House rules

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Random thought

I was at the local Borders library last night for the launch of the Harry Potter book. Until the clock struck midnight, they had activities and games. It was promoted as a big party for Potter fans. There was only one problem. If you want to have a wicked party make sure that the person organizing it is NOT a librarian.

Back to our regular programming

The D&D rules are in fact guidelines. Some of them are the foundation of the game. They are used by every player and DM. Others are too contriving or too complicated. Less people use them. I believe that the set of rules you choose to use can make or break a game. And in that set of rules the most important ones are the house rules. Rules that were created specifically for one group of players, created for you, me, our friends.

My favorites house rules

  • Action fight scenes
    • Players are not allowed to say that they just attack an enemy during a fight. They have to describe their action, what they’re doing, where they’re aiming, why they’re doing what they’re doing. Encounters suddenly become high voltage action scenes.
  • Almost-real time combat
    • If a player takes too long to decide on a combat action I’ll give a 10 seconds ultimatum before they lose their turn for hesitating.
  • The DM gets free pizza during lunch break

WOTC Community favorite house rules

There are so many possibilities out there! Check out this thread on the D&D forums for more ideas – some crazy, some good. The ones I like the best from the discussion were:

  • Take one break per hour.
  • No animal companions allowed.
  • Death at -CON instead of -10.
  • Feat gain instead of ability score gain every four levels (player’s choice)

What about you?

Any house rules that work for you?

12 thoughts on “House rules”

  1. wow, i think those comments were the most of topic ones on this site, but it wass till intersting to hear wat “gryphon” had to say.

    i think the idea of making players take an action quick or starting a count down is good cause i find my self waiting for ages some times!

    Im also very intersted in “Loren’s” idea about AC, when can i hear more ?

  2. Vernacular refers to the native language of a country or locality.

    In general linguistics, it is used to describe local languages as opposed to linguae francae, official standards or global languages.

    It is sometimes applied to nonstandard dialects of a global language.

  3. Vernacular! Good word. Wait. Is it a word?

    Maybe I’m a cheap bastard when it comes to handing out magic items. If they want more the can take the feats and create the items to up their AC themselves. They did in the last game but people – including me – started moving out of the city at level 12. Just when the fun begins.

  4. Very good point. The cratures shouldn’t all be uber powerful. One of the encounters I had a lot of fun with in a game is when 2 10ish lvl characters got stuck in a room full of skeletons – about 80 of them. They had a blast using all their skills to smash the undead into pieces. It was really a challenge but it was a lot of fun.

  5. [quote]. When almost every encounter pits players against creatures that have a +20 / +15 hit [/quote]

    It better not…you are talking equivalent CR encounter every time…and that will just kill you quick. You are supposed to have one or may be two encounters per session with a CR of this order

    Remember that every encounter in an adventure is not supposed to be at the CR of the party. 4 Level 10 characters being CR 10.

    Go and look at the theory behind the XP system in the book…not OGL so not going to iscuss the specifics BUT a CR 15 party hitting a CR 15 encounter every time will certainly have dead bodies after the third one…if not the first

    An equivalent CR rating encounter will rip up about a 1/3rd of party resources… spells, potions, scolls, HP… so three emmediately after one another should therefore kill them all. (I know that assumes no waiting about and getting spells back)

    If it doesn’t then blimey somehting is wrong.

    This is handy…
    As is this

  6. I found that this didn’t work well, it slows down combat, allows way too much scope for accidental misunderstandings…ie cheating

    Recommend you give it a try, but don’t be suprised if it adds nothing to your game, except increasing DM workload.

    DnD combat is NOT realistic, and it is not meant to be, it is a fairly abstract method for doing something very complicated.

  7. [Quote]their AC will never go higher than 25ish with the current system[/quote]

    Bloody norah man that low

    I am 13th level Doodad*/Sorcy and I can mange that now;

    ring of Pro+4 (found it)
    gloves of dex +4 (found it)
    (wild) dragonscale breastplate +3 (had it made…may give it away I don’t need it)

    Add in a bit of magical buffing ie barkskin and I am laughing.

    You just need some feats to ramp that up a tad.

    I think the fightery types are up well into the 30’s. Add a little combat expertise in there and a smidge of fighting defensively and we are well into the late 30’s

    Damn but hitting me just at the moment is rather challenging even if you actually manage to do get past the AC

    1/ I am well out of combat
    2/ Mirror Image is the first spell I cast when in danger
    3/ If there is time blink follows.

    *Doodad is what Pickle the dwarf out of Faerun called a Druid…and it stuck in our vernacular

  8. I like the fact that as characters reach level range 12-15 the AC goes up a little bit. Unless characters are loaded on magical protection, their AC will never go higher than 25ish with the current system. And that’s for close-combat classes. When almost every encounter pits players against creatures that have a +20 / +15 hit bonus, the current AC system might be inadequate.

  9. I recently started using some rules from Unearthed Arcana, to change AC. Instead of an AC bonus from armor, characters get a defensive bonus based on thier class & level. This means as they level up, they are harder to hit, which makes sense (although flat footed AC takes a big hit this way).

    Now thier armor provides them with a damage reduction score, you know a level of protection from those blow that do hit them.

    I would love to tell you how it is working, but we haven’t had the chance to field test the change yet. If you are interested, I’ll keep you posted.

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