Thursday 27 September 2018

Knave Houserules

I intended to publish this shortly after Knave's release. Oh well, hopefully it'll be of interest to the growing community.

Houserules covered below the cut:
  1. Odds of Success & Vocations
  2. Death & Dying
  3. Races
  4. Backstab / Sneak Attack
The next post will cover Spellcasting and Cantrips. But first, some context.

Knave is a new rules framework (i.e. not a complete game) by Ben Milton. You can check out its product page or his  youtube video explaining some of its features and rationale.

@valzi has an excellent blog post listing various hacks, houserules, and resources he and others have made.

I've written a spreadsheet that randomly generates a 1st-level knave.

I think with some tweaks, Knave has real potential to appeal to people who otherwise wouldn't be into OSR games. Basically, I think a lot of people out there, perhaps introduced to D&D through streaming/podcasts or because friends are playing, are looking for a game that avoids the character build and tactical combat aspects of 5e, but who also want rarer lethality and more frequent spellcasting than the typical BX clone.

Knave could be the foundation for that game. It has enough mechanical similarity with 5e that it's easy to learn, but discards everything that bogs down the game (as judged by dead air on podcasts I listen to). Knave gets rid of, among other things:
  • modifiers to damage
  • bonus actions
  • a skill list
  • spell levels not lining up with character levels
  • long-winded class abilities and spell descriptions
  • any rules distinction between ability checks, attack rolls and saving throws
  • proficiency bonus
So below the cut are some ideas to fulfil this design goal.
    For now the following calls all d20 rolls "saving throws" in line with Knave regardless of whether they'd be an attack roll, saving throw or ability check in 5e parlance. I would change this for a published standalone product, but for a bunch of houserules I think consistency is important.