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5E What Is Your "Must-Have" House-Rule (If Any)?


1) Hexblade medium armor proficiency, as well as CHA to-hit and damage with the Blade pact weapon, move from the Hexblade patron to the Blade pact boon.
Blade pact gains proficiency with ONE martial melee weapon only. This makes Blade boon viable for non-Hexblade patrons, and moves any CHA-dependent dips to requiring 3 levels instead of 1.
Hexblade is still the only Warlock with native access to martial weapons (versatility) or shields.

2) Sorcerers get 2 thematically appropriate spells known added to their list automatically, at spell levels 1 & 3. As examples, for Dragon sorcerers, this would be something like Chromatic Orb (1) and either Fear or Fly (3). For Storm Sorcerers, this would be Thunderwave (1) and either Lightning Bolt or Sleet Storm or Thunder Step or Call Lightning. Sorcerers gain additional sorcery points equal to their proficiency bonus. Consider a better capstone.

3) Rangers get their Proficiency Bonus added to damage rolls against their favored enemies, starting at level 1. The level 20 capstone applies to all attack rolls against their favored enemies, not just once per turn.

4) Dragonborn breath weapons do (Proficiency Bonus) x d8 damage and can be used once per Constitution Modifier per long rest. This helps it not be overshadowed by cantrips, and gives the Dragonborn the ability to use it slightly more often.

5) -5/+10 feats (GWM & Sharpshooter) are instead -prof/+2*prof.

6) Everyone gets a 4th attunement slot at level 11, and a 5th at level 20.

7) If you go to 0 or get insta-killed (bypassing 0) and raised, you gain 1 level of exhaustion.

8) Berserker barbarians get Frenzy once per day with no consequence; the exhaustion penalties only get added with a 2nd and beyond Frenzy.

9) Attacking while jumping/falling from height: Make an acrobatics check and an attack roll, both against the target's AC.
If both hit, the target takes damage from the attack, and half the falling damage.
If the acrobatics check hits but the attack roll doesn't, they split falling damage but the attack misses.
If the acrobatics check misses but the attack roll hits, the attacker takes the falling damage but manages to stab(slash/bludgeon) his opponent right before hitting the ground.

10) Tasha's optional rules about making all the races similar and boring are not in play.

Oh, and there's a FLGS - accepted houserule that crits are "max theoretical damage" plus rolled damage for a regular attack. Everything gets doubled. It makes crits a bit more powerful.

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So far, only three "house rules" are absolutely vital to me.
1) Hex and Hunter marks are no longer concentration bound.
2) No auto heal on long rest, you must use HD or spells.
3) Wisdom adds Ki to monks. (This one works wonder to balance the monk)

We are currently testing a new rule for concentration. So far, people like it.
1) If a spell with concentration has effect that needs an action to activate, it now needs a bonus action.
2) Using the above to activate an effect limit you to cantrip casting only. Just as if you had cast a bonus action spell.
3) If a spell with concentration allows a save at the end of turn, you can reactivate the spell on the target if it succeeds a save at the end of turn. You must use your bonus action to reactivate an effect. A target that saves against a reactivation can no longer be affected by the spell.

Example #1: Witch bolt now can be used with a bonus action. When activated, it limits the caster to cantrips only.
Example #2: Hold person allows a save at the end of a creature's turn. If a creature saves, the caster can reactivate the spell on that creature, if it fails its save, the creature is again under the effect of the hold spell. If it saves, the spell can no longer affect it.

#1 Makes spells such as witch bolt a lot more interesting. It is a nice way to add a bit of damage to casters and to seek to end concentration on casters. It is not a lot of damage, but it is an opened option that my players really like so far. Even when used against them.

#2 Is the real deal. People hates it when a creature saves and the spell ends even before they get to act against it. Now it opens a new nice narrative into the concentration's mechanic. It is now kinda of a battle of wills. It brings a bit more power to the concentration spells but it does not overdo it as to fully bringing back the save or suck of earlier editions. So far, players find it to be a nice middle way between the harshness of earlier edition and the mindset of 5ed.

So far, no downside has been found.


Lowcountry Low Roller
For a long time I've been trying to make 5E "my own"--something I would continue to have fun playing. As such, I've spent a lot of time going over house-rules and variants, trying to find a blend I could live with so that the game feels right to me, but also isn't bogged down with extra rules other players might not care for or want to bother with.

My alternate travel rules that sprinkle adventuring days into the journey.

Pre-rolling initiative to avoid the combat swoosh.


Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I have a few house rules
  • Drinking a healing potion is a bonus action. Healing potions are normally maximized.
  • You can buy a longbow that uses strength instead of dex.
  • Items that affect ability scores add to your score instead of replacing. If an item doesn't increase above 20 it doesn't require attunement. Enhancement items can stack.
  • Getting raised from the dead is difficult, getting resurrected is practically unheard of.
  • Long distance teleportation and planar travel cannot be achieved by a spell alone. A gateway or similar must be found.

Encumbrance is tracked but with the following rules:
You can carry a burden equal to your Strength score.

A light armor, a light weapon, a light package of tiny items, or any single item that could be considered "light", has a load of 1.
A heavy armor, a heavy weapon, a heavy package of small items, or any single item that could be considered "heavy", has a load of 3
Any other weapon, medium armor, medium-weight package of items, or any single item neither considered light nor heavy, have a load of 2.


My core house rule is that before each session, my players must ritually sacrifice some 5th ed material to the great Gygax so that he will bless our 1st Ed table.

It has proven bountiful and our table has benefited from his boon. Well, except our last game where someone forgot to honour the great one, and we had a TPK... Gygax did not smile on them that day. :devilish:

Seriously, I have only run a handful of btb one-shots for 5e, but am getting requests and seem to be inching closer and closer to an actual campaign, so have been laying out the House Rules I will try out. Will add or remove as necessary, but my own rule of thumb is that if I can't fit them on an index card I've got too many.

Aiming for an old-school feel with these:

1 - 3d6 assign as desired for stats, no point buy or standard array. I feel that with the insane level of bonuses abound, more average stats gives players something to work toward and makes the choice of ASI or Feat at various levels more meaningful... which brings me to:
2 - Feats and Multiclass - yes, but you can't have both. If you take one you are barred from the other. Also MC requirements are 15, not 13.
3 - Death saves failures linger and are removed at a rate of one per long rest. While you have a Death save failure on your record you do everything at disadvantage.
4 - Healing is done at a slower rate. No full heals on Long Rest etc. Full formula TBD.

Also since I'm not a fan of the excessive expansion options, core options only unless I introduce something during the course of play and specifically make it available.

Such are the basics. Since I think it will be awhile before any gaming happens regularly I'll have time to think about it further and pray that the Mighty Gygax does not smite me for straying from the pure faith. :oops:


We use flanking rules which has been discussed here a few times. We allow an additional magic item at level 8 and 12. I think I would allow another at 16, but we have never played that high.

As a DM, I have a 'bloodied' system kind of like 4e where I mark the monsters when they are about 1-hit away from dying. It is a visual clue to the players that they only need one attack to kill them and cuts down on paperwork for me. I also have the players roll damage against themselves to cut down on DM work and keep them engaged.


The one house rule I always have implemented, and my players seem to enjoy, is the following:

Everyone rolls 4d6 (drop lowest) 6 times (includes the DM). Each set of 6 scores is written down, and the players can choose which set of six they want. It doesn't have to be the set they rolled, and each player can choose the same set if they so choose. This keeps the rolling of scores that I enjoy, and makes it where no one character is miles above another due to luck of the dice rolls.

Typically my players all choose the same set of 6. Rarely does anyone choose one different. Sure, all the characters are "the same", but it isn't much different from the standard array option, or point buy (my experiences with PB is everyone typically buys the same scores as everyone else anyway).


I have two related houserules that I have either used since 1e or will use forever more:

  1. Armor w/ Damage Reduction (DR): We have used some form of armor as or w/ DR since 1e. Our current rule is that an armor's DR potential is equal to its AC - 10 (so 8 for full plate). However, you typically use armor as AC and only use the armor's DR when your HP are 0 or on a crit. That is when you are really being hit and the armor reduces the damage by its DR at those times only.
  2. Bloodied Hit Points (BHP): Ever since 4e introduced the bloodied condition we have had a version of "meat" points we call bloodied hit points that represent your actual body points. I can't imagine not using some form of this rule now. Your BHP = (Str mod + Con mod) x Size. Medium size = 1, so for PCs BHP = (Str mod + Con mod). You lose BHP after your HP is 0 or on a critical hit. When BHP = 0, you die. You regain 1 BHP / Extended rest (1 week).

I especially like the meat points!

  • No attribute bonus to ranged attacks beyond 30ft.
  • long rests take nearly a full day of rest, only an hour of fighting or travelling is allowed (so in a dungeon or city, you can take long rest each night, but not while travelling for large distances.) A night's sleep regenerates one quarter of your hit dice.


I'm not sure if this is technically a house-rule, but I've found I need to state this up front.

Ability checks: Do not make ability checks unbidden or declare that your character is "making" an ability check (whatever that even would mean). Players should describe what their character is doing in in-fiction terms, and I, the DM, will decide if an ability check is required to resolve the player's stated action.


Lowcountry Low Roller
Not my house rules (yet) but I’ve been really enjoying reading Giffyglyph’s rules mods. Lots of good stuff in here (some adapted from others): Giffyglyph | Darker Dungeons

Highly recommended to any who want some more options for their tables.

(and monster maker document is a treat too)


I've a couple that I'm thinking of implementing.

The marvel saga game had this thing called the doom pool where, when a player attempted a check and used a doom card, that card was taken by the GM and could be used later to make a check harder, complicating things for the heroes. I'm thinking of combining this with inspiration which I never hand out and instead just give players a pool of inspiration dice equal to the number of players per session, they can use them with any d20 roll, but the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, get given to me for my bad guys to use against them.

I'm also thinking of making every race similar to half-elves for stats. +2 to a specific score, +1 to two others (or +2 to one, or a feat). Humans might be just six +1s, two can be traded for a feat (once only) and they can be combined to three +2s if wanted.


Victoria Rules
Another must-have house rule: initiative is rerolled every round. (we've got our own completely homebrew initiative system anyway). End-on-someone's-turn effects would end instead on the same iniative count next round they took effect this round, regardless when anyone's turn came up (yes this very intentionally makes it all much more random, the confusion and fog of war make it so).


You presumably mean directly replacing GP wit SP, effectively dividing the prices by ten? I tend to do that too, it is utterly absurd that a short sword would literally cost its weight in silver.

It would be weird to just directly replace studded leather with brigandine though. Brigandine is definitely not a light armour, it is very similar to lamellar.

Yea i adjust a bit, but replacing gold with silver does the job. I also rule 1g=20s=240c.

You are right, i just did not want to go to much into detail with the armor.
I use padded for 11, buff coat for 12 and brigandine for 13 medium max dex +3

Other house rule by me is alignment with allegiance, even both together when they are opposite, for example a chaotic defender of law would be a shefrif who breaks the rules to keep the order, or a good-allegiance with evil alignment would be a religious zealot or a revolutionary with blood on his hands "for the supreme good". And powers with alignment key can hurt enemies with same align. but different allegiance, for example a shaman orc vs a cleric drow. Then neutral alignment wouldn't be so useful to avoid more damage by those powers with align. key.


A while back I switched Inspiration to act like a shared pool where if a player used Inspiration a point of DM Inspiration went into my pool, which goes back into the player pool when I use it. It is kind of inspired (ha!) By the 2d20 Momentum/Threat system. It works well enough i won't go back.

Halloween Horror For 5E