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D&D 5E What House Rules Can You NOT Live Without?

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Heh... yeah, like I said, I was so deadset on keeping that movement measurement that I never even bothered to look up what 5E actually did. I guess the 5E designers agreed that the alternating 5'/10' was unnecessary.

Funny, I am the opposite. I never bothered to check, b/c I can't imagine it not costing (in my group's language) 1.5 boxes of movement to move diagonally.

EDIT: That is to say, I find the language of "alternating" confusing and prefer measuring distances in boxes anyway. So 1 box horizontal, 1.5 boxes diagonal is nice and easy to remember.
 

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Strider1973

Explorer
I'm currently playing in two campaigns, in one as a DM and in the other as a player. As a DM I play the D&D using the Rules As Written. I'm just too lazy maybe to change the rules... ;-))) I've had some issues with Dex being all-too-important as a Stat in D&D 5e, and with rapiers being very (almost too) good and convenient as a weapon; I tried to introduce some house rules about this topic, but I was really never satisfied. In the end I decided to play the game as it is: after all, there are some very good 3PP archetypes that reward Strength based fighters, and even the Cavalier in the Xanathar's Guide to Everything seems to prefer having a high Strength score.
In the campaign in which I'm a player, our DM has completely removed Hit Dice and Healing during Short Rests, and lets us heal half our total hit points after a Long Rest. Moreover, Finesse Weapons let a character add her Dex Bonus only to hit, not to damage rolls: that is Strength field.
I usually like and prefer playing a game as it is written: if it's too broken, for me, or unplayable (it has happened for me with a couple of fantasy tabletop rpg that seemed to have a great potential, at least initially), I prefer changing the game itself.
Nowadays, D&D 5e is one of my four go-to-fantasy rpg, at the same level with the other three: when I'm a DM I decide which I'm going to use depending on the characteristics and the interests of the group of players I'm going to play with.
 




Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If we're considering alternate rules, I always forget about stat generation. I'd be hesitant to join a game where we used straight rolls for ability score generation. I've just had bad experiences with it and have never (even going back to before there was an official alternative) liked rolling for stats.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'm currently playing in two campaigns, in one as a DM and in the other as a player. As a DM I play the D&D using the Rules As Written. I'm just too lazy maybe to change the rules... ;-))) I've had some issues with Dex being all-too-important as a Stat in D&D 5e, and with rapiers being very (almost too) good and convenient as a weapon; I tried to introduce some house rules about this topic, but I was really never satisfied. In the end I decided to play the game as it is: after all, there are some very good 3PP archetypes that reward Strength based fighters, and even the Cavalier in the Xanathar's Guide to Everything seems to prefer having a high Strength score.
The 5e weapons table has some wonky balance. Nothing too severe, but rapiers being a little too much bang for your buck is one of the biggest ones, right next to tridents being nothing more than spears that cost more and are harder to get proficiency with.

I have a revised weapon table that isn’t a must-have for me, but I do prefer to use when I DM.
 

spinjammer

Explorer
Two house rules:

Drinking potions as a bonus action when you have a special fast draw potion belt (5 slots).
Rolling hp when levelling up: Player rolls, I roll (without the playing seeing the roll), Player looks at his roll and decides if he would rather use my roll (without knowing what it is) or his. If my roll is lower and he takes it - bad luck.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Oh! You know what’s an absolute must-have for me, both as a DM and as a player? Experience. Not technically a house rule, but story-based advancement is such a common house-rule that I think it’s worth noting here. No, I won’t accept leveling up whenever the octopus in your brain decides it’s time for me to, I prefer to have a measurable indication of my progress towards leveling up, thank you very much.
 
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clearstream

Be just and fear not...
We I first tried 5E, I played without any house rules for the first three months (levels 1-5) and it worked well enough. Since then, I've gone back and forth on house-rules and what I really want and what I can choose to live with. So, curiosity compelled me to ask the forum:

What house-rules do you use in 5E that you really wouldn't want to give up? What house-rules do you feel are essential to 5E to make it the game you want to play?

Note: if you want to include a variant rule already in the core game, please feel free do include it.

EDIT: Please don't include things you've added as homebrew or third-party material. I am truly interested in house-rules that change an existing mechanic or rule. Thanks.
Longer duration rests. 3 days long, 1 day short. Sleep or trance recovers exhaustion. Breather to spend HD.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I use experience points but it is the same per person (even new players joining come in at the same XP total). Since I don't really give out individual XP awards, there is no real reason to have each player track it individually.

I don't know about live without but I've currently got the following g house rules.

I make a focus usable whether or not a spell has a material component, this lets a bladesinger for example, fight with sword and wand as they don't have to drop the wand to cast a spell with somatic but not material components. I also require that for each spell, a specific focus is used. This stops DC/attack bonus stacking when holding two magical focuses that boost DC.

I too do the drink a potion as a bonus action, use it on an ally as an action.

Currently I allow you to cast a bonus action spell and then any other spell, not just a cantrip. Might change this to make the spells no higher than your highest level spell slot, but for now I'm happy to let the fire sorcerer throw two fireballs at once.

Druids can wildshape into any CR 0 beast that has a flight speed or swim speed without having to wait for specific levels. Instead, higher levels just unlock higher CR beasts as options at the listed levels in wildshape.

It's a small change since it's only a suggestion anyway, Druids can wear any armour, no matter the material. They might prefer not to be encased in metal, but I don't care if they do.

I'm also experimenting with backgrounds granting more, sort of like the guild backgrounds from Ravnica. I've only just come up with this so it isn't in use by any players but essentially it would be something like if you're an acolyte of the Earthmother then you might have a few extra spells dealing with earth/plants added to your spell list. If you're a student of the black cabal, a school of necromancers then you might add a few necromancy spells to your spell list. Acolyte especially will have different skills/tools/languages depending on the god followed, but that's just standard customisation of backgrounds anyway.
 

Iry

Hero
If we're considering alternate rules, I always forget about stat generation. I'd be hesitant to join a game where we used straight rolls for ability score generation. I've just had bad experiences with it and have never (even going back to before there was an official alternative) liked rolling for stats.
Hilariously, I feel bad if I roll HIGHER than someone else. If we all randomly roll and I've got the best stats at the table, it actually makes me have a bad game experience and feel really guilty. :p
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I like my homebrewed stat draft rules for this reason. The group builds their characters together - there can be a little friendly competition, but everyone ends up with similar range of scores without the cookie cutter results of arrays or point buys.

We run through the draft twice, each player ends up with two sets. They choose the set they want and the other goes in a pool available to all players (including new people joining) that they can choose from when needing to make a replacement character. So it is in everyone's interest to make two balanced sets.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I like my homebrewed stat draft rules for this reason
Interesting concept. So, is it something like everyone rolls to see who picks first, then go in order. After everyone has picked, reverse the order. And do this four more times, swapping the order each time?

Ex. Players ABCD
Round 1, 3, 5: ABCD
Round 2, 4, 6: DCBA

So, A gets first pick over all, but also gets last pick.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Interesting concept. So, is it something like everyone rolls to see who picks first, then go in order. After everyone has picked, reverse the order. And do this four more times, swapping the order each time?

So, A gets first pick over all, but also gets last pick.

It is a little more complex than that.

From my campaign wiki:

Stat Draft​

Character creation for this campaign is a collective process.

The DM will pre-determine a number of sets of ability scores equal to the number of players, plus one. These ability scores will be assigned to particular stats, though six of these will be "wild", being assigned by the player at any time during a draft. These stats will be determined by the DM to have a fair range of scores and create balanced characters for the power level appropriate to the campaign and setting.

The players will take turns choosing stats.

The picking order in the first round will be determined randomly. In the successive rounds the players will choose in an order from lowest pick to the highest in the previous round. In the case of a tie, the player with the lowest total stats at that point chooses first. If it is still a tie, the tied players simply choose in reverse order than they did the previous round (this is also how ties are handled in the first round).

This continues until all the players have all six of their stats accounted for and then any remaining numbers are discarded.

The whole process is then repeated with a new set of ability scores. The picking order in the first round of the second draft is determined by total points of ability scores in the first set, from lowest to highest. If there is a tie they total modifiers of the individual scores are used (with lowest going first).

At the end of this process players will have two complete sets to choose between. The remaining set of ability scores goes into a pool (as complete sets) that can be chosen from when replacement player characters are needed (or new players join the game and need to make a character).

To see a sample stat drafts, click here for a mock one and here for the one used for the Second Son of a Second Son campaign.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Yeah, a bit more complex LOL. But either way it's an interesting concept. :)
We've had some cool drafts. For example, it is not uncommon for the last person in one round to purposefully pick a low score they can live with (that is, not too low, just lowest that round) in order to pick first in the next round and get to pick two in a row.

The examples I linked to are from these boards - and I think make for interesting reading.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Hilariously, I feel bad if I roll HIGHER than someone else. If we all randomly roll and I've got the best stats at the table, it actually makes me have a bad game experience and feel really guilty. :p
Actually, that was kind of my experience as well. Long story but in the last game we rolled one person rolled incredibly well (multiple 18s, nothing below 14) while another person rolled a single 14, a 10 and everything else below. The person with the super high stats felt guilty and committed suicide by goblin.
 

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