Fewer Die Rolls (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Fewer Die Rolls
Inspired by the differences between 3rd and 4th edition where 4e strives to make encounters resolve faster, this 3e variant rule aims to cut down on the time spent rolling dice. A number of the following rules (but not all) are implemented in some form or fashion in 4th edition.
Static Damage (No Damage Rolls)
This set of variant rules replaces die rolls for damage with static values. In general, static damage equals the average damage per die (rounded up) times number of die rolls.
Replace the weapon die rolls with the following values.
Damage by Dice
Weapon damage outside of Medium in Table: Weapon Dice Damage to Static Damage do not necessarily correspond to Table: Weapon Damage by Size. The rule of thumb is that a weapon's damage doubles for every two size increases, and is halved for every two size decreases, which is how the values in the table were generated (exceptions are due to fractional values which were rounded to the nearest whole number). Note that weapons generally do not deal 3d4 and 4d4 points of damage in the d20 System, but those die rolls are included to show what would be the die roll equivalent of the static weapon damage.
Now there's a slight difference between 1d8 damage and 2d4 as there is between 1d12 and 2d6. However, Table: Weapon Dice Damage to Static Damage does not make a distinction between the two. So if you would like a finer level of granularity to that represents those differences, use the following table instead, and treat critical hits as damage from a weapon made for a creature two sizes larger (or more depending on the multiplier).
Example: Medium battleaxes, falchions, guisarmes, and longswords have the same base damage, but a critical damage of each would be different.
If the damage by size goes beyond the table—such as a Huge weapon with a ×4 multiplier—apply the multiplier normally.
Damage by Dice
Extra Dice Damage
Sneak Attack: A rogue's sneak attack damage is equal to 2 × her rogue level. For a class that gains sneak attack (or some similar extra damage) at a different rate than the rogue, the scale between between the class's and the rogue's progression remain the same.
Example: A duelist's precise strike damage accumulates at a rate that is 2/5 that of the rogue's sneak attack, so a duelist gains (duelist level ×2 ×2/5 =) 4 points of damage for every 5 levels. So the character would not gain any damage at 1st level, but would gain one point at each duelist level from 2nd to 5th.
The Deadly Precision feat under this variant rule adds +10% (round down) to the sneak attack damage instead of its normal benefit.
Magic Weapons: Weapons that deal extra dice damage such as flaming weapons follow the general rule for dice damage: average damage per die (rounded up) times the number of die rolls. Examples: A shock weapon deals 4 points of electricity damage, and similarly an ice burst weapon does deals the same amount in cold damage except on a critical hit, in which case it does an extra 6 points of cold damage (or 12 or 18 if the weapon's critical multiplier is ×3 or ×4 respectively).
Static Damage and Critical Hits: Any damage that is derived from die rolls is not multiplied with a critical hit except the weapon's base damage.
Dice Damage from Other Effects
Damage from spells follow the same general rule, so a 5d6 fireball does (4 × 5 =) 20 points of damage, and each 1d4+1 magic missile does (3 + 1 =) 4 points of damage. However, it's worth mentioning the effects that metamagic feats have on damage.
The feat Empower Spell increases damage by +50% of the damage that is normally rolled. Each missile of a magic missile (which normally does 1d4+1 points of damage) does 4 points of damage (1d4 averages out to be 2.5, which rounds up to 3). Each missile of an empowered magic missile does (3 + [3 × 1/2] + 1 =) 5 points of damage. Unlike averaging the die damage, the empowered amount is rounded down.
The feat Maximize Spell increases damage by +100% of the damage that is normally rolled. Each missile from a maximized magic missile does (3 + 3 + 1) = 7 points of damage.
Predictably, each missile from an empowered maximized magic missile does (3 + [3 × 1-1/2] + 1 =) 8 points of damage.
Other random effects such as the duration of some spells are still rolled normally, since in some cases, the randomization is to keep the character's guessing as to when an effect ends. However, these, too, can be replaced with static values using the same guideline.
Static Hit Points (No HD Rolls)
It's mighty annoying to gain a level of barbarian only to roll a natural 1 for hit points.
Unlike the other rules for removing die rolls, this one is not aimed at speeding up gameplay, but to remove the agitation of possibly rolling low hit points at each gained level. The biggest problem is that once you roll a natural 1 for hit points, you're stuck with it for the rest of the character's career (level loss notwithstanding). Though the same is true for rolling a natural 6 on a d6, the feeling of reward of such a roll generally doesn't compare to the feeling of annoyance with rolling a natural 1, and the feeling only increases with the die size.
Each creature gets the average roll value (rounded up) in hit points for each HD. Double at first level for creatures with the elite ability score array (Constitution modifier and other hit point adjustments are not doubled at first level).
Sorcerers and wizards gain 3 (6 at first level) + Constitution modifier hit points per level. Bards and rogues gain 4 (8 at first level) + Constitution modifier hit points per level. Clerics, druids, monks, and rangers gain 5 (10 at first level) + Constitution modifier hit points per level. Fighters and paladins gain 6 (12 at first level) + Constitution modifier hit points per level. And barbarians gain 7 (14 at first level) + Constitution modifier hit points per level.
Opposed DCs (No Opposed Rolls)
For opposed checks such as tripping, Bluff vs Sense Motive, Hide vs Spot, and the like, the defender (or otherwise reactionary creature) takes 11 instead of rolling. If the attacker's (or proactive creature's) roll equals or exceeds the the DC, he wins the check.
Why 11 Instead of the Standard 10?
Take 11 is used so that when two opponents have the same modifiers, they both have the same 50% chance of winning the check. If both have a +0 modifier, the defender's DC is 11, which means ranges of failure (1–10) and success (11–20) are equal.