5E A few rules for an open campaign

clearstream

Explorer
By "open campaign" I mean one that spans long stretches of time and distance aka "a living world". I don't mean that a living world is better than any other kind of D&D, only that is what I am interested in. These rules were worked out and playtested over a couple of years... and with critical help from these boards. So I wanted to post them as a resource for others, and to hear any feedback that could improve them. This first post is a PHB supplement. Later I'll post similar for the DMG.

They won't be to everyone's taste!
 

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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Lots of interesting stuff. Comments on just a few bits of it.

Slower resting pace makes a lot of sense. And the breather seems to support the style of campaign these are for.

I like the feat revisions.

I find the ability score generation method interesting. There's only a 1% chance of getting an 15 (or a 6), and in general the numbers are much flatter than dice. Do you find that this really pushed players towards matching racial ability scores with class requirements?

While realistic, the "players can't confer while creating characters" might be a dealbreaker for me. Funny hill to die on, eh? If I'm joining a game, while I prefer strongly to make something that fits a gap, the one thing I will not do is step on other character's toes - very rude to join a game and overlap another's existing character. I have seen this work where you run ideas past the DM and they give a go/no go to prevent that while still keeping creation isolated.

I like that you aren't using the Variant Human, and I like how you made the (base) Human competitive.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Some nice ideas. I see you went with the "cards" method for ability scores. :)

For myself, however, all of this is too much. Personally, I have been wavering back and forth about house-rules: how many work, how many are too much, which ones add to the fun, which ones bog down game-play, etc. It is a struggle for me to find rules that are simple, effective, and accurately represent the changes I want to implement.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I'll be interested to see what you have for your DMG file.
 

clearstream

Explorer
Slower resting pace makes a lot of sense. And the breather seems to support the style of campaign these are for.

I like the feat revisions.
Thank you :) I found the resting pace really pays off for an open campaign. For the party of course, but also the world worked better to my taste with powerful spells like Resurrection a very scarce resource. In play, we found that the DMG Gritty Campaign pacing resulted in too many short rests per long, with short-rest classes like Warlock and Battlemaster far more appealing to players than long-rest classes.

I find the ability score generation method interesting. There's only a 1% chance of getting an 15 (or a 6), and in general the numbers are much flatter than dice. Do you find that this really pushed players towards matching racial ability scores with class requirements?
Yes, that's what is happening so far, although I would like to cite a contextualising observation. Out of about a dozen characters generated and played over my previous 4d6k3 campaign, only one had a race choice that didn't place it's racial ability modifiers optimally for class and subclass (a Dragonborn Tome Warlock).

While realistic, the "players can't confer while creating characters" might be a dealbreaker for me. Funny hill to die on, eh? If I'm joining a game, while I prefer strongly to make something that fits a gap, the one thing I will not do is step on other character's toes - very rude to join a game and overlap another's existing character.
I think your feelings will be shared by many :) and my frank goal is that I want a lopsided party. If we have four Diviner Wizards, I will be delighted! When I consider the last few decades of DMing, I would say that nearly every party I have DM'd has been balanced, with players avoiding stepping on one another's toes. I hope to drive fresh narratives. Maybe your newcomer does rub the veteran party member up the wrong way, with her higher INT score (or whatever). I predict less easy-going fun, but at least as much or more entertainment and satisfaction, if I could appeal to nuance in RP by using those words. It will require a mature approach from my players.

I like that you aren't using the Variant Human, and I like how you made the (base) Human competitive.
In practice this also crosses over well with the character generation method. Often my goal is to make more choices viable, and I think crossing out Variant Human and making base human better helps to do that. But I also like the idea as part of the world building, that Humans might be well known for the practice of certain arts. It gives them a "thing" rather than leaving them as a generic baseline. I prefer that.
 

clearstream

Explorer
Some nice ideas. I see you went with the "cards" method for ability scores. :)
Yes, I'm everlastingly grateful to you and others who brought that to my attention!

For myself, however, all of this is too much. Personally, I have been wavering back and forth about house-rules: how many work, how many are too much, which ones add to the fun, which ones bog down game-play, etc. It is a struggle for me to find rules that are simple, effective, and accurately represent the changes I want to implement.
I feel like a good starting point is the extant game with a project of amelioration rather than addition. For example, Dual Wielding is not available as a viable strategy to some classes that could be obvious beneficiaries of it, and Mearls himself has commented that dropping the bonus action requirement could make sense. I think changing it the way I have opens up more options for players, at a minimal cost. All through this has been my approach. Monk Refocus is one of the few frankly additional rules I've created. The whole section on sight came out of extensive testing and is the easiest to play and most consistent RAI I have so far found, making I think the burden of those rules lighter, not heavier.

At the same time, I want the rules to be usable in the world, as part of consistent world building. Often I am reading forensically, such as where I stipulate the rough amount of time for a soul to depart the plane. This comes out of the Revivify spell but is chosen for its useful ramifications for metaphysical consistency. I didn't feel right to me to warp the world around CEx/SS so I tweaked SS with one word that balances that fighting against the main other styles.

The rules presented are survivors, after iterations of play, analysis, debate and revision, from far more that have been tried!
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Yes, that's what is happening so far, although I would like to cite a contextualising observation. Out of about a dozen characters generated and played over my previous 4d6k3 campaign, only one had a race choice that didn't place it's racial ability modifiers optimally for class and subclass (a Dragonborn Tome Warlock).
My own experience is a bit broader - often characters pick a race with ability modifiers that adds to their class but with a goal of 16 (we do point buy) at creation, so +1 to a 15 and the +2 going elsewhere is still a common pick. With 15s being so rare so the best you can expect is likely a 14 high I am thinking that at my table I would only see races that add +2 to the class' prime ability score.

Actually, since you're involved with the deck, what order does this happen? Do players see their ability scores first and then pick race/class, or the opposite way around?

I think your feelings will be shared by many :) and my frank goal is that I want a lopsided party. If we have four Diviner Wizards, I will be delighted! When I consider the last few decades of DMing, I would say that nearly every party I have DM'd has been balanced, with players avoiding stepping on one another's toes. I hope to drive fresh narratives. Maybe your newcomer does rub the veteran party member up the wrong way, with her higher INT score (or whatever). I predict less easy-going fun, but at least as much or more entertainment and satisfaction, if I could appeal to nuance in RP by using those words. It will require a mature approach from my players.
Fair enough. Especially since everyone understands that it's not someone intentionally overlapping. Okay, I withdraw my issue.

In practice this also crosses over well with the character generation method. Often my goal is to make more choices viable, and I think crossing out Variant Human and making base human better helps to do that. But I also like the idea as part of the world building, that Humans might be well known for the practice of certain arts. It gives them a "thing" rather than leaving them as a generic baseline. I prefer that.
Yeah, I may steal your humans even if not playing open world campaigns. :)
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
The rules presented are survivors, after iterations of play, analysis, debate and revision, from far more that have been tried!
I'd love a thread of "Failed house rules" with discussions about the goals and why they didn't live up to them or other repercussions that caused them to be dropped.

I'm going to go start that and will invite you with a mention.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
I think your feelings will be shared by many :) and my frank goal is that I want a lopsided party. If we have four Diviner Wizards, I will be delighted! When I consider the last few decades of DMing, I would say that nearly every party I have DM'd has been balanced, with players avoiding stepping on one another's toes. I hope to drive fresh narratives. Maybe your newcomer does rub the veteran party member up the wrong way, with her higher INT score (or whatever). I predict less easy-going fun, but at least as much or more entertainment and satisfaction, if I could appeal to nuance in RP by using those words. It will require a mature approach from my players.
I think this sounds fun. Given the broad array of races and backgrounds, there's a very good chance that even if players choose the same class, their characters will start off unique anyway - especially if you players are open to selecting "non-optimal"* race and background for their classes. Not to mention most classes choose sub-classes at level 2 or 3. Differentiation, if that is something a player wants, should not be difficult to achieve. As long as everyone is on board with the possibility some class similarities, it should be all good.

*according to extensive analyses on the internets, which one may or may not subscribe to
 

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