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5E Your Favorite 5e Houserule

miggyG777

Explorer
One of my favorite things to do as a DM is to fiddle with the RAW to adjust them to my liking. And I am sure that most of you do too. I always like to hear what other people come up with in that regard. It is great inspiration and sometimes you find a well thought out houserule that you ask yourself how you could have ever played without it.
Therefore I want to ask you, what your favorite 5e houserule is, that you just can't live without anymore.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Alternate Ability Scores for skill checks.

Although technically it's a Variant rule that WotC actually wrote into the game so I don't know if it's falling within your definition of "house rules"... but I still count it and think it's the most necessary rule change I need for my game.
 


Two of the few house rules I use:

1 - No dice rolls against other PCs. I don't want to spend an hour refereeing PvP because the rogue decided that they had to steal the barbarian's greatsword, watching bad blood steadily build in the adventuring party. It creates a few weird situations, but on the whole it heads off more problems than it causes.

2 - Passive Initiative for monsters. This was something Jeremy Crawford talked about, and it saves some time and brainspace when I can pre-calculate their initiative.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
1) Plot coupon: If there's something special about your character, let me as the DM know and we'll work it in. Maybe you have a fairly heirloom sun blade. Maybe your character has 2 different subclasses. Maybe he's a cat who can wild shape into a wizard. Whatever, talk to me and we'll make it work. (This is a rule specifically to let my players know to not be afraid to go off the rails when making a character. I value fun, crazy concepts over absolute balance.)

2) Free feat at 1st level. Just opens up so many concepts, and a lot less people play VHumans.

3) For stats, 2d6+5 five times. Then sum and subtract from 76 to get your 6th stat.

4) After a long rest, reroll all your hit die and maximize one die. This is your new hit point total, if it's higher than your current hit point total.
 





dave2008

Legend
My group will never play another D&D game without using some variant of our hit point and armor house rules:
  • HP and AC are calculated and used per the standard rules. No change.
  • Additionally, each player gets a separate pool of bloodied hit points (BHP). BHP = [STR mod + CON mod] x Size (Medium = 1). The only way to increase this is with the Tough feat (1 BHP per 5/levels) or through magic or a charm, blessing, or boon.
  • You take damage to BHP after your HP = 0. We have an optional rule to have critical hits apply to BHP, but it was too brutal for our group so we stopped using it. We might look at trying this again but requiring a confirmation roll on the crit (for the BHP part only)
  • When you would take damage to your BHP, you first reduce the damage by your armor's DR. So if an attack does 10 damage and your DR is 5, you only take 5 damage.
    • Armor DR = armor AC-10
  • When you are at 0 BHP you die.
  • You regain HP normally, but you regain BHP at the rate of 1 BHP per extended rest (which is a week in our game) and the use of a healer's kit (for each point of recovery). With a successful medicine check (DC = 25-remaining BHP) you can gain an extra point of BHP or reduce the rest length to a typical long rest. And of course magic works too.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Favorite #1: Summons are played in combat by the other players. You can play a summoner, but the other players don't lose focus time in combat. Please make sure to have stat sheets to hand out for the common ones I may say arrive. (This doesn't apply to long term summons like Find Familiar or Find Steed.)

Favorite #2: Players award Inspiration to other players. Just makes it flow better. But I have mature players I've been gaming with for years.

As you can see, neither addresses mechanics. I do use some of the official variant rules like using different ability cores for skills. I have one mechanical houserule, but it doesn't come up often:

Wild Magic Sorcerer Tides of Chaos changes from "DM" to "DM or any player" can activate. So yes, others can call for a surge if they think it's appropriate. Or funny. Or epic. Did I mention funny.

I may have houserules and/or class/race availability to support a specific setting, but that's outside "favorite".
 

aco175

Legend
We play with flanking rules which has been discussed here before.

I also have the players roll saves for the monsters when they cast a spell and they also roll damage on themselves when a monster hits them. It lets players roll more dice per night and frees me up as the DM.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Let the players dole out inspiration to each other.

Love this.

Mine:

  • You can only help another character with a skill check if you're proficient in the skill.
  • Rogues with the Thief subclass can use Fast Hands to drink a potion as a bonus action
  • Warlocks can choose to designate Intelligence rather than Charisma as their spell-casting ability on character creation
 


Arvok

Explorer
Ability score limitations (usually raising to 20 through an ASI, but also certain legendary items or artifacts) refer to the ability before racial adjustments. So a half-orc can use ASIs to raise his Strength score to 20, or a tiefling can raise his Charisma score to 22.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Simpler initiative tracking. Everyone rolls like normal, but then I call out “anyone higher than X”, X being what I rolled. So players have a bit more flexibility, and I don’t have to waste time going down all of the numbers. Then I go, then I call out everyone else can go.
This is very similar to Side Initiative, which I used for a while and liked quite a bit.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
We play with flanking rules which has been discussed here before.

I also have the players roll saves for the monsters when they cast a spell and they also roll damage on themselves when a monster hits them. It lets players roll more dice per night and frees me up as the DM.

We played with Flanking and Spell Points. And stopped both of them. Easy and ubiqutous Advantage like that really weakened class features that granted Advantage. It also made solo foes even weaker, when 5e is already lousy at making them a serious menace.

(And that was before Elven Accuracy was a thing, I can picture how it would get abused now.)
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
  • Warlocks can choose to designate Intelligence rather than Charisma as their spell-casting ability on character creation

I've played with this a bit. Bards being loremasters instead of storytellers by swapping out INT, and some Paladins it makes sense for (and makes a great gish platform).
 


ScuroNotte

Explorer
Allowing
  1. Homebrew (especially Ranger & Sorcerer)
  2. Using a standard array of 17, 16, 15, 14, 12, 10, with no bonuses added from race. Earliest ASI bonus can be added is 4th level and only once (sorry variant human).
 

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