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5E Weirdest House Rules You've Encountered in the Wild

Fauchard1520

Explorer
Have you ever joined a new group only to discover that "they're playing wrong?" I'm talking about fundamental misreading of mechanics, bizarre ad-hoc rulings, and the kind of homebrew the belongs only in the darkest depths of the SRD.

What was the rule? Did it ruin your experience, or did it turn out to be fun despite its apparent weirdness?

Comic for illustrative purposes.
 

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monsmord

Explorer
Maybe two to contribute.

Leomund's Tiny Hut was somehow an extra-dimensional space akin to a bag of holding, but the size of a hut. Not large enough for our steeds, but we pretty much put everything else in there. That's how they (the older gamers) described it to me, and how they played it, and I didn't look it up on my own for quite a while. Apparently they hadn't, either. Encumbrance? What's encumbrance?

And for some reason all new characters got to roll for a random magic item (some high-level stuff, too) and a mutant ability. Yep, a mutant ability.

Oh, the early 80s. Adorable.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Monks take no damage on a save. This was my 20 minute game back in 1E. Monks if they were within so many feet of a wall, could save vs DEATH. On a save, they took no falling damage. These people gleefully ruled as ALL damage. So THOR could smite them for 100 HP and they took no damage.
 

I don't know if it qualifies as a houserule, but when I was in high school, some friends of mine believed that weapons made of charcoal were the only appropriate weapons for fighting demons.

I still don't know where that one came from...
Maybe somehow related to the notion of how certain things were effective against certain things.

Salt was seen as an effective ward/counter against evil spirits/monsters or something. Black Ritual Salt, or Witches Salt as its called, has a mixture of Charcoal in it. And it is used as a ward/protection against evil forces or bad juju.

The idea of Salt(Black) Weapons being like Cold Iron, in regards to being used against demons, seems a cool idea.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Maybe somehow related to the notion of how certain things were effective against certain things.

Salt was seen as an effective ward/counter against evil spirits/monsters or something. Black Ritual Salt, or Witches Salt as its called, has a mixture of Charcoal in it. And it is used as a ward/protection against evil forces or bad juju.

The idea of Salt(Black) Weapons being like Cold Iron, in regards to being used against demons, seems a cool idea.
I do a lot of stuff like that in my games. Salt, the ash of certain trees, the ash of sapient people or certain animals or monsters, a banished Angel leaves a dust residue, as does a banished fiend (though different), etc.

Lots of sympathetic ritual magic, tying symbolic associations to magical effects. Bind a vampire by making a circle of salt and Control Water a circle of running water around that.

I’ve considered even doing things like making it harder to keep magic going in heavy rain, grounding a caster’s magic out by pushing them into running water, etc. spells that last for hours require a check to maintain past sunrise.

Basically, the world and your magic are inseparable.
 


DemoMonkey

Explorer
"I'm not sure how this is a house rule... can you elaborate?"

As I recall, In first and second edition, a backstab (that's what it was called) only worked when you actually attacked an opponent from behind who was completely unaware of your presence. So doing it multiple times in a combat was very uncommon without magic items or very special circumstance.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Weirdest house rule I ever encountered had nothing to do with a misread or any poorly understood rule. But PCs could attack the DM and, if they killed him, the campaign was over. The players could also award the DM XPs for particularly good encounters or sessions and the DM could gain levels (making him harder to kill and thus end the campaign).
 

commandercrud

Adventurer
Weirdest house rule I ever encountered had nothing to do with a misread or any poorly understood rule. But PCs could attack the DM and, if they killed him, the campaign was over. The players could also award the DM XPs for particularly good encounters or sessions and the DM could gain levels (making him harder to kill and thus end the campaign).
So he was a character like in the cartoon?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Weirdest house rule I ever encountered had nothing to do with a misread or any poorly understood rule. But PCs could attack the DM and, if they killed him, the campaign was over. The players could also award the DM XPs for particularly good encounters or sessions and the DM could gain levels (making him harder to kill and thus end the campaign).
I've disagreed with my DM now and then, but never enough to actually kill them! :oops:
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Weirdest house rule I ever encountered had nothing to do with a misread or any poorly understood rule. But PCs could attack the DM and, if they killed him, the campaign was over. The players could also award the DM XPs for particularly good encounters or sessions and the DM could gain levels (making him harder to kill and thus end the campaign).
That’s actually pretty cool. What were the DM’s stats like to begin with?
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest
That’s actually pretty cool. What were the DM’s stats like to begin with?

The DM started at 1st level and had some single hit die worth of hit points, but that's all I remember of the specifics. Players who wanted the campaign to continue could defend the DM by parrying the attack and, if successful, the DM survived and the campaign continued.
 

Had a weird group that had "bod-e-man," that were amorphous humanoid beings with 1 HP and could not attack in any way. The PCs could just pick them up and they would periodically die off. They served no real purpose, except to ignore encumbrance. Of course players, being players, starting figuring out ways to use them to great advantage without them ever officially making an "attack." For example, the tinker gnome made the equivalent of a steamroller that could be driven by a bod-e-man because avoiding the damage was a saving throw, not an attack. When we got a lot of them, they became "trapfinders," leading the party down into the dungeons. The DM greatly regretted the incorporation of the bod-e-man, but his brother adamantly forced him to keep them for the campaign (this was in high school).
 

Odd house rules: When you went down a level (in a dungeon) you automatically went up a level (in character). Which isn't the odd part.

The odd part is that the reverse was also true.
That always killed me when a video game did that. I don't know how I'd be able to deal with something like that in a Pen and Paper rpg.
 

Guang

Explorer
A player could use half of his accumulated lifetime XP and gold, and half of everything else he had, to begin to create a setting of his own. Once the setting was completed, he got all of his XP and gold and such back again.
 


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