Advanced Dungeons and Dragons™
Special Rules Applicable at the Table of Dungeon Master
Mark J. Young

Over the years, I found it desirable to expand upon the rules provided by TSR (didn't we all?).  There were things I felt had been inadequately addressed in the published rules, gaps in the system, inconsistencies and absences which players would eventually find and exploit--or merely points that

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

came up in my game which I wanted a rule to cover.  OnIf there's a problem, please let me know through this mailto form. those occasions, I made a ruling, and committed it to paper, so that as with the common law built upon the decisions of our legal courts there would be a consistency and continuity within the game system.  Some of these rules have been invaluable through the years; others have never been used, or were used only once or twice.  But rather than pass judgment upon which rules you would find helpful (and which you would find plain stupid), I have included all of those which a few years back I managed to collect and record in one document.  Certain more extensive house rules--variations in martial arts, special character classes--were recorded in their own collections, and so will not appear here; perhaps if the time is available I shall create a section to cover them as well.

And if you find any of this useful, take a look at the work I've done on Multiverser.

Books by the Author


  I once had a character who believed that because she was strong enough to carry 450 pounds, she could fit it all in her backpack.  I found it necessary to create a standard definition of the various containers used in the game, with weight, dimensions, and capacity of each pack, pouch, sack, saddlebag, et cetera.

  When you referee for twenty to thirty people at the same time, the game can get confusing.  I found that I could not always be aware of what every player wished for me to know at any given moment--so I relinquished part of the control of game flow to them so that they could let me know when something mattered to them.  Players are allowed to call "turns", upon which all players will be given a chance to speak.

Strategic Maneuvers
  Characters are permitted to learn formations and maneuvers for rapid positioning and strategy; they never used this rule, but were considering an approach to party management in combat which I later applied as a player, and I wanted to be sure we understood how many different party strategies a character could memorize without being unfair about it.

  The various footwear available in the game is discussed, complete with game effects of each.

Treasure Limits for Character Classes with Limited Treasure
  Rangers are among those whose treasure is limited by rule.  Here are the limits I applied in my game, so that those so limited could amass sufficient fortune for their upper-level needs, but would still be limited at every level.

Monthly Expenses
  Food, animal care, armor and weapon care, all charged on a monthly basis in this system, so that I didn't have to deduct costs on a daily basis.

  Complete rules for the elaborate leadership system used in the MyWorld campaign, including party splits, hierarchies, and titles.

Experience for Ninja Split-Class
  Division of experience between the primary class and the split class for Ninja characters under the rules is complicated.  I preferred the KISS method:  Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Searching for Secret Compartments
  Distinct from secret doors, these rules give the characters the possibility of finding hidden wall safes, secret drawers and panels in furniture, and other small hiding places in which valuable objects are often concealed.

Strength Bonus for Missile Weapons
  Although the rules suggest that characters with high strengths may gain damage bonuses on missile weapon use by the use of special equipment, this is not detailed.  These are the rules at the MyWorld table.

  Characters have introduced the game of chess to the game world.  These rules determine who wins.

Musical Instruments
  Rules concerning playing unfamiliar musical instruments by those with some musical background.  Note that I play over a dozen different instruments drawn from every instrument family, so I have some idea of what is involved in picking up a new one.

Thief-Acrobat Adjustments for Strength
  Table 11 in the Unearthed Arcana(tm) overlooked the possibility that thief-acrobats could have exceptional strengths, especially those who are multi-classed as fighters.  This expands that table for that purpose.  Some of it may also apply to ninjas, who have similar skills and of course may have exceptional strength as bushi.

Called Shot Rules
  I played with a referee once who always assessed a 20% (-4) penalty on any attack which was aimed at a named body part.  I complained when this was applied to attacks on the eyes of the Bullette, since the armor class given in the rules should control the attacks on the eyes of that creature.  The argument led to an agreement that attacks on defined body parts should be penalized on an armor class adjustment basis, and specific rules applied to certain misses (if you're aiming your arrow for his heart, you could miss the heart and still hit the chest).  When a character or monster decides to attack a specified part of the opponent, these are the rules which determine the chance to hit and the consequences of a near miss.

Kensai Dedication and Associated Rules
  Kensai may be dedicated to any of a variety of weapon types, martial arts styles, and even body parts.  These rules outline the parameters for each type of dedication, including what is expected of the kensai, when his plusses do and do not apply, and what restrictions on magic weapons are enforced.

Shukenja and Non-good Deities
  If all Shukenja are good, dedicated to helping others, this reflects on the oriental situation for deities.  These theories might resolve the issues.

Laws of Inheritance
  Resurrection and reincarnation wreak havoc with standard concepts of the death of the property holder and the disposition of his property.  These rules address that, and attempt to hammer out a few solutions.  I never used them in MyWorld, but they were used in a campaign in which I was a player.

Ancient Mystery Languages
  In addition to the large number of racial, alignment, class, and other languages, these tongues have been introduced as the languages of ancient texts.  These aren't on the special table in the Dungeon Master's Reference Materials which contains all of the languages in the game world; I usually either selected these at need, or diced for them independently.

Special Weapon Maneuvers Without Martial Arts
  The equivalent of martial arts for non-martial-arts weapons, these maneuvers may be developed by players for inclusion in their character's abilities, within these limitations.  The rules attempt to be fair, and to give the fighter-classed character a reason to choose not to specialize in a weapon by limiting the maneuvers of the specialist but not of the generalist, without impinging upon the advantages of the weapon specialist.

Forms of Medical Assistance
  The book rules define the healing proficiency and barbarian first aid, but they create the existence of the herbalist without defining the curative abilities of this oriental proficiency.  These rules compare the three forms, creating a complete herbalist package.

Primer on Poisons
 A brief recap of the book rules on the creation and use of various poisons is supplemented by house rules on types of blade venom and the treatment of natural poisons used by characters.

The Alchemic Lab
  As an accompanyment to the rules on the alchemist as an adventurer (a MyWorld available character class which is otherwise detailed in the Character Creation site), these rules define the general nature of the alchemist's required lab, including costs and effects.

  Primarily for those character who wish to become characters with two classes (humans), this gives the experience point framework required for the character to reach level 1 in the new class.  Such rules were provided for certain classes, and are unchanged here, but are expanded to cover all available classes in the MyWorld campaign.

Return to M. J. Young's Dungeons & Dragons Materials.

Go to Other Links.

M. J. Young Net