Splicing D&D DNA: House Rules for 0e.

I’ve mentioned on this site before that 1974 era OD&D is one of the games I’m most eager to run, and it looks like I’m finally going to have the chance. I love it because It’s fast, it’s loose, and it’s endlessly hackable. It’s a system that has a long history of house rules, including some by Gary Gygax himself. Philotomy and Daniel “Delta” Collins have also created some excellent variations (which I have borrowed liberally from). This is the collection I intend to use when I start running a campaign in the next couple of months.

0E HOUSE RULES

HUMANS ONLY

No Elves, no dwarves, no halflings. They suck, and you’ll live without them, I promise.

WEAPONS

Small weapons (daggers, clubs, sling stones) roll 2d6, keep lowest

Medium weapons (swords, axes, maces, hammers, all bows) roll 1d6

Large Weapons (all two-handed weapons) roll 2d6, keep highest

Spears do 2d6 damage when set against an initial charge from an opponent

Pikes, halberds, pole arms and spears can attack in melee from the second rank

COMBAT ROUNDS

Announce intentions

Initiative

Missile weapons

Spells

Movement

Melee

If casualties, roll morale

TARGET 20 for ATTACKS

Attacks: d20+HD+AC ≥ 20 (Dex Mod applies for Missile attacks)

Fighters use full level, Clerics/Magic Users use ½ current level

CRITICAL HITS

A natural 20 does max damage (6hp)

A natural 1 is a critical failure and will put the roller at a significant disadvantage (takes damage, disarmed, starts fire, weapon breaks).

SHIELDS SHALL BE SPLINTERED

During a battle you can elect to splinter your shield to absorb physical damage.

BANDAGES

Bandages can be used to heal 1 hp of damage, once.

DEATH

A character reduced to 0 hp is unconscious and will recover with 1 hp in 1d6 rounds or 1 turn.

A character reduced to 0hp minus their level is dead unless they pass a saving throw vs death

A character reduced to more than 0hp minus their level is dead

ATTRIBUTE CHECKS

Roll 3d6 under attribute: challenging

Roll 4d6 under attribute: hard

Roll 5d6 under attribute: heroic

IF YOU HAVE THE TOOL, YOU CAN DO THE JOB

If you have lockpicks, you can try and pick a lock. If you’re wearing leather or no armour, you can try and sneak silently. If you have a crowbar, you can try and pry a door open. ETC.

ENCUMBERANCE

You can carry up to your STR in objects – this takes weight and bulk into account. Yes, that’s pretty abstract – it’s an imperfect world, guys.

Two-handed weapons (including all bows) count as 2 objects.

One-handed weapons are 1 object.

Shields count as 1.

Spell books count as 2 objects.

Clothing counts as 1 object.

Leather counts as 3 objects.

Chain counts as 4.

Plate counts as 6.

Coins count as one object per 100 coins.

Other equipment (torch, lantern, rope etc.) count as 1 object each.

A backpack holds 8 objects.

A belt holds 2 objects.

A sack holds 5 objects.

If you are over your limit, you are encumbered and cannot run or jump.

If you are over your limit by 1.5 times, you can barely walk.

If you are twice your limit you can’t move.