D&D 5E My House Rules for My Homebrew Campaign (Feedback Welcome)

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Now that all of my players have been fully-vaccinated (my wife got their second shot last week), I'm kicking off a new D&D campaign next month. I thought I'd share my house rules with ya'll.

Allowed Resources
When rolling up your character, you can use any of the resources from the following list of books. No other resources are permitted out of hand (but if you have something cool you'd like to play, I'll try to work with you).
  • The Player's Handbook
  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything
  • Volo's Guide to Monsters
  • Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
Starting Gold and Equipment
In addition to the starting gold/gear that your character already gets by virture of their class and background, your character also starts the game with a magic item of your choice from Table B of the Dungeon Master's Guide. This item should be something of deep, personal meaning to your character (family heirloom, memento of a departed loved one, etc.), and your character should understand that they own something priceless and irreplaceable.

Ability Scores
Players will generate their stats using the 4d6 method. Once you have six stats, add up all of the modifiers.
  • If the sum of the modifiers is +4 or lower, you have a choice to make: you can reroll them, or you can keep them and start the game with a feat of your choice.
  • If the sum of the modifiers is +8 or higher, you also have a choice to make: you can reroll them, or you can keep them and forfeit your starting magic item.
  • In all other cases, you must keep the first set of numbers you generate. No exceptions.

Ancestry (formerly, Race)
You may use any of the races listed in the approved sourcebooks, including all optional variants and customization options, but with one important caveat: No character can have more than one feat at 1st level. So if you are getting a bonus feat by virtue of your ability scores (above), you do not get a second one by virtue of your Ancestry. Take this into consideration when choosing or developing your character's Ancestry.
Feats are allowed.
You may use any feat you wish, from any of the approved sourcebooks. If there is a different feat that you would like to use that is not in any of these sourcebooks, send it to me and I'll take a look.

Multiclassing is Allowed but Restricted.
Your character may multiclass only once. (No character may have more than two classes.)
Hit Points
Each time you gain a level, you will always roll for hit points. If you ever roll a nat-1 on this, you can reroll it once (but you have to keep the result of the reroll, even if it’s another 1.)

Healing Potions
Healing potions (of any size) always heal the maximum amount possible. They cost 50% more, however.

Harvesting Stuff from Monsters
Some monsters have valuable tusks, pelts, claws, scales, meat, or other “treasure” that can be collected with the right skill. A Nature check is used to determine if any part of a creature has value, and a Survival check determines if those components were successfully harvested. You may also need certain tools, like a skinning knife. This must be done over a short or long rest.

The DC for both checks is (10 + the monster’s CR), rounded up.

The value of the pelt or whatever is (your Survival check result) x (the monster’s CR), rounded up.
Magic Items
Potions, scrolls, and the like are fairly common, but other more permanent magic items in this world are exceedingly rare. If your character is fortunate enough to own a real, permanent magic item, even something as humble as a Bag of Holding, understand that he carries a priceless artifact dating back to the Age of Faerie--the technology and knowledge to create such a thing has been forgotten for thousands of years, and it is likely the only one of its kind. "That is no trinket you carry."

Initially, no magic items of any kind will be available for sale or purchase in the game. But as you complete quests and make connections with various NPCs, your characters will get access to single-use items, like potions and scrolls. Don't waste your downtime trying to buy a flaming sword, though. There are no "Magick Shoppes," and everyone claiming to have a "magic sword for sale" is lying. (You've been warned!)

Mythic Materials
Items with a simple numerical enchantment, like a +1 longsword or a +2 shield, aren't "magical" in the traditional sense. They get their enhancement bonus from the materials they are made from. Since they are not considered "magic items," they do not detect as magical and they can be destroyed by certain spells and effects, but they are not deactivated by an anti-magic field. They can be purchased in certain places, but they are considered luxury items or works of art (and are priced accordingly).

A +1 item is an item made from mithril titanite, darkwood, or chitin. A +2 item is an item that was made from adamantine, ironwood, or moonstone. And so forth. Keep your eyes peeled for rare materials while you are exploring the deeper caves and forests of the world, and make friends with NPCs who have the skill to work with them.

Encounters
Encounters in this world are not “balanced” to match your characters’ levels or abilities! There are parts of this world that will always be very boring for you, and parts that you must avoid until you’re stronger. Don’t assume that any encounter is going to be easy (or even beatable).

Intelligent monsters rarely fight to the death, they will usually flee or surrender when things turn against them. They will behave much like you and me, in fact: they will set ambushes and traps, they will focus-fire on spellcasters and double-tap downed party members, etc. Be careful out there, this ain't Skyrim.

Not every encounter needs to become a combat scene. You get just as much XP for de-escalating and befriending a creature as you would for slaying it, and you will use fewer resources.

Random Encounters
I will check for random encounters by asking a character to make a Survival check. The DC for this check will vary from place to place, but the general rule of thumb is 10 for relatively safe areas, 15 for dangerous ones, and 20 for infested lairs.

If the check fails, a random encounter will occur, either immediately or within a few hours. And if the check fails by 5 or more, something dramatic happens: maybe the creatures you encountered will catch you by surprise, or you have two encounters back-to-back. But relax! Not all random encounters are creatures, and not all creatures are hostile...you’re just as likely to encounter a washed-out bridge or a friendly merchant as you are a gang of bloodthirsty bandits.

I will check for random encounters once during a short rest, twice during a long rest, and every now and then when the story needs a little spice.
Rolling Completes the Action
Once you roll the dice, it's too late for the Help action, the Guidance cantrip, Inspiration, or anything else along those lines unless the spell, action, or ability explicitly says otherwise. No retcons, no arguments, no exceptions, not even for the Dungeon Master. Once we roll, we're done.

Repeated Actions get Repeated Results
I assume that everyone is always trying their best to Do The Thing. So doing the same thing that someone else just did, in the same way they just did it, will always give you the same result they just got...no reroll.

So before you drop those dice, describe what your character is doing and how you’re doing it differently this time. I’ll then decide if another check is merited, or if the first check should get Advantage, or if it wouldn’t make a difference. I'm not going to be a hardass about this, I'm just trying to be orderly and keep the story moving forward.

What do you guys think? Any unforeseen problems I might run into? Are there any parts you'd like to steal and use in your game?
Inquisitive moogles want to know!
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I really like the "mythic materials" bit and may be good thing for me to adopt in the next game I start. I had very complex "masterwork weapons and armor" rules in my 3E games (which tended to be low magic) but this seems like a simple fix. Thanks!

And good luck with your game!
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I really like the "mythic materials" bit and may be good thing for me to adopt in the next game I start. I had very complex "masterwork weapons and armor" rules in my 3E games (which tended to be low magic) but this seems like a simple fix. Thanks!

And good luck with your game!
Thanks! It'll be good to get back to the table after so long. We've been making do with VTT programs and stuff, but I've really missed just hanging out and having a few pints and rolling dice for an afternoon. I know we are all going to be awkward as heck for the first couple of games, but hopefully we fall into our old groove soon.

The list of "mythic materials" is still in development, but this is pretty much the gist of it. I'm glad you liked it! I got the idea from Stardew Valley, of all places: you can find certain ores in the mines, and if you find enough of them you can smelt them into bars...if you get enough of those bars, you can pay the blacksmith to upgrade your gear. I just expanded it a bit to include different kinds of wood, cloth, stone, and scale. (Which led to the house-rule for harvesting animal parts.)
 

Quartz

Hero
Repeated Actions get Repeated Results

This defeats one of the main non-combat uses of Action Surge. Say the Fighter is trying to grab someone in a river before they go over a waterfall. They fail the first roll. Action Surge gives them another attempt and thus a roll. But by your rule it auto-fails.


Rolling Completes the Action

This ruins the Diviner wizard's ability to substitute d20 rolls.

But there's much else I like. See if you can dig out a copy of Shadow World for some interesting materials like rularon, laen, and shaalk.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
This defeats one of the main non-combat uses of Action Surge. Say the Fighter is trying to grab someone in a river before they go over a waterfall. They fail the first roll. Action Surge gives them another attempt and thus a roll. But by your rule it auto-fails.




This ruins the Diviner wizard's ability to substitute d20 rolls.

But there's much else I like. See if you can dig out a copy of Shadow World for some interesting materials like rularon, laen, and shaalk.
I hadn't thought about the Action Surge being defeated by the "Repeated Actions get Repeated Results." I might need to revisit that.

I don't think it's a deal-breaker as long as I stay pretty flexible about how "in a different way" is interpreted for that second check. The first attempt, they tried to grab their arm. The second attempt, they tried to grab their leg in desperation. Or something like that. I'm not trying to be a jerk; I'm just trying to keep everyone from the table from crying out "I also search the chest!" over and over again every time someone rolls low. :) I'm trying to build some tension over here!

This ruins the Diviner wizard's ability to substitute d20 rolls.
Hmm, that's a good point. (See? This is why I posted my house-rules for everyone to gawk at and pick over. There are countless combos and situations that I have never considered, and I appreciate the fresh set of eyes.)

If someone at the table rolls up a Divination Wizard, I'll have to make an exception for this. My intent with this rule is to keep the game moving smoothly, and not grind it to a halt while everyone tries to engineer their way out of a bad roll.
 
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Hmm, that's a good point. (See? This is why I posted my house-rules for everyone to gawk at and pick over. There are countless combos and situations that I have never considered, and I appreciate the fresh set of eyes.)

If someone at the table rolls up a Divination Wizard, I'll have to make an exception for this. My intent with this rule is to keep the game moving smoothly, and not grind it to a halt while everyone tries to engineer their way out of a bad roll.
You could probably just add a line like "except for features that explicitly happen after the roll," as there are a few of these. I do like the idea of rolling the dice being a commitment to the action.

It might also be useful to spell out how you'll rule the timing on Shield Master and shield.

I would also ask how you use Inspiration.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I like the +1 sword = special material. Its a nice way to say "this pile of magic items are ridiculously rare.....but these kinds of items are much more common because they aren't really "magic". I assume table B of the DMG does not have those items then? (I don't know what's in the table).

The only rule that looks off is your "Harvesting from Monster" rule.

Lets assume a nice CR 5 monster, so DC 15....which is very very doable for even a 1st level character. So lets say your 3rd level party defeats a CR 5 (which is not all that hard), that is 15 x 5 = 75 GP as a baseline. But players will throw everything they can at this, help actions, spells, guidance, etc etc. So more like a 20 x5 = 100 GP, even 125 GP is not out of the question. If you are playing "standard gold", that is actually quite a lot of money at those lower levels. It doesn't necessarily need to be changed just keep in mind that when you say certain monsters can be harvested, your adding a good bit of money to the players coffers.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I don't have a lot of numeric feedback, but I will say if I was given this by a DM I would be very excited for the game!

I like your rolled stats rules. I think I'm going to steal them [rolls Sleight of Hand]...

I also really love the +1 / +2 weapons rule, and how you also provide in-campaign context and opportunities. Telling players to "keep an eye out" for certain things is just a really fun way to go about presenting house rules.

Overall, well done!
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I like the +1 sword = special material. Its a nice way to say "this pile of magic items are ridiculously rare.....but these kinds of items are much more common because they aren't really "magic". I assume table B of the DMG does not have those items then? (I don't know what's in the table).
Thanks! And no, the +1 items don't really start showing up in the magic item tables until Table F (for +1 weapons) and Table G (for the lightest +1 armors and +1 shields). I prefer to use the tables instead of rarity when letting players pick magic items...I tend to get a little more balanced results.

But having re-read the contents of that table, I see that "Mithral Armor" is already a listed magic item, and it shows up on Table B to boot. So it looks like I'll need to revise the special materials a bit, and replace mithral with "titanite" or something along those lines. I don't want to create an exploit.

The only rule that looks off is your "Harvesting from Monster" rule.

Lets assume a nice CR 5 monster, so DC 15....which is very very doable for even a 1st level character. So lets say your 3rd level party defeats a CR 5 (which is not all that hard), that is 15 x 5 = 75 GP as a baseline. But players will throw everything they can at this, help actions, spells, guidance, etc etc. So more like a 20 x5 = 100 GP, even 125 GP is not out of the question. If you are playing "standard gold", that is actually quite a lot of money at those lower levels. It doesn't necessarily need to be changed just keep in mind that when you say certain monsters can be harvested, your adding a good bit of money to the players coffers.
That's a good point. I might have to dial back on this a bit, possibly having the value be in silver pieces instead of gold. I've often wished that silver was the standard currency; maybe now's a good time to start? That seems a bit too weak, though. I might need to just feel this out over a couple of gaming sessions, and see how it goes.

You could probably just add a line like "except for features that explicitly happen after the roll," as there are a few of these. I do like the idea of rolling the dice being a commitment to the action.
I like that a lot. Nice and succinct.

I would also ask how you use Inspiration.
I reward players Inspiration for bringing snacks/beverages to the game: if you brought enough to share, you get Inspiration. They also get Inspiration for playing out their Personality Traits, like always.

The player must state that they are going to use inspiration on their attack roll, saving throw, or ability check prior to rolling (just as they must call that they are going to use the Help action or the guidance cantrip before rolling). Same for Bardic Inspiration: the player must state that they wish to use Bardic Inspiration on a roll beforehand, and they roll both the d20 and the Inspiration die at the same time.

I appreciate everyone's input.

I hope it's clear that these Dice Etiquette rules aren't me trying to play "Ha, gotcha!" with the players. The goal is to keep the player from slowing the game down, fiddling around with the math and trying to engineer their rolls. "Did I pass? How about now? How about now? How about now?" I mean, everyone hates it when other players do this...right?
 
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Garmorn

Explorer
For looting of monsters, you might also want to check out Monster Loot that is on DMG. It not only helps set prices but has rules for looting and how to use some of the loot. It might not be exactly what you want but it does have some good ideals to use.
 


AnotherGuy

Adventurer
Love the rules for rolling abilities & hit points and how every encounter is not level-balanced.

And people claim there isn't a One-True-Way. Pffft
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Rolling Completes the Action
Once you roll the dice, it's too late for the Help action, the Guidance cantrip, Inspiration, or anything else along those lines unless the spell, action, or ability explicitly says otherwise. No retcons, no arguments, no exceptions, not even for the Dungeon Master. Once we roll, we're done.
Just to verify, all of the various things that don't get applied until after you see the roll, or specificall know if the results were a success or failure still happen, correct?

For example, Bardic Inspiration you can add after you see the roll. Shield spell trigger is on a Hit, so it can not be used until after the roll and then may retroactively modify the success of the result.

I'm taking this as it's the cut-off for things that need to be done before the action, like everything your list, not for things that are supposed to happen after the roll.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Mythic Materials
Items with a simple numerical enchantment, like a +1 longsword or a +2 shield, aren't "magical" in the traditional sense. They get their enhancement bonus from the materials they are made from. Since they are not considered "magic items," they do not detect as magical and they can be destroyed by certain spells and effects, but they are not deactivated by an anti-magic field. They can be purchased in certain places, but they are considered luxury items or works of art (and are priced accordingly).

A +1 item is an item made from mithril titanite, darkwood, or chitin. A +2 item is an item that was made from adamantine, ironwood, or moonstone. And so forth. Keep your eyes peeled for rare materials while you are exploring the deeper caves and forests of the world, and make friends with NPCs who have the skill to work with them.
How does this interact with Resistances to non-magic weapons? Does +1 and +2 weapons bypass them, or do some creatures get a lot more fearsome to weapon wielders while not for casters (and 6th level monks)?
 

aco175

Legend
I have been allowing for average HP if the player rolls less than that. I tend to have more fighting that some and also give the monsters more HP.

I like having healing potions heal 10points or max. It may make it a better option to take one if you give up your action to do something else. I have changed my take on potions as counting as using an action to having them be a bonus action. Few in my game were using them and they kept piling up, or saved until after the encounter.
 

hopeless

Adventurer
Do you allow masterwork weapons and armour?
A weapon only gives a +1 to either attack or damage not both, whilst armour merely removes the disadvantage effect as if it was mithral or titanite as long as its medium or heavy type armour?

How are you going to handle the heirloom part?

For example say one character has a moonblade that when sheathed has the form and size of a dagger, but when drawn extends to either size of a shot sword or long sword its easier to carry.

Would that count as a suitable heirloom magical item despite not being on that Table B?

Knowing your players will they come up with their own ideas for a heirloom item?
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
I like having healing potions heal 10points or max. It may make it a better option to take one if you give up your action to do something else. I have changed my take on potions as counting as using an action to having them be a bonus action. Few in my game were using them and they kept piling up, or saved until after the encounter.
A DM in one of the games I am playing allows us to drink a potion of healing as a bonus action and you roll the 2d4+2 as normal. But if you take a full action to drink it (or drink it out of combat), you get the full 10 hit points back. His explanation being that quickly drinking a potion is going to be tricky and you may spill/dribble and not get the full benefit. I think he took this (in whole or in part) from Critical Role.
 

aco175

Legend
A DM in one of the games I am playing allows us to drink a potion of healing as a bonus action and you roll the 2d4+2 as normal. But if you take a full action to drink it (or drink it out of combat), you get the full 10 hit points back. His explanation being that quickly drinking a potion is going to be tricky and you may spill/dribble and not get the full benefit. I think he took this (in whole or in part) from Critical Role.
Love this idea and using it now, well Wednesday night at the game. What would be a good option for the other potions like giant strength, flying, or heroism. I was thinking 10-15 minutes? Either would work since at that point it may be more of a single encounter potion. Rolling a d6x10minutes could be ok, but I would want something simpler.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
How does this interact with Resistances to non-magic weapons? Does +1 and +2 weapons bypass them, or do some creatures get a lot more fearsome to weapon wielders while not for casters (and 6th level monks)?
No, it doesn't bypass magical resistance (since they aren't magical, they are just really high-quality.) Powerful/mythical creatures would require more than just something you can buy in a shop.

I should add that those monsters will still be just as fearsome as always, no more and no less. The rules for purchasing magic items is optional in the DMG, and I opt not to use them. So i's not that magical weapons don't exist at all...just that the party can't purchase them.

Just to verify, all of the various things that don't get applied until after you see the roll, or specificall know if the results were a success or failure still happen, correct?

For example, Bardic Inspiration you can add after you see the roll. Shield spell trigger is on a Hit, so it can not be used until after the roll and then may retroactively modify the success of the result.

I'm taking this as it's the cut-off for things that need to be done before the action, like everything your list, not for things that are supposed to happen after the roll.
Yeah, that's the intent of the "Dice Etiquette" section. Call the complete action, then roll. Certain specific game mechanics will let you add to the dice roll after it's rolled, and that's fine (and I forgot that Bardic Inspiration is one of them...we don't have a bard, so I tend to forget about them).

But really the point here is to keep the game moving forward. I don't want the players trying to figure out what number they need to meet and then spending 5-10 minutes trying to find ways to add dice to every roll that doesn't meet it. I would rather keep everyone's minds in the story and away from the numbers.
 

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