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Poll: What's your level of rules modification?

What's your typical level of rules modification?

  • By the book. Only.

    Votes: 3 5.6%
  • By the book, plus other official sources.

    Votes: 9 16.7%
  • A house rule or two.

    Votes: 27 50.0%
  • A subsystem, like a magic, combat, or skills overhaul.

    Votes: 8 14.8%
  • Extensive house rules and modules.

    Votes: 15 27.8%
  • I make new games.

    Votes: 7 13.0%
  • Bonus: I use only my own mods.

    Votes: 4 7.4%
  • Bonus: I use mine and/or 3rd party mods.

    Votes: 10 18.5%

  • Total voters


Guide of Modos
Let's find out how ENworld feels about new rules! This poll applies to game masters and players. I suppose the latter would be voting on what they would propose for their game or would just like to see in their game. If your answer is, "well, it depends..." then choose your most common/frequent situation.

You get two votes for this poll. Please use your second vote on a "bonus" choice. If your choice was "by the book, only" then the bonus choices don't apply to you (please use only one vote).

Comments are open for sheer madness. But you can also let us know about the mods you use, and why your vote wasn't higher/lower on the list.

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A house rule or two (or three), but when it's my turn to DM next I'm going to try out a sub-skills system, so i went with "A subsystem, like a magic, combat, or skills overhaul." I wouldn't call my subskill thing an overhaul, but it's more than a houserule, I think.

I've only changed a fairly few rules. I do, however, have a few subsystems that I've ported in from elsewhere to try to beef up exploration in particular.

John Dallman

For me, it depends on the game system. The games I mostly play are
  • GURPS 4e, which you're expected to customise to some degree, mostly by leaving stuff out. I don't add much to the rules, because I find the default assumptions comfortable.
  • AD&D1e, where everyone I know changes a few things (not pre-selecting spells, for example), and I use one DM's initiative system, another's non-weapon proficiencies, character classes collected from all sorts of places, and so on.


Small God of the Dozens
I'm a bricolage guy. How much I tweak depends on the system and my desired outcome. Sometimes I'll run bog standard, other times Ill hack it until it fits. I use the tools at hand to esure the play outcome I'm looking for.


We try to play be the rules, but some of the old 4e/3e rules come through. There may be a few house rules depending on how we play.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I run by the rules. I allow from official sources basically, and am more than willing to make it just a subset to fit the setting/theme/feel. I will occasionally allow specific targeted UA. For example, a beastmaster ranger in my current game is using the UA Class Features options for animal companion.

I can use a couple of official variants, and occasionally have house rules. For example, my house rules in one game I'm running currently are (and the other games I'm running have less):

Rest variant
Rests assume some level of comfort and safety. They may not occur just because you sleep or take lunch.
Reason: This is primarily during exploration parts of this particular campaign, to fit encounter pacing rules. I can have what would be one day in a dungeon crawl spread over three weeks of an exploratrion in unknown jungles and both have the same number of rests. Just to divorce the pacing from timekeeping to make travel/exploration times reasonable without impacting game mechanics. Inspired by Adventures in Middle Earth, where in the Journey phase you don't get long rests at all except if at a sanctuary like Elrond's

Declare Inspiration after seeing the roll. If thematic, you can give someone your Inspiration if they need it. Players give out inspiration (I have a group I trust and they don't abuse this.)
Reason: Make Inspiration meaningful by not having it useless if the roll doesn't need it.. Help players remember it by making it retroactive - when they rolled a 6 on a CON save is when they remember . Don't have to keep track of five traits times six players to give it out.


Victoria Rules
"I make new games" doesn't apply because I'm using an existing game as a framework, but as there's no "I slowly rewrite the whole game" option I had to vote for extensive houserules. :)

For the bonus question, I include "my friends" as part of "my" options as to me 3pp means something commercial and-or much more remote; yet not all my game's modifications are my own.

Li Shenron

I feel lonely being the only 'by the book' vote...

We're 2 now.

I am not sure what counts as "other official sources". We have Volo's but that's just extra creatures, not rules, so I think it doesn't count. I may or may not use Sage Advice.

Other than that, no evident rules modifications to the PHB, but it has to be noted that 5e has some areas where different interpretations of the RAW are possible. I may adopt a couple of interpretations which don't match the majority of gaming groups but they are still not rules modifications.

There are also "house rules" which establish social behaviour that the books don't cover (e.g. what to do with an absent player, or intra-party conflict) , but I don't think they are what the poll intends.

If you count these ones as well as interpretations of incomplete or conflicting book rules as "house rules", then it is technically impossible to play without house rules.

I see rules as a contract...
So when I do use a house rule, I make note in my player handouts.
My preference is for official variants, rather than my own, and my own more than a 3rd party's mods. But I won't hesitate in a home game to make a one or two mods.

Jd Smith1

I run it RAW, but as I get comfortable with the system through actual play, I start tweaking and reforming, pasting in bits of other systems, and in general making it into something that I feel is best suited to my group. I keep a campaign site with all house rules set out on it.


(he, him)
My PF1 houserule document has twelve bullet pointed general-purpose houserules (not counting stuff like clarification for gestalt when that is in use, and notes on using content from 3.5, which take up a couple more pages). Other systems will have a similar number or slightly fewer (4e has three IIRC). I do not have any houserules yet for PF2, but it will probably acrete a few as time goes on.

This does not include setting-specific rules. It also does not include homebrew content, of which I have created quite a lot over the years.

EDIT: Meant to say, I am not sure where this falls on the poll.

Last edited:

It's a bit odd for me. The first time I play a game, it's RAW, because you can't tell if something is wrong until you actually experience it. Afterwards I'll houserule based on what's needed. This can be extensive, but I've found that more often than not the work outweighs the actual benefit.

Of course, I have taken some games and made a new edition for them. I was working on my own D&D Next during the playtest, just in case the official one sucked (there were a LOT of great ideas in the playtest, but many didn't make it in). I also did a version of Legends of the Five Rings after 3E because it just wasn't working for us. In both cases they were abandoned once a better version came out.

I would like to hear more about this, if you don't mind.
I'd have to go through my notes to get the details. The one for L5R might be gone forever, because that was 2 computers ago. The general idea I went with for D&D was:

  • characters start at level 3, unless playing apprentice characters
    • Class abilities are much slower, such as warrior classes only getting light armor at level 1, medium armor at level 2, and heavy armor at level 3. This was to prevent level dips granting huge benefits.
  • starting in a class gives you a +1 towards the primary attribute of the class
  • saving throws were balanced among all 6 abilities, rather than the strong 3/weak 3 we have now
  • Non-spellcasters had dice they could use for various activities , similar to the battlemaster but refreshed every round. Each class had a specific die type and set of uses, which replaced many classic class features (smite, rage, sneak attack, etc).
  • There were no cantrips, but spellcasters got a lot more spell slots for lower level spells, turning them essentially into cantrips

Some of these ideas were better than 5E, while some were worse, but in the end 5E was an overall better fit.


Guide of Modos
"I slowly rewrite the whole game"
House-ruling can be a slippery slope, no?

There's not a lot of middle ground for me. If I find that I want to use several house rules to create a certain feel, it suggests that, really, the whole game needs to be replaced by a new game or a different, more harmonious game. So my vote sort of averages out to Extensive House Rules and Modules. I'd be happy to just plug in a new module/subsystem if the other parts of the game didn't need any tinkering.

Halloween Horror For 5E