House Rules

Mutants & Magic uses the Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game (BFRPG) as a basis – but with a lot of house rules, plus systems adapted from Mutant Future (MF). This page is intended as a summary of what’s the same and what’s different for players familiar with BFRPG and MF.

Before getting into the details of the game system, one concept must be made clear. The most important rule in Mutants & Magic is that all rules are servants of the game!

This is such an important idea that it is considered ‘Rule Zero’. The rules of the game are designed to allow for an even playing field. They are a set of guidelines from which everyone can begin playing with one another in a consistent and mutually digestible manner. Your referee may create house rules or alter campaign standards for the benefit of the game.

What’s The Same

The following sections from the BFRPG are used essentially ‘as-is’:

  • Part 1: Introduction (Ignore any medieval-specific references.)
  • Part 3: Spells (With revisions to arcane and divine spells, plus mutant powers and psionics.)
  • Part 4: The Adventure (Though several post-apocalyptic hazards are added.)
  • Part 5: The Encounter (Except for revisions to Turning Undead and Saving Throws.)
  • Part 7: Treasure (Though technological relics will supplement magic items.)
  • Part 8: Game Master Information (With some modifications.)

What’s Gone

The following sections from the BFRPG are not used at all:

  • Part 2: Player Character Information (This section is replaced with the rules on this gameblog.)
  • Part 6: Monsters (I will actually make use of some monster stats, but change the name and descriptions.)

What’s New

The following significant modifications to player characters are described in the Character Creation section:

  • Character Race: Instead of the races from BFRPG, Mutants & Magic features a selection of post-apocalyptic races.
  • Mutations: Mutants & Magic features extensive rules for mutations (both perks and flaws).
  • Character Class: Mutants & Magic modifies some of the standard archetypes and adds a few new classes.

In addition, there are a number of new rule changes or new mechanics, or optional rules from BPFRG that will be used:

  • Base Hit Points: PCs get a “hit point kicker” in addition to those gained from class levels. The number of starting hit points depends on class; see each class description for details.
  • Saving Throws: Mutants & Magic uses the single Saving Throw concept from Swords & Wizardry instead of the standard BFRPG saves.
  • The ‘Save vs. Death’ optional rule from BFRPG (p. 140) will be used.
  • Minor Tweaks: Some other minor house rules include changes to first aid and healing, initiative, ranged attack penalties, fighting with two weapons, and monster attack progressions.

Several rules have also been adapted from Mutant Future:

  • Rules from Mutant Future for Tech Condition, Technology Rolls, and Repairing Technology (p. 42-43) shall be used.
  • Several Mutant Future rule systems for environmental hazards will be used instead of the BFRPG equivalents: Disease, Paralysis & Stun Effects, Poison, and Radiation (p. 47-50).
  • The ‘Ability Checks’ optional rule from Mutant Future (p. 51) will be used extensively.
  • Some rules will be adapted as required from the Monsters, Technological Artifacts, and Robots sections of the Mutant Future Rules.

Finally, given the ‘post-apocalyptic fantasy’ setting, there are some additions to equipment:

  • New Equipment: New weapon types, armour, and other equipment will be made available as the characters advance.
  • Technological relics supplement magic items, but rules for these are available only to the referee.

6 Responses to House Rules

  1. K-Slacker says:


    Initiative rolls are performed using a d10 (instead of d6 as in BFRPG). The ‘individual initiative’ optional rule will be used in this game.

    Depending on my mood, initiative may be rolled only once per combat. This means that the same initiative count might be used for several rounds at a time.

    Also, a character using a weapon with a long reach (spears, for instance) will attack a closing opponent on the closing opponent’s number and thus attack simultaneously with the opponent, even if the character rolled lower for initiative.

  2. K-Slacker says:

    Two-Weapon Fighting:

    Characters may attack with two weapons in combat. The character can make an additional attack roll with the second weapon and can pick which roll to use. (This is not the same as two separate attacks; it’s a ‘roll twice, drop lowest’ game mechanic!)

    Although the character gets two attack rolls each round, he suffers a penalty to hit that is dependent upon his DEX score. The following table gives penalties to hit for a character using two weapons, one in the primary hand and the other in the secondary hand:

    Two-Weapon Fighting

    ≤3 -5 -7
    4-5 -4 -6
    6-8 -3 -5
    9-12 -2 -4
    13-15 -1 -3
    16-17 -0 -2
    ≥18 -0 -1

    Characters with multiple attacks per round only get one extra roll; the player must declare which weapon this applies to at the start of the round (with the default assumption of the weapon in the PC’s primary hand).

    This rule assumes the character is using a reasonably-sized weapon in his primary hand (no larger than a sword or axe) and light weapon in his off-hand (dagger, pistol). Characters who insist on other arrangements (twin scimitars, say) will suffer an additional -2/-4 penalty to hit (to primary/secondary hand attacks, respectively).

  3. K-Slacker says:

    Ranged Combat Penalties:

    This is a pretty minor quibble, but I never liked the fact that it was easier for an attacker to hit a target with a ranged weapon at short range than in melee. Under the standard rules, attacks at short range have a +1 bonus, while attacks at long range have a -1 penalty (no modifier at medium range). My house rule applies a -1 penalty at medium range and a -2 penalty at long range (no modifier at short range).

  4. K-Slacker says:

    Revised Armour Rules:

    Armour has been divided into light/medium/heavy categories and may limit a character’s maximum Dexterity bonus to AC. See the New Equipment page for details.


    We will use revised encumbrance and movement rules adapted from the Basic Fantasy RPG. See the Encumbrance & Movement page for details.

  5. K-Slacker says:

    Ability Checks:

    As mentioned above, Ability Checks will be used extensively in this game. To make an Ability Check, roll a d20 and compare it to the Ability Score being checked against. The check is successful if the roll is equal to or less than the Ability in question.

    Saving Throws will also be used frequently. Usually an Ability Check will apply if your PC is trying to do something while a Saving Throw will be made if your PC is trying to avoid having something happen to him.

  6. K-Slacker says:

    Base Attack Bonus:

    I’ve been reading the LotFP Grindhouse Rules. It only gives a BAB bonus to fighters, leaving other classes at a +1 attack bonus at all levels. I kind of like this approach, and have nerfed BABs for classes other than fighters and hunters. (Clerics and thieves still receive some bonuses as they gain levels, however.)

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