House Rules


Rule Zero

Because there is so much diversity among the worlds of D&D, you should check with your DM about any house rules that will affect your play of the game. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world. At certain times throughout the game, rulings will supersede specific rules to maintain game flow and resolve situational inconsistencies with the game world.

Supplemental Rules

There are many rules published as supplemental optional rules throughout the many Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks. Any rules listed as optional, variant, or from books (whether published by Wizards of the Coast, DMs Guild, or Third Party Publishers) other than the Player’s Handbook or Basic Rules should be considered as disallowed without permission. Many of them will be determined appropriate to the setting and the campaign, but some may not.

Experience Points (DMG 260, with modifications)

Half XP for defeating Monsters: Each monster has an XP value based on its challenge rating. When adventurers defeat one or more monsters-typically by killing, routing, or capturing them-they divide one half the total XP value of the monsters evenly among themselves.

XP from Treasure (from 1981 D&D Basic Rulebook p22): For every 1 gp value of non-magical treasure the characters recover, the DM should give 1 XP to the party (this will be divided among all the player characters). Experience points are not given for magic items.

XP from Rewards: Rewards for completing missions and quests are treated as treasure. Treasure gained as a reward grants 1 XP per gp.

XP from Exploration: Mapping the dungeon of Undermountain grants XP. For every 100’ mapped (rounded down) in a session, the party gains 100 XP. This amount multiplies per main dungeon level (sublevels count as part of the level). For example, mapping 1000 feet of Undermountain level 5 grants 5000 XP to the party.

Slow Natural Healing (DMG 267)

Characters don’t regain hit points at the end of a long rest. Instead, a character can spend Hit Dice to heal at the end of a long rest, just as with a short rest. This optional rule prolongs the amount of time that characters need to recover from their wounds without the benefits of magical healing and works well for grittier, more realistic campaigns.

Dying (DMG 272, with modifications)

Characters take a level of Exhaustion whenever they are reduced to 0 hit points.

Failing a Death Saving Throw results in a Lingering Injury upon stabilization.

Critical Success or Failure

Critical Success: A critical success on an ability check grants a situational benefit, such as Advantage on a subsequent action, a boon, an extraordinary outcome, etc. Rolling a 20 on a Saving Throw is an automatic success and allows you to take no damage, as if you had the evasion feat. For a critical success against a spell with conditions or effects instead of damage, there is a 1 in 6 chance that you will not take any effect of the spell (situationally adjudicated).

Critical Failure: Rolling a 1 on an attack, saving throw, or ability check is automatically a failure. In addition, there is a 1 in 6 chance for a complication. Examples include a lost or broken weapon or tool, damage, a condition, Disadvantage to a subsequent action, etc. Rolling a 1 on a Saving Throw also deals one extra damage die. For a critical failure against a spell with conditions or effects instead of damage, there is a 1 in 6 chance for a complication.

Delay Turn

Sometimes a character might want to wait for precisely the right moment to act; in such a case, they wait for others to move before taking their own turn.

After resolving all effects that occur at the start of your turn, you may declare that you are delaying your turn if you are not incapacitated. In such a case, you do not take any actions, you resolve any effects that would occur at the start of your turn (though the same ones do not occur twice on the same round), and you may declare at which initiative you act, though your turn may not interrupt another creature’s turn. When you delay in such a manner, your initiative moves permanently to the initiative on which you took your turn, and effects that affected you previously that would occur at the start or end of your initiative do not occur on your delayed turn (though any new effects on you do). If you delay your turn to after the last creature’s turn on the initiative, you can continue delaying and act first in initiative on the next round.

You cannot delay your turn past your previous initiative; if you reach your previous initiative before taking your turn, take your turn as normal (effectively “skipping” your last turn).

Renown (DMG, XGE, with modifications)

There are a number of Organizations active in the city with goals and missions. Many of them have a direct interest in the adventures you’re involved with. Renown grants certain abilities and benefits from the organization.

Replacing Dead Characters

A new character can be created using standard character creation rules, at one-half the highest PC level, rounded down. For example, if the highest level of a PC is level 6, you may create your new character at level 3.

Passive Ability Checks

Passive ability checks are “always on” as long as a character is conscious. Passive checks are often used instead of rolls in the following circumstances:

  • When randomness or important consequences aren’t a meaningful factor in the situation.
  • When we’d normally have to make a large series of checks.
  • When a skill is “always on” as the characters explore. In addition to Perception and Insight, this may apply to Knowledge skills, or other skills as the situation demands.

Charge (Playtest v10)

Charge is an action that you can take on your turn. To charge, you choose a target that is at least 10 feet away from you. You move up to half your speed to a position where that target is within your reach, and then you make a melee attack against it. After the attack, your turn ends.

Alchemist’s Fire (PHB)

This sticky, adhesive fluid ignites when exposed to air. As an Action, you can throw this flask up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. Make a ranged Attack against a creature or object, treating the alchemist’s fire as an Improvised Weapon. On a hit, the target takes fire damage at the start of each of its turns. A creature can end this damage by using its Action to make a DC 10 Dexterity check to extinguish the flames.

Alchemist’s Fire, small flask

adventuring gear (consumable)
Category: Items
Damage: 1d4
Damage Type: Fire
Properties: Improvised Weapons
Range: 20/60
Save: Dexterity
Weight: .5 lb
Cost: 50 gp

Alchemist’s Fire, medium flask

adventuring gear (consumable)
Category: Items
Damage: 2d4
Damage Type: Fire
Properties: Improvised Weapons
Range: 20/60
Save: Dexterity
Weight: 1 lb
Cost: 100 gp

Alchemist’s Fire, large flask

adventuring gear (consumable)
Category: Items
Damage: 3d4
Damage Type: Fire
Properties: Improvised Weapons
Range: 20/60
Save: Dexterity
Weight: 2 lb
Cost: 150 gp

House Rules

City of Splendors. Dungeon of Madness. sethwhite