D&D 5E What are your 5e houserules

RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
A few more house rules I’ve thought of….
  • Flanking gives advantage on attacks.
  • Wizards gain a language called Arcanic. Another language added to the game is Necral, the language of necromancers, undead, and creates of shadows.
  • Spells and abilities that allow you to read any language only work on normal text. There are ways to block access to certain written works from those that don’t fully know a particular language (Arcanic, Druidic, and Thieves Cant being common ones that get warded to prevent outsiders from reading what is written)
  • Not all diseases are curable with a restoration spell.
  • Monsters have effects that trigger when they hit the bloodied condition (half health), Some are minor effects, while some can drastically change a fight.
 

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cbwjm

Legend
A few more house rules I’ve thought of….
  • Flanking gives advantage on attacks.
  • Wizards gain a language called Arcanic. Another language added to the game is Necral, the language of necromancers, undead, and creates of shadows.
  • Spells and abilities that allow you to read any language only work on normal text. There are ways to block access to certain written works from those that don’t fully know a particular language (Arcanic, Druidic, and Thieves Cant being common ones that get warded to prevent outsiders from reading what is written)
  • Not all diseases are curable with a restoration spell.
  • Monsters have effects that trigger when they hit the bloodied condition (half health), Some are minor effects, while some can drastically change a fight.
I'll often add the bloodied condition trigger to monsters, make them a little more interesting. Sometimes it's an aura effect that hinders or harms the PCs other times its an immediate attack that interrupts initiative. It was one of the best things to steal from 4e.
 

House rules for our Curse of Strahd/Ravenloft West Marches campaign:

1. Death save failures only reset upon a long rest, healer's kit use, three successful death saves, or nat 20 on a death save. In other words, magic does not reset death save failures.
2. Players award their own inspiration (ala @iserith)
3. Paladins must announce Smite before their attack roll (if it is a miss, the spell slot is not consumed, though)
4. Cinematic advantage
 


jgsugden

Legend
Very, very few - and they're mostly 'add ons' rather than changes.

Vision: Rather than just darkvision, I have Darkvision, Low Light Vision (dim light = bright light, an area of dim light exists in double the normal dim light radius), Infravision (think Predator), and Ultravision (very narrowly tailored and useful primarily for arcane purposes).

Flanking: I don't grant advantage for flanking - that is too easy. Instead, flanking is a lockdown maneuver.If you flank an enemy, that enemy provokes OAs whenver theymove (not just when they leave reach). There is a caveat where they can avoid this penalty by giving one of the flankers a free attack (no reaction requirement), but that is there to prvent the 'trivial flank'.

Invisibility: Most effects that grant invisibility also grant the receipient the ability to do a stealth check as a free action when they turn invisible. This is an effective rule change, but not a true one, as I introduce it by creating alternative versions of these invisibility granting abilities and spells.

Potions: Drinking it yourself is a bonus action. Giving it to another is a (standard) action. You can pop potions in your mouth and then swallow them later as a free action, although if they're still in the container, it may cause issues (damage, delays in taking effect, etc...) and you can't talk while it is in your mouth.

Touches: No, not touch spells. Certain things leave a permanent stain on the soul. Death leaves a Deathtouch on the soul. Traveling to a plane leaves a touch on the soul (Going to the Shadowfell leaves you Shadowtouched, the Feywild leaves you Feytouched, the Hells will leave you Helltouched), etc... These touches do not directly impact PCs, but there are a lot of spells, monster abilities, etc... which change if these touches are on you. There is no way to remove any of them - not even Wish.
 
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SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Touches: No, not touch spells. Certain things leave a permanent stain on the soul. Death leaves a Dethtouch on the soul. Traveling to a plane leaves a touch on the soul (Going to the Shadowfell leaves you Shadowtouched, the Feywild leaves you Feytouched, the Hells will leave you Helltouched), etc... These touches do not directly impact PCs, but there are a lot of spells, monster abilities, etc... which change if these touches are on you. There is no way to remove any of them - not even Wish.
Fascinating...something similar about binding to a plane has been floating in my thoughts, but this is neat!
 

Jahydin

Explorer
When rolling hit points, you can use the number you rolled on the die or the average roll for that die, whichever is best.
We tried that for our first campaign, but buy 10th level the HPs were skewed so high I couldn't drop a character to save my life!
 




Stalker0

Legend
Oh, wow, we have so many house-rules it is almost a short book! :D

Part 1

Part 2

FWIW, this is constantly a work in progress. If anyone has questions on anything in particular, let me know.
I gave this a skim. I found the critical hit notes interesting (I assume there is no crit on a 20, its just about the weapon die correct?).

I also liked the idea that damage reduction from armor only applies on a crit. I think that's a cool way to have DR be a thing without it being a thing ALL the time.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Nvm was replying to some who’d been booted from thread.
dungeon crawling where you break into people's homes and private property routinely, murder them, and take their stuff, and get to be called "heroes".
I prefer to not have intelligent dungeon ecology, as such. If it’s a place we can “dungeon crawl”, we are reclaiming someone’s home for them from invaders and colonizers, or clearing out tomb robbers and fiendish cultists looking for artifacts of power in places better left alone, or fighting through the undead and demonic monsters that have risen up in an abandoned city to find out why they’ve done so and out a stop to it, etc.

The whole idea of D&D adventurers as “breaking into people’s homes to murder them and steal their stuff” is just not a thing we have ever considered part of the game as we play it and conceptualize it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
And is raiding and banditry universally evil? A man has to eat, and if you can't farm or forage for enough food, survival by any means is, if not Good, at least understandable.
If the bandits are killing unarmed folks, yes. 🤷‍♂️

Otherwise there are more questions that have to asked case by case, but generally in D&D modules, the bandits are burning towns and murdering people, not ransoming wealthy merchants they stop and apprehend along the road.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
If the bandits are killing unarmed folks, yes. 🤷‍♂️

Otherwise there are more questions that have to asked case by case, but generally in D&D modules, the bandits are burning towns and murdering people, not ransoming wealthy merchants they stop and apprehend along the road.
I'm sure I've run into morally ambiguous situations in adventures before, but whether or not it's how the adventure was written or how the DM was presenting it is unsure. And even if I can point to a classic adventure and say "here, this one!" it's not proving some grand point, lol.

I've encountered a lot of people in the wild who tell me that D&D was meant to be this grand game of killing and looting, and that alignment and moral debates get in the way of that. And that even with more, uh, (insert term that doesn't demean the first group) players, sometimes a very simple premise for adventure can be bogged down into moral debate unless said adventure very quickly introduces clear cut 'black hats'.

It's because I have seen such behavior in play that I have my particular viewpoint that the game becomes very murky when it talks about good and evil, and WotC generally isn't any help in this regard. As an example, let's look at poison.

Traditionally, poison use in D&D is seen as a despicable act. Good characters never use poison, and the game seems loath to offer it to players without DM consent, usually shoving it's rules in DM-facing content. The Book of Exalted Deeds went so far as to claim that the use of poison (or spreading disease) is absolutely an evil act (but then, strangely, created toxins and diseases that were ok because they only hurt evil people).

But it's perfectly ok for normal creatures to use poison and that doesn't make them evil. Or for animals to spread diseases, it's perfectly neutral. Indeed, even intelligent creatures that have poisonous attacks can be non-evil! The pseudodragon is one such example (the argument can be made that since the poison is nonlethal that it's an exception, but in this case, the game never made an exception- after all, who else uses sleep poison? That's right, those d̶i̶r̶t̶y̶,̶ ̶d̶i̶r̶t̶y nice, friendly Drow!).

Druids have traditionally had spells like poison and contagion- are these the hallmarks of evil druids? What about Druids who summon venomous creatures or wild shape into them?

In 5e, is someone using the Poison Spray cantrip committing an evil act? Probably not, but why? Because it only does poison damage rather than infect you with some other vile effect? Why don't we hold spells that paralyze or affect someone's body or will in other ways to this standard?

D&D doesn't usually ask these kinds of questions, by default, because it's very very murky, and anytime the rules point at an action and say "this is evil!" you get a lot of players asking why. See any debate about why animating the dead is considered vile- people will offer up lots of examples why it couldn't be, or shouldn't be, but it is, regardless. So in the end, it's left for the players and the DM to hash out, and opinions can be highly subjective as a result.

And D&D doesn't even attempt to have morality rules or subsystems, even shoddy ones, like V:tM's Humanity. It says "uh, here are alignments. We're not going to tell you when they apply, or if they should, or what happens if people violate them. You can figure that out. Have fun!"

The game doesn't even give us proper guidance about what happens if a Cleric violates their Deity's edicts, or a Druid puts on metal armor. At best we get "oh they don't do that". The only exception is the Paladin, and that just points us at an optional subclass that isn't intended for general use (as it's in the DMG!).

I like playing Good characters, because I like to think of D&D characters as being heroic, but the game doesn't present any real reason why that's better or worse than being selfishly motivated neutral mercenaries, who are only going on this adventure because "otherwise there is no game".
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Flanking: I don't grant advantage for flanking - that is too easy. Instead, flanking is a lockdown maneuver.If you flank an enemy, that enemy provokes OAs whenver theymove (not just when they leave reach). There is a caveat where they can avoid this penalty by giving one of the flankers a free attack (no reaction requirement), but that is there to prvent the 'trivial flank'.
I like this one and may steal it for my campaign!
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I gave this a skim. I found the critical hit notes interesting (I assume there is no crit on a 20, its just about the weapon die correct?).
Yeah, there is a ton of stuff. We used to have 150 pages instead of about 60, so this is the "toned-down" version. :)

Correct. We have found rolling critical "damage" is much more useful than rolling a natural 20. One of my players is now running a more RAW games, but this is one of the rules he adopted for his game as well. Two new players have joined since then, and frankly they both love this rule. IME it is so much better than just rolling a 20...

I also liked the idea that damage reduction from armor only applies on a crit. I think that's a cool way to have DR be a thing without it being a thing ALL the time.
This is a rule from d20 Star Wars which we also liked so adopted it. It also helps mitigate the increased damage from critical damage (which occurs more often than RAW critical hits).
 


jgsugden

Legend
Another house rule I have considered recently, but not yet implemented, is exploding dice on Crit/Total Fail:

If an attacker rolls a critical hit, or a defender rolls a 1 on a saving throw where damage is inflicted, when totaling damage for that target you should roll an additional die for every die that came up as maximum damage, and then subtract 1 for each addition die that was rolled. Other targets take only the 'normal' damage.

For example, Tim the wizard casts a 3rd level Fireball at a trio of ogres. All fail their saving throw, but one rolls a 1 on the save. Tim rolls 6, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2, 1 for his damage. He then rolls 2 more d6 and gets a 6 and a 1. He rolls one more d6 and gets a 5.

The two ogres that rolled non-1s on their failed saved take 30 damage (6,6,5,4,3,3,2,1 = 30), and the other one takes that plus (6,1,5,-3) 9 more.

I've also considered a tweak where if your attack roll with a weapon hits by more than the maximum value of the damage die, then you deal exploding damage as well. This would give a dagger a chance to do extra damage if you hit by 5 (as it is a d4 weapon), and a greatsword a chance to do this extra damage only if you hit by 13 (as it does 2d6). However, I think this is a bit too complex for tracking (especially as the DM with all of these different damage sizes and ACs floating around).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Another house rule I have considered recently, but not yet implemented, is exploding dice on Crit/Total Fail:
Using exploding dice in D&D has worked very well for my group. We allow the dice to explode on everything pretty much (rolling hit points is the only exception I can recall off-hand).

So however you implement it (some things in your post sound a bit too complex for my tastes personally), I would recommend trying it out.
 

Something a friend of mine pointed out was weapons juggling. Right now, to draw and change weapons quickly is a bit of a mess. You get one free "handle an object" each turn, but if you're a dual wielder or a sword + shield guy, or a someone who has to juggle a weapon, shield, and a focus, the RAW rules are obnoxious any time you don't start the combat with things readied in both hands, or need to change them out.

Switch hitters and anyone thinking to use thrown weapons has to deal with this issue as well. I'm not sure what the answer is, but it's being added to potential house rules for a patch.
I've tried "whatever, so long as it makes sense" and it's worked pretty well for me. If someone wants to have their rogue/fighter make their first attack with a rapier, and if that hits pull out a greatsword for the second attack, I don't see a balance issue. It might look silly, but I don't like to use rules to enforce feel like that. If someone's being too goofy, I can either address it by talking to them or it can't be addressed - they'd just look for the next silly exploit.
 

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