Challenge Ruleset (3.5e Variant Rule)

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3.5 Challenge Ruleset[edit]

(In Progress)

Hopefully this can make the game a bit more challenging.


All of the rules have exceptions, including this one.


When using the alignment lines of a creature's entry, if generating randomly, you can use the following instead of the normal way. Each alignment axis (good/evil and law/chaos) are treated separately. If there is no bias, there should be approx. 33% chance of each possibility (G/N/E or L/N/C) assuming it can be determined randomly. For the type lines, use the following:

  • No bias: 33.3%
  • Often: 50%
  • Usually: 80%
  • Almost always: 95%
  • Always: 100%

Note that when a creature has an alignment subtype, it really is *always* of that alignment. Other than this case, alignment is not any inherent or built-in property of anything. (Please note you might have ways to lose an alignment descriptor (there may be many ways). If the alignment descriptor has somehow been lost, use the above list.)

Of course, selected alignment can still be used to determine how the creature usually acts in most cases, for exapmle if a player or DM selected the NG alignment for a specific creature (whether by choice or at random), they would mostly act in that way (this is irrelevant of the entry's alignment), unless they like to change things often.

When using magic for detecting what alignment someone is, you would base it on their current actions (since alignment is no longer a discrete property), and possibly on actions in the past also with a lesser weight for the farther into the past you go. Alignment descriptors of spells currently being cast are also considered, and so are alignment subtypes of creature types. So, it is sometimes possible for Detect Good and Detect Evil both to register equally on the same target.


Resurrection (even True Resurrection) should always cause the resurrected creature's XP to drop to the minimum for the current level and the Con to be decremented. You can prevent resurrection too powerful.

Magic Items[edit]

You could make magic items 50% (or even more!) cursed instead of 5% or lower. You can also mix up the general appearance of magic items, so some don't look special at all but some do. You can also put magic items that have been unmagicked (or disjunctioned).


A suggestion is to allow the Summon Monster lists to be adjusted at the time the spell is learned. Some possible adjustments can be:

  • Swap one entry with one from a lower level list
  • Swap Celestial/Fiendish templates
  • Adjust some skills and feats of summoned creatures
  • Select other creatures with Extraplanar subtype if they are approximately just as powerful (or slightly less) than the normal list

Experience Points[edit]

You can group experience points into these groups:

  • Encounter experience: Give experience points equal to the encounter level. An equal amount (this amount, it is not divided) is given to each character who helped. If you overcome this encounter in a non-ordinary way, you can double the amount. Do not double if this non-ordinary way has been used too often at this encounter level.
  • Use experience: This is earned when a character has experience with new uses of their class abilities that have not been used more than a few times before. The amount earned is five times the minimum class level at which you can use that feature. This applies to skills and feats and other things like that, too, as well as fighting uses (for a fighter), spellcasting when restricted (for spellcasters), etc.
  • Completion experience: Give a large number of experience points (like, 50000 for a tenth level campaign, etc), to the entire group, for completing a major goal of a campaign adventure. (Another possibility is to provide infinite experience in this case, although the amount actually gained will still be limited due to level.) Examples would be: finally returning the object to the king, destroying the object, stopping a war, figuring out about strange things going on and correcting it, etc.
  • Story experience: This is earned for doing various things of some (even small amount) importance in the game. DM should assign whatever numbers meets the importance, ingenuity, risk, and other factors, usually 100 to 1000 points for each one. These can be given to individuals and to the group, depending on the specific actions taken. Examples would be: Figuring out a way to avoid a major encounter, figuring out new important ways of using objects or skills, helping other creatures in a way which might affect the campaign, etc.
  • Special experience: These are awarded for completing sessions or major parts of the game with certain requirements, which are usually not known at first (to the players, or to everyone). The points would usually be 25 to 50 points for each one, or more for each one if you meet multiple special requirements at the same time. Examples can be: no harming anyone else, no taking damage to yourself, completing parts very quickly, completing things the DM never intended that it might be able to be completed, etc.

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