5E [Homebrew] Feedback on House Rules Balance Changes for Pseudo 5.5 Edition

Goals

  • balance between races (halflings are an uncommon race when they should be common)
  • balance between classes (druids are underrepresented)
  • make splashing warlock not a no brainer for charisma based classes
  • balance between subclasses (avoid "don't choose beastmaster")
  • balance between fighting styles (not everyone should use a hand crossbow or polearm)
  • low level damage spells should always be better than cantrips
  • eliminate a few "I win" buttons
  • initially scope limited to PHB content

Content

  • PHB plus Xanather's warlock invocations
  • Players roll for stats once, after seeing their rolls they may choose to use them or the standard array

Races

  • Halflings - gain proficiency in stealth and either one artisan's tool, one gaming set, or one musical instrument
  • Dragonborn breath weapon - does 2d8 at 1st, 4d8 at 6th, 6d8 at 11th, and 8d8 at 16th

Classes

  • Barbarian frenzy - no longer causes exhaustion; once per long rest only
  • Druid circle of the land - gains all simple weapons and can use metal armor/shields
  • Monk four elements - no ki costs for spells (may still spend ki to increase effectiveness of certain spells, maximum additional ki spent as if the spell still cost ki); a monk (of appropriate level) may use one unleveled discipline, one 6th level or less discipline, one 11th level or less discipline, and one 17th level or less discipline per short rest (elemental attunement is still unlimitted uses)
  • Ranger at level 20 - foe slayer instead adds wisdom bonus to damage on all attacks against all foes
  • Ranger beastmaster - may use a bonus action to command the beast to attack
  • Warlock eldritch blast - is a class feature at level 1 and scales by warlock level instead of character level (does not count toward known cantrips for warlocks)

Feats

  • at character level 2: characters created using the standard array receive an additional ASI
  • Crossbow Expert - bonus attack only applies when using a melee attack action in the main hand; +1 damage with crossbows when in normal range
  • Great Weapon Master - instead of power attack adds +2 damage with heavy melee non polearms
  • Polearm Master - opportunity attacks must be made with the polearm (not a spell); must use polearm two handed to receive the bonus attack
  • Sentinel - when hitting a creature with an opportunity attack the creature's speed decreases to 10 feet (if it currently has more movement available)
  • Sharpshooter - being within 5' of a hostile creature doesn't impose disadvantage on ranged weapon attack rolls; instead of power attack adds +1 damage with missile weapons when in normal range;
  • Spell Sniper - being within 5' of a hostile creature doesn't impose disadvantage on ranged spell attack rolls

Spells

  • at level 11: +8 to damage roll (once per target per spell) with level 1-2 spell attacks, +6 to one damage roll with level 1-2 spells which give a save to reduce damage, and +4 to damage roll (once per target) with magic missile
  • at level 17: +4 to one damage roll with level 3-8 spells
  • Banishment - on a native gives an additional save at the end of each target's every turn
  • Fear - gives an additional save at the end of each target's every turn
  • Forcecage - gives a dexterity save to avoid; it has AC 20 and 180 hp
  • Goodberry - may eat more than 1 berry in a single action, but only applies disciple of life once per group of berries eaten
  • Haste (also Boots of Speed) - gives double movement (to a maximum of 30' additional)
  • Hypnotic Pattern - gives an additional save at the end of each target's every turn
  • Magic Missile - each dart's damage is rolled individually, empowered evocation applies once per target
  • Melf's Acid Arrow - does 4d4 delayed damage
  • Mordenkainen's Sword - does 6d10 damage
  • Otiluke's Resilient Sphere - has AC 20 and disappears after it takes 70 hp
  • Polymorph - has a CR limit of half of target level; it allows an additional save at the end of target's every turn
  • Simulacrum - copy has no spells of level 7 or higher
  • Wall of Force - encasing a foe gives a dexterity save to use a reaction to move (similar to wall of stone); the wall has AC 20 and 90 hp
  • Witch Bolt - uses a bonus action to deal 1d6 lightning damage instead of an action


GeneralStacking

  • Dash Action - going beyond one dash action per round (double movement rate) causes one level of exhaustion per additional dash action taken beyond the first (exhaustion takes effect at the start of the next round)
  • Magical Movement Bonuses - limited to one at a time (haste is usually dominant): boots of speed, expeditious retreat, haste, longstrider, transmuter's stone, etc.
  • Saving Throws - multiple paladin auras do not stack
  • Spell Casting - can only cast one leveled spell per round (excluding spells that can naturally be cast as reactions, e.g. counterspell, feather fall, hellish rebuke, shield, etc. do not count toward the limit)
  • Spell Range Bonuses - limited to one at a time: distant spell, eldritch spear, spell sniper, etc.

ACStacking

  • Only 1 Base Armor AC bonus at a time (choose 1 source only): physical armor (base AC 11-18 with dexterity, +/- fighting style defense and/or medium armor master which raises max to 19), creature natural AC, barbarian/monk unarmored defense (up to 22/20), barkskin (16), draconic resilience (up to 18 with dexterity), mage armor (up to 18 with dexterity), robe of the archmagi (up to 20 with dexterity), etc.
  • Only 1 Magical AC bonus at a time (highest applicable bonus only): physical armor magical bonus (+1-3), physical shield magical bonus (+1-3), bracers of defense (+2), cloak/ring of protection (+1), ioun stone (+1), staff of power (+2), etc.; or spells: haste (+2), shield of faith (+2), warding bond (+1), wild surge spectral shield (+2), etc.
  • Only 1 Shield AC bonus at a time (highest applicable bonus only): physical shield (+2) or dual wielder (+1)
  • Only 1 Tactics AC bonus at a time (highest applicable bonus only): bardic combat inspiration (+1-12), cover (+2-5), defender sword (+1-3), defensive duelist (+2-6), battle master evasive footwork (+1-12), multiattack defense (+4), shield spell (+5)
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I think you need to be more specific about your actual goals. For example, your top drawer items seem to all be aimed at reducing the impact of optimization on class builds. There's nothing wrong with that goal, but your list of optimized stuff you want to deal with seems oddly incomplete. If I had to guess the list is a product of your most recent set(s) of players. It is not however, a complete list of cheese.

I do have a general question, is this list, overall, something that you've spent a lot of time looking at the rules cascade for changing, or is it more a list of individual stuff you dont like? Because the impact of changes this sweeping are way more than just the nerfing of certain combos and spells.
 

afretz

Visitor
One of your goals was to make beastmaster more playable, the beast attacking as a bonus action is not exactly the answer, you need to push it a little more
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Everything looks fine. As is always the case about 75% of any set of balancing House Rules will never come up (because the players won't actually select or use the mechanics you attempted to balance)... but as a way of working out your game design and DM muscles, coming up with them and writing them down is still a good process. Have a good game!
 

Harzel

Explorer
With respect to goals, it would be useful to give a more explicit description of what you mean by 'balance'. (Kind of ironic.) From your parenthetical comments, it seems like you might mean sort of comparable overall desirability, but that's so subjective that I think it will be difficult to judge whether your proposed changes are necessary, sufficient, or overkill.

EDIT: Props, however, for explicitly listing your goals.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Some thoughts

Beastmasters have other things to spend Bonus Action on. Give the Beast it's own turn on the Ranger's initiative, but don't let it use multi-attack. Beef it's HP more, or let the ranger heal it as a bonus action or reaction using their spell slots while the beast is within 60ft of them. 1d6/spell level, probably.

Crossbow Expert seems like a very weird change. Let them double tap with their hand crossbow.

Monk change is complicated compared to just reducing all disciplines by 1 ki in cost, so they're in line with other spellcasting monks, and giving them the Xanathar's Elemental cantrips for free.
 

Harzel

Explorer
  • Saving Throws - multiple paladin auras do not stack
Not sure what this one means. If you mean two paladins with the same aura, then my understanding is that those do not stack RAW. If you mean different auras, I may be missing something, but can you give an example in which they would actually stack RAW? (Where by "stack" I mean - and assume you mean - having multiple effects on the same mechanic, not just being in effect at the same time.)
 

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