A Vast Realm
New characters start at 1st level and advance 1 level at the end of every session until they reach the campaign level. Once they reach campaign level they advance when the campaign level advances. A character must be played at least 1 session at each level, so if a bonus level is gained (magic book, dungeon, or deck of many things) a character will not get a standard advancement on the same session, but doesn’t lose one if it was coming it is just delayed another session. A single class character should be the base level of the campaign, a twin classed (Fighter/Thief, Thief/Wizard, etc) will be 1 level less in each class, and a triple classed (Fighter/Thief/Wizard or Fighter/Wizard/Cleric) will be 2 levels less in each class.
Campaign Level at Log 0 is 6 and advances a level every 5th session/log entry (7th at Log-5, 8th at Log-10, 9th at Log-15, 10th at Log-20, etc.). All characters will eventually be at campaign level as a base, but actual level may vary. Bonus levels stack with the campaign level and drained levels take away from the campaign level so a character could end up a few levels higher or lower than the rest of the group. (Positive and negative level adjustments should be tracked for the character’s total effective level).
All characters begin with a 20 THAC0 which goes down by 1 per level regardless of class.
All characters have maximum hit points per hit die at all levels
Saving Throws are made as Attribute rolls against the appropriate attribute (Constitution for petrification, poison, and death magic; Dexterity for damaging spells that allow a save for ½ damage, Intelligence for illusions, Wisdom for other spells and magic effects). Monsters and animals are treated as having saves of 9 plus 1 per hit die (10 at 1 HD and 19 at 10 HD and up).
Characters are bloodied at ½ their hit points and act as if all attributes and movement were ½ normal. At 0 hit points they are critical and lose 1 hit point per round unless stabilized (Wisdom check or any healing spell). If they fall into the negative by as much as their Constitution they die. Characters who have been bloodied get a permanent scar. For monsters most will automatically flee at bloodied, otherwise treat moral as 1/2 also.
Turning undead is done as a spell casting check by clerics with a target number of 10 plus the hit dice of the undead (11 for skeletons, 18 for vampires). Spell Casting check is level plus Wisdom modifier (½ wisdom -5). Undead remain turned as long as the character concentrates on holding them back. The cleric affects 1 at the target number plus an additional 1 per point it was beat by (A wisdom 10, 1st level cleric turns 1 skeleton on 11 or 4 on a 14). If the roll to turn is beat by 10 the undead can be destroyed with 1 destroyed per point over the 10 (a 7th level cleric with an 18 wisdom needs a 0 to turn skeletons, on a 10 1 skeleton is destroyed and 9 driven away, on a 20 up to 11 skeletons are destroyed instantly).
A thief’s back stab ability requires that the opponent is unaware of them, but if invisible or otherwise concealed it can be used on opponents from other angles than behind or those in combat (snipers and invisible thieves get a deadly first strike). If the opponent knows there’s a sniper or invisible thief they are not unaware of the character even if they can’t perceive them.
Two weapon fighting is -2 to primary and -4 to secondary if the off hand weapon is a size category smaller than the character. The penalty is -4 to primary and -6 to secondary if the off hand weapon is the same size category as the character. Two handed weapons can never be used paired even by a 4 armed race (thri-kreen use a single spear or 4 claws).
Characters are proficient in all weapons allowed to their class (using a non-proficient weapon is -2 to hit).
Fighters can specialize in a weapon group; Blades (all swords and knives), Poles (spears, polearms, lances, staves, tridents, javelins), Cleaving/Crushing (maces, hammers, flails, clubs, axes, chain, morning star, and staff), Missile Weapons (bow, crossbow, sling, thrown weapons, whip, lasso) Artillery (catapults, ballista, cannons, and other siege devices including gatling gun if introduced), or Firearms (all handguns and rifles). Specializations get +1 to hit and +2 damage regardless of type (no separate rules for missiles).
All characters are literate and may perform any proficiency as an attribute roll (charisma characters are good at all charisma skills, strength characters are good at all strength skills).
Thief Skills can be listed as bonuses. Ignore percentages and instead rate each ability as a bonus to the attribute roll when performing that task. Thieves begin with 1 in every thief skill and gain 2 points to place as desired at every level (including 1st level) to a maximum of 10 in any 1 skill.
Languages known is ½ Intelligence and may be chosen from any regardless of race.
Spells listed in the PHB are considered common knowledge and available freely to all wizards and clerics regardless of sphere or school. A wizard or cleric may cast spells up to their current level and know a number of spells per level equal to ½ their Wisdom (clerics) or Intelligence (wizards).
Casting a spell requires a spellcasting check as well as mana. The amount of mana needed is the level of the spell. The difficulty to cast the spell is the spell level plus 10. The maximum mana of a spell caster and the modifier for their casting check is their level plus attribute modifier (½ wisdom -5 for clerics, ½ intelligence -5 for wizards.)
Miscasting happens on a natural 1 and causes as many points of damage as the spell cost in mana. Mana is lost even if spell is not cast successfully. Mana recovers at the rate of 1 per hour while resting (doesn’t have to be sleep, but can’t be walking, riding a horse, working just sitting quietly).
Each day (within the last 24 hours) a cleric must have spent an hour in prayer and a wizard must have spent an hour perusing their spell books (containing all their known spells) or they can’t cast spells.
A wizard’s first spell book is free upon completing their training and every time they train the training will cover the cost of adding more spells to their book. If a wizard or cleric wishes to have access to spells they don’t know they must purchase those extra. A blank spell book (wizards) or prayer book (clerics) costs 100 gold pieces and will hold 50 levels of spells (50 1st, 25 2nd, 16 3rd, 12 4th, or some combination that totals 50). Adding a spell from the PHB costs 10 gold pieces per level. Adding a spell not in the PHB costs 100 gold pieces per level.
Recharging Magic Items can be done by a wizard or priest capable of casting the spell or spells in the item. They can recharge 1 use per day at a cost of 10 gold pieces per level of the highest level spell a charge can create. This requires mana equal to casting the spell as well as a spell casting check, if the check fails the day and the materials are both wasted.
A wizard or cleric can attempt to make a scroll of any spell they know at a cost of 100 gold pieces per level of the spell and taking 1 day per level of the spell. This requires mana equal to casting the spell as well as a spell casting check, if the check fails the day and the materials are both wasted.
A wizard or cleric may attempt to make a potion appropriate to their area (healing is cleric, speed and polymorph are wizard) if they have access to the formula, materials, a laboratory and are high enough level (need 1 level per 100 xp of potion value or fraction of). It takes 1 day per 100 xp of potion or fraction and costs as many gold pieces as the potion is worth in xp. If the potion has an effect on a specific creature or simulates them such as giant strength or control the blood of the appropriate creature must be used as well and is not included in the component cost (must be found/captured). When brewing the potion treat it as a spell casting roll with the potion being as a spell equal to one level per 100 xp rounded up. A potion of healing requires a 2nd level cleric, 200 GP in materials, 2 days, and a cast check with a difficulty of 12. Holy water can be made by any level cleric with access to a holy font (1,000 GP, but available in most churches if half the holy water made is left for their use) and a cleric makes a cast check at difficulty 10 to make 1 vial of holy water per level in 1 day.
Wizards and clerics may attempt to make charged items like wands, rods, and staffs when they are 6th level or high enough to simulate the most powerful ability of the item. They can attempt to make permanent items at 8th level with similar restrictions. In either case the process is much longer and will involve doing at least 1 quest for preparation of the materials (bathed in fresh dragon blood, tempered in the heart of a volcano, buried in a grove in Valhalla for a day, and so on).
Druids gain as much mana as a cleric, but are restricted to spells dealing with nature, animals, plants, weather, and minor healing spells (use the sphere restrictions). Their other abilities remain the same. Druids meditate for an hour each day to maintain their spell casting ability.
Paladins count 1/2 their actual levels towards cleric spell use and do not gain fighter specialization. Paladins pray an hour each day to maintain their spell casting ability.
Rangers count 1/2 their actual levels towards druid spell use and get their thief abilities at a bonus of 1 at 1st level increasing each by 1 at every odd level. They don’t get fighter specialization. Rangers meditate 1 hour per day to maintain their spell casting ability.
Bards count 1/2 their actual level towards wizard spell use but can cast spells in armor up to chain mail. They begin with a bonus of 1 in each thief skill they have but only get 1 point per level to place as desired. Bardic lore can correctly identify common magic items on an intelligence check and figure out command words on a 1/2 intelligence check. Bards use spell books like wizards, but can replace verbal and somatic components with playing an instrument or singing and dancing.
The rules changes in general make the 4 core classes more powerful compared to the specialty classes. They also tend to make the group very good in the mid levels while petering out as they go into the higher levels (about the time the amount of hit point advancement drops off so does spell progression). The rules are most favorable at the low to mid levels allowing fighters big bonuses with a wide variety of weapons and far more hit points while allowing spell casters more flexibility and the ability to recover from spell casting more regularly. At higher levels the specialization advantage is mostly in attacks per round, hit point advancement slows, and spell casters can no longer recover all their mana in a regular rest period.