What classes and approaches are helped and/or hindered by this set of house rules?

For an upcoming DnD 5e campaign I am considering two house rules, both of which substantially effect one another. The implications are far reaching and complex enough I am having trouble deciding what classes, techniques, and playstyles come out ahead or behind.

Rule 1: Players Roll Rule

  • When a PC is attacked, they roll a defense and add ac bonus vs a static attack (calculated as attack bonus +10)
  • When a PC casts a save spell on an NPC they roll, and add the DC bonus (static save for npc is calculated as save+12)

Rule 2: Deck Play in Combat

  • Use a 52 card deck (without Jokers) instead of a D20 during combat rounds.
    • When initiative is rolled in combat draw 10 cards.
    • When a D20 would be rolled as part of an action (not a free action) instead you must play a card from your hand.
    • Red number cards are listed value
    • Black number cards are listed value plus 10
    • Aces are 1 (1 if red, 11 if black)
    • Royals are top of your discard minus a value. K=D-1, Q=D-2, J=D-3
      • If the top card of the discard is a royal or the discard is empty, the royal is =2
      • When the last card is played from your hand, draw back up to ten
    • When the last card is drawn from your deck, shuffle in the discard.
  • Adv and Disadv
    • Advantage is "play 1 card from your hand, and the top card of the deck, take the higher result"
    • Disadvantage is "play 1 card from your hand, and the top card of the deck, take the lower result"
  • You may take a full round action to discard your entire hand and draw up to ten.


The title of this campaign, as pitched to the players, is "An extremely house rule heavy and experimental campaign" so they at least know what they're in for. ^_^

Rule tweaks and alternatives sound conversationally fun, but are not quite answers.

The motivation here is to turn some output random into input random, inspired by this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwI5b-wRLic

This is intended to embrace the "figure out the enemies' ac/hp/attack value" aspect of some combat.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you need to split this into two separate questions. They are fundamentally different and trying to combine into two limits our ability to answer a specific question. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some questions regarding your first houserule: Can monster still get critical hits/misses? What is an "AC bonus"? Is this just Dexterity, but then what happens to things like the Monk and Barbarian Unarmored Defense features, the barkskin and mage armor spells, and other such changes to AC? Would this change only apply to the PC rolls, while monsters will still use the regular rules? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can see how Rule 2 relates to input vs output randomness, but not Rule 1. When splitting the question, I think you should maybe clarify the design intent of Rule 1? \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 16:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How do I convert saving throws into defences is strongly related to, if not a dupe target for, your first half. (Players Make All Rolls... covers it, too.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 18:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ For pt. 2: does each player have their own deck/discard, or is the whole party working off of one deck? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 18:04


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