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

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I use story based leveling. I don't need THAT specific rule, but you get what you reward and I will not run a system that says combat is the only rewarded method of dealing with a challenge.

I make Inspiration a little more relevant by both upping the power so it has less chance to be wasted, and doing that by changing the trigger so that it's less likely "oh, I forgot I had Inspiration". I just made it a reroll after you see the d20, but before success/failure has been announced.

Technically feats and multiclassing are variant rules. I use both.

I would like to use the variable ability scores for skills rule from the PHB, but one game I run we have a player who just does not grasp it, and another is explicitly a teaching game with minimal house rules.

And while I never mention it as an explicit house rule, if something isn't working for your character and you aren't having fun, let's fix it. Keep continuity as much as we can, but fun comes first. Worst comes to worst, I've orchestrated "radiation accidents" in superhero games and the same concept applies.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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
I'm with you!

When I was a young gamer we all tried our best to make super powerful characters. And it balanced out and was a lot of fun. When I was joining other groups that didn't I was often way more powerful ... and that wasn't as much fun. And then I started DMing groups like that and it really brought it home. I have the most fun - both as a player and as a DM - when the group is roughly all the same power level. I don't care where it is. But I've de-tuned characters that were too good for the table.
 

No rolling for stats. I will only use Point Buy/Standard Array.
Opportunity Attacks when standing up from being prone/picking up dropped a weapon.
Variant version of TCoE's Customize your Origin system.
Free feat at level 1 related to your class/background/race. (VHumans and Custom Lineage characters still get any feat they want along with this.)
Flanking is a +1 to hit for each pair of creatures surrounding the flanked creature, to a maximum of +3 (one set is a +1 bonus for both creatures, two sets is a +2 bonus for all 4 creatures, three sets is a +3 bonus for all 6 creatures).
Concentration is a Constitution skill.
Intelligence and Wisdom can be used for Initiative instead of Dexterity.
 

Sakuglak

Villager
I use critical successes and failures and bonus action to use a healing potion.

For critical attacks we don't double the dice, we get max damage of one roll, then make a second roll. Give crits more weight.
 

delph

Explorer
we have one nice about death saves and getting unconscious . They are 4 instead of 3. And when you drop under 0, you can choose:
  • fall down and get one positive save for free 3:4
  • stay standing to the end of your next turn with one automatic fail. In one way - it give chance to drink healing poiton, get healing spell,... in other - you're still target for your enemies and when they hit you, you'll get 2 fails - one by you are tighting your live to stand up, one by hit...
 

  • 5 minute short rests (max 2/ long rest)
  • Martial Adept grants 2 Superiority dice (I like manoeuvres)
  • Rogues can only sneak attack on their Turn.

That's pretty much it.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
My favorite house rule for every edition of D&D since BECM: when rolling for hit points at level-up, you always reroll a 1.
My favorite 5E house rule: healing potions always heal the maximum, but cost twice as much.
 

My favorite house rule for every edition of D&D since BECM: when rolling for hit points at level-up, you always reroll a 1.
My favorite 5E house rule: healing potions always heal the maximum, but cost twice as much.

I use core (max at 1st and half rounded up after then) for HP and point buy for stats. No arguments and a level playing field.

I do have something available in my own games with healing potions - maximised healing potions that cost twice as much. I'd be tempted to make the default as its just quicker than rolling a bunch of d4s.
 

pukunui

Legend
I have a few house rules that I use in pretty much every campaign I run but I’m not sure any of them count as “can’t live without”.

The only one that does count is that all dragons encountered in my games have the Alert feat. I will not run a dragon without giving them that feat.

EDIT: Having read everyone else’s posts, I was reminded that I always have players use point buy or the standard array. I too have had unfun experiences with rolling for stats so I don’t ever do that in my games.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Lots of folks talking about how they house rule starting stats. Here's how we do it in our 5th Edition Eberron campaign:
  • Characters start with a magic item from Table F
  • Use the 4d6 method
  • Add up all of the modifiers from all six ability scores we rolled.
  • If the sum of all modifiers is less than +5: the player can reroll them, or keep them and start with a feat.
  • If the sum of all modifiers is greater than +9: the player can reroll them, or keep them and forfeit their magic item
 

Inchoroi

Adventurer
Minor nitpick: While Rise of Tiamat erroneously referred to story-based advancement as “milestone leveling,” it is not consistent with how the DMG describes milestone XP, which is essentially just XP awards for stuff other than encounters. I actually think milestone XP as described in the DMG is great, and award it for completing quest objectives.

Unfortunately, nobody reads the DMG and Rise of Tiamat’s misuse of the term “milestones” has become standard in common parlance. I try to use the terms the way the DMG does to set an example, but at the end of the day I’m probably just yelling at clouds.

I get that; I nitpick words a lot, too!

I will state, however, that I've been using the words "milestones" with regards to leveling since 3e days; I believe I picked it up from my first DM, not even in an actual D&D game, but a different game entirely.

Looking back on it now, its crazy how much my first DM shaped my DM style. Explains a lot, as he killed my very first character the second session I joined the game.
 

Lots of folks talking about how they house rule starting stats. Here's how we do it in our 5th Edition Eberron campaign:
  • Characters start with a magic item from Table F
  • Use the 4d6 method
  • Add up all of the modifiers from all six ability scores we rolled.
  • If the sum of all modifiers is less than +5: the player can reroll them, or keep them and start with a feat.
  • If the sum of all modifiers is greater than +9: the player can reroll them, or keep them and forfeit their magic item
I like that. It keeps the randomness of fate in there, but at the same time it keeps everybody on somewhat equal footing.
 



Iry

Hero
I prefer equal footing, instead of somewhat equal footing. Point Buy/Standard Array + getting rid of the current Racial Ability Score bonuses is a great way to do this.
I like leaving it up to the dice. :)
There's a fun compromise where everyone rolls a set of stats, and then everyone can choose which set of stats to use. Even if multiple people chose the same set of stats.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
A lot of folks love the Point Buy or the Standard Array, but we don't like it all that much. The trouble we have is that everyone always has the same ability scores, and they always put them in more or less the same order. I know that some folks think that's a feature and not a bug, but we think it's dull and same-y.

Our method allows for randomness, without too much of a power spike (or gutter). I find the trick is to make them pick their starting magic item first, and then describe how they found it and why it's meaningful to their character, etc. Then the player will be somewhat attached to it before they roll ability scores. It makes them think twice about sacking it in favor of keeping those double seventeens.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
A lot of folks love the Point Buy or the Standard Array, but we don't like it all that much. The trouble we have is that everyone always has the same ability scores, and they always put them in more or less the same order. I know that some folks think that's a feature and not a bug, but we think it's dull and same-y.

Our method allows for randomness, without too much of a power spike (or gutter). I find the trick is to make them pick their starting magic item first, and then describe how they found it and why it's meaningful to their character, etc. Then the player will be somewhat attached to it before they roll ability scores. It makes them think twice about sacking it in favor of keeping those double seventeens.
But does it really matter? That wizard is still going to have their highest score in intelligence, second highest probably in con then dex (or vice versa).

In any case, we use point buy. I have no clue what my player's ability scores are. I guess I've never really cared or noticed except in the few games we rolled for stats when some people had significant better ability scores than others.

The starting magic item is an interesting idea and I get that you've come up with a method to balance it out ... if it works for you, great. I've just never understood why anyone cares about what specific number is in what specific ability.
 

A lot of folks love the Point Buy or the Standard Array, but we don't like it all that much. The trouble we have is that everyone always has the same ability scores, and they always put them in more or less the same order. I know that some folks think that's a feature and not a bug, but we think it's dull and same-y.

Our method allows for randomness, without too much of a power spike (or gutter). I find the trick is to make them pick their starting magic item first, and then describe how they found it and why it's meaningful to their character, etc. Then the player will be somewhat attached to it before they roll ability scores. It makes them think twice about sacking it in favor of keeping those double seventeens.
I'd gladly trade "possibly unbalance between characters" with "predictable ability scores". Do what works for you, though.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
But does it really matter? That wizard is still going to have their highest score in intelligence, second highest probably in con then dex (or vice versa).

In any case, we use point buy. I have no clue what my player's ability scores are. I guess I've never really cared or noticed except in the few games we rolled for stats when some people had significant better ability scores than others.

The starting magic item is an interesting idea and I get that you've come up with a method to balance it out ... if it works for you, great. I've just never understood why anyone cares about what specific number is in what specific ability.
I don't really know how to explain it...it just feels dull somehow. Repetitive, predictable. Like you're not really playing a different character, you're just dressing it up in different clothes? I dunno.

But it's okay; we found a creative solution that works for us.
 

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