D&D 5E DM imposed restrictions to the game (+)

What things do you restrict when running a D&D game?

  • Nothing. Anything and everything goes.

    Votes: 11 9.2%
  • Some books (official)

    Votes: 69 57.5%
  • Some matieral (non-official 3PP)

    Votes: 93 77.5%
  • Some races

    Votes: 79 65.8%
  • Some classes

    Votes: 45 37.5%
  • Some subclasses

    Votes: 59 49.2%
  • Some features

    Votes: 30 25.0%
  • Some magical items

    Votes: 48 40.0%
  • Some non-magical items

    Votes: 26 21.7%
  • Some rules

    Votes: 49 40.8%
  • No (or restricted) feats

    Votes: 21 17.5%
  • No (or restricted) mulitclassing

    Votes: 29 24.2%
  • No backgrounds

    Votes: 6 5.0%
  • Some alignments

    Votes: 23 19.2%

GuardianLurker

Adventurer
Survey Says!....

In general, I always curate the game elements in my homebrew. Sometimes, that's with a very light hand (i.e. it's a Vanilla Kitchen Sink setting, like my first 3x game). Other times its with a thematic hand (my current PF2e game is set at the equivalent of the beginning of Imperial Rome, doesn't use many of the Core Races, and some classes are bound to specific Cultures/Nations). And a few with large restrictions (my last 3x game, which was psionics-only, and basically no permanent magic items). Generally, the restrictions pretty much always start at the Book level (e.g "not using Guns and Gears"), and I'll explicitly call out the specific elements if it isn't a total ban on the book.

Players can get me to rule on "new Books/elements", but the general rule is "if I don't have a print copy, it's not allowed."
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Thing is, oftentimes you-as-DM don't have to "run" as much for these types of characters; as in, there's less story-driving to do. Just turn them loose, react* to what their players have them do, sit back, and enjoy the entertainment.

Put another way, IME players of evil characters usually have something in mind which they'll try to set up on their own, which perhaps ironically makes running the game less work for me. :)

* - and yeah, sometimes that reacting includes having the locals go after the PCs with torches and pitchforks if it's what those locals would do. :)
It isn't entertaining for me. That's certainly part of the problem. I find such things genuinely unpleasant, and the subsequent "going after the PCs with torches and pitchforks" is just as bad.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I use something called "The Players Decide" when setting up a new campaign. It works pretty well for me (and it definitely won't work for everyone.)

First, I tell everyone to roll up a 1st level character. I tell the players that they can use whatever ancestries, backgrounds, classes, etc. that they want, from any official WotC sourcebook, wholesale, no restrictions. But! I make sure that everyone understands: once they've made their choices, all other ancestries, backgrounds, classes, etc. will be removed from the game. That way, the players always get to play exactly what they want without holding back, and I don't end up with Baskin Robins 31 Flavors of animal-people, a golf bag full of unusable magic items, or five different ways to cast the same spell.

It really helps define the game setting and the way things work. Take magic, for example: if nobody picks Artificer, then there's no such thing as "artificer magic" in the campaign. If there isn't a cleric, paladin, or warlock in the party, then the gods and deities are all distant and silent (if there are gods at all). If the only spellcasters are bards, then magic comes from music ala the Wishsong in Shannara, or the bells in Sabriel and there's no such thing as "book magic" or "pact magic." Since nobody is playing anything that got removed, it has no impact on the players or their choices.

The only time we struggle is when we add a new player in the middle of the story, and they want to play something completely different (like the tortle I mentioned in another thread.) And even then it's not a problem; it's more of a "let's talk about it and figure out how to work your character in" situation. A situation that would exist anyway, just from the story alone.

EDIT: or multiclassing. Normally I don't allow multiclassing (5E's rules for multiclassing aren't great), so I'll try to find other ways to work with the player. Like when one of my players wanted to multiclass a druid and a sorcerer together: instead of multiclassing, I let them roll up a sorcerer who chose his spells from the druid list. Presto, they got the "druid metamagic" they were looking for, without having to dilute their primary casting class, or deal with spell-slot weirdness.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I use something called "The Players Decide" when setting up a new campaign. It works pretty well for me (and it definitely won't work for everyone.)

First, I tell everyone to roll up a 1st level character. I tell the players that they can use whatever ancestries, backgrounds, classes, etc. that they want, from any official WotC sourcebook, wholesale, no restrictions. But! I make sure that everyone understands: once they've made their choices, all other ancestries, backgrounds, classes, etc. will be removed from the game. That way, the players always get to play exactly what they want without holding back, and I don't end up with Baskin Robins 31 Flavors of animal-people, a golf bag full of unusable magic items, or five different ways to cast the same spell.

It really helps define the game setting and the way things work. Take magic, for example: if nobody picks Artificer, then there's no such thing as "artificer magic" in the campaign. If there isn't a cleric, paladin, or warlock in the party, then the gods and deities are all distant and silent (if there are gods at all). If the only spellcasters are bards, then magic comes from music ala the Wishsong in Shannara, or the bells in Sabriel and there's no such thing as "book magic" or "pact magic." Since nobody is playing anything that got removed, it has no impact on the players or their choices.
How on earth do you handle the inevitable character turnover due to death, retirement, or a character otherwise becoming unplayable e.g. by being captured, having its mind wiped, being turned into a shoe, etc.? Is the player forced to roll up and play the same thing again, or is the player limited to choosing between the selections made at initial roll-up, or ???

Also, is it expected/enforced that each player will play the same character all the way through the campaign? In other words, are you soft-banning players from swapping out characters along the way?
The only time we struggle is when we add a new player in the middle of the story, and they want to play something completely different (like the tortle I mentioned in another thread.) And even then it's not a problem; it's more of a "let's talk about it and figure out how to work your character in" situation. A situation that would exist anyway, just from the story alone.
Player turnover is IME less common than character turnover by a big factor.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
How on earth do you handle the inevitable character turnover due to death, retirement, or a character otherwise becoming unplayable e.g. by being captured, having its mind wiped, being turned into a shoe, etc.? Is the player forced to roll up and play the same thing again, or is the player limited to choosing between the selections made at initial roll-up, or ???

Also, is it expected/enforced that each player will play the same character all the way through the campaign? In other words, are you soft-banning players from swapping out characters along the way?

Player turnover is IME less common than character turnover by a big factor.
We don't really have player turnover; we've only lost 1 player (he moved away) in 12 years.

As for character death, it happens every now and then. But everyone is on the same page: we all knew and understood that after everyone rolled up characters, all of the unused options were going to be removed from the game. Here's how it went down last time:

Bob, the 2nd level artificer: "And with that, my character has failed his last save throw. Zap the Artificer is dead!"
(Everyone gasps, lots of cross-talk)
Me, the DM: "Okay everyone, let's take a quick break. Bob, stay on the call for a sec."
(Everyone leaves, I set up a private chat with Bob)

Me: "Pretty intense, huh?"
Bob: "Yeah, that was rough. I knew that orc was gonna double-tap me, too."
Me: "So let's talk about your character. If you want Zap to come back, I'll come up with a plot device or something to rescue you. But if you want to play something else, we can roll up some new stats right now while everyone is on break."
Bob: "No new classes or races, right?"
Me: "That's right. You can choose different subclasses, but not different classes."
Bob: (thinks about it) "Nah, I like the artificer I've got. I'd like Zap come back, please."
Me: "Okay. Hang tight and think about your character's last words. After the battle is over, the party is going to take you back to the Artificer's Guild for a proper burial, and your professors are going to patch you up. It'll be expensive--you'll have to pay for a Raise Dead spell."
Bob: "Thanks, but I'd feel bad if everyone had to go bankrupt for my poor decision-making skills. Could it have some other cost instead, like I lost an eye or a hand?"
Me: "Are you changing your name to Vecna too?"
Bob: "Har har. But seriously, what if it cost me an arm?"
Me: "Sure, you're an artificer--maybe they patched you up all Six Million Dollar Man style. Your character will wake up in a few days with an artificial arm. It won't change your stats or anything, it'll just be purely cosmetic--but you can blame it for missed attacks or botched skill checks. 'Sorry guys, I'm still getting used to this arm!' and so on."
Bob: "Heh....that sounds awesome."
Me: "Or I could arrange for you to work off the debt. The Guild did you a favor, now you owe them a favor in return. They have a little quest for you."
Bob: "Eh, the artificial arm sounds more interesting. Let's go with that."
Me: "Can do. Be thinking about your character's last words, I'm going to go get something to drink. Back in 5."
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Also, is it expected/enforced that each player will play the same character all the way through the campaign? In other words, are you soft-banning players from swapping out characters along the way?
Nah, they can swap out characters along the way...it will just have to be from that small list of options that was set at Session Zero. Everyone already knows and understands that if we have to roll up another character later for whatever reason, we will be choosing from a reduced list of options.

This is what led to the tortle issue I described in another thread: a new player joined the group, long after Session Zero. He wanted to roll up a tortle, but the only races available were Human, Half-Elf, Elf, Dragonborn, Firbolg, and Changeling. So since this was a new player who didn't get a chance to participate in that Session Zero, I cut him some slack. I worked with the new player to create a variant of Elf that was essentially a Tortle in every way except name and description.
 

GuardianLurker

Adventurer
I use something called "The Players Decide" when setting up a new campaign. It works pretty well for me (and it definitely won't work for everyone.)
<SNAG!><YOINK!>
I am SO using this for my next campaign! I'd probably add a safety net (i.e. classes/races/etc that are guaranteed to be in the game - like Fighter and Rogue), and allow the players a slightly larger selection of choices. (Like maybe enough to build a completely different character.)

If I was using this for my current campaign, my safety net would have been Fighter/Rogue/Sorcerer for classes, and Humans/Kobolds for races. And I'd have ended up with the same races (+Lizardfolk/Ratfolk/Catfolk) but the class selection would probably have been much narrower as there are a number of classes that the characters didn't pick beyond the safety ones (and they didn't pick any of those).
 

MGibster

Legend
I haven't used any third party books for D&D ever. I pretty much allow any official D&D product to be used, save for things that are specific to certain settings. You won't find any Kender in my Forgotten Realms.
 

ezo

Hero
I use something called "The Players Decide" when setting up a new campaign. It works pretty well for me (and it definitely won't work for everyone.)
Hmm... interested concept.

I might suggest this when we start our next campaign and see what the group says. I might have every player make up TWO instead of just one. That way it opens the field (hopefully) enough for new players or if a back-up PC is needed.
 

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