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Archive for the ‘Law and Order’ Category

In the gaming justice system, there are two separate and distinct organizations.  The writers who create the game rules, and the dungeon masters who enforce them.  These are their stories.  Well, one of their stories, at any rate…

BUM-BUM ba ba ba ba BUM…

                I wish I had an intro song with cool saxophone music.  But since I don’t, I will try and make do with iron-fisted judgment.  I was recently inspired to document some of my house rules by this article here.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who has been a GM for some time.  So now I am working on creating a comprehensive list of my house rules.  Since some of these come up in the Valt campaign, I feel I should share the whys and wherefores on my house rulings.

The Case
                Iema, a 12th level bard, portrayed by Phil, recently was confronted with a deck of many things.  His card draws resulted in a -1 to all of his saves, and 50,000 XP.  This XP would be enough to increase Iema’s level to 16.  As the DM, I was familiar with a past D&D game where the players were only allowed to increase one level per game session, no matter how much XP they were entitled to.

The Arguments
                Spring put forth the first argument: Iema took the risk of the deck.  Included among those risks is permanent destruction of the soul.  I as the DM would be acting unfairly if I denied him his rightful reward.
                However, in this case the ruling I remembered was no house rule, but was instead a by-book ruling.  The Players Handbook, page 144, has the ruling.  No player can advance beyond a single level in a given game session.  Artifacts, however, are capable of breaking a great many rules.

The Decision
                For this decision, I took a look at why players love the Deck of Many Things.  Back in first and second edition, level gains were far more difficult than they are now.  Players were willing to draw from the deck for the tremendous XP it offered, since gaining a level could require hundreds of thousands of XP.  This is no longer the case.  If this was second edition, and Iema had drawn the card at a lower level, where the amount would have gained him multiple levels, I might have allowed it.  But here and now, in the day of normalized XP due to the CR system, I have to do the hard thing and rule that Iema only gains one level.  He increases to 13th level, and is placed a single XP from 14th.
                As a consolation, I decide to rule that the XP gain from the card draw is separate from the XP gained at the end of game.  Iema will earn a second level from this game session, as opposed to the four levels the card would have earned him.  Once again, justice is served.

For those looking for more information about this game session, I direct you to a game synopsis better than one I could write.

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