D&D 5E What requested rules change have you refused to change?

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
As a DM, what request for a house or varient rule (or use of RAW instead of your home rule) by one or more players have you refused to change? Are there any rule changes that even if the entire group of players wanted changed, you would instead rather not run the game?

As a Player, what DM-proposed rules change have you refused to go along with? Are they any rule changes that would bother you enough to walk out on a campaign?

Note: for this discussion, I am not talking about a rules change that was voted down. I don't want to go into "I refuse to change a rule for one demanding player where the rest of the player wants to keep playing by the rule." Also, I'm specifically talking about mechanical rules, not play styles. So not really interested in "I wouldn't run an evil campaign."

"Refused" is a strong word for me, because, ultimately, I want to run a game that everyone in the group enjoys. Where I have stuck by a rule, it is generally more campaign specific and not a general stance. I might insist on enforcing encumbrance rules, including coin weight in one campaign, but fudge it in another. It depends on the style and flavor of campaign I want to run.

The following are rules for which I have stuck by my guns. If the players felt strongly enough to walk away, I probably would have switched to a new campaign. But it has never come to that with my group.

Alignment. In my current campaign, alignment is an important mechanic and ties in with the cosmology. Not a particularly deep, philosophical cosmology. This campaign is pretty gameist and alignment is just another part of the game. Many magic items can only be used by characters of specific alignments and may harm those of the wrong alignment. Certain areas buff or debuff characters based on their alignment. And more. I'm not going to go into all the aspects that alignment touches upon in my current campaign. Suffice it to say that is has very real mechanical effects and alignment choices matter. If the players were not cool with that, I would have scrapped this campaign and ran another.

XP for GP. My current campaign just would not work well with traditional XP awards. At least not without a lot of reworking. Milestone advancement could have worked, but it would not have engendered the play style and flavor I was going for in this campaign. If the players were not up for it, I would have ran a different campaign.

Spell components. I have been working on another campaign for years where spell component resource management would be a major element driving the plot. But that, and the class limitations I would want to impose, have not been attractive to my current group, so I have yet to run it.

Character race limitations. In my first campaign, players had to chose from human, dwarf, gnome, or halfling. It was important based on the home-brew campaign world and plot. If the players had insisted on playing elves, dragonborn, etc., I would have run a different campaign.

Critical failures. I don't like them. I use critical hits and for my last two campaigns have used the Nord critical hit cards for both players and monsters. If a majority of my players were to insist on also using the critical failure cards, I would likely relent. But a rule that leads to a greater chance for fumbling the more powerful and experienced you become is annoying to me. There are good, rational arguments in favor of critical failure rules and I know many players enjoy them. I'm just not one of them. But I suppose I would allow them under protest.

Vancian magic. In one campaign, there was a player that thought spell slots were "stupid" and argued for something like mana points instead. I think I would rather change to a different system than take Vancian magic out of D&D.

These are the only ones I can think of where I've taken a strong stance on in my 5e campaigns. What about your?
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
In my 5E West Marches game, I had to make a lot of house rules to get the system to function as it should for a survival-based exploration game. The players continuously complained about those changes and tried to circumvent them whenever possible. Which immediately made me wonder why they signed up for a survival-based exploration game if they weren't actually interested in such a game in the first place.

Resource management. To make the game work I had to enforce things like tracking weight carried with variant encumbrance, tracking ammo, tracking food & water, tracking light & light sources, tracking travel times, wandering monster checks, risk of not getting a long rest, etc.

Exploration-focused changes and bans. To further the theme, I had to house rule or outright ban quite a lot of stuff that obviated the above. Goodberry, the light cantrip, Leomund's Tiny Hut, bags of holding, races with powerful build, outlander, etc.

After nine months of running the game almost daily and having 65+ players at one point, I finally got tired of fighting against the constant complaints of the players who knowingly and willingly signed up for this style of game...and pulled the plug. In a funny twist, months later, more than half of the players still ask me to continue the game, despite them complaining about the house rules.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I've seem players refuse roll3d6 in order do not reroll 1s 2s or anything else, alternate pointbuy systems that don't allow elite array or better, die at zero but start with x (ie extra hp or whatever), alternative encumbrance rules. rest modifications (including the dmg ones).. probably many others.

Pretty much if it's not "MOAR POWER" on every level or makes no changes I can expect some players to say "No I won't play."
 
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Mad_Jack

Hero
In the 4E game I played in, the DM was an old-school military tabletop gamer, and wanted to reduce the damage on longbows from D10 down to D8 because he felt it wasn't "realistic"...
I also realized, looking at the campaign document he emailed us after every session detailing how much xp/treasure/etc. we'd gotten, that he was taking out 1 gp from my character per session for the expense of buying arrows, rather than having me "bother to track them individually".
I talked him out of the first, and the second he stopped after I pointed out that I'd already bought about 100 arrows at character creation and shown him, according to the sheet I'd been tracking them on, that I hadn't even blown through all of those yet. Since I was a ranger built primarily to dual-wield axes, I was generally only firing around 10-12 shots a session if they were combat-heavy.
I also pointed out that, with the additional arrows I'd supposedly bought after every session, I was quite a bit over the number of arrows my character could "realistically" carry, even with most of them being broken down into their components, which I assembled while resting each night. My ranger looked like a damn wandering archery-supply salesman.


In general, I'm just really not down with critical fumbles...
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
I have a bunch:

Conjuration Component: To summon(call) a a creature or Create anything you need a small part of the creature or sample of the material.

Conjuration Chaos: Most conjuration spells can go wild and/or summon extra (uncontroled) creatures

Divine Eye: If you use divine power from a deity in any form, that deity watches and micro manageress the use.

Teleport Focus: You must be in a location for a long set time to memorize a spot to teleport too(for the common teleport spells). No scrying, you must really be there. Slight changes to your location, like a fallen tree, cause a mishap.

Polymorph Dangers: You need a bit of a creature to polymorph into the creature (with the common spells). The change might kill you, per old system shock rules. Also, there is a chance you might loose your mind inside the creature.

The Dreaded Three Second Rule: When something action, adventure or combat related is about to happen or is happening you have exactly three seconds to state what your character will do for the round. Failure means your character stands their as a confused target.

The Cannot Rule: Should you waste even one second of game time asking for your character "CAN" do something, your character will be stunned and confused that round.
 

Retreater

Legend
I had a DM try to change to the "gritty rest" option part way into the campaign, after I was already playing a spellcaster. I said it was too much of a nerf, and if he was going to go forward with that rule, I was going to change to a martial character.
 

The Dreaded Three Second Rule: When something action, adventure or combat related is about to happen or is happening you have exactly three seconds to state what your character will do for the round. Failure means your character stands their as a confused target.

The Cannot Rule: Should you waste even one second of game time asking for your character "CAN" do something, your character will be stunned and confused that round.
I assume this is to speed up the game, but is it fun?
 

Bayushi_seikuro

Adventurer
The Dreaded Three Second Rule: When something action, adventure or combat related is about to happen or is happening you have exactly three seconds to state what your character will do for the round. Failure means your character stands their as a confused target.

The Cannot Rule: Should you waste even one second of game time asking for your character "CAN" do something, your character will be stunned and confused that round.
I understand times or groups where these are necessary, but with the players/GMs I have...

The Three Second rule isn't always fair. In the case of spellcasters waiting til their turn starts to even read up on their spell they want to cast - yes, that's an issue. However, in the games I've been in, there's usually so much chaos going on - even down to having players need to spend their turns operating pieces of the scene to affect the battle - that it's easy to need to rework what you THOUGHT your action was going to be.

And for the Cannot rule - to lose a round because I need to clarify with the DM of a Theater of the Mind game that I can get on the table and leap to the chandelier? That's not terribly fair. Even with minis, yes, you can see the squares you need to move and jump on the table, but you can't always calculate how high the ceiling is on a 2D map... YMMV, but I do agree with the ideas you have.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Some of my players showed me a Tiktok video about a DM who suggested giving out levels of exhaustion whenever a character drops to 0 hit points instead of death saves. Knowing how easily a character can be knocked down without really being able to do much about it, and how quickly exhaustion turns into "well I'm useless now" (plus how hard it is to get rid of exhaustion), I told them in no uncertain terms I thought this was a BAD IDEA.
 

The Dreaded Three Second Rule: When something action, adventure or combat related is about to happen or is happening you have exactly three seconds to state what your character will do for the round. Failure means your character stands their as a confused target.

The Cannot Rule: Should you waste even one second of game time asking for your character "CAN" do something, your character will be stunned and confused that round.
Hmm. No thanks.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Conjuration Component: To summon(call) a a creature or Create anything you need a small part of the creature or sample of the material.
How does this work in 5e? The DM picks the creature for all of the Conjure * spells in the PHB, the player only picks the number/CR. Are you actually giving the spell a big buff in that characters can effectively limit the choices to the one they want by limiting what material components they are carrying?
 


Bagpuss

Hero
The DM picks the creature for all of the Conjure * spells in the PHB, the player only picks the number/CR.

Where does it say that?

It sounds like a very odd interpretation of "The GM has the creatures’ statistics."

I mean technically if you really only got to choose " One beast of challenge rating 2 or lower" as the option and not the actual beast summoned, the GM could summon one CR 0 Frog and still meet your request.

You pick the actual beast you want, and the GM just has those statistics because they have the MM.
 

Bagpuss

Hero
I won't roll for hit points. I had a years-long streak of really bad luck when every hit point roll turned up a '1', so I'm pretty much done with that one.

Our general house rule is you get to roll for hit points, but you always get a minimum of the average the dice would roll rounded down. You still end up with situations where the party rogue has more hit points than the fighter however.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Where does it say that?

It sounds like a very odd interpretation of "The GM has the creatures’ statistics."

I mean technically if you really only got to choose " One beast of challenge rating 2 or lower" as the option and not the actual beast summoned, the GM could summon one CR 0 Frog and still meet your request.

You pick the actual beast you want, and the GM just has those statistics because they have the MM.
I think that's one of those cases where Crawford made a ruling somewhere based on text that does not exist.

Edit:having the statistics is not inclusive to or excluding to making the choice, "natural language" strikes again
 
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dave2008

Legend
I assume this is to speed up the game, but is it fun?
I can't speak for this specific rule, but we have a requirement to resolve your turn in 30 seconds: Declare action and make any rolls (attack and damage) required. We did this to speed things up but found it actually made the game more fun too. Combats feel much more energetic now and everyone pays attention because it all happens so fast.
 

Bagpuss

Hero
I think that's one of those cases where Crawford made a ruling somewhere based on text that does not exist.

So for Conjure Elemental

Choose an area of air, earth, fire, or water that fills a 10-foot cube within range. An elemental of Challenge rating 5 or lower appropriate to the area you chose appears in an unoccupied space within 10 feet of it.

The DM has the elemental's Statistics.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th Level or higher, the Challenge rating increases by 1 for each slot level above 5th.


So the GM could just pick a CR 1 elemental even if you burned a 8th level slot on the spell. Nice Stupid idea.
 

Stormonu

Legend
In one of my games, a player wanted to build his character with the optional rule in Tasha's that allows a player to choose ability score bonuses regardless of race. I don't allow that rule and will keep using the 5.0 races in my game even if we shift to One D&D in the future.
Yeah, the only one that comes to mind for me is the floating ASI rules in Tasha's. Just not ever going to use them.
 

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