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D&D 5E What are some Rules misunderstandings that turned into houserules in your game?

Stalker0

Legend
Every DM misunderstands the rules from time to time, and so starts playing the game a certain way. Sometimes once you realize your mistake, you correct it...but other times you like the "mistake" and decide to keep it. What are some of yours?

For me I have a couple:
  • Grapple and Trip are allowed on a Opportunity Attack. So technically it requires an attack action to swap out attacks for things like grapple and trip, which I didn't realize at first. But I found that it was the start of getting my players to use those mechanics more often, and now they really enjoy trying to grapple the bad guy as he runs away sort of thing...so I kept it.
  • You can reduce falling damage by half the result of an Acrobatics check. To this day I still don't know where I got this idea from, but for a long while I thought it was in the core book. Once I realized the mistake....I like having this nice core use for Acrobatics and my players seem to enjoy it, so I kept it in.
 

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Voadam

Legend
You can reduce falling damage by half the result of an Acrobatics check. To this day I still don't know where I got this idea from, but for a long while I thought it was in the core book. Once I realized the mistake....I like having this nice core use for Acrobatics and my players seem to enjoy it, so I kept it in.
In the 4e PH, page 181:
"Reduce Falling Damage (Trained Only) If you fall or jump down from a height, you can make an Acrobatics check to reduce the amount of falling damage you take.
Reduce Falling Damage: Free action if you fall or a move action if you jump down.
✦ Damage Reduced: Make an Acrobatics check, and reduce the amount of falling damage you take by one-half your check result (round down)."
 

Stalker0

Legend
In the 4e PH, page 181:
"Reduce Falling Damage (Trained Only) If you fall or jump down from a height, you can make an Acrobatics check to reduce the amount of falling damage you take.
Reduce Falling Damage: Free action if you fall or a move action if you jump down.
✦ Damage Reduced: Make an Acrobatics check, and reduce the amount of falling damage you take by one-half your check result (round down)."

Aha! So more an old rule than a house rule.
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
There's some evidence linear falling damage in D&D was originally supposed to be quadratic (as makes more sense from the physics point of view) but this was misinterpreted and the rule stuck.
 


Voadam

Legend
There's some evidence linear falling damage in D&D was originally supposed to be quadratic (as makes more sense from the physics point of view) but this was misinterpreted and the rule stuck.
I implemented that as a house rule a lot.

It goes well with my real life fear of heights and how in Voadam's brain projection fantasy world falling is very scary. 🙂

It also means you don't need a 50 foot deep pit to do the damage of an OD&D-3.5 minimum caster level fireball.

Most falls in D&D usually come down to 10 to 20 feet anyway or are in the ridiculously high up category.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
Every DM misunderstands the rules from time to time, and so starts playing the game a certain way. Sometimes once you realize your mistake, you correct it...but other times you like the "mistake" and decide to keep it. What are some of yours?

For me I have a couple:
  • Grapple and Trip are allowed on a Opportunity Attack. So technically it requires an attack action to swap out attacks for things like grapple and trip, which I didn't realize at first. But I found that it was the start of getting my players to use those mechanics more often, and now they really enjoy trying to grapple the bad guy as he runs away sort of thing...so I kept it.
  • You can reduce falling damage by half the result of an Acrobatics check. To this day I still don't know where I got this idea from, but for a long while I thought it was in the core book. Once I realized the mistake....I like having this nice core use for Acrobatics and my players seem to enjoy it, so I kept it in.
I actually wanted to add grapple and trip as opportunity attacks.

How does it work for you? Any memorable moments?
 

Stormonu

Legend
  • Grapple and Trip are allowed on a Opportunity Attack. So technically it requires an attack action to swap out attacks for things like grapple and trip, which I didn't realize at first. But I found that it was the start of getting my players to use those mechanics more often, and now they really enjoy trying to grapple the bad guy as he runs away sort of thing...so I kept it.
Apparently, I've been using this "house rule" since day one.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I actually wanted to add grapple and trip as opportunity attacks.

How does it work for you? Any memorable moments?
Tons. Just last night we had a big one.

So when the big villain was revealed (this was a one shot game), he threw down the corpse of his nemesis, one of the previous heroes from the last one shot I ran.

During the fight (which was in a high up clock tower), one of the party members turned the body into a ghoul. Well I couldn't have it be just any ghoul (as it was a former player character), so it was the undead form of the hero back to action!

The main villain was tossed into a cloudkill, and the ghoul leaped after him. Just as the villain was moving to get out, the ghoul managed to grapple him (using the house rule), pulling him back in the cloud. A round later, as the villain had gotten further beat up, a big hole in the wall had opened up. The villain was about to throw down, so the Hero Ghoul pulled him cinematically up to his face, shouted out "I'll meet you in hell!" and hurled them both through the hole and off the ledge (using the half move rule of grappling). Hero and Villain died together, with rip roaring applause!
 



amethal

Adventurer
Aha! So more an old rule than a house rule.
You can also make an Acrobatics check in Pathfinder to reduce falling damage, although it only allows you to treat the fall as 10 feet shorter; presumably Tumble did the same in 3rd edition D&D.

As I understand it, there's nothing to stop a 5th edition DM allowing something similar, since the "skills" are not really defined any more, so I wouldn't even call it a houserule.
 

Oldtimer

Great Old One
Publisher
There's some evidence linear falling damage in D&D was originally supposed to be quadratic (as makes more sense from the physics point of view).
No, it doesn't. The kinetic energy at impact is directly proportional to the initial height (disregarding air resistance).

To answer the question in the OP, when we started with OD&D, we didn't realise that a magic-user has limited spell slots. We assumed that if you knew Magic Missile, you could cast it every turn. We played it like that for years.
 

Voadam

Legend
To answer the question in the OP, when we started with OD&D, we didn't realise that a magic-user has limited spell slots. We assumed that if you knew Magic Missile, you could cast it every turn. We played it like that for years.

I always disliked the resource management aspects and thought this would have been a great way to go if spells had not been so powerful in damage compared to weapons. It would also mean that a flavor spell would be more likely to be prepared and used if it did not take up a precious limited combat resource.
 

Nat 1's and 20's being auto-fails/passes on saving throws. It's swingier, but some people really like that and facing a save you can't possibly pass isn't fun.

The edge cases where it works against players (casters heavily invested in concentration) are specific enough to get specific exceptions (I usually recommend it as an added feature of Warcaster - the damage needs to exceed your con save bonus to require a save at all.)
 

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