- 1 Æthercoil Restrictions
- 2 Action Points
- 3 Attunements
- 4 Crafting Mechanic
- 5 Criticals and Failures
- 6 Companion's Bond Expansion
- 7 Dark Powers Mechanic
- 8 Downtime
- 9 Flanking
- 10 Homesteading
- 11 Multiclassing
- 12 Non-Violent Resolution
- 13 Rests
- 14 Skill Proficiency Matters
- 15 Spell Points
- 16 The Three Pillars
The list of things banned in Æthercoil is expanded from the official 'Product Identity list' in WotC's System Resource Document, as listed below (Note: Some Fair Use Laws-related uses may be found, especially for reference or parodical purposes):
The following items are designated Product Identity, as defined in Section 1(e) of the Open Game License Version 1.0a, and are subject to the conditions set forth in Section 7 of the OGL, and are not Open Content: Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master, Monster Manual, d20 System, Wizards of the Coast, d20 (when used as a trademark), Forgotten Realms, Faerûn, proper names (including those used in the names of spells or items), places, Underdark, Red Wizard of Thay, the City of Union, Heroic Domains of Ysgard, Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo, Windswept Depths of Pandemonium, Infinite Layers of the Abyss, Tarterian Depths of Carceri, Gray Waste of Hades, Bleak Eternity of Gehenna, Nine Hells of Baator, Infernal Battlefield of Acheron, Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia, Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia, Twin Paradises of Bytopia, Blessed Fields of Elysium, Wilderness of the Beastlands, Olympian Glades of Arborea, Concordant Domain of the Outlands, Sigil, Lady of Pain, Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, beholder, gauth, carrion crawler, tanar’ri, baatezu, displacer beast, githyanki, githzerai, mind flayer, illithid, umber hulk, yuan-ti.
The following items are also banned from Æthercoil Content: All Power Word Spells, All Deities in other D&D campaign settings, Angels, Demons, Devils, Modrons, Nothics, Succubus/Incubus, and the Deck of Many Things.
Especially the Deck of Many Things.
Instead of Inspiration, I use a variant of 4th Edition Action Points, represented by cards in my real life tables and kept track along with Experience Score. Not only do they have additional uses, they also carry over sessions and stored throughout the campaigns.
An Action Point can be used for the following:
- Make any roll with Advantage, or negate any Disadvantage.
- Add a d10 to any d20 roll.
- Have an additional Standard Action in your turn.
- Retcon any mundane detail.
A player can use only one Action Point in any event, be they skill challenge or encounter, except for certain encounters involving bosses. In that case, the players can use an Action Point at each turn.
Also, at the end of the session and when XP is updated, the player can turn in unused Action Points to gain an additional 100 XP per Action Point. This can be useful if the PC is just short of leveling up.
All Characters have a maximum of three attunable items at the start. At any Ability Score Improvement levels, you can, as a feat, gain an extra Attunement. (There are no limits to the number of extra attunements you can have.)
There is a growing need for a crafting mechanic, and once this is finalized, it will be included here.
Criticals and Failures
The common rule is 'Every Nat 20 should not be wasted, and a Nat 1 is always a failure.' A Nat 20 in a Skill Check will succeed more than a normal success, and a Nat 20 on Initative Rolls will have a Surprise Round for that character.
Double d20 Rolls
- On any double d20 rolls, if the roll shows doubles and is a success, that is equivilant of a Nat 20.
- On double Nat 20's on Advantage Rolls, the result is a legendary action. This could become a game-changing event in the campaign and definitely life-changing for the PC.
- On Disadvantage Rolls, any failure that rolls doubles is equivilant to a Nat 1.
- If the result is double Nat 1's, the failure has catastrophic consequences. The character might end up with an irrecoverable loss, become injured, or even killed outright.
On any Critical Attack, the player can forgo any Critical Damage (Normally ruled as double the Weapon Damage Dice listed, with an additional dice for each +1 on the weapon) to deliver a Called Shot. This is when the player wants to target a specific part of an enemy's body, whatever it's to deliver an instant-kill head-shot, blind or cripple him, or to knock off something attached to the monster.
Companion's Bond Expansion
The Companion's Bond feature included in the Unearthed Arcana Revised Ranger article is also active to any other animal companion. This includes familiars.
Dark Powers Mechanic
This is how I deal with Player Characters being a dick.
Those who played Ravenloft campaigns in 3.5 and earlier Editions of D&D know of the Dark Powers. They’re only mentioned once or twice in Curse of Strahd and only play a minor role in that campaign, but if a Player Character is being particularly evil in Æthercoil, the Dark Powers will make their presence known!
Of course, I had to simplify the mechanic from the 3.5 version, which is listed on pages 82-91 in that edition’s Ravenloft Campaign Setting. The DM keeps a total tally of the number of Evil Deeds (DM’s Discretion of what an ‘Evil Deed’ is) and at each instance, he secretly rolls a d100. A result below this number (they are accumulative, after all) and the character takes one step closer to the Mists claiming another Dread Lord. The count then reverts to zero.
This path is like the “Path of Corruption” shown on page 87. I’ll let the DM look at the offending PC’s character sheet and make it up as he goes.
Each party member gains downtime days whenever they arrive into a major city or go into a chapter break or module end. They normally gain 10 Days of Downtime at this point, unless noted otherwise.
If the party haven't reached this point at the end of the session, each party member gains 3 Days of Downtime
Each party member is responsible for keeping track of their Downtime.
When using Tokens, there is a variant rule when it comes to flanking: Take the Ally that the PC will flank a Monster with, and create a line across the monster perpendicular to the Ally. Any full square on the other side of this line is officially flanking the Monster.
In this illustration, The flanking squares are shown with Green Tokens.
In some cases, the need to have and mantain a home city is required. Fortunately, David has created a homesteading mechanic to deal with this.
Most D&D games created by David Foxfire and expecially Æthercoil takes advantage of Multiclassing and reaching beyond Level 20. Below are the guidelines on how this is done:
- Any PC can only multiclass up to a maximum of three base classes, but they must be chosen before Level 11.
- This means 11 Total Levels of all Classes
- Any PC can take any number of attainable Prestige Classes, but they must be chosen before Level 20.
- This means 20 Total Levels of all Classes
- When Multiclassing different Classes with Spellcasting Capability:
- Combine all Spellcasting Levels and refer to this number to figure out the Spell Levels or Spell Points (See Below).
- All normal spellcasting Classes uses all of their Levels
- Paladins and Rangers divide their levels by two, rounded down.
- Eldritchs Knight and Arcane Tricksters divide their levels by three, rounded down.
- Warlocks who multiclass loses their Warlock's Pact Magic and convert to standard spellcasting levels.
- Their spellcasting Ability becomes the highest amonst all spellcasting Abilities.
- Calculate Spellcasting Bonus and Save DC appropately
- Total number of spells preparable is this spellcasting ability + the total spellcasting levels calculated above.
- Combine all Spellcasting Levels and refer to this number to figure out the Spell Levels or Spell Points (See Below).
- Beyond Level 20:
- The 30K rule is in effect, each additional Level requires 30,000 XP beyond the previous one.
- With each Level, the Proficiency Bonus is calculated as
2 + INT (Total Levels/4)
- With each Level, you gain your Spellcasting Modifier in total Levels of Spell Slots
- These can be rolled over (In whole or in part) toward another Level if needed.
- No PC can gain another Spell Slot from Level 6 on up.
- If the PC has already maxed out on their classes, they can still gain Epic Boons (as listed int DMG 231-232)
- At 35 total Levels, the PC has the chance of ascending into Godhood, having reached their mortal zenith of ability.
Because Tabletop Role Playing Games need not encourage Violence: If an encounter is engaged and resolved without a single attack, the Experience Points designated to this encounter is doubled. This might not be possible at every encounter, especially random encounters that the party can just pass on by, but is possible for some conflicts.
Short Rests are 15 Minutes long to an hour. Long Rests are 8 Hours. All the other legal mechanics related to rests apply.
Long Rests heal to their max HP and regain up to half of there total Hit Dice.
Skill Proficiency Matters
This guideline especially comes into play during scenes where clues come into play, especially with key items that need to be found: If something needs a certain skill to be found, and a PC is proficient in said skill, no roll is needed; the party automatically gets the clue. A skill check might be desired to know more about the skill, but not to actually get the clue in their hands.
Some of the class options in Æthercoil take advantage of, or in some cases require, the use of Spell Points instead of Spell Slots. The class will notify if a conversion is necessary. Otherwise, you can use either mechanic for your PC.
Spell Points is a variant rule listed in Pages 288-289 in the Dungeon Master's Guide. It's a variant of spellcasting that replaces the normal complexity with more flexibility. Instead of having a set number of spell slots per level, you have a common pool of Spell Points to draw from which replenishes with each Long Rest. To cast a spell, you spend points equal to 1 plus the spell's level. You can cast a spell of 6th Level or Higher only once per day, but if you don't need to, you can use the spell points for lesser level spells.
The Three Pillars
I go for a running XP total when it comes to leveling up, instead of what is considered cannon for WotC, the milestone version. I also believe in awarding XP for all three pillars of a Role-Playing Game: Combat, Interaction, and Exploration.
5th Edition has the Combat part of this equation down pat, and even has two ways to calculate the construction of the Encounters, thanks to Unearthed Arcana #19. However, they didn’t get to the other two pillars yet and I consider it up to me to take up the slack. Especially now, that I’m making my own modules and will be using my “Running XP Score” philosophy.
The mathematics involved are simple enough for a lay person to put into Excel, although I’ve done most of the work already. I calculate the amount of XP it takes to go from one level to another. (Example: It takes 300 XP to go to Level 2, 600 to go to Level 3, 1800 to go to Level 4, and so on.) I then divide that number by what I think is the number of various events it should take to get that much XP. For right now, the numbers I have in mind are as follows:
- It should take 10 Major Interactions, such as Major NPCs or Solving Puzzles or completing quests.
- It should take 15 Major Explorations, such as reaching quest destinations or finding important Landmarks.
- It should take 20 Minor Interactions, such as undoing traps or unlocking chests without triggering anything.
- It should take 30 Minor Explorations, such as reaching villages or finding something that draws the attention of the party.
To keep the eventual long addition simple enough, I round up to the nearest 5.
They’re ballpark figures, of course, the DM has the option to increase or decrease the amount awarded depending on the importance, but this table will, at the least, give DMs something to work with if they want to go the “Running Score” method of Experience Levels: