House Rules and Updates

House Rules

Blindsight vs Truesight

According to the 4e Compendium, at some point these two terms became synonymous. This is no longer the case, because it is dumb.


This effect works like the true seeing spell from other editions of the D&D game, in as much as it reveals the world in its truest form. Within the listed sight radius, the creature can see through illusions, and takes no penalty to detect or attack creatures rendered invisible through magical means. Truesight also allows a creature to see in darkness, and to view the true form of polymorphed or shapeshifted creatures, even though these effects are not illusionary. Truesight is generally magical in nature, and so may falter in areas of low magic.

What it can’t do:

  • Truesight cannot see through smoke, fog, walls of blinding fire, or other obscuring matter, whether it’s magical or not.
  • Truesight grants no additional ability to detect creatures who are hiding via simple applications of the Stealth skill.


Within the listed radius, the creature ‘sees’ due to one or more finely-tuned senses, such as scent, hearing, or echolocation. This allows it to detect creatures and its surroundings even in total darkness, and it can circumvent the penalties of the blinded condition. Concealment of any sort (illusions, invisibility, low light, fog) is ignored by creatures with blindsight. Creatures generally cannot use Stealth to hide from blindsight, and attacks with the Gaze keyword always miss a creature relying on blindsight.

What it can’t do:

  • Blindsight does not allow the viewer to distinguish colors or any sort of visual contrast, nor to read ordinary printed language.
  • Blindsight does not function in a vacuum.
  • Blindsight can still be fooled by illusions, if they fool enough senses.
  • Depending on its nature, a creature with blindsight suffering from the deafened condition may also be penalized for being effectively blinded.

Half Damage

Effects that halve incoming damage do not count as a type of resistance. An effect that allows an attack to “ignore all resistances” is ineffective against any effect that halves damage. Any effect that ignores immunities, however, will do full damage.

Also a clarification (since your GM screws this up too much): Half damage is applied after all possible modifiers. So if a weakened character attacks a foe with resist 10 all, take off the resistance BEFORE halving the damage, not after!


The swarm keyword automatically grants the following benefits to creatures:

  • A swarm can occupy the same space as another creature, and an enemy can enter its space, which is difficult terrain.
  • Half damage from melee and ranged attacks, Vulnerable to close/area attacks (usually equal to 5 per tier).
  • Swarms can only be affected by half of the forced movement inflicted by melee or ranged attacks.
  • Swarms can move through any opening that is large enough for at least one of the creatures it comprises. It only counts as squeezing if a single creature of its group would ordinarily need to squeeze.

Vehicular Combat

In any combat where a significant portion of the combatants are moving in vehicles, the GM can declare that all movement occurs at initiative count zero, in order to keep things more realistic.


Partial exposure to lava (getting splashed with it, stumbling into a shallow puddle of it, etc) deals 2d10 fire damage, and gives the creature ongoing 5 fire, though the ongoing damage can’t be saved against if it remains in lava terrain. The creature takes the initial damage again at the end of each turn where it does not leave the area of lava.

Full exposure to lava (usually falling directly into a deep pool of it) is highly lethal, even to creatures that normally are resistant to fire. Use the same rules as above, but the initial damage is 20d10, with ongoing 20 fire. In addition, creatures taking this ongoing damage are also slowed from the thick magma clinging to them (save ends both, but not until it leaves the lava).
Aftereffect: The creature takes ongoing 10 fire and is restrained (no save; Escape DC 20 ends both), as the lava around the creature partially hardens into a shell of heated rock.

Since lava is also difficult terrain, this means that most creatures finding themselves trying to swim out of a lava pool will only move 1 square with a single move action. The one upside of this dangerous substance is that due to the dense nature of molten rock, most creatures will not naturally sink in it, making drowning unlikely.

Furious Assault

Since literally every other damage-dealing racial power that I can find scales by tier, Furious Assault now deals an extra die of damage at 11th and 21st level.

Item Sets

Introduced in Adventurer’s Vault 2, item sets carry all the same benefits of traditional magic items, but with further passive benefits (called a set bonus) bestowed on those who assemble two or more pieces of a single set.

There are two types of item sets:

  • Normal Item Sets, which confer the set bonus on a single wielder if he or she bears more than one piece of the set.
  • Group Item Sets, which confer a set bonus to a group of allies if each bears at least one piece of the set.

A given creature can only benefit from the set bonus of one Normal and one Group Item Set at any given time. A creature bearing items of multiple sets may change the set bonus they receive during a short rest.


When a Player Character (or an important NPC, at the GM’s call) drops to zero hit points or below, it falls prone and becomes helpless. For purposes of in-game effects, it is considered unconscious, but it remains aware of all that occurs around it, albeit with a -5 penalty to Perception checks. Until the creature regains hit points or stabilizes, it is Dying.

A Dying creature can take no actions, and makes a death save at the beginning of its turn, referring to the chart below for results. It can only take free actions, such as speaking.

Unimportant NPCs die as soon as they hit zero hit points, unless the final attack was delivered with nonlethal intent. Certain attacks may kill the target anyway, at the GM’s call; for example, a cannon blast generally cannot knock a creature unconscious instead of kill them.

Saving Throw Death Save Result
9 or lower Failure. After three failures, the character dies. Taking a short rest is the only way to “clear” death save failures.
10-19 Success. After three successes, the character stabilizes, and no longer rolls death saves.
20+ The character may spend a healing surge and may stand up (if it has no surges left, it instead stabilizes).

Stabilized creatures remain helpless for five minutes, and then gain the benefits of a short rest. A stabilized creature with no surges falls fully unconscious for 1d3+5 hours, after which it gains the benefits of an extended rest.

Jump Speed

If an effect allows you to “jump x squares” or “jump your speed,” assume that the distance given is for a long jump only. During this jump, you clear a maximum height equal to a quarter of the distance leapt.

If you want to use such an effect for a high jump, cut the distance in half to get the height. During this high jump, you can move half again that distance horizontally.

Example: Templeton uses boarding boots to jump his speed, 6 squares. He can either long jump 6 squares out and 1 square high, or 3 squares up and up to one square outward.

Action Points

Spending an action point is a free action, usable only on your turn. However, you must use the extra action as soon as you spend the point; it’s not possible to spend a point, gain a benefit for doing so, then “bank” the additional action for later in your turn.

It is possible to spend an action point after an effect that would normally end your turn (such as charging), as long as you do so before applying end-of-turn effects like rolling saving throws.

You may also use an action point to Ready an action.

Versatile Weapon Property

Versatile now provides a +1 damage bonus per tier of the creature wielding it.

Since the damage of ‘High Crit’ weapons scale with tier, so too does Versatile’s damage.

Insubstantial Creatures

Creatures that are insubstantial take half damage from all effects, including force damage, unless noted otherwise in their stats.

Two creatures that are insubstantial for the same reason can damage each other normally.

Dual-Wielding and Implements

In order to use two weapons in a way that you can attack with either one of them as needed (or both if you have powers that let you do so), at least one of them must have the off-hand property. It stands to reason that it should work the same way for a character fighting with a weapon in one hand and an implement in the other—except in the current version of the rules, no implements have the off-hand property. The following implements gain this property.

This rule change makes things a little more consistent between the way weapons and implements work.

Note: Characters who take the Dual Implement Spellcaster feat may use two main-hand implements in conjunction if they wish since they don’t actually attack with the second one. However, they may not dual-wield staffs. That’s just silly.

Additional Note: As of this writing, nobody needs to change their character to conform with this rule – it’s just something I noticed your characters doing already which made a lot of sense to me.

Off-hand Implements

  • Wands
  • Orbs
  • Tomes
  • Off-hand weapons

Damage Resistance and Vulnerability

To calculate a creature’s resistance against an attack that deals multiple types of damage, take the average of those resistances, rounded down. This works for vulnerability too.

Example: An attack deals 10 fire/cold damage to a tiefling with resist 5 fire. The tiefling takes a total of 8 damage. If that same attack targeted a creature that has vulnerable 10 cold instead, it would take a total of 15 damage.

Resist “all” (or other unusual resistances/vulnerabilities that aren’t one of the default damage types) is only applied if no higher resistances could be applied, like so:

Example 2: An attack deals 20 thunder/cold/lightning damage to a creature with resist 10 thunder and resist 2 all. The creature takes a total of 16 damage, since (10+2+2)/3 = 4.6, rounded down to 4.

Don’t combine resistance types unless the attack deals multiple damage types – just because more than one resistance could apply to a given attack doesn’t mean you should automatically start calculating averages!

Example 3: An unlucky swordmage is caught in the aura of an Immolith Deathrager, and is dealt 10 fire damage. The swordmage has resist 5 fire, as well as a +3 demonbane weapon, which gives her resist 3 against damage caused by demons. Since the two resistances can’t both apply to this attack, she just uses the higher resistance and loses a total of 5 hit points.

Aid Another

Aid Another is a standard action. You can provide aid in one of three ways:

Aid Skill Check.
The DC to aid a skill check is equal to 10 plus half the level of the person you’re helping. If you succeed, you give them a +2 bonus. If you fail, you give them a -1 penalty for getting in the way. The GM may declare in some cases that it is impossible for others to help a given check, or that only a certain number may aid someone at once.

Aid Attack.
Aiding an attack does not require a roll, but you must be in a position where you could make an at-will attack against the enemy and spend the standard action to give your ally a +2 bonus to their next attack roll.

Aid Defense.
Aiding defense also requires no roll, but you must remain adjacent to the ally you’re defending. Your ally gains a +2 bonus to defenses until the start of your next turn, but only while the two of you remain adjacent. You cannot aid defense against threats you cannot see – like traps you are unaware of, or invisible foes.

Monster Knowledge Checks

I plan on being a bit stingier with these from now on.

Creatures or individuals that your party had little to no opportunity to hear about beforehand generally won’t have their weaknesses revealed by a simple Arcana check. However, you can always roll checks to determine a creature’s origin and keywords.

Individuals can be rolled against for knowledge (usually with History or Streetwise, but it’s the GM’s call), provided there was some reasonable way someone in the party could have heard about their fighting style beforehand. The party members themselves will be subject to this as well – at some point, I’ll be devising a system for myself in which enemies can make checks to determine who in the party has a low or high AC for example, or who is resistant to fire. This knowledge will be easier for your foes to obtain the more well known the party becomes (the higher their prestige gets).

Condition Durations

Creatures may not use Ready or Delay actions to favorably extend or forestall the duration of various effects. Beneficial effects expire at the end of the target character’s turn, whether they complete their entire turn or not. Negative conditions do not expire (or allow a save) until the character completes their entire turn, including delayed or readied actions.

Example: a dwarf is enjoying a +2 bonus to defenses from using Second Wind last round. She cannot delay her current turn to effectively gain the benefit for another full round. If the dwarf chooses to delay, the bonus expires the moment she announces the delay.

Example 2: A fighter has a -2 to attack rolls (save ends). He cannot choose to ready an attack action, end his turn, save against the effect, and THEN attack without the penalty. If the fighter chooses to ready, he would roll the save after completing his readied attack.

Falling Into Water

When falling into a body of water at least 10 feet deep for every 30 feet fallen (minimum 5 feet of depth for falls of less than 30 feet), the first 20 feet of falling deal no damage, and the second 20 feet deal 1d6 damage each. Anything above that deals normal damage.

Example: An unlucky gnome is riding in a barrel that goes over a 50-foot waterfall. The water in the lake below is 10 feet deep, so he takes 1d10+2d6 damage, rather than 5d10.

Characters that deliberately dive (rather than simply fall) into water of sufficient depth from a great height can use Athletics instead of Acrobatics to reduce the falling damage, but they still need to be trained in the skill. If they are trained in both skills, they may choose to roll either one and receive an additional +5 bonus.

Falling Objects

Falling objects are treated like creatures of roughly the same size and/or weight.

If one creature falls onto another of the same size, they take an equal amount of falling damage. Add or subtract an additional d10 for every size category they differ by. If forced movement or a similar effect causes a creature (or object) to fall onto another, the non-falling creature may make a saving throw to shift one square as a free action. If this gets them out of the way, they take no damage. This saving throw is only allowed in situations where an object simply falls onto a creature – usually throwing, dropping, or rolling an object would involve an attack roll instead.

Example 1: a swordsman drops his longsword off a rooftop and onto a medium-sized enemy 30 feet below. Since a longsword could roughly be the same weight as a Tiny creature, the fall only deals 1d10 damage – though it could deal its d8 weapon die as well. Since this is a pretty deliberate drop, the enemy would not receive a save to avoid the falling object – whether it hits or misses should be resolved with an attack roll.

Example 2: An ogre is teleported 10 feet above a halfling’s head. The halfling rolls a save to get out of the way and fails, taking 3d10 damage and falling prone. The ogre is also prone, taking 1d10 damage.


Double Move

According to the Compendium, a Double Move effectively lets a character double their speed, but only when taking the same move action twice in a row. The GM notes that this quite often doesn’t matter, but there are a few niche scenarios where it can come in handy…

Example 1: Hugo desperately wants to escape from an opponent adjacent to him, but cannot simply shift away. The battlefield is strewn with rubble, making all nearby squares into difficult terrain. He elects to use a Double Shift with his standard and move actions, letting him move one square across difficult terrain without provoking. He could possibly then spend an action point to flee even further, now that he’s out of the enemy’s threatened area.

Example 2: Qiyet is swimming from Flint’s harbor to a boat not too far offshore. She has a Speed of 7, but can only move half her speed through water. By taking a Double Walk (or swim, in this case) action, she can move 7 squares total. If she takes a Double Run, she can move 9 squares. However, should she choose to Walk once and Run once, she’ll only move 7 squares; her Speeds from each action are not added together, so the ‘odd’ numbers are lost.

Mixed Movement

If you possess more than one movement mode (for example, a walk Speed and a swim Speed), you may combine them in a single move action, so long as you do not exceed the Speed of either mode, and do not travel faster than your highest Speed. If you gain a bonus to your speed, such as the benefit of the Run action, you may apply the extra squares to your movement in any manner you see fit.

Example: Kida has a walk Speed of 7 and a climb Speed of 3, thanks to her bracers of brachiation. Facing a twenty-five foot tall building, she takes a Run action. Her maximum speed is now 9 squares, and she chooses to apply the two bonus squares to climbing. This allows her to move 5 squares up the wall and another 4 squares along the roof before ending her move action.


Even if you are not trained in Acrobatics, you can make a DC 15 check during any non-forced movement to hop down 10 to 15 feet safely.

If you are trained, you can make a check as a free action to reduce damage when you fall, even if you don’t fall on purpose. To do so, simply roll an Acrobatics check; you gain resistance to the falling damage equal to half your result. If you reduce the damage to zero, you are not prone at the end of the fall.

Creatures only fall 100 squares (500 feet) in a round, and get an action on their next turn if their original height was greater. If by the end of their turn they have not taken an action to fly (or some other method to stop their descent), they fall another 100 squares, and this continues each round until they land.

Creatures that fall more than 100 squares never take more than 50d10 falling damage.


Creatures without hover do not need to move to remain airborne. The only benefit granted by hover in the current rules is the ability to remain aloft even while stunned.

Creatures knocked prone in the air fall, but they reduce their effective falling distance by their fly speed, and may land safely if they descend a height equal to or less than their speed. Flying creatures subject to a fall of more than 20 squares (100 feet) may make a DC 30 Athletics check as an immediate reaction. On a success, they descend 20 squares and then stop falling.

“Hindering” Terrain

“Pits, electrifying runes, lava, extremely deep water, and other harmful environmental phenomena are hindering terrain, which punishes creatures that are in it or try to enter it.”

So sayeth the 4e Compendium’s Glossary, but ‘hindering’ is a poor descriptor here; I will use “hazardous terrain” instead, though the definitions are identical.

Zone do not count as hazardous terrain, even if they cause damage.

Forced Movement

Pushing, pulling, or sliding a creature usually only allows you to move them horizontally. The only legal targets for vertical movement are flying creatures, creatures that are being moved through water or another similar substance, and creatures on an incline that can support them. This means that you can do things like pull flying targets to the ground, push monsters underwater, and slide foes up or down stairs, but you cannot bull rush an earthbound target into the air, nor pull down a creature climbing on a tree above you (though if you stood at a horizontal distance greater than their height, you could potentially pull them off the tree).

Additionally, targets teleported into any kind of hazardous terrain (including into the air so that they’ll fall) get a saving throw. If they succeed, the teleport fails.

Daily Item Powers

A creature cannot use two daily powers from items with the same name during the same encounter. This means that a character who buys two pairs of Couters of Second Chances (daily: reroll a missed melee attack) can only benefit from one per battle, even if you manage to swap them out in the thick of combat. In addition, if you have a class feature or other benefit that allows you to “recharge” an item’s daily power, you still cannot use it more than once in the same fight.

There is no limit on the number of daily item powers you can use per day.

House Rules and Updates

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