House Rules

Ability Scores

Created however you like via the 27 Point Buy as listed in PHB.

Critical Hits

The normal rule or critical hits is that you role your attack’s damage dice twice. This is great and all, but can easily lead towards a critical that does less damage than a regular hit. Instead, critical hits will do the following: roll weapon damage dice once + max weapon damage dice. This will apply to NPCs and PCs both.

For example, a greatsword attack that does 2d6+6 damage would originally do 4d6+6 damage. With this house rule, instead it will do 2d6 + 18 (6 from before, 12 for max die rolls) damage. Likewise, a longsword that normally does 1d8+4 would now crit for 1d8+12 instead of 2d8+4. This means at minimum a critical hit will do one more point of damage than a regular maxed out roll.


We’ll use the optional rule where you can take a feat instead of an Ability Score Increase whenever a class would grant you the latter. Furthermore, everyone get one feat for free at first level.

Hit Points

Players may choose to take their rounded-up average or roll for hit points each time they level up. Rolls must be done at the table with DM present. Averages are:

  • d6 = 4
  • d8 = 5
  • d10 = 6
  • d12 = 7
    This does not affect the “max HP at first level” default rule.


Do something totally in character, really clever role-playing, or just above-and-beyond the normal amount of fun? Be inspired with a re-roll of any one die. Not really a house rule, but a lot of DMs don’t seem to use this or forget about it so I’m calling it out.

Material Components

You need your focus and/or pouch of components like normal, but for expensive components you don’t need the actual item. Just subtract the equivalent GP from your funds. For example, if a spell needs a diamond worth 200gp, just spend 200gp on the spell.

Milestone Experience

Sort of blending the two between this and regular. You’ll never be lower than regular XP awarded, but milestones might occur to level you faster for story reasons.

Passive Skills

I’ll be using a few other skills to see if players know/notice things without them noticing by adding 10 to their regular skill level, same as passive perception. For example, I might do a passive religion check to see if I should tell you something about a monster without you needing to ask, or a passive save against a spell you weren’t even aware was being cast. This does not impact the player’s ability to do ‘active’ rolls as normal. If players prefer, for the hidden saves, I will roll dice instead of adding 10, but the result will still be secret.

Short Rest

Will be 20 minutes instead of 1 hour.


Battle grids, minis, tiles, and maps may be used for some encounters. These will be mixed and matched with theater of the mind play. DM to provide; players can bring their own mini if they wish. Amount of usage depends on player preferences.

Potential House Rules

Combat Maneuvers

Thinking of adding support for Disarm, Overrun, Shove Aside, and Tumble from DMG.

Borrowed from Numenera: DM Intrusion

Numenera offers a way to allow the DM to potentially change the situation in return for a small bonus to the player(s) that’s being directly affected. In Numenera, this bonus typically comes in the form of points to spend on rerolling die rolls. The intrusion typically happens because of one of two reasons: a player rolls a 1 on a die roll or the DM sees an opportunity for a better narrative. The player is allowed to reject the intrusion; doing so means they don’t get whatever bonus they would have gotten had they accepted it. I like the die rerolls as the bonus but would be up for figuring out other ideas if anyone is interested.


  • During combat you roll a one on a spell attack. DM intrudes and the spell goes bad, targeting something you didn’t intend, or having maybe going off normally and having a bad side affect. (only player who rolled a 1 would get the bonus)
  • While fighting bandits, one player in the party hangs back to avoid combat. The other players are handling the bandits ok, so the DM intrudes and has two more bandits appear out of hiding next to the player in the back. (only the player in back would get bonus)
  • While fighting goblins in the rain next to a river, the players are easily winning the fight and there’s no challenge (although it wasn’t meant to be this easy). DM intrudes and the river, swollen with rain, starts flash-flooding the area and now the players have to deal with an environmental encounter. (whole party would get bonus)

Borrowed From Numenera: better backgrounds

Numenera has three piecesof info to help tie the disparate characters into a party. These are background, initial link to starting adventure, and connection to another player.
If this house rule is used, starting players (as opposed to those who join later) will choose a initial link and player connection in addition to the default D&D background.

Examples of Initial links:

  • Against your better judgment, you joined the other PCs because you saw that they were in danger.*
  • One of the other PCs convinced you that joining the group would be in your best interest.
  • You’re afraid of what might happen if the other PCs fail.
  • There is reward involved, and you need the money.
  • You were tailing one of the other PCs for reasons of your own, which brought you into the action.
  • An NPC employer secretly paid you to get involved.
  • You overheard the other PCs talking about a topic that interested you, so you decided to approach the group.

Examples of player connections

  • Pick one other PC. Through a quirk of fate, your <one> cannot harm that character.
  • Pick one other PC to be the true friend who gave you the excellent <item /> that you currently use
  • Pick one other PC. In the recent past, while using one of your spells, you accidentally hurt that character and she barely survived. It is up to the player of that character to decide whether she resents, fears, or forgives you.

House Rules

Secrets of Barovia byss66