Songs by the Hearth
This section deals mostly with the added or changed rules used for this campaign setting. The game itself uses the standard 4th edition rules with a few minor changes.
Feat Taxes and Changes
To start, all characters get a bonus feat at level 1. This should be used for something non-mechanical in nature, and to give your character some unique flavor. Non-mechanical, in this case, means something that doesn’t just add more numbers or forwards optimizing a character. This might be an extra skill, language, racial feat, or pretty much anything else you normally wouldn’t pick; ideally something not focused on combat.
In addition, there are two groups of feats that are considered taxes, as they fix mathematical errors in the system. These are the Expertise feats and the Defense feats, and yes they only exist to fix mathematical errors. For this reason, these feats are not allowed to be taken by anyone. This includes:
- Weapon / Implement Expertise
- Improved Defenses / Paragon Defenses / Robust Defenses
- Great Fortitude / Lightning Reflexes / Iron Will
However, the following list of feats may be taken, but you only get the benefit of the secondary feature, and NOT the bonus to attack or defenses.
- Essentials-style Expertise feats (i.e. Heavy Blade Expertise, Staff Expertise, etc).
- Superior Fortitide / Superior Reflex / Superior Will
Drama Cards are a series of cards to introduce drama into the campaign while simultaneously giving your players a small measure of say in what goes on. They are awarded at the DM’s discretion, mostly for being a good player, and then played by the player at any time. The cards sometimes give mechanical benefits, but most often result in something dramatic that may change the actions of an NPC, a monster, the environment or the story as a whole.
The cards are sorted into different “values” – copper, silver, gold and platinum; generally reflecting how rare or influential these cards are. Using a card itself, in-game, takes no action, although there are cards that can only be used under special circumstances. There is no limit to how many cards a player may have, or how many a player may use at any given time. At least not yet.
Cards can be traded in at a 2:1 ratio for a higher quality cards: 8 copper = 4 silver = 2 gold = 1 platinum.
Extended Rests and Healing Surges
Once you leave the safety of a city or village, extended rests may only be taken once every 2 milestones. This is because outside of cities or villages, it is generally unsafe to rest for more than 8 hours at a time before moving on, and you are not weary enough to make back to back days of rest and relaxation worth it.
When you take an extended rest, you do not automatically get all of your healing surges back; how much recovery you get is based on the location of your resting place.
- When you take an extended rest in an environment where the natives are hostile (such as a dungeon, enemy city, or prison), you gain surges up to half your maximum surges per day.
- When you take an extended rest in an environment that is neither hostile nor friendly (such as in the wilderness), you gain surges up to 3/4 your maximum surges per day.
- When you take an extended rest in a friendly environment (such as a friendly inn), you gain all of your healing surges back.
Adventuring is a hard and dangerous line of work. You are constantly putting yourself at risk with the necessary violence that comes with the job. Sometimes the combat goes your way, other times, it doesn’t. When combat doesn’t go your way, living to fight another day is not always guaranteed, and sometimes means a long-lasting wound.
At the end of the combat, the player of a character who dropped to 0 hit points or fewer during the combat must roll a saving throw. For each time the character dropped to 0 hit points or fewer after the first, the player has a -1 penalty on this saving throw. If the player fails this saving throw, the character gains a long-lasting wound. This wound is determined randomly, and is influenced by the type of attack that knocked him or her to 0 hit points.
The ritual system is changed to be more accessible. All characters can choose to be trained in either Ritual Casting or Alchemy at level 1. This confers the ability to cast rituals and create alchemical items of up to a level equal to your own, provided that you have mastered the ritual or recipe (as per the normal rules for rituals). The only restriction is that to master a ritual, you must be trained in the skill that ritual or alchemical item requires. If you chose to, you can take the Ritual Caster or Alchemist feat that is opposite what you chose at level 1 as a normal feat.
NOTE: This free feat does not make your character count as having the ritual caster or alchemy feat for the purpose of meeting prerequisites. To do that, you must take one of the below feats.
The below feats are available to all characters. If you gets the Ritual Caster feat for free as a class feature you can instead get one of the below feats for free. Taking any of these feats (whether for free or not) allows you access to rituals that use skills you are not trained.
Benefit: At the end of an extended rest you can spend time to prepare rituals for use during the coming day. You can ready as many rituals as your Intelligence or Wisdom Modifier. You can only prepare rituals that have a casting time of one hour or less. A prepared ritual can be cast with a single round where the caster does nothing else (including immediate, opportunity actions, and active free actions). If the caster takes damage during this round, they must succeed a skill check of type determined by the ritual or fail to cast the ritual.
Benefit: You invent a single ritual or alchemical recipe of your level or lower. Work with your DM to determine the level, cost, and exact nature of the ritual. The exact nature of this ritual might require an individual cost, as determined by the DM. You can take this feat multiple times to invent multiple rituals/recipes.
Benefit: Choose one ritual type (Creation, Warding, Deception, Exploration, Restoration, Divination, Binding, Scrying, Travel) or an alchemical recipe type (curative, volatile, Oil, Poison, Other). Once per day you can cast a ritual or create an alchemical item of that type without spending the component cost. You can take this feat multiple times, each time choosing a different type.
Benefit: You can perform rituals or create alchemical items (but not both) as though you were 2 levels higher.
Benefit: You learn a bonus ritual at level 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, and 26, of that level or lower (subject to DM’s discretion)
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.
Crafting items is slightly different, due to the nature of rituals and magic items. Crafting mastercraft and magic items requires specific components depending on the item being made, and may require a specific location to be crafted at. Components can be bought, found or gathered from monsters. For example, in order to craft Dragonscale armor, one would need to collect the hide of a dragon. A Safewing amulet might require the wing of a pixie or feather of a harpie.
What components are required to craft items is not set in stone, but rather is something to be discovered with creativity and ingenuity.