Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 61: When to Change Rules(Part 1)

Main Topic

Sometimes it seems like a rule doesn’t work how you think it should. What are you supposed to do? Leave it be or do as others before you have done dive in and fiddle with those crunchy bits. Every game has likely had its share of House Rules – those changes that are home on and live solely at the table.  It’s kind of like how Monopoly’s Free Parking space gets treated differently depending on which family is hosting the game. So when do you make a House Rule and why?


  • To Fix a Broken Rule. When we say broken, we mean just doesn’t work.  In the design, editing, and proofing timeline mistakes can make it through.  Sometimes a chart necessary to make something work gets left out and sometimes the mechanics just don’t seem to work.  A House Rule to fix the broken system part is a great way to get to Rules as Intended (RAI) even if the Rules as Written (RAW) don’t quite make sense. In the Shadowrun 2050 supplement, a chart for the cost of certain equipment was missing and it makes all the difference in that game and you needed to know the cost.  House Rule.
  • To Have More Fun. If you have a running joke or something happens in the heat of the moment that immediately and undeniably is going to be a defining part of a campaign or player … you let it go.  You figure out how it fits together with the rules and you let this little absurdity slide in. In Star Frontiers, you could not start with a Pilot character. RAW would take well over a dozen games before you could have a PC pilot …. So you either start with very experienced characters or house rule a different standard for the piloting skill.
  • To Fix A Playstyle Mismatch. Sometimes the rule works, but it works too well for your table.  This is something that you may need to address when you jump editions (See Episode 46) because you’ll see a lot of changes made between editions.  If you have a character or a player who is built around and knows a style of play that doesn’t work anymore … maybe you revert to some older versions to let her continue with her theme.  If you really wanted to play a wuxia inspired game using the Street Fighter rules, maybe you will make the weapons do normal instead of aggravated damage to let your players go hand to sword like your source material.
  • To Fill in the Gaps.  For all the glory of simulationist rule sets and all the flexibility of the narrative rules light games, sometimes you just need a new rule! While GURPS had tables for almost everything … it was *almost* everything.  When you make a house rule, it can be as simple as making a determination of how to treat a specific challenge or difficulty – what is the nature of the modifier or the basis for the challenge. We all have our rules of thumb and DM shortcuts, but when you make a call and keep it consistent, you’ve made a House Rule. If it takes a Charisma + Lore check to get a Librarian to agree to your request to see the special collections once in Throal, it does the next time as well!


Story based reasons are an entirely different conversation! That’s Part 2, and rest assured that the Seize the GM crew wants to revisit this one pretty soon! Chime in on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let us know your favorite House Rule or what you think we should cover next!

Stat Blocks

Zendead- Sampson

The stippling pain erupted down his left arm. The bullets striking him flattened in rapid succession. The mind starts screaming you are dead fool, get down. But he stands there dumbfound instead.

How you ask can a man stand there and get riddled up one side of his body with gunfire and not really notice? Well sometimes things happen in this world things like Bright Star or Titan. Then the world changes sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse.

The world has never seen the likes of Sampson. The power to withstand trauma that would lay lesser men out. The strength to lift a city bus filled to capacity. And the mind like an iron trap, one left outside for many days in the rain. But his true weakness is his hair. Which is why no one is let to near to this beautiful and simple man. But his hair yes just a snip and all that power washes away and you are left with Sam the fashion model.



Joules-Time Traveler’s Pocket

Thank you for your most recent catalog order.  This month we are proud to introduce our new line of chrono-temporal accessories.

Behold the Time Traveler’s Pocket.

Do you use a technology that has a low reliability score?  Are you currently embroiled in an aeons long conflict with a time traveling race?  Do you have a really flighty assistant?

Then you need the Time Traveler’s Pocket.  This handy dandy device allows you to store emergency supplies in their own pocket dimension, outside of normal spacetime.  This allows you to access whatever you think you may need wherever and whenever you need it. (and let’s be honest, this isn’t the first time that catastrophe has struck)  From left handed spanners to a new power core to a BFG with all the upgrades, this beauty can store and protect it all.

So if an accident at Bikini Atoll knocks out your temporal nav chip, all you have to do is open the pocket and pull out a spare.  Lost your time appropriate ID? No problem since you thought to put your space in the pocket. Being chased by Glornak the Destroyer?  Sorry we can’t help you there. Rumor has it that guy is unstoppable and holds one hell of a grudge.

The best part about the pocket is that you never have to worry about losing the key.  We encode the pocket to your DNA and brain waves. All you have to do is reach behind your back, think the unlock command and Viola!  

Please be aware that this item is not exempt from issues regarding paradox or the general consensus. (Although it seems that use of this item is starting to become more accepted.  Think Mary Poppins bag, the Highlander G-string or the magic satchel)

So invest in your future, past, and present now.  Order the Time Traveler’s Pocket today!


Guard-a-Manger – Sheng Yusheng’s Lost Books

It took years of traveling and searching for you to find Sheng Yusheng’s lost books.  The calligraphy is exquisite. Something about this cave must have helped maintain it’s integrity over the last century.  Surely, it doesn’t have the magical powers the stories say. It wouldn’t hold the yao like that in this form. And what is that indention on the side of the case? A circle, but irregular? No matter.  It is what is inside that your object.


You read it slowly, at first.  The understanding and the ways that the book begins to put things in order just makes sense of the world. The slight stains where the pages have been turned belie the age of the books.  Clearly, someone else has read it before and over and over again, yet they didn’t seem to be here in this cave. Surely, the answer will present itself as you read.


The candle burned down, you realize.  That must be why it is so dark. And you must have fallen asleep from the reading.  A shame for sure that you did not have sufficient discipline to properly retire. But where is the book?  As your eyes adjust, you see a cave that is smooth and marked with tiling unlike what you have seen before.  Strange sounds begin to filter to your ears … have you passed over to the heavenly realm? And what is that bright lantern loudly racing towards you?



noun  rook·ery  \ ˈru̇-kə-rē \


Definition of rookery
plural rookeries
1 a : the nests or breeding place of a colony of rooks; also : a colony of rooks
b : a breeding ground or haunt especially of gregarious birds or mammals (such as penguins or seals); also : a colony of such birds or mammals
2 : a crowded dilapidated tenement or group of dwellings


Etymology of the work Rookery

It seems to be a creation of modern English as it is spoken today


First Known Use of rookery


Popularity: Bottom 30% of words

Closing remarks

Zendead- The Sandman Universe new line


Joules- Find a local haunted history tour.


Guard-a-Manger- JSA by Geoff Johns Vol. 2.


nulloperations – I did a book thing! Doppelganger: Draco Artifactium Book 1

I have a second: fun monopoly. Hardcore Tabletop


Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp


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Joules- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Nulloperations-Email, Twitter, Facebook

Guard-a-manger- Email, Twitter


And Thanks to Merriam-Webster for our Lexicon segment

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