General Game Rules
Rule Number 1 – Roleplaying
Roleplaying is going to be very important in this campaign. To that end, there are several things that fall under this category that I’m going to address:
Metagaming – Let’s try to avoid this. There are going to be situations where you know something that your character doesn’t or that the other characters don’t. If I show you a picture of a mob and you recognize it from years of playing D&D … please refrain from calling it a bugbear, green dragon, ooze, etc. If your character recognizes it as such (through a knowledge check, past encounter, etc.) then roleplay your character imparting that knowledge to the other characters. Personally, it does not effect me at all because I have no personal stake in the mobs; but, I truly believe that it takes the fun and mystery out of the game for the other players. Metagaming is the same as your lame friend telling you the end to a movie you haven’t seen yet. Doesn’t change or affect the movie but it does take away from it’s entertainment value.
Character Development – I would like for each of your characters to interact with a familiar world and for you to achieve milestones. To do that, I need input from you. What fun is it for your character to be made head of a Dwarven House if your character really wanted to build a wizard tower and teach magic to domesticated kobolds? Please try to figure out goals for your characters and I’ll do my best to integrate your objectives into the story. The more interesting your ideas … the more likely they are to play an important part of the game.
Rule Number 2 – The Dice
Players will only roll the dice when they would know the outcome wether or not they succeed or fail. Example: Using a STR check to open a door. You will know if you succeed and you will know if you fail. Attacking. You will know if you hit and if you miss.
Players will NOT roll the dice if they have no idea what either outcome would be. Spot checks are a good example. If I tell you to roll a spot check … you know that there is something to spot … if you fail you don’t see anything but you now know that something was missed. If a diseased rat bites you how would you know if you succeed or fail until the disease starts to affect you? If you succeed on your roll … you won’t even know if the rat was diseased in the first place. To give an even better example … what fun is it to know for a fact that a PC has been inflicted with lycanthropy the second it happens and a month before they start to change? I think that it would be more interesting to wonder what if … or to roleplay the slight changes along the way. Allowing the players to make these rolls leads to metagaming and I think that it takes some of the fun out of the game. So that there is no confusion, YES … I will be rolling many of your saving throws.
Sorry to say, but many of the DM die rolls will be made out of the sight of the players. This again leads to metagaming. You will be more likely to fight a troll that is 4 and got a 6 … the second mob rolled 10d6 and got all 1s. Seeing me roll the dice and seeing what modifiers each mob has to hit and damage CHANGES your basic perception of the fight. You will then make decisions based on what you just saw even though your character would have no way of knowing or reacting that way.
Rule Number 3 – Notes/Personal Emails/Solo Encounters
From time to time each of you will be privy to information that no one else knows. When that happens, I will either slip you a note of some kind or I will pull you into the other room. If I slip you a note, it will be your job to ROLEPLAY what the note says. You may roleplay it however you see fit but you can not give the note to anyone else or read the contents of the note aloud. For example: If you fail a will save against domination … I will hand you a note saying, “You are dominated! Take your time to pick off as many group members as you can. Use tactics to the best of your ability and try not to get caught.” Clearly the event will fail if you hand the note to the cleric who then promptly dispels you. (Boring!)
Rule Number 4 – Rewards/Penalties
I truly believe that the game will be more entertaining if we follow these guidelines. To that end, there will be rewards issued out for adhering to the rules. These rewards can take the form of anything other than experience. Maybe it’ll be a well placed item for your character in a treasure horde. Maybe your character will have a run of good luck for a few days. Perhaps a family member will contact you about an inheritance. It could be anything and it could happen at any time. Conversely, fail to follow the rules and the cosmos may opt to align against you. Perhaps a raiding band of polearm-wielding bugbears kills the workers that you hired to build your wizard tower. Now it’s construction has been delayed 6 months. Who knows … could be anything. The rewards/penalties will most likely be so integrated that you probably won’t know when it’s happening so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Consider it Campaign Karma.