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D&D 5E House Rules

Do You Use House Rules / Restrictions in your 5e Game?


  • Total voters
    85

Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
I am a Forever DM of 30+ years, and I am curious as to how people feel about House Rules, such as changes to healing, resting, race and class choices, nerfs of spells or powers, use of other supplements both "official" and 3rd party, and anything else. Do you avoid these games? Not worry about it? If you do not like House Rules, is it because are you an optimizer (no hate, nothing wrong with this) and it messes with builds? And so on . . . .

Thanks for replies!
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I don't use a ton of house rules to the existing engine of the game. I allow a ton of customization in terms of new races, new classes, new subclasses, new feats, etc.
 

DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
Honestly, with 5E I've gone back and forth about house-rules. I struggle between playing the game as is and making it into what I want D&D to be. At one point, when I changed races and a bunch of other stuff, I had about 30 pages of house-rules for 5E. Since then, we parsed things down to the absolute essential changes and have only 2 pages. The rest I've basically just accepted that the change I want really wasn't worth having another house-rule to remember. shrug
 


Puddles

Explorer
I have a fair few house rules, but none of them are massive system changing things (at least in my opinion), just tweaks here and there. I use house rules for the following:

1. Encumbrance (simplified system)
2. Critical hits (players get to roll on an extra table that might blind the enemy or something else dramatic),
3. Initiative (redraw after 3 rounds)
4. injuries (A table of minor things, most recoverable)
5. Resurrection (-1 constitution)
6. Levelling up (get the benefits of a long rest)
7. Waterskins (hold a gallon)
8. Goodberry (need to eat all 10 for it to count as food)
9. Create/Destroy Water (1 gallon)
10. Wanderer (Advantage of Survival checks for tracking, foraging, finding water).
11. Random encounters (a decreasing dice system that starts at d20 and goes down to d4 the longer you are in the wilderness)

And then I cut and splice monster stat blocks on the regular. Almost every monster I use is tweaked in some way. I also have a range of custom animals for my Druid to shapeshift into. The rules for most tiny creatures in the MM are very dull.

Not sure if this is a lot or a little? Doesn’t feel like much when I am playing but looks like a lot all typed out.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I have a few house rules, happy to play them as a player if I join a game with rules, so long as they are explained at the beginning of the game. I don't want to be surprised in the middle of play by a house rule that wasn't mentioned.

A few of mine are:

If starting 1st level, double hit points before adjusting for constitution modifier (wizard starts with 12 hit points + con mod, fighter starts with 20 + con mod).

A focus can be used even when a spell doesn't have material components. This accounts for focuses that have bonuses when used that otherwise wouldn't be of use if no material component is needed.

You can cast a regular spell and a bonus action spell instead of a cantrip and a bonus action spell. I'm currently trialling this one, might put some sort of limits on it at a later date.

Go ahead and wear metal armour if you're a druid. I might adjust this to wildshape can't be used if wearing armour with metal in it. If they'd used this as the restriction in the first place then I think there'd be less arguments about druids in metal armour.

Just remembered this one: Druids have no restriction on which animals they can transform into as long as the cr is 0. At level 2, a druid can transform into a bird or fish.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
No house rules. Just the official optional rules of the DMG and some restrictions to class and races based on the home-brew setting I created.
 


toucanbuzz

Legend
It took years for me to have the comfort level to implement house rules. I worried by implementing them I was saying "I know better than the designers." But, D&D invites them so you can make the game yours. And, the late Gary Gygax commonly shared his house rules, including on Enworld. Like @6ENow!, my list started long and got pared down.

After each campaign, I ask the group if there's any house rules they'd rather not have. After several years, I've gotten it down to 1 page, 10 items. And, I'm happier for it. I feel my house rules make my games with my gamers better than without.
 

I don't use many personally - the most dramatic is a vague "all list of player options are just the beginning - feel free to ask for stuff not on that."

But when joining a game, one thing I do like to see is a list of houserules. Not because I think the game needs many, but I do like to know that the dm knows which rules they are using.
 

Ristamar

Adventurer
House rules are good, because it shows that the DM is both invested in their campaign, and capable of critical analysis.

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Dausuul

Legend
I typically apply a couple of "in play" house rules (a simplified form of initiative, short rests take 5 minutes but capped at 2/day), a curated list of race options, and then ban a handful of spells.

In principle, I reserve the right to nerf character options (feats, subclasses, etc.) if they turn out to be overpowered or problematic in play. In practice, I pretty much never have to do this in 5E. If I did do it, I would discuss it with the player, try to find a solution that addresses my concerns while allowing them to keep what they like about the option, and also give them a no-questions-asked opportunity to swap that option for another.
 




Raith5

Adventurer
I have never used house rules in 5e in the games I play.

But I dont hate house rules per se. If I were to DM I would probably try add a few bonus feats to try to customize/individualize PCs a bit more (ie a bonus feat at 1st level and racial feat at 5th) and probably shorten a short rest to 20 minutes.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I am a Forever DM of 30+ years, and I am curious as to how people feel about House Rules, such as changes to healing, resting, race and class choices, nerfs of spells or powers, use of other supplements both "official" and 3rd party, and anything else. Do you avoid these games? Not worry about it? If you do not like House Rules, is it because are you an optimizer (no hate, nothing wrong with this) and it messes with builds? And so on . . . .

Thanks for replies!
I use a bunch of house rules in each edition. Generally there are some things that I don't like that need changing, and then there are the things that come up during game play that cause us to scratch our heads and prompts an on the spot change.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
House rules are good, because it shows that the DM is both invested in their campaign, and capable of critical analysis. I won't even look at a 5E campaign unless the DM has a good answer for how they are going to fix the healing rules.
Yeah, no. Being invested in the system and being invested in the campaign are two different things. I know DMs who are super invested in their campaigns, but don't care at all for playing with house rules.
 
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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I am a Forever DM of 30+ years, and I am curious as to how people feel about House Rules, such as changes to healing, resting, race and class choices, nerfs of spells or powers, use of other supplements both "official" and 3rd party, and anything else. Do you avoid these games? Not worry about it? If you do not like House Rules, is it because are you an optimizer (no hate, nothing wrong with this) and it messes with builds? And so on . . . .

Thanks for replies!
I have quite a few house rules, but it isn't really that crazy of an amount of them. Here's what I do:

Everyone gets a feat at level one that is dependent on their class, race, or background. Variant Humans and Tasha's Custom Lineage characters still get a feat, but this one isn't restricted like other races are.

No races get their normal ASIs, instead they get one dependent on their race/subrace, one dependent on their class, and one dependent on their background.

If a creature stands up from being prone, each creature within reach gets an opportunity attack.

All sorcerer subclasses get a subclass-specific spell list, like the ones in Tasha's.

Drinking potions is a bonus action, unless you're giving it to an unconscious ally.

Sorcerers regain half their sorcery points on a short rest, once a long rest. They also know an amount of metamagic equal to their proficiency bonus.

Beastmaster and Hunter rangers get always-known spell lists, like all other ranger subclasses.

Athletics is split into two different skills, Muscle and Mobility. Muscle is for lifting/pushing/moving heavy things, while Mobility (which is Strength based, but can commonly use Dexterity) is for running/swimming/climbing. I also have two different Constitution based skills, Concentration (which is self-explanatory) and Endurance (which allows characters to swim/run long distances, hold heavy objects for a long time, and so on).

All wizards can use their spellbook as a spellcasting focus.

Alchemist Artificers get an amount of free experimental elixirs each long rest equal to their proficiency bonus.
 

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