Optional Rules: But it’s not in the Rulebook!

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“But it’s not in the Rulebook!” some people might say when presented with a Fan Made rule. Don’t let that kind of talk stop you. If you have a great idea, use it anyway. You might be able to tweak an ability here, make an action occur more smoothly there, or simplify combat with “one simple trick.” I am in favor of optional rules and encourage you to make them for Unchained Heroes. Unchained Heroes spawned out of making so many optional rules for my favorite game systems that it made a lot more sense to make my own game. The “optional rules” ended up being built in as part of its foundation.

Part of my fun from playing RPGs is tinkering with them to find exciting new things to do and explore. I don’t want to take that away from anyone. So please feel free to tweak Unchained Heroes to your heart’s content and please, oh, please share them with the rest of us! I really want to hear about them.

Making an Optional Rule

Optional rules are around for a reason, the most common being that they fill some gap in gameplay. That gap might be something that should have been included in the game but wasn’t, is something you really feel should have been added to the game, or it was completely overlooked. If for example, you wanted to make a Tactical Strike Chart that can be used when players make called shots, increasing the Trauma Damage inflicted for hitting the head, torso, or appendages, that would be something that would fit an optional rule perfectly. It might include cybernetics in a fantasy setting, modern armor, or advanced technology. It can be a lot of things.

If you decide to make an Optional Rule, first make sure that you aren’t reinventing the wheel for yourself. Look over the rules to see if there are references to what you want to do and that they aren’t simple hidden in various locations. If after that is explored and there are no rules on it, add it to the game. It’s really that simple. As long as you have “buy-in” from the rest of your group, you will be free to use it. Your biggest resistance will come from your game group.

Simple or Complex, always Document

Optional Rules can be very simple or very complex. The example of the Tactical Strike Chart is has a mid-range of complexity, but it could get very complex if you wish. You might decide to add rolling a d100 for placement, or breaking down attacks that affect the hand compared to the entire arm and so on. They can also be very simple such as adding the Rejuvenation Condition to an Ability whenever it is used. The important part is to document your changes so everyone knows how the action is going to be played.

Get your Optional Rule in writing and distribute it among your players. It is wise to format it on your computer and edit it for readability. If you have multiple Optional Rules, make sure to get them in one spot, such as a binder or folder for everyone to access if they need them.

Doing what’s Fun

Optional Rules are really about making an already fun experience more fun for everyone at the table. It might be introducing Mass Combat rules, Worldbuilding Mechanics, or Downtime Variants, but no matter what they are doing, they are there to make the game experience more fun for everyone. If you have an idea for an Optional Rule, by all means make it, that is part of the fun, but when it is complete, evaluate it based on its fun-factor during play. If it is not fun, just don’t use it.

-Turkzapt

 


 

Speaking of Optional Rules, today’s Beyond the Fold covers just that. We have an Optional Rule for the Stamina and Spirit Attributes that is meant to make them a little more desirable Attributes when they are not a Primary Attribute.

Unchained Heroes RPG Optional Rule

Enhanced Stamina and Spirit Attributes

Stamina (STA) Attribute Enhancement

When using an item that Heals Health or Trauma Damage you gain bonuses based on your Attribute Scores. When using a Potion, a Healing Kit, or some other method of healing that is not an Ability that heals Health, you gain a +5 ATTR MOD increase to the amount of Health healed for every point of STA. For example, if you drank a Minor Healing Potion that normally heals you for 30 Health and you had a STA of 3, you would be healed for 30 + 3 multiplied by 5, for a total of 45 Health.

In addition, when using a Potion, a Healing Kit, or some other method of healing that is not an Ability that heals Trauma Damage, you gain a +1 ATTR MOD increase to the amount of Trauma healed for every 2 points of Stamina (STA) rounded down. For example, if you drank a Minor Triage Potion that normally heals you for 3 Trauma Damage and you had a STA of 3, you would be healed for 3 + 3 divided by 2(round down), for a total of 4 Trauma Damage.

Spirit (SPI) Attribute Enhancement

When using an item that Heals Energy you gain bonuses based on your Attribute Scores. When using a Potion, a Healing Kit, or some other method of healing that is not an Ability that heals Energy, you gain a +10 ATTR MOD increase to the amount of Energy healed for every 2 points of Spirit (SPI) rounded down. For example, if you drank a Lesser Rejuvenation Potion that normally heals you for 40 Energy and you had a SPI of 3, you would be healed for 40 + 3 divided by 2 (rounded down), for a total of 50 Energy.

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