Note: All rules and page number references are from the Black-Bound, 1996 second printing of the Player’s Handbook (PHB). Unless specified below or changed in-game by the DM, we will be using all the rules therein. Some house rules have been added.
Optional rules we are using: “Weapon Speed and Initiative” (pg. 127), “Parrying” (pg. 133), and “Jogging and Running” (pgs. 157-158).
Optional rules we are not using: “Weapon Type vs. Armor Modifiers” (pg. 120) and “Group Initiative” (pg. 125).
Crits and Botches: On a natural attack roll of 20, you have critically hit. You may choose to deal double damage (choose before game to either roll twice or to multiply by two, adding modifiers afterward), roll an immediate bonus attack (potentially critting again), or deal normal damage and have “something cool” happen. “Something cool” is a cinematic event that is purely at the DM’s discretion. It may cause some additional harmful effect or it may simply make your character look badass. Likewise, natural 1’s are automatic misses, and may or may not cause fumbles, face-plants, or more dangerous effects depending on the situation.
Death and Dying: Anyone reaching zero Hit Points falls unconscious and begins dying. They lose 1 HP per combat round and die at –10 HP. Before that happens, anyone can bind the character’s wounds (with appropriate materials) or can staunch the wound with pressure to (at least temporarily) stop the Hit Point loss. Characters with the Healing Proficiency can attempt to restore some HP if they can treat the victim within one round of wounding, but can stop the HP loss even if unsuccessful on their check. Any kind of magical healing automatically stops HP loss, and any wounded character who goes above zero Hit Points regains consciousness (though the DM may rule that certain penalties apply to a heavily wounded character). Note also that certain situations (like falling into a lava pool) may cause instant death.
Experience: XP is awarded for defeating opponents; which can mean killing them, routing them, capturing them, tricking them, talking them down, or (in some cases) avoiding confrontation altogether. Quest and story awards are available, as are rewards for clever tactics, heroic/villainous deeds, good speeches, character accomplishments, comedic moments, excellent roleplaying, etc., ad infinitum.
Identifying Magic Items: Many magic items can be rudimentarily identified through trial and error. Tasting a potion, swinging a sword, or pinning the scarab-shaped jewel to your cloak may (at the DM’s discretion) give some small insight into what the item does -– though tests like these may not reveal a lot of information and they probably would activate any curse or negative effect that might apply. Careful study or research can also give clues to the nature of the item, as can the knowledge of a reputable sage or bard, though only spells like identify and legend lore can promise more accurate information.
Infravision: Infravision amplifies normal sight by overlaying heat patterns into the character or creature’s field of vision. These appear as a spectrum of color, depending on the intensity of the heat. Incredibly hot objects can temporarily blind someone using infravision, and very cold objects don’t appear at all. Like normal vision, the closer you are to something, the more detail appears, meaning that very subtle heat variations can only be observed up close. This special sight can be turned on and off as fast as blinking, making quick glances possible at any time.
Multiple Characters and NPC’s: I would prefer that players only run one main character at a time, however, any player who wishes to make more than one character is welcomed to do so. You may run two characters at a time, though this is not recommended for those who are not very comfortable with 2nd Ed. rules. You may also switch from one character to another as the storyline allows, or keep extra characters in reserve for when your first one dies, retires, or turns traitor. Hirelings and followers may be run by players or the DM, at the player’s option. You may even ask another player to run your follower if you wish.
Other Books: We will be using the core rules from the 2nd Ed. PHB, DMG, and Monstrous Manual. If the DM decides to introduce material from other books as a core rule, he will provide that information to the players during the course of the game. Feel free to use your other sourcebooks for inspiration and ideas.
Re-Rolling a Character: In the event that you have to (or want to) roll up a new character, make that character one level lower than the lowest-level member of the party. Roll starting gold for level 1 and add 100gp for each additional level.
Retrieving Ammunition: Arrows, bolts, bullets, and stones tend to break or deform when they strike something hard. In most cases, ammo that misses its target has a 50% chance to be intact if searched for, provided it isn’t inherently breakable (like vials of holy water). Ammo that hits is considered damaged. Some damaged ammunition may be repairable if the appropriate non-weapon proficiency is known.