I get questions frequently about what house rules I’m using in my own 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game so I wanted to post them for everyone. I hope you’ll find something useful here and tag me on twitter if you have a question or want to share a rule of your own.
By and large, I stay fairly houserule light. This is because I don’t think most house rules add anything to a game. More often than not, people are compensating for some cognitive disconnect but it doesn’t bring much to a group at play. So more or less, I use rules as is with the exception of the one’s I’ve listed below.
House rules are additions or modifications to the mechanics of a game. This means they modify or add to a rule in place.
Snatch Item: When trying to use an item in a hostile creatures square, you must succeed at Athletics (Strength) or Acrobatics (Dexterity) roll against the defenders Athletics (Strength) or Acrobatics (Dexterity) to successfully use the item.
Exhaustion & Death Saves: The first time a character fails a Death Saving throw after falling to 0hp, they accumulate one level of exhaustion.
Catch Your Breath: A character may attempt a DC 15 Athletics (Constitution) check after taking a short rest. They remove one level of exhaustion on a success. They may attempt this once and are able to attempt it again after completing a long rest.
Friends with Advantage: Only one player may roll to attempt an outcome for the party like disarming a trap. They may receive “help” from another player if that player is proficient in the relevant skill. Both players roll, the highest result is kept.
Skill Bump: When attempting a skill roll, a player may be able to make the case that another skill they are proficient in may give them a slight advantage. If the DM approves, give the roll a +1 for that attempt. Another player may try to “advise” in the same way to provide the bonus. Any declaration of help must be made before rolling.
Blocked by Enemies: You cannot move through an enemy square normally. You may attempt an Dexterity (Acrobatics) check opposed by the enemies Strength or Dexterity check. Success means you are able to move through their square as if it were difficult terrian.
Mounted Combat: Players interested may use the mounted combat rules I developed.
No Long Rests on the Road Gaining the benefit of a long rest requires a comfortable place to rest or base camp. See Perilous Journeys for more info.
- Mage Armor uses the higher of the targets Dex modifier, or casters primary spell ability modifier.
Table rules are conventions or social norms that use an established rule in a different way. This means it doesn’t modify or add to an existing rule, but uses that rule in a different way.
- 2HD at 1st level: Players start with Max HP plus another HD at 1st level. They do not roll for HPs again until 3rd level.
- Private Death Saves: Death saves should be kept private between the DM and Player. Either PM2DM on the VTT, Discord, or Text as used in the campaign.
- Feats Not Used: The following feats are not used in my game: Telekinetic (Tasha’s), Observant, Bountiful Luck, & Luck.
- Sentinel Feat: Capped at +1 size for movement change.
- Tasha’s Optional Class Features: Mostly used from Tasha’s, check with DM.
- Custom Lineages: Okay by me, let me know if you’re a variation on a traditional race or what other concept you might have. Variation on traditional races are considered that race for all racial requirements in the system unless otherwise noted.
- Xanathar’s & Tasha’s Subclasses: All allowed except for Order of Scribes Wizard, and Twilight Domain Cleric.
- Most Recent Class Update Used: In cases with multiple versions of a class, like Artificer, the most recent version of that class is used.
- Intimidating Presence: May be either CHA or STR based at players description with appropriate description.
Style & Convention
These are just social contract elements of my sessions I’d ask you to keep in mind.
- Help keep the game moving. No, non-game related electronic or other stuff.
- Honor system. Act in good faith please.
- Be on time and communicate. If the group sets up a time and place, it’s respectful of everyone else to be on time and prepared.
- Don’t Roll Unless Asked: ’nuff said.
- Lean into some of the ideas I put out there on my blog, bring your own creativity into the game but remember it’s a shared space.