Here is a small collection of edits I’ve made to the rules to make things flow more smoothly and make the game more balanced.
These rules apply to players in combat. Monsters follow a slightly different set.
On a roll of a natural 20 (or a 19 for a weapon with a high crit range), the damage will be calculated by (maximum damage from damage die) + (additional weapon damage die) + (relevant skill modifier). This ensures at least maximum damage and prevents the disappointment of a doubled roll of “1” on damage for a critical hit.
Prone and Helplessness
A player or monster knocked prone grants a prone advantage to any melee attacker. This counts as a combat advantage, and grants +4 to attack rolls with a melee weapon. However, a prone creature is not helpless, and cannot be the target of a coup de grace.
Skill Check Rules
Your score in a skill is equal to:
3 + (relevant skill modifier) + (training bonus [if applicable]) + (one-half your level) [one-half-level bonus only for the heroic teir]
Making Skill Checks
A skill check is classified as Very Easy, Easy, Medium, Hard, or Very Hard. These correspond to a DC of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25, respectively (in the heroic tier). To make a skill check, roll 3d6. If the result is LESS THAN your score in a skill, you succeed. The margin by which you succeed might help determine other results, as will the margin by which you fail.
A character trained in a skill should have average level of 11 in that skill. This will increase with levels gained. This mean that the character will normally succeed on a Medium level skill check. Moving up in difficulty level subtracts three from the character’s skill level, and moving down in difficulty adds three.
For example, navigating from Brindol to Castle Rivenroar is a Medium-difficulty Nature skill check. A character trained in Nature will usually succeed in this, but for a character not trained in Nature, it will be a bit more difficult. Navigating from Overlook to the ruins of Rhest is a Hard-difficulty Nature skill check, so the character’s skill is REDUCED by three. This would give a character trained in Nature around an 8 (mean value) in Nature, meaning it is still possible, just more difficult. Having a map to the ruins of Rhest changes the difficulty by one step in the easier direction, so it becomes a Medium-difficulty Nature skill check, and the character’s skill level is unchanged. Other situational bonuses may apply in other skills, based on role-playing and DM discretion.