Drinking & Dragons


From Drinking and Dragons


For a list of what has been altered from as it was printed, see Alterations. This page is more general. The alterations page refers to more specific changes.

Raising Stats

Contrary to the RAW, you do get retroactive skill points if your intelligence modifier changes as you level up and gain stat bumps. Constitution's bonus to HP is applied retroactively; it's silly that INT's isn't, other than they didn't want to introduce complexity with back calculating. However, since the modified skill system doesn't have cross-class skills, we don't need to worry about it.

If your INT mod goes up, you gain (3 + HD) new skill points (because of the x4 at first level).

Action Points

I am initially using the action point system. I will remove it if I find it too overwhelming for the game, but I do not find that likely. Some foes and encounters will have action points as well.

The Eberron trimming of Action Points will be the one used: your options are +d6, activate class feature (costs 2; not limited to list in the book), or stabilize. The SRD version is too potent (Emulate Feat, much?)

Daryl Points

Please read Daryl Points, and alternate, customizable extra reward system I will be using.

Monster Powers

A minion is minimum possible HP for what it is. The first hit die is still maximum, and constitution, feat and other bonuses still apply. However, all HD beyond the first are only 1. A minion that has only 1 hit die only gets 1 hit point for that hit die. If necessary, I tweak other abilities (usually by adjusting the ability scores relevant to saving throws).
My normal monsters tend to have slightly higher HP than printed. This is because I max their first hit die and do slightly more than half rolls for all the other hit dice ("rerolls"). Sometimes I do randomize their hit points in advance. I usually write the range of possible hit points (min to max, with the "average") and adjust it on the fly according to the challenge it is providing.
Leaders, specials, "bosses", "megas" etc.
These tend to be customized with powers more than just saying "max or double HP". There's no formula!


Running away from combat and doing nothing all encounter isn't fun. As such: Fear effects beyond shaken are saved against every round (cf., Hold Person). Each round, you get a cumulative +1 to your new saving throw. On a passed saving throw, your condition will reduced by one. Panicked will become frightened, frightened will become cowered, and cowered will become shaken. (Note that this implements the condition "cowered" much more than in the standard implementation of the rules.) As long as you are beyond shaken, you continue to make saves each round. Once the duration of the original source of the fear ends, all conditions of fear (including those reduced to shaken) end.

I may convert some abilities to cause cowering instead of frightened or panicked, as they come up. These will be documented in the alterations page.

Instant Death

Dying suddenly as a result of a bad saving throw usually isn't that fun. As such: As they arise, some instant death abilities (such as the spell Slay Living) may be converted to "-8 and unstable" or "unconscious for a while" instead of dead-dead. These will be documented in the alterations page.

Death and Return

You do not actually lose a level when you are killed and brought back to life. Instead, you suffer a negative level until you work it off. These negative levels, of course, are not removed by Restoration. This should be easier than revising a character sheet whenever you die.


(This is a clarification, not a change. I ask everyone to please give this this [correct] system a fair try for a while before discounting it. If you truly, after a using it, prefer to count down your hit points, then revert to it later.)

As I have always done, and as explained in the Main D&D 3.5 FAQ, page 12 (06302008 version), refreshable resources consumed tally up -- they are not subtracted from their maximum. This includes abilities that have a number of times per day limit (turning, ki, lay on hands) as well as your hit point total. It is a subtle nuance, but it does matter.

You have 100 HP. As you take damage, your HP remains the same -- you track up the damage you take. When the amount of damage you have taken equals your hit points, you're "at zero [remaining hit points]". You can exceed your HP by 10 before you actually die.

Using the rules like this solves many problems elegantly. For one, there's always the weird question of healing someone when they are negative. Does "zero" count as a ticker stop to be healed beyond? (Fortunately, I don't think anyone in our group, even Randy, is mathematically challenged enough to have this problem) People vary on that answer, but if you don't "count down" hit points, it becomes irrelevant -- healing removes damage. Your hit points have never changed. This also very well clarifies CON changes (such as raging, bear's endurance and poison). These effects that change your CON do actually change your hit points -- but they do not change your damage taken.

Here is a perfect example of a situation simplified by counting your damage up, rather than your HP down: The aforementioned barbarian rages (for simplicity, we'll say he's 10HD and normally has no CON), raising his HP to 120. These are not temporary hit points. He continues to take damage, and ends the combat with 115 points of accumulated damage. If he does not heal before his rage ends, he will certainly die. There is no question of it. Many players fudge the numbers (inadvertently, most of the time) when their rage ends, resulting in damage disappearing.

Also in play, this simplifies CON loss calculations -- you don't have to stop and think during combat, "I'm 8 HD, and I just lost +2 CON to poison, so I lose 16 HP". Then, after combat, the cleric heals everyone "to full" and you have to spend time to recalculate your full HP total again. This speeds play by reducing redundancy, while also removing the risk that someone "heals to full" through the poison.

More examples in the FAQ.

BTW, don't be silly: GP, AP, DP don't do this.

Item Decay

When magic items are created, their creator puts a little of his own life essence into it, intrinsically linking them together. When the it dies, a spirit collects its fragmented pieces together back into one whole after it has departed into the planes. This means that enchanted items lose their potency over time.

When the creator dies, nothing happens to the items bound to him for one 1d4 weeks, while his soul searches the planes and petitions its gods. After this month has passed, the items start to decay at a rate that depends on the type of item. Highest value modifiers decay first. Special materials ("mithral") and mundane enhancements ("masterwork", "quick release") do not decay. Well, mundane objects like that do decay, but not at a rate within the scope of a standard campaign and, even then, regular maintenance prolongs their life further. Decay rates occur at the following time scales and as follow:


What Time How
Arms & Armor months Pluses first, then 5,000 GP increments
Rod years caster level
Staff weeks charge
Wand days charge
Wonderous (consumable) weeks charge (or caster level)
Wonderous (permanent) months caster level
Ring years caster level
Scroll days caster level
Potion days caster level
Construct† decades hit die
Undead† years hit die
Animated Objects† months hit die
Permanent spells† spell level caster level

†Sometimes, creatures do manage to break free of their owner's bond and continue to exist independently. Occasionally they'll awaken similar to the druid spell. It is also possible for a spell to take a life of its own once the bond is broken. This is one way in which a living spell comes into being.

  • Any given plus or GP equivalent property will function until a number of intervals pass to consume it entirely.
  • Charged items lose one charges directly; it is not actually released as if cast.
  • Items that lose caster level do not cease functioning until they no longer have a caster level, though any variables that depend on caster level are altered. Scrolls and potions also do not quit working until they reach caster level zero. This allows for a 9th level spell with caster level 1 to be found on a scroll. They must still be made at the minimum caster level, however.
  • Creatures lose hit dice, which lowers their hit points, base attack and saves, caster level, and any abilities that depend on hit dice. They do not lose skills, feats, or change in size. They "die" once they reach 0 hit dice.
  • Spells made permanent decay by caster level (with variable effects that depend on caster level updating appropriately) Spells made permanent on the caster himself end immediately. Their rate is as follows:
Spell Level Time
0th-2nd day
3rd-5th week
6-7th month
8th year
9th decade


For example, some spellcaster made fire resistant +1 light fortification ghost touch mithral breast plate, and later meets an unfortunate end. The enchantments on it are +1, light fortification (+1 equivalent), ghost touch (+3 equivalent), fire resistance (18,000 GP). Mithral, a special material, is not an enchantment. Armor's decay rate is in months, and it loses pluses first, then GP values. After 1d4 weeks have passed, it will start to decay and lose properties month by month. The first property the item will lose is ghost touch. It takes three months for this property to decay. It then loses light fortification next month, and the +1 the following. After 5 months, it is now simply a fire resistant mithral breast plate. The fire resistance takes 4 months to decay -- 18,000 ÷ 5,000 = 3.6.


Any crafter who dies and returns to life is immediately rebound to any items that were previously bound to him and are not yet rebound to another. Any partially-decayed properties immediately return to full power, but those that had decayed completely are lost permanently (though nothing prevents them from being re-enchanted).

You can tell the state of an enchanted item by casting detect magic'. It is immediately possible to notice if the item's crafter is alive or not. (An item whose crafter has perished appears to detect magic to have blurred, imprecise edges and shapes.) A spellcraft check (DC 25) reveals to you more precisely (such as via a "percent decayed") the state of the decay, and may help to indicate the relative power of the item. An identify spell is still required to know the full properties and exact number of charges in an item.

If something interferes with the free movement of the crafter's spirit, such as his being killed by a thinuan dagger, the results of magic item decay can become unpredictable.


An unbound magic item that has not completely decayed may be rebound to a new soul. This process involves expending some of the new owner's life essence to replace that originally in the item. This is a ritual that requires costly materials, and the expenditure of XP. To perform the ritual, you must have any item crafting feat (not necessarily the one required originally to create the item; excludes scribe scroll), and to have a caster level high enough to create the item in question. You may substitute a casting of the spell permanency in place of an item crafting feat, and doing so does not alter the process in any other way. You do not need to know any of the spells related to the crafting process. The item needs to be identified before you can attempt to rebind it.

You lose XP equal to the amount originally needed to create the item (or to permanency it). For a charged item, this value is prorated to the current number of charges; for a potion or scroll, this value is prorated to the current caster level. The ritual consumes components in GP equal to the number of XP lost in this way. The ritual itself takes one hour to perform, during which time you touch that to which you are rebinding. If you are rebinding a creature, you must stay adjacent to that creature for the entire ritual, though you need only touch it twice -- once at the beginning, and another at the end. Interrupting the ritual has does nothing other than forcing it to be started over again. The XP and GP are not consumed until the end.

For creatures that do not have an established cost, assume it is 50 XP per HD plus 50 XP per CR.

Unless the person the item is currently bound to actually dies, there are no known ways to rebind an item.

Effects of Rebinding
  • Except as otherwise noted, all rebound items are immediately restored to full power, and decay stops.
  • Any properties on an item that decayed fully before it is rebound are gone permanently.
  • A creature is rebound exactly as you claimed it -- it does not regain lost hit dice.
  • Charged items retain the number of charges they were rebound with; they do not refill.
  • Potions and scrolls retain their reduced caster level; they do not recharge.
  • A permanent spell claimed functions exactly as it did when it was first created.



Randy and I have wanted to do this for some time, and we though that with the next campaign starting it would be a good time. If this majorly fucks things up, I will gladly axe it and have everyone reassign skills freely. Most classes got too few skill points, and class skill lists become far too much a restriction to creativity. However, even by adding more skill points and eliminating class skill lists, the skill list was too big. So many skills combine obviously, and revisions (SW Saga Edition, Pathfinder, Fourth Edition) provide a good example for this. Randy and I have discussed the table below and agree† it is a good skills list as a base.

†Disagreements: I wanted to merge heal and sense motive ("Empathy"). I also wanted to add the "Monster Lore" knowledge skill that only identified monsters (but monsters of all types; and did not help the archivist).

Revision: Packages

This wasn't working out quite as intended. Because of the nature of stacking, with things from various sourcebooks allowed, total skill bonuses quickly became very high. The intention for this revision was to allow characters "more skills" but without simply increasing skill points such that a character would lose direction.

To fix this, a few changes have been made. Firstly, each skill is back to "being its own". You actually roll a "spot check", a "diplomacy check", or a ", and any modifiers from spells, races, et cetera are normal as written from their source. This supersedes what was previously written below (stricked).

However, when buying skills with skill points, you still buy them from the new "merged" chart. In essence, you buy ranks in packages (usually of two related skills). So when you level up, you buy a "Notice" or a "Stealth" rank. This rank counts as your base for both skills. The relevant ability score, if changed here, applies.

This change is much, much easier and simpler than trying to figure out values for everything printed out there in all the sources allowed. The halfling is no longer a "stealth monster" getting size bonus and racial bonus to Stealth (for a total of +6 which was just a little too much; rules as written in SRD: +4 size bonus to hide, +2 racial bonus to move silently). But someone who *trains* up the "Stealth" package will get better at both in parallel, but modifiers will continue to track separately: he'd still need armor that is both oiled and blacked. That would be a Herculean task. I (we, actually) underestimated how much non-core sources would matter.

Basically, use everything as printed in the books, unless otherwise mentioned here.

Skill List

Normal Skills
Name Components
Acrobatics Balance, Tumble
Anatomy Heal, Control Shape [Lycanthropy]
Animals Handle Animal, Ride
Athletics Climb, Jump, Swim
Concentration Autohypnosis, Concentration
Craft Craft
Deception Bluff, Disguise
Influence Diplomacy, Intimidate
Inspect Appraise, Search
Legerdemain Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand
Linguistics Decipher Script, Forgery
Mechanics Disable Device, Open Locks
Notice Listen, Spot
Perform Perform
Profession Profession
Streetwise Gather Information, Sense Motive
Spellcraft Spellcraft (Psicraft)
Stealth Hide, Move Silently
Survival Survival, Use Rope
Use Magic Device Use Magic Device (Use Psionic Device)

Knowledge Skills (all intelligence)
  • Arcana (includes Psionics)
  • Architecture & engineering
  • Dungeoneering
  • Geography
  • History
  • Local
  • Nature
  • Nobility & royalty
  • Planes
  • Religion
  • Tactics
Special Skills (no relevant ability)
  • Initiative
  • Speak Language
Special Skills (with relevant ability)
  • Truespeak (Int)


  • There are no skill synergies. Skill synergies were a hack in the SRD rules because of the realization of the similarities and overlap between so many skills.
  • There are no class or cross-class skills. All skills are usable untrained.
  • This system lets us use a more broad definition of skills, and thus lets us more easily pick a skill for an ad hoc action and expect someone might have the skill in question.
Acrobatics Tumble
The use of "Tumble" to avoid an AoO while moving is an opposed roll, against the same special sense motive that a bluff to deny armor class would be.
To tumble up from prone to standing requires an opposed roll with a -20 penalty against threatening opponents Sense Motive plus BAB. Failure indicates that the character stands, but provokes all normal AoOs while doing so. Alternatively, a character may attempt to stand from prone as a free action at DC 35.
Concentration Autohypnosis Memorize
BOLDED parts are yet subject to debate and change.
Autohypnosis memorize has some problems with the rules as written. Flavorwise, it's meant to represent immediate photographic memory (by consuming no action). However, the rules do not agree with this. Additionally, it having no reasonable limit just isn't right. The below fixes these two problems.
RAW has no maximum listed for the number of items memorized with this. It is now limited to half your intelligence score (not modifier) items. A character of average intelligence can memorize up to 5 images (one image can be a single page of text). (Autohypnosis rolls still use Wisdom modifier.)
Additionally, RAW lets you reroll to memorize without penalty (ie, take 20). Since the DC is only 15, this means anyone can easily memorize anything. This is being changed. Each time you attempt to memorize something that you previously failed to memorize that day, the DC increases cumulatively by +5. The cumulative penalty resets each new day.
To counteract this slightly, there is no longer a roll necessary to recall the information that has been memorized.
Every two skill points spent on initiative you an increase to your initiative "rank". During your initiative roll, in addition to your standard 1d20 + DEX, you add another 1dQ, where Q is the number of "ranks" you bought of initiative. If you've put 10 skill points into initiative (10 "ranks"), you would add an extra 1d5 to your initiative roll. The die added stops at a 1d12. After 1d12, further "ranks" add a second die that starts over and buys up similarly. At 15 "ranks" (costing thirty skill points), you would roll 1d20 + DEX + 1d12 + 1d3 for your initiative (12 + 3 = 15).
In this system, the Improved Initiative feat is altered. It no longer gives a +4 bonus to initiative rolls. It instead allows you to buy "ranks" at an even 1:1 ratio instead of 2:1. Other feats and abilities that add to your initiative work normally.
"Ranks" in increased initiative are still capped as a normal skill (hit dice + 3).
Knowledge (Tactics)
Known uses can be based from Arcanis' Examine Martial Technique, d20 Modern, and http://www.hecate.ca/union/2006/01/31/35-skill-knowledge-tactics-int/ https://web.archive.org/web/20151005101000/http://www.hecate.ca/union/2006/01/31/35-skill-knowledge-tactics-int/. Specific known uses: identify an aura from a marshal, know a military rank, recognize defensive structure's purpose.
Approved uses: "size up" an opponent to get a hint at class [features]. Determine feats used in action. Set an ambush between two mutually-aware but not engaged parties.
Speak Language
Works as before: two skill points buys a language, unless "speak language" was previously a class skill, in which case one skill point buys a language. Consider it a class feature of classes formerly having Speak Language as a class skill, if you must.


Even though all skills are usable untrained, check DCs for some of the things you can do with it might be adjusted up if you're untrained. In particular, recognizing monsters (Knowledge: X) and spells (Spellcraft) are likely to impose a higher DC for those who are untrained. Randy and I both also believe in circumstantially modifiers.

Additionally, some rarer monsters might be harder to recognize, or spells that tend to be used only by a certain hedge cult at the edge of nowhere might not be understood as fully. Check DCs can change for other conditions (by means of "circumstance bonuses/penalties").


This subsection is deprecated, but preserved for history. Either they are no longer relevant to the revision, or they are what the revision fixed.

  • With merged skills, all uses of the component skills are part of the new skill.
  • This allows armor check penalties to be applied by the use. While most uses of Acrobatics, Athletics or Stealth will still require an armor check penalty, there may be others that do not. For example, an armor check penalty applies when using Animals to mount quickly, but not to guide a mount or train a beast.
  • For prerequisites (for feats and prestige classes), just use the new skill.
  • If something (such as a race) would give a bonus two two skills that have been merged, the merged skill gets it once, and at the greatest value. For example, if a race were to give +2 to move silently and +4 to hide, it would instead give +4 to stealth.
  • Spells (such as Jump) and magic items only add to their original uses of the skills.

Other Changes Due To This One

Definition: Skill Feat

Skill feats include: +2/+2 to two skills, Skill Focus, Able Learner, Jack of All Trades, Skill Knowledge, Open Minded, Combat Casting


Human Paragon (UA SRD)
Adaptive Learning (Ex) At 1st level, a human paragon can designate any one of his skills (not packages) as an adaptive skill. He gets a +2 racial bonus to all checks involving this skill.


Able Learner (Races of Destiny; prerequisite for Chameleon)
Feat as written: Cross-class skills don't cost double. Still have maximum limit halved.
Benefit:  ?
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.
Combat Casting (SRD)
Feat as written: +4 to concentration checks when casting defensively
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute Skill Focus (Concentration) in place of it.
This feat does not otherwise change.
Jack of All Trades (Divine SRD)
Feat as written: Can use all skills untrained, even those that normally can't be.
Benefit:  ?
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.
Open Minded (Psionic SRD)
Feat as written: You gain 5 skill points.
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This feat does not otherwise change.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.
Skill Knowledge (UA SRD)
Feat as written: Choose two skills always to be class skills.
Benefit:  ?
Special: When this feat is a prerequisite, you may substitute two skill feats in its place.
This is a proposal. It has not been accepted by others.

Aid Another

When attempting to aid another, a check of 10 gives a +2 bonus as normal. A check result of 15 gives a +3, a 20 gives +4, and so on.



Skill Checks

Rich Burlew's alternate skill uses are still in use: http://www.giantitp.com/Func0019.html. All skills can be used this way, not just knowledge skills. Roleplaying/rationalization how it came to be is required ("I use my Knowledge (Geography) skill to survey the field for faint differences in elevation to give myself a bonus to my next attack roll when the bad guy steps into a rut."). They're limited to once per skill per session. Main enemies can use this, too. (Minions in general will not be able to do this.)

Using a skill check to buff a roll is a generally a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.


[RichBerlew]'s rules are mostly all open options to choose from, with the exception of the polymorph discussion.

Now at: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?172910-Articles-Previously-Appearing-on-GiantITP-com