House Rules #dnd

Once a DM is confident in their abilities and has run a few games they usually wind up fudging a rule here or there.  Now for some people this is akin to a hell-worthy sin, but to the really good DMs this process is just part of making your own house rule set.  Most groups have them, those few rulings that everyone agrees on to make the game a little easier, a little more realistic, or a little more fun.

My own list of House Rules is fairly simple, with good foundations in roleplaying, tactics and a little fluff thrown in.

1. 4d6 stat rolls, re-roll 1’s and 2’s, drop the lowest die.

2. Starting characters have 2d10 x 20 starting gold, and are provided with basic adventuring gear (backpack, bedroll, adventuring outfit, waterskin and some trail rations)

3. Wizards and Sorcerers have access to 3.5 cantrips as at-will powers.

4. A hero can attempt to block, parry, or counter any attack he can see but sacrifices a move or attack action for the following turn.  A feat allows the hero to instead sacrifice attack bonus or damage for the parry.

5. A hero can make a called attack (targeted) at a -4 penalty, potentially causing additional damage or effects (percentile determines additional damage and location determines effects).

6. A hero can attempt to make a second attack by sacrificing their move action for the turn, but makes the attack at -4 to attack and -1/2 to damage.

7. Feats and skill bonuses can be trained as well as earned if a trainer can be found.  A gold and time frame will be determined by skill level and complexity of the feat.

8. Creative descriptions and use of terrain, skills and attacks may garner bonuses to the players actions.

That’s more or less it. There are unlimited possibilities in this game, and sometimes RAW just doesn’t cut it. Always remember that the core books are just a guideline, a doorway into your game. Don’t let the rules bog you down. What are some of your house rules and why?


~ by darkpatu on September 2, 2011.

6 Responses to “House Rules #dnd”

  1. we have tables for crits and fumbles (rather than X2/X3 damage), no need to haggle on selling items back (half book price, no questions asked), we gloss over material components for spells (unless over 1000 GP) and every *every* game seems to have a portable hole or bag of carrying as one of the first items found / bought.

    oh and potions tend to go into a “carried by all until needed” limbo. like Dungeon Siege.

  2. Can you go into more detail on the called shots? With 3.5 the true strike spell will hurt that a little.

    Also a called shot should require a full-round action, I would think.

    • A called shot requires a two-round action actually, one to aim and determine the target, and one to actually make the attack. It’s often so much trouble to make these that they’re saved for boss and solo fights. So if they wanted to use the 3.5 true strike spell it’ll probably be the only way they’d be able to make a called shot. The effects of a called shot are variable based on the percentile dice and a chart, but they range from ham-stringing, blindness, crippling, or in extreme cases (95-100 or 5-1 depending) severing of limbs and severe damage.

  3. I like these house rules. I usually have house rules like, “no bloody fortune cards!”

  4. I love House Rules.

    On of my favorites (which I first encountered on /tg/) is that at each level instead of rolling one new HD, the player rolls their total HD. If the new result is higher, that’s the character’s new max HP. If not, then their HP doesn’t go up. It’s a nice way of diluting bad rolls out over time.

    I also don’t enforce the “fighter’s only” rule for the Weapon Specialization feat.

    I’ve been trying to work out something similar to your #6 house rule. I often run small parties, and it would be nice if they were able to drink a potion / use a healing wand and attack in the same round. Though I tend to penalize much heavier, closer to a -8 penalty.

    • That’s a solid rule, and allowing your players to attempt those sort of things at a penalty makes it feel like the players have a greater freedom than the preset constraints of actions.

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