What table rules do you have? The Social Contract


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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I generally create a campaign guide when starting a new campaign. For my upcomming Warhammer campaign, I didn't bother. I've been playing with the same group for years. We just talked about the campaign and what we wanted to play and any rule options we were going to use.

I'm more likely to create campaign guides for D&D as I tend to play around with a lot of third-party and home brew subsystems. Also, the campaign style can differ greatly from one campaign to another, so I find it helpful to make sure we are all on the same page even though we have played together for years. Having so much experience with D&D makes it even more important to get on the same page in my experience. Most of my campaign guide for my last campaign was on rules for character creation, leveling, downtime rules, etc. I only had the three guiding principles at the top of the guide:

Guiding Principles​

  • Rule of fun. I'm willing to scrap just about any of the below if most of you don't find it fun. But I do ask that you consider trying something new.

  • Resource Management plays a major role in this campaign. You get XP for extracting wealth. You need wealth not only to replace, repair, and buy better gear, but you also need it as you become more renowned and wealthy to buy favor and counter rivals. This is in an attempt to capture some old-school feel in 5e. This is mostly captured in downtime living expenses and expenses related to specific downtime activities.
  • Party > Character. I think we'll all enjoy this more if we consider "success" as the "party lives on" even though the characters do not. It may be that at 20th level, none of the party were there at first level. What the goals and motivations of the party are and what it becomes (mercenary company, seekers of power, holy warriors, etc.) is up to you.
 

AMP

Explorer
I generally create a campaign guide when starting a new campaign. For my upcomming Warhammer campaign, I didn't bother. I've been playing with the same group for years. We just talked about the campaign and what we wanted to play and any rule options we were going to use.

I'm more likely to create campaign guides for D&D as I tend to play around with a lot of third-party and home brew subsystems. Also, the campaign style can differ greatly from one campaign to another, so I find it helpful to make sure we are all on the same page even though we have played together for years. Having so much experience with D&D makes it even more important to get on the same page in my experience. Most of my campaign guide for my last campaign was on rules for character creation, leveling, downtime rules, etc. I only had the three guiding principles at the top of the guide:

Guiding Principles​

  • Rule of fun. I'm willing to scrap just about any of the below if most of you don't find it fun. But I do ask that you consider trying something new.

  • Resource Management plays a major role in this campaign. You get XP for extracting wealth. You need wealth not only to replace, repair, and buy better gear, but you also need it as you become more renowned and wealthy to buy favor and counter rivals. This is in an attempt to capture some old-school feel in 5e. This is mostly captured in downtime living expenses and expenses related to specific downtime activities.
  • Party > Character. I think we'll all enjoy this more if we consider "success" as the "party lives on" even though the characters do not. It may be that at 20th level, none of the party were there at first level. What the goals and motivations of the party are and what it becomes (mercenary company, seekers of power, holy warriors, etc.) is up to you.
I love it! These are excellent. And I totally agree about peoples' expectations of D&D being vastly different due to varied experience and that all iterations of it have a lot of 3PP support now. That is exactly why I wrote out the table rules I have for old school campaigns. They apply in different ways to other rulesets, of course, depending on the focus. I, too, mine 3PP stuff relentlessly because that is where an infinity of endless innovation and ideas lie. 3PPs push the boundarues back, and we are better for it overall.
 

delericho

Legend
I mostly only have two... though there is a secret third rule that I had to roll out after one particularly unpleasant event.

1) You have to want to be there. If you would rather be away doing something else, or you only came along because your boyfriend/girlfriend/parent/other dragged you along, I'm afraid you're not welcome.

2) By your actions, both in-character and out-of-character, you have to make the game more fun for everyone else at the table. For instance, it's fine for your character to be a jerk, as long as they're an entertaining jerk and not just a PITA. And intra-character conflict is fine, just as long as it's all in good fun. But the moment it stops being fun for all involved, I expect it to stop.

and the secret third rule:

If you're not going to make it, especially if you're going to have to cancel at short notice, you must let people know. In a world of ubiquitous communications, the only excuse for not doing this is if someone ended up in hospital. You don't need to say why, but you do need to say.
 

AMP

Explorer
I mostly only have two... though there is a secret third rule that I had to roll out after one particularly unpleasant event.

1) You have to want to be there. If you would rather be away doing something else, or you only came along because your boyfriend/girlfriend/parent/other dragged you along, I'm afraid you're not welcome.

2) By your actions, both in-character and out-of-character, you have to make the game more fun for everyone else at the table. For instance, it's fine for your character to be a jerk, as long as they're an entertaining jerk and not just a PITA. And intra-character conflict is fine, just as long as it's all in good fun. But the moment it stops being fun for all involved, I expect it to stop.

and the secret third rule:

If you're not going to make it, especially if you're going to have to cancel at short notice, you must let people know. In a world of ubiquitous communications, the only excuse for not doing this is if someone ended up in hospital. You don't need to say why, but you do need to say.
These are all excellent, and I think we've all had to deal with all three of these at one point, unfortunately. I applaud your table rules! This has been a very interesting topic so far, and I am loving all the varied responses.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm fully on board with about 3/4 of the OP's rules so I won't rehash them all here.

Differences:

--- you're encouraged to have multiple characters ready to go, and can play two at once if you like. You can cycle them in and out between adventures as you like, provided the in-game situation doesn't prevent such (e.g. if your nearest out-of-play character was recently seen 1000 miles away - or on a different plane! - then you're stuck with what you've got for now). Characters not in play usually don't gain xp.

--- In-charcter PvP is allowed but arguments etc. have to stay in character. Throw down on each other all you want, I don't care - but if it comes out of character, the hammer comes down.

--- the available classes and species listed in the roll-up guide are all you get to choose or roll from. No outside material.

--- cursing is allowed (and, at times, expected!). We're adults.

--- if you think I've made a rules mistake, call me on it right now and we'll sort it. Retcons do not happen once play has moved on, and rulings set binding precedent for the rest of the campaign; which makes it vital that I/we get it right the first time.

And a few not mentioned in the OP, some quite specific to my games:

--- leave your books at home. They won't be of any use to you as our system is just about completely homebrew.

--- you roll for your stats and hit points. No point buy, no array. If your rolled stats are awful (unlikely as our system is generous) there's a set threshold below which you can reroll from scratch. If you like you can also roll for class and species, tables are provided.

--- bring a device that can access the internet; you'll need it for rules and spell look-up, setting lore, and so forth as all of that is online.

--- if your character doesn't know something, you don't know it either. No metagaming.

--- play your own character and let other people play theirs.

--- we sail if half+1 of the players are there; if you're not there your character remains in play and will be run by either another player or by committee, in keeping with the character's established personality, traits, etc.

--- character sheets stay with the DM between sessions, to facilitate the previous point.

--- if you can't make it to a session, let the DM know in advance. Telling someone else isn't good enough as there's no guarantee the message will get passed on.

--- experience points are a character reward, not a player reward. Your character earns the same xp it would have whether you-as-player are present or not. No xp given for out-of-game things such as writing deep backstories or bringing an extra case of beer to the game.

--- treasury division, while provisionally up to the players to sort out, will ideally be fair and equitable (stolen items etc. are a different issue). The DM will call out potentially unfair division ideas if-when they are suggested, and if the players still want to go that route then so be it - my conscience is clear. :)

--- in case of dispute, the DM's word is final.
 

AMP

Explorer
I'm fully on board with about 3/4 of the OP's rules so I won't rehash them all here.

Differences:

--- you're encouraged to have multiple characters ready to go, and can play two at once if you like. You can cycle them in and out between adventures as you like, provided the in-game situation doesn't prevent such (e.g. if your nearest out-of-play character was recently seen 1000 miles away - or on a different plane! - then you're stuck with what you've got for now). Characters not in play usually don't gain xp.

--- In-charcter PvP is allowed but arguments etc. have to stay in character. Throw down on each other all you want, I don't care - but if it comes out of character, the hammer comes down.

--- the available classes and species listed in the roll-up guide are all you get to choose or roll from. No outside material.

--- cursing is allowed (and, at times, expected!). We're adults.

--- if you think I've made a rules mistake, call me on it right now and we'll sort it. Retcons do not happen once play has moved on, and rulings set binding precedent for the rest of the campaign; which makes it vital that I/we get it right the first time.

And a few not mentioned in the OP, some quite specific to my games:

--- leave your books at home. They won't be of any use to you as our system is just about completely homebrew.

--- you roll for your stats and hit points. No point buy, no array. If your rolled stats are awful (unlikely as our system is generous) there's a set threshold below which you can reroll from scratch. If you like you can also roll for class and species, tables are provided.

--- bring a device that can access the internet; you'll need it for rules and spell look-up, setting lore, and so forth as all of that is online.

--- if your character doesn't know something, you don't know it either. No metagaming.

--- play your own character and let other people play theirs.

--- we sail if half+1 of the players are there; if you're not there your character remains in play and will be run by either another player or by committee, in keeping with the character's established personality, traits, etc.

--- character sheets stay with the DM between sessions, to facilitate the previous point.

--- if you can't make it to a session, let the DM know in advance. Telling someone else isn't good enough as there's no guarantee the message will get passed on.

--- experience points are a character reward, not a player reward. Your character earns the same xp it would have whether you-as-player are present or not. No xp given for out-of-game things such as writing deep backstories or bringing an extra case of beer to the game.

--- treasury division, while provisionally up to the players to sort out, will ideally be fair and equitable (stolen items etc. are a different issue). The DM will call out potentially unfair division ideas if-when they are suggested, and if the players still want to go that route then so be it - my conscience is clear. :)

--- in case of dispute, the DM's word is final.
I like it, I like it! I lol'd at the last "my conscience is clear" line under the treasure division rule. That's the way I roll (role?), too. I love seeing everyone's different table rules. Gives me ideas, but also it shows me how we're all doing different stuff even with mostly similar outlooks.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
In my first campaign, I started with no rules (other than the system rules). When we felt we needed to make a rule, it would go on a poster named with the person who made the rule necessary. This, of course, is not recommended for most groups. But we were all old friends and it was meant in a spirit of giving-your-friends-s**t fun.

Regarding cycling characters, in my last campaign, all players had a stable of PCs back in their stronghold. They would always be kept two levels behind the party. But they could also swap characters at any time, even in the same session.
 

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