Playing Dead Man’s Land

Assorted house rules, and extra content that is needed to actually play a game of Dead Man’s Land.

Photo by Hamid Tajik on


This is a 3.5 mod. You should be loosely familiar with its rules to play this game. Luckily for you, we aren’t using any of the classes and a lot of the spells, so most players only really need to know the base mechanics. The DM will be using threats from the Monster Manual (as described later) who may have access to spells or classes that the players do not. Especially in the case of Devils. The DM will need a more in depth familiarity with the system because of this. 


Dead Man’s Land games use the 3.5 system of D&D as its chassis, but replace all classes with new selections. There are a few house rules in place for ease of play. 

  1. Characters start at 3rd level.
  2. Characters level up through the milestone system, and do not gain or spend XP. A good target is once per 20 hours of play.
  3. Classes are 10 levels long. If players wish to continue, they can multiclass. 
  4. Many existing prestige classes are probably fine for use if desired. But none that grant true spellcasting should be allowed.
    1. Technically the traditional d20 classes are also probably fine, but you should try to encourage the classes built for this game. Some things are specifically left out of players’ hands (for example, many schools of magic) for thematic reasons, and to keep a more consistent balance point than traditional 3e. 
  5. There are no longer class skills. Any character can spend ranks on any skill they want. Your group may want to consider skill consolidation, and frankly, your group probably plays with your own skills house rules. 
  6. Anyone can use search to find magical traps. 


Like any supplement, Dead Man’s Land has some additional feats that can be taken. Traditional d20 feats should also be used, bearing in mind that many class features no longer exist. 

Full Companion: Your familiar or animal companion advances as normal for a wizard or a druid. 

Hellshooters: You can channel your Diabolic Blasts through a Revolver. Doing so allows you to add your Diabolic Blast damage to the weapons base damage, and benefit from any feats that apply to the Revolver or the Diabolic Blasts.

Word of Bond: Anyone knows they are only as good as their word. You can pledge yourself to the service of an individual. You cannot be forced to act against the individuals directions by magical means, and always get a will save vs illusions that would trick you into doing so, evem if you have not yet interacted. If you choose to act against your word, it becomes broken and worthless. A week of penance is required, during which time you cannot use this feature again. When you have given their word to someone, you feel complete and purposeful, and can add their Wisdom modifier to their saving throws against spells or spell-like abilities in general


The world of Dead Man’s Land is post-apocalyptic. That doesn’t mean Mad Max inspired, although it could. It means it is set after the sudden decline of civilization, and subsequent fledgling rebirth. As such, it has long since been metropolitan, and most specialist languages have been incorporated into a form of common. The ancient, elder languages still exist, and their subsequent linguistic descendants, the elemental languages, are still spoken by those who are potentially older than society or have no interest in joining it. For the most part though, folks speak common and maybe one or two others. 

LanguageTypical SpeakersAlphabet
AquanWater-based creaturesSylvan
AuranAir-based creaturesSylvan
IgnanFire-based creaturesInfernal
SylvanCactaur, Dryads, leprechaunsSylvan
TerranEarth-based creaturesInfernal
Thieves CantThievesCommon

To follow along with this project as it goes on, entries have been tagged with the Dead Man’s Land Tag.

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