Saturday, January 9, 2021

BX House Rule: Manufacturing Holy Water

There has been some discussion in my bi-weekly game group about the possibility of making their own holy water, so I had to do a little research. I've created a B/X house rule for making holy water based on the information in the 1e DMG.

The good news for the cleric is there is a clairvoyant NPC that can send a message for the party to have a stoup made dedicated to the cleric's deity—Morbagallicus. The bad news is the cleric is a couple of levels shy of being able to cast 3rd level spells. 

But, then again, by the time the stoup is finished, the cleric might have gained a couple of levels!

A cleric (or paladin, or similar divine spellcaster) may create holy/unholy water under the following conditions:
  1. They possess or have access to a approriate blessed/cursed vessel (a “stoup”) in which the holy/unholy water will be created.
  2. The character is capable of casting 3rd level cleric spells.
Holy/Unholy Water Receptacles

The stoup/vessel for creating holy water consists of 2 parts:
  1. the font: a finely-crafted repository of wood (with a base, pedestal, chest-like holder, and lid) carved or engraved with the holy/unholy symbols of the deity to which the vessel has been dedicated.
  2. the basin: a metal bowl placed within the font which holds the water to be blessed.
A cleric may only create holy/unholy water in a vessel dedicated to their deity. The amount of water they may create depends on the metal used for the basin.

All fonts and basins are made to order, taking 4-10 (2d4+2) weeks to be designed and constructed. 

Basins in combinations of metal may be available (at DM’s discretion), with costs and capacity adjusted accordingly (e.g., a silver basin chased with gold and set with gold handles).

Generally, the stoup must be housed in a religious structure, and each structure is limited to having a single stoup. 


The ritual for creating holy/unholy water takes 1 hour to perform, and requires the cleric use the following: a purify food and water spell (or reverse), a bless spell (or reverse), and a 3rd level spell slot for the ritual that creates the holy/unholy water. The ritual must be performed uninterrupted, and if the cleric does not have the available spell slots for all three spells, the ritual cannot be completed. The ritual may only be performed once per week, and immediately after the cleric must rest for at least 8 hours.

Portable Stoups (Optional)

The DM may opt to allow the use of portable stoups. The suggested cost and capacity for such stoups is outlined below:

The encumbrance of a portable stoup is a number of coins equal to the font cost for the stoup (e.g., a portable silver stoup has an encumbrance of 200 coins). 

Performing the ritual to make holy water outside a structure dedicated to cleric’s deity (even a structure dedicated to a similar or companion deity) takes the cleric an entire day, during which time they may not undertake any other adventuring or perform any other activities. The standard period of 8 hours is required as normal.

Friday, January 8, 2021

BX House Rule: Lore Check

My bi-weekly game group kept encountering symbols and books and things, and there's always a question about how much/little information I should give them, so I worked this out as an answer.

The DM may make a lore check for any Player whose character has an an association with the topic or object being investigated. For example: thieves might know about other/famous thieves; clerics might have knowledge about other deities, their symbols, followers, etc.: a magic-user might be able to gain an understanding about the meaning of a symbol or the type of spell research being done in a lab based on the materials and equipment; race-classes (dwarves, elves, etc.) would have knowledge of the lore of their race; characters with ties to nature (e.g., rangers, druids, wood elves, gnomes) would have some knowledge of plants and animals, and their respective ecologies. 

Procedure: The DM should first determine how uncommon or uncommon the subject is before the lore check is made. The DM then rolls 2d6 for the character making the lore attempt, checks the column appropriate to the subject obscurity, and provides the appropriate amount of information to the player.  

Arcane Symbols: The ability to understand an arcane symbol does not grant the ability to read the symbol aloud or activate its magic (if speaking the symbol aloud is required). Likewise, it does not provide the ability to disarm any magic held in/by the symbol (dispell magic will most often still be required to do this). 

Sigils: The ability to recognize the sigil of an outsider (e.g., a demon, devil, angel, etc.) does not grant the ability to know the being’s true name, nor the ability to read the sigil aloud. 

The folowing rules are optional and may be adjusted at the discretion of the DM.

Roll Modifiers: Generally, the character’s Intelligence modifier should be applied to the roll. However, the DM may choose to have the roll to be adjusted by a different modifier based on the instance (e.g., if a  Wisdom (divine spellcasters).

Areas of Expertise:
In lieu of an extra language, the DM may allow a character to choose a general area of knowledge not necessarily associated with their class. For an additional language substitution, the player may choose a specific area of knowledge from a general area of knowledge they already possess. Lore checks for a general area of knowledge are made as normal. Lore checks made for a specific area of knowledge are made with a +3 bonus on the roll.