Ealdremen House Rules
Games that take place in the Chrono Stars setting often make use of a shared set of house rules originally established for play in Ealdremen games. These house rules are written for Pathfinder but are largely compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e games as well.
- 1 Ealdremen Party Initiative
- 2 Picaro ne Valor's Insurance Payout (The Starfinder Nonlethal Damage Rule)
- 3 Character Maintenance and Creation
- 4 Feats
- 5 Blitz (The Pounce Rule)
- 6 Hit Points
- 7 Skills
- 8 Retraining
- 9 Spells
- 10 Changes to Specific Classes or Class Features
- 11 Traits, Drawbacks, and Flaws
- 12 Experience Points
- 13 Items and Weapons
- 14 Martial Disciplines (Path of War)
Ealdremen Party Initiative
During a surprise or ambush round, if applicable, all involved creatures have individual Initiative counts determined by a d20 roll with their Initiative modifier added. During the rest of the encounter, combat flows from one side to another with all allied creatures of one side going at once. Which side goes first is determined by that side's Party Initiative, which is a d20 roll (rolled by the player, if it is for the player characters) plus all allied creatures' Initiative modifiers combined, versus the opposing side's Party Initiative (rolled by the GM and including all these creatures' Initiative modifiers). When applicable, there may be more than two opposing forces or different groups of creatures in an encounter; in such cases, each allied force has a separate Initiative roll and separate group turns.
Within a party's turn, all allied characters may take their own individual turns as they see fit. In one group turn, the wizard may elect to go first and cast a spell on the enemies, but in another group turn, the wizard might decide they should wait until everyone else has taken their turns before taking their own. This allows for greater strategy and interplay between involved forces on all sides of the encounter and to increase the amount of time it feels like a player is actively engaged in combat. Within an individual's turn, they must still obey other combat rules that determine things such as how many actions or what actions they may take in their turn.
A round of combat is considered to have passed when all involved sides have had a group turn.
Ealdremen Grouped Initiative
Ealdremen Grouped Initiative works by having allied creatures in single Initiative order, if uninterrupted by a non-allied creature, able to work in any order as in Ealdremen Party Initiative. For example, if Players A and B have Initiative counts of 23 and 22 with no enemies between their Initiative counts are able to go in any order, such as with Player B going before Player A. The same is true of enemies if their Initiative counts are not interrupted by a player or other non-allied creature.
This works well for smaller-scale battles, whereas Ealdremen Party Initiative is better for large-scale battles or games where there are a lot of players in one group.
Picaro ne Valor's Insurance Payout (The Starfinder Nonlethal Damage Rule)
Nonlethal and lethal damage both subtract from the same hit points pool; nonlethal damage is no longer tracked separately. Instead, if a creature is reduced to an amount of hit points that would render them dying by taking nonlethal damage, they are rendered unconscious instead of dying or dead. Nonlethal damage is only converted to lethal damage if it deals half or more of the creature's current hit points total, unless this damage is made nonlethal by an external source such as the Merciful Spell metamagic feat or the war master "Take Them Alive!" battle tactics, and is coming from a source that would normally be lethal damage, such as a swordsman wielding a longsword or a sorcerer using a fire spell. Weapons, spells, or other damaging effects that explicitly always deal nonlethal damage continue to do so even if they deal more than half of the target creature's current hit points. Lethal damage continues to work as written in Pathfinder.
Character Maintenance and Creation
Ability Score Generation
A given Chrono Stars game may elect to use point-buy, pre-assigned stat blocks, or random rolls to generate ability scores. However, under Ealdremen House Rules, all characters may elect to replace their normal racial modifiers with the following:
- +2 to an ability score of the player's choosing.
- +1 to a different ability score of the player's choosing (cannot be the same as the score that received +2).
- -2 to an ability score of the player's choosing.
- -1 to an ability score of the player's choosing (may be the same as the score that received -2).
Specific values for carrying capacity are generally ignored. Per the GM's discretion, a character may be unable to lift or push something without a Strength check. Encumbrance may take place -- according to the GM's discretion -- in situations where something being carried is very heavy relative to the character's Strength score or if appropriate given other contextual circumstances.
2+Intelligence Modifier Skill Ranks
To fit with Chrono Stars' general focus on social situations, Knowledge checks, and other scenarios where skills play a major role in the game and where there are often many sessions without combat, all classes that receive 2+Intelligence modifier skill ranks per level instead receive 4+Intelligence modifier skill ranks per level. This is in addition to skill ranks granted by Background Skills (see "Skills: Background Skills" below).
Alignment restrictions on classes can be ignored, provided that the player can come up with a suitable explanation or background for their chosen alignment and class combination. Some Chrono Stars games may elect to not have alignment at all.
d4 HD Classes
3.5e-era classes with d4 HDs instead have d6 HDs to fit with Pathfinder changes to existing 3.5e classes that had d4 HDs originally.
Favored Class Bonus
Racial favored class bonuses do not exist. Every time a character gains a level in their favored class, they gain one skill point or one hit point at their choosing.
Bonus Spells Ability Score
All classes are considered to derive bonus spells from the same ability score they use to cast those spells.
Classes with "Unchained" variants such as Barbarian, Monk, Rogue, and Summoner default to the Unchained version. Case-by-case exceptions can be made for players wishing to play a certain archetype or build of a non-Unchained version of a class, though priority should instead be given to making the archetype or build work with the Unchained version.
Tome of Battle: Concentration Checks
Maneuvers or other abilities from the Tome of Battle book requiring a Concentration check to hit an opponent's AC instead use Knowledge (Fortifications) as a representation of their martial knowledge and skill to make use of their maneuvers.
No Magical Child Ever
At level 1, all characters gain a bonus feat. This bonus feat should be used for something relating to the character's personality, background, or otherwise "roleplay" flavor. It should not be used as a boost to getting to an optimized build a little faster or on anything that has an obvious major mechanical benefit. The GM may veto a background feat decision if it seems like it is not focused on flavor and is more focused on optimization. The Additional Traits feat is always accessible as a background feat.
Because of the rule that all classes gain bonus spells from their casting ability score for that spell list, the Academic Priest feat (normally taken by archivists) is removed.
Brew Potion is replaced by the skill Craft (Alchemy), allowing potions to be created by any level character that is capable of acquiring the materials for creating a potion -- which do not necessarily include spells, but rather will have mundane equivalents that can be purchased for low costs to keep them on par with wands that produce similar effects for higher costs. Classes that would receive Brew Potion as a bonus feat instead receive the feat Skill Focus: Craft (Alchemy).
Combat Expertise and Martial Power
In fitting with the Martial Feat Tax Reduction (see below), the feats Combat Expertise and Martial Power have been removed; instead, as with Power Attack, these effects are simply something that can be activated during combat even without the feats. Feats that have these as prerequisites no longer have Combat Expertise or Martial Power as prerequisites but retain all other prerequisites (such as base attack bonus, other feat, or ability score requirements).
The Quick Draw feat has been modified to also allow sheathing a single weapon as a swift action. If the character has two weapons and the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, they can sheathe both weapons as a swift action.
Sword and Pistol
The Sword and Pistol feat has been changed to allow it to be used at a more reasonable (and earlier) level and to close a gaffe that prevented it from being used as intended. It is written now as follows:
- Prerequisites: Two-Weapon Fighting, base attack bonus +3
- Benefit: When you use the Two-Weapon Fighting feat while wielding a melee weapon and a crossbow or firearm, your attacks with the crossbow or firearm provoke no attacks of opportunity from foes that you threaten with your melee weapon. While wielding a melee weapon and a crossbow or firearm, you may reload your crossbow or firearm as if you had a free hand, even if you are wielding a melee weapon in your other hand.
- Normal: Making a ranged attack provokes attacks of opportunity. A one-handed crossbow or firearm requires two hands to reload.
Martial Feat Tax Reduction
The following feats are all removed from the game. Explanations follow each feat to explain where the feat's effects on the game are now found.
- Martial Mastery: Combat feats like Weapon Focus now apply to weapon groups, as per the fighter weapon training ability, instead of a specific weapon.
- Weapon Finesse: "Light weapons" are considered to have the finesse quality, allowing characters to use their Dexterity bonus to hit with these weapons. Finesse can be found as a quality on other weapons as well, such as a rapier.
- Agile Maneuvers: All characters using a combat maneuver with a finesse weapon use their Dexterity modifier rather than Strength.
- Improved Trip; Improved Disarm; Improved Feint; Improved Reposition; Improved Steal: These feats have been consolidated into one feat, Deft Maneuvers (see "New Feats" below).
- Improved Bull Rush; Improved Drag; Improved Overrun; Improved Sunder: These feats have been consolidated into one feat, Powerful Maneuvers (see "New Feats" below).
- Power Attack: This feat's effects can now simply be performed if your character has +1 base attack bonus or more.
- Point-Blank Shot: This feat is replaced by Precise Shot wherever it appears as a prerequisite for other feats.
- Deadly Aim: This feat's effects can now simply be performed if your character has +1 base attack bonus or more.
- Mobility: This feat has been merged with Dodge.
- Improved Two-Weapon Fighting: This feat has been merged with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting.
- Dodge: This feat's effects now read as follows: You gain a +1 Dodge bonus to your AC. This bonus increases to +4 against attacks of opportunity when you move out of or within a threatened space. A condition that makes you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC also makes you lose the benefits of this feat.
- Greater Two-Weapon Fighting: This feat's effects now read as follows: In addition to the standard extra single attack you get normally with an off-hand weapon, you get a second attack with it, albeit at a -5 penalty (in addition to the normal penalties this attack would have) to the attack roll. Once your base attack bonus reaches +11, you further gain a third attack with your off-hand weapon, albeit at a -10 penalty (in addition to the normal penalties this attack would have) to the attack roll. Prerequisites: Dexterity 17, Two-Weapon Fighting, base attack bonus +6
- Deft Maneuvers: This feat's effects are as follows: You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a trip, disarm, dirty trick, feint, reposition, or steal combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks using these combat maneuvers. This feat replaces the relevant removed feats as prerequisites for corresponding "Greater" feats, such as Greater Trip or Greater Feint.
- Powerful Maneuvers: This feat's effects are as follows: You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a bull rush, drag, overrun, or sunder combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks using these combat maneuvers. This feat replaces the relevant removed feats as prerequisites for corresponding "Greater" feats, such as Greater Bull Rush or Greater Drag.
Blitz (The Pounce Rule)
All characters with class levels (not creatures such as druid animal companions or summoner eidolons, or monsters without class levels, though a GM may elect to give a given creature this ability at their discretion) with a +1 base attack bonus or more may full attack or initiate a martial maneuver at the end of a charge. They still incur the normal penalties and benefits of making a charge, and their full attack or martial maneuver is done at their normal attack bonus under the circumstances of a charge. Player characters that would normally receive the Pounce feature through their class or another feature or the Martial Charge feat instead do not receive a penalty to their AC when charging.
At first level, characters receive their class' full HD and their Constitution modifier as normal. Each time a character levels up, the player may decide to either roll the character's new HD and add their Constitution modifier to determine hit points gained, or they may choose to take half the new HD (rounded down) and add their Constitution modifier without rolling.
2+Intelligence Modifier Skill Ranks
To reiterate the above rule, all classes with 2+Intelligence modifier skill ranks instead have 4+Intelligence modifier skill ranks each level.
Chrono Stars games play with Background Skills to allow characters more freedom in selecting skills based on their character's background or personality even if those skills have less mechanical or gameplay importance.
Appraise can be used to judge the relative character level of another creature. Not being around the creature (such as only hearing about a person or reading about a mythical monster) adds +5 to the DC. Knowing the creature well (such as a friend or animal species that your character has spent a lot of time with) results in -5 to the DC. Listed here are the standard DCs for determining the level of another creature.
- DC 10: Determine if the creature is stronger or weaker than you.
- DC 15: Determine the level of a creature if it is lower-leveled than you.
- DC 20: Determine the level of a creature if it is lower-leveled than you or within five levels higher than you.
- DC 25: Determine the level of a creature if it is lower-leveled than you or within ten levels higher than you
- DC 30: Determine the exact level of another creature regardless of how high-leveled it is.
If the creature is attempting to seem more or less harmless than it actually is, it may oppose with a Bluff check to give the Appraise check a misleading result.
Appraise can also be used on immaterial goods, such as the value of a piece of information or how valuable a particular favor might be to another creature.
Diplomacy as a skill is not used for influencing a creature's attitude. Instead, it is for negotiating, bargaining, or otherwise diplomatically making a case or trying to reach an agreement. The odds of a Diplomacy check succeeding are based around three factors: the target's level and Wisdom modifier (which are added to the DC of the check), the relationship that the target has with the Diplomacy user, and the potential risks and rewards of the deal. A poor relationship or bad risks and rewards further add to the DC of the check, whereas a good relationship or low risks and high rewards subtract from the check's DC and make it more likely to succeed.
A Diplomacy check does not need to involve physical goods; it may also involve abstract concepts or compromises. Diplomacy checks generally take one minute or more to make a case, but some checks may be done even more quickly, such as an impassioned, brief plea for a surrender. Generally speaking, a failed Diplomacy check can only be retried if the original parameters of the deal are altered in some way, such as increasing the potential reward, but some creatures may not hear further requests after a failed check.
Duel (Iaijutsu Focus)
Iaijutsu Focus is renamed to Duel, keys off Dexterity or Wisdom (whichever is higher for the character), and it is considered a class skill for all classes proficient in martial melee weapons. It otherwise functions as written with allowing for attacking a flat-footed opponent immediately after drawing a melee weapon. Gunslingers may use Duel with a firearm that they have Gun Training for through their class features. Cavaliers and samurai (and archetypes thereof) may use Charisma for their Duel skill.
A creature may use their Strength modifier in place of their Charisma modifier for the Intimidate skill at their decision.
Knowledge: Engineering’s previous use for buildings and architecture are instead covered by Knowledge: Fortifications, which also includes the knowledge normally covered by Knowledge: Dungeoneering, such as the knowledge of what kinds of monsters tend to inhabit ruins, the design of different types of architecture, and so on, in addition to martial-related tactics and formations (such as martial maneuvers or stances that some martial classes acquire). Cavern-related knowledge is covered by Knowledge: Geography, which retains its original uses in standard geography and astronomy.
With the removal of Spellcraft (see below), Knowledge: Arcana, Knowledge: Religion, and Knowledge: Nature are used for identifying spells or magical effects depending on their origin.
In addition to its usual effects, Profession can be used to gather needed materials for crafting by way of professional contacts in the field or being individually trained in the gathering of that particular material. It can also be used to roll checks specifically to know of or even personally know people within a trained profession.
- DC 10: You know of well-known experts in your profession and basic information about them.
- DC 15: You know specific information about experts of your profession, such as publicly known details about their background and their contributions to your profession. You may also know of lesser-known experts in your profession.
- DC 20: You personally know a particular expert in your field and may attempt a Charisma roll to determine their attitude towards you.
Spellcraft is removed; its uses for identifying spells or magical effects are rolled into corresponding Knowledge skills. Crafting magic items is done through the Craft skill and associated feats. Furthermore, outside of extenuating circumstances, learning spells from spellbooks, scrolls, or other sources no longer requires a check and simply requires at least one hour per spell level (minimum one hour) to learn and properly transcribe the spell.
In addition to the usual feat and skill point retraining rules that Pathfinder offers, characters may retrain a number of skill points equal to their character level every 3rd level (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th) at no time or monetary cost. In doing so, They must still meet any requirements after these changes for pre-existing classes, class features, or feats taken, should they have any skill rank requirements. At every fourth character level (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th) the character may retrain one feat at no time or monetary cost and exchange it for another one they meet the prerequisites for under these same restrictions (namely that they must meet any pre-existing prerequisites for features they already have).
Equivalent Arcane and Divine Spells
If a spell appears on the spell list of classes with different magic sources (arcane or divine), a prepared caster of another class’ magic type can learn to cast that spell within the original constraints of their class (such as spellbooks for wizards and prayer books for archivists) with a successful Knowledge: Arcana, Knowledge: Religion, or Knowledge: Nature check depending on the origins of the spell. The DC of this check is 20+spell level (according to the origin spell's spell list). Characters may choose to take 20 on this check if they dedicate a day's worth of study to it.
Should the spell levels be different, the recipient will learn and cast the spell at the spell level according to their own class’ spell list, not the original source.
This rule does not apply to cases where spell levels may vary within a single magic type’s casters, such as paladins and clerics or summoners and wizards; in these cases, an archivist that acquired a paladin version of the spell would be able to cast it at the paladin spell level rather than the cleric’s.
In situations where a character is not under pressure or time constraints, they may perform a healing ritual through whatever spell, ability, or item they are using to heal themselves or another creature. When used, a healing ritual expends the spell, ability, or item as normal, but the user does not have to roll for healing done. Instead, the maximum hit point amount that the spell, ability, or item could normally heal is done. Metamagic cannot be applied to spells used in this way, but existing character features such as feats or class features do apply. This increases the usage time or cast time of the spell, ability, or item to ten minutes, but multiple creatures could be healed in this timeframe, per the GM's discretion.
Transforming a creature into another creature, such as through Polymorph, requires the caster to be familiar with the desired transformation if it is a specific creature (as opposed to a basic transformation such as adding gills or wings to the subject). Familiarity is defined as having interacted with the desired transformation before or succeeding on a relevant Knowledge check according to the creature. The DC for these Knowledge checks is as follows, designated by the creature's rarity as determined by the GM:
- Common: DC 10+CR
- Uncommon: DC 15+CR
- Rare: DC 20+CR
- Mythical: DC 25+CR
True and Limited Polymorph
Polymorph's 3.5e version and Pathfinder version are split into two different spells, which are ruled as follows:
- True Polymorph: Operates as the 3.5e version of the spell, except is a 5th level spell.
- Limited Polymorph: Operates as the Pathfinder version of the spell, except it is a 4th level spell.
Changes to Specific Classes or Class Features
Due to the presence of custom races in Chrono Stars games, the Favored Enemy class feature is modified to allow for choosing specific races as a Favored Enemy without burdening the class feature (or similar features and abilities) needlessly with too many categories. Default favored enemies such as animals or undead are selectable as a Favored Enemy as normal. The Race Type page can clarify setting-specific creature types that may be options for Favored Enemy.
The crossblooded sorcerer archetype has been changed to maintain parity with other sorcerer archetypes and according to the Ealdremen house rule pertaining to full-caster spell tax reduction (see below). Furthermore, crossblooded sorcerers in Ealdremen do not have -2 to their Will save, but they still have one less spell known, including cantrips, for each level. They receive bloodline spells and bloodline powers from both of their bloodlines rather than having to choose one every time they would gain a new bloodline spell or bloodline power.
Spontaneous Full-Caster Spell Tax Reduction
Spontaneous full-casters (i.e. spellcasters that gain access to 9th level spells, but do not prepare spells per day) have a modified spells per day and spells learned table to reduce disparity with their prepared caster counterparts (such as sorcerer and wizard or oracle and cleric). In some cases, their class features may be furthered modified at what level they’re gained to reduce bonus spells learned from their class features (such as oracle mysteries or sorcerer bloodlines). Partial-and-half-casters (that go up to only 4th level or 6th level spells) are not affected by this, as they have other class features meant to make up for their lesser spell utility or power.
Spontaneous Caster Versatility
As written, but not always known to players, prepared casters can leave open spell slots while preparing their spells for the day and prepare a spell later in the day in that open slot, provided that they have ten uninterrupted minutes to prepare that spell. This is to allow for spellcasters, if they know they will have time to modify their spell list for the day, to have some versatility when unplanned circumstances come up.
Spontaneous casters have no such rule, imposing a need for their learned spells to always be useful in a variety of situations and leaving no room for niche or character flavor spells. For example, unless undead were especially common in a game, an oracle expending precious learned spell slots on undead-related spells would be a waste, even if it makes sense for the character’s background. To help close this gap between casters, spontaneous casters may make use of versatile casting.
A spontaneous caster of any class that cannot prepare spells may cast a spell that is not on their learned spells list but is on their class' spell list by sacrificing enough spells per day whose combined level equals or exceeds double the desired spell level provided that they can cast spells of that level. The target spell must also be of a lower spell level than the highest spell level the caster can cast normally.
For example, wanting to cast a 4th level spell that the caster does not know (but could conceivably learn from their class) would require sacrificed spells’ levels to be 8 or higher (such as two 4th level spells, four 2nd level spells, or one 8th level spell). The caster would also need to be capable of casting 5th level spells to versatile cast a 4th level spell. Those spells per day must not have already been used for that day, and the caster must be capable of casting spells of that level already from the class whose spell list they are using. When casting a spell in this manner, metamagic cannot be applied to it, and the spell's casting time is increased by one step (e.g. a standard action spell becomes a full-round action).
In the case of multiclass characters, sacrificed spells do not have to be of the same spell list as the desired spell. This is because multiclass characters already suffer penalties to caster level and access to spells in many cases, and it stands to reason that sacrificing the ability to cast one high level spell from one class would permit an experienced caster to use a spell from another class they’ve recently started learning.
Traits, Drawbacks, and Flaws
Some games allow characters to choose up to two traits during creation under usual Pathfinder rules, namely that traits cannot be part of the same category (such as two combat traits). If the character selects a drawback or a flaw, they may select an additional trait that is in a different category than their other traits. Further drawbacks or flaws can be selected, even if the character has no traits at all, but they do not grant any additional bonuses.
If a game does not allow traits as part of the baseline character creation process, the Additional Traits feat can grant characters access to traits.
Group Experience (Flock Leveling Rule)
All active player characters have the same experience point total and character level. In the case of new player characters being introduced when the game is already underway, they may begin at a lower starting level and have to spend time with the party or reach a certain goal point to be brought up to the group experience points and corresponding level.
Spells, Items, Feats, or Other Things Requiring Experience Points
Any ability, spell, item, or feat whose usage requires a payment of experience points and does not have an existing Pathfinder equivalent will have the experience point cost waived and may instead be judged to have an alternative or additional monetary cost (subject to what the GM determines as an appropriate equivalent cost).
Items and Weapons
Mundane ammunition does not need to be kept track of under Ealdremen rules; unless your character has specifically lost their ammunition due to the events of the game or is obtaining a weapon for the first time and has no access to ammunition for it (such as by finding an enchanted crossbow in a chest and having no bolts nearby), you can be assumed to have access to mundane ammunition to use that weapon. When buying a ranged weapon, ammunition can be assumed to be rolled into the cost of obtaining that weapon.
Masterwork, enchanted, magical, or otherwise special ammunition must still be kept track of.
Firearms are martial weapons; consequently, classes with martial weapon proficiency or characters who take a martial weapon proficiency feat can use them without penalty. Firearms and ammunition cost 10% of their listed cost in Pathfinder’s SRD (exceptions can be made for level 1 characters that wish to start with a firearm and do not receive one from their class). All firearms obey advanced firearm misfiring rules unless otherwise noted (which is to say, they do not explode if they misfire while under the broken condition).
Food and Water
Food and water does not need to be kept meticulously track of. Should you desire, you can elect to simply be assumed to have access to food on long journeys unless there is a preexisting story circumstance that makes it unlikely or impossible.
Martial Disciplines (Path of War)
As per normal Path of War rules, if a class or a character does not already have this skill as a class skill, the skill automatically becomes a class skill on accessing this discipline.
Mithral Current's associated skill is Duel rather than Perform (Dance).
Riven Hourglass' associated skill is Perception rather than Autohypnosis.
Sleeping Goddess' associated skill is Sense Motive rather than Autohypnosis.