19 October 2013

House-Rules for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Akrasia’s House-Rules
For AD&D (1e) or OSRIC
Part I: Character Creation, Races, and Classes

General Points

  1. The page references are to OSRIC, as it is available online for free.  However, all of the rules are useable with AD&D (1e).
  2. The rules were designed for a very small group (two players with two characters each).
  3. These rules were written for a campaign set in the Moonshae Islands, which is a 'Celtic' region of the Forgotten Realms, hence the references to the 'Ffolk,' various FR deities, and so forth.  But the rules should be useable in any AD&D game.

Character Creation

  • Choose the character’s race
  • Determine initial ability scores by rolling 4d6, dropping the lowest die
    • Replace the lowest roll with ‘15’
    • Assign scores in any order
  • Apply racial modifiers to ability scores [see OSRIC, pp. 3-7]
  • Ensure that the character’s ability scores fall within the acceptable range for his/her race (e.g., a dwarf must have a strength of 8-18, dexterity of 3-17, etc.)
  • Human characters can add a total of 1 point to one of their ability scores, either +1 to two different ability scores (e.g., +1 to Strength and Intelligence), or +2 to one ability score (e.g., +2 to Dexterity)
    • No ability score can be raised above 18 this way
  • Non-human characters can add 1 point to their ability scores
    • No ability score can be raised above the character’s racial limit this way
    • (E.g., a halfling could not raise his strength above 17, an elf could not raise her dexterity above 19)
  • Human characters select their ‘background professions’ (see my article). 
    • Either: 
      • Choose one profession from Chart I
        • Or
      • Choose two professions from Chart II 
  • If the character is a halfling, half-elf, or half-orc, choose one profession from Chart II
  • Dwarves, elves, and gnomes have no background professions

  • Choose the character’s class and alignment
  • No evil characters permitted (thus no assassin characters)
  • No monks permitted (at least initially — they are foreign to the region)
  • It is advisable that classes from the following four categories be covered:
    • Warrior (fighter or ranger; paladins are rare, though permitted)
    • Thief (assassins not permitted)
    • Arcane spell-caster (illusionist or magic-user)
    • Divine spell-caster (cleric or druid)
  • At least one druid, ranger, or bard should be in the party
  • Paladins will not adventure (at least for a prolonged period of time) with characters of Neutral or Chaotic Neutral alignment 
  • Bards play an important role in this setting, so players may want to consider that class (even though bards do not fit neatly into one of the above four categories).
    • The alternative Bard class (from Best of Dragon #3) will be used

Races and Classes (General)

  • There are no level-limits on non-human characters
    • Humans, however, enjoy the following benefits:
      • 1 extra point to assign to ability scores at character creation (humans receive 2 points at character creation; non-humans only 1 point) (see above)
      • Superior selection of background professions (see above)
      • Maximum hit points at both levels 1 and 2 (instead of only level 1) (see below)
      • A +1 to any ability score upon reaching level 6 (an ability score may not be raised above 18 this way)
  • Racially-determined class restrictions apply, except:
    • PCs of any race may be clerics
    • Half-elves and Halflings may be druids (single-class)
    • Half-elves may be druids and fighters, druids and rangers, or druids and magic-users (multi-class)
    • The following multi-class options are available to non-human characters:
      • Dwarves: (a) fighter/thief, and (b) fighter/cleric
      • Elves: (a) fighter/magic-user, (b) fighter/thief, (c) magic-user/thief, and (d) fighter/magic-user/thief
      • Gnomes: (a) fighter/illusionist, (b) fighter/thief, (c) illusionist/cleric, (d) illusionist/thief, and (e) cleric/thief
      • Half-elves: (a) cleric/fighter, (b) cleric/ranger, (c) cleric/magic-user, (d) fighter/magic-user, (e) fighter/thief, (f) magic-user/thief, (g) cleric/fighter/magic-user, (h) fighter/magic-user/thief, (i) fighter/druid, (j) ranger/druid, and (k) magic-user/druid
      • Halflings: fighter/thief only

Hit Points

  • 1st level characters receive maximum hit points.
  • Human characters also receive maximum hit points upon reaching level 2
  • When rolling for hit points (levels 2+ for non-humans, levels 3+ for humans), characters take either the roll of the die, or half the die’s maximum, rounded down (so magic-users roll 1d4, and take 2 if they roll 1; fighters roll 1d10, and take 5 if they roll 1-4; etc.)


  • We will be using the ‘alternative’ Bard class from Best of Dragon #3
  • Bards play an important cultural role within the setting
    • The bards of the Ffolk serve many functions: historians, entertainers, poets, heroes, and spies
  • Most Bards are Neutral or Neutral Good in alignment


  • Northman (human) clerics typically worship the god Tempus (the ‘Lord of Battles’, ‘Foehammer’)
    • Clerics of Tempus generally are Chaotic Neutral, Neutral, or (rarely) Chaotic Good
  • Humans from the Moonshaes (both Ffolk and Northmen) may also be clerics of:
    • Azuth (patron of mages; LN)  
    • Deneir (God of literature and art; NG)
    • Lathander (God of Spring, Dawn, Vitality, Youth, Renewal, Self-Perfection; NG)  
  • Non-human clerics worship deities of their respective pantheons
    • Elves: Corellon Larethian, Solonar Thelandira, Hannali Celanil, Labelas Enoreth
    • Dwarves: Moradin, Clangeddin, Vergadain, Berronar
    • Haflings: Yondalla, Sheela Peryroyal, Avoreen, Cyrrollalee, Bandobaris
    • Gnomes: Garl Glittergold, Baervan Wildwanderer, Segojan Earthcaller, Flandal Steelskin
    • Half-Elf and Half-Orc clerics typically revere a ‘human’ god


  • Druids of all races within the Moonshaes revere the ‘Earthmother’.
  • Druids are common on each of the isles dominated by the Ffolk.  
    • There is a Great Druid on each of Gwynneth, Alaron, and Moray
  • Most druids are assigned a certain portion of one of their isles as their territory.  At the centre of this territory is a druidic grove.  
    • (PCs are assumed to be wandering druids, at least until they reach level 12, and thus do not have their own territories.)


  • Only single-class fighters may specialize or double specialize in a weapon (multi-class fighters may not specialize or double specialize in a weapon)
  • Fighters may specialize in one weapon at level 1 (see OSRIC, p. 14)
  • Fighters may double specialize in that weapon (the same weapon with which the character already is specialized) at level 3+ (see OSRIC, p. 14)
    • No fighter may specialize or double specialize in more than one weapon


  • Single-class rangers may specialize in one weapon at level 1 (see OSRIC, p. 14)
  • Multi-class rangers may not specialize in a weapon
  • Rangers (single-class or multi-class) may not double specialize in a weapon


  • Paladins may not specialize (or double specialize) in a weapon

Magic-Users and Illusionists

  • Magic-users and illusionists are held in suspicion by most of the peoples of the Moonshaes, thus they generally try to hide their profession whilst travelling. 
  • Magic-users and illusionists with an Intelligence of 16+ may prepare and cast one additional first level spell each day
  • Material components for spells cost the cube of the spell’s level in gold pieces (e.g., the material components for a 1st level spell cost 1 g.p., the material components for a 2nd level spell cost 8 g.p., and the material components for a 9th level spell cost 729 g.p.).
    • Note which spells for which your character has the necessary components, and remove those components when the spell is cast (obviously this applies only to spells with material components)
  • Material components pouch = 20 gold pieces (holds material components for up to 20 spells; weighs 2 pounds when full)
    • 1st level magic-users and illusionists start with one pouch
  • Spell books are necessary for memorizing spells
    • 1st level magic-users and illusionists start with one ‘standard’ and one ‘travelling’ spell book
    • Both books may be assumed to contain the character’s starting spells (4 spells, including ‘read magic’, for magic-users; 3 spells for illusionists)

Thief Abilities

  • Thief characters may either:
    • Use the base thief ability percentages listed in the class description (OSRIC, p. 26)
      • OR
    • Distribute the following points amongst the thief abilities at each level — except Climb Walls, Hear Noise, and Read Languages (which follow the chart on p. 26)
      • 1st level = 130 points
      • 2nd level = 022 points
      • 3rd level = 022 points
      • 4th level = 022 points
      • [Etc.]
    • Racial and dexterity adjustments are applied after base skill percentages are determined

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Stu Rat. It's not a typo, as humans receive 2 points at character creation and non-humans receive 1 point (so that is '1 extra point' for humans). However, the text was unclear. I've added a clarification.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).