The Duration of House Rules

Recently I mentioned that we sometimes play special sessions, where we use house rules for just a single session. Here is a bit more on that.

In my D&D-campaigns there are two types of rules. Rule of the Day and House Rules. A House Rule is applicable all the time. It becomes a regular rule, but at other times I want to emphasize a specific theme or a specific plot, and in order to do that, we have the Rule of the Day. This rule only applies for a single session – and it is an efficient way to test rules or variants of of existing (house) rules.

From Daily to Permanent

Sometimes a Rule of the Day is so popular among the players, that we upgrade it to a permanent House Rule. With some of the Rules of the Day, we lessen the effects of the rule to make sure it doesn’t become unbalancing when used on a regular basis. One such rule is the Gossiping Ladies-rule, which originally awarded the players for playing gossip-scenes, but the players enjoyed the mechanic so much, that we kept it – and it is quite fun, so I am glad we kept it. Now it is employed on regular basis, but without the bonus. The implications of the mechanic is an award in itself. (The mechanic will be described in detail in a later post).

Another mechanic have been given a duration in between. The Art of Whining-rule is set to last one season in the campaign independently of the number of sessions we play. At present it is winter in the campaign, and when summer comes, the rule cease to apply.

Rule of the Day

The main reason for these rules are support a theme or a concept for a single session, e.g. in one session the character’s went exploring The Elemental Plane of Air, and for that episode the players were able to define a certain number of facts (in the same manner as facts are created in Mortal Coil from which the mechanic was borrowed). The reason for the rule was that it allowed the players to introduce ‘technobabble’, that actually worked. This freed me as the GM to create challenges without caring much about how they could be overcome, as the players could state facts about the physics of the Elemental Plane of Air and I got to add an adjustment to the fact (as in Mortal Coil), e.g. when one PC was caught in the eternal free fall of plane of air, it was defined, that by concentrating, the fall could be stopped – and I added that this concentration could not be combined with spell casting.

Together we explored the plane of air, and once the PCs returned to the Prime Plane the fact defining-rule ceased to apply.


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