Songs by the Hearth
CHARACTER CREATION GUIDELINES FOUND HERE.
This section deals mostly with the added or changed rules used for this campaign setting. The game itself uses the standard 5th edition rules with a few minor changes.
Races and Subraces
There are a handful of homebrewed subraces allowed in this setting. The rules for these options can be found on the Homebrew Races page.
There are a few extra backgrounds to use for this setting. They are described on the Homebrew Backgrounds page. Keep in mind that backgrounds are the most fluid bit of character creation, and if you feel you need to customize one a bit to meet your concept, talk with your DM to work something out.
Inspiration, as written in 5e, is rather un-… interesting. Here’s how I’m fixing that.
During character creation you came up with 5 Charicteristics (2 Traits, 1 Bond, 1 Ideal, and 1 Flaw) for your character. These are the keys to spending and gaining Inspiration.
You will begin every session with Inspiration (which you either have or do not have). You can spend Inspiration to take Inspired Actions, and you can gain Inspiration if you do not have it by Claiming a Setback
Taking an Inspired Action
If you have Inspiration, you can spend it at any time to take an Inspired Action provided that action somehow ties into one of your character’s Characteristics. If your Ideal is “I will do anything to save a person in danger,” and you want to swing across a ravine on a vine to rescue someone who is about fall into the ravine and hanging by one hand, that fits. You can claim an Inspired Action.
When you take an Inspired Action, you can either gain advantage on an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw OR you can give advantage to someone else’s ability check, attack roll, or saving throw provided you are in a position to assist them directly in some way OR impose disadvantage on someone else’s ability check, attack roll, or saving throw provided you are in a position to hinder their action directly in some way. Whatever it is, the Inspired Action MUST somehow connect to one of your Personal Characteristics.
Claiming a Setback
When you don’t have Inspiration, you can Claim a Setback to gain Inspiration. To Claim a Setback you must either impose disadvantage on one of your own ability checks, saving throws, or attack rolls based on one of your Characteristics OR make a decision that creates a significant story setback, obstacle, or hindrance. When you want to Claim a Setback, simply ask the DM. For example: “I’m easily distracted by shiny objects, so I’m distracted by the giant pile of treasure. Can I Claim a Setback and take disadvantage on my saving throw against the dragon’s fire breath?” Or: “This guy wants to help us, but I distrust all strangers. I’m going to be rude and accusatory of him. Can I Claim a Setback for that?” And then the DM might have the stranger refuse to help or get offended or start a fight. Whatever.
After you Claim a Setback, you get Inspiration. You can use the Inspiration to take an Inspired Action. And on and on it goes.
The DM may Impose Setbacks. That is, in a scene during which one of your Characteristics (specifically flaws) should work against you, the DM can either impose disadvantage on a related roll or require you to take a detrimental action that somehow creates a story setback. This works exactly the same as Claiming a Setback, except the DM requires it instead of the player claiming it.
If the player does not have Inspiration, the player gains Inspiration from the Imposed Setback. If the player does have Inspiration, they may describe how they overcome their Flaw or other trait and they lose their Inspiration.
Insanity is a Characteristic that replaces or overrides another Characteristic. It is essentially an uncontrolled personality trait or behavior. When a character gains an Insanity it overwrites one of their Characteristics. That is, they lose the Characteristic and replace it with the Insanity. That doesn’t mean their behavior has to change. But their will has weakened and they can’t take Inspired Actions related to that trait anymore.
Insanities can never grant Inspired Actions. They can only create Setbacks, either Imposed by the DM or Claimed by the PC.
When a PC has lost all of their Characteristics and replaced them all with Insanities, the character goes permanently insane. They are beyond all hope. The character is essentially dead and the player needs a new PC.
Variant Hard-Mode Options
If you want a more difficult, grittier, and all around more painful adventure, then these rules are for you. These are optional rules that the entire group can elect to enact and use. If doing so, the group gains a small benefit by using that rule. The rules are explained below.
The encumbrance rules as written are fairly… generous. This optional rule will bring encumbrance, and inventory management, to the fore. This rule makes the game feel more like a survival game than a high adventure game. Normally a character caries Strength Score x 15 pounds of goods and is completely unaffected. This rule gets rid of that weight limit, and instead uses several encumbrance thresholds: not encumbered, lightly encumbered, moderately encumbered, and heavily encumbered. Another above heavily encumbered generally means you can’t move, though it depends on the situation.
|Encumbrance Tier||Weight Threshold (example with STR of 10)||Effect of Tier|
|Not Encumbered||< STR * 2 (< 20 lbs)||While traveling at a normal pace, you may gain the benefits as if you were traveling at a fast pace.|
|Lightly Encumbered||STR * 2 to STR * 5 (21 – 50 lbs)||No benefits or penalties|
|Moderately Encumbered||STR * 5 to STR * 10 (51 – 100 lbs)||Double the required food and water requirements per day. Cannot travel at a fast pace for overland travel.|
|Heavily Encumbered||> STR * 10 ( > 100 lbs)||Quadruple the required food and water requirements per day. Can only travel at a slow pace for overland travel but gain no benefits for it. Reduce your character’s speed by 10ft.|
While using this variant rule, gain 10% extra experience points any time you would gain xp (handled by the DM).
Gritty Hit Points
This system makes hit points matter. With Gritty Hit Points, you no longer gain all your hit points back during a long rest. Instead, when taking a long rest, you gain hit points as if you had spent a single hit die (without actually spending a hit die). As normal, you regain half your total number of hit dice back (minimum of 1).
When using this variant rule, gain 15% extra experience points any time you would gain xp (handled by the DM).
All characters get a free feat at level 1. Since a good number of feats increase ability scores, ability scores cannot be increased above 17 when making your character after racial and feat stats are applied. Your DM would like you to take this opportunity to NOT be a min-maxer and either grab a feat you otherwise wouldn’t, or use a stat bump to balance out a race/class combo that is not very synergistic. You’ll have a chance to grab more functional feats later on down the road.
This setting uses the silver standard for its currency, though the most common coin is the copper. Gold coins are exceedingly rare. For reference, an average farmer might make 1 gold in a year, or 25 copper per day on average. A well-off merchant might make 5 to 10 gold in a year, or 2 silver per day on average.
You can create your character using the standard 100gp to buy items you’ll need, but after you’ve purchased your starting gear you should convert whatever gold you have remaining to silver, and that will be your starting money, representing everything your character’s life savings.
If you are feeling particularly creative, feel free to convert your remaining currency to an equal amount of trade-able goods (furs, herbs, food, books, natural resources, etc). Bartering goods is sometimes more useful than using coins.
Magic items exist, though they are rare. Crafting magic items is extremely difficult and expensive, and so most enchanted items exist because of event or property that was imbued into the item. A sword that was used to slay 1000 giants might become enchanted with the power to defeat giants, or a shield that survived the burning of the castle it was in might become resistant to fire. No one is sure what governs this exchange of power, but it happens.
Items can also be imbued with power based on the material they are made of. Armor made of dragonscale is inherently stronger and resistant to elements. Boots made from the hide of a displacer beast might allow one to teleport short distances. This is not exactly magical, but it is a common way to create superior weapons and armor.