Drakwald Deepwoods I: Death in the Deepwoods
XP and Levelling
You level when I say so, basically. Arbitrary levelling is more fun than watching XP numbers creep up, and it means that an awesome encounter can result in a level-up regardless of the XP you would have gained from that. Characters will also be levelled based on their involvement and contribution to combat, storylines, etc, rather than all levelled together. So get stuck in!
Rolling your dice off the table results in a natural 1. Reason being, if you can't hit the table, how is your character going to hit a target? Natural 1's and 20's are an auto-confirm, and there's more information about crits and fumbles on the page Critical Successes and Fumbles . Note: This rule won't apply if we're using a crazy small coffee table. I'm not that cruel.
So, it gets a bit boring if a character just keeps dying and coming back to life. So, to spice things up a bit, I've implemented res percentages. Depending on how many times they've died, what the world is like, what their lives are like at the time, and other factors, each character will have a percentage failure chance every time they die and the party tried to resurrect them. This could be anywhere from 5% to 95%!
To expand the campaign and create interesting scenarios, certain characters will have 'secret' storylines that I will discuss with the player in private/over messaging, both in and out of sessions. Players can pitch these ideas too! I may also only ask certain players to do things in-game, like skill checks. For example, you have a party of a Rogue, a Barbarian, a Fighter and a Paladin. If you're in a dungeon, the person playing the Rogue will be asked privately to make a Perception check for traps, because they're the PC likely to be looking out for them.
Each character has their own journal. Decorate them to reflect your character, and write entries describing each session from their perspective! It'll help you connect with them, and you might get some pretty cool in-game rewards for it.
The Rule of Cool
Put simply, if something is awesome enough, screw the laws of physics. You want to swing on a chandelier and kick the Orc shaman in the face? Hell yeah, you roll your attack!
GM's word is final
Guys, don't be rules lawyers. Sometimes I'll fudge things to make the campaign more interesting, and sometimes the rules are pretty ambiguous. Instead of spending ages trawling Google for an answer, I'll make a decision and that's what goes.
Bad metagaming will alter reality
"It's a hellhound, it's vulnerable to cold!" Says the fighter with 0 ranks in Knowledge: Planes. Look at that, the hellhound's weakness just changed to acid! Don't metagame, it takes away from the fun
I've put together a crit outcome table, but sometimes critical hits are just too awesome. If you roll a killing crit, it's on you to describe exactly what that brutal attack did!