D&D 5E What House / 3rd Party / Optional Rule changed your game the most?


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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Each character in my game can be built with multiclassing or feats, but not both.

It has brought the power level of the characters just enough that my monster palette works more in line with how I would expect it to. Far fewer curb stomps of what should be interesting battles.
 



jgsugden

Legend
1.) Pants.

2.) My magic system. Arcane, Divine and Nature Magic are conveyed via the 'Spellweave'. The Nature spells draw magic from the sources of the Weave (the Positive and Negative Energy Planes), the Divine magic is pushed through the weave to spellcasters by the Divine, and the Arcane magic is essentially stolen from the Spellweave. Psionic magic originates from within a creature. Supernatural magic (ghosts, lycanthropic transformations, dragon flight, dragon breath, etc... is drawn from the universe, but not from the Spellweave. I built this into my system in the 1980s and have carried it through each edition. It is really powerful, evocative and inspiring. It is so woven into my setting and how magic works that I consider it the central pillar of my campaign setting.

Bonus.) In AD&D - We used a segmented combat system that broke down actions into half seconds rather than 6 seconds (or 1 minute in AD&D). It was fiddly and took forever as everyone was moving their figures every half second of combat, but it taught me a lot about balance, game design, etc...
 

Inspiration like @Blue does, both as re-rll and it is given to one player by player vote each session.

But, that's not our biggest impact. Ours is re-roll initiative each round. Adds a huge amount of chaos and uncertainty to our combats.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
Initiative based off a declared action. It's revolutionized our battles through (now) two groups over a 5-year-and-counting span.
Could you provide some details? This sounds like what one of my friends is trying to create and I would love to hear about your rule.
 

RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
1.) Magical powers are separated into Primal, Divine, Arcane, and Psionic. All creatures, non-martial classes/subclasses, magical races, magic items, and anything else that is applicable is tied to one of these power sources. Various creatures have the ability to sense those with sources of specific power types (for example primal spirit animals can sense practitioners of primal magic or magic items powered by primal energy within a distant depending on the spirit). This is also important when encountering suppression, enhanced, or wild zones that cause magic of certain types to behave differently.

2.) Various creatures gain new abilities, actions, and stats when they reach bloodied. Not all creatures of could but those meant to be greater challenges, changing up the dynamic of combat. A spellcaster might gain a reaction to summon minions at half health, or a creature suddenly goes into a frenzy, gaining the benefits of a barbarian’s rage, or a creature might recharge a power and be able to use it again as a reaction to becoming bloodied.
 

Osgood

Adventurer
I’ve used the Slow Natural Healing option from the DMG for years now… you regain no hit points from resting, you always spend hit dice. A long rest recovers hit dice. It works well.
For my next campaign I’m toying around with throwing in a cap on how many hit dice you regain based on whether you are at an inn vs roughing it.
 


Interesting. Do you only go down at death? Do hits still cause 2 failed death saves?
Yeah, we do incapacitated at 0 hp, stunned at one fail, unconscious at two fails. Then we use RAW for hits at 0 hp. They're not automatically critical hits until you're unconscious, so the "two failed death saves on a hit" rule is effectively irrelevant.

The most significant impact of the change is just "visuals": That healing word when you're at 0 hp gets you "off the ropes" and back in the fight -- you don't literally pop back up after getting knocked unconscious (unless you had two failed death saves). But it also introduces more subtle tactical changes. It makes retreating easier, since an incapacitated creature can still move. OTOH, as a DM, I'm far more likely to continue attacking an incapacitated character than an unconscious one, and incapacitated characters can still defend themselves (no advantage or auto-crits). So, in actual play, I find I'm actually putting more "pressure" on the characters in combat.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Replaced Inspiration with Hero Points.
Everyone gets half level (rounded down) + 1 hero points. (For my group with fewer players I made this Level +1)

Spend a hero point to gain a +d6 to any roll you make, to change a death save fail into a success, or use a bonus action to give an ally you can see and that can hear you a d6 they have to use within 10 minutes (or it is lost).

Hero points are only regained when XP is awarded or when the DM awards one for heroic action - but you can never have more than your max so you are encouraged to use them.

These d6 become d8 at 10th level and d10 at 15th. We keep a plate of special "hero point dice" in the center of the table.
 

Horwath

Hero
over various campaigns;

bonus feat at 1st level seem most popular, who would have guessed?

potions as Bonus action,

you can spend a HD when drinking healing potion or getting healed by healing spell. To make spells scale a little depending on who is getting healed. As you get limited number of HDs per long rest is keeps daily "pool" of healing the same.
you can spend 1 HD per spell level that healed you or per rank of healing potion.

short rest 5mins, 3x per long rest

exhaustion gives: -1 to all d20 rolls, -5ft speed(min of 5ft speed), -1 AC and -1 to all DCs per level

when you go to 0 HP you gain 1 exhaustion level. These exhaustion levels cannot go over "-5" (that is, they cannot kill you), these exhaustion levels are removed on short rest or with lesser restoration spell.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Flanking grants advantage - three-on-one or worse combats see targets go down quickly. It makes positioning a great deal more important and I’ve seen several times PCs disengaging to reposition and get out of a bad swarming.

Firing INTO a melee is at disadvantage. A natural roll of 1 in such a situation, of course, indicates possibly hitting an ally (if the non-disadvantaged die would have hit). Likewise, trying to perform a ranged attack while in melee grants the enemy an Opportunity Attack, unless you have the Archery/Thrown weapon style or Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter or Spell Sniper feat.

No multiclassing. I have a couple custom classes and subclasses to emulate aspects of multiclassing, but I just find 5E multiclassing an extreme pain in the neck.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Firing INTO a melee is at disadvantage. A natural roll of 1 in such a situation, of course, indicates possibly hitting an ally (if the non-disadvantaged die would have hit). Likewise, trying to perform a ranged attack while in melee grants the enemy an Opportunity Attack, unless you have the Archery/Thrown weapon style or Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter or Spell Sniper feat.



Heh. We do this. I didn't even realize it was a house rule.
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
So some actions are inherently faster than others, which governs your place in initiative?
Could you provide some details? This sounds like what one of my friends is trying to create and I would love to hear about your rule.
Can I get more detail on this?
Attached is what we use. It's been subjected to years of game sessions, so it's become habit for my gamers, who don't need a reference sheet anymore. I attached the "handout" as I have a custom DM screen where I can put inserts for players to see in the front 4 slots. The primary purpose was to make combat more unpredictable, and therefore exciting, because turn order is not guaranteed. Secondary purpose was to speed up combats (accomplished because all 5 players, and the DM, are deciding what to do at the same time rather than one at a time, AND they know their character abilities...we've had rounds where the declaration phase took roughly a "real" round of 6 seconds). Tertiary purpose was to empower players so their choices impact initiative.

We combine this with the 3rd edition Attack of Opportunity rule that if you don't have "reach" (a polearm master weapon or 10'+) and enter the threat zone of someone who does, they can use their reaction to take an AoO. This makes it trickier to close ranks with a dagger if someone has a spear.
 

Attachments

  • Dynamic Initiative v2.3 handout.pdf
    415.2 KB · Views: 46
  • Dynamic Initiative v2.3.docx.pdf
    224.3 KB · Views: 41




aco175

Legend
We took on the rule of drinking a healing potion was a bonus action where you roll the dice and if you used your action you got full HP for the potion. It allowed some of the PCs to feel like they can do more and take more chances. The cleric did not always need to be the back-up. That, and they always went looking in town for healing potions at lower levels.
 

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