This is in response to the excellent story Keep on the Borderlands, by Smokeyghost, wherein I offered to write up a set of rules for sneezing in AD&D. Since I have too much time on my hands, here goes. Sneezing in AD&D It happens to us all. One round you're sneaking down a dusty corridor, casting a spell, or fighting a band of orcs; the next you're sneezing uncontrollably, trying desperately to maintain concentration on what you were doing. This aims to be the definitive guide for players who wish to make their characters have to battle with their noses in addition to ogres and dragons. I'll be using version 3.5 for this because... um.... I just will. Characters in AD&D can sneeze from irritants, allergies, disease, magic, and if the DM is feeling particularly cruel, for no reason at all. Irritation: An irritant is any nonmagical substance in the air that causes sneezing in most creatures with noses, such as dust, soap powder, pepper, or alchemical sneezing powder. If you wish to use a substance that makes only some people sneeze, use the rules for allergies instead. When the PCs are exposed to an irritant, determine how severe the irritation is, based on how potent the substance is and how much of it the players are exposed to. Then, make a Constitution check at the appropriate DC. Trivial: DC 5 Walking through a mildly dusty room Someone across the table from you is grinding pepper Mild: DC 10 Walking through a moderately dusty room Someone sitting next to you is grinding pepper Using soap powder to wash clothes Moderate: DC 15 Someone threw pepper at you Searching a fairly dusty room Severe: DC 20 Fighting in a very dusty room Sneezing powder released into the air Insane: DC 25 Sneezing powder thrown at you Failing the roll causes the player to sneeze once. Failing by 3 or more causes a short sneeze attack. Failing by 5 on an exposure of at least mild causes a longer sneezing attack, while failing by 7 or more on an exposure of at least moderate causes uncontrollable sneezing. One sneeze: All rolls and AC in this round are at -1. If the character is hiding, Moving Silently, balancing, or anything ongoing that requires dexterity, they make an immediate reroll at -2. Any spellcasting with a verbal component requires a DC 10 + spell level Concentration check. Sneeze attack: The character sneezes D4+1 times this round. (the number isn't really relevant.) Rolls and AC are at -2; hiding and being silent require an immediate check at -4. Spellcasting requires a DC 15 + spell level Concentration check, and all other Concentration checks are at -4. Prolonged sneeze attack: As above, for D4+1 rounds. Roll secretly and do not tell the player how long it will last. Uncontrollable sneezing: The character is sneezing helplessly. He cannot attack, cast spells, or concentrate on spells. He is also effectively blinded, cannot remain silent, and Listen checks are at -10. The only action he can take is a single move action at half speed. When caused by an irritant, his lasts for 1D4 rounds, then becomes a major sneeze attack. Theria the thief is skulking through a mansion, looking for valuables. She spies a safe mounted in a wall behind a tapestry, but as she shifts the heavy fabric aside, dust billows into the air. The DM rules this to be a moderate exposure. Theria has a Constitution of 12, giving a +1 Con modifier. She rolls a 11 and adds 1, yielding 12, 3 below the DC of 15, so with a twinge of horror, she suffers a minor sneezing fit. She must immediately make a Move Silently check at a -4 penalty to avoid being heard by the patrolling guards, and if she tries to pick the lock this round, she does so at a -2 penalty. If not already sneezing, the character rolls every round. In the interest of saving time, if it isn't really important whether a character sneezes at a particular point, the DM should just fudge the rolls. Allergies: Upon character creation, the player and/or DM should either choose the character's allergies, or roll for them. Players are most commonly allergic to pollen, dust, animal fur, and household chemicals, but the DM should feel free to make the character allergic to more unusual substances as well (possibly not telling the player until the first exposure). If you wish to do it randomly, roll percentile dice and add the character's Constitution. (the whole CON score, not just the modifier) 1-15: Severe allergy 16-25: Moderate allergy 26-40: Mild allergy 41-00: Not allergic Trivial: DC 6 A vase of flowers is across the room. There's a cat somewhere in the house. Mild: DC 12 A vase of flowers is next to you A cat is rubbing against your leg Outdoor on a mildly pollen-y day Moderate: DC 18 You are carrying a bouquet of flowers A whole family of cats are rubbing against your leg Outdoors on a moderately pollen-y day Severe: DC 24 You're in a greenhouse filled with flowers You're fighting a tiger Insane: DC 30 You're in the middle of a field, flowers as far as the eye can see You're fighting a pack of tigers If an allergy is minor, reduce the level of exposure by one, negating trivial exposures. If the character has a severe allergy, increase it by one, raising the DC of an insane exposure to 35. Roll on the table above, except that allergy attacks tend to last longer than sneeze attacks for regular irritants. Minor sneeze attacks last 1D3 rounds, major attacks 2D4+1 rounds. Uncontrollable attacks last 1D4 rounds, then the player makes a DC 15 Con check each round; success reduces it to a major attack. If the allergen is no longer present, the DC is reduced by 2 each round. At the DM's choosing, allergies can also cause watery eyes, runny nose, and itchy skin. Severe allergies may cause rashes, blisters and hives. If a character is allergic to something that is an irritant on it's own, roll on both tables. Mordrac the Maleficent is casting a Fireball spell at a group of orcs, when his hayfever flares up. He is outdoors on a day with moderate pollen, but he has only mild hayfever, which works out to a mild exposure. However, he is rather sickly, with a Constitution of 7. He rolls an 13 and subtracts 2 for a total of 11, missing the DC of 12, so he sneezes once. Fireball is level 3, so he must attempt a DC 13 Concentration check to avoid fizzling the Fireball. Diseases: The most common disease that causes sneezing is the common cold. Characters in the general vicinity of someone infected with a cold make a DC 10 Con check after a minute to avoid catching it. Make a DC 15 check after 10 minutes of exposure, and a DC 20 check after a solid hour. Spending a full 8 hours with someone with a cold makes catching it inevitable. A character with a cold has -1 Constitution and needs 50% more sleep. More importantly, at any given time, someone with a cold has a 1 in 20 chance of sneezing. This is a single sneeze with no Con check. Again, if it doesn't really make a difference whether the character sneezes at a particular point, the DM shouldn't bother rolling. The valiant ranger Acenia didn't let a little thing like a cold stop her from tracking down a nest of bugbears that have been preying on local travelers. Since it didn't really matter during the time she was following their trail, the DM didn't bother rolling. When the fight begins, the DM rolls every round. She's lucky the first two rounds, but on the third, the D20 comes up 1. Acenia sneezes once, taking a -1 penalty to attacks and AC that round. The DM should feel free to invent other diseases. Magic: Some spells may cause a character to sneeze. Some of them duplicate the effects of irritants, while others directly stimulate the sneeze center of a character's brain. The rules for these are listed in the spell itself. Just because: DMs who are really sadistic sticklers for realism may have characters sneeze out of the blue. When not fighting or casting a spell, a character has a 1% chance each minute of requiring a DC 10 Con check to avoid sneezing once. Again, don't roll unless it's relevant. How not to sneeze: At the DM's discretion, if the player has some advance warning, holding a finger under one's nose gives a +2 bonus on the rolls. This is obviously impossible in situations such as fighting or spellcasting, or when wearing full-face helmets. If a player recognizes an irritant before inhaling it, she may hold her nose shut to reduce the level of exposure by two. Again, this cannot be done under some circumstances. If not caught by surprise, the character can try to hold them in by sheer strength or willpower. Substitute Str or Wis for the Con check. This cannot be done while spellcasting, concentrating on spells, or anything requiring intense concentration, and can only be done once per hour. Using Strength is painful, doing damage equal to the player's Str modifier if successful. The character can try to stifle her sneezes, making a Str or Wis check at at +2 after the initial Con check is failed. This makes the character sneeze quietly, removing the penalties to Move Silently and the need for an immediate check. Again, this can be done once per hour, and Str deals damage equal to the modifier. Having emptied the safe, Theria sneaks into another room of the mansion. Scouting the room from the doorway, she succeeds in her Spot check and sees a vase of roses on a table. Since the pollen has not reached her yet, she is able to pinch her nose shut. She walks up to the table; standing next to a vase of flowers counts as a mild exposure. Theria is severely allergic to pollen, which increases the level by one, but holding her nose shut drops it by two, resulting in a trivial exposure. She rolls an 8 and add 1 for Con, beating the DC of 6, and doesn't sneeze. However, the DM rules that standing next to the roses makes her eyes water. Picking the lock on the small jewelry box on the table, she suffers a -2 penalty for that plus a -2 circumstance penalty for only having one hand free. Master thief that she is, she still succeeds. Heading for the exit, she hears a guard coming and ducks into the shadows, succeeding on her Hide and Move Silently checks. However, the guards have left the window open, and the warm evening breezes carry pollen in. The DM decides that this is a trivial exposure, but her severe allergy bumps it up to mild. She rolls 10 + 1 = 11, triggering a single sneeze. Desperate to avoid being caught, she tries to stifle it with raw strength. Her strength is 15, for a +2 modifier. She rolls 14 + 2 + 2 = 18 against the original DC of 12, sneezing a soft "chhhsss!" Her veins bulge with the strain, taking 2 hp damage. The guard passes by her none the wiser, and she slips off into the night. Multiple sneezes: Some people never sneeze once. The DM can decide that a character is a multiple sneezer, turning every single sneeze result into a minor fit. If you want to do it randomly, each character has a 10% change. Tiny/intense sneezes: some people make a soft "ish! ish!", while some people can't stop from inhaling a lungful, throwing their head back, and blasting out a hurricane. At character creation, the DM should either roll a D20 on the table below, or choose for the player. 1-3: Tiny 4-18: Average 19-20: Massive Tiny sneezes inhibit the player less; what would normally be an incapacitating fit only carries the penalties for a regular fit, a regular fit only causes -1 on all rolls, and a single sneeze can be shrugged off. On the other hand, Massive sneezes cause the player to take -4 on all rolls from even a single sneeze, while any sneezing fits make any action impossible. Tiny sneezes are quiet and huge sneezes are loud, overriding the roll below. The players should use caution using this rule; tiny sneezes make the sneezing system almost toothless, whereas massive sneezing can be a crippling penalty. In an scenario where allergens are common, the GM should consider giving a character with massive sneezes an advantage to compensate, such as reducing a demihuman's level adjustment by one. Loud/silent sneezes: some people sneeze like mice, some rattle the windows. Again, the DM can either roll on the following table, or choose for the player. 1-4: Quiet 5-17: Average 18-20: Loud Quiet sneezes are effectively silent, with no penalty to Move Silently and no extra check. Loud sneezes automatically cause moving silently to fail. Taking 20 Players cannot take 20 while constantly exposed to an irritant of moderate or higher. If the character tries to take 20 while exposed to a trivial or mild irritant, roll once; if the character sneezes more than once, she cannot take 20. Sudden/delayed sneezes: Some people sneeze without warning, while some go "aaah, ahhhh, aaaahhhh!" for what seems like forever. As usual, roll a D20 or choose for yourself. 1-4: Sudden 5-16: Normal 17-20: Delayed Characters who sneeze suddenly cannot try to hold back or stifle. If the player has a delayed sneeze, roll a D6 whenever the character would sneeze due to irritants, allergies or disease, but not magic. On a 1, 2, or 3, the sneeze is delayed by that many rolls. Concentration checks are at -1 while waiting for a sneeze to come. The character may make a Str or Wis check as above during that time to hold back the sneeze. Other races: Dwarves and half-orcs tend to have big sneezes, adding +2 to the roll for loudness and +1 to the roll for intensity. Gnomes and halflings have quiet sneezes by human standards, subtracting 3 from that roll. Elves are much less likely to be allergic to pollen and animal fur, getting -20 on that roll for full elves and -10 for half-elves. At the DM's discretion, this does not apply to half-elves who were raised away from the forest.