D&D 5E Your Favorite 5e Houserule


Not really a house rule, per se, but a clarification: Guidance can only be used for skills that can be started and completed in their entirety within the one minute duration.

This means that typically only ability checks called for as part of an action benefit from Guidance and severely cuts down on the spam while still keeping it as useful as what it is, a cantrip.

Also, casting spells in front of people is akin to drawing a weapon - you could be casting fireball for all they know, and they will react with hostility unless you have some prior understanding.

log in or register to remove this ad


41st lv DM
House rules I'm rather fond of;
*Multi-classing does not blend your spell slots together. Each class has it's own pool of slots.

*Skill checks - it's easy, roll =/under your relevant ability score. Having advantage etc allows you to roll multiple dice & take the best. These sources stack. This is in place more & more because I"M LAZY & don't set DCs. And our newest player seems to understand this easier than adding all the mods.

*PvP? Rolling dice against one another? I'm neither for nor against PvP. I AM against the PCs somehow being immune to things that would normally affect them if any NPC/monster had attempted it.
OK: PC <---> NPC/monster, OK: NPC/monster <--->NPC/monster, but "because" PC=/= PC is not OK??? Nope.
So if/when it comes to PCs rolling dice against each other? That's on them. Normal game rules will apply.

*Stat generation.
Each player gets to decide for themselves wich method to use: 4d6-1 roll method, standard array, or standard PB.
IF YOU ROLL: You will do so in front of the group & you will play the results in good faith. There's no mercy, no re-rolls, etc. Afterall, if you wanted to avoid risking bad stats you had two other methods to choose from. And yet you were perfectly happy to gamble....
*Stat Envy - So you rolled low & everyone else seems "better"? So someone gambled & got lucky, rolling higher than PB/Array would have yielded? Nobody wants to hear about it. You were all given the same options. Those who lost at gambling? Didn't have to gamble, but chose to anyways. Those who played it safe? Might've gotten just as lucky if they'd taken the chance....

Roll the damage, add all mods as normal & tally it up. Then double it.
I'm not into wasting time worrying about wich mods do/don't stack & why.
** I tried simply having crits do max damage (after all mods) x2 - but the players insisted on rolling(?) Er, OK.... I mean, they know & don't care that I simply x2 the monster damage on crits against them. Yet they insist on rolling for their PCs. (shrugs)

Nine Hands

We use UP/DOWN initiative. Basically the monster's have a default initiative score, usually based on their average "passive" initiative. Players roll each round, those that roll higher than the monsters go before the monsters (in any order), those that roll the same or lower, go after. Roll initiative again at the end of the round. This does lead to some weird results, like a Monk stunning a monster before its turn, then rolling low on the next turn and the creature is still stunned but I like those unpredictable results in my games.

Legendary/Mythic actions work like before. Lair actions happen before anyone rolls initiative each turn.

It's a fun little tweak, which has an interesting side effect of making some of the capstone abilities that rely on initiative rolls to become VERY powerful. Again, a side effect that I am happy with.


My favorite House Rules at my table:
  • Homebrew - Homebrew itself is my favorite House Rule. I have endless amounts of Homebrew classes, subclasses, feats, spells, and backgrounds at my table. Every class has at least twenty subclasses available to them, some considerably more. Any reasonable Homebrew I find on the web gets snapped up and used at the table. I never worry too much about slightly unbalanced Homebrew, though I will edit things if they are TOO much. I never ever worry about overpowered characters - it's a big part of the fun (for them) - I just adjust the challenges of my monsters and adventures to keep it interesting. The only time I get nervous and possibly edit something is if one character is clearly superior to the others in the party.
  • Quick Rest - Characters may take a 5 minute "Quick Rest" and consume one hit die. This can be done every hour.
  • Non-sequential Initiative - Typical sequential initiative creates far too many absurd, unrealistic scenarios; practically every round (for my taste). At my table, everyone declares what they're doing at the beginning of the round (though it's flexible, and can be changed as the round evolves, when it makes sense), and I give them a rough idea of what their opponents seem to be doing at the beginning as well. I then declare (roughly) where in the round things will occur (ie beginning, middle, or towards the end). An exchange of attacks between actors in melee happens very fast and early, a verbal only spell happens fast and early, an arrow needs to be drawn and sighted so maybe in the middle of the round, a VSM spell happens late in the round due to rummaging in component bags, etc. We play out the round with the idea that it's a scene in an action movie; moving, attacking, casting as it would likely happen, where it makes sense. Everything kinda happens at once. We bounce from token to token, doing things as they most plausibly would occur, in the moment, as the battle evolves. Actual initiative rolls happen only to settle an order for events that are likely simultaneous (there may be several characters and enemies in melee, so they all go early in the round, and we'll roll initiative to see how it all plays out). Most 5E mechanics still work: Bonus Actions get converted into something that happens very early in the round or very quickly, Reactions let you basically do it immediately, etc.
  • Intimidation Uses Primary Ability Score - Intimidation using Charisma has never worked or made sense. Players may use their primary class ability to Intimidate, and it's a Bonus Action. It can be used to taunt an opponent into attacking you, or scaring them away (briefly). They can only use Intimidate once per minute. They must also come up with a creative way to use that ability score (ie a description) in the moment. A Barbarian's Charisma has nothing to do with how well he could Intimidate something. Picking up a chair in the tavern - while facing down a Brute Squad - and crushing it into kindling while howling in rage with his Strength on the other hand, would be quite intimidating, and makes more sense. A Cleric might encourage an enemy to use a little Wisdom before attacking him, as his god will surely smite any evildoer that would dare to strike his chosen. A Monk might do a quick little kata using his Dexterity, like Neo fighting Agent Smith in the subway, followed by a quick, smug; "Come git some!" gesture.
  • Coup de Grace is Real - This one scares the crap out of my players, but they enjoy the fear and excitement that comes with it. Again, the RAW don't really make much sense here. If you're unconscious/helpless, etc - I guess I don't understand how you survive a person walking up to you and plunging a dagger into your heart, slitting your throat, etc. Anyone (opponent or player) who is incapacitated is vulnerable to a coup de grace. A coup de grace at my table must be done with a melee weapon, automatically hits, automatically does crit damage, and the recipient must make a Constitution DC check versus the damage done to avoid instant death (ie you do 23 HP's of damage, that's the DC he has to make). A natural 20 always succeeds the DC check, which is incredibly improbable, and probably the only way you'll live through a coup de grace - but then again, so is surviving a 12th level Fighter chopping your head off.
  • Spellcaster Counterspell Battles - Kind of a Harry Potter wizard duel inspiration here. Negates the need to take counterspell, and it can be done at any level. Spellcasters automatically know if the person casting a spell is using divine or arcane magic. Arcane magic users can use a Reaction to use Arcana to try to attempt to identify the spell being cast at them. Divine spellcasters use Religion. You can only counterspell a spell of your type. Divine can't counsterspell Arcane, and vice versa. The nature of each others magic is formed differently, and can't be undone by how each type manipulates the Weave - Arcane uses the Art, and Divine uses the Power - very different manifestations. Plus Cleric's just flatout don't get access to counterspell in RAW, so there's that - but that's no fun! Why can't my god's magic cancel out yours if I invoke her name? Anyway, if you succeed in identifying a spell being cast at you, you may consume a spell slot of corresponding level to counterspell your opponent. If you don't have a slot that high, you can't counterspell it. As with the actual counterspell, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell's level. On a success, the creature's spell fails and has no effect.


I have a new favorite. It seems like every group I run for LOVES the shatter spell, and a large percentage of the time they're casting it in enclosed areas with stone walls. My houserule is that if a stone wall is in the area affected by a shatter spell, the wall is damaged: parts of the wall crumble off and fall to the ground, making the squares adjacent to the affected walls difficult terrain.


Of rules not in the books, must be "standing from prone/picking up object provokes opportunity attack". In a no-Feats game this makes the fights much better for me. With feats it makes shield master a bit OP maybe.


Mine is using half movement to stand from prone triggers an AOO or OA.. you get the idea. Being knocked down in 5e combat always seemed meh before this.


Moderator Emeritus
What do you use to display initiative? I've been taking the time to write it out on paper, along with keeping track of hit points, and I haven't liked how long it takes to set up each battle. Once things get going, everything is good, but it's getting to that point that is the problem.
I know you already got an answer, but I just use a dry erase board so everyone can see everyone's initiative.


B/X Known World
Action points. Inspiration on steroids. All that plus re-rolls, an extra action, and a few more. Gives the game a big damn heroes feel.

Cinematic advantage. Really love this as a replacement to flanking.

Group initiative. Rolling and dealing with individual initiative just wastes time. DM and one player rolls a d10, high side goes first. Players can sort out what order they go in. Usually whoever knows what they want to do goes first. Or just go around the table from left to right, then next round from right to left.

Remove ads


Remove ads

Recent & Upcoming Releases