Pathfinder House Rules

Pathfinder House Rules

Just some house rules and adaptations to the Pathfinder RPG I've made to balance and/or improve gameplay.

Character creation

  • Character: Level 1, any race, any class, two traits, max. one flaw (paizo only, no 3th party)
  • Personality: Short description of your most promoment Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws.
  • Abilities: Point buy system, use standard of 15 points starting from all 10's.
  • Hero points: You get 1 hero point p/level.
  • Alignment: Any is allowed as long as you can cooperate with other alignments, for this reason I do not recommend CN, CE, and NE. For more info see this awesome guide.
  • Inventory: Use avg. starting gold for your class. Keep good track of your weight, item placement, ammo/ration count, spell components, etc.
  • Backstory: Provide a summary of where you come from and what happened that made you as you are. Don't forget to explain your craft, profession, specific knowledge, etc.
  • Optionally: Creating a character could be gamified by playing as a Level 0 Commoner and slowly building up your first level in cooperation with the DM. This is especially useful for new players.

Player rules

  1. Hit die: Additional 1d6 from Level 0. Take max on first level. Afterwards take half of your roll plus half of your HD each level.
  2. Experience: No XP, levelling is done when story appropiate and only when you can rest for 1 week in-character.
  3. Initiative: Roll a d10. So the initiative bonus has more value.
  4. Called shots: As described in the variant rule of Ultimate Combat with some changes(see below).
  5. Counterspell: You can counter a spell as an AoO or readied action.
  6. Short Rest: 3 times p/day, this takes 15 minutes without excitement. Choose one of the following bonusses: Change one prepared spell. Gain back 1 rage/ki/grit/challenge/arcane pool/resolve/judgement. Focus on a skill to get +3 on its next use only. Heal HP in the amount of your CON modifier.
  7. Cantrips: All d3 become d4 and increment the crit by one. E.g. Acid Splash becomes 1d4 x3.

Feat tax avoidance

  1. Weapon Focus: Every even level you gain the feat Weapon Focus for free.
  2. Weapon Finesse: If you have at least 1 BAB and weapon focus in a finesse weapon, you gain the feat Weapon Finesse for free.
  3. Melee feats: If you have at least 1 BAB and meet the prerequisites you can gain the following feats for free: Combat Expertise and Power Attack.
  4. Ranged feats: If you have at least 1 BAB, a minimum of 13 DEX, and weapon focus in a ranged weapon you gain the following feats for free: Point-Blank Shot and Deadly Aim.
  5. Dodge: If you have the feat Dodge you gain Mobility for free.
  6. Two Weapon Fighting: If you have the feat Improved Two-Weapon Fighting you gain Greater Two-Weapon Fighting for free if you meet the prerequisite.

Called Shots

When choosing a called shot you don't get any attack roll penalties. However the hit does only half-damage, even for critical hits. This is the trade off for trying to target a specific spot. After a hit you can check with a d% if your called shot was succesful and whether the target gets a condition.

  • Types of called shots:
    • Easy (10% chance of failure)
      • Chest
      • Arm
      • Leg
    • Tricky (25% chance of failure)
      • Head
      • Vitals
      • Hand
    • Challenging (50% chance of failure)
      • Ear
      • Eye
      • Neck
      • Heart
  • Reach and Ranged attacks(including touch) have an additional 10% chance of failure. And for every extra range increment add another 10%. This replaces the reach and ranged subrule.
  • Any touch attack can be made against touch AC, but when the called shot check fails your hit does no damage instead of half damage. This replaces the Touch Attacks subrule.
  • Rolling 99 or 100 on the called shot check, always results in a debilitating blow.
  • Feats or other abilities that influence called shots can be used as-is without any adaptations.

DM rules

  1. Rule of Cool: The DM has final say and tries to follow the books as much as possible. But when a player wants to do something that is not outrageous or absurd the DM will have to create a possibility for it to succeed.
  2. Damage mitigation: When hit and situationally applicable you can give the option to the player to transfer half damage to his/her armor or even full damage to a shield; using the DR rules.
  3. Skill checks: When the skill check modifier meets DC you automatically succeed. And on a 1 or 20 on the die you must respectively create a small negative or positive situational change.
  4. Dungeon World style: On an edge fail give the player a hard choice to succeed but with a negative consequence. E.g.: Player rolls a 14 against AC 15. Give the option to hit anyway, but you will lose grip on your weapon.
  5. Glancing blow: When attacks meet AC exactly or damage dealing spells meet DC exactly, the damage is halved.
  6. Wounds: Both the Wounds Thresholds Optional Rules and Scars and Wounds optional rules are in effect.
  7. Stamina: The Stamina and Combat Tricks Optional Rules may be used via feat access.


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