Tuesday, January 1, 2019

OED Update (v. 1.05)

The last time I posted a new version of the OED House Rules was over a year ago (in September, 2017). Since then I've had the distinct pleasure of getting to run a regular campaign with a great group of cunning players here in New York City. Of course, as players "bang" against the rules in real time, some adjustments have been made. In fact: I've gotten pretty liberal about letting the cosmos jitter in supernatural ways between sessions, and thereby try out new rules on a regular basis, sometimes just for a single evening. Nonetheless, it seems like our favored ruleset tends to get more stable over time, so the New Years seemed like a good time to publicly update it.

Below are some of the more interesting (I think) rules edits in this version, 1.05. Of course, there may be other more minor edits to be found if you look really closely; and I'm always updating the endnotes with more comprehensive historical references, justifications, and side-comments for why we've chosen to do things this way.

Player's Rules

  • Highlight that humans get unlimited level advancement.
  • Dwarf/elf detection keyed to stone/wood materials.
  • Allow 3 retries for thief & wizard skills. 
  • Make spears specialty attack from 2nd rank.
  • Make ranged attack modifier −1 per 10 feet.
  • Adding a new class costs 1,000 XP.

Judge's Rules

  • Added guidelines on advertising for hirelings, expected pay, etc.
  • Light rules made a bit more generous based on recent research. 
  • Insanity Cards recommended for sanity mechanic (link). 
  • Rapelling/rope break rule made only in case of sudden jolt.
  • Wandering monster checks increased to every 15 minutes.
  • Critical hits possibly only for those above 1 HD.
  • Poison: Death in 1-6 rounds (so curatives can help).
  • Healing: Simplified to level + Con bonus per week of rest.
  • XP Awards: Explicit note to use EHD from OED monster database.

Get version 1.05 on the OED Games website.

Enjoy, and hope you have a happy New Year!

P.S.: Have you been watching the conversations on the Wandering DMs YouTube Channel? This past weekend Paul and I debated the utility of the Thief class in old-school D&D. We plan to be back Sunday Jan-13 and regular alternate Sundays after that (1 PM EST).


  1. Going through this … what's the difference between a crossbow and a light crossbow? Thieves and halflings are explicitly mentioned as only being able to use a "light" crossbow, which doesn't look like it does anything different. Note 17 has them firing faster in Chainmail, which doesn't seem like much of a restriction.

  2. It's good to have players who are loose enough to let you switch things around and playtest on the fly. How many times do we hear "but you said X last time!"

  3. Love to see this update! I like to see the multiclassing cost (sacrifice your highest level) set to something static. Although now I’m wondering if it should be 1,000 xp times highest class level to keep the price progressive in some way. I’m going to have a new campaign to try that out in soon in this new year. Cheers!

  4. I'm interested to see things swing around to a Level +Con for healing.
    Only just noticed that wizards can't wield a staff (which makes sense, since they are not weapons)
    Always appreciate the notes on why.

    Sorry I keep missing the stream live...