Frankengame Breakdown, Part 3- Misc Rules

At the beginning of November anarkeith did a post about Frankengaming, which is something I’m a big proponent of.  I love hacking games and taking what I like from them.  Last week The Sky Full of Dust posted his thoughts on the same thing and asked people how they go about it.

I really couldn’t give a quick answer so I decided I’d do a post about it instead, also because I wanted to give credit where it was due.

Today I will cover Misc rules that deviate from the standard mechanics.  Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Note: I do have rules for general use (all races and classes) but they are not as polished as what I am using for my new Swords and Sorcery game, which is what I’ll be presenting in these posts.

Here is the full pdf of my hack rules without the breakdowns: WrathofZombie Frankengame Rules.

Special Rules

As I’ve stated in part 2, I use the houserules by Akratic Wizardy for my spell casting.

Originally I came up with my own houserule for Shields, but I decided against it because I wanted less bookkeeping.  I am using Trollsmyth’s Shield Splintering rule.

Hit Points, Sanity, and Back Attack options all come from Akratic Wizardry as well.

I took an awesome variant for sneak attacking and Save VS Death mechanics from The Alexandrian.

Combat Maneuvers are just examples of what could be done in combat (stemming from the Pathfinder lists).  I changed this up with my own Sundering system, because I wanted to get away from Hardness and item HP.  Just roll an attack as standard, then roll a d6 to see success.

The quick and dirty for creating magic items is from Role-playing tips issue 532 (not on the archive yet).

Spell Casting: Exhaustion, Corruption, and Sanity

 When Sorcerers cast ‘white magic’ spells they suffer exhaustion damage equal to one hit point plus one hit point per level of the spell cast (so a Sorcerer who casts a third level white magic spell would suffer four points of damage).

When Sorcerers cast ‘grey magic’ spells they suffer exhaustion damage equal to twice the level of the spell cast (so a Sorcerers who casts a third level grey magic spell would suffer six points of damage).

When Sorcerers cast ‘black magic’ spells they suffer exhaustion damage identical to that caused by ‘grey magic’ spells (twice the spell level).  In addition, Sorcerers casting ‘black magic’ spells must make a saving throw (versus ‘spells’ if using a system other than S&W) in order to avoid corruption.  If this saving roll is failed, the magician is corrupted slightly and suffers a loss of temporary Wisdom points equal to the spell level (e.g., 3 points of temporary Wisdom for a third-level spell). Temporarily lost points of Wisdom can be recovered at a rate of one point per complete day of rest and meditation (no other action possible).  The spell ‘Restoration’ will restore instantly all temporarily lost Wisdom points.

Furthermore, if a Sorcerer casting a ‘black magic’ spell fails his/her saving throw by rolling a ‘1,’ then that Sorcerer loses one point of Wisdom permanently (so if a Sorcerer fails his/her saving throw casting a third-level black magic spell by rolling a ‘1,’ he/she would lose one permanent point of Wisdom and two temporary points of Wisdom).  The spell ‘Restoration’ will not restore any permanently lost Wisdom points.

A Sorcerer whose permanent wisdom score is lowered to 2 becomes insane, and possibly the thrall of an extra-planar demonic force.  He/she henceforth is a non-player character!

Spell Listing


Level 1– Bless, Bless Water, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Evil, Endure Elements, Light, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Evil, Remove Fear, Resist Elements, Sanctuary, Shield, Turn Undead (LotFP)

Level 2– Aid, Consecrate, Remove Paralysis

Level 3– Continual Flame, Glyph of Warding, Magic Circle, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Water Breathing

Level 4– Air/Water Walk, Control Water, Create Water, Delay Poison, Cure Serious Wounds, Fire Shield, Remove Curse, Resilient Sphere, Freedom of Movement, Hallow, Minor Globe of Invulnerability, Neutralize Poison

Level 5– Create Food, Guards and Wards, Transmute Mud to Rock, Wall of Stone

Level 6– Blade Barrier, Faithful Hound, Globe of Invulnerability, Healing Circle, Restoration, Control Weather, True Strike


Level 1– Arcane Mark, Change Self, Charm Person, Comprehend Language, Command, Detect Magic, Detect Secret Doors, Erase, Feather Fall, Floating Disk, Hold Portal, Hypnotism, Identify, Ghost Sound, Jump, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Sleep, Sound Burst, Spider Climb, Unseen Servant, Ventriloquist

Level 2– Alter Self, Detect Thoughts, Detect Traps, Fog Cloud, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, Magic Mouth, Mirror Image, Misdirection, Pyrotechnics, See Invisibility, Shatter, Silence

Level 3– Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Fly, Gust of Wind, Haste, Hold Person, Nondetection, Suggestion, Tiny Hut, Tongues

Level 4– Arcane Eye, Charm Monster, Confusion, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies, Dismissal, Emotion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Locate Creature, Scrying, Seeming, Sending, Shout, Solid Fog

Level 5– Dream, False Vision, Feeblemind, Hold Monster, Nightmare, Telekinesis, True Seeing

Level 6– Anti-Magic Shell, Banishment, Find the Path, Mass Suggestion, Mislead, Project Image


Level 1– Burning Hands, Detect Undead, Invisibility to Undead, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp

Level 2– Acid Arrow, Augury, Darkness, Invisibility, Ray of Enfeeblement, Scare, Speak With Undead, Web

Level 3– Animate Dead, Blink, Fireball, Gaseous Form, Invisibility Sphere, Lightning Bolt, Stinking Cloud, Summon Lesser Monster,

Level 4– Dimension Door, Fear, Fire Trap, Ice Storm, Improved Invisibility, Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph, Wall of Fire, Wall of Ice

Level 5– Cloud Kill, Commune, Cone of Cold, Contact Other Plane, Ethereal Jaunt, Flame Strike, Insect Plague, Magic Jar, Passwall, Shadow Conjuration, Summon Monster, Teleport

Level 6– Bind Elemental, Chain Lightning, Create Undead, Disintegrate, Transmute Flesh to Stone, Shades, Word of Recall




Shields provide protection to the wearer, mechanically making them harder to hit.  However if a character takes quite a bit of damage they can “sacrifice” the shield, effectively absorbing all of the damage, but completely rending the shield useless.


Hit Points

Player characters’ hit points represent only ‘superficial’ damage (i.e., exhaustion, light bruises, minor scrapes, and so forth.).  Because of this, all lost hit points may be recovered by sleeping without interruption for eight full hours.  Resting (not sleeping), or sleeping for less than eight hours, will enable a player character to recover one hit point per full hour of rest or sleep.

Cure Wounds spells and potions of Healing do not heal hit points, but only lost points of Constitution (as explained below).  However, a draught of ‘strong drink’ (ale, wine, liquor) can ‘invigorate’ a character, enabling him/her to recover immediately 1d4 hit points.  Game Masters may also want to allow alchemists to sell ‘Elixirs of Invigoration’ for 200 to 300 gold pieces.  Drinking such an elixir might enable a player character to recover instantly 1d6 + 2 hit points.  Only onesuch draught, whether of strong drink or an elixir, will have this effect per day.

Once a player character’s hit points have been depleted, any further damage is done to the character’s constitution score.  Damage to a character’s constitution score represents “serious” damage.  Every time a character takes damage to his/her constitution, he/she must make a saving throw (versus ‘death’ if using a system other than S&W) or fall unconscious.  In addition, a character that has taken damage to his/her constitution suffers a -2 penalty to all actions (including attack rolls and saving throws).  If a character’s constitution score is reduced to 0 or lower that character is dead.

Characters who have suffered damage to their constitution and have fallen unconscious regain consciousness after eight hours of rest.  If that character’s constitution is still reduced, he/she continues to have 0 hit points and suffers the -2 penalty to all actions until he/she can rest and recover.  Characters subsequently can recover one constitution point for every two days of complete rest (i.e., no travelling or adventuring).  The care of a doctor or other non-magical healer can improve the rate of healing to one constitution point per day of rest.  A character cannot recover any hit points until all constitution points have been recovered.


A character’s Wisdom score as a measurement of his/her sanity.  A character with a Wisdom score of 18 has a firm grasp of the nature of reality, considerable self-discipline, and remarkable strength of will.  In contrast, a character with a Wisdom score of 3 is barely lucid, easily confuses reality with fantasy, and is on the border of lapsing into madness. Characters with Wisdom scores of 2 or lower are utterly insane, and must be treated as non-player characters.  (If this Wisdom loss is temporary, as explained below, the character is under the control of the Game Master until he/she regains his/her sanity.)

If a character witnesses an unspeakable horror, the Game Master may require the player to make a saving throw (versus ‘spells,’ if using a system other than S&W). The saving throw should be modified by the severity of the horror in question. If the character fails his or her saving throw, he or she loses points of temporary Wisdom.  The exact amount should be determined by rolling 1d6.  If a ‘6’ is rolled, the character also permanently loses one point of Wisdom (i.e., one permanent point of Wisdom and five temporary points of Wisdom). Temporarily lost points of Wisdom may be regained at a rate of one point per day of complete rest.  The spell ‘Restoration’ (which I treat as a 6th level spell of ‘white magic’ in my game) will restore instantly temporarily lost

Wisdom points, but will not restore any permanently lost Wisdom points.

Characters may also lose Wisdom by casting spells that are characterized as ‘black magic’ in nature.  This will be explained in a future post.

Combat Maneuvers (examples)

Bullrush- Same as Pathfinder.

Disarm– Success means that the target drops whatever weapon is in their hand.

Grapple- You wrestle an opponent to the ground.

Shield Bash– Target makes a Fort Save DC 10 + char Str Mod + ½ char level or is staggered for 1 round.

Stand Still– If you hold your action and an enemy moves past you, you make an attack against the target.  Success stops them in their tracks.  They can finish out their turn if they have any options left.

SunderWeapons/Shield/Armor– Roll characters attack VS defense- on successful hit roll 1d6.  On a 5 or 6 you succeed in breaking the weapon.  Magical Weapons/Shield/Armor can only be destroyed on a roll of 6.

Objects– Roll of 4-6 will destroy most items.  Magical Objects– Magical Objects can only be destroyed on a roll of 6.

Glass– Roll of 2-6 glass is destroyed.

Trip– Roll attack VS targets Defense, if successful you knock an enemy prone.

Dodge– A character can dodge one attack per round, this must be stated before it is revealed that the attacker hit or not.  Dodging adds +2 to characters AC but -4 from any attribute check made until the beginning of next turn.

Combat Actions

Standard Action

Movement Action

Full Round Action

Free Action

Immediate Action

Movement- 1 square or 1 inch= 5 ft.


As a Movement Action a Character can Aim and receive +2 to their ranged attack roll.

Firing into Melee

If a character uses a ranged weapon against an enemy that is engaged in melee they suffer -2 to their roll.

Surprise Attacks-

When a character makes an attack against a target that is surprised there is a chance that the target can be knocked unconscious in one hit.  The damage must exceed the targets Constitution Score + HD.  Several characters can attack one surprised enemy at the same time to achieve this.

Back Attacks

All characters can perform back attacks.  They receive +2 to attacks and damage is doubled.  Rogues get Improved Back Attack (see class).


Save VS Death Mechanics-

Rather than having spells do instant death, sleep, petrify, etc they do ability damage that is linked to the situation.  IE- Disintegrate would deal immediate CON damage per round until it reaches zero and turns the target to dust.  Fear would affect WIS.  The target must make a save each round.  When Wisdom reaches zero the target flees randomly, completely terrified.  Petrify would affect DEX.  When the target reaches zero DEX they are turned to stone.


Spells like Remove Fear and Remove Paralysis will automatically heal a target to their full ability score.  Restoration will heal


Cover Mechanics

25 % Cover +2 AC

50% Cover +4 AC

75% Cover +6 AC

90% Cover +10 AC

If in cover receive +2 to Reflex Saves.

Creating Magic Items- Easy and Quick

Awesome Name – 30 seconds
Appearance – 30 seconds
Benefit – 30 seconds
Drawback – 30 seconds
Lore – 60 seconds
Twist  – 0 seconds (yup 0 – not a typo!)

Author: Mike Evans

I am the dude behind DIY RPG Productions. I have a fuck all punk rock attitude, love meeting new people, doing nature shit, and gaming (tabletop and console) and having a good time. I love craft beer (maybe too much), punk, grunge, and industrial music. I write books. Good for me.

5 thoughts

  1. Lots of good stuff here. I’m trying to put together a similar post of some recent cool ideas I’ve seen. How are your players handling the components? I’m finding I have to invest a little extra time in rules writing and organization.

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