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D&D 5E Optional or homebrew rules

I'm considering the following changes to the rules in an impending Dark Sun (apocalyptical desert world) campaign using a homebrew conversion. Wondering if anyone has already done any of this and seen success, failure, or something in between.

Feats: Prohibited - Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Master, & Racial Feats (Xanathar’s Guide). Errata: Lucky applies after you pick the die for advantage or disadvantage, not before. I've seen significant criticism of the first two feats, though no one in 5 years of play has ever taken them in my groups. Dark Sun doesn't fit the traditional racial feats, so I'm removing them for flavor, not game design, and Lucky comes from the Crawford RAI replies.

Hit Points: rolled after 1st level. You may reroll once but must accept the 2nd roll, even if lower. HP rolling can affect how you design and play your character.

Healing: slow natural healing variant from DMG. Instead of regaining all HP at end of a long rest, you spend Hit Dice. With a grittier setting, wanted grittier healing, which I hope will lead to more creative ideas when approaching a situation. I fear D&D's design may encourage players to simply assume "kill everything" is the way to go, whereas AD&D, which had substantial penalties for dying and numerous creatures and spells with "instant kill" features, would lead players away from "kill everything" mentalities and towards innovative solutions to avoid battle, when possible.

Critical Hits: maximum damage on the base weapon dice. One of the most popular homebrews out there.

Tougher Resurrection: the [edit] Mercer homebrew or the AD&D table for resurrection survival % chance. Coming back from the dead should be a huge deal, and no guarantee. Colville's homebrew was a check that could be influenced by other players to convince the spirit to return.

Reach AoO: as in 3rd edition, if a creature without Reach enters the threat zone of a creature with Reach (10'+), it can take an AoO. Designed for recognizing how tough it can be to get past reach and close ranks.

Survival rules: starvation loophole closed and increasing food for medium creature to 2lbs (on Earth, a normal adult needs 3-5 lbs of food to survive, not 1).

Encumbrance: slot encumbrance sheets (using variant rule under Strength). A visual homebrew system where equipment has to fit somewhere, a pic of the body with slots for what fits in your hands, your back, etc. that matches the STR rules. You may say you've got a 10' pole, a grand piano, and 10,000 coins, but where on your body are these going to fit? So far, players love it (a player did our graphic sheet for equipment) as yeah, it makes sense and doesn't involve heavy math.

Spells: Dark Sun is a survival world, so in the default homebrew rules spells like Goodberry are banned (not sure they have mistletoe anyways) and others heavily modified. Otherwise, if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Above and beyond that:
  • Banned: Healing Spirit (Xanathar’s Guide). We tried this spell. It's absurd how much it can heal, especially if boosted to a higher slot, relative to any other healing. Off the top of my head I'm not sure I've seen a more unbalanced spell.
  • Altered: Conjure spells may only create 1 or 2 creatures, not 4 or 8. Too many creatures to track; simply a way to speed up gameplay.
  • Altered: Stoneskin requires no concentration. No one takes it. Given the non-refundable cost, Concentration seemed too high a price atop it all.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
The only one of these rules I use is the healing variant.

At lower levels, it is brutal in my experience, if players are in fights on a daily basis. Long breaks, like a week of travel with no encounters, makes it less impactful, but your players will notice the strain on their healing. As a DM, I try to keep it in mind until about level 5, simply because they can quickly end up entering every fight injured or low on spell slots.


I would also recommend allowing Potions to be drank as a bonus action. In my experience, no one uses potions in combat because they are poor action economy, and with low duration on some of them (such as lasting only a minute) they won't get used before most combats either, leading to them just being forgotten. Using a potion on another player is still an action though.
 

Sadras

Hero
Survival rules: starvation loophole closed and increasing food for medium creature to 2lbs (on Earth, a normal adult needs 3-5 lbs of food to survive, not 1).

I like the increased food requirement but what loophole exists? I haven't checked it out.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I like the increased food requirement but what loophole exists? I haven't checked it out.

The rules have some issues.

You need 1 lb of food per day. 1/2 lb counts as missing half a day.

You can go without any food for 3+con mod days, only gaining exhaustion if you go over that point.

A normal day of eating resets the counter back to zero.

So a person with +2 con mod can go five days without eating, eat a single pound of food, then go another five days without eating with no penalty.
 

Feats: Prohibited - Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Master, & Racial Feats (Xanathar’s Guide). Errata: Lucky applies after you pick the die for advantage or disadvantage, not before. I've seen significant criticism of the first two feats, though no one in 5 years of play has ever taken them in my groups. Dark Sun doesn't fit the traditional racial feats, so I'm removing them for flavor, not game design, and Lucky comes from the Crawford RAI replies.

We've been using SS and GWM for quite some time, and while I think SS is slightly OP (I double short range and reduce cover penalty by 2), we've not had any real issue with them. Unless a character has a regular way of gaining advantage, the chance of a miss is significant except against well known low AC creatures (many of which have very high HP). I see nothing wrong with removing them, I just wanted to give another view on them. IMO they are the gold standard of what feats SHOULD be to make up for the loss of +2 to your primary ability score, which is the assumed opportunity cost to take a feat.

Tougher Resurrection: the Colville homebrew or the AD&D table for resurrection survival % chance. Coming back from the dead should be a huge deal, and no guarantee. Colville's homebrew was a check that could be influenced by other players to convince the spirit to return.

I tried to get my group to use something like this, and the backlash was severe. Many players hate the idea of permanent, unrecoverable death. With so many resurrection spells, this is very uncommon once the party hits about level 5, so your players may push back against this.

Reach AoO: as in 3rd edition, if a creature without Reach enters the threat zone of a creature with Reach (10'+), it can take an AoO. Designed for recognizing how tough it can be to get past reach and close ranks.
If you're going to do this, you might as well ban Polearm Master, since that's one of its primary features.

  • Banned: Healing Spirit (Xanathar’s Guide). We tried this spell. It's absurd how much it can heal, especially if boosted to a higher slot, relative to any other healing. Off the top of my head I'm not sure I've seen a more unbalanced spell.
Yeah, this was a wtf spell. When used in combat, it's perfectly fine, but outside of combat it's stupid powerful. I tried to find a way to balance it, and I just couldn't do it.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Yeah, this was a wtf spell. When used in combat, it's perfectly fine, but outside of combat it's stupid powerful. I tried to find a way to balance it, and I just couldn't do it.

I haven't had any issues with it myself. Generally just letting it affect a single person at a time instead of the whole party helps a lot.
 

I haven't had any issues with it myself. Generally just letting it affect a single person at a time instead of the whole party helps a lot.
Yeah, that kinda works. It heals about 35 HP over 1 minute as opposed to about 51 HP over 10 minutes with Prayer of Healing. Upcasting benefits PoH more (1d8 vs. 1d6), but the 10 minute casting time makes up for it.
 

I have got some own homebrew rules.

Allegiances can be combined with aligment, even when they may opposite (for example a sheriff who breaks rules to defend the law (chaotic align + law alleg.) or a zealot, with evil alignm but good alleg.) and powers can hurt enemies with same alignment but different allegiance (for example a drow cleric vs a orc shaman).

And I have added two new abilities scores: Acuity (perception + astuteness) and spirit (courage, but also hope, faith, and maybe karma/luck/fate/guardian angel/divine grace).
 

We've been using SS and GWM for quite some time, and while I think SS is slightly OP (I double short range and reduce cover penalty by 2), we've not had any real issue with them...

Good points. I have zero experience with these feats. I may be overreacting to posts justifying it as overpowered.

...Many players hate the idea of permanent, unrecoverable death....

Another good point. It's fun to have a roll...until it doesn't go in your favor.


Yeah, this was a wtf spell. When used in combat, it's perfectly fine, but outside of combat it's stupid powerful. I tried to find a way to balance it, and I just couldn't do it.

The player who wanted to use it is new (less than 1 year to D&D) and even he knew it sounded a bit powerful. He asked if we should nerf it. We tried Crawford's suggestion (# of dice healed = 2x Wisdom modifier), but even then, when boosted a level, it insanely outpaced any other healing spell.
 

Feats: Prohibited - Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Master, & Racial Feats (Xanathar’s Guide). Errata: Lucky applies after you pick the die for advantage or disadvantage, not before. I've seen significant criticism of the first two feats, though no one in 5 years of play has ever taken them in my groups. Dark Sun doesn't fit the traditional racial feats, so I'm removing them for flavor, not game design, and Lucky comes from the Crawford RAI replies.
Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master are considered more powerful than many other feats for martial characters. However martial characters with those feats are not considered overpowered compared to spellcaster characters.

Healing: slow natural healing variant from DMG. Instead of regaining all HP at end of a long rest, you spend Hit Dice. With a grittier setting, wanted grittier healing, which I hope will lead to more creative ideas when approaching a situation. I fear D&D's design may encourage players to simply assume "kill everything" is the way to go, whereas AD&D, which had substantial penalties for dying and numerous creatures and spells with "instant kill" features, would lead players away from "kill everything" mentalities and towards innovative solutions to avoid battle, when possible.
This will increase emphasis on magical healing. It will also considerably increase the power of arcane-type spellcaster characters.
(Due to martials tending to take damage more, so their resources (HP) as well as healer-type characters' spell slots being depleted more by this style of play. It will encourage more common long-resting, which will seriously increase the relative power of non-healer spellcasters.)

Tougher Resurrection: the Colville homebrew or the AD&D table for resurrection survival % chance. Coming back from the dead should be a huge deal, and no guarantee. Colville's homebrew was a check that could be influenced by other players to convince the spirit to return.
Is Revivify included?

Survival rules: starvation loophole closed and increasing food for medium creature to 2lbs (on Earth, a normal adult needs 3-5 lbs of food to survive, not 1).
As well as removing Goodberry and similar spells, I'd suggest taking at look at and changing/banning the Outlander background.
 

Is Revivify included?
Yes, but other players can't help due to the quick cast time, and if you fail, higher magic must be used to raise them. In the Mercer homebrew (fixed the original post), it's a DC10 Resurrection check +1 per time previously raised with modifiers based on people successfully, or unsuccessfully, using skills to assist (e.g. Religion to invoke the spirits). Revivify is modified only by adding the caster's casting ability modifier.

As to survival, my DS conversion removes the Goodberry and Create Food & Water spells. Outlander definitely would need to be nerfed. Maybe advantage on survival checks to forage?
 

Yardiff

Adventurer
Question: A critical is just the damage you can roll normally? So a critical is just a time saver of 3 sec because you dont roll the damage dice?
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
The entering threat of someone with reach is one of the things I forgot about, I remembered something triggered on entering threat but couldn't remember what.

If you're going to do this, you might as well ban Polearm Master, since that's one of its primary features

There is that secondary attack, but all the problems with AoO's & 5e's well... "near complete absence" of them are a huge thorn when it comes to making various changes to 5e, it would be nice if Mearls or someone else at WotC would release a UA with meaningful AoO rules complete with class features & feats that change or get added due to uselessnes/imbalance in the old one and/or just gaping holes created that need to be filled. "I use this UA at my table" is a whole lot easier to sell than "here's a long list of houserules"
 

Question: A critical is just the damage you can roll normally? So a critical is just a time saver of 3 sec because you dont roll the damage dice?
I think the base damage dice are considered max, but you still roll the additional critical dice.
So a critical hit will always do more damage than a normal hit would.
 

Yardiff

Adventurer
I think the base damage dice are considered max, but you still roll the additional critical dice.
So a critical hit will always do more damage than a normal hit would.
That's what I thought but it wasn't clear(at least to me). I like this critical style better then just rolling and doubling or rolling 2 dice.
 

Horwath

Hero
I'm considering the following changes to the rules in an impending Dark Sun (apocalyptical desert world) campaign using a homebrew conversion. Wondering if anyone has already done any of this and seen success, failure, or something in between.

Feats: Prohibited - Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Master, & Racial Feats (Xanathar’s Guide). Errata: Lucky applies after you pick the die for advantage or disadvantage, not before. I've seen significant criticism of the first two feats, though no one in 5 years of play has ever taken them in my groups. Dark Sun doesn't fit the traditional racial feats, so I'm removing them for flavor, not game design, and Lucky comes from the Crawford RAI replies.


Nice way to get rid of -5/+10 is to remove that part and use the feat as "half-feat" with +1 str/dex

Hit Points: rolled after 1st level. You may reroll once but must accept the 2nd roll, even if lower. HP rolling can affect how you design and play your character.


I do not like randomness, but HPs are too high IMHO, I would go with +6 HP at 1st level then -2 HP per level from then on.


Healing: slow natural healing variant from DMG. Instead of regaining all HP at end of a long rest, you spend Hit Dice. With a grittier setting, wanted grittier healing, which I hope will lead to more creative ideas when approaching a situation. I fear D&D's design may encourage players to simply assume "kill everything" is the way to go, whereas AD&D, which had substantial penalties for dying and numerous creatures and spells with "instant kill" features, would lead players away from "kill everything" mentalities and towards innovative solutions to avoid battle, when possible.


Regain all hit dice, but need to spend them after long rest if you want healing.


Critical Hits: maximum damage on the base weapon dice. One of the most popular homebrews out there.



Tougher Resurrection: the [edit] Mercer homebrew or the AD&D table for resurrection survival % chance. Coming back from the dead should be a huge deal, and no guarantee. Colville's homebrew was a check that could be influenced by other players to convince the spirit to return.

+1

Reach AoO: as in 3rd edition, if a creature without Reach enters the threat zone of a creature with Reach (10'+), it can take an AoO. Designed for recognizing how tough it can be to get past reach and close ranks.

Takes away little from PAM, but I do get annoyed with people running inside someones threat range.


Survival rules: starvation loophole closed and increasing food for medium creature to 2lbs (on Earth, a normal adult needs 3-5 lbs of food to survive, not 1).

1lb of food is very correct. All travel food is dried/smoked to get all(most) of the water out of it, so calorie density is very high. I.E. Native American's pemmican is around 450-500 cal/100grams. That would yield to 2000-2250 cal per lb. Enough for a day. But you would get tired of eating it after a few days.

But, as that food is dehydrated, you need more water in waterskin(or finding it alond the way) if your food contains less.


Encumbrance: slot encumbrance sheets (using variant rule under Strength). A visual homebrew system where equipment has to fit somewhere, a pic of the body with slots for what fits in your hands, your back, etc. that matches the STR rules. You may say you've got a 10' pole, a grand piano, and 10,000 coins, but where on your body are these going to fit? So far, players love it (a player did our graphic sheet for equipment) as yeah, it makes sense and doesn't involve heavy math.


That comes down to common sense; most players will agree that it is stupid to carry several 10-20ft poles even if they are "relative" lightweight.

Spells: Dark Sun is a survival world, so in the default homebrew rules spells like Goodberry are banned (not sure they have mistletoe anyways) and others heavily modified. Otherwise, if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Above and beyond that:
  • Banned: Healing Spirit (Xanathar’s Guide). We tried this spell. It's absurd how much it can heal, especially if boosted to a higher slot, relative to any other healing. Off the top of my head I'm not sure I've seen a more unbalanced spell.
  • Altered: Conjure spells may only create 1 or 2 creatures, not 4 or 8. Too many creatures to track; simply a way to speed up gameplay.
  • Altered: Stoneskin requires no concentration. No one takes it. Given the non-refundable cost, Concentration seemed too high a price atop it all.
 

  • Altered: Stoneskin requires no concentration. No one takes it. Given the non-refundable cost, Concentration seemed too high a price atop it all.

This is a brilliant and simple fix. The spell’s cost is ridiculous when it requires concentration, but if that cost lets you bypass concentration the spell suddenly becomes an option worth considering.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Encumbrance: slot encumbrance sheets (using variant rule under Strength). A visual homebrew system where equipment has to fit somewhere, a pic of the body with slots for what fits in your hands, your back, etc. that matches the STR rules. You may say you've got a 10' pole, a grand piano, and 10,000 coins, but where on your body are these going to fit? So far, players love it (a player did our graphic sheet for equipment) as yeah, it makes sense and doesn't involve heavy math.

I haven't used any of these house rules, so I won't comment, but just wanted to say that this Encumbrance idea is quite interesting.
 

Coroc

Hero
I'm considering the following changes to the rules in an impending Dark Sun (apocalyptical desert world) campaign using a homebrew conversion. Wondering if anyone has already done any of this and seen success, failure, or something in between.

Feats: Prohibited - Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Master, & Racial Feats (Xanathar’s Guide). Errata: Lucky applies after you pick the die for advantage or disadvantage, not before. I've seen significant criticism of the first two feats, though no one in 5 years of play has ever taken them in my groups. Dark Sun doesn't fit the traditional racial feats, so I'm removing them for flavor, not game design, and Lucky comes from the Crawford RAI replies.

Hit Points: rolled after 1st level. You may reroll once but must accept the 2nd roll, even if lower. HP rolling can affect how you design and play your character.

Healing: slow natural healing variant from DMG. Instead of regaining all HP at end of a long rest, you spend Hit Dice. With a grittier setting, wanted grittier healing, which I hope will lead to more creative ideas when approaching a situation. I fear D&D's design may encourage players to simply assume "kill everything" is the way to go, whereas AD&D, which had substantial penalties for dying and numerous creatures and spells with "instant kill" features, would lead players away from "kill everything" mentalities and towards innovative solutions to avoid battle, when possible.

Critical Hits: maximum damage on the base weapon dice. One of the most popular homebrews out there.

Tougher Resurrection: the [edit] Mercer homebrew or the AD&D table for resurrection survival % chance. Coming back from the dead should be a huge deal, and no guarantee. Colville's homebrew was a check that could be influenced by other players to convince the spirit to return.

Reach AoO: as in 3rd edition, if a creature without Reach enters the threat zone of a creature with Reach (10'+), it can take an AoO. Designed for recognizing how tough it can be to get past reach and close ranks.

Survival rules: starvation loophole closed and increasing food for medium creature to 2lbs (on Earth, a normal adult needs 3-5 lbs of food to survive, not 1).

Encumbrance: slot encumbrance sheets (using variant rule under Strength). A visual homebrew system where equipment has to fit somewhere, a pic of the body with slots for what fits in your hands, your back, etc. that matches the STR rules. You may say you've got a 10' pole, a grand piano, and 10,000 coins, but where on your body are these going to fit? So far, players love it (a player did our graphic sheet for equipment) as yeah, it makes sense and doesn't involve heavy math.

Spells: Dark Sun is a survival world, so in the default homebrew rules spells like Goodberry are banned (not sure they have mistletoe anyways) and others heavily modified. Otherwise, if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Above and beyond that:
  • Banned: Healing Spirit (Xanathar’s Guide). We tried this spell. It's absurd how much it can heal, especially if boosted to a higher slot, relative to any other healing. Off the top of my head I'm not sure I've seen a more unbalanced spell.
  • Altered: Conjure spells may only create 1 or 2 creatures, not 4 or 8. Too many creatures to track; simply a way to speed up gameplay.
  • Altered: Stoneskin requires no concentration. No one takes it. Given the non-refundable cost, Concentration seemed too high a price atop it all.

Remove feats. Remove variant human. Give them player psionic talents as an option instead of ASI.
Give each player one talent at char creation. Start at third with max HP, dice thereafter with a 1 repeatable once.
Feats especially Resilience Con, SS, GWM,PAM and some others are to strong, you circumvent the DS feeling and challenges with some of these. Others like magic initiate are totally unfitting.
Remove all cleric spells higher than 5th level, cleric 6-9 use only elemental spells.

On encumbrance: use volume encumbrance, do not waste your time bookkeeping whether a char can carry one more waterskin or such. I mean 1 armor one long weapon or one onehanded and shield a short weapon and a ranged weapon.
 

I haven't used any of these house rules, so I won't comment, but just wanted to say that this Encumbrance idea is quite interesting.

Attaching what we use. One of my players offered up the "barbarian" version that follows the same rules as the PDF version but gives some versatility to fill in the blanks with what things are and where they are going. If it can't fit in a slot, no matter your STR, you can't carry it.

My table is all for it. What we're seeing now is some characters immediately ditching their backpacks if they see battle because it's slowing them down. This means they can't get to whatever is in their packs if they move away, but it adds a dimension to our game (be selective in what you take, what armor you wear, etc.)
 

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