A List of House Rules/Game Fixes

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Here's a list of house rules and/or game fixes that I've been compiling since I started playing DnD. I'm just curious what the community thinks of them, and if there are any I should add or change.

House Rules


Critical Success and Critical Failure
On a skill or ability check, a roll of natural 20 is a critical success and a roll of natural 1 is a critical failure. On a critical success, the check automatically succeeds, and you gain a +2 bonus to the next skill check with that skill. In a skill challenge, add one extra victory to the tally. On a critical failure, the check automatically fails, and you take a –2 penalty to the next skill check with that skill. (this one is optional based on the player’s opinion)

Mechanical Fixes:

Save Ends vs. End of Next Turn
-    Save ends effects last until the end of the inflicting creature’s next turn, after which the afflicted creature begins to roll saves as normal. Abilities that grant saves before this point function normally.
               o Essentially all “save ends” effects are now, “[effect] until end of [caster’s] next turn, aftereffect: [effect] save ends.”
-    When slowed all movement made by a creature, regardless of the movement type or method is reduced to 2  (except teleport)
-    Deafened creatures grant combat advantage in addition to being deafened.

Feat Taxes
-    Avengers, Battleminds, Monks, Charisma based Paladin’s, and Swordmages all have a new class feature: Skillful Melee, which allows them to use their primary attribute (wisdom, constitution, dexterity, charisma, and intelligence respectively) for melee basic attacks.
-    Multiclass power swapping
               o  one power swap feat after the initial multiclass allows the character to swap out one utility, encounter, and/or daily power
               o  Paragon Multi-class only requires the initial multiclass feat and the one power swap feat
-    The Half-Elf Dilettante power may be used as an At-Will from level 1.
-    Assassin’s Shrouds now transfer to the next closest enemy within 5/10/15 squares of a target that dies with any Shrouds on it.

AC Fixes
-    The Swarm druid class feature also adds proficiency with Chainmail, Primal Swarm is allowed while wearing Chainmail
-    Shaman’s gain proficiency with Chainmail
-    Str/Wis Ranger’s may add their wisdom to AC when in light or no armor (requires 14 starting Wisdom)
-    Con/Cha Warlocks may add the lower of their Con/Cha to their AC when in leather or lighter armor (requires 14 starting Constitution or Charisma)

Math Taxes
-    Generic Weapon Expertise Feats (Weapon Expertise(Axe) for example) and the Improved Defenses Feat are added to all classes as class features.
-    Versatile Expertise scales at level 11/21 instead of 15/25.
-    There is a new feat, Versatile Focus, which functions identically to Versatile Expertise, except that it applies a feat bonus to damage rolls (1/2/3, 1/11/21). This feat has Versatile Expertise as a prerequisite.

Hybrids:
-    Avenger – gains Armor of Faith as a class feature
-    Druid – gets Balance of Nature to ensure beast form and  caster form powers
              o guardian druids get Primal Guardian as a class feature
              o swarm druids get Primal Swarm as a class feature
-    Monk – get Monk Unarmed Strike, and Monk Unarmored Combatant as class features
-    Seeker – Spiritbond Seekers get True Seeker's Bond as a class feature
-    Swordmage - gets Swordmage Warding as a class feature
-    Warden – gets Guardian Might, and Font of Life as class features
-    Warlord – Gains the full Commanding Presence as a class feature

Non-Implement/weapon powers:
-    Attacks which do not use implements or weapons replace the static attack bonus present on the power with Ability+3/6/9 vs. non-AC defense or Ability+5/8/11 vs. AC. The damage bonus for such powers, where normally would be +Ability will be +Ability+2/3/4 instead.

Psionics
-    Powers that are augmented with 4 power points restore 1 power point if they hit, but only if they do not already restore power points on a hit.
-    Powers that are augmented with 6 power points restore 2 power points if they hit, but only if they do not already restore power points on a hit.

Other general fixes
-    There is no limit to the number of daily items used per day, but they are limited to 3 per encounter.
-    All Classes gain training in at least 4 skills from their class skill list at level 1.
-    Paragon Path powers all use the character’s primary attribute.
-    Any power that is an immediate action, free action, or no action, that inflicts a penalty that would last until the inflictor’s next turn, instead, lasts until the enemy’s next turn.

Attack Fixes
-    Star Pact Warlocks may use Charisma instead of Constitution for powers with the a Star Pact rider, including the associated At-Will Power.
-    Free action attack powers are limited to once per turn per power.
-    Powers that say “Make X attacks,” or “Make the attack X times,” etc. count as making several separate attacks. Ex: Ranger X is marked by Creature A, and uses Twin Strike on A, and B as below:
                     [_][A][b][_][_]
                     [_][_][X][_][_]
The attack on Creature B would violate Creature A’s mark, counting as an attack that does not include A as a target, even though the power targeted both of them.
-    Creatures may take damage from a zone only once per turn.

Racial Attributes/Powers
-    Shades gain the Fleeting Shade utility power for free.
-    Humans get the normal +2 to a chosen ability score and a +1 to 2 other ability scores.
-    Wild-Shape Druids
             o  You keep whatever items you have equipped in  Wild-Shape, and are still considered to be equipping them
             o  Druids may use nature instead of bluff when trying to disguise themselves as animals
-    Divine Classes may use Wisdom in place of Intelligence for Religion checks.

My Works
My House Rules Cryptic Commander: a Tiefling Wizard|Warlord - Arcane Wayfarer - Planeshaper that focuses on controlling every creature in an encounter. Feyknight: A Half-Elf Knight - Gladiator Champion - Marshall of Letherna build that uses Eldritch Strike and the White Lotus Riposte feats to create a decent catch-22 with his mark aura. Novamancer: a Wizard/Swordmage - Malec-Keth Janissary - Radiant One that specializes in area damage, somewhat item dependent but is capable of massive damage. the Epic Crit-Fisher: Avenger/Ranger-PMC-Eternal Seeker with a 2,560 damage crit-fishing nova. Eldritch Slayer: A Slayer - Kulkor - Destined Scion that uses a similar trick to the Knight, combined with Kulkor for some decent DPR. Polearm Seeker|Fighter: A Seeker|Fighter/Psion - Kensei - Destined Scion build that uses Polearm Momentum to not be super bad. Generic Runepriest: A generic type Runepriest/Fighter - Hammer of Vengeance - Destined Scion
One does not
111819409 wrote:
99856009 wrote:
by RAW, you can't horse into the forge of the dawn titan.




...Couldn't resist.


Don't know if you're planning on closing the other thread that you placed accidentally, so I'll post this again here:

The Half-Elf Dilettante power may be used as an At-Will from level 1.

Uh, that was never a feat tax. That feat is ridiculously awesome, yes, but that doesn't mean that it was a feat tax, and I'd never grant that benefit to a PC from level 1. Heck, the feat is so powerful that I'd like to ban it entirely, nerf it significantly, or at least make it an epic feat. There are a lot of your house rules that I don't agree with, but this one just seems very exceptionally bad. Half-Elves do not need this help. If you want to fix Dilettante, then the way to do that would be to fix how it interacts (or doesn't) with implements.

Attacks which do not use implements or weapons replace the static attack bonus present on the power with Ability+3/6/9 vs. non-AC defense or Ability+5/8/11 vs. AC. The damage bonus for such powers, where normally would be +Ability will be +Ability+2/3/4 instead.

The damage of these sorts of powers generally already scale. The Dragonborn's Dragon Breath racial power, for example, simply adds more damage dice instead of adding static bonuses, but the effect is practically identical. Further, while most math on accessory-less attack powers does need some fixing, keep in mind that some of them might have altered attack bonuses on purpose for balance reasons. For example, the Drow's Dark-Fire has a built in +2 to hit, and the Thri-Kreen's Thri Kreen Claws has a built in -2 to hit. Altering these would probably underpower Dark-Fire and overpower Thri-Kreen Claws.

The Shade’s racial power is a minor action (possibly a free action).

The Shade does suck, yes, but I recommend against trying to fix it in this particular way. The reality is that the existing Shade racial power is perfectly fine exactly the way that it is. The race is just missing a racial encounter power is all. Think of this as being similar to how the Changeling has both its Changeling Disguise at-will power and its Changeling Trick encounter power. In this analogy, the Shade's One With Shadow is like Changeling Disguise. In other words, what you should do to fix the race would be to leave One with Shadow alone and simply add an encounter power. The simplest way to do this would be to grant them the Fleeting Shade utility power for free.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Re: Dilettante
Yeah, that one I wasn't totally sure about, I mainly included it because it's probably my favorite thing in DnD :P Also, because no one I know plays Half-Elves unless we're starting at Paragon.

Re: Static mods/racial powers
Instead of replacing the current ones, would increasing the attack roll bonus work better? (while leaving the damage bonus unchanged)
Edit, this is in reference to how DnD currently is, not to my house rules.

Re: Shade
I like that idea, and will probably change my list to reflect that.
My Works
My House Rules Cryptic Commander: a Tiefling Wizard|Warlord - Arcane Wayfarer - Planeshaper that focuses on controlling every creature in an encounter. Feyknight: A Half-Elf Knight - Gladiator Champion - Marshall of Letherna build that uses Eldritch Strike and the White Lotus Riposte feats to create a decent catch-22 with his mark aura. Novamancer: a Wizard/Swordmage - Malec-Keth Janissary - Radiant One that specializes in area damage, somewhat item dependent but is capable of massive damage. the Epic Crit-Fisher: Avenger/Ranger-PMC-Eternal Seeker with a 2,560 damage crit-fishing nova. Eldritch Slayer: A Slayer - Kulkor - Destined Scion that uses a similar trick to the Knight, combined with Kulkor for some decent DPR. Polearm Seeker|Fighter: A Seeker|Fighter/Psion - Kensei - Destined Scion build that uses Polearm Momentum to not be super bad. Generic Runepriest: A generic type Runepriest/Fighter - Hammer of Vengeance - Destined Scion
One does not
111819409 wrote:
99856009 wrote:
by RAW, you can't horse into the forge of the dawn titan.




...Couldn't resist.


Re: Dilettante
Yeah, that one I wasn't totally sure about, I mainly included it because it's probably my favorite thing in DnD :P Also, because no one I know plays Half-Elves unless we're starting at Paragon.

While I do understand the sentiment that Half-Elves appear a bit lacking at heroic tier, with only Low-Light Vision and Group Diplomacy as tangible racial features, that's just too drastic a way of solving it. It just takes the race over to being overpowered rather to being balanced. If you want to give the race some sort of additional benefit, go small. Try giving them, I don't know, how about the Group Insight feat for free?

Re: Static mods/racial powers
Instead of replacing the current ones, would increasing the attack roll bonus work better? (while leaving the damage bonus unchanged)
Edit, this is in reference to how DnD currently is, not to my house rules.

I'm not totally clear on what you're trying to ask here. Could you try rewording the question?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
-    Attacks which do not use implements or weapons replace the static  attack bonus present on the power with Ability+3/6/9 vs. non-AC defense  or Ability+5/8/11 vs. AC. The damage bonus for such powers, where  normally would be +Ability will be +Ability+2/3/4 instead.

would be changed to

-    Attacks which do not use implements or weapons get an additional +1/2/3 bonus to attack rolls.

So Darkfire would be +3/4/5, and Thri-Kreen Claws would be -1/+0/+1 (that one feels awkward)
My Works
My House Rules Cryptic Commander: a Tiefling Wizard|Warlord - Arcane Wayfarer - Planeshaper that focuses on controlling every creature in an encounter. Feyknight: A Half-Elf Knight - Gladiator Champion - Marshall of Letherna build that uses Eldritch Strike and the White Lotus Riposte feats to create a decent catch-22 with his mark aura. Novamancer: a Wizard/Swordmage - Malec-Keth Janissary - Radiant One that specializes in area damage, somewhat item dependent but is capable of massive damage. the Epic Crit-Fisher: Avenger/Ranger-PMC-Eternal Seeker with a 2,560 damage crit-fishing nova. Eldritch Slayer: A Slayer - Kulkor - Destined Scion that uses a similar trick to the Knight, combined with Kulkor for some decent DPR. Polearm Seeker|Fighter: A Seeker|Fighter/Psion - Kensei - Destined Scion build that uses Polearm Momentum to not be super bad. Generic Runepriest: A generic type Runepriest/Fighter - Hammer of Vengeance - Destined Scion
One does not
111819409 wrote:
99856009 wrote:
by RAW, you can't horse into the forge of the dawn titan.




...Couldn't resist.


Attacks which do not use implements or weapons get an additional +1/2/3 bonus to attack rolls.

But some accessory-less powers already take the expertise fix into account, so a blanket statement like that cannot be made. That should apply to the Dragonborn power, for example, but the Thri-Kreen power is already fine as it is.

You can generally tell which powers take the expertise fix into account already by how much they scale per level. If they go up by three per level, they they take it into account already. If they only go up by two per level, then they probably don't.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Some powers like that don't take into account enhancement bonuses, or at least not well enough. Maybe just a generic non-scaling +1? Or I would just have to go through all the racial powers, and others like them, and do them individually. that sounds unpleasant.
My Works
My House Rules Cryptic Commander: a Tiefling Wizard|Warlord - Arcane Wayfarer - Planeshaper that focuses on controlling every creature in an encounter. Feyknight: A Half-Elf Knight - Gladiator Champion - Marshall of Letherna build that uses Eldritch Strike and the White Lotus Riposte feats to create a decent catch-22 with his mark aura. Novamancer: a Wizard/Swordmage - Malec-Keth Janissary - Radiant One that specializes in area damage, somewhat item dependent but is capable of massive damage. the Epic Crit-Fisher: Avenger/Ranger-PMC-Eternal Seeker with a 2,560 damage crit-fishing nova. Eldritch Slayer: A Slayer - Kulkor - Destined Scion that uses a similar trick to the Knight, combined with Kulkor for some decent DPR. Polearm Seeker|Fighter: A Seeker|Fighter/Psion - Kensei - Destined Scion build that uses Polearm Momentum to not be super bad. Generic Runepriest: A generic type Runepriest/Fighter - Hammer of Vengeance - Destined Scion
One does not
111819409 wrote:
99856009 wrote:
by RAW, you can't horse into the forge of the dawn titan.




...Couldn't resist.


I'm thinking "why not look at the Character Companions for inspiration?"



  • Simplify the chance to hit to 4 + level + specific modifiers (such as combat advantage, weapon proficiency or certain class features)

  • Remove the expertise accuracy bonuses as well as most existing accuracy modifiers (including enhancement bonus to accuracy), and instead have them take other effects (for instance, Light Blade Expertise would still do fine with the situational bonus to damage, but it's no longer an uber must have, as it wouldn't add to accuracy at all)


So the question then would  be, "what would happen if the primary stat is decoupled from attack rolls?"  Well:


  • It would still affect the damage of your powers

  • Your class' main skill would still be affected by it

  • Class features that key off your primary stat would still work as is


 This would maintain your character's accuracy -- and thus, usefulness in combat -- while keeping your primary stat significant enough, without straightjacketing you roleplaying-wise.

What about defenses?  I'm thinking that removing enhancement bonuses and changing the formula from 10 + stat + level/2 to 10 + stat + level ought to remove the need to take Improved Defenses.  If this is the case, I'd put Superior Fort/Ref/Will and equivalent down to +1/tier at best, rather than 1 + 1/tier.

So what would enhancement bonuses be good for, if you decouple it from defenses *and* attacks?  I'm thinking that it's still good for


  • crit dice

  • damage

  • certain item features


But otherwise it'd be less game-defining than it currently is. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
What Krusk Thinks

Crit success and failure- Not a good start. I'm sure everyone else will beat you up on this, so I won't.

No limit on item dailies. I like this one a lot and use it mtyself.


The rest look like minor changes I would forget about and ignore unless you (The DM) Brought them up, or changes to base classes that are probably for the best.


Overall I'd probably play in a game with these rules. I'd ask for an exception to the crit fumble/success rules both. I don't like auto success as much, if not more than auto fail.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

if a 1 won't fail then why even have a role? just like if a 20 won't succeade why even roll. if there is a roll a 1 should always fail and a 20 should always succeade if this is undesirable for the roll then simply rule it is to easy or hard to roll for
An' ye harm none, do what ye will
if a 1 won't fail then why even have a role? just like if a 20 won't succeade why even roll. if there is a roll a 1 should always fail and a 20 should always succeade if this is undesirable for the roll then simply rule it is to easy or hard to roll for

Actually, I'd like to know why there should always be a roll in the first place?  If dice rolling is to resolve contention, and either a 1 never fails or a 20 never succeeds, then it's redundant to roll dice in the first place.  An auto-success 20 and an auto-fail 1, while possibly adding tension, seems a bit too artificial, especially if the group already knows you have a 95% success/fail chance already.

Here's what I'd like to see instead: if the task is normally trivial for a player character, but you really want him to roll, give him an actual reason to roll[1].  You wouldn't want to do this regularly of course, and there should be exceptions [2], but overall the objective is to ensure everyone has fun.

EDIT: I'd like to think that a good way to set up challenges would be, rather than simply pass/fail, utilize "pass/fail by 5 or more".  There would be a given DC for a challenge, then basically the effects are divided into four:

fail by 5 or more (failed)
fail by 4 or less (close but no cigar)
pass by 4 or less (barely passed/on the dot)
pass by 5 or more (passed)

[adjust the limits as desired]

Let's say at level 1 we have the untrained, dump stat character (-1) versus the trained, primary stat character (+12).  If you try and put them together in a challenge where the DC is 21, it's obvious that the dump stat character has no chance, while the primary stat character has a 50% chance of succeeding. You could, instead, set up the DC to 16, with extra benefits -- and maybe penalties, if you succeed or fail by 5 or more.  In this case, the untrained character still has a chance to roll a 17 to pass, and even if he fails, he only has a spectacular failure or absolute failure on a 12 (which means there's still a lot of leeway for him).  In the meantime, the trained character needs only a 4 to succeed at all, but if he rolls a 9 or better, he gets extra benefits, like maybe aiding his untrained ally on top of succeeding, or gaining two successes in a skill challenge, or even negating a failure in a skill challenge.

[1] Giving him additional benefits, or as a twist actual drawbacks, but in either case these should be given sparingly, and if the plot allows it.
[2] For instance, I only have Diplomacy rolled if either there is actual contention involved -- Diplomacy vs. Will or Insight, if for instance the player wants to have the opposing group surrender -- or if the player really wants to be a diplomatic sort of person but has real life issues with being diplomatic.
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging