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Category Archives: House Rule

5e House Rules

I’ve decided to run my first 5e games straight from the rulebooks, no house rules. That being said, I do like to tinker and so I have started putting together a list of house rules I think I’d like to implement if I ever run another 5e game. I have next to no experience running 5e but I have talked to a few DMs that have run a couple groups up to about level 8.

  • Stats will be rolled as per standard described in PHB (4d6 drop the lowest six times), no character build option
  • Max for any stat, barring magic, is 18, unless your race grants a +2 to that stat, then that stats max is 19
  • If you put your highest roll into your class primary ability and that stat is less than 16 (including racial adjustments) it becomes 16. If the class has two primary abilities then they become 15
  • No feats
  • When a level grants an ability improvement that improvement is: increase a stat of 14 or lower by 2 (or two stats of 14 or lower by 1) or a stat of 15 or higher by 1 (maximum is 18 or 19 as above)
  • Multiclassing can only be done into the 4 basic classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard)
  • Long rests automatically restore 1 HP per level (not all HP as is the default)
  • Roll for initiative every round, use a d10 instead of a d20

Why these rules?

For the stat related ones: because I like to give out magic items and I think the rules above will help keep bonuses down. My discussions with other DMs seem to indicate that characters get very powerful very fast . If I want to hand out lots of magic items I need to compensate somehow.

For the other ones: they feel like they tweak the rules towards an older school feel, and I like that.

I’ll keep posting new house rules, mostly for myself so I can reference back here later when I have more experience with 5e.


Labyrinth Lord ascending AC

Both of the groups that I have been running Labyrinth Lord for have had trouble adjusting to the descending AC , and combat lookup table/thac0 system. To be honest after having played d20 for so long I find myself having trouble adapting as well. And so I went and converted Labyrinth Lord to an ascending AC system.

On another note but somewhat related I have decided that I don’t like using a screen while running my game. Switching to ascending AC gets rid of the problem of having to lookup attack values on a table but the issue of having to look up saving throws remains. I came up with a simple formula to approximate saving throws. In writing this post another, just as simple, idea for calculating saving throws came to me and I have added it to the document.

Word version: LL ascending AC update
PDF Version: LL ascending AC update

Combat sequence

* I continue to update this as I try different variations with my groups.

I use a combat sequence that differs slightly from the Labyrinth Lord one:

  1. Players declare any spellcasting.
  2. Initiative: 1d6 is rolled by each side; higher is better.
  3. The winner of initiative acts first. The Labyrinth Lord may check morale for monsters.
  4. Missile attacks occur.
  5. Spells are cast.
  6. Movement occurs.
  7. Melee combat occurs.
  8. Losing side performs steps 4 to 7.
  9. When every side has acted return to step 1.

Not a big difference but having missile attacks occur before spells provides a way for spell casters to have their spells interrupted.

Also, I prefer missile attacks and spells to occur before movement; it creates the opportunity for ranged weapon users to at least get one shot off before the fight comes to them.