Time to post your house rules

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I put together my first house rules. I stole some ideas from people on these boards so I thought I'd share. Hopefully some of my ideas are useful to you, and I would love to check out the house rules of other people to add to my own.
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Abilities
Totoro Pointbuy: 32 points
Score Cost
8 0
9 1
10 2
11 3
12 4
13 5
14 7
15 9
16 11
17 14
18 18

Races
Aasimar have the traits of the half-elf, as printed, but with a great variety of different appearances. See below under plane-touched for backstory.
Dragonborn have tails. Otherwise, as printed.
Dwarves are as printed.
Eladrin (aka “High Elves”) are as printed, except that they do not die of old age; rather, they fade when they are “done” living, usually at the end of the lifespan as printed in the PHB, though not always.
Elves have Trance instead of Group Awareness, and have Eyes of the Hawk (the ability to see great distances) and Ears of the Fox (the ability to hear pitches higher than those in the human audible range).
Half-Elves have the traits of either human, elf, or eladrin—player’s choice.
Halflings are as printed.
Humans are as printed.
Tieflings are mechanically as printed, though they can have a great variety of different appearances, and see below under plane-touched for backstory.

Note: I plan to use some printed adventures and will substitute aasimar for half-elves in those adventures, and make the occasional human, elf, or eladrin into a half-elf. This way, I can change the fluff without changing any crunch. Obviously, I will also have to pick appearances for aasimar and tieflings. Also, the eladrin and elf mechanical changes don’t really have an impact on stat blocks, though the lack of group awareness might require that I subtract one from the perception of elf allies.


Plane-Touched (still working on some place names, etc.)
Several millennia ago Bael Turath, a human nation, was at war with a great dragonborn civilization. The war was being fought to a draw. Most of the nobility of Bael Turath struck a bargain with a devil to get an edge in the war. The bargain transformed most of the inhabitants of Bael Turath into tieflings. The tieflings turned inward in a very brief but bloody civil war in which all inhabitants who did not agree with the pact were slaughtered by devils, leaving only tieflings. They then turned with renewed vigor on the dragonborn.
There was a group of celestial beings at the time who watched as this unfolded. They desired to help, but were not “invited” so they would be forced to take on a mortal form to have an impact. They knew that they would eventually die in their mortal coils and pass on, but decided to sacrifice themselves to save the world from diabolical domination. Out of respect for those of Bael Turath who turned their backs on the devil, and were slain for it, the aasimar who ultimately fell to earth took on the forms of those humans, though they also kept some of their celestial traits. The aasimar gave an edge in the war to the dragonborn so the tieflings, in a last desperate move, invoked magic sufficient to blast both civilizations to nothing. The world has not yet regained the levels of civilization of Bael Turath and the dragonborn empire.
It is not clear that the devil who was responsible for the creation of tieflings was interested in defeating the dragonborn. His plans may have been more long range. Over the centuries, it has been noted by some scholars that any human with tiefling heritage can give birth to a tiefling and any tiefling can give birth to a human. Tiefling children are more rare than humans, but they seem to arrive at the most opportune times to cause misfortune. The misfortune takes many forms. For example, a person who would have done minor evil may do much greater evil as a tiefling, and is therefore born as one. As another example, a human who was destined to unite the world in peace may be born a tiefling and, just for being a tiefling, be struck down by a champion of good (the champion thereby unwittingly serving as a pawn of evil). A relatively weak-willed human who would have done good in the world might be born a tiefling, and the stress of being a social outcast might drive him to evil. The intricate web could be planned out for many generations. Thus, although an individual tiefling may be the most unwavering ally of good, his tiefling features indicate that he is ultimately a pawn of evil in the struggle between good and evil. Many good tieflings are a bit insecure about the part they play.
The impetus for a fetus to form as an aasimar appears to come from the desires of the mother rather than the influence of an outerplanar creature. Aasimar are cut off from their celestial past and their appearance is not part of a dynamic master plan. Rather, aasimar are born to mothers who want their child to be a champion of good. This does not always translate into an aasimar actually being a hero, and some even slip into evil. Aasimar frequently try to do what they feel is their destiny, heroic deeds, but the lack of any input from a god, or at least no more than anyone else, sometimes leaves them questioning their faith. Tieflings, after all, can easily reach out to the devil and obtain aid and comfort. Aasimar are alone. An aasimar can be born of any human who has angelic ancestry, and any aasimar can give birth to a human.
The long-reaching impact of the aasimar bloodline, however, is that any human with both tiefling and aasimar ancestry can give birth to neither a tiefling nor an aasimar. So the aasimar bloodline serves to prevent tieflings from being born at any time to any person, since the tiefling trait would in time be passed on to all human descendants if the aasimar were not introduced to the world. So it may be that the intelligence behind the introduction of aasimar into the world has more to do with stopping the manifestation of tiefling traits than anything else individual aasimar might accomplish.


Classes
Classes are as printed, but I use the name “Marshal” instead of “Warlord” because I hate the name “Warlord.”
Defenders: Fighter, Paladin
Strikers: Ranger, Rogue, or Warlock
Leaders: Cleric, Marshal
Controller: Wizard

Equipment
Precious metal is valued as follows: A pound of copper is worth 2 pence. A pound of silver is worth 1 £. A pound of gold is worth 50 £. A pound of platinum is worth 100 £. A pound of truesilver is worth 10,000 £.
When platinum pieces are indicated in a price list, use truesilver guineas instead. Truesilver is a type of mithril used for decorative purposes and minting. When astral diamonds are indicated in a price list, use $1 mage coins instead. Residuum is normally stored in mage coins to give them their value; mage coins without residuum are worthless.

Monetary Unit Value Weight
Farthing (Copper) 1/1000 £ 0.05
Penny (Silver) 1/100 £ 0.01
Shilling (Gold) 1/10 £ 0.002
Crown (Platinum) “Platinum Piece” 1 £ 0.01
Guinea (Truesilver) 10 £ 0.001
Mage Coin ($1) 1000 £ 0.01

I don’t spend a lot of time mucking around with converting money from one denomination to another. If you find copper, silver, or gold in an adventure, it is measured in tenths of pounds and carried as treasure until you convert it to convenient denominations. Players can calculate money weight using platinum value because if it becomes a weight issue, you can convert some of your cash to platinum. The easiest way to do this is have a money pouch or money belt that weighs 1 pound (give or take) and don’t mess with it unless you have more than 100 £ cash. At paragon level, start using truesilver. At epic level, start using mage coins.
I am using costs for items circa 1400 in England. Full plate and high quality weaponry might cost a total of 20 £. A castle might cost 5,000 £. Clothing and horses are surprisingly expensive. A horse might cost 1 £, 10 £ for a high-grade riding horse, and as much as 80 £ for a good warhorse. Even the cheapest serf’s shirt might cost 1 pence, a normal (wealthy) peasant outfit will cost 3 shillings, and a fashionable gown might costs between 10 and 50 £. (You read right: More than full plate armor.)
Labor costs less than 1 farthing per day for the cheapest (kitchen servants, pages, etc.); skilled labor typically costs at least 1 pence per day, mercenaries typically cost at least 5 pence per day.
You will start off with about 50 £. If you can’t spend it all, then the remainder will be invested in your house. A cottage costs 2 £, a well-built house might cost 5 £, a craftsman’s house or modest hall might costs 10-15 £, a merchant’s house or stone gatehouse might cost 30 £ or more.


Alignment
All alignment is gauged from the perspective of the character. If you say your actions are in accordance with one of the listed alignments (as defined below) that is good enough for me. If it gets out of hand, you can still pick your alignment, but you will be insane.
The alignments cover only what they say they do. For example, a Good person will sacrifice himself to protect non-evil beings. How does the Good person react to Evil beings? It doesn’t say—player’s choice.
Characters cannot be Evil, (Evil), or Chaotic. Exception: If no other player chooses to play a Good or (Good) character, you can have evil tendencies and if no other player chooses to play a Lawful or (Lawful) character, you can play a Chaotic character.

The Moral Aspect
Good—You will sacrifice yourself to prevent the deaths of apparently non-evil beings.
(Good)—You will act against your own interests to prevent the deaths of apparently non-evil beings.
Neutral—You may or may not act against your own interests to prevent the deaths of others, but you will not willingly cause the death of others except in self-defense.
(Evil)—You are willing to cause the deaths of non-evil creatures if it is in your interests.
Evil—You are willing to cause the deaths of non-evil creatures even if it is not in your interests.

The Ethics Aspect
Lawful—You believe that all things are owned (e.g., by a person, by a ruler, or by a god). You are willing to die to protect those property rights.
(Lawful)—You believe that all things are owned, and will expend resources to protect the institution of property, even if it does not directly benefit you.
Unaligned—You will protect property rights if it is in your interests to do so (this likely includes protecting the commonly owned “commons”), but you will not interfere with the property rights of others.
(Chaotic)—You are willing to interfere with the property rights of others (e.g., steal) if it is in your interests.
Chaotic—You are willing to interfere with the property rights of others even if it is not in your interests.


The Standard Alignments
Lawful Good—You own a realm or are an agent of the owner (e.g., emperor). The owner of a realm is responsible for ensuring that all non-evil folk are protected from death, and that chaotic and evil acts are punished. An owner of a realm that is unable to do so should be assisted unless removal from power is necessary.
Lawful Neutral—You own a realm or are an agent of the owner. The owner of a realm must punish chaotic acts (note that murdering a subject of the realm is an attack on the owner of the realm’s “property;” so LN enforcers typically treat evil acts similarly to chaotic). However, visitors to the realm are not your business unless you are ordered to make them your business; only subjects of the realm are protected. An owner of a realm that is unable to prevent chaos should be assisted or replaced. You will give your life to protect the realm and follow your liege’s instructions to the death.
Lawful Evil—You own a realm or are an agent of the owner. The owner of a realm can act as he sees fit, but must prevent chaos and must allow subjects of the realm to treat their inferiors as they wish (including hunting them for sport, if desired). An owner of a realm who does not prevent chaos and allow superiors to treat inferiors as they like should be replaced.
Good—You may refuse to protect property rights if it is not in your interests, but you will die to prevent the deaths of apparently non-evil beings.
Unaligned—You live in the commons along with everyone else, and you will help defend the commons because it is in your interests. However, you will not necessarily prevent the deaths of others unless it is in your interests (or costs you nothing).
Evil—You will defend property rights if it is in your interests, but you are a sociopath and love to kill others even if you do not benefit in any way.
Chaotic Good—You feel no compunctions about stealing, but you will give your life to protect apparently non-evil folk from death. This includes refusing to kill someone who is assaulting you because you stole from them, even if that may result in your death.
Chaotic Neutral—You feel no compunctions about stealing, and see no need to prevent the deaths of others, though you will not cause their deaths except in self-defense. You are willing to kill in “self-defense” if someone assaults you after you steal from them.
Chaotic Evil—You steal what you want and kill what you want. Unfortunately, you enjoy this so much that you steal and kill even if it is not in your interests to do so.

Death
All players must choose a replacement character concept in case their characters die, assuming death is a possibility (see below).
If a character is killed in combat, the player must decide whether the character stays dead before the death strike description. If the player does not want the character to stay dead, he will miraculously still be alive when the encounter ends. If the character dies, the player’s replacement character will be introduced as quickly as reasonably possible.
Good post, OP.

I might post some house rules after I have run several sessions with the new ruleset. I'm adverse to changing it straight-away, just because I think I know better than all of the designers.

Note: Mechanical only, flavor changes seem alright... like Dragonborn women having an unlocking snake jaw and no gag reflex.

Another Note: On second thought, maybe I'll make zero changes for a while.
Good post, OP.

I might post some house rules after I have run several sessions with the new ruleset. I'm adverse to changing it straight-away, just because I think I know better than all of the designers.

Note: Mechanical only, flavor changes seem alright... like Dragonborn women having an unlocking snake jaw and no gag reflex.

Another Note: On second thought, maybe I'll make zero changes for a while.

It's too early in the day for mechanical changes. However, fluff changes need to be made now. The campaigns are starting! The unlocking snake jaw for dragonborn women might be kind of cool (and not for the reason you imply ).
My first house rule:

1. No house rules.

I might tweak the backgrounds of Tieflings and Dragonborn (i.e. put back the implied devil-human or dragon-human nookie that the core rules are talking around), and make other flavor text as I see fit, but I'm really leery of tweaking the rules before I get a thorough understanding of them. And tweaking rules for one player may hurt another as things shift out of balance.
I'll probably run the first couple of games 'straight', just to get into the swing of things.

In the meantime, I'll be working on building my own world and races with the big ol' house rule of No Divine Power Source.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
My first house rule:

1. No house rules.

I might tweak the backgrounds of Tieflings and Dragonborn (i.e. put back the implied devil-human or dragon-human nookie that the core rules are talking around), and make other flavor text as I see fit, but I'm really leery of tweaking the rules before I get a thorough understanding of them. And tweaking rules for one player may hurt another as things shift out of balance.

I probably shouldn't have used the term "house rule." I'm interested in the fluff changes people are making. I had hardly any crunch in my house rules, for example. My game starts next month so I need to settle. I tend to run the same campaign for years; this is not going to be a practice run.
I'll probably work on a few after I see the main books, but this is what I plan on adding:

1) Level-0 PCs. Or level 1/2, you start as everyman schlubs for an adventure or two before you really get to be heroes.

2) Real injury. Wounds that don't heal overnight to reflect actual damage and wear-and-tear. Probably the accumulation of critical hits or trips to negative hp.

3) More than five alignments. I like lawful evil and want it back.

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I probably shouldn't have used the term "house rule." I'm interested in the fluff changes people are making. I had hardly any crunch in my house rules, for example. My game starts next month so I need to settle. I tend to run the same campaign for years; this is not going to be a practice run.

Ah, then there might be plenty- I'm not adverse to that. It would mostly be player-driven tho- If someone wants to play a Dragonborn that looks like a human with draconic features, and call it a half-dragon, I'd allow that. I'd say you need the body parts of the race features you use though (so, no breath weapon unless the lower half of your face is dragon-like).

And there will be situations that the rules don't cover, or don't cover well. If I get a new player, or an existing player wants to switch characters, what level do they start at? Not 1, certainly- I'll have to make a call there that works for everyone involved.

I'll probably work on a few after I see the main books, but this is what I plan on adding:

1) Level-0 PCs. Or level 1/2, you start as everyman schlubs for an adventure or two before you really get to be heroes.

2) Real injury. Wounds that don't heal overnight to reflect actual damage and wear-and-tear. Probably the accumulation of critical hits or trips to negative hp.

3) More than five alignments. I like lawful evil and want it back.

For the first two, why? People are everyman schlubs in real life. Why introduce this into your game, unless your players are so reluctant to write backstories that you have to force them to play them out? (Actually, come to think of it, that would be a pretty good reason.) Also, why have players start the day in the hole? Realism should never trump playability.

For (3), I'm with you. My take is that they got rid of NE (something of a nothing alignment), and E is the new LE, just like G is the new NG/CG. In fact, they seem to have gotten rid of "neutral" entirely- it's now "pick a stand, or don't- no going halvsies."
I'm definitely removing healing completely in six hours of rest *if they are actually keeping that in the main book*. Just seems too silly. Makes 4E as a fantasy game feel too dragonballz-ish and my players prefer it to be a little more realistic, or sensible at least.
My 4th edition substance house rules:
1. Any player saying "but in the old rules it worked this way" will cause a complete set of WOTC 3.x books to materialize above his character's head and inflict 3d6 damage. Repeated whines will result in larger and larger collections of 3rd party material.

My 4th edition fluff house rules:
1. The deep cosmology is likely to be altered, and certainly won't be common knowledge.
2. The racial backgrounds will probably be changed a bit to fit the world I've been working on.
3. Dragonborn will (likely) have tails, and tieflings not (unless they are cute, ratlike tails).
1. No humans or half-elves.
2. Alignments are LG, CG, LE, CE and TN.
3. The things called archon's in the MM are called something else, actual archons are LG robo angels.
4. Actual angels will be suitably lovecraftian horrors. and will be extensions of the gods will not mercenaries.
Only fluff for me. I'd like to kick around the mechanics before messing with them, if at all.

My main fluff houserule for 4e is:

The Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Sane

Halflings aren't half of anything, they're a distinct race. They're not even "half" in height any more.

For now, I'm using the name Kender, for lack of a better term and because that should be easy enough for traditional D&D players to remember.

Dragonborn is inaccurate in the literal sense, as they're not actually born from dragons, and even if it might refer to the fact that they're a culture that reveres and shares a bond with dragons, that word would likely be an honorific for exceptional distinguished individuals rather than the name of the whole race. We don't go around calling everyone we meet the same name as something some of us might hold sacred, or soemthing some of us believe we were created from. ("Hi, Godborn! How are the little saviors doing today?") Dragonborn just... ugh.

At the moment, I'm planning to use a name suggested by someone at ENWorld: Gendrak. (I'm more willing to take a word that obscurely translates to "dragon kin" than one that plainly says "I crawled out of a dragon's womb.")

Tiefling might have been appropriate as a name when they were a template for oddballs born from a mixed union. Medieval types would probably have a name similar to that for such people, just like they had a name for changelings or killcrops. It's a bit too 'quirky' for the name of a distinct race, though.

So, I'm going to make the assumption that the Tieflings' ancient empire, Bael Turath, literally means Empire of the Turath and make the race's name the Turatha. With the side note that the term Tiefling was used in a derogatory fashion while the race gradually transformed from the devils' curse... the ones that were still "normal" would ostracize the ones that transformed first and give them a name that sounds like a nuisance-y thing. Calling one a Tiefling translates to calling them "an annoying, foul, cursed thing." Not necessarily inaccurate in all respects, but not good diplomacy or race relations.

To eliminate confusion for older D&D players, I'm inclined to call Saving Throws "duration rolls."

And so on....
There's quite a bit I plan to houserule into the game, depending on whether or not 4E addresses the things I am worried about.
  • Completely altering the core mechanic from "roll to match DC" to "roll to beat DC". It means that all things even, the person rolling has a 50/50 chance to win or lose when going against someone's defenses (unless of course they've addressed this by making all defenses and passive skills into bonuses+11 instead of +10). It also means that its easier for me to come up with DCs, since I like everything to be statistically sound... concealment 10 should be a 50% chance to miss, not concealment 11. I like it like that (and so do most of my players).
  • Since I'm converting my homebrew campaign, it means I have to create quite a few races, as well as transfer over some of the special currencies from that setting in a way that matches the new style.
  • I'm going to use fractional accounting for attributes. Odd-numbered attribute scores increase in value every odd level, while even-numbered attribute scores increase as normal. This means that every point is important. This does somewhat give my players an edge, since 11 at level 1 is now a +1 instead of +0, and every other odd numbered attribute gets a +1 bonus at level 1 as well... but I guess it slightly makes up for the way I changed the core mechanic. :D
  • No alignment. Now that the mechanics are gone, I want players to give me a short and sweet synopsis of their character's personality instead.
  • As something I've been working on for a bit for a new campaign setting, I have something unique that will somewhat limit races in a way that some might consider a throwback to 2nd and 1st Edition's racial class restrictions. I don't want to divulge too much though, just in case my players come onto these boards.


As for flavor changes...
  • Huge overhaul for dragonborn. No boobs, have tails. Mindset and culture more closely tied to dragons.
  • Thinking of reworking Eladrin as something completely untied to elves. Might make them tied to one of my homebrew races.
  • I'm adding in firearms if they aren't there.
  • Not using any of the background setting from the new stuff, for the most part. Blood War still exists in a different form. Tieflings will have a similar background, but rather than a curse, it'll be corruption from severe exposure the outer planes that creates them (their ancestors delved into planeswalking and paid the ultimate price with their humanity). Half-orcs are similar to them, but created by corruption from exposure to the underdark (I'm playing up the corruption theme they hinted at in Races & Classes in a different style). May do the same for half-elves (humans corrupted by the feywild).
  • As I've always had, orcs aren't mindless thugs in my settings.
I like the idea of restricting some classes from some races, but I think it's not really justifiable yet in 4e, but I'll almost certainly be doing it later. My campaign is entirely homebrew and some stuff is going to be tricky to implement. Tieflings are going to be the same as 3.5. I'm also going to introduce my own alignment system thats more in depth than the 3.5 one. The players don't control their alignment, it's more for my reference when designin campaigns, but its going to be similar to the sliding scales of law and evil in the fiendish codex. I'm also going to get rid of the terms "good" and "evil" for alignments, it will be more centred around the specific aspect of the alignment that the character embodies, such as respect for life, or need for justice or freedom. I found the old alignment system restrictive and I couldn't really tweak it because of mechanics. Some of my most interesting and complex characters and NPCs were aligned as Neutral, which I felt was a bit insulting.
Only fluff for me. I'd like to kick around the mechanics before messing with them, if at all.

Okay, I lied.

This:

  • No alignment. Now that the mechanics are gone, I want players to give me a short and sweet synopsis of their character's personality instead.

is something that was also on my list mixed in with campaign notes for the homebrew I've been working on. Except that the synopsis isn't necessary if they can reveal their character and his motivations consistently in roleplay.

Oh, and this:

Economy
Magic shops are places where one can buy bat guano, crystals, parchment, ritual materials, and on rare occasion, a few basic rituals. Some are true Rituals, others are sold to people trying to find true love, get rid of a not-so-true love, or make lots of money. Let the buyer beware. If it sounds too good to be true, have an expert check it first to make sure it's a real ritual. Want to buy or sell magical items? The value of such things is beyond the scope of most merchants, and there aren’t enough people rich enough to make up a customer base for the would-be magic item merchant, although there are a few private collectors.

Some arcane scholars and mentors will buy residuum, however, if you can find them, so that they can teach their apprentices enchanting rituals, reward pupils with special implements, or just make useful items for themselves. Although in general, adventurers would be better off rendering their old or unwanted magic items into residuum through a ritual even if there isn't such a figure around, and then making something more useful themselves.

I just wasn't thinking of them as house rules so much as setting rules and personal preferences.
I don't think I'm going to play with any house rules to start, but I've got a few lined up if problems I expected to see do in fact happen.

Saving Throws: I expect to see, especially at high levels, a lot of saves. It's going to be tedious rolling this every round for each effect. So I thought of possibly a new save system. Like the normal one you roll a d20, based on the best DC you beat, you can choose something. But you get only one save per round, regardless of how many effects are on you.
DC 5- You may remove one effect to which you have a specific save boost. (for instance +5 saves vs poison).
DC 10- You may remove one effect at random, or choose one effect to which you have a specific save boost.
DC 15 - You may remove one effect of your choice, plus all effects to which you have a specific save boost.
DC 20 - You remove all effects.

Recovering dailies: It seems that 4E has heavy nova/rest potential, so I may make it such that you can only recover dailies by completing milestones, or I may just increase an extended rest to 48-72 hours instead of only 6.
So, I'm going to make the assumption that the Tieflings' ancient empire, Bael Turath, literally means Empire of the Turath and make the race's name the Turatha. With the side note that the term Tiefling was used in a derogatory fashion while the race gradually transformed from the devils' curse... the ones that were still "normal" would ostracize the ones that transformed first and give them a name that sounds like a nuisance-y thing. Calling one a Tiefling translates to calling them "an annoying, foul, cursed thing." Not necessarily inaccurate in all respects, but not good diplomacy or race relations.

I really like the idea of taking half of the race names and turning them into ethnic slurs, because really, that's what they sound like. I see the name Dragonborn being more like "Eww, you people look kinda-dragony, i'm gonna call youse 'dragonborns.' "