Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The Rule of Three

Might be a showing of my aging, culminating into a grumpy wizard.

Might be the limited attention span, after imposed hours on the blue teleprompters.

Might be that I've been serving as a conduit to people's first TTRPG experience.

Might be that my sessions are getting shortened due to busy lives.


I strongly believe elf games should strive to withhold The Rule of THREE.

Why? Easy to remember, not overwhelming. For some groups I ain't got no time for the last portion of Dungeons & Dragons & Accounting.

Some Examples:

Keep just three Classes: Fighter, Magic-User, Thief. Remove the Cleric, for good. Fine, if you are a heretic munchkin, or your players fund a violent coup, have three subclasses per class: Barbarian/Ranger/Warrior, Assassin/Thief/Tongue, Alchemist/Sourcerer/Wizard.

Three bulky items until your encumbrance goes way up, and you are slowed down.

Get a +1 for every 3 points above 10 on a stat, -1 for every 3 points under.

How many rations/torches make up an encumbrance slot? Yes, three.

Three types of armor: leather, chain, plate.

Three categories of weapons: light (daggers, slings, darts, etc.), medium (swords, bows, axes), heavy (polearms, crossbows, etc). If your group are munchkins, add tags, special abilities, conditions, and more to them.

There should be three roles in the party: Treasurer (keeps track of loot, encumbrances), Mapper (or journaler), Caller.

How many coins fit into an encumbrance slot? 300.

How many magic items can a PC carry until they get all twisted and corrupted by the eldritch forces imbued in their possessions? THREE

Three Alignments: Law, Chaos, Neutral

Three things expected from the GM: Builder (of adventure sites, worlds, fantasies), Referee (during actual play), Secretary (scheduling games, managing props, introducing new players to the mantle)

Three interesting NPCs in the homebase town.

Three starting adventure sites for the group's first delve.

Three warring and competing factions for the players to bite their teeth in.

Between gaming sessions, introduce three elements as potential hooks or enticing quests. Drama should catch up to them.

For every three rooms in the dungeon there should be: one empty (with clues, graffitis, dead bodies), one trap/special, one monster (lair, NPC, active outpost).

My biggest concession is to keep the six traditional stats: Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha. I just can't run away from them. Reducing it to three like your Into the Odds, Cairns, or Mausritters didn't provide a satisfying experience for my group in the past.


  1. Nice. Substitute leather armour with gambeson and I might agree. (And I love Into the Odd, so three stats for me is fine).

    1. A few years back, back when I was playing and running Shadow of the Demon Lord, I was quite enamored with the 4 stats used there. In that game, they just sing. Really need to get that game back into the pipeline.

  2. The stats precisely is the easiest reduction to make. Con is just a factor for HP and Int/Wis are wizard and cleric class extensions

  3. This will freak out your PCs when they stumble with a powerful enemy, then a second similar one that almost beats them. They will always expect three of everything! I hope there is a whore with three tits like in total recall

  4. I like it! I feel like I'm always bumping into rules of three too! And I feel the same about the six stats, could be easily reduced but I'm so used to them...

    Here are some additional examples:

  5. Three is also my ideal number of players at the table.

    1. Have to agree with you, moreso online. Face to face I find 4 to 5 the sweet spot.