What is the best and worst house rule you have ever played with?
By - LemonLord7
Best: brutal critical (on crits, you do max damage plus your normal rolls)
Worst: inverted ranged combat (you have disadvantage on your first range in ranged weapons and regular rolls between your first and second) this stopped ranged combat in it's tracks.
>Worst: inverted ranged combat (you have disadvantage on your first range in ranged weapons and regular rolls between your first and second) this stopped ranged combat in it's tracks.
This actually sounds rather exploitable. Darts and thrown weapons are hard to use because of their short range of 20/60. Now I can be 60 ft. away and toss darts as a rogue. If they somehow get close, thrown weapons/darts only require one hand unlike bows/crossbows so I still have my rapier to stab them with.
I can see where the issue would come in in that you’re not always in an area where you *can* be that far away, especially if you’re playing one of the official campaigns. My group has played LMoP and are currently part way through ghosts of saltmarsh and there’s a lot of dungeon crawling which is fine but all the rooms are like 10-20 feet on each side tops. There just isn’t enough space. As you’ve pointed out you could make it work with thrown weapons like darts but if the point is to encourage sniping enemies with a longbow then I can see how it fails at that.
Plus it finally makes nets viable!
I used to think I'd like to use brutal crits, but then I saw my friend get crit by a Chasme just under normal rules.
* 8d6+2 piercing, ok not too bad
* 14d6 necrotic which also reduces your max hp, oh F!
The total damage almost killed him straight up with massive damage, and the 14d6 necrotic got real close to oneshotting his Warlock simply with the max hp reduction. There are some really scary creature abilities when combined with crits, let alone brutal ones. Not for me, but I applaud you brave souls who embrace it!
Middleground idea: Use RAW, but state that the minimum of the total rolled is still the maximum you could normally do with a non-crit. That way you'll still always get a great hit, with the added chance of going beyond it.
Yeah I never liked brutal criticals since in my mind half the fun of a critical is that you get to roll a fuck ton of dice.
Rolling more dice is more fun, but it sucks when you roll two low numbers and your crit does less damage than many regular hits. With brutal your guaranteed to do good damage, and consistently do good damage when you get a crit.
Yeah nothing is more disheartening than rolling a 1 on your damage roll post crit.
If you're a rogue or a pally.
As a fighter I just get to roll 4d6. 4d6 + 2 superiority dice if I'm feeling funky.
Your middleground idea rocks!
Chasme is a mean monster tho. It feels like every time I've used one, I've had a player kill and I play with min-maxers.
The only time I've had one of my characters die was to a chasme :l lmao
Having a minimum result for crits is how we do it at my table. Ours is non-crit max +1.
So sorry, maybe my brain has gone to dust but I don't understand what you mean by
>the minimum of the total rolled is still the maximum you could normally do with a non-crit.
It doesn't make sense to me! Help lol
So say you normally roll 1d8 on a hit. Your maximum for that roll is 8. So if you crit you roll 2d8 or take an static 8, whichever is higher.
Sorry, Im fairly new, whats RAW?
RAW - Rules as written. Basically the rules exactly as they are stated.
RAI - Rules as intended. The rules as they were meant or assumed as they were meant to be ran as.
Rules As Written. So whatever it says in the book is how it is interpreted. No nuances, no personal beliefs, just straight up how it says.
Somebody already answered your original question but since you're new here, here are some other terms that you might encounter during your time here that originally confused me as well:
- MAD - Multi Ability (Score) Dependent
>This is in reference to characters or classes that have a requirement for good stats in many different ability scores. e.g. A Barbarian needs high Strength for damage and high Constitution for health tanking *and* high Dexterity to make their armor class high since they're going to be taking a lot of hits and need to negate some of them. But you also need good Wisdom if you want to avoid some of the worst spells that will stop you in your tracks, e.g. Hold Person
- SAD - Single Ability (Score) Dependent
> The opposite of MAD. While some characters might need tons of stat bonuses to be good, others might only realistically need to be good at one thing. If a Rogue has high Dexterity they can theoretically sneak their way through everything and have high AC and high rolls to hit with damage being supplemented by their Sneak Attack. Uncanny dodge will let them take half damage from attacks and Evasion will let them take no damage on Dexterity save attacks. Reliable Talent will make their rolls guaranteed to be no less than average and Slippery Mind will eventually give proficiency in Wisdom saving throws. So, Dexterity is really the only stat you need to be good at being a Rogue.
- Gish - A character that is proficient in both magic fighting and martial fighting
It stands for Rules As Written, so the rules as their laid out in the official books without any homebrew/interpretation/etc.
I like brutal criticals for players, but monsters/npcs still just double the dice. The problem we're trying to solve is unsatisfying crits, not that crits are weak in general. Also, monsters tend to have a lot more dice in their damage rolls, so treating them differently shouldn't be a problem.
As a DM who does brutal criticals, I just roll with it when monsters crit. I roll behind a screen, so sometimes when I'm rolling for a critical, I'll just dial it back a little bit.
Creature rolled a Nat 20 and I rolled over 80 damage for it? "Oh man, that's 50 damage"
So much this. I want my players to feel powerful and have fun. I'm not against killing a character or making things challenging, but I don't want to be overly brutal and just wreck everything unnecessarily.
Brutal criticals were not fun in Storm King's Thunder, when giants would regularly wreck our party's shit. Not even worth the awesomeness of playing a paladin with that rule.
Brutal critcals sound brutal when the dragon rolls a critical hit against the rogue! What made you use this rule and how come you didn't let criticals just be max damage?
Regarding inverted ranged combat, I could see the logic in extending the area in which enemies impose disadvantage on your attacks from 5 feet to 10 or 15 feet. But just straight up using the short range for disadvantage makes no sense (when it is so different between weapons and just covers so much) and must really wreck any ability to play an archer. Though I guess sharpshooter, which every archer takes, instantly removes the problem. What was your DM's reason for using this?
Sorry, could have worded that better. Max dice damage. It's a way for crits to do more damage than normal attacks. You ad your modifyer at the end only once.
I also only let monsters crit after lvl 5. Or else the wizard was toast.
The main reason we do it in my group is so a crit can never do less damage than a normal swing. Your chance of a max damage crit is the same, but the minimum damage can't be worse than a normal hit.
The chance of a max damage crit is higher if less dice are being rolled
So an attack with a long sword would be STR + 8 + 1d8? Or STR + 16 + 2d8?
STR+8+1d8 I think is what they mean... with a tasty +7 if its a Vicious Weapon
Worst: if you take half your max hp in damage in one turn, roll a con saving throw to not be knocked out. My druid spent most of combat unconscious in her wildshape.
Also, we had to declare at initiative 20 if we planned on casting a spell on our turn. If you took damage you had to roll a concentration check to not waste the spell slot and your turn
I think that DM hated casters
Best (different game): cleave rules. If you do more damage than needed to kill a mook/henchman monster, the damage can carry over to other nearby mooks. It really sped up combat and meant a critical hit on a low hp monster wasnt "wasted"
I like the cleave rules. We’re using 4e minions in our campaign and, while it’s fun in theory to take on hordes, it really just makes combat slow. And it sucks for casters because all your fun spells are overkill.
Are there any specific minion rules you use? I never played 4e, but I like the idea of little minions for high level players to hack through and feel strong. Are they just little 1hp critters or is it more involved?
Minions are the same as a normal version of their stat block except their HP is 1 and they take no damage from a spell or effect if they save versus it instead of taking half damage.
Damage, attacks and options are all unchanged.
In general, the minions have typical attack bonuses and abilities for their type, but take 1 hit to drop. I personally give them like 5-10hp for my lvl 7 party so a scrape doesn't kill them, but I also don't do horde battles. Throwing a few extra scruffs in makes the battle so much scarier.
4e minions were just 1hp/any hit kills iirc
I think I am going to steal that cleave rule.
The optional rule in the DMG is slightly different than what OP is describing. The DMG one only cleaves the excess damage if the initial target was brought from full health to 0.
I thought the DMG version only helped if you oneshot the monster.
You should! It's really satisfying to be able to take out 3 enemies in a single turn instead of having to slog through 3 rounds just to get the same outcome
Cleave isn’t a house rule. It’s in the DMG as an optional rule.
Really? What page? I've never heard of it til it was introduced to me as a house rule
Check “cleaving through creatures” page 272.
I reworked the Savage Attacker feat to include a Cleave mechanic, that way the mechanic is there and it makes Savage Attacker a more attractive feat.
Edit: here's the new feat if anyone wants it...
Once per turn when you roll damage for a melee weapon attack, you can reroll the weapon's damage dice and use either total.
Additionally, if you kill a creature with a melee weapon with the *two-handed* or *versatile* property that deals bludgeoning or slashing damage, you can **cleave** through to a second target within melee range. You use the original attack roll for the **cleave** attack and deal the excess damage from the original attack.
As long as there is a creature within melee range of you and you have excess damage from the original attack, you can continue to use the **cleave** attack.
I reckon letting a piercing damage weapon work on a second target on the opposite side of the first target would be cool (ie. impaling mooks on a pike)
Possibly yeah, but it would have made an already word-y feat even more word-y.
"Additionally, if you kill a creature with a melee weapon with the two-handed or versatile property, you can cleave through to a second target within melee range. If the attack deals piercing damage, your reach increases by 5ft if the second target is adjacent to the killed creature. You use the original attack roll for the cleave attack and deal the excess damage from the original attack."
(Also means you can cleave with a flaming sword, or other elemental weapon)
Best house rule: drinking a potion for yourself is a bonus action, while giving one to someone else still costs an action. Makes that 2d4+2 feel less of a waste when you’re just gonna be chunked down on your next turn.
Worst house rule: the dm had us essentially swap attack and damage bonuses, so you almost never hit but when you did, it was slightly harder, but she didn’t change the stat blocks of monsters, so if I hadn’t just thrown fireballs at every fight, we wouldn’t have made it through any fights without being overwhelmed.
I thought the bonus action for yourself was the rule for the longest time. It has always the rule for my game so when one of my players told me it wasn’t I felt bad.
This is probably because in 4th edition it was a minor action to drink yourself and a standard action for someone else.
Not sure it’s how we did it when I started as a player and it just carried over when I started to DM
To your defense, that's not the worst way to misinterpret a rule. I had a DM who though that a short rest was 1d4 hours long.
So you added proficiency bonus to damage rolls instead of attack rolls?
Yeah, proficiency was added to damage and not attack. It led to some gritty realism at early levels, making the whole game feel much like a commoner class level, with even a single hit from a kobold serving to consistently down a 1st level character. But at higher levels, it just doesn’t add up.
Armor classes of legendary monsters tends to be calculated with the idea that you’ll be adding your proficiency bonus in mind. When your 19th level rogue has a +5 to hit, that +11 to damage just doesn’t mean squat against the deific armor class of a creature like an ancient red dragon, when you consistently miss if that d20 is showing any number other than a 17+.
What leads someone to think that second one is a good idea? I'm not trying to be rude, just curious what their thinking was on implementing that.
In reality - which this is absolutely not and does not have to be - hitting things is harder than it is in games and also has more of an effect than it does in games.
I don't think more realistic = more good, but I think it's an interesting angle. Would be prepared to give it a go.
I've been thinking of a house rule of my own to use with potions, maybe this is the right place to ask.
Potions now heal the full amount plus bonus. No rolling involved. The caviat: Drinking one costs a full action, to drink or to administer. We are currently playing where drinking is a bonus action.
Dungeon Dudes talks about this. Getting max healing from potions makes them a viable tactical decision during combat, and makes potions always feel good to use. Bonus action potions is another way to make healing viable in combat, though less consistent, it doesn't compete for your action. I don't recommend combining the two, as healing potions would become very powerful. I do recommend limiting the number of healing potions available, especially if you use the max healing rule, otherwise players will buy up a mountain of potions and never worry about being below max health again.
I use the Bonus Action one in any game I run, it just makes sense to me.
I think the only time I might combine the two rules is if the party didn't have a "healer" in it. I've always told my players to play want they want and I'd tailor the campaign around them. This seems like a viable way to have a party without a Cure Wounds focused cleric, druid, or bard in it.
Best: DM inspiration votes - at the end of each session, we vote for someone to receive DM inspiration for the next session. DM inspiration grants a one-time triple-advantage roll, or will be converted to bonus exp at the end of the session if it's unused. We vote usually based on who did the coolest thing or had the best moment in the session, though sometimes pity votes happen too (I won it once for the time I said "I don't need to cast Shield" and then literally died the next round).
Worst (different DM): A creature that sees an illusion immediately makes an Int save versus the caster's DC, and sees through it on a success. This meant that my illusion wizard could not ever use illusions in front of a crowd of people because it was nearly statistically impossible for all of them to fail, and the ones who succeeded would call out that it's an illusion. I should note that this was less an established, intentional house rule and more how my DM interpreted the rules for illusions so he didn't have to remember to have NPCs use their action to investigate.
Oh yes... the Illusion wizards greatest weakness, shitty DMs.
*"He runs towards your illusion and passes straight through it, perceiving it to be fake he dismisses it and attacks you three times with his Longbow. What's your AC again?"*
To be fair, things like minor illusion can be really strong in combat. Minor illusioning a door, for example, makes an entire round of enemies lose their action until someone can figure out that it's an illusion. Not saying this is a bad thing, but it is sneakily strong RAW.
One thing a lot of people skip for illusions (thankfully, IMHO, but this is RAW) is that enemies *are* allowed to use their reactions to make an Arcana check to figure out what spell you just cast, provided they see or hear you cast it. This means that if you cast an illusion in front of them, they can use that to realize what you did.
Minor Illusion has no verbal components, so you can plausibly conceal your hands behind something or someone while casting, but most illusions do.
Honestly, I've never had a DM that *didn't* do this.
I use passive Investigation to determine if a character can see through an illusion automatically. The DC is the casters spell save DC, so like 95% of enemies won't see shit, but enemy mages of significantly greater skill (and anyone who's proficient in investigation) are able to recognize that you just cast Major Illusion and see through it.
This fixes a *lot* of the illogical bullshit that the illusion rules create while still giving Illusionists opportunities to be awesome.
> (I won it once for the time I said "I don't need to cast Shield" and then literally died the next round).
I literally LOL'd
Yeah - as it turns out, it's dangerous to allow a psychic weapon-wielding spider-monstrosity with 4 attacks a turn to hit you when they also force a Wis save to avoid being stunned with the first attack of their turn.
Even moreso when your AC goes from 19 to 11 when you get stunned (Stone Sorcerer).
Best is probably still the bonus action to drink a potion/action to give it to someone else.
Worst is by far and large weapons or other important/expensive equipment breaking on a Nat 1 because 'lol crit fail'. I don't mind mishaps like accidentally hitting a friendly or your shot going way wide and alerting someone farther away or something, but I didn't sell my starting gear for a brand new crossbow just to lose it on my 3rd roll...
Lol, fighter burning through an average of more than a weapon an encounter.
Yeah, this is the key. Because proficiency is flat, the only real way to mechanically differentiate skill with a weapon is number of attacks (a Fighter and an equally Strong Wizard get the dame bonus to hit with a quarterstaff).
The more dice you roll, the more 1s you roll.
This rule literally means that the better you are with a sword, the more often you break them!
Critical fails are my least favorite common house rule in general.
Best is "Triple Team", adds a tactical positioning element like flanking without cheezing advantage. And creates a potential trade off for swarming a foe.
> When a creature and two of it's allies have an enemy within their reach, melee attack rolls against that enemy have advantage. Ranged attack rolls against that enemy are made with disadvantage.
Worst was "Story Initiative." Essentially, it was a meta initiative or initiative for the exploration turn. Whenever the DM would say "What do you do?" to the party, the player whose turn it was in the Story Initiative got to take the lead and say what their character was doing first.
While intended to make sure that every player got some spotlight time, and everyone got the chance to influence the direction the story would head, it didn't really go smoothly. Sometimes the person whose turn it was wanted to see what someone else wanted to do first, or it thrust a normally more passive player into taking charge. Interesting idea, but didn't really work out.
EDIT: I think there is a misunderstanding by what I meant by story initiative. It wasn't taking turns out of combat, it was rotating who got to act first when a new scene started.
Like "You see a dark hallway with a door at the end, what do you do?" If a player had had "story initiative", after *that* player would say what their character does RP continued as normal. Then, later on the DM would set the next scene "You see a silver fountain in the center of the room and hear a slight humming, what do you do?" The *next* player in the story initiate order would get to be the first to say what their character does before the game continued as normal.
The story initiative sounded interesting. Like a turn couldn't you do something similar to holding an action
My dm, who is new to dming, started our game with non-combat initiative. It did force people to do things who otherwise might not, but it also got really annoying when we stood at a locked door and the rogue was at the bottom of initiative. We've since gotten rid of it, and now things go quite a bit quicker.
> "Triple Team"
So +1 *Pack Tactics* for everyone?
Pack tactics is a lot stronger.
First of all, a ranged user with pack tactics and any melee always gets advantage, this gives ranged DISADVANTAGE (which pairs nicely with pack tactics actually, cause that ranged user still gets normal shots)
Second you need three people to gang up, not just two.
Also, this is inspired by the flanking optional rule, which states that two people on opposite sides get advantage, so us watering down that concept, which is way too powerful for my tastes.
That's too bad about the story initiative I'm a little confused about your criticism though - so basically people were annoyed they were gifted first spot in initiative order because they didn't have anything they could do with the gift? I mean, it's no different than just rolling high on initiative and having to go first, right?
It was more like they an intrusion on the normal course of play. Normally when the Dm says "What do you do?" to the group the player who feels strongest about a course of action will naturally take the lead, or the group will organically start to debate options. The story initiative interrupted that flow for no great benefit.
Best rule is allowing (most) ability checks in combat to be done without taking an action. It encourages the players to do fun and interesting things, allows for different approaches without penalizing them, and is an easy way to break up the monotony of "I hit it with a stick".
RAW, the only ability checks that explicitly require an action in combat are Stealth (the Hide action), Perception and Investigation (the Search action), Medicine (for stabilizing a creature), and I guess checks involving grapples.
Using Acrobatics as part of a jump, for instance, isn’t an action. Using Sleight of Hand to interact with something can be part of the free object interaction per turn. History to recall something can be completely free.
RAW you can use your reaction to do an Arcana check to see what spell somebody is casting too
The only trouble is this completely shafts casters, because now they've used their reaction and can't cast counterspell.
And yes I get that it's supposed to balance counterspell somehow by making you use counterspell blindly, but that turns spellcaster fights into a (imo) unfun mindgame of "well maybe he's casting finger of death or maybe he's fucking with me and just casting magic missile instead. Guess I burn my counterspell on the offchance it's the former."
How it runs in my game is the following: a player can use its reaction to make an arcana check to identify the spell and can then decide whether to counterspell as part of the same reaction or not. That way they have to use a resource ,they otherwise might want to use for absorb elements or shield, to get information about the spell, but also can counterspell without the need to have 2 casters in the party.
Yeah this is how I run Counterspell. I use an arbitrary DC based on player class and spell level they can cast or if they've seen the spell before. The more familiar they are with the spell the easier it is for them to identify. If they succeed they know what the spell is and can choose to counter spell it. If they fail it's a blind guess what they're counter spelling.
I actually also used this against my players by having a potential enemy roll arcana to see if they recognised spells being cast before deciding if it was worth letting them cast or turning on them out of fear of an unknown spell.
Actually if you have multiple attacks you can make multiple athletic checks for grappling.
My new favorite house rule is Iron Man. Failed death saving throws carry over until you take a long rest. It's so much more rewarding to heal someone with this rule. Saving a death saving throw, even if you know they're going to go down again, is worth it. There's less, oh this guy is almost dead, let's just kill him in the next round or two and it'll be fine.
As for worst....I can remember so bad homebrew like unique magic systems that I've played with over the years, but everything that I've really disliked has been phased out within a few games. I can't remember the bad when it was more just to try out and never really made into a real rule.
I like iron man a lot
Best: dm will occasionally pass out three notecards to everyone. We each write down a treasure/item/other as a "reward", write down some sort of conflict (as specific or nonspecific as we want), and a quick description of an NPC. It's led to some amazing encounters my dm has fleshed out in the spot. My favorite was He'cuup the orc beastmaster who taught us how to properly raise a baby dragon after we helped him rescue a "mammoth tiger" from poachers. Difficult quest because the "mammoth tiger" was NOT friendly haha.
Worst: all magic requires concentration checks to cast. I get that magic casters are very powerful and the dm wanted to make martial feel as good as magic casters, but at level 1 it just made magic feel useless since we couldn't overcome the concentration checks to cast and just lost spell slots
Oh hey, I had a DM who did the notecard thing and I thought it was great! I can't believe I forgot about it, I'll have to start doing it myself.
> Best: dm will occasionally pass out three notecards to everyone. We each write down a treasure/item/other as a "reward", write down some sort of conflict (as specific or nonspecific as we want), and a quick description of an NPC.
nice touch, like an improv exercise/show! (scenes from a hat!) :p
> all magic requires concentration checks to cast. I get that magic casters are very powerful and the dm wanted to make martial feel as good as magic casters
Martials ARE as good as magic casters. The only DM's who tend to think they are overpowered are the ones not paying close enough attention to material components and other caveats that dictate spell usage. Sure, casters get some insane world bending abilities at later levels but at ludicrous costs that demand careful usage.
That is an insanely stupid houserule and I'd probably leave the table as soon as the DM brings it up.
>The only DM's who tend to think they are overpowered are the ones not paying close enough attention to
... how many encounters you're supposed to have, between Long Rests.
If the spell-chuckers all have their entire resource pool to deal with each individual encounter, then of course they are going to be more powerful than the whack-a-mole gang. (The short-rest demicasters are also going to look weak, compared to the Long-rest full casters.)
But if they have to start husbanding their spell slots, sorcery points, and so forth to last through four (or even more) encounters before getting a refill, things change. Dramatically.
The worst part is that many people who like especially full casters start crying crocodile tears when they run out of spell slots. I've seen it expressed many times on reddit that - why would you pick a caster when you can't reliably cast spells in and out of combat whenever you need to.
That's the point - your resources are limited while the martials can keep whacking as long as they are conscious. You even still have cantrips that scale okay enough to not feel useless.
If your table doesn't care much about that - fine - but if you are trying to go for a state when all classes get to shine, then casters running out of spell slots should be a common sight.
Of course, the core issue is that to achieve that, you have to throw a lot at the players every adventuring day. Which - whether to actually do or find some other way to compensate (like high difficulty) is not easy to pull off, so DM's complain.
Man, I don't get that. That's part of why I like playing casters. That feeling of 'Oh, shit, this is a tough fight, do I burn this slot now, or save it in case we get ambushed after this fight?'
You lose a lot of the tactical decision making if you can blow your entire spell list every fight.
Yeah, the addition of free use scaling cantrips really made a difference in what full casters can do with less resources, and I'm glad that 5e kept that from 4e. Being a caster who winds up just during a crossbow for a lot of the battle feels a lot less fun than Fire Bolting everything.
Casters are still very much a resource management class (which is why I like them so much), but it should be a more difficult choice to decide whether or not to expend a spell slot because you don't know if you will need it more later. If you don't have to really worry about it, then you can just use your powerful spells with impunity and so they can feel more powerful than a class with a higher baseline but without the ability to punch up at a cost of resources
Martials, when optimized, can keep up with casters in combat.
Outside of combat, which a large portion of campaigns take place in nowadays, there is no contest in utility.
The argument that it comes at a cost of material components is a poor argument because a) at least they have the option and b) martials tend to have spend a lot of money on weapons/equipment as the game progresses .
Outside of combat, casters have an entire method of interacting with the world that martials just don't.
Battlemaster should get a seducing strike ability, change my mind.
**Fighter:** I stab him
**Enemy:** Harder daddy
In the Class Feature Variants UA, one of the added maneuvers was actually this:
>When you make a Charisma (Deception) check
or a Charisma (Persuasion) check, you can
expend one superiority die, and add the
superiority die to the ability check.
damn that would be a cool reason to pick up that feat that gives you superiority die. just use non-combat maneuvers
That's pretty sick.
Best: bows become a finesse weapon (use strength or dex for +to hit/damage)
From an emersion perspective bows were intended for very strong users. Strong archers could draw quicker, more easily and steady the bow better and the more draw strength a bow had the less good aim mattered as the arrow would fly faster, be required to arc less and penetrate armor better. It was healthy for the game too since strength characters could have good ranged options.
Worst: Anything revolving around critical fumbles where you can drop or even break weapons, or hit allies on attack rolls of 1. As if martials need more holding them back in a game where casters are already so dominant.
I like the bows rule. It’s always bothered me that fantasy has adopted the longbow as the “weedy but quick” character’s weapon of choice. Longbowmen were big, beefy dudes.
I think AD&D used to have a Strength prerequisite to even use one.
I have homebrew bows/crossbows that up the damage die by one category but require a Strength score of 14 to use.
I’m a little less on-board with crossbows as most had levers/cranks to compensate for the heavy draw.
No, but there was a height requirement (which is weird because the PHB didn't provide stats on heights of different races).
You know, for the first time too, I just realized that there's no reason to gimp a Fighter by requiring Dexterity to be able to hit ranged targets anyways.
Okay, so your Strength-based Fighter with Great Weapon Fighting can now shoot people with a longbow. And the balance issue is...? They get to continue to participate in the encounter when the enemy is far away?
A ranged Dexterity Fighter who took the Archery fighting style still has good options (though less optimal) if the enemy comes into melee with them. Why can't the Plate Armor Strength Fighter get the same when their target flies 200 feet in the air?
3e too. You had composite bows that could add a portion of your strength to damage. But that went away when 4e just opened up the whole stat to attack and damage. (Like wizards using int for attack and damage. Or clerics using wis). Then I think 5e just kept dex to hit and damage for simplicity sake.
If I'm gonna crit fail something, I'm gonna make it embarrassing, not devastating. Someone trips,you startle someone with an accidently fart. Etc.
Critical fumbles are terrible.
Best: Warlocks can sacrifice hp for spell slots in combat (worked for the game)
Worst: enemies had no limit to reactions
My hand to the heavens, we were doing these in 95-99 with 2nd edition;
1) "Hero points". Rewarded for exceptionally clever ideas, "set piece" level roleplaying, etc. A hero point could be used to reroll an attack or automatically make a save. Inspiration came about almost 20 years later.
2) "Parting Shots" - When more than 2 players were based with an enemy, and that enemy fled, every party member beyond the first got a single melee attack against them. Worked against the party as well. AoO came like 12 years later.
3) We had a group-teleporting artifact. It would only work if each member said a line about the destination that was descriptive, true...and every other line had to rhyme.
That last one is amazing and I'm stealing it immediately. Thank you.
I totally going to steal that artifact!
Best- Glancing attacks: if the attack roll=AC the damage is halved. Applies to monsters and PCs. It's nice to have a bit of exact info even if you can't do much with it, and rules that you curse or give thanks for dependant on which side of the hit you're on are usually the balanced ones.
Worst: Lifting the 1 spell+cantrip restriction. It gave even greater power to casters and while it did catch up with them on occasion when they'd burn through too many slots in one combat, the imbalance between them and the martial characters was too high. Plus it was too uncommon among monster stats to bite them back.
Just wanting to check when you say "Lifting the 1 spell+cantrip restriction", as my understanding is RAW, if you cast a BONUS Action spell, then you are still allowed to cast a spell as your Action, but it has to be a Cantrip.
So you just changed that to be cast a Bonus and also a normal Action spell and not that you had Wizards going around effectively having a Fighters Action Surge each round and being able to cast two Fireballs, right?
> So you just changed that to be cast a Bonus and also a normal Action spell and not that you had Wizards going around effectively having a Fighters Action Surge each round and being able to cast two Fireballs, right?
That's how my group thought quickened spell from Sorcerers worked until the start of the 2nd session because my DM was completely baffled by the power of double fireballs: "Wait a minute, this can't be right" so he re-read it a few times and figured it out. Perks of a good DM, I guess.
The cantrip and spell restriction is often misunderstood anyway.
I had a dm say a 20 auto kills no matter what.
*whips out eldritch blast*
*whips out monk!*
Best: Anyone can use spell scrolls. This helps the more simple martial classes still have some stuff to do in social situations outside of existing and using their skills (a common complaint though I usually dont particularly care personally).
Worst: Crit fails. Automatically missing is already punishment enough, hurting your allies or yourself by a significant amount is a huge punishment to add to that.
with the spell scroll rule, I totally exploited that once by mass producing scrolls of Shield so that everyone had big boi AC. Eventually house-ruled that you had to be "wielding" a scroll in one hand to use it which cut down on that kind of stuff mostly.
How did you use the spell scroll rule? 2 of my 4 players are martial and i feel like that makes them feel a little left out . I'd like to consider implementing this but not sure how to use like a "fireball" from a "wish" scroll (imagine lol)
I just make it an int based cast (to help make int less of a dump stat) and make it the standard 8+prof+int save or whatever the attack formula is. I often give utility spells in scrolls more often than attack ones though as I find those are more important. Martials outclass magicals in sustainable damage, magicals just do good burst what they really lack is utility.
Brutal Criticals: Instead of rolling double dice + stats, you roll regular damage and have the crit dice treated as maximized. So a great axe crit would be 1d12 + 12 + stat, instead of 2d12 + stat. This make it so a crit will always do more damage than a regular attack and can really add some threat in combat. Paladins and hexblades also tend to have fun with this one, as smites are scary.
Max HP: Class HP is as much of a draw to a class as any other feature and playing a barbarian with HP comparable to a wizard was not a fun experience. It's also made balancing encounters as a DM a bit easier. Pairs quite well with brutal critical to soften some of its bang. This applies to monsters and npc's as well and adds some nice staying power to some lesser critters.
Bonus Feat at First Level: I've found that allowing this really helps characters individualize themselves early on and offers a fun toy to play around with to boot. Variant humans can have a lot of fun with this too, and while the combo potential can be a tad strong, it's nothing unmanageable and really plays up the classic fantasy trope of humans, through determination accomplish great things fast despite their short lifespan.
Secret Death Saves: Death saves are rolled secretly between the Player and DM (or whispered in roll 20.) This really adds some extra threat to a player going down and concern, without actually changing the rules or mechanics behind the Death save system.
Roll Method "2d6+6": While I greatly prefer point buy to rolling stats, this has been the best roll method I've come across. It offers the same standardized minimum as point buy, but some of the extra potential that people like rolling for. I allow my players to roll two arrays of stats with this method and let them choose the preferred array. Tends to make stronger than normal characters but nothing unmanageable.
Hidden rolls: Rolls that the DM rolls on behalf of the player, while technically not a house rule and allowed, I always find it frustrating when a roll is taken out of my hands. It's illogical and strictly superstition but I don't feel like I'm using my own luck when another person rolls for my character, and call me a control freak but it irks me.
Excessive Fumble Rules: I'm okay with 1's and 20's being respective auto-fails and hits, though tempered by degree's of success/failure, but when people are breaking weapons, losing limbs, and stabbing themselves it's a bit extreme. I can tolerate risking a strike at an ally at disadvantage, but anything beyond that starts becoming less fun.
Many Homebrew race/class fixes: These aren't necessarily deal breakers, and I've played with some nice ones, but sometimes it can really be a downer when what you see in the book isn't what's being offered, or an abilliity your excited to use has been changed due to a house rule you weren't aware of.
I hate and love hidden rules. In the dm, but even if I don’t want my player to see the result, I want them to be the REASON for the result, not me.
IRL the answer is a dice tower, behind the screen, I’ve found. Have the player drop in the dice, but only the DM sees it. They get all the rolling but I get the result.
Online there isn’t a great way. Roll20 shows secret rolls to players. I tend to tell them when I want secret rolls that I’m going to roll a d2, on a 2, I invert the die roll. I keep this d2 secret. It still gives that sense, although the tower is better.
Your last point is exactly why I give my players a document that shows the changes I made to certain races before character creation. For the most part I buff the worse races, the only nerd I give is to the Yuan-Ti, because advantage on all magic saves ever is absurd.
More DM's should give handouts for their homebrew. It's great that you're one that does! If I'm excited to play around with a Goblins "Nimble Escape" feature, or a Kobolds "Grovel, Cower, and Beg" it's good to know that your settings version of them doesn't have those abilities and have your own more world friendly replacements.
With the death save rolls, angrygm has a great homebrew: the player rolls secretly and when someone goes to help them they are asked "is your player still alive?" I adds suspense and if the player really doesn't want their character to die they can decide to fudge it themselves with no hard feelings. Gives a great experience for everyone.
Best: Brutal Criticals. Add your roll to the max dice you can roll. Not every hit is a critical hit, but every critical is a significant hit.
Worst: DM months into campaign and in the middle of a session says: “You know what would be fun? When you roll a natural 20 on a saving throw, you take no damage.” Other players were happy to take no damage sometimes. I was playing a Wizard.
My group really likes to play with criticals, so we run with brutal crits, and with critical success **and** failure for saving throws. If you nat 20 a fireball, you take nothing, but if you nat 1 a fireball that's 16d6 fire damage.
For my group, it's a lot of fun. It means people end up holding resources like absorb elements, uncanny dodge, lucky, and inspiration for the moments you really need them.
My group used to play with the nat 20/nat 1 save rule, but after the 4th character was instant killed we thought it best to stop.
My DM has a rule that if a saving throw is critically failed, the damage done is counted as a critical to that person. For example, I rolled a one to save against a hell hound's fire breath and almost died because of it. This has worked both ways, however, because a group of vampire spawns were absolutely immolated by our sorcerer's fireball.
He also has another rule that destroy undead does not work because the curse of the land is too powerful. Our cleric would have outright killed an entire horde of zombies, but he ruled it is ineffective.
Sounds like Curse of Strahd. The second part would make me straight up leave the campaign if I was the cleric. That’s not just nerfing an ability, that’s the most bullshit call I’ve ever heard. As if CoS isn’t difficult enough, he’s penalizing the player for his chosen class. “Oh sorry Paladin, you can’t smite. Sorry Hexblade your patron has no power in Barovia.”
He said he had never heard of that class feature before (or turn undead) so when the horde of zombies was going to be instantly destroyed just after he made us roll initiative, he denied it. He still made them run away though due to turn undead... it was just stupid.
Lmao what? That’s even worse! Why would he rob his cleric of the badass moment of blowing up a bunch of zombies only to have them run away? I’ve done the exact opposite as a DM. I threw a horde of skeletons at the party hoping that the cleric would remember Destroy Undead. And he did. And it was awesome. I hope somebody talked to him about that after the game. Or at least showed him the passage on Destroy Undead.
It was more annoying in that initial encounter, but it's started to get even worse with more undead monsters thrown in the mix. My character has almost died several times now because our cleric thinks one of his strongest abilities is worthless and refuses to use it.
Edit: CoS is hard.
Best: All characters gain a feat at first level, regardless of race
Worst: All spellcasters had to learn spells the way a wizard can, regardless of class, and no spells gained on level up.
That last one didn't last long luckily
That second one is odd since wizards still learn spells on level ups too
If the dice is sort of half off the paper so it's not flat, or it goes on the floor, you roll it again.
All player dice are rolled in public, so everyone can see them.
I'm a stickler for this. When you roll your dice, you must reroll any that are cocked or end up not on the surface you're rolling on. This prevents any "Oooh, I rolled good, I'll keep that one" vs. "oooh, I rolled bad, I'll reroll that since it went off my book and onto the table" nonsense. Consistency is important.
Also all floor dice are rerolled. It's way easier to just blanket policy than getting your party to help you move the armoire to see if the d20 on the carpet rolled a valid result.
I've heard of some ruling that floor dice are automatically the worst possible roll(usually a 1) if the offender constantly overthrows.
A common rule we have used is if another die placed on top stays without falling, then that face is the result. Most of the time we don't have to check but it gives us an easy way to tell if there is doubt.
Best: Multiclasses can pick spells for any spell level they have(Note: this buffs multiclasses a lot, which I liked, and since everyone was MCing in that game it was fine, but this WILL unbalance MC vs pure classing, don't use it if you don't want strong casting multi-classes)(also it helped that nobody abused it that much. Cleric 1 wiz 19 would have been crazy but nobody did it so it was fine)
Worst: DM "didn't like it when fights ended with CC" so they gave all bosses extra legendary resistance that they'd only use on CC spells and also dealt a bunch of damage back onto the caster of said spell. really fun, I tell ya, 'specially cuz I was playing the only CC caster in the group, so I ended up doing nothing in all boss fights.
We had a critical fail chart for whenever someone rolled a nat 1. I made my character a variant human just so I could take lucky, just so I wouldn’t have to use that damn chart.
Such a bad rule, and so common... played in a campaign with it, and I made a halfling with the bountiful luck feat, just so that our martial characters weren't looking all "three stooges" in the middle of every battle. 🙄
While the idea of a fumble chart is often appealing, the fact that some classes simply roll more dice makes it a terrible idea.
I've seen numerous variants but they all suffer from this problem.
Huge issue with it is that casters can always switch to favoring spells that force saves, while martials are stuck making attacking rolls and punching themselves in the face 5% of the time.
The best and worst house rule I’ve played with was that a Monk could spend as many Ki points on Flurry of Blows as they wanted, and got that many extra attacks, leading to our Monk attacking, like, 8 times in a single round
Sounds like the start of a decent idea if the ki were balanced better. Maybe have it be an overdrive feature where it costs twice as much per additional ki point.
But then they've basically used all their damage in one turn
Yep. It should be suboptimal, and for emergencies only if it's gonna exist.
I like the idea of a scaling-cost, but no hard limit. Means you can pull out all the stops if desired, but you're far less useful. I could see problems with players who don't conserve resources well.
[ORA ORA ORA](https://i.imgur.com/1wb4XCj.gif)
Best: if you try to have sex with anything or anyone, your genitals fall off and into a portal to the elemental plane.
This rule was created during highschool. When joined it was high schoolers and college age kids. it helped cut down on that kind of behavior
All fun and games until the Bard sacrifices his manhood to deposit a phylactery into the elemental plane of fire before the would-be lich can get his hands on it.
Ah yes, the Prince Albert of Acererak.
We had to explore following initiative order. Always.
Best: Using the critical hit and critical miss tables from Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else. It doesn't cause much of a difference most of the time, but some of the results can really turn the tide of a battle.
Worst: Accidentally approved a feat that allowed the wizard to hold concentration on two spells. It allowed the wizard to cheese the system.
I both love and hate how we adjusted criticals. We have ruled you can crit and crit fail on saving throws and ability checks. I do like that it gives a chance for everyone to succeed or fail at something, but I hate having a 1 in 20 chance for my master of stealth to fall on his face. A crit on a saving throw gives evasion for a damaging effect, an auto pass on the next instance or saving someone else per dm fiat, while a crit fail usually double damage, extending the effect or an auto fail on the next save.
We also have "roll to troll " on attack crit fails, where the dm rolls a d20 and determines how bad the effect is, from beneficial (like tripping but falling through your opponent with your sword), just missing, minor inconvenience, major inconvience or catastrophic.
I pointed out that their high-level characters would be failing at simple tasks 5% of the time and puny monsters would be succeeding against them, when they really shouldnt, but my group unanimously wanted to start using critical success/fail for ability checks. ¯\\\_(ツ)_/¯
Not necessarily a house rule, but my DM right now is great about rewarding inspiration. Every time he gives it out I agree with it. Sometimes it's a PC just having a really good idea, sometimes it's someone remembering some obscure component they need, sometimes it's someone recalling a piece of important information. It really got everyone to pay attention to details a lot more.
Least favorite house rule, had a DM who made 1s a critical failure, but like... very bad failures. Not your standard "you trip and fall", he'd do stuff like "you rolled a one, you're distracted by this noise to your left and you lose your turn". And the person would be like "... oh, well I still have my bonus action" and the DM would just be like nah, you lose everything. No action, no bonus action, sorry man you got distracted.
Bruh, a 1 is a miss on an attack. That's it. Don't ruin this guy's cool turn once every 20 rolls.
Best: Aces. If you roll max on your damage dice you can roll again. It makes for really great moments where someone gets hot and rolls max several times in a row.
Worst: sneak attack dice couldn't crit.
I believe that the first rule is often referred to as Exploding dice, often used in other system. Really fun as a magical trait on magic weapons in D&D!
It normally is called exploding dice, specifically calling it Aces makes me think they got the concept from Deadlands Classic or Savage Worlds.
Exploding dice mean that with enough luck, a regular human can kill a power-armoured supersoldier with a thrown brick. Which IMO is amazing, but make sure you consider that before adding the mechanic to your game.
Best- roll 4d6 for character creation, if you get a max roll, has to be witnessed, you get 20
Worst- assigned array 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 5. No racial ability increases.
That has got to be the worst homebrew I've ever seen, what even possessed the DM to institute that?
He didn't like that we has rolled well in the campaign before that.
Why would you not do point buy or standard array instead of the massive steaming pile of Tiamat's bullshit that is that homebrew
Oh god, that last one. Why would you ever?
I could sort of see it in a grimdark/dirt-farmer style setting, but I'd really rather use another system than try and bend DnD into that style.
Most dirt farmers have better stats than that. Stats like those belong on DCC level 0 ‘funnel’ characters with a predilection for heroic sacrifices before the actual game starts.
I disagree about max rolls making it a 20. We do 4d6 drop lowest, seven times, drop lowest. Makes for strong characters that don't tend to be broken.
I'm personally a fan of just: you get 73 points, max (before racial bonuses) is 18, min is 6
yeah, only problem with that is it lets you make 3 18s, a 7, and 2 6s. that's unbelievably broken. Most ppl can usually get away with 3 dump stats. (as seen with the popularity of 15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8 in point buy)
I really dislike when people bring nat 1s and or 20s to anywhere except attack rolls
And when nat 1s are anything other than a miss
Dont really play much other homebrew to have a favorite :/
I’m in a group playing with critical misses and I hate it. Monsters accidentally hit each other and you end up shooting your allies. It’s the un-fun kind of unpredictable.
Worst would be having to use existing NPCs to replace your character if they die. Not only is this rule shit in general because it takes away player agency for no reason and to no benefit, but the DM who implemented it didn't add any NPCs to use anyway. There literally weren't any viable NPCs to use. We never actually ended up having to use this rule but ugh.
Worst rule I've ever actually had the misfortune of experiencing was "fortitude rolls" where once per round you roll 1d6+con to reduce damage you take, and if the damage is reduced low enough, it's negated entirely. This was meant to encourage "focused fire" which is really fucking stupid because the nature of a game already inherently promotes focused fire, so doubling down on encouraging it makes no sense, is antithetical to immersion, and is unreasonably meta-gamey. Also, the party i was playing with had really REALLY bad instincts when it came to combat. Typical "don't attack that guy he's already damaged" tier smooth-brain-fuckery.
Best Homebrew rule I've ever seen is probably rolling 2DX instead of 1D20 for skill checks, adding 1DX in lieu of advantage. Made skill checks much more satisfying and encouraging.
Same rule was both the best and the worst.
Pants Mandatory: you MUST wear pants.
Max Damage Die on Critical Hits: instead of double dice for criticals, you max out the dice damage and roll an additional one. So a 1d10+ability mod critical would be 10+1d10+ability mod damage. This way, a crit always feels like a crit.
Friendly Fire on Nat 1: if you roll a nat 1 on an attack, your attack hits an ally in range of your target (or you might hurt yourself). I wouldn't mind that a nat 1 would have a negative effect like decreasing the durability of your weapon, losing the ammunition/thrown weapon, or damaging the environment if it's something like a Firebolt, but damaging an ally has had serious consequences (once I was knocked unconscious because of this).
Best: waiving carry capacity within reason
Worst: Adamantine weapons crit on a hit not just objects. It was the DMs way of giving out magical weapons and scaling back the parties’ BM hand crossbow fighter. (I was not the BM).
One of my favorites: we dont like playing with Nat 1's as Critical Failures, so we made it so that you have to roll a d100 when you make a nat 1 and if you get 69 and someone at the table says "nice" then you get to hit your target.
Worst: we don't really have any bad rules, we dont change much
> One of my favorites: we dont like playing with Nat 1's as Critical Failures, so we made it so that you have to roll a d100 when you make a nat 1 and if you get 69 and someone at the table says "nice" then you get to hit your target.
Worst: The DM ruled that when casting the Identify spell, the pearl gets consumed.
Fortunately I wasn't a caster in that game, but it's still a hassle for the whole party.
Best: mysticum arcanum for every spell level, it makes the warlock a little more enjoyable and pick some niche spells. Expecially if you don't do a lot af dungeons, but something like 1/2 encounters a day.
Worst: expertise that doesn't double the proficency, but gives advantage. It was so annoying, expecially after the 10th level of the rogue. The master always said that it was the same thing, but we also discovered that he sucked at math. Also you can get advantage from inspiration or other things, it was like not having it.
My first, first, FIRST DM 19 years ago was a wargamer, so our D&D game had 'true line of sight' rules. He called it 'string rule', if you wanted to make a ranged attack or cast a ranged spell, you had to be able to run a string from the top of your character's model to the top of the target miniature, and if there was ANYTHING that 'blocked line of sight' then your attack or spell automatically failed.
So if another model had wings or had a pose that interfered with the string, it was called as a failure.
The guy also had his own DMPC that was a half angel, half demon, fortunate son, shounen anime protagonist bullshit character.. it was dumb. But he was the only person who had the D&D handbooks so therefore, the only person who could DM.
That is, until I got Baldur's Gate on PC and if you had it, you remember it came with a 400-page game manual that was basically a PHB and DMG in one. And I used that to run my own games god damn it. I learned to DM through fire.
Worst: a teamate’s crit fail means whoever was in front of them (almost always me) takes damage. If’s so unnecessary and just not fun.
Edit: added fail
Best: Max HP- we all would have died of not for that
Worst: Crit fails on attacks. Got an ally anywhere in the same continent? Roll for damage
Best: brutal criciticals (crit dice damage is maxed)
Worst: when a pc dies, or dm makes us roll a check on the revive roll. DC 10 + number of times revived. The roll used is the person casting the spell, d20 + spellcasting mod. Pretty sure this is from critical roll too and i hate it. Adding a dc to revive spells that are already so expensive is awful. 1 bad roll and your character is just dead for good. Sure, you have to already be dead for this to even come up, but the fact that you got into a situation where you could be brought back, only to end up perma dead bc of 1 bad roll feels so bad