House rules are fan created additions and replacements to core rules in a rules set. In most cases, they are not officially sanctioned by the designer, in contrast to optional rules.

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79
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19answers
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How do you help players not focus on the rules?

Background - My Group's Gaming Style When I GM, I run games loosely from a rules standpoint, and do not feel bound to adhere to what the rulebook says when it doesn't make sense in a given situation. ...
52
votes
11answers
7k views

3d6 vs a d20: What is the effect of a different probability curve?

What is the effect on game play of replacing d20 rolls with 3d6 rolls in a D&D 4e campaign? I started thinking about this after reading this question where the example was given of playing a d20 ...
21
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5answers
1k views

Balancing Spellcasters; Spontaneous Casters versus Prepared Casters

So ask any optimizer and they'll almost always tell you the same thing: in 3.5 classes that prepare spells are better than spontaneous spellcasters. It's generally not thought of as even a contest. ...
17
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3answers
530 views

How to houserule merits?

Merits as a system does not seem to be well balanced. Some merits (such as resources 1) seem like they should be mandatory (or a flaw to not have them). Other merits such as housing ones (haven, ...
17
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4answers
542 views

Rules for generating a game world as you go?

As an alternative to pre-fabricated game worlds (whether published or home-brewed), I'd like to create some rules for generating a game world gradually and organically. It would work in a manner ...
16
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5answers
3k views

How do I remove a poorly-designed rule without my players feeling cheated?

(This question is inspired by by Neil Slater's answer here: What are the acceptable limits for questions using the probability tag?. Other related questions are: Rules for increasing ability scores in ...
16
votes
9answers
527 views

What are the pros, cons, and hitches of having only the players roll dice?

I ran a variant of DnD3.5 a few years a go with this house rule Player Only Rolls. The basic of the idea was that the referee never rolls at all. The players roll to attack vers the creatures AC. They ...
16
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3answers
2k views

How do you make 4th Edition Rituals more accessible?

So here’s the situation: Rituals should be awesome. They’re typically a little bit open-ended, they’re not direct combat actions, they’re ripe for interesting roleplaying, and they’re fairly ...
15
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6answers
742 views

Would it be fair to ask the GM for benefits for self-imposed character limitations?

Is it fair to ask the DM for some kind of benefit if you give your character self-imposed weaknesses/downsides with definite consequences/mechanics behind them? For example, if I had a character with ...
15
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5answers
876 views

How can I offer players a balanced opportunity to take powerful races, without adjusting their level?

I'm planning to run a Planescape game in 3.5 and want to offer players the opportunity to play unusual characters within the system. Ideally power level wouldn't be a concern, but some players might ...
14
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5answers
1k views

Firearms for DnD

My DM would like to run a DnD adventure set in 1930s-tech era, replacing technology with magic-punk stuff. He's pulling a lot from Eberron. Guns will exist, however, and he's just "renaming" bows ...
12
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3answers
977 views

How to determine PC genetics in D&D for the purpose of creating 2nd generation PC's

I remember watching "The Dungeons & Dragons Experience" and one of the people featured in the documentary mentioned how him and his friends had developed a way to blend and randomize attributes of ...
12
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3answers
766 views

I need help with making a were tyrannosaurus PC in Pathfinder

I am a fairly new DM and I recently got some of my friends to start a campaign with me as DM using Pathfinder. One of the players has been really trying hard to make it an enjoyable adventure, as ...
12
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3answers
654 views

CoC's Sanity-like rules for the nWoD?

Is there a good adaptation of Call of Cthulhu's Sanity rules to the Storytelling system of the new World of Darkness (possibly replacing Morality)? (Edited the title to make it more precise.)
12
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2answers
560 views

Replacing skills with approaches and vice versa

One of the most noticeable differences between Fate Core and FAE is that FAE replaces skills with approaches. This is really great for forcing characterization and getting games running quickly, but ...
11
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5answers
664 views

Spaceship Combat in Fate Core

I'm trying to run a space-opera RPG in Fate Core, and ship-to-ship combat is a central focus. I'm looking to emulate the kind of fighting we see in Star Wars, Wing Commander, FreeSpace, etc, but ...
11
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5answers
339 views

House rules and mixing aspects of various editions

Taking best parts of the editions, say 3.5 and Pathfinder, perhaps even some aspects of D&D4e, as long as the group feels it is fair, would this be unheard of? An example is, two of our members ...
11
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3answers
303 views

Where does a traveler arrive when a planar location's unspecified?

When a creature is successfully targeted by an effect that transports the creature to another plane but no location on that plane is specified, where does the creature arrive? If the plane is the ...
11
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4answers
440 views

Rules modifications for Exalted Clinches

In the basic rules for Exalted a successful clinch allows the attacker to do the all of following: Squeeze the target for damage Reduce the targets DV to zero Changes the tick on which the target ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Where can I find rules for firing a Ballista?

More specifically I'm looking for rules for a ship mounted ballista for my players in a 4th Ed. game. I haven't been able to find anything in any of the books, the closest to anything in print is ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there a Physical Appearance system for Pathfinder that doesn't add a 7th ability score?

My players recently requested some way of adding physical appearance and attractiveness to an upcoming campaign in which it's reasonably relevant. I want to accommodate that, but without just adding a ...
10
votes
8answers
495 views

Keeping house-ruled handout feats fair across classes

I'm drafting some new house rules for a coming campaign. First on the chopping block: eschew materials. I want rid of the constraints of virtually costless material components so I'm going to just ...
10
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6answers
355 views

How to deal with broken combos?

Based on Rob Schwalb's article Stuck in the Middle: How do you, as a player or DM, deal with choosing or forbidding broken combos in your character, group, and system?
10
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4answers
3k views

Suggested house-rules for Pathfinder one-on-one storytelling

I'll introduce myself quickly. Played a lot of RPG in teens; mostly AD&D for fantasy, but also Call of Cthulhu and Cyberpunk for those other settings. I lived kind of remote, so all we played was ...
10
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1answer
281 views

Can Paranoia be revamped to be a cooperative game?

So, some of you may or may not remember a previous question that I had asked on this site. Now I may be asking for the exact opposite. My group wasn't very impressed with the whole "we're playing ...
10
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3answers
946 views

What Are Freedom of Movement's Limits?

What conditions and effects does the spell freedom of movement [abjur] (PH 233) overcome? I want a fair, reasonable, and consistent method to determine what spells and conditions are overcome by the ...
9
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3answers
835 views

How can I use improvised consequences to make combat more interesting?

In DnD 4e, the consequences for being hit by basic attacks are a simple loss of HP, and narration is what gives the basic attacks their 'spice'. The use of encounter and daily powers is the main ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Can I acquire cantrips with the Wizard multi-class feat?

The multiclass feat for wizards in the PHB says you gain a 1st level wizard at-will ability. Now, the cantrips in there are gained at first level, and they are at-will. I'm guessing that, since they ...
9
votes
3answers
453 views

3.5e Variant Rules

I'm thinking of starting a new campaign with a laundry list of house rules. The variant rules on the SRD seem worth while. As an example, using 'armor as DR' and 'Spell Points' are at the top of my ...
9
votes
2answers
546 views

Any Non-Unit-Payroll Based Merc Contract Mechanism?

FM: Mercs and its predecessors lays out a fine little minigame mechanic for mercenary contract negotiations. I like the bargaining point system, as a concept. Given the level of standardization in ...
9
votes
1answer
545 views

How does non-magical healing work in AD&D 2nd Edition?

I'm unclear on how natural non-magical healing is supposed to work in AD&D 2nd Edition. In the Dungeon Master Guide, Chapter 9 : Combat, in the section titled "Natural Healing" it states : ...
9
votes
1answer
104 views

Rolling math fixes into default progression

I am very new to 4e, trying to wrap my head around it, and to be honest I find it a lot less structured, oddly enough, than 3.5. Because each class is compartmentalized, with little overlap, I find it ...
8
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5answers
2k views

My party doesn't want to get rid of an unbalanced house rule

I've posted about this house rule before wherein my DM decided that upon levelling up we would add our Constitution modifier to the hitpoints gained. This was due to our first session where we ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What alternatives are there for replacing the D&D memorize and forget magic rules

I'm starting a campaign and will be the DM. We are basing our system off the D&D 3rd ed. Most of us (players and myself) don't really like the rules surrounding Wizards / Sorcerers when they have ...
8
votes
4answers
355 views

Will a house-rule for trained skills work?

I've been using a house rule for a while now. If you have a trained skill, and you are making a knowledge check it's free. For example, if you are trained in nature, and fighting natural beasts; you ...
8
votes
3answers
380 views

Is it possible to substitute actual items for the material components in spells?

Generally speaking, material components and focus objects for spells (or at least, the ones without costs listed) are there purely for flavour and the occasional lame joke (like using fur and an amber ...
8
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3answers
364 views

How to ensure players spend XP on both short- and long-term benefits in Numenera?

I recently bought the core rulebook for Numenera. As well as reading through it to learn the system, I've been reading online reviews. It seems from reading what other experienced Role-Players think, ...
8
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3answers
1k views

4e Skills in D&D 3.5?

One of my favorite facets of 4e is the new simplified skill system, particularly the reduced skill lists. Stealth vs Hide and Move Silently. Athletics vs Jump and Climb Is there a set of rules ...
8
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2answers
475 views

How do I avoid Paranoia Combat in Exalted?

Paranoia combat reduces Exalted combat to a solved problem: Paranoia Combat" is largely the brainchild of Jon Chung, a poster on rpg.net. You can see some of the basic implementations (and ...
7
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4answers
1k views

Will I ruin Pathfinder if I discount firearms?

I'm going for an Old West feel; my players wanted something like Shadowrun but Western instead of Cyberpunk (I love my players so much). Think Trigun with halflings and dragons. They like ...
7
votes
6answers
827 views

Is there a way to make the damage system in 4e more like previous editions?

I have been playing 4e for almost 3 years now and have noticed that the average character has the capacity to take massive amounts of damage each day without any ill effects the next day. I have even ...
7
votes
5answers
393 views

Removing attack spells from Cantrips

I have been thinking about removing the Cantrip spells that are exclusively used as attack spells (i.e. the description lists it as doing damage only). This in effect will make Cantrips non-lethal ...
7
votes
2answers
276 views

Does crafting necessarily require spending gold?

I know the crafting rules say you have to spend gold to represent the cost of materials used in crafting something, but what about in a situation where you aren't in a city and can't reasonably just ...
7
votes
1answer
914 views

Is giving players extra HP based on their level going to unbalance my game?

In my group, we are taking it in turns to DM. We are currently on our 2nd adventure and I am preparing to DM the next one. During my preperations, I have discovered a potential problem. Our first DM ...
7
votes
3answers
574 views

How useful would a house ruled immediate Counterspell ability in Pathfinder be?

I have been GMing for 10 years, and we are currently are using Pathfinder with little to no house rules. The only character that has ever used counterspell is when we made a prestige class up that ...
7
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3answers
555 views

Repeating The Same Half Action and other Combat Enhancers

When my previous group and I got a hold of the Dark Heresy rulebook (practically the day it came out), we were all pretty satisfied with the rules, with the exception of one. We noticed that the ...
7
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1answer
272 views

How can I add a cultural game mechanic to Pathfinder?

I was reading this article on how most people play all races exactly the same. The author hinted at replacing races in Pathfinder with a culture mechanic, but didn't really go into the details. I ...
7
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1answer
244 views

Making monks better but not broken

I am about to run a campaign where 2 of the 3 PCs are monk-based classes. They will be starting at level 10 and I expect the campaign to run till 15 or 16. One is a Monk 2/ Sorcerer 4/ Enlightened ...
6
votes
4answers
680 views

Creating rules for jumping or climbing onto monsters?

Partly inspired by this thread's discussion about creative role-playing and one answer there referring to stunts, I wanted to adapt a similar concept to the fairly rules-strict D&D 4th Edition. ...
6
votes
2answers
363 views

How would I make custom items into a set?

Magic Item Compendium introduced us to magic item sets, which as their name implied were thematically-linked sets of magic items that provided bonus benefits for wearing multiple items from that set ...