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General House Rule vs Setting Rule

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I believe I have a sufficient test to differentiate a houserule from a setting rule.

A House Rule is a modification to how the game is normally ran that deals solely (or perhaps primarily) with mechanics and is unrelated (or mostly unrelated) to fictional concerns. Example: changing the initiative system. Lowering battlemaster superiority dice to 2 at level 3.

Homebrew is creating a non-official (non-published) element for the fiction, including the needed mechanical model of it as well. For example: one of the most homebrewed areas of D&D is setting - which often consists of fiction and mechanical rules to create that reality in the game world.

A Setting Rule is a rule about the setting whether default, alternate official or homebrew. Examples may be the non-existence of Elves. The existence of clerics. The existence of guns (and their mechanics). The non-existence of magic (a bit hard in 5e). Who the gods are. Some may even have a mechanical representation and some may be fictional truths. Etc.

I see too often Setting Rules and homebrew in general gets described pejoratively as a house rule when that really isn't a very good description. IMO.
 

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dave2008

Legend
I believe I have a sufficient test to differentiate a houserule from a setting rule.

A House Rule is a modification to how the game is normally ran that deals solely (or perhaps primarily) with mechanics and is unrelated (or mostly unrelated) to fictional concerns. Example: changing the initiative system. Lowering battlemaster superiority dice to 2 at level 3.

Homebrew is creating a non-official (non-published) element for the fiction, including the needed mechanical model of it as well. For example: one of the most homebrewed areas of D&D is setting - which often consists of fiction and mechanical rules to create that reality in the game world.

A Setting Rule is a rule about the setting whether default, alternate official or homebrew. Examples may be the non-existence of Elves. The existence of clerics. The existence of guns (and their mechanics). The non-existence of magic (a bit hard in 5e). Who the gods are. Some may even have a mechanical representation and some may be fictional truths. Etc.

I see too often Setting Rules and homebrew in general gets described pejoratively as a house rule when that really isn't a very good description. IMO.
By your definition a setting rule can be "official" In fact, if done well, Dark Sun should have some setting rules. On the other hand, a setting rule can be a house rule too. If it is a change you make to an official setting or rules for your own setting, it is a house rule and also a setting rule.
 

Asisreo

Demon's Advocate
But since there is nothing perjorative about house rules, why do we need to split "setting rules" off of it?

It's the people who think not using house rules is somehow "better" that are wrong. Playing RAW or not RAW makes absolutely no difference.
Better categorization is good, imo. The difference is that one changes the way the game is played overall while another changes the way the characters can be made. In general, "setting rules" have always been upfront and everyone knows from the jump. The DM already tells the group elves don't exist or that magic is widely feared. House rules are sneakier because there's so many that only come up that DM's don't provide them all unless asked or it comes up.

Other player: "I want to attack before initative" DM: "Sure, after your attack, we'll roll initiative." Me: ???

Most DM's don't care about the setting rules they didn't make to actually enforce them, either. Maybe the DM doesn't care about the color a tiefling can be as long as the tiefling understands they're going to be bullied in towns.

I don't think we need the categorization, though. I'm pretty neutral. I just hate seeing ideas shut down before a real discussion kicks in.
 

dave2008

Legend
Better categorization is good, imo. The difference is that one changes the way the game is played overall while another changes the way the characters can be made. In general, "setting rules" have always been upfront and everyone knows from the jump. The DM already tells the group elves don't exist or that magic is widely feared. House rules are sneakier because there's so many that only come up that DM's don't provide them all unless asked or it comes up.
It is a bit of the opposite for me. Settings are my (DM) creation. Though as up front as possible about non-standard lore or other "setting rules," sometimes they evolve in the background. However, "house rules" are always discussed and decided at the table. We all buy-in or no rule.
 

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