Wednesday, October 19, 2016

[CRIT] D&D 5e House Rules

Last Updated 7/12/17

Character Options

Ability Score Generation

Only the standard array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8) is sanctioned for ability score generation.


Playable races that have darkvision also have sunlight sensitivity unless they forego their darkvision at character creation.

Published Rulebooks

In order to use options from a published rulebook other than the Player’s Handbook, you must have a physical copy of it at the table.
Races with a flying speed are not approved.

Unearthed Arcana

All Unearthed Arcana is approved, but must be printed out and at the table in order to be used.

Homebrew & Third Party

Homebrew and third party options are not approved.

Character Advancement

Gold for XP

You do not gain experience points. The only way to get experience points is to purchase them at the rate of 1 gold piece for each experience point.
When you have enough experience points to gain a level, you determine what the wealth invested towards your level advancement is used for. This could be anything, from something as simple to moving your family out of poverty (low levels), to purchasing the inn of your dreams (mid levels), to improving the safety conditions on a main trade road (high levels). Each investment is something that can provide new roleplaying opportunities, plant the seeds for an adventure, even change the way the in-game world works.

Character Advancement Table

The Character Advancement Table on page 15 of the Player’s Handbook has been replaced with the following experience point thresholds for each level:

Hit Points

Flesh & Grit

Your hit points are divided into two pools of flesh and grit:
  • Flesh is your Constitution score + your hit die size. Use the size of the hit die you have at 1st level. Flesh does not increase.
  • Grit per Level is half of your hit die size + 1. Use the size of the hit die you get at that level.
When your grit is depleted, you start taking damage to your flesh. Critical hits also bypass grit and damage your flesh.
When you receive healing, you divide the healing among your grit and your flesh. Healing 1 point of flesh requires 5 hit points of healing. When your flesh drops to 0, you are dying.
When your flesh is damaged, you receive the following effects:
  • You have disadvantage to ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws.
  • Whenever you cast a spell, and each round that you maintain a spell, you make a concentration check.

DM Doesn’t Roll

PC Armor Class

For PCs, Armor Class is now a defense roll instead of a static number. The defense roll bonus is your Armor Class - 10. Defense rolls are a unique type of roll.

NPC Attack Rolls

Instead of making attack rolls, PCs make defense rolls against a DC equal to the attacking creature’s attack bonus + 12.
If a PC gets a natural 1 on their defense roll, the attacker scores a critical hit. Advantage that an attacker would have is instead imposed as disadvantage on the PC.

NPC Saving Throws

Instead of rolling saving throws for NPCs, they now have a static saving throw value equal to their saving throw bonus + 14.
PCs no longer have a Spell Save DC; all spell effects use their spell attack bonus instead.

NPC Skill Checks

If an NPC is making an opposed skill check, the DC is their skill bonus + 12. Advantage that an attacker would have is instead imposed as disadvantage on the PC.

NPCs and Static DCs

If an NPC is affected by a static DC, compare the static DC or the player’s roll to apply the effect to the appropriate saving throw DC.


Attack of Opportunity

Attacks of opportunity only occur when a creature who has been targeted or targeted another creature with a melee weapon attack spends movement without using the Disengage action.


There is no differentiation between types of cover; you have it, or you don’t. Ranged attacks against you have disadvantage. You have advantage on Dexterity saving throws.
If you are using a creature as cover, ranged attacks that would target you target your cover instead.


At the beginning of each round of combat, each player makes an initiative roll against a DC set by the lowest Dexterity score in the opposing party. Characters who succeed go before the NPCs, while players who fail go afterwards.


To create a mob, use the statblock of your creature of choice and change it as follows:
  • The creature gets two actions each turn
  • Halve the creature’s hit points
  • The creature cannot be prone, restrained, grappled, or forced to move
  • Attacks that only target one creature have disadvantage against a mob



Loading Weapons

You do not need a free hand to reload weapons with the loading property.

Alchemist’s Fire

On the turn it hits the target, it deals 1d8 damage. Each turn thereafter, it deals 1d6 damage.



When you spend Inspiration, you can add a fact to the game world based on your Background. For example, if you’re a Sailor, you can spend an Inspiration to claim you used to work on that ship in the docks, and that you know the captain well.


Each item you are carrying takes up 1 encumbrance slot. Items do not “stack” except in the quantities they are purchased in. Items that weigh 10 or more pounds are considered “oversized.”

Encumbrance Points

Encumbrance points are used when determining the frequency of random encounters. You can only carry items that total up to 5 encumbrance points.
  • (1) You are wearing medium armor
  • (2) You are wearing heavy armor
  • (1) You are carrying at least 6 items
  • (1) You are carrying at least 11 items
  • (1) You are carrying at least 16 items
  • (1) You are carrying at least 21 items
  • (1) You are carrying at least 26 items
  • (1) For each oversized item you are carrying
Encumbrance points penalize characters in the following ways:
  • You are considered encumbered at 3 points, and heavily encumbered at 5 points.
  • After an hour (6 exploration turns), every hour thereafter that you do not take a short rest you take levels of exhaustion equal to the number of encumbrance points that you have. These levels of exhaustion do not stack, and go away with a short rest.

Powerful Build

If you have the “Powerful Build” racial feature, the number of items you can carry before taking an encumbrance point (base 5) is increased by the higher of your Strength or Constitution modifier (minimum 1).

Stacking Items

Items that weigh 1 lb. or 1½ lb. can be stacked in a single encumbrance slot up to an amount equal to your Strength modifier.

Unencumbering Items

Items that weigh less than 1 lb. or have no listed weight do not count towards your encumbrance.

Movement Dice

You have a number of movement dice equal to your movement speed divided by 10, rounded up. Make sure to account for encumbrance when determining how many movement dice you have.
The size of your movement dice are is determined by your encumbrance points. If there is an asterisk (*) next to the movement die size, when you fail a roll involving movement dice, you can discard an encumbrance point worth of items in order to reroll your movement dice.
  • 0 points: d12*
  • 1 point: d10*
  • 2 points: d8*
  • 3 points: d8
  • 4 points: d6
  • 5 points: d4
Movement die are used in contests of speed. Engaging in one of the contests of speed below uses your movement for the round.
  • Races: Whoever rolls the highest wins. You add your Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Strength (Athletics) to your movement die rolls, whichever is higher.
  • Chases: If acting as a group, use the lowest movement die size in the group. Everyone involved in the chase rolls their movement dice each round; You add your Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Strength (Athletics) to your movement die rolls, whichever is higher. If the pursuers win, they increase their movement die by 1 size; if the quarry wins, the pursuers reduce their movement die by 1 size. The chase ends when the pursuers lose on a d4 size or win on a d12 size.
    • For every 10’ of movement speed you have above 30’, you roll an additional movement die and take the highest showing (advantage).
    • If you have an applicable special movement speed and your quarry does not, you roll an additional movement die and take the highest die showing (advantage).
    • Actions can be used to introduce complications into the chase, which can change movement die sizes by 1 step, or add an extra die and take the lowest showing (disadvantage).
  • Engaging: If a party member is not involved in a combat encounter or a chase, they roll 1d3 + their encumbrance points. It takes that many rounds for them to join the fight or chase. They roll initiative at the beginning of the round that they join the fight.
  • Sprints: When crossing an area is difficult or dangerous and time is of the essence, set a total number that each character has to reach with their total movement rolls in order to cross it. Every movement die roll takes a combat round. To set a fair total needed, take half of the die size that best represents the distance, multiply that by 3, and then multiply that by 1 to 5. You add your Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Strength (Athletics) to your movement die rolls, whichever is higher.
  • Fast Travel: If the party wants to travel instantly to a room that has been mapped with cartographer’s tools, the Referee rolls the lowest movement die in the party. If it comes up a 1 (or whatever value the encounter chance has been increased to), a random encounter occurs on the way.


You can have a number of hirelings equal to 4 + your Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Remember that hirelings are subject to morale checks.

Unskilled Hirelings

For each unskilled hireling in your employ, you can carry an additional encumbrance point worth of items. Make sure you track which hirelings have what items.

Skilled Hirelings

Skilled hirelings can be “spent” once per short rest in order to provide the benefits listed below. Dead hirelings cannot be regenerated.
  • Take a Hit (reaction): If you have to make a defense roll or a saving throw, you can spend a hireling to automatically succeed. If failing the roll would drop you to 0 hit points, kill you, prevent hit point regeneration, decrease your maximum hit points, or cause a permanent condition, the hireling dies.
  • Take an Action (bonus action): You can take one of the actions listed on PHB 192-193. You can interact with an additional object this round when you use this action.
  • Help (free action): You get advantage on an attack roll or on an ability check.


NPCs act as skilled hirelings. In addition, during a short rest, a PC can choose to “equip” an action or feature belonging to an NPC. NPCs can only be equipped to one PC at a time, but a PC can equip as many NPCs as they wish.


Mobs act as skilled hirelings. In addition, they have additional benefits when spent. A mob counts as two hirelings towards the number of hirelings you can have at one time.
  • Engage Mob: Choose a mob creature. It can be prone, restrained, grappled, or forced to move until the end of the encounter. In addition, the mob creature does not give disadvantage to attacks that only affect a single target.
  • Join Mob: Until the end of the encounter, you cannot be prone, restrained, grappled, or forced to move. In addition, all attacks targeting you that only target one creature have disadvantage.


Exploration Turns

An exploration turn (10 minutes) passes each time the following occurs:
  • A player elects to make an ability check outside of an encounter
  • A combat encounter ends
  • The party “fast travels” to a place they’ve mapped with cartographer’s tools (see the movement dice rules)
  • The party takes a short rest (this can only be done once per encounter die)

Random Encounters

Random encounters are tracked by a d6 placed on the table, called the encounter die.
When an exploration turn passes, an encounter die is placed on the table. If an encounter die is already on the table, its value increases by 1. When the encounter die reaches 6, the die is removed from the table and a random encounter occurs.
The DM can instead choose to “store” the encounter die, which can be spend to provide a twist. For example:
  • The water was deeper than you thought
  • The blow you took broke something in your pack
  • Your spell backfires with a deafening bang
  • The monsters have restocked a room you’ve already explored
  • The town was raided while you are gone, limiting what’s available to purchase
When the characters are spending time outside the dungeon, the Referee gets one twist per week with which to change and restock the dungeon.

What’s the Point?

The point of these exploration rules are to encourage players to specifically describe how their characters interact with the dungeon. Notice that whenever an ability check is made, a turn passes; not so if a player describes exactly how they are searching a room instead of reverting to a Perception check. Additionally, encounters take turns as well, meaning combat should be a last resort, forcing players to get creative in their approaches. Not every random encounter should include combat, since the monsters typically don’t want to duke it out either!


Different types of lighting give you a certain number of light points, which are distributed within the party.
The points are divided into bright light and dim light. A character who has a bright point is in bright light; a character who has a dim point is in dim light. Characters can only have one point each, and excess points are not used.
Your lighting goes out when the next encounter die reaches a certain number.
  • Candle: 1 bright, 1 dim. Extinguishes on 4.
  • Torch: 2 bright, 2 dim. Extinguishes on 3.
  • Lantern: 3 bright, 3 dim. Extinguishes on 5.
The light cantrip acts as a torch, and the continual flame spell acts as a lantern.


Short Rests

Short rests take 10 minutes. You must consume adequate food and water in order to take a short rest.

Long Rests

Long rests restore do not restore hit points.