical collapse. The character must then rest for 4 game-hours after reviving from 3d10 + 5 rounds of unconciousness. After 3 failures you must saving roll vs. Constitution with 5d6. This failure means the character will be in a coma for 3d6 + 2 turns. After the sixth failure, the player must SR vs. Constitution with 5d6. Failure this time means the character has died of heart and system failure.

Fumble procedure

levels that fumble:

  a.  1st thru 6th  level fumble on a natural 1 or 2 on a d20.

b. 7th thru 10th level fumble on a natural 1 on a d20. b. 11th thru 23rd level fumble on a natural 1 on a d20. ( only 5 percent of the time ) For multi-class, add up the levels, then use the above. The monsters use the same chart.

Critical hit procedure

If your d20 roll was a natural 20 and a hit, it is a critical hit. If the natural 20 was a miss, no critical hit occurred. If you get a critical hit, roll percentile dice, and I will tell you the visible results.

Game time explanations

A. components

   1. segment         6 game-seconds
   2. 10 segments     1 game-minute
   3. round           1 game-minute
   4. combat round    1 game-minute
   5. turn           10 game-minute

6. There are about 24 game-hours in a game-day. 7. The 12 game-months have 30 game-days each. 8. The game-year is 366 game-days long. 9. There are 2 game-festivals per game-year of 3 game-days each. They are called Lithe and Yule. For many nations these are major holidays. Lithe is between the 6th and 7th months. Yule is between the 12th and first month. Yule is the New Year’s Day equivalent and Lithe is the Midsummer’s Day equivalent for Crestar.

B. guide for the amount of game time necessary for standard events.

   1. door, search for mechanical traps         1 round
          , remove mechanical traps, varies     1-30 rounds
                   by complexity
          , opening, push or pull               1 segment per attempt
          , tie rope and pull open              1 round

2. secret door, check for by tapping the wall and listening for echoes per 10’ × 10’ wall section 1 round ( regular search) , same but more thorough 1 turn ( thorough search) 3. room, map and casually search, 20’ × 20’ area 1 turn , same size, thorough search walls, floors, map furniture, etc. +1 turn 4. movement thru a previously mapped area ( not including opening any doors ) a. walking at a 9” rate takes 1 round per 90 feet b. running at a 9” rate takes 5 segments per 90 feet. ( roll vs. Dexterity only necessary once for each 5 game-minutes)

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