What are some of your favorite House Rules?

I use so many house rules that I can barely call my game D&D.

A simple one: I use d12 for initiative just because it doesn’t get enough love.


Something from my own mental rulings, but if a PC has 20 STR or maximum strength within the system, they will be able to one hand, two handed weapons but take a penalty for trying to use attack of opportunities against actions.

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I use the below death and dismemberment table. I prefer it over just instant death.

Your PC might have to ride the bench a bit, but it’s a little more forgiving and fun than the standard rules.


Hey wow, you can copy and paste tables from bloggers here. Here’s a alignment dependent “what does the npc do when the pc ask them for something?” table, that’s a little different from a classic reaction table.

D6 Chaotic Neutral Lawful
1 Will noisily and gleefully assist party, joined with any cronies at hand. Will assist party and encourage others to do the same. Will assist party after getting approval from a superior.
2 Will assist party as long as upset and disorder are being caused. Will assist party. Will assist party as long as no rules are broken in front of them.
3 Will deny assistance to party without them first lavishing a gift, or providing a favour. Needs further encouragement to assist. Will deny assistance to party but not stop them unless rules are broken in front of them.
4 Will agree to assist party, then wait for an inopportune time to spoil their plans. Will stop party without some encouragement. Will deny assistance to party and immediately report the incident to a superior.
5 Will agree to assist, leave and come back with cronies, intent on stopping party. Will deny party the request and attempt to stop them. Will deny assistance to party, and demand they leave the vicinity immediately. Will forcible ensure they leave.
6 Will attack party (physically or verbally). Will deny party the request and attempt to stop them, encouraging others to do the same. Will attempt to capture party and have them be questioned by a superior.

(From my blog: https://lizardmandiaries.blogspot.com/2019/03/alignment-dependent-what-does-npc-do.html )


Now that’s a good-looking table - and probably a cleaner alternative to the Alignment-as-Score post I made on here a few days ago.

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I’m always trying to convince my friends to use d12 initiative! I couldn’t tell you why they’re opposed to it; I think that having more opportunities for contested rolls to see who goes first spices combat up a bit.

Anyway, the new standard houserule seems to be Advantage/Disadvantage from 5e. Just about everyone agrees that it’s clean, effective, and easy to hack into practically any system.


Good point about contested rolls. I’ve been thinking something like D4 for having no dex modifier, D6 for having +1, D8 for +2 Dex modifier, and D12 for a +3 dex modifier. But I haven’t tried it out yet and maybe it wouldn’t have spicy enough results.

Oh yeah, Advantage/Disadvantage is so good that I low-key made it an official rule at my table.

Carousing for XP has been making its way into all my campaigns. I’ll usually jand out a little xp during sessions, but if my players want to level faster than a snail’s pace, they’ll need to drop some coin getting crazy in town.

Item slots for inventory is also a go-to for me.

Lately, I’ve been attempting auto-hit rules and armor with damage reduction in my Knave game (inspired by Electric Bastionland). Last session was my first stab at it and it went pretty well. The session was light on combat tho, so I’ll need to test it more.


Interesting. I definitely think combat could use some reworking. Care to explain more about how it works for you? (I haven’t read Knave or EB yet though I definitely want to.)

We’re using auto-hit and damage-reducing armour in our Barrowmaze campaign. The homebrew system is essentially a hack of White Box: Fantasy Medieval Adventure Game with the d20 taken out.

Armour reduces between 1 and 4 points of damage, usually taking up an equal number of slots, and helmets and shields both add 1 to this reduction. All damage rolls are on a d6, with appropriate attribute modifiers (the highest is +2 if you rolled an 18 for that attribute), and if you roll a 6, the die explodes (you roll it again and add it to the total, potentially rolling lots more 6s). If the armour reduces the damage to 0 or less, the attack missed.

It keeps things quick and dangerous. There’s much less ‘whiffing’ with both sides constantly missing, and theoretically no limit to the damage an attack can do. This can work both for and against the players - the highest we’ve rolled so far is 25 damage in one hit! No matter what level you are, you can’t switch off, but you’ve always got a chance against most monsters.

Importantly, characters also don’t die at 0HP - further points of damage take up inventory slots instead to represent them actually getting wounded, which means they have a choice when they reach that point: they can either crawl away to safety or they can risk fighting on.


Using Charisma checks in place of luck. Really cements the idea of CHA = Fate our blessings or whatever. Is there loot in the clay pot you broke? Did you pick the right lever at random? What’s in the bag? That sort of thing

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I definitely think combat could use some reworking. Care to explain more about how it works for you?

It works similarly for me to how IdleDoodler does it above. Instead of rolling to hit, everyone just rolls dmg. Armor reduces dmg based on how good it is. I otherwise do not change the dmg value for weapons and the like. I’m still trying to figure out how to make armor and weapon quality come into play. I was thinking I’d have your weapon reduce in quality whenever you roll a 1 and armor reduce whenever you’re hit by the highest number on a dmg die. This would have the effect of making weapons with d4 dmg causing hits to armor quality 25% of the time, and losing weapon quality just as often.

Over the years I have experimented with a lot of house rules, but the more I tried, the more I became a purist. I run my AS&SH games virtually by the book.

Kazamaták és Kompániák (a Hungarian mashup of OD&D and B/X) uses some “innovations”, though:

  • a helmet can be sacrificed to negate a hit in combat that would kill the character (a variation of the popular “shields shall be splintered” rule)
  • thief skills and turn undead rolls are all d6-based
  • fighting-men may make multiple attacks against lower HD creatures up to their own HD (e.g. a 4th level fighting-man may attack 4 goblins, 2 ghouls, 1 ghoul + 2 goblins, 1 bugbear + 1 goblin, etc.)
  • the X-in-6 chances are used in such a way that high rolls favour the maker of the roll (e.g. elves find secret doors on 3-6) and low rolls favour the opposition (e.g. traps are activated on 1-2); it’s more a guideline than a hard rule, though
  • everyone starts with a random flavourful item
  • combat manoeuvres use the “5+ rule” taken from Melan’s Sword & Magic: make opposed attack rolls, and if the initiator wins by at least a margin of 5, they succeed; on the other hand, if they lose by 5 or more, the opponent turns the manoeuvre against them

I wonder how well a variant on weapons dealing the same damage die would work with that weapon / armour depreciation: all weapons can deal either d4, d6 or d8 damage and the character / player gets to choose which. It would represent the different intents behind the strike - if they want to deal as much damage as they can, roll a d8. If they want to weaken the target’s defences, roll a d4. A d6 strikes a balance.

Players would probably default to d8s most of the time, but those bosses / big beasties with decent armour might call for a bit more in the way of strategy. Some characters might develop roles as armour busters to give their comrades the best chance possible to deal damage.

Class HD = Damage Dice. I’m not a huge fan of Weapon Restrictions other than “Only Fighters can use Magic Swords” etc.

So a Fighter is deadly with a Dagger/Broken Bottle/Fist, and a Wizard can use a Two-Handed Sword if they want to (it will only do d4 damage). It’s mainly for more niche protection, as HP/Damage are very abstract concepts anyhow, and I don’t really favor forcing players to choose weapons based on damage die differences for efficacy when it might contravene concept/how they picture their character.

I like to import the descriptions of D&D mental stats from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. My apologies if Raggi’s work is unwelcome here. This is not an endorsement of him or his works in general.

Wisdom is the measure of a character’s connection to the greater universe, and the strength of the character’s spirit. Wisdom does not affect the character’s ability to make good decisions or judge situations or characters; it is the player’s own judgment which must be used in these situations. Wisdom modifiers affect the character’s non-spell related saving throw rolls, and for Clerics it affects the time (and thus expense) required to research spells and create holy items, as well as influencing the saving throws of those subject to the Cleric’s spells.


Ooh nice. You know, I never noticed how interestingly written that was before.

And I can’t speak for the board, but to me Raggi is (was?) an important part of the OSR despite his well-documented short comings.

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I came later to the OSR party and it’s a sticky subject so I try to be carefully neutral about it. I also like his alignment system when I use one. It’s just the old Law-Neutral-Chaos but he also divorces that from the player’s personality, which I appreciate because I don’t like prescriptive alignment but sometimes it’s baked into the game in a way I just don’t care about hacking out.

Alignment is a character’s orientation on a cosmic scale. It has nothing to do with a character’s allegiances, personality, morality, or actions. Alignments will mostly be used to determine how a character is affected by certain magical elements in the game. The three alignments are Lawful, Neutral,and Chaotic.

If a dice falls on the floor it’s automatically a critical failure


Ooh, that’s brutal. Everybody at your table has dice bowls?

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