House rules are small 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. For substantial new material and rules subsystems, use the [homebrew] tag instead.

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89
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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. ...
60
votes
12answers
11k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
728 views

How to handle the magical girl genre in Fate Core?

I'm a newcomer to Fate Core, and working out a magic system is daunting. I have read over the core and glanced through the system toolkit as well, but some experience-based advice would be helpful ...
25
votes
3answers
888 views

Using downtime activity to research spells

I run a D&D 5E campaign. I have a player who is playing a wizard. This player would like to use his downtime to learn new spells. Specifically, he doesn't want to create any new spells of his ...
23
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8answers
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Looking for an alternative to my DM's favorite fumble table

I've been playing in a new D&D 3.5 game for a few weeks, and it's going pretty well, with one major exception. The DM is a huge fan of critical hits and critical fumbles, and he has found the ...
22
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4answers
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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. ...
19
votes
1answer
286 views

What overpowered combinations would be available if I allow a bonus action to be used in place of a standard action?

It has come up in game a couple of times that a player might want to cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 bonus action using their "main" action (if they have another bonus action they also want ...
18
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5answers
1k views

How can I implement Cinematic Fencing (à la “The Princess Bride”)?

Like most people, I'm utterly entranced by the fencing scene between Westley and Inigo in The Princess Bride, but trying to replicate their style in a tabletop RPG has never really worked out. I've ...
18
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3answers
3k 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 ...
18
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3answers
676 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, ...
16
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5answers
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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
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9answers
580 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 ...
15
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6answers
849 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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3answers
1k views

Is there a game-balance reason for Weapon Finesse to require a BAB of +1?

For a new campaign, I'm considering removing the Weapon Finesse (WF) prerequisite of BAB +1. I'd like clerics, monks and especially rogues to have access to it at first level. I'm trying to suss out ...
15
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3answers
2k views

How can I convert D&D Next Saving Throws into Defences?

In D&D 5, the saving throws for spells has the following formula: The DC is set to 8 + prof bonus + magical stat bonus. The target then makes a saving throw, adding their stat bonus and hoping ...
15
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5answers
1k 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 ...
15
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4answers
2k views

How do I play in a system with rules that aren't written down?

A group that I'm playing in has just met for the first time to start working out setting, characters, and a theme for the game. It was a fun meeting, and I have high hopes for the campaign. However, ...
15
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3answers
716 views

What effects do critical and fumble tables have on D&D 3.5?

Just getting some extra damage, and just missing, seem pretty boring. A lot of people like to spruce things up by having critical hits and natural-1 fumbles result in a roll on a special table, which ...
15
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3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
930 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
2k views

Can my Ranger's pet continue to attack if I am knocked out?

In the core book for 5e D&D, it says you have to command your pet to take an action every round, so on the surface it would seem that if you are knocked out or are dying your pet will not be able ...
12
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3answers
1k 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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2answers
558 views

What are the implications of using AC rolls for defense?

I was thinking about AC, attacks, and how to make it slightly easier on a DM, and more interactive for players. The idea I came up with was to reverse AC rolls. To do this, a player's AC now becomes ...
12
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4answers
800 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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1answer
412 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
779 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
283 views

Is there a playtested house rule for prone that makes its usefulness less dependent on initiative order?

As discussed somewhat in Is knocking someone prone worth it? the advantages of knocking prone are rather situational, and in particular, depend a lot on where you and the enemy you want to knock prone ...
11
votes
8answers
550 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
2k 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
510 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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4answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
555 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
votes
4answers
551 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 ...
10
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6answers
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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
6answers
447 views

How to deal with broken combos? [closed]

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
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
773 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
547 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
908 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
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4answers
1k views

How would I classify a “disease” for an NPC that's not really a “disease” in Pathfinder?

I am in the process of planning a campaign but I am not sure how to classify this sickness/disease. The whole point of the campaign is to rescue a person who has been held captive for about 5 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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
4answers
649 views

Fair facing house rules for 5e

I am a bit disappointed by the lack of tactical positioning in 5e, as evidenced in questions such as Are melee combatants limited to standing around saying "I attack"?. I have tried ...
9
votes
3answers
754 views

What would be the metamagic level of “double quickening”?

A GM I played with used to rule that a quickened spell always reduced the casting time of a spell by 1 round, and reduced a 1 round casting time or a standard action casting time to a swift action, ...
9
votes
5answers
742 views

What's fair compensation for creating a one-armed drow?

One of my players wants to play a Drow Bard [in 5E] who wanted to blend in with surface dwellers. The background is that the PC asked a powerful wizard to change his appearance permanently (to an ...
9
votes
2answers
576 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
156 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
552 views

How have the rules of D&D 5e been modified for the Adventure Zone podcast?

I listen to the popular podcast The Adventure Zone, which consists of a D&D (5th Edition) campaign played by the McElroy brothers from My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and their father, but I have ...
8
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...