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These house rules go well with or without E6, and I recommend them.
I use these rules in my game to reduce lethality, make sure that the PCs are the stars of the show, and provide a stunt mechanic without slowing down play with new odds or modifiers. These rules assume that Players Roll All the Dice, which I recommend for all campaigns, Epic 6th level or not.
Player Characters have a pool of Conviction, which functions like Action points. All PCs get 6 Conviction. Conviction is replenished whenever the party has a night of complete rest.
Conviction can be used in the following ways:
|1||Roll an extra d20. Keep the highest. This must be declared before you roll.|
|2||Re-roll a d20. This may be declared after rolling.|
|2||Take an extra move action. This can only be used on your turn.|
|3||Take an extra standard action. This can only be used on your turn.|
The Death Flag Edit
The death flag is definitely designed for campaigns where characters can't come back from the dead. This lets those campaigns get rid of random lethality without eliminating death altogether as a possibility. This is done with a change in the "social contract" between players and GM. Whereas in standard D&D the player is at the mercy of the DM and the rules, with the death flag the player decides when the stakes of a conflict are life and death.
As an Immediate action, a player character can choose to raise his Death Flag and gain 6 Conviction instantly (even if this brings their total Conviction pool above 6).
When the death flag is raised, the normal rules for death apply. If the death flag has not been raised, then the character, if killed, is treated as reducing the player character to 1 hit point above death. The Death Flag can be lowered by spending 6 Conviction.
Raising the Stakes Edit
At any time, a player can choose to make a 'raise' before rolling their d20s. The terms of the raise are up to the player, but the GM can either accept ("Call") or decide "no bet."
For example: "I attack the goblin, raise you a decapitation frightening his buddies against me falling prone." "Call."
"I attack the goblin, raise you 2d6 damage against 2d6 damage" "Call."
Modifiers will be left to the standard underlying rules, and raises based on odds that are too strong will simply be declined. So if the fighter has a 95% chance of hitting the goblin, the raise of "I do an extra 5d6 or take an extra 5d6 damage." would be declined. Instead, a raise could be : "OK, if I hit, I decapitate the goblin and his friends are frightened. If I miss, I'm on the ground grappled by 5 goblins and I take 2d6 damage."
This can be used also to bypass other less fun mechanics "OK, I walk up to the sorcerer and hit him with my dagger. I raise grappling him against getting knocked back 10 feet and taking 2d6 damage from cracking my head on the pillar."
Reading the Players Edit
When a player spends Conviction, they're saying "Hey, this is important to me. I want my character to have been the one that pulled this off - or at least, put everything into trying."
When a player raises the Death flag, they're saying "This is worth staking my character's life on."
When a player Raises they're saying "Hey, I have an idea to make this more exciting. What do you think?"
When a DM declines a Raise they're saying "Cool idea, but I'm not quite ready for that to happen right now."