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These are the modifications or additions to the rules. If something is in one of the rule books and not mentioned here, the normal rules apply.

Optional Rules and Variants

Things We're Playing With

  • Variant Criminal: Spy - PHB p130
  • Variant Entertainer: Gladiator - PHB p131
  • Variant Guild Artisan: Guild Merchant - PHB p133
  • Variant Noble: Knight - PHB p136
  • Variant Sailor: Pirate - PHB p139
  • Variant Feature: Bad Reputation - PHB p139
  • Feats - PHB p165
  • Variant: Skills with Different Abilities - PHB p175
  • Variant: Playing on a Grid - PHB p192 (most times)
  • Fear and Horror - DMG p266 (sometimes)
  • Flanking - DMG p251
  • Climbing onto a Bigger Creature - DMG p271 (2 size categories)
  • Disarm - DMG p271
  • Tumble - DMG p272
  • Cleaving Through Creatures - DMG p272

Things We're Not Using

  • Variant Human Traits - PHB p31
  • Variant: Equipment Sizes - PHB p144
  • Multiclassing - PHB p163
  • Variant: Encumbrance - PHB p176
  • Gods in PHB Appendix B
  • Cosmology described in PHB Appendix C
  • Renown - DMG p22
  • Variant: More Difficult Identification - DMG p136
  • Variant: Mixing Potions - DMG p140
  • Variant: Scroll Mishaps - DMG p140
  • Variant: Wands That Don't Recharge - DMG p141
  • Optional Rule: Diagonals - DMG p252
  • Optional Rule: Facing - DMG p252
  • Proficiency Dice - DMG p263
  • Skill Variants - DMG p263
  • Hero Points - DMG p264
  • Honor and Sanity - DMG p264
  • Healing Variants - DMG p266
  • Rest Variants - DMG p267
  • Plot Points - DMG p269
  • Initiative Variants - DMG p270
  • Mark - DMG p271
  • Overrun - DMG p272
  • Shove Aside - DMG p272
  • Hitting Cover - DMG p272
  • Lingering Injuries - DMG p272
  • Massive Damage - DMG p273
  • Morale - DMG p273
  • Variant: Spell Points - DMG p288

Clarifications and Changes

Because Humans come from other races, all Humans start with +1 to 4 stats and a subrace (their original race) that gives +1 to 2 other stats. The subrace also grants the language of the original race, which replaces the one extra language Humans normally get. This is only a change to the Ability Score Increase Human trait and the Languages Human trait. All other Human traits are unchanged.

Hit Points
Hit Points at first level are maximum for the Hit Die. Every other level, the Hit Points listed in parentheses are used (for example 5 for 1d8).

Characters with detailed writeups on their personality and history don't require documented Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws. In addition, a character may be allowed a proficiency bonus to checks related to experiences from their background, even if not reflected on their character sheet.

Class Updates
Primeval Awareness: To make this ability less intrusive with game flow, before camp the player should roll 1d20 for each creature type, with a 1 indicating a ping. If there are any pings, the player should let the DM know.

Spell Updates
Phantasmal Force: Can perform damage and up to 1 status effect of: blinded, deafened, grappled, restrained.

The Planes
The cosmology for Portrandi is not the standard cosmology described in the PHB or DMG. Planar portals do not work as described in the DMG. What and where the planes are may be explored as the campaign progresses. This includes the Astral and Ethereal planes.

Player Discoveries
During the Night of the Golden Comet, there was an upheaval among the planes. The old planes are gone and many of the gods have been displaced. This seems to have caused additional upset among the followers, priests, and paladins of the gods. Many former followers have changed gods and it seems like non-humans are accepting the changes without much question.

Experience Points
This campaign won't be using XP, but rather the characters will level up after completing parts of the story. This keeps the party the same level

Trade Skills
Crafting checks may be Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence related checks, depending on the type of craft. Proficiency on the check may be allowed on a per-case basis related to the individual character's history. Profession checks, similarly, may vary in what ability they are related to and may allow for proficiency based on character history.

A divine caster of at least 5th level can produce 1 flask of holy water with 2gp of oils and salts and use of a religious altar or shrine.

Inspiration as a mechanic is hard to remember and doesn't offer much benefit. We will not be playing with Inspiration.

Difficult Terrain
If multiple effects cause difficult terrain, the movement penalty stacks. For example, if one PC is standing on a square with rubble that makes it difficult terrain, it would take 3 squares of movement for another PC to move into that square (of course, since it is an occupied square the second character has to keep moving to an open square).

Local Hex Map
It takes 2 hours on foot to go from one hex to another. If the hex you're leaving isn't mapped, it also takes a Survival DC 15 to keep from getting lost. If you get lost, you fail to leave and have to spend another 2 hours and make another check, but each subsequent check the DC is reduced by 5. To map an area, it takes 4 hours and Survival DC 18, or you can take an additional hour for every point you missed the Survival check.

Maintenance costs (DMG p127) are in effect, but for the settlement they are zero.
Lifestyle expenses (PHB p157) in the settlement are restricted based on its growth stage. The settlement has the following stages of growth available to it:

  1. camp site - squalid lifestyle
  2. outpost - poor lifestyle
  3. village - modest lifestyle
  4. town - comfortable lifestyle
  5. city - wealthy lifestyle

The goal of the mechanics described here are to provide a way for players to have their characters perform semi-routine activities while at the settlement without having to spend a lot of real-world time on those activities.

Any player can call for a montage to take place, and any other player or the DM can veto the montage. A character can only be involved in one montage at a time, but different characters can be involved in different montages happening at the same time. Some montages allow for multiple characters to be involved in the same montage. Once started, the montage will continue until interrupted by the DM or it completes.

A montage is not appropriate for any activity where information is being gathered or where there is any real risk. If players want to take into account the desires of NPCs, they should learn what those NPCs' desires are prior to engaging in a montage. Activities in the montages can be also accomplished through normal play, a day or a few hours at a time.

To pick a montage goal, find the statement below that describes the activity you'd like to accomplish.

I'd like to improve my relationship with an NPC or group of NPCs.
Number of PCs: any (number of PCs doesn't change the timeline)
Timeline: 10 to 180 days, depending on current relationship level
Requirements: All characters must be available in the settlement.
Outcome: Typically, the relationship between the characters is improved. Sometimes things don't go well and the relationship can be damaged. In some instances, a new found trust can result in the NPCs confiding in the PCs or providing favors.

I'd like to help the settlement gather supplies.
Number of PCs: any (more PCs reduces the timeline)
Timeline: 2 to 8 days (DM determined)
Requirements: PCs need to be in the settlement
Outcome: The settlement will be better supplied in some way and the PCs' efforts will be appreciated.

I'd like to help organize / train some people in the settlement.
Number of PCs: any (number of PCs doesn't change the timeline)
Timeline: 6 to 16 days (DM determined)
Requirements: PCs and the NPCs being organized or trained need to be in the settlement
Outcome: Functions within the settlement are improved, which NPCs will appreciate.

I'd like to work on building some structures.
Number of PCs: any (more PCs increases the effect)
Timeline: any number of days (player determined) +/- 50% (DM determined), to a minimum of 1 day
Requirements: PCs need to be in the settlement with any necessary base components or funds
Outcome: Buildings are built, either partially or completely. See the more detailed information below. After a number of buildings are built, and with population increases, the category of the settlement may increase, from outpost to village to town to city.

The PCs do not have to indicate specific building's if they'd prefer to take all direction from the NPCs of the settlement. In that case, which buildings are worked on will be determined by the DM.

The following is the cost of the individual structures:

  1. basic shelter [dwelling I] - 2 upgrade points
  2. common house [dwelling II] - 5 upgrade points
  3. nice house [dwelling III] - 20 upgrade points
  4. estate [dwelling IV] - 100 upgrade points
  5. poor shop [business I] - 1000gp, 1 week, 1 upgrade point
  6. common shop [business II] - 2000gp, 2 weeks, 5 upgrade points
  7. nice shop [business III] - 5000gp, 3 weeks, 15 upgrade points
  8. dive tavern [bar I] - 500gp, 1 week, 2 upgrade points
  9. common tavern [bar II] - 1000gp, 1 week, 10 upgrade points
  10. restaurant [bar III] - 2000gp, 2 weeks, 40 upgrade points
  11. hostel [inn I] - 500gp, 1 week, 2 upgrade points
  12. halfway house [inn II] - 1000gp, 2 weeks, 10 upgrade points
  13. hotel [inn III] - 2000gp, 4 weeks, 20 upgrade points
  14. small government building [infrastructure I] - 1000gp, 2 weeks, 2 upgrade points
  15. medium government building [infrastructure II] - 5000gp, 4 weeks, 10 upgrade points
  16. large government building [infrastructure III] - 10000gp, 6 weeks, 40 upgrade points

The gp cost must be covered by the PCs, but items may be used to contribute to that cost. The time cost must be spent by PCs doing this activity. Upgrade points can either be contributed using gp at a ratio of 100gp to 1 points, or by using more time on this activity at a ratio of 3 days to 1 points.

The settlement starts as a camp site. This downtime activity allows a PC to contribute time and money to help the settlement grow. For each tier of growth, the following minimum conditions must be met:

Growth Stage Trade Channels Dwellings Businesses Bars Inns Infrastructure
outpost 1 10 I+ 1 I+ 1 I+ 0 1 I+
village 2 10 I+, 10 II+ 2 I+, 1 II+ 1 I+ 1 I+ 2 I+
town 4 50 I+, 20 II+, 3 III+ 5 I+, 10 II+ 1 II+ 2 I+ 3 I+, 1 II+
city 8 50 I+, 20 II+, 10 III+, 3 IV 10 I+, 10 II+, 4 III 1 I+, 1 II+, 1 III 1 I+, 2 II+, 1 III 5 I+, 3 II+, 1 III

I'd like to improve the party's house.
Number of PCs: any (more PCs reduces the timeline)
Timeline: 3WFR+2E days per room, referring to the structural elements list
Requirements: PCs need to be in the settlement with necessary funds (100WR+25FR+25E gp per room, referring to the structural elements list)
Outcome: Extension or improvement is constructed, either partially or completely. When upgrading an existing room, only the difference in cost in time and gold needs to be covered. See the information below to compute the time and monetary costs.

Structural Elements

I'd like to craft a specific item.
Number of PCs: typically 1, but rarely more, if the project is big enough (number of PCs may affect the timeline, depending on the project)
Timeline: up to 1 day per 5gp of the base market value of the item
Requirements: PC must be proficient with tools related to the object being created. Appropriate materials and facilities need to be at hand.
Outcome: The desired item is crafted, either partially or completely.

I'd like to perform services for the other settlers.
Number of PCs: 1
Timeline: any number of days (PC determined)
Requirements: PC needs to be in the settlement with access to appropriate facilities
Outcome: Services are performed, possibly leading to compensation.
Some ideas for services are:

I'd like to spend time recuperating.
Number of PCs: 1
Timeline: 3 or more days
Requirements: access to a comfortable place to rest
Outcome: After 3 days spent recuperating, you start gaining advantage on saving throws to overcome ongoing afflictions. You can also remove one effect every 3 days that prevents you from regaining hit points.

I'd like to meditate, pray, and perform sacred rites for my god.
Number of PCs: any (number of PCs doesn't change the timeline)
Timeline: any number of days (PCs determine), but at least 10 days to get special benefits
Requirements: a shrine or temple to your god
Outcome: Personal satisfaction and comfort, and possibly the appreciation of your god. After 10 straight days of this, begin gaining diving recovery which heals 2d6 hit points per day of continuing to perform rites. Once the entire activity is complete, if the PC spent at least 10 days doing it, once per day for the next 2d6 days the PC can gain advantage on a single roll.

I'd like to spread a rumor.
Number of PCs: any (more PCs reduces the timeline)
Timeline: A base number of days, minus the PCs' highest charisma, minus the highest proficiency bonus for the PCs proficient in Deception or Persuasion, to a minimum of 6 days. The base days is 23 for an outpost, 30 for a village, 37 for a town, and 45 for a city. This activity may be done in parallel with other activities, as long as those activities involve wide interactions, without affecting the timelines of either activities.
Requirements: This activity must be a continuous time period. The rumor must be specific.
Outcome: The rumor works its way through the general populace, which may have story effects.

I'd like to learn a new language.
Number of PCs: 1, with optionally a 2nd acting as a tutor (no effect on timeline)
Timeline: 75 days minus the PC's intelligence
Requirements: another character willing to tutor the PC in the language
Outcome: The PC learns the language.

I'd like to gain proficiency with some tools.
Number of PCs: typically 1, but PCs can group up to study as a class (increases timeline) and a PC can be the trainer (no effect on timeline)
Timeline: 30 days per proficiency bonus
Requirements: another character willing to train the PCs in the tools. Select a single tool set from the table on p154 of the Player's Handbook.
Outcome: The PCs learn how to use the tools.

I'd like to train to do a specific thing.
Number of PCs: typically 1, but other may be allowed depending on what is being learned
Timeline: 60 days (subject to modifiers determined by the DM based on what is being learned)
Requirements: varies
Outcome: The PC learns to do the thing in question.

The following things have been allowed so far:

I'd like to work on cutting trails through the forest.
Number of PCs: any (more PCs reduces the timeline)
Timeline: 6 days
Requirements: PCs must be in the specific local hex where trails are to be cut
Outcome: The local hex can be traversed by characters without fear of getting lost and within the time it would take to travel with a map, even if the characters don't have a map. This is required for settlers or trade routes.

I'd like to sell treasure and refresh supplies.
Number of PCs: any (number of PCs doesn't change the timeline)
Timeline: 1 day for typical things, 1 to 10 days for unusual or complex things
Requirements: PCs have to have the items they are trying to sell and they need to have funds to purchase the things they are looking for. Magic items can not be sold through this activity.
Outcome: Undamaged weapons and armor are sold for half their market cost. Gems, jewelry, art objects, and trade goods are sold for their full market cost. Spell components, food and drink supplies, and basic adventuring supplies are replenished at market cost.

Downtime allows for the passage of time in-game at high speeds which at times is essential for proper storytelling.

Downtime is initiated at the end of a story chapter, after the party has satisfied any montage sequences that they are interested in. The downtime will last until the next story chapter begins. It is possible that downtime will be missed entirely if the players engage in montages covering the entire period when downtime was scheduled.

There is no player interaction in downtime. The description of what takes place in downtime will be provided by the DM and will typically be at a high level and cover more about what's taking place in the settlement and environment than what the PCs are up to.

Renown With Settlement Townsfolk
Renown indicates how much that townsfolk likes a particular character. Renown has the following ranks:

Renown can be increased through the Improving Relationships downtime activity or when characters do positive things for the NPC. Renown will go up by 1 if the character does something significant that is in the NPC's best interest. It will go up by 2 if the character does something significant that the NPC asked them to do. Renown can also go up (or down) based on role-playing interactions between the player character and the NPC.

Wearing Armor
Putting on armor can be a slow process, but the armor wearer can be aided by others. With the help of another person, donning armor that would normally take more than 5 minutes takes half the time, to a minimum of 5 minutes.

While wearing armor, you can not get the benefit of a long rest. You can still benefit from a short rest though. This can be overcome by sufficient training.

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