Sample House Rules

There are most of our home rules. Feel free to look through and get ideas

DM ADVICE

10/24/20239 min read

Rules for our Homegames

Welcome. The following are our home rules for use in my 5e campaigns. Some are campaign specific and will be noted as such.

In general, everything can be run from character sheets in DNDBeyond. It is not a requirement to use, just for ease of use for creating and managing content: magic items, races, feats, etc. - and it makes my life easier.

Overview
Basic House Rules
  1. Don't meta-game. it ruins the fun for everyone.

  2. I use the "rule of cool." This means maybe it strictly isn't an action/bonus action/free action, but its also situational (again, read Rule #1)

  3. I will follow the rules, but I'm not perfect and I'll make mistakes. (Please read rule #2)

Optional Features are Allowed

These allow you to pick up Tasha's rules and reassign your +2 / +1 and a few other nifty optimizations.

Ability Scores

You have 2 options for character ability scores:

  1. Standard Array: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8

  2. Point Buy: 27 points (no stat higher than 15 on point buy either)

Using ability score improvement, you can hit 19 at level 4:

  • ability score: 15

  • racial bonus: +2

  • level 4 ability score improvement: +2

It's not a wise use, but it is possible. You do you, cupcake.

No ability can ever go above 22 without the use of magical means. You aren't a God. and if you think you are, another God's avatar might pop by to "knock some sense into you."

Race

Any standard 5e race is permitted, with these notable exceptions:

  • Gith: No Githyanki ever. Githzerai only with approval - only because most of any planet will try to kill you without asking (lets be fair, its a strong racial bias across the known worlds)

Other Races

Custom Lineages are Ok

Additional Notes on Races:

I am 100% open to other races and homebrews as long as they follow the 2/1 stat rule and have a balance of abilities. If I have doubts, I will bounce any homebrew races against my fellow DMs to ensure it isn't unfair/unbalanced.

Do be aware if you pick a race that no one has ever seen before, there are drawbacks. I wouldn't trust a 6 foot walking fir tree treant that walked in my shop to buy a sword - and neither would my NPCs. Keep that in mind.

Classes

Any standard 5e (including Tasha's etc.) are allowed. Multi-classing is also allowed, however:

  • You must be able to RP / justify what you are doing. I'm not going to allow a wizard to become a rogue so he can sneak attack and pick locks - maybe you should just be an arcane trickster.

  • Some are simple that make sense: Pally/Fighter, Fighter/Cleric, Barbarian/Fighter. Bard/Sorcerer. Ranger/Rogue, Ranger/Fighter, Even Monk/Rogue (This one is 100% depending on your path and backstory)

  • If you multi-class, it requires some type of downtime/training. You dont just wake up and know how to pick locks. You can't do it in real life, neither can your character. The smart thing to do - if you think you are going to do this - start RPing that during long rest / down time, you are practicing some new skills and then you become "proficient" at it when you level up.
    — I will 100% appreciate you trying to use a weapon you are not proficient with so you take penalties to attack rolls (no prof bonus) while you are learning in actual combat. (and sometimes you might get a proficiency bonus because you did something better)

Backgrounds

All backgrounds are allowed - as are custom backgrounds. DNDBeyond makes this very easy to ensure you are balanced and not overstepping if you don't know how to do a custom BG:

Options:

  • 2 skills and 2 Tools

  • 2 Skills and 2 Languages

  • 2 skills, 1 Tool and 1 Language

Feats

The same rules apply as classes above. it must make sense. However, the following feats changes do exist in our world. First and foremost:

Removed Feats

Durable, Great Weapon Master, Polearm Master, and Sharpshooter

World Restrictions

If you've noticed, I haven't mentioned any specific "World." That is because they are not world specific. Unless noted for a specific campaign below

World Considerations

Having said that.. Some races and classes work better and make sense coming from specific worlds, example:

Eberron
  • Warforged

  • Artificer

  • Gunslinger (Fighter variant)

  • anything magical-stempunkish

Exandria
  • Bloodhunter

  • Dunamancy

  • Cobolt soul monk

  • etc

Greyhawk
  • classic races

    • human

    • elf

    • half-elf

    • dwarf

    • halfling

Golarion
  • Classic races

  • Anthropomorphic Beast not native to other worlds

Palladium
  • Classic Races

  • Wolfen

Toril / Feywild
  • any 5e standard race

Misfits

Restriction: Classic Races based in Toril.

  • human (not variant)

  • halfling

  • dwarf

  • elf

  • half-elf

"Misplaced" Worlds
  • Greyhawk (legacy D&D)

  • Exandria (Critical Role)

  • Toril (Forgotten Realms)

  • Eberron

  • Golarion (Pathfinder)

  • Palladium

  • Feywild

Alignment

Alignments cannot be the following:

  • Chaotic Evil

  • Neutral Evil

Lawful Evil requires some justification: What is the reason for this? Explain to me why you are LE.

  • If you are a kobold bent on freeing your race from the dragon worship. and if they happen to worship you, you are good with that too, then OK let's talk about it.(I have a character with that exact background)

  • If it is "I want to enslave the entire human race" Ok. but I'm 100% not going to stop the party from murdering you. in fact, I'm going to drop them hints and give them a milestone level when they do. Best of luck

    • If that's not cool to you, then don't play LE

    • If you still want to do this for that reason, you are most likely a Troll and i'm not certain you should be in my game.

Experience, Hit Points and Leveling
Experience

Experience gathered in my campaign is by milestone. You work as a team, and go through trials as a team. Unless we're running Adventure league (which is experience), we will use milestone.

Hit Points

When leveling up, hit points can either take Fixed or you can roll.

Rolling works as follows:

  1. Roll your class die for hit points and add your CON modifier

  2. If you roll a 1, roll again.

  3. If you roll a 1 again, you get 2.

In short: minimum HP/level is 2 + CON

Leveling

Level up affects ONLY take effect after a long rest / downtime. It is the same rule as long rest for spells, healing, etc.

  • If you finish combat, and are in the process of a long rest to level up AND you are interrupted, you have not leveled yet. and you will not do so until the long rest is completed.

Short Rest Rules

You can spend hit die on a short rest. The rules are the same as when leveling HPs

  1. Roll your class die for health and add your CON modifier

  2. If you roll a 1, roll again.

  3. If you roll a 1 again, you get 2.

In short: minimum health is 2 + CON.

You can roll each die before you decide to roll another. The maximum number of rolls is equal to your level minus 1. All health rest rolls are PER DAY. In other words:

  • At level 5, you get 4 short rest health rolls per long rest

Actions, Bonus Actions, Free Actions

Most all Actions, BA, and Free actions follow core rules, with the following notable exceptions:

Potion Usage
Free Action
  • Drinking a potion you have handy from a quick slot. you can only have 1 of these prepared (think of it as a single use slot) unless you purchase something to carry more like this. please be mindful if you have them exposed, they could get broken. (Risk/Reward)

Bonus (~1 second)
  • Getting a potion out of your pouch to drink or reload your quick slot (if your quick slot has been used)

    • You can carry two potions in a pouch maximum - no matter the type

  • Handing a potion to another player

Action (5-6 seconds)
  • Feeding a potion to a downed player

  • Getting maximum 2 potions out of your backpack/saddlebag/cart

Skill Checks in Combat

In combat, any skill checks that do not require active "work" [i.e. can be done passively, can happen as a Bonus Action (depending on what you are trying to accomplish)]. Some examples of things that can be done in less than 1 second:

  • Perception / Insight (passive or rolled): observing how the enemy is "feeling" or "responding"

  • Deception (rolled): waving to a fake ally to join the fight

  • Nature / Survival: noticing animal features, surroundings, etc. (nothing specific, simple observations.)

Keep in mind, you might not get advantage on these - even if you normally do.

If it requires something more in depth, standard rules apply (its an Action)

Rule Clarification and Interpretations
Adding Spells in a Spellbook

For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells.

For characters starting above 2nd level, you can add additional spells to your spell book that cannot exceed your spellcasting modifier that you are able to cast:

For example, if your modifier is +3, assuming you have the level and capability you can add:

  • 1 - 3rd level spell (or)

  • 1 - 2nd level spell and 1 1st level spell (or)

  • 3 - 1st level spells

This does not change the number you can have prepared. It just means they are available to prepare.

Additional Actions
  • Climb onto Bigger Creatures - allow a small or medium character to climb onto a “suitably large” opponent. A contested roll is all that is required for the smaller character to climb onto the larger one and start clambering around him as if the larger creature is difficult terrain

  • Disarm - The attacker makes an attack roll that is contested by the defender’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the attacker wins the defender is disarmed and the weapon falls to the defender’s feet. The attacker’s roll is at disadvantage if the defender is holding a weapon in two hands. The defender’s roll is at advantage (if it is larger than its attacker) or disadvantage if it is smaller. This type of action inflicts NO damage

  • Overrun / Shove aside - push through a hostile creature’s space or shove them backwards. It’s a simple contested check – the larger character getting advantage on the check.

  • Tumble - Allows to move through an opponents space with an opposed Acrobatics check. Does not negate opportunity attacks

Cleaving

ORIGINAL: This optional rule states that if your melee attack reduces an undamaged creature to zero hit points in one blow, then any excess damage carries over to another target within reach (as long as the initial attack roll was high enough to hit the second target).

RULING: This makes it too easy for a 9th level fighter to rip through 6 goblins very quickly. While in reality, over half of those goblins should get a chance to hit. They wont do much damage, but thats not the point.

Modified Rule:

If your melee attack reduces an undamaged creature to zero hit points in one blow, then as long as the initial attack roll was high enough to hit the second target within range, you can do 1d4 + modifier bludgeoning damage from your weapon or from the body of the fallen being slammed into it.

Dice Rolls

This shouldn't need to be said, but: all dice rolls (for EVERYTHING) should be made in a publicly available location:

  • Online tabletop (Roll20, Owlbear Rodeo, Foundry VTT, Fantasy Grounds, Astral, Tableplop, etc. etc.)

  • DnDBeyond via a linked Campaign

  • Discord Bot. In my games, we use Avrae on my discord server
    — You can also link Avrae to your DndBeyond Character sheet (import) so it will do all the math

While we're here:

Critical Hits

Critical Hit doubles all dice damage, but I provide group options for rolling damage:

  • OPTION A: — Double Everything: 1d8 +3 becomes (1d8)*2 + 3

  • OPTION B: — Roll Twice: 2d8+ 3

  • Option C: — First die is automatically max , so 1d8 +3 becomes: 1d8 +3 +8

As a general rule, during session zero, the players decide as a group whether we use A or B and we all follow that rule — even the DM.

Flanking

Flanking on Squares

When a creature and at least one of its allies are adjacent to an enemy and on opposite sides or corners of the enemy's space, they flank that enemy, and each of them has advantage on all melee attack rolls against that enemy. When in doubt about whether two creatures flank an enemy on a grid, trace an imaginary line between the centers of the creatures' spaces. If the line passes through opposite sides or corners of the enemy's space, the enemy is flanked.

Healer's Kits

A character cannot expend hit dice to recover hit points at the end of a short rest until someone expends the use of a healer’s kit. This represents bandaging the wound and applying alchemical salves to the damage. Only one use of the kit is expended regardless of how many hit dice the character chooses to spend. You do not need to be proficient with a healer's kit - just have it in the party.

Initiative

WYRIWYG- what you roll is what you get

  • In the event of ties, higher dex bonus wins.
    — If still tied, the party can decide who is first and that person is always first.

  • In the event of the NPC ties with the party, whichever side had surprise goes first, otherwise the party goes first.

Inspiration

There are several ways to justify or accomplish this. But for me; it means roleplaying your character, giving up mechanical benefits to fit your character’s story, being heroic, striving to drive the action onwards, doing something unexpected that leads to some fun encounters, storytelling and roleplaying for everyone. (it also means you, as a player, can give it to the DM).

You don't start with it. Neither do I. But I will give it out - just not like a parent handing out candy at Halloween to someone not in a costume - you better dress up and play the role. its a ROLE-PLAYING game.

Starting Gold

This table is geared for classes that DO NOT start at first level (That's where you get your equipment or gold - NOT BOTH)

NOTE: You either role, or take average. Not roll and then change your mind.

Class

Barbarian

Bard

Cleric

Druid

Fighter

Monk

Paladin

Ranger

Rogue

Sorcerer

Warlock

Wizard

Starting GP

1d4 x 10gp x level

5d4 x 10gp x level

5d4 x 10gp x level

2d4 x 10gp x level

5d4 x 10gp x level

5d4 x 1gp x level

5d4 x 10gp x level

5d4 x 10gp x level

4d4 x 10gp x level

3d4 x 10gp x level

4d4 x 10gp x level

4d4 x 10gp x level

so a 2nd level barbarian would get:
2d4 x 10gp x 2 or take the average of 80gp.