Difference between revisions of "Rotating DM Guide"

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* Two traits (optional).
* Two traits (optional).
* Two flaws (optional).
* Two flaws (optional).
* Characters will be posted online for all DM's to review.  Updated character sheets should be uploaded at least every level.
== Hiding vs Darkvision ==
== Hiding vs Darkvision ==

Revision as of 15:59, 23 November 2009

Rotating DM Guide

Changing the Dungeon Master during a campaign can cause some issues. What if one DM is stingy with treasure and the other is Monty Hall? How do you change venues? What happens when player characters can’t attend?

The following guidelines should provide a relatively smooth transition for players when the DM changes. Ideally the DM job would rotate through active players.

Character Creation

  • Point buy of 32 points.
  • Starting gold of 200gp for all character classes. This is based on above average rolls for Fighter starting gp. Don wants 240gp starting gold.
  • Max 1st level HP. Use 2/3 rule for levels 2 and higher. Aaron wants to keep 1/2+1 for simplicity.
  • Two traits (optional).
  • Two flaws (optional).
  • Characters will be posted online for all DM's to review. Updated character sheets should be uploaded at least every level.

Hiding vs Darkvision

  • Technically a rogue can only hide while in some form of concealment. Typically this means shadows. Creatures with darkvision can see thru shadowy concealment, thus a rogue has a difficult time hiding from someone with darkvision. Since most dungeon foes have darkvision, this makes hiding pretty much useless for a rogue until they purchase a darkhidden ring.
  • Ed is suggesting giving creatures with darkvision a +10 to spot verses hiding in shadows.
  • Aaron suggestion is to let creatures with darkvision auto spot the rogue but give the rogue a 20% concealment bonus (similar to darkness spell). This allows the rogue to keep all the sneak attack features, but possibly loose surprise.


  • Try to limit player advancement to no more than 1 level per game session.
  • The DM's character generally stayes in town while the remaining PC's adventure. The DM's character gets equal share of XP and gold. XP is divided by total players (includging DM's PC).
  • The same holds true for missin player characters. They get an equal share of XP and gold.
  • The goal is for all characters to have the same XP.


  • At -1 hit points you are unconscious. You don't die until you exceed the HP in negative. For example a PC with 50 HP will die at -51 HP. There is a concern about the diehard feat. An obvious fix is for Diehard to only provide a benefit to -10.
  • When a player is brought back from death there is no XP loss. Instead the PC get one negative level. This negative level can be removed with a successful saving throw. The DC of the saving throw is one less than the save the PC missed (which caused their death). This saving throw can be rolled no more than once per game session, and the DC for each subsequent roll is reduced by 1 for each subsequent roll. For example the PC missed a Finger of Death saving throw (DC15) and dies. PC is resurrected and has 1 negative level. The DM immediately offers the PC to roll their follow up saving throw (DC14). If the PC fails again, then the next gaming session the DM should provide an opportunity to roll the save again (DC13). If the PC still fails then the 2nd gaming session (since their death) will have a DC12 save, and so on.
  • Aaron also suggested the possiblily of giving a new saving throw after each encounter.


  • Treasure should be a ratio of XP awarded using Table 6-9 in the Magic Item Compendium. In general for every 100 points of XP award you should award 90 gold pieces (or equivalent treasure). This ratio increases slightly as the players gain levels.
  • Magic items as treasure should adhere to magic item creation guidelines.
  • Some characters will be slightly wealthier than others. In some cases the DM will award slightly higher treasure amounts to the entire party to make sure a poor character meets the guidelines in Table 6-9. If all characters are above the wealth targets in Table 6-9 then the DM should lower the overall treasure awards.

Character Wealth

  • Items buy & sell for the base gp price listed in the books. Items sell for full price. Buying from the party is at full price. Selling a +1 longsword so you can purchase a +1 mace is pretty much a straight across swap.
  • The goal is to have all PC's have about the same wealth. Spent consumables are about the only way for one PC to be wealthier than another.
  • This effectively makes the scribe scroll feat useless.
  • PC's no longer have to plan out their magic items, they can effectively be rebuilt at will with no penalty.


  • We will need to determine the main city size and location. This will set GP buy/sell limits. Suggest a large size main city. This large main city should be generic with all DM's agreeing on it's composition and item availability rules.
  • Outlying towns can provide individual DM flavor.
  • Main town should be Lawful Neutral or Lawful Good.
  • Main roads connecting outlying towns to main town are well guarded are relatively safe to travel. IE few (if any) encounters. This facilities the venue changes that are likely to occur during DM rotation.


  • Need to create a master map. All dungeons and locations need to be on the map. Low level adventures should be within 1 day’s travel of the main city.

Magic Item Purchases

  • Most items out of the books can be easily purchased in cities, provided the cost does not exceed the gold piece limit as discussed in the DMG. Some obvious exceptions are set items and artifacts.
  • Some DM's may choose to pre-select magic items available in stores, with items changing on occasion. This would need to be consistent for each city, so the DM's need to agree.
  • Adding/Improving magic items discussed on pg 234 of the MIC are also easily purchased in cities.
  • Custom magic items are not likely to be freely available at the general magic store. The DM may have a pre-selected list, or require PC's to take item creation feats.
  • Magic items generally can not be be combined.

Magic Item Creation

  • Item creation does not incur an XP loss, however the PC must pay the full base gp value.
  • Many custom magic items based off of 1st level spells are overpowered. To balance play, calculate the price of a 1st level spell as if it were a 2nd level spell. The 1st & 2nd level spells are the same price. For example bracers of Shield would cost 2 (spell level) x 3 (caster level) x 4 (duration) x 2000 (continuous) = 48,000 gp. A +2 mithril animated large shield is 17,000 gp. So a fighter would unlikely purchase the bracers of shield, but a mage might consider it.
  • Aaron is concerned that craft magic arms & armor is effectively useless. You can buy everything from the store.

Item Loss & Repair

  • Items that are damaged can be salvaged and repaired for 25% of the base gp value.
  • Don wants items to be repaired for free, thus preserving the characters overall wealth.
  • Aaron wonders why be worried about a rust monster or weapon sundering? Blueshine is effectively a waste of money.

Player Characters