Saturday, May 13, 2017

DragonQuest House Rules

I'm guessing that every DragonQuest GM out there has at least a couple house rules for their DragonQuest campaign and I'm no different.  Whether they are subtle changes to rules, different interpretations of DragonQuest's sometimes vaguely-worded rules or new skills, spells, weapons and colleges, every campaign has its own rules.  This is, of course, true for pretty much any RPG system out there but the collapse of SPI and the disinterest of TSR meant that DragonQuest hasn't really grown and evolved since its release.  Any changes or development for DragonQuest has been left to fans of the system through house rules.
Over the last decade or so I've been collecting all the various house rules from my own campaigns into documents that can be shared with others instead of just random notes in text files or scribbles in the margins of the rules.  I've linked from this post to my base set of house rules and a couple more documents focusing on specific aspects of DragonQuest.  The full set of my house rules can be found on my Downloads page.  Below are some comments about the rule changes and additions that I have made.

Character Generation

DragonQuest is what I consider a 2nd generation RPG.  Characters were no longer restricted to a handful of specific classes with rigidly defined skills at set character levels.  Instead the path of character development is up to the player and can pick and choose what skills he wants his character to have and how far the character advances in any one skill.  But that's not so say that DragonQuest doesn't still have some baggage left over from 1st generation RPG design or its own curious design quirks.  It still uses a random die roll to determine how many characteristic points you get to split among the 6 characteristics.  A character that isn't going to be an Adept essentially only has 5 characteristics that he has to worry about as MA can be set at 5 and ignored.  The wrong die roll for characteristic points may limit a player's choices for building the type of character they want to have.  I've long allowed for players to make 2 rolls on the Point Generation Table and keep the one they want.  I've waffled about just letting players pick a specific CP/Max combo, e.g. 90/22, but haven't done it yet.
A quirk of DragonQuest compared to many other FRPGs is that players had to roll to get a race other than human.  There are reasons to do this (like not wanting every character to be a shape-changer or elf) and I don't necessarily disagree with them but I've moved towards allowing players to just pick the race of their character with three exceptions: shape-changers, giants and lizard-men.
A final comment about character generation is that I use the Central Casting:  Heroes of Legend book for generating the backgrounds of characters in my campaigns.  There are 3 pages of guidelines and several charts for use in bringing the results inline with DragonQuest and my campaign.  The charts provide guidance for starting skills (such as languages) and starting equipment.


I've made a couple of changes to combat in DragonQuest and these are described in the House Rules document.  One change that dates back to before DragonQuest came out is that characters aren't dead at 0 Endurance.  They are instead mortally wounded and likely to die without immediate treatment. There are rules for that similar those used by other RPG systems and other GM's house rules I've come across over the years.  There is also a new Adventure skill called First Aid which helps considerably and is also a not-infrequent background skill to come out of the CC:HoL background generation.


As mentioned, First Aid skill was added to sit in between doing nothing for a bleeding/dying character and having a Healer or Adept with healing.  As it is meant as an Adventure skill, like Horsemanship and Stealth, it isn't fleshed out as much as, say, Healer or Alchemist.  If it was then it would probably be called Physiker or Chirurgeon, be more expensive and costly.
There are a few tweaks to the system for spending EP and improving skills but those are mostly to match it up with my campaign calendar.
Finally there is a tweak to the points-healed calculation for Healers to minimize the impact of poor D10 rolls.

Character Races

I've made a few minor changes to the character races and added the Half-elf and Lizard-man races published in Ares.  Additionally I've added my own take on Gnomes and Half-ogres.  Orcs were changed to be half-orcs for my campaign and the details tweaked.  All of these changes/additions are gathered in a separate Character Races document.

Racial Vision Types

Finally, I also have a separate document that covers the various Racial Vision Types for both the PC races as well as some monsters.

The House Rules Collection

One of these days I should probably combine them all into one document but at this point there are several.
These as well as the Light & Vision Spells PDF and Weapon XP Chart to R10 PDF can also be found on the Downloads page.

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