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House Rules

The universe of the Darkness Moon Chronicles is a collection of stories written by the Amelia Nite, the Keeper of Tales (Keeper or KT for short). Within her stories are the tales of Kěith Cheonsa, Jack McClain, Syus Nightingale, Oliver McKinney, and so many more people. While Amelia does not always focus on letting complete strangers into her works, she does enjoy if her readers want to engage deeply within the lore of the Darkness Moon Chronicles. She also expects that her readers don't want to read long documents - unless you are a Consumer of Lore, so she actively tries to keep many details of the lore within her books close to her chest.   These house rules are meant to give you, a reader, the bare bones required to get up and running with an interactive character in the Darkness Moon Chronicles that may or may not get a guest appearance in the series. If you do happen to create a character, please let Amelia now. She would be delighted to see what works you have come up with!

Table of Contents

Character Creation
Generic article | Sep 28, 2022

Character Creation

Resources for character creation can be found in the Character Creation article, which includes species, backgrounds, and class information about the Darkness Moon Chronicles, as well as changes to the standard options.   The documents for character creation are setup like a linear wizard, look for "next" and "back" options at the bottom of the pages, starting with this one.  
  • Main Characters begin at 2nd level.
  • Characters begin with either double their starting money, or their selection of class gear plus starting money. Reader's choice.
  • Character abilities should be determined using a dice roller.
  • Feats are allowed.
  • Multiclassing is allowed.
  • Simple encumbrance will be used.
  • At the reader’s discretion, you may optionally choose a tool proficiency or language (note: house rules) in addition to those from other sources, such as your background. In the case of a tool proficiency, you must still buy the tools normally.
  • Optional Homebrew Class Features are allowed.
  • For a more comprehensive set of optional rules, see the Optional Rules page.
  • Please note the Character Concept appropriate to your character.
  Some of the options documented here may not be ready for prime time. If you express interest in using a given option, Amelia will revisit it for refinement and together, the both of you can discuss it.  

Source Material

Some source material can be found in various D&D books or within the contents of the Darkness Moon Chronicles.  
  • Curse of Strahd
    • All horror elements
  • Eberron: Rising from the Last War
    • Details on war elements
  • Explorer's Guide to Wildemount
    • Details on celestial elements
  • Fizban's Treasury of Dragons
    • All draconic elements
  • Guildmaster's Guid to Ravnica
    • Details on guild elements
  • Monsters of the Multiverse
    • All monster elements
  • Mythic Odysseys of Theros
    • All celestial elements
  • Player's Handbook
    • "how to create your character" elements
  • Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
    • Details on school elements
  • Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
    • Details on spell and trap elements
  • The Wild Beyond the Witchlight
    • All fae elements
  • Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
    • All horror elements
  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything
    • All monster and item elements
 

Saving Throws Explained

In 5e there is a dice roll you will be asked to make fairly often in encounters. These rolls are typically used to test the character’s ability to prevent something happening to them. The scope of what a saving throw “can be” is pretty wide. Let’s go into how before we cover the when.   In 5e every character is made up of the 6 main attributes, also known as abilities.   Each of these attributes will have a score, the higher the score, the better that creature/character is at tasks covered by that attribute. This includes saving throws.   During the course of a game, your KT may ask you to make an attribute specific saving throw, based on either what you’re currently doing, or if an attack is being made upon your character.   If you fail the saving throw, a bad effect will take place, either a spell will take hold, or you will catch a disease, or fall off a cliff, depending on the context of the saving throw itself.   If you succeed, then most of the time you will resist or overcome whatever caused the saving throw in the first place, a spell will fail to take hold, you resist the disease, or you catch yourself before falling off the cliff.   The way a roll would typically work is that a character would be asked to make a specific attribute saving throw, they would roll their 1d20 , and add their ability score modifier to the result (and their proficiency bonus if they are proficient with that attribute). The total of that dice roll must be equal to or higher than the Difficulty Class (DC) of what is currently happening to succeed.  
Death Saving Throws
If your character falls to 0 hit points, your KT will roll any Death Saving Throws to save your character. Now, unlike other saving throws, death saves don’t use a corresponding Ability Score. They’re still a type of saving throw. But, they aren’t considered an Ability Check. And, since they don’t use an Ability Score, you don’t add anything to your roll. Luckily, you have to roll a 10 or higher to succeed on death save. If you succeed at three, you stabilize and don’t die. The good thing is that you don't have to get "three-in-a-row" to succeed or fail. As long as you reach three in total, you'll either pass or fail.   If your KT rolls the three saving throws, you'll hear the voice of Ruualn, Fate of Death telling you to get back up as your time has not come and you'll awaken prone on the battlefield with 1 Hit Point. Until then, you won't know how many times you've passed or failed your Death Saving Throws.   However, NPCs never get to have Death Saving Throws. If an NPC is part of your party and they loose all of their Hit Points, they are dead. Simple as that. There's no saving them. They're just gone. So, think twice before letting an NPC join your party if there's danger to be found.  

Skill Checks

Every story runs into the issue of metagaming at some point. Essentially, metagaming is when you use external knowledge to determine your character's actions, particularly when said character shouldn't know the information in question. This can be as innocuous as a veteran choosing to not use fire attacks against a red dragon despite not knowing the creatures are immune to that element.   One common cause of metagaming has to do with skill checks, especially Perception checks. Because you understand that a low roll means you are likely to be deceived or to miss a crucial piece of information, you may choose your next action with that low roll in mind. For instance, if you check a hallway for traps and roll a three, you will likely proceed under the assumption that there a traps, undermining the impact of the low roll.  

1d20 + Ability Modifier = Ability Score

Amelia has read up on this, and saw a response to this type of behavior. When needing to check Ability Scores, your KT will do the roll, but you need to make sure to tell your KT the modifier of whatever Ability is being used. Your KT will not reveal what was rolled. By withholding that information, you are unable to make any inferences based on what you rolled; you simply know what you would know.   This house rule can be easily applied to any situation, and it could be particularly helpful to newer people who may not even realize they are metagaming.  

Any skill can be rolled with any attribute as long as you can give a logical reason behind doing so. Such as using Strength for Intimidate instead of Charisma or Constitution for Athletics instead of Strength. A critical success on Skill Checks does not always mean success at a given task but may offer some additional information or benefit.

PVP

In a lot of ttRPGS, player verses player (PVP) battles are common. In the DMC universe, PVP is allowed, but it can also resort in your character getting killed. This doesn't even have be any PVP for your character to cause damage to another player's character. So, be mindful of your attacks and spellcasting when trying to take down an enemy. You wouldn't want to hurt an ally, would you?  

Magick, Spells, & Spellcasting

In short, this is a high magick world, with close feel to "Dragon Age" and "The Mortal Instruments", wherein the use of magick is almost always associated with good and evil.   Due primarily to the political pressure of the Itude Empire and the Moonlight Expanse, trafficking with otherworldly places and beings is forbidden in the western organizations without a strict permit. It is believed that all magick is fueled by these things, or by elements, sun, moon, runic, blood sacrifice, and the like, which are also outlawed in various portions of the organizations. In monumental hypocrisy, however, the Itude Empire sanctions the use of sun magick when it's a divine miracle of Noella, the Sun - or otherwise sponsored by the Church of Darkness (granted via a Holy Writ).   Black markets and secret organizations exist to support the underground use and study of forbidden types of magick, but in many cases it would be wise to keep the presence or use of magick concealed. Violating these laws will likely draw the attention of one of the many churches with the two organizations.   Some characters may be granted a Holy Writ as a part of their class, and some characters may obtain them later. For details, see the class information documented in the character creation documentation.  

Monsters & Threats

There will be a number of differences to the creatures you are used to seeing in a D&D setting, perhaps most importantly, some creatures are deadly well beyond their normal D&D counterparts. This could be compared to the Witcher style bestiary, wherein many creatures have strengths and weaknesses to be discovered and exploited. Players are encouraged to explore and research their adversaries, and some creatures may be well-nigh unbeatable otherwise.  

Difficulty Class Explained

So you’re probably asking, “how do I know what the DC is?”. That’s a good question, well done! Generally speaking, you won’t ever know the true value of the DC. Typically, you should only ever know if you succeed or fail on the roll.   I would say there are two kinds of DC’s in the game, one is set by the KT depending on how hard they think the current action/situation is. The other is based on a character’s specific attribute scores, this one is what would be used when a character/creature is casting a spell on another.   For the KT determined DC’s it would have a numerical range from 1-30+.  
DC Level
1-5 Very Easy
6-10 Easy
11-15 Medium
16-20 Hard
21-25 Very Hard
26-30 Close to Impossible
  For a character-specific DC’s, we would most likely be talking about spells. Depending on the class the spell-caster is they would use a specific attribute to cast their spells. A spell-caster can work out their own spell-casting DC with this quick formula:  

8 + Spellcasting Ability Modifier + Proficiency Bonus

 

Calculating Hit Points

The Hit Points, or HP, are important for every character. The way it looks in the PHB, it can be a bit confusing, especially for me. So, I have opted for an easy calculation when determining Hit Points.  

Die # + Con Mod = HP at 1st LV


HP at 1st LV x LV at now = Max HP at 2nd LV or higher


Example:
Oliver's class die is a 1d8. So, his HP at 1st LV would be 8+2 (his Con Mod) = 10 HP.
At LV 3, Oliver's HP would then be calculated as 10 HP x 3 (his current level) = 30 HP.

 

Overruling the KT

Overruling? More like sneaky tactics. Like stamina, being smart and knowing when to take short cuts, overruling is not a die value. Instead, your character has a small number of very precious and powerful Tokens of Sneaky Tactics that you can decide to use at any point during your adventures in the DMC.  

Leveling Up!

When you gain enough experience (XP) to level up, you level up right after the battle, NOT at the end of a session, chapter, etc. Resort to the Calculating Hit Points section of this article.   But leveling up via battle is not the only method. All PCs, NPCs, and BBEGs must also win political battles (i.e., speeches, balls, etc.), go through training (at this point, everyone training gets XP), and even knocking an opponent out cold and escaping can earn you XP (usually half the amount of XP you would normally get by killing your opponent). Depending on the situation, you get to earn XP in some format and any non-violent form of earning XP has a better chance of being rewarded.   Experience Points Per Level
Level Experience Points (XP)
1 0
2 300
3 900
4 2,700
5 6,500
6 14,000
7 23,000
8 34,000
9 48,000
10 64,000
11 85,000
12 100,000
13 120,000
14 140,000
15 165,000
16 195,000
17 225,000
18 265,000
19 305,000
20 355,000

 
  Rewards for Leveling Up without Killing
1d6 Reward for not killing
1 A Single Spell connected to your class
(if your class can't learn a spell, reroll the die)
2 Spellbook
3 Animal Companion (0 - 1/2 CR)
4 Magick Ring
5 Magick Weapon
6 Magick Armor

 
 
To better understand leveling up, read Earning Experience.
 

Madness

Madness may be a condition, but it can be cured. The below article teaches you how to handle being mad and the possible ways to get rid of it as well as what happens after your madness if gone.
Madness
Generic article | May 25, 2022
 

Holiday Season

There will be no games in December or the week before Thanksgiving. Further holidays may present themselves.  

Stop means Stop

If the KT tells you to stop doing something disruptive during the session, just stop. Last words aren’t needed. If you feel it was unfair, take it up with the KT after the session or during the break.
 

Gameplay Etiquette

  • D&D is a team sport. If your character doesn't want to be part of a team, roll one who does.
  • Cheating, lying to a KT, arguing with a ruling, or promoting an unhealthy atmosphere will result in disciplinary action. Amelia reserves the right to remove any user, at any time, for any reason.
  • You will not have plot armor, unless chosen by your KT. Do stupid things and you may die! Retreat is always an option.
  • Know your character and let others play theirs.
  • If you don't make a decision or your turn takes too long, you take the Dodge action and we continue.
 

Requirements to Play

To play within any DMC Campaign you MUST familiarize yourself with the general lore. Amelia does not use many of the standard tropes found in Dungeons and Dragons. While this is not to say she does not follow other establish tropes, just that she has changed enough that standard 5e lore knowledge will not help you.   Familiarizing yourself with the lore not only allows you to have more knowledge about the world around you but also puts less stress on the KT and other Players to explain everything. You do not have to memorize the entirity of the WorldAnvil setting, but you must know the basics. You can use the left sidebar to easily navigate through what is important to know.  
Deadly Crits
When you score a critical strike, you receive an extra bonus to your damage. Roll your attack's damage dice and add the maximum value of those dice to the roll. Then add any relevant modifiers as normal.  

Roll Attack's Damage Dice + the Attack Dice's maximum value + any relevant modifiers = Critical Strike

 

Example:

Roll 1d8 + Dice's maximum value (8) + any modifiers (i.e. STR, DEX, INT. etc.)

Encumbrance
You can carry x15 your Strength. Amelia does not use the variant encumbrance rules, it just eats up time.  
Coup de Grace
If a creature is deemed restricted enough by the KT (Such as being bound with rope while unconscious) a player may perform a Coup de Grace action, instantly killing or incapacitating the creature.  
Items in Combat
Potions, poisons or scrolls not in a Satchel or held with an open hand are considered to be stored safely in a backpack. Finding an item in a bag requires 4 consecutive Use an Object actions by a player during a combat encounter. Only one player can search a bag at a time.   Physical Damage Specific damage types labeled as Physical Damage include the combined bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage types. When dealing with this damage type, a creature would need resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage to apply resistances, immunities and vulnerabilities. Protect Action When you take the Protection Action, you focus on protecting a creature within 5 feet of you. Until the start of your next turn, all attack rolls made against the target are instead redirected to you with advantage. Protection ends early if you are ever more than 5 feet away from the target. A target can only be protected by one creature at a time.
Resting
Short Rest. A short rest can be completed in 30 minutes.   Long Rest. Safe Havens. You can only perform a long rest in safe areas. Safe areas are ultimately decided by the KT and are defined as a place where adventurers can rest without the need to guard themselves or be alert from fear of violence. Typically, towns, forts, and well-protected areas are safe, whereas wilderness camps and dungeons are not unless a group goes to great lengths to protect their surroundings.  
Satchel
Satchel is a DMC 5E item allowing for quick access to a limited number of consumables. All Player Characters are given a 1-slot satchel upon character creation and have the option to purchase larger satchels.  
Speaking in Combat
You can speak during combat and creatures can respond on their turn but the full conversation has to happen in 6 seconds.  
Spell Cost
Spells with a gold cost will automatically deduct the gold from the spellcaster. You do not need to shop for components unless you enjoy the process.  
Weapon Swapping
Changing readily accessible weapons is a bonus action.  

Travel Rules

Activities conducted during a day of travel in the wilderness are divided into "watches" to gauge occurrences. In a 20-hour day, there are 5 watches, each equivalent to 4 hours.   A typical party can travel for 2 watches or 8 hours. Likewise, to complete a long rest, most characters need 2 watches or 8 hours. This leaves another 2 watches during which other activities can be conducted, such as fighting creatures, dungeon delving, etc.  
Travel Activities
While traveling, a player can engage in one travel activity at a time. A character decides their travel activity at the start of each watch while traveling.   Players can choose from the following activities while traveling:   FORAGE. The player passively searches for food and water while traveling, collecting enough to feed 3 party members per watch. To forage, the player makes a Wisdom (Survival) check.   HELP OTHERS. The player provides advantage to another player taking the Forage, Lookout, Navigate, Search or Track activity.   LOOKOUT. The player keeps an eye out for danger while traveling, making it more challenging to be ambushed or travel into traps. The player makes a Wisdom (Perception) check to serve as a lookout.   NAVIGATE. The player guides the group as they traverse the wilds, preventing the party from getting lost. The player makes a Wisdom (Survival) check to serve as a navigator. If a character is a Ranger with Natural Explorer or has the Keen Mind feat, they gain a +5 to Wisdom (Survival) check while navigating. A group cannot navigate and track during the same watch.   SEARCH. The player can search for a specific object as the party travels, such as a rare herb or specific animal tracks. The player announces what they are searching for and makes an Intelligence (Investigation) check.   TRACK. If tracks are spotted, during the next watch, a player can follow the tracks and pursue a creature or group of creatures. The player makes a Wisdom (Survival) check to serve as a tracker. If a character is a Ranger with Natural Explorer, they gain a +5 to Wisdom (Survival) check while tracking. A group cannot navigate and track during the same watch.  

Navigation

A group can use two navigation modes when traveling: directional and landmark. Landmark navigation depends on the ability to see nearby landmarks, while directional navigation occurs when the party travels based on their own sense of direction.  

Landmark Navigation

If the party has a clear view of a landmark, such as a mountain peak or tower on a hill, the party does not need to make navigation checks to reach it. The landmark must be visible once per watch to qualify as having a clear view.   VISIBILITY. By default, the horizon is 3 miles away, meaning anything without significant elevation cannot be seen past the 3-mile limit. Larger objects can be seen at a greater distance. For every 100 feet, the landmark rises about the surrounding terrain; the landmark can be seen one mile away. For example, a mountain range rising up 4,000 feet can be seen from 40-45 miles away.  
Directional Navigation
Directional navigation occurs when there is no clear visible destination but the party wishes to travel based on their own sense of direction, follow a map, or from second-hand knowledge.   A party member must serve as a navigator during each watch spent traveling and guide the group into the wilderness. If the navigator succeeds on their roll, all is well. If the navigator fails the roll, the party is slightly lost. If the navigator fails their roll by 5 or more, the party is significantly lost.   Your KT secretly rolls a 1d12 based on the navigator's failed roll, moving the group in a new direction.  
Weather
The skies are unpredictable and can make exploration difficult. Before every session, players will know the weather going into the session. However, the weather can change with each rest. Weather generally has three critical factors: clear skies, light, and heavy precipitation.  
  • Clear skies provide no additional effects.
  • Light precipitation: Disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks and visibility is reduced to 1 mile.
  • Heavy precipitation: Disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) and Wisdom (Survival) checks and landmark visibility is impossible.
 

Creation Bonuses

If you discuss it with the KT, you may get granted a custom item based on your species, class, or personal history. Do not suggest an item that will make the campaign overpowered to where it breaks the story and ruins the fun for everyone else involved. Your KT will have the final say in the item and with alter any necessary parts to fight the DMC.

Articles under House Rules



Cover image: by Amelia Nite (Canva)

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