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5E House Rules Feedback

dmhelp

Villager
Assumptions
  • Content from PHB, MTF, VGM, & XGE
  • Combat heavy
  • High magic (magical armor/shield will only be +1 to prevent ACs from getting out of control given the prevalence of magic items)
  • More frequently occuring stat tomes (most versions cap stats @ 20, so players can get more feats without stat inflation)
  • Wands and staves also exist in forms that do not regenerate charges
  • Weapon bonuses go up to +5 instead of +3 (~+2 @ 5, +3 @ 9, +4/5 @ 13; likely instead of belts of giant strength depending on martial caster balance at high level)
Goals of House Rules
  • Bring the "worst" PHB subclasses (e.g. Berserker, Green Dragon Bloodline, etc.) up to the "optimum" PHB subclasses (defined as Totem, Life, Moon, Battle Master, Open Hand, Red Dragon, & Divination)
  • Have balance between feats (i.e. PAM/GWM & CBE/SS are still peak damage, but more people will make other choices)
  • Bring up some of the worst spells
  • Make leveled single target damage spells competitive with cantrips at high level
"Nerfs"
  • No multiclassing
  • Cleric/Druid/Paladin/Warlock spell-like powers (including spells except for Warlock) are dependent on good standing with the agent; Magic Initiate Warlock involves a bargain which can be broken with no ill effects (except the ire of the patron)
  • Great Weapon Master - power attack (-5 hit/+10 dam) is limited to once per turn
  • Polearm Master - must use polearm two handed to receive the bonus attack
  • Sharpshooter - power attack is limited to once per turn
  • Magic Missile - each arrow is rolled individually (as in every other edition of D&D)
General Buffs
  • Players use a modified standard array (17, 15, 13, 13, 11, 8)
  • Players may change cantrips (including Book of Shadows/Magic Initiate), class subchoices (except subclasses, e.g. Circle of Land terrain, Expertise, Fighting Styles, Magical Secrets, Metamagics, Pact Boon, etc.), and skills on level up (each individual option may only be changed once per ASI, e.g. if you change a cantrip at level 5 you must wait until level 8 to change another cantrip, but you could still change a different feature)
Race Buffs
  • Dragonborn - Breath Weapon instead uses a bonus action; gains Darkvision
Class Buffs
  • Barbarian Berserker Frenzy - exhaustion won't increase beyond one level
  • Cleric Nature - at level 2 gains Druidic Secrets (may also prepare 1st level Druid spells)
  • Cleric Trickery - at level 6 hex is added as a domain spell
  • Druid Circle of the Land - at level 2 gains Fire & Ice - may reverse Druid fire spells at the time of casting to make them cold spells (e.g. may cast cold blade instead of flame blade, or chill metal instead of heat metal)
  • Fighter Champion - at level 3 gains Weapon Specialization - grants an increase in damage dice size (1d4 -> 1d6 -> 1d8 -> 1d10 -> 1d12 -> 2d8, or 2d6 -> 2d8) with one melee weapon (e.g. a greataxe or greatsword would do 2d8 damage averaging 10.5 with GWF), but this does not increase PAM bonus attack die size
  • Monk Four Elements - at level 3 gets 2 extra Elemental Discplines (i.e. 3 + Elemental Attunement); may substitute elemental cantrips as 0 ki Elemental Disciplines: control flames, create bonfire, fire bolt, frostbite, gust, magic stone, mold earth, produce flame, ray of frost, shape water, and thunderclap
  • Monk Four Elements Fangs of the Fire Snake - 0 ki to make a single bonus action attack that does base 1d10 + dex mod damage (plus 1d10 extra damage per ki point, can decide ki after hit is made up to maximum spell ki), no longer affects other attacks on turn
  • Monk Four Elements Fist of Unbroken Air/Water Whip - costs 0 ki, uses bonus action, and starts at base 1d10 damage (can decide after save how much additional ki to spend up to maximum spell ki)
  • Monk Four Elements Rock Punch - similar to Fist of Unbroken Air but uses a dex save
  • Ranger - all subclasses except Gloom Stalker also gain Beast Master progression if desired (powers at levels 1, 6, 10, & 18,
    but beast limited to CR 0 until level 3 when goes to CR 1/4)
  • Rogue - at level 5 counts as 2 levels higher for Sneak Attack (e.g. 4d6 @ 5, 10d6 @ 17)
  • Sorcerer Draconic Bloodline - at level 1 may choose Draconic Resilience or Elemental Spells
  • Sorcerer Elemental Spells - ability to pick variant Sorcerer elemental level 0-3 spells (acid, cold, fire, or lightning) as ancestry damage type instead (e.g. green dragon may pick a poison variant fireball or a poison variant shocking grasp)
  • Sorcerer Wild Magic - on a random surge (i.e. not due to Tides of Chaos) the player may switch to a 1d4 spell level increase instead of rolling a wild surge (e.g. a 9th level scorching ray would count as 13th level if you roll a 4, creating 14 rays); initial surge number is 1 (the number you need to roll to surge) and resets to 1 after every surge; every leveled spell that does not surge increases the surge number by 3 (i.e. you are 15% more likely to surge, e.g. surge number goes from 1 -> 4 -> 7 -> etc.)
  • Warlock Invocations - the following are "half Invocations" (pick two instead of one standard Invocation): Armor of Shadows, Beast Speech, Bewitching Whispers, Dreadful Word, Eldritch Sight, Eyes of the Rune Keeper, Gaze of Two Minds, Minions of Chaos, Mire the Mind, Otherworldly Leap, Sculptor of Flesh, Sign of Ill Omen, Thief of Five Fates
  • Wizard Transmutation - at level 2 gains Enchant Weapon - once per long rest may use a bonus action to enchant a weapon increasing its enhancement bonus by 1 (up to a +3 maximum, duration 1 minute, no concentration, range 60')
Feat Buffs
  • Proficiency half feats may be picked two for one with loss of ability bonuses; applies to: Lightly Armored, Moderately Armored, Heavily Armored, and Weapon Master (e.g. may pick Lightly Armored and Moderately Armored, or Moderately Armored and Weapon Master, as one feat with no stat bonuses)
  • Charger - also grants +1 str, dex, or con
  • Dual Wielder - may power attack once per turn with offhand weapon attack
  • Elemental Adept - also can choose poison damage type
  • Weapon Master - gives proficiency with all simple and martial weapons
Spell Buffs
  • Arcane Foci can also be used by Arcane Tricksters, Bards, & Eldritch Knights; Druidic Foci can be used by Rangers
  • Single target leveled damage spells (from casters not items) gain an additional dice of damage (one damage roll only) at character level 5 and 11 (e.g. chromatic orb does 4d8 at level 5 and 5d8 at level 11 with a 1st level slot); also applies to lightning arrow (single target portion), but does not apply to magic missile or scorching ray since those are not single target damage spells
  • Barkskin - no concentration
  • Flame Blade - no concentration; on initial casting may instead use an action to make a single one time attack that does 6d6 damage plus 1d6/extra slot level, ending the spell
  • Flaming Sphere - does damage on initial casting
  • Melf's Acid Arrow - delayed damage instead does 6d4
  • Mordenkainen's Sword - instead does 5d10 damage per hit (with bonus action and single target damage bonus would be 12d10 total on first turn)
  • Vampiric Touch - on initial casting may instead make a single one time attack that does 5d6 damage plus 1d6/extra slot level, ending the spell
  • Witch Bolt - on initial casting after a hit may have the target take 1d12 damage on the end of its next turn instead of involving a future caster action (regardless of distance), ending the spell (making it similar to acid arrow)

Survey: Taking the house rules into account, please answer the following:

Is Barbarian Path of the Berserker competitive with Totem?

Is Cleric Nature Domain competitive with Life?
Is Cleric Trickery Domain competitive with Life?

Is Druid Circle of the Land competitive with Moon?

Is Fighter Champion competitive with Battle Master?

Is Monk Way of the Four Elements competitive with Open Hand?

Is Sorcerer Green Dragon Draconic Bloodline a potentially fun alternative to Red Dragon?
Is Sorcerer Wild Magic competitive with Red Dragon?

Is Wizard School of Transmutation competitive with Divination?
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
Ranger remains the only class that has zero combat features at level one besides "can use weapons and wear armor".

Valor remains meh. Weapon feat nerfs makes it worse more than your buff makes it better.

Nerfs to wespon feats mostly just make ASIs dominate them hard.

Elemental Adept remains the suck unless you are forced to use one damage type (its damage boost remains undetectable).

Wording is unclear and non-5E like. Example Ranger BM. I have to read your mind and hope I read it right.

Having a single choice between a feature you deem crappy and a new option does not lift a subclass up to "as good as another". Either the choice is a trap, or the difference is small.

Champion losing crits and gaining ~1 damage per hit still sucks compared to BM. BM did get nerfed by stripping out -5/+10 feats, but gap is still large.

More choices for 4E monk doesn't fix problem that its inefficient Ki options don't matter until T3. It adds no power, just options; and its options are usually worse than flurry+stunning blow. You didn't explicitly state Ki cost of cantrips (free?), but if they use them they lose MA/Fkurry (again, failure to stack efficiently with base kit).

Instead of dumping houserules and asking others to analyze them, include analysis of why the change, hiw large the gap, and an argument why the gap is now gone.

Btw, even with baseline 5e, accuracy gets so high at high levels that +3 weapons are often worse than +2d6 damage weapons (trade is -3 to hit for +4 to damage; hey look, that power attack equation appears! At equal rarity, trade is -2 for +5).

Having +5 weapons and +3/+2d6 weapons and +0/+3d10 weapons would bring power attack in via the back door.
 



Li Shenron

Legend
I don't see anything among the mechanical changes that makes me feel it would be a better game than without house rules at all.

Magic items policies on the other hand are fine, and they do have a purpose.
 

dmhelp

Villager
Thanks for the feedback!

What do your players think?
The players don't mind but I am dming for a couple of xgte rangers and a rogue (so most of the rules don't apply). At level 5 they have a +2, a bunch of +1s, gauntlets of ogre power, +2 str tome (limit 20), studded leather +1, ring of pro +1, and a bag of holding. They are trying to protect the countryside from drow raids.

Nerfs to wespon feats mostly just make ASIs dominate them hard.
I should have probably been more explicit on the treasure drops. ~ +2 @ 5, +3 @ 9, and +4/5 @ 13. This moves some of the power from the weapon feats into the magic item department. GWM/PAM and SS/CE are still required for optimum damage. There is hopefully just more variety between the other feats and ASIs.

Elemental Adept remains the suck unless you are forced to use one damage type (its damage boost remains undetectable).
That's true. I see Elemental Adept as mainly being a feat for a Draconic Bloodline sorc. It should be useful for variant damage type fireballs and scorching rays.

I don't see anything among the mechanical changes that makes me feel it would be a better game than without house rules at all.
If you have alternative rules for any of the weaker subclasses that are limited to 1 or 2 small things (I don't want to use lengthy rewrites of classes since that would make the rules even longer).
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
Aha! Have ranger spellcasting round up like an artificer!

That boosts them at level 1 significantly, but does nothing at 2, 4 and 6, and only modestly boosts them at 3.

And it ensures they don't play like fighters, which moving combat style to 1 would do.

I mean they still aren't good at 2.

3 leans heavily on non-PHB subclasses like gloomstalker.
 

dmhelp

Villager
Ok based on feedback I made Champion's Weapon Spec and Transmuter's Enchant Weapon additive instead of a choice.

I have an alternative Ranger buff:
  • Ranger - all subclasses except Gloom Stalker also gain Beast Master progression if desired (powers at levels 1, 6, 10, & 18,
    but beast limited to CR 0 until level 3 when goes to CR 1/4)
This gives most Rangers something additional at level 1 and a little more umph in their high level progression.


I also have a different version of Four Elements:
  • Monk Four Elements - at level 3 gets 2 extra Elemental Discplines (i.e. 3 + Elemental Attunement); may substitute elemental cantrips as 0 ki Elemental Disciplines: control flames, create bonfire, dancing lights, fire bolt, frostbite, gust, magic stone, mold earth, produce flame, ray of frost, sacred flame, shape water, thunderclap, and word of radiance
  • Monk Four Elements Fangs of the Fire Snake - 0 ki to make a single bonus action attack that does base 1d10 + dex mod damage (plus 1d10 extra damage per ki point, can decide ki after hit is made up to maximum spell ki), no longer affects other attacks on turn
  • Monk Four Elements Fist of Unbroken Air/Water Whip - costs 0 ki, uses bonus action, and starts at base 1d10 damage (can decide after save how much additional ki to spend up to maximum spell ki)
  • Monk Four Elements Rock Punch - similar to Fist of Unbroken Air but uses a dex save
So the monk gains a couple more disciplines at level 3 and can choose from an assortment of cantrips. The primary 4 "avatar" attacks are all 0 ki bonus action alternatives to flurry of blows and allow strategic nova ki dumping.

Any feedback?
 


Staffan

Adventurer
  • Monk Four Elements - at level 3 gets 2 extra Elemental Discplines (i.e. 3 + Elemental Attunement); may substitute elemental cantrips as 0 ki Elemental Disciplines: control flames, create bonfire, dancing lights, fire bolt, frostbite, gust, magic stone, mold earth, produce flame, ray of frost, sacred flame, shape water, thunderclap, and word of radiance
I would not include non-elemental cantrips: dancing lights, sacred flame, or word of radiance.
 


Olrox17

Hero
I say go for it. This looks like an interesting remastering of 5e, and I like most of the changes you made.
Be ready to make some adjustments during actual play, though. There’s no substitute to actual playtesting.
 

dmhelp

Villager
Literally none of your 'rules' deal with the most important thing. Resting.
I leave resting up to the players based on what I perceive the current level of safety is (I ask myself, will they be interupted or not).

I would not include non-elemental cantrips: dancing lights, sacred flame, or word of radiance.
Done. I removed them.

Congratulations, you've taken a game where most things are OP and made almost everything even more so.
Since players hate nerfs I'm trying to bring the weakest offenders up. As you can see I did do a select few targeted nerfs with no multiclassing and a few combat feat nerfs.

I say go for it. This looks like an interesting remastering of 5e, and I like most of the changes you made.
Be ready to make some adjustments during actual play, though. There’s no substitute to actual playtesting.
Thanks for the feedback! Players are currently level 7.
 

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