Imagine Greyhawk City a little closer to Lankhmar. Its Thieves' Guild a little darker and more cultish as opposed to the one portrayed in the Gord novels.
Imagine a Scarlet Brotherhood more akin to the Dreaming Isle of Melnibone, its Suloise monks and wizards the modern descendants of the twisted demon-sworn conquerers of a dead age.
Imagine the Wild Coast and Pomarj as a savage Hyborian wasteland, where a man's life is only worth the steel he carries.
Imagine the Nyr Dyv as a pirate-infested sea like the Vilayet, dotted with black isles haunted by the nightmares of lost races and empires.
Imagine Dyvers as a city of dark pleasures, depraved wizards, and crowded brothels like Shadizar the Wicked.
The world is not leveled to the players. Death is possible. Referee will not protect characters from themselves. Caution and caginess are good attitudes. Magical items are rarish and not regularly for sale. Magic is uncommon. Wizards are strange, reclusive, secretive, and feared. Elves and Dwarves are strange, "alien", and indifferent to the concerns of man.
- Long Rest: must be **uninterrupted** and truly rest. Including fire, warm food, relative comfort and safety. "Roughing it" unprepared or holing up in the Dread Dungeon of Doom ain't cutting it.
- Death Saving Throws: You don't make any of them until someone comes to check you out or you are abandoned. [idea stolen from DCC]
- Knocking Out: Attack with disadvantage unless using a Bludgeoning weapon. Int check required on final blow to avoid "accident". Some creatures may resist (Con save). Some creatures are immune. [non-lethal damage is annoying, should be suitably difficult (and rewarding) to "capture"]
- Falling Damage: is cumulative: 10' 1d6, 20' 3d6, 30' 6d6, 40' 10d6, etc.
- 1/2 of Wizard's spells are randomly determined. Must develop personal name and manifestation when learning a spell. ala "Bigby's Fist", or "Excellent Prismatic Spray"
- No Identify Spell
- Spare the Dying spell provides auto death save, not auto-stabilze
- No Feats
- No Traits
- No Halflings (cause I'm bigoted, also too cute, and I can't stand another sterotype halfing rogue character)
- In place of background; pick two skills, one language.
- I will ignore mechanical parts of Background i.e. "Feature".
- Social Skills Suck: I will never call for a Social Skill check; no Insight, Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion. Will rarely call for Investigation, Disarm Trap or "search room" checks.