House Rules


Use the stronghold rules and roleplaying to determine how many followers you have. These followers typically do not participate in adventures; they are usually low enough level that the risk to their life greatly exceeds their utility in skirmish battles.

Henchmen that do accompany you on adventures fall into two categories: bodyguards and mounts.

  • Bodyguards are henchmen that have little utility other than standing nearby and running interference for their master. They contribute little to the fight other than making their master hard to hit, and synchronize their movements to remain adjacent to their master in most cases. Should their master fall, they typically flee. Bodyguards provide a "Bodyguard" bonus to their master's AC and defenses based on their level (i.e., +1 for every 5 levels), as well as a similar special ability to magical armor of the same level. This bonus does not stack with other bodyguards; only the best guard applies. It does stack with bonuses from magic items, feats, powers, etc.
  • Mounts are henchmen that can be ridden to increase the master's movement rate and some combat options. If the master has the Mounted Combat feat, they provide a special ability. Mounted combat is unchanged from the core rules.

When making new characters, all kinds of henchmen are purchased as if they were magic items of the same level. For example, a level 5 mount or bodyguard costs 1,000 gp (the same as a level 5 item). When characters receive henchmen in the course of the game, this value may be counted against standard treasure awards. Some methods of gaining henchmen, such as creating undead, already incorporate this cost.

Aid Another

These rules replace the standard rules for aiding another for skill-based rolls. Since combat may be harder to keep track of, and PCs will very quickly have a +10 bonus, in combat one can simply declare an assist and add +2 to an ally's attack without rolling.

  • The basic DC to aid another is the total skill of the primary actor (e.g., if the primary has a +7 skill, the DC is only 7. If he has a +15, the DC is 15.).
  • Assistants contribute a -1 if they fail the check by 5 or more; after a certain point, those with really low skill may need to consider whether it's valuable for them to attempt an assist.
  • Beating the check by 10 or more (i.e., hitting the primary's passive check total) adds an additional +1 (+3 total).
  • Beating the primary's actual result by 10 or more allows the primary to retroactively take 10 on the roll.

Scale Armor

Scale armor actually has a -1 armor check penalty, reducing its superiority relative to all the other armors nearby it on the table.


All PCs have aspects (typically three of them), which are adjectives or short phrases that describe a central attribute or conflict of the character. Aspects can be compelled or invoked.

When aspects are compelled, the character receives an extra action point for roleplaying in a manner consistent with the character instead of objectively sound judgment. Players may ask for a retroactive compel when they feel that they have abandoned an optimal plan in favor of good roleplaying, or the GM can suggest a course of action that fits an aspect. The GM may also award compels for situations that hinder the character based on an aspect but aren't directly related to roleplaying (e.g., a character is treated poorly by NPCs due to an aspect).

When aspects are invoked, the character spends an action point through the aspect to accomplish one of the following:

  • Reroll any die (attack, check, save, damage, etc.)
  • Add +2 to any roll, after rolling (this counts as a retroactive situational bonus, not an adjustment to the actual roll, so cannot turn a roll into a natural 20)
  • Cheat Death (become 0 HP, Unconscious, and Stable rather than dying from any single source of damage, death effect, or failed death save; the character can spend a healing surge at the end of the encounter)
  • Perform a minor alteration of causality to give yourself a minor situational benefit in line with the aspect

While these uses consume action points, they are independent of the normal 1/encounter limit for action points used for extra actions. Characters can still invoke an aspect after spending a point for an extra action, and vice versa.

Any powers that affect actions taken when using an action point also affect aspect invocations, when appropriate (e.g., a bonus to rolls on action point actions also affects rerolls).

The GM reserves the right to declare any particular use of an aspect as too much of a stretch; in general, aspects should be used for their pre-agreed-upon uses. This guideline may slip in particularly dramatic moments, particularly when cheating death.

Stronghold Building

During downtime, the party receives one or more actions to spend on developing the stronghold or its role in the world. By default, these actions are assumed to involve the whole party's input over the course of the downtime. However, in instances where the party receives multiple downtime actions, PCs can split actions between them and assume they spend longer on them (e.g., instead of everyone working on recruiting for one month then working on morale building the next, half the party works on recruiting for two months while the other half spends that time on morale building).

Each downtime action allows you to:

  1. Recruit Warriors: Recruit 500 exp worth of new warriors (Roll Diplomacy and subtract 10 to get the highest level of NPC you can recruit this downtime (-5 for elites, +5 for minions, cannot normally recruit higher level characters than the PCs))
  2. Recruit Builders: Recruit 1 unit of stronghold builders
  3. Recruit Support Staff: Recruit 1 unit of support staff
  4. Train Troops: Add 600 exp to the value of troops (spread across existing troops)
  5. Expand Stronghold: Open 10 squares +1 for each unit of builders
  6. Protect Stronghold: Build 400 exp of traps (+50 for each unit of builders)
  7. Make War: Attack reachable settlements
  8. Base Defense: Concentrate defenses against predicted attacks to avoid casualties
  9. Raise Morale: Engage in morale building exercises such as taking out easy but not-tactically-significant targets; raise morale by 1 unit
  10. Engage in Diplomacy: Undergo a generic mission that accomplishes a diplomatic goal or generically raises support of the stronghold (full diplomatic missions may make more sense as game sessions rather than downtime actions)

Stronghold forces and composition, as well as enemy forces and composition, are measured in hit points, damage, and AC or Attack.

  • Hit points are based on the number of people in the army: 1 for each minion, 2 for each normal, and 3 for each elite. Many lower-level non-elites means a higher HP force that is less affected by casualties, but a small, high-level, elite force is easier to house, feed, and keep in high morale. 10% of lost HP translates into deaths, and low-level minions die first (e.g., after taking 100 HP worth of damage in an attack, 10 followers are permanently removed from the stronghold, starting with minions).
  • Damage is based on total exp of your army, modified by morale.
  • Attack is based on the total exp of your army, modified by morale.
  • AC is based on the total exp of your traps and other defenses, modified by morale.

The attacking army uses its HP, attack, and damage. The defending army uses its HP, AC, and damage. Each round, the attacking army makes an attack roll against the defender, and rolls damage if successful. The attacking army then takes damage from the defending army automatically. Both sides take penalties once they reach bloodied.

Invading enemy heroic strikes into the stronghold get a bonus to attack, but still have poor damage and HP.

Necromantic Rituals

Create Undead (Multiple Variants)

Level: Various
Category: Creation
Time: 1 hour
Duration: Permanent
Component Cost: Special
Market Price: Various (250 gp for level 5, 1,000 gp for level 10, 6,000 gp for level 15, 25,000 gp for level 20)
Key Skill: Arcana or Religion

This ritual comes in multiple variants, including: Create Mindless Undead (level 5, creates Skeleton and Zombie), Create Lesser Undead (level 10, creates Flameskull, Ghoul, Mummy, Wight, and Wraith), Create Greater Undead (level 15, creates Boneclaw, Devourer, and Vampire) and Create Master Undead (level 20, creates Bodak, Deathknight, Dracolich, Nightwalker). When scribed in a book, each ritual is a prerequisite for the higher level versions (i.e., the caster must know Create Mindless Undead before learning any other level of the ritual).

You touch one or more prepared corpses and turn them into undead loyal to you. The component cost is identical to the cost to create equivalent magic items of the same level (e.g., creating a level 5 undead costs 1,000 gp worth of components).

If the ritualist knows the Grim Binding ritual that affects the created level of undead, it can be automatically included in the creation at no extra cost (i.e., the created undead are automatically treated as if they were also under the effects of the Grim Binding ritual).

Bright Warding

You scribe yourself and your allies with runes of astral fire, warding them against assault by creatures of darkness.

Level: 6
Category: Warding
Time: 10 minutes
Duration: 1 hour
Component Cost: 150 gp
Market Price: 360 gp
Key Skill: Arcana (Necromancer) or Religion (Cleric/Paladin)

The Bright Warding ritual gives the targets a persistent damage effect that is activated by being attacked in melee by an enemy. As an immediate interrupt (when attacked) the attacker takes 0 radiant damage. If the attacker is vulnerable to radiant damage, it takes its full vulnerability amount as damage. Essentially, this ritual will usually only damage undead and others vulnerable to radiant damage. However, any power that increases radiant damage (such as cleric powers) also increases this amount so that even targets not vulnerable to radiant damage are affected.

Undead are fully aware of any visible targets that are affected by Bright Warding, and even mindless undead will usually choose to avoid attacking the target unless they have a compelling reason to do so.

Arcana/Religion Check Result

Warded Targets











Grim Binding, Least

You feed a captive undead your blood, ashes, and salt, binding it to you henceforth.

Level: 2
Category: Binding
Time: 10 minutes
Duration: Permanent
Component Cost: 20 gp
Market Price: 100 gp
Key Skill: Arcana or Religion

This ritual can be used on any undead of 5th level or lower that can be held in place for the entire 10 minutes of the ritual (or convinced to stand in place). The target is fed a mixture of the caster's blood and other ritual ingredients. Once the ritual is complete, the undead is bound to the caster. Undead created by the caster can automatically be considered to also be bound by this ritual with no extra charge if the caster knows Grim Binding.

Bound undead take 10 radiant damage each time they attack the caster (melee or ranged). Additionally, the caster can speak a command to automatically inflict 5 radiant damage on the target as a minor action as a Burst 10 (i.e., any time the target is within 10 squares, whether or not the caster can see it).

Undead are aware of the consequences of this ritual, and mindless undead can usually be trained to avoid attacking the caster's allies after a few uses of the command.

The bond with the undead creates a sympathetic link. Rituals may exist or be developed to determine the master of a captured undead and his current location.

To successfully bind an undead, the caster must succeed at the ritual's skill check against the target's Will defense. If the check is failed, the ritual must be repeated.

Grim Binding, Lesser

As Grim Binding, Least; affects undead of up to 10th level.

Level: 8
Cost: 250 gp
Market Price: 680 gp

Grim Binding, Moderate

As Grim Binding, Least; affects undead of up to 15th level.

Level: 14
Cost: 800 gp
Market Price: 4200 gp