The Howling Cliffs
Every DM has their own style and house rules which you usually learn along the way. If I think of anything specific that may be significant, I’ll put it in the House Rules. Meanwhile, here are a few general things to be aware of that may be different than previous games you’ve played (or maybe they aren’t. I don’t know).
Don’t assume you know something
Just a good general rule. If you’ve read about a creature in the Monster Manual, my version might be different. You’re better off doing some kind of knowledge check and going on that information. You shouldn’t presume your character knows what you know anyway. I will often use the books for inspiration and ideas, but change things up to keep them interesting or just because that’s how I see them. Also, there are exceptions to every rule. It bugs me how a lot of monsters are generic and predictable. Everyone in my game is an individual, even the monsters to a large extent.
I take inspiration from World of Warcraft (WoW), movies, books, fables, and fairy tales.
Leroy Jenkins would die so fast.
If you’re a Leroy Jenkins, you may be in for a rude awakening. Don’t assume that everything you cross paths with is something you can take in a fight. Sometimes it is appropriate to run away, negotiate, etc. It feels weird and unrealistic to me that everything somehow is exactly the right level for the PCs everywhere they go. What I won’t do is force you into some situation where you must fight and you can’t possibly win. That’s not to say your own bad decisions won’t put you there though. There will tend to be areas that have certain challenge ratings and you’ll have access to clues about this and should try to avoid things that are beyond you at your current level. That’s another thing that’s kind of inspired by games like WoW. There are “zones” (sort of) like a starting zone for 1-5th level and higher level areas that will tend to also be more difficult to reach anyway. Those tend to be out in the boonies. Regardless of this, you will almost certainly cross paths occasionally with something that can wipe the floor with you. Those are good times for, shall we say, applying discretion in your choice of actions. This is a horror setting, after all, and occasionally you will feel like the characters in a horror movie trying to survive against some foe that is totally out of your league. Here’s some advice.
There are a lot of things that are valuable in crafting. It pays to loot these things even if you can’t use them yourself because someone will find them useful so they can be sold for cash. Having the related craft feat or skill is the best way to know. However a broader skill like knowledge (arcana) might be enough to know that the skin of a mimic can drastically reduce the cost of a robe of blending or that a certain kind of dragon bone is crucial to making a staff of power, even if you can’t construct them yourself. Knowledge(dungeoneering) might tell you that the giant centipedes you just killed have a market value to alchemists who can make a popular hallucinogenic recreational drug. There may be other cases when having certain skills means you get more loot. Keep that in mind when picking skills.
Making magic items is easier… or harder
Some magic items might be flexible, particularly cheaper and lower level ones—capable of being constructed from a choice of several things which are readily available in shops because people have collected them adventuring and sold them, depending on their rarity. Certain other magic items might require something rare that’s not so readily available. This is reflected in the cost of items and the level. For certain items, generally more powerful & expensive ones but not always, you may have to wait while someone is commissioned to obtain some crucial rare ingredient or you might be able to go on a quest to obtain it yourself and save a lot of money. Often you can reduce cost in both x.p. and money if you happen to have the right ingredients because you had the knowledge to save them. Other times you may want a specific item made and will be deterred due to the need for some rare ingredient(s).