D&D 5E Ten House Rules for More Dynamic 5E Combat


No rule is inviolate
So does 5e, since creatures (including allied creatures) are sources of cover. Unless you have Sharpshooter, you need a good angle or your allies will grant your enemies half cover, which increases their effective AC against you by 2.

I just use the Hitting Cover optional rule from the DMG. If you miss a shot that would have hit if the target’s AC if they didn’t have cover, you hit the source of cover. Which basically means you’ve got a 10% chance of hitting your allies when shooting into melee without a clear angle.
Yeah, I apply these, including the DMG rule, and haven't house-ruled (yet). Firing at grappling targets might be the one thing I house rule.

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Moderator Emeritus
Move those monsters.

They are not going to live long anyway. Move them and take the OPs, what are you saving HP for anyway?

Definitely! If I ever get to that operational philosophy article that I find a lot harder to write, moving monsters and risking OAs is a big one and part of "model the actions you want players to try."

The first time a player has his character pushed back into a pile of barrels that then come crashing down on
them if they don't make a simple Dex saving throw their eyes light up.


Moderator Emeritus
Allies, cover, and ranged combat is a strange one. I think the author maybe doesn’t realize that creatures (including allies) are already sources of half cover by RAW in 5e, and/or that half cover increases a target’s effective AC by 2. This accomplishes the same thing as their proposed house-rule in terms of making shooting into melee more difficult, without conflicting with ad-hoc advantage and disadvantage (which, again, I think is just best practice rather than a house rule).

Sure I know that, but two characters engaged in melee may still cause a shooter to have to carefully gauge their shot to not hit an ally even if that ally is not technically providing cover.


Moderator Emeritus
If flanking switched to a bonus, say a flat +2 or +1d4, it would get rid of half of those issues.

The article even suggests the former if you think Advantage is too generous! But I've used it for a few years now and it has been fine - so mileage may vary.


Moderator Emeritus
I don’t think ad hoc advantage and disadvantage is a house rule. Giving circumstantial advantage and disadvantage more often is definitely good advice for encouraging more dynamic combat, but it’s well within the purview of RAW.

You're right in that I was stretching the definition of "house rule" there. "House style" might be a more accurate description in terms of applying it generously and modeling it for players who then try to make their own suggesions.

I will say, this and all my house rules, are always based on having reasonable and communicative players, not on the lowest common denominator of who might look for ways to exploit a loophole.

A lot of people seem to forget the ranged cover rule. I'm a big fan of including it for firing into melee for sure.

Also, squeezing is in thd DMG as area few other things. Do these count as house rules?

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
- Instead of Flanking, I go for Overwhelming, meaning you gain +1 damage per melee attacker engaged against a single foe over 1 (+1 for 2 attackers, +2 for 3 attackers etc).

- I'm thinking of bringing back AoO on any creature living a a threatened square (anything within weapon range). Creature can take a complete Attack action on a AoO, not just a single attack.

- Casting spells and ranged attacks within 5 of a melee foe provoke an AoO (no more: ''ah sucker, I'll just use a save spell instead!). Make use of that Disengage action and melee spells.

- Minions use the lesser amount of HP possible for their HDs. On a hit +5, you can instakill a minion.

- An Elite creature use full HP and gain extra 1 action and 1 reaction per turn.

- A Colossal or Unique creature is generally segmented in multiple parts, each with their own action allotment.

- Shooting a creature engaged in melee is made against 1/2 cover if the creature is the same seize or smaller than its melee attackers.

- Ranged attacks range in dim light is halved.

This is a general problem with 5e not having enough levers to provide bonuses outside of advantage
Or a strength of the system. I don't like fiddle. I prefer smooth and streamlined combat. I honestly don't care about a +/-10% accuracy when making random d20 rolls.
I would prefer to use hexes. I can't figure out why that hasn't been widely adopted. (My own players didn't like it much, for reasons none would say.)
Because most buildings are rectangular?


Because most buildings are rectangular?
You can draw rectangles on a hex grid fairly easily if you know the trick, but it's obviously not as easy as on a square grid. Most people don't consider the extra work to be worth the effort, which I get. When I played IRL I'd use a hex grid, but Roll20 doesn't snap the correct way on a hex, making drawing difficult.

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