All new rules from the Advanced Player’s Guide will be used. The “antihero” option will NOT be allowed; your ungrateful arse WILL get hero points, and you’ll damn well like it.
I will allow any player to completely rebuild their characters at any time between sessions, before leveling up for the first time. If a character gains a level DURING a session, they may still be rebuilt prior to the next session.
Levels gain from XP earned from missed sessions do NOT count for the rebuild rule, as that would kinda defeat the point of the rule.
New characters will start at the lowest level of the existing “core” party (aka, those who show up more than sporadically), with standard wealth-by-level. No more than one third of that wealth can be spent on any given item.
The previous rule on XP for missed sessions is no longer being used; characters that need to catch up can use the downtime system to earn XP.
Spells from the Advanced Race Guide may only be learned freely by members of that race. Members of other races may learn the spells, but only if taught by a member of that race during the course of play.
This effectively means that spontaneous casters cannot learn racial spells from other races.
Upgrading Magic Items
Magic items CAN be upgraded. When doing so, the cost and time is equal to what it’d take to make the full version, minus what it takes to make the current version. In the case of things like the Hedge Magician trait, which reduces the GP cost by 5%, you only apply the discount on the upgrade price; ie, if you previously made a +1 weapon (2,000gp price, normally costs 1,000gp to make, you paid 950gp), and you’re upgrading it to a +2 (8,000gp price, costs 4,000gp to make), you’d pay 2,850gp ( (4,000 – 1,000) * 0.95 ). Also, it’d take six days (eight days to make a +2 weapon, minus the two days to make a +1 weapon).
When upgrading magic items, you CAN upgrade special abilities, within common sense. Generally speaking, you can upgrade any “lesser” version to an “improved” or “greater” version, you can upgrade an ability to another that says it functions “as” the original ability (such as upgrading a “flaming” weapon to a “flaming burst” weapon, since flaming burst states that it functions “as” a flaming weapon, plus extra). Basically, you can ADD functionality, but not REMOVE it.
If the party can’t craft their own magic items, or you just don’t want to, any NPC you could commission to craft custom gear can also be commissioned to upgrade your gear; just keep in mind that you’ll have to hand it over for the duration.