Worst House Rules

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What's the worst house rule that you've ever made or were forced to use by your DM?

Here's mine:
I was playing a character completely based on using a bow, and my DM made up a rule that whenever I rolled my d% for the possibility of the arrow breaking, if it didn't break, the next time I fired it, it would break no matter what. So i had to keep track of which arrows I had fired before and which ones I hadn't. Very annoying.
This is an example of an entire class of house rules which qualify as "worst" IMO, to wit the Ill-Conceived Ham-Fisted Attempt at Realism group.
you should be happy that you can use an arrow more than once, in our rounds when an arrow is fired, it's gone. no chance of getting it back to use it once more. i agree that its a bit annoying to roll x extra dice each encounter and the tracking can be hell, but hey if thats what disturbs you just count them as lost.
Once I allowed wands (this is 3.x) and other charged items to have infinite uses. It got broken, and it got broken fast.
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Once we had this new DM who tried to make range attacks more realistic. Before shooting a range attack we had to :

1- State what we thought was wind strenght and direction.
2- State the angle in degrees we would shoot to compensate for gravity and weight of weapon.
3- State the pull we put on the cord of the bow (full, medium, low)

Once he had our answers hw would check a big hand written table that when from automatic miss to +0 bonus....

In good faith we tried shooting two arrows and one dagger! Guess what we missed. When we asked to play be the rules of the game he said we needed to understand the laws of physics better. We replied he needed to understand the unwritten laws of RPGs. We fired him on the spot and resumed playing by the rules afterwards...
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when i first started 3e i didn't use the max ranks rules. that devolved quick!

used a lot of homebrew stuff that blew up in my face over the years,

i was in a group that used a critical hits table, but the dm believed that if something has hp left, it is still alive, so even though the roll was a crit, and the chart showed decap (with a twist), the bad guy was still alive. and he was just some dumb barbarian!

lol i also played in a game where every hit you had to take a shot of something, and every miss you to take 2 shots of something. we made it through room 2 of the dungeon, and never finished the encounter (stupid AC 4 Bugbear!)
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no matter how bad a house rule is (and that physics one id bad) IMHO the worst house ruler is a DM who rigidly "house rules" that there would be no house rules of any kind
I once played in a RC D&D game where the DM introduced a Luck stat. Each time a roll was called for (even in combat) the DM rolled a D10; on a 1 the Luck stat was used in place of the attribute normally used for the role. Of course it was also rolled for treasure, Initiative, and triggering traps. I can not tell you how irritating it was.
I once played in a RC D&D game where the DM introduced a Luck stat. Each time a roll was called for (even in combat) the DM rolled a D10; on a 1 the Luck stat was used in place of the attribute normally used for the role. Of course it was also rolled for treasure, Initiative, and triggering traps. I can not tell you how irritating it was.

Ahh, randomization for randomization's sake; always good news for PCs.

The worst example I can think of I read on a forum once. The rule was this: "DM's PC gets first pick of treasure."
Oh wow. And I thought critical fumbles were bad. Nothing I've ever had to deal with comes close to these. I've had a bad DM before, but it was just because he was bad and not because of house rules.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Once I allowed wands (this is 3.x) and other charged items to have infinite uses. It got broken, and it got broken fast.

Eternal Wands cover this pretty well.
DM once let us put any level of spell in a wand. Then we got to a magic vault that had "every single item, scroll, wand, weapon, armor, etc. etc. available. All fully charged...etc." We got to pick 3 items.

Wand of Wish with 50 charges, anyone?
DM once let us put any level of spell in a wand. Then we got to a magic vault that had "every single item, scroll, wand, weapon, armor, etc. etc. available. All fully charged...etc." We got to pick 3 items.

Wand of Wish with 50 charges, anyone?

I think that was bad planning/wording on the DM's part, rather than a bad house rule. You could have chosen a staff with 50 wishes just as easily.

Anyway I've never had a really terrible experience with house rules. I guess that's one of the few ways that I'm lucky with gaming.

TS
Long ago, there was a Screw AC and "THACO" (it was a long time ago) and everything hit on a 15+. Made wearing fullplate kind of pointless. Except for drowning and running of course.

And a "everyone restarts at 1st level if they die, regardless of the lvl of the rest of the party" rule that took me some time to figure out was a bad rule.
In good faith we tried shooting two arrows and one dagger! Guess what we missed. When we asked to play be the rules of the game he said we needed to understand the laws of physics better. We replied he needed to understand the unwritten laws of RPGs. We fired him on the spot and resumed playing by the rules afterwards...

Wow. Just...wow. I've had bad realism guys before, but wow.
I once had another DM who used to make up his own magic items. This was bad. He made them way too overpowered. He gave my level 5 evocation wizard a staff that gave me an extra two spells of every level per day, and also, any spell that I cast was automatically empowered without boosting the level.
Though not as bad as some of those (the "windage & ballistics" one is AWFUL!) - the worst one I've had to play under was:

"All Monsters and bad-guy NPCs get a 'death-blow' " - Meaning, as they go down, they get one, last attack off.

No, Player Character's did NOT get one.

"Yay! Finally! We Killed it!"

"...wait, he's still got a 'Death-blow'.... Ouch!"

"......"

NOT fun
Once tried using all the 2e rules at once. I realize that's technically the opposite of houseruling, but it felt like a houserule at the time. Totally didn't work.

Speaking of 2e, I had a DM who houseruled (as did others) that multi-class characters received all of their hit points per level, not just half for each class. It was simpler, sure, but because multi-classing worked the way it did back then, it meant that you stood to gain a lot of hit points by multi-classing.
THAC0?

lol

Anyway, that reminded me of a 2e game i was in once, where the dm ruled that if you were a bard you actually had to sing your abilities and spells. and it got anoying quick, because the bard was the dm's wife, well, you know how that goes......

my wife made me make a house rule that my daughter's characters can never be killed, else the "Trouser Titan" doesn't get to play in the "cave of wonders", lol.
of course, my daughter is 6 and lies to fight undead and talk to all the npc's and explore the setting. the adults like to kill bad guys and take stuff. go figger?

i played in a vampire game once where the gm ruled that if the characters did something the players had to do it to. and two of the characters were "dancing females that removed articles of clothing for money." and the girls were "of the canine breed" with trans-fats to spare if you get my drift. so when the girls started grinding and removing thier clothing, i removed myself from the game.
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note all of these are from the exact same GM, int he exact same game.

xp was dolled out evenly based upon average character level (whime amounted to, a character of lower level will never catch up)
taking 10 takes 10 minutes.
taking 20 takes an hour
1 auto fials on skill checks, which just made the take 10 rule even more lame
shield used up an arm slot
mage armor had 10% spell failure
ninja invisibility worked like the spell invisibility
SR affected all spells, including summons
your allies provide cover to enemies at all times.

ugh.. ill edit more in later done thinking about this LOL
Sometimes rules aren't bad in and of themselves, but their mere existance tells you the GM doesn't understand game balance. For example, I bowed out of an RPOL.net 4e game as soon as I read the house-rules forum: "Threatening Reach is available for polearm wielders as a Heroic feat with no prerequisites"
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Speaking of rules that tell you the DM doesn't understand game balance just by existing...

If you take enough damage to have died, you can be healed with magical healing until it would have been your turn again.

...add to that the fact that this rule came into play at least once every session, and that this rule isn't mentioned until someone's character is dead on the floor according to the rules, then you can see exactly what type of DM this was.

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The worst set of house rules I ever heard about was from a GM who apparently got aroused watching or reading Lord of the Rings.

Halflings (which were renamed hobbits, of course) had to make periodic Will saves (3e game) when away from their shires, or they would immediately pack up and go home because they were homesick and not suitable to be adventurers.

Dwarves had to make Will saves to not get drunk whenever the opportunity arose. Basically, racial dipsomania.

Elves, of course, had no drawbacks ... instead, since they were such a 'wise, ancient race', any time they told another being anything, they had to make a Will save or believe it, even if it contradicted common sense, the laws of physics, or the evidence of their own senses. "The sky is red." *fail Will save* "Huh, must be something wrong with my eyes ..."
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
And what happened when two elves spoke to each other?
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Particuarly if those two elves are of opposing alingments and churches?

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71235715 wrote:
And what happened when two elves spoke to each other?

It never happened, AFAIK, but I suspect they would have been immune since they were both 'equally wise and ancient'.
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Darth..ROFL

BEST....THREAT...EVER

"...else the "Trouser Titan" doesn't get to play in the "cave of wonders", lol. "

hehehehe

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Particuarly if those two elves are of opposing alingments and churches?

Oh, that never happened. Every non-human race had to exist strictly along racial stereotypes, there were no exceptions. The DM would, in fact, tell you 'no, you don't do that' if you ever did anything against your racial profile.

Dumbest. Thing. Evar.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
^ So I could do with that DM is drink Tequila, hang out at Home Depot, and shank people with churros? Can I at least be a paladin? If so then I'm fine with it.
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Dwarves had to make Will saves to not get drunk whenever the opportunity arose. Basically, racial dipsomania.

I had a DM who one-upped this. Dwarves would always get drunk, and would always buy the most expensive form of hard liquor available for sale in order to do so (and somehow, even the no-horse villages managed to have a full case of really expensive booze). So if you played a dwarven character, you'd automatically blow several grand every night you went into town.

Then, once drunk, the DM would roll on the Confusion table to determine what you did. Usually resulting in an ugly riot that would get the PC tossed in the local jail.

The other really bad house-rule I remember was a guy I talked to (just talking to him was enough to convince me not to play) who decided that bows weren't deadly enough to accurately reflect how devastatingly awesome they were in real life for the stated reason of "A 10th level character shouldn't be able to just take multiple shots to the chest from a bow and shrug it off." Nevermind, of course, that Hitpoints in D&D have always been abstract, and also that lovely link in Jayne Cobb's signature about how "realistic" the abilities of a 9th level character are. So he changed the damage to be "Base Die Times character's Dex." In other words, a human with an 18 Dex and a Longbow did 4D8 damage on a hit. He didn't see how it was broken, but his players sure did.
Some house rules from an inexperienced DM to keep things "balanced":

1. Characters had to face the monster they were attacking.
2. Turning in your square to face a different monster provoked an AoO.
3. 5 foot steps provoked an AoO.
4. You had to be behind the monster to flank.
5. You had to be behind the monster to get a sneak attack.

The worst part being that the rules were made up during combat when he didn't like how things were going. Also they didn't always apply to the monsters.
this remembers me of a DM that would not allow Seak's on prone enemies as soon as he saw my character (dwarf rogue/fighter with all the feats to knock pronelike hell) he wanted to cap sneak's so much that they were worse than the ninja's par...

he didnt allow nor wizards nor sorcerers either....

he didnt give no magic weapons no matter what (so we played 12th lvl ant it looked like 4th...)
This is not so much a house rule as a stupid DM issue, but I as speaking to my wife and she was telling me about this DM that believed all women should be like the damsel in distress, so in every game he railroaded them into that role.
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this remembers me of a DM that would not allow Seak's on prone enemies as soon as he saw my character (dwarf rogue/fighter with all the feats to knock pronelike hell) he wanted to cap sneak's so much that they were worse than the ninja's par...

Just to mention ... assuming you're talking 3rd Edition, being prone wasn't a condition that allowed sneak attack, so he made the right call.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Reading this thread makes me more confident in my own DM'ing abilities. AFAIK, I've never made such crazy houserules. In fact, as a general rule, I avoid making house-rules alltogether if I can avoid it, and if I can't for whatever reason, then the house-rules are as minimal as possible.

My house-rules consist of things like:
*A die must land on a flat surface, such as a tabletop or hard floor, for the roll to count. Otherwise, re-roll.
*Reroll dice that land ****-eyed against objects, such as books.
*Usually allow races and classes from WotC splatbooks, sometimes from third parties, and even less often, homebrew.
*In my 4e campaign I'm allowing some, not all, of the monsters in the back of the MM to be playable.
*In some campaigns I've allowed critical successes on skill checks, sometimes critical failures as well, and critical fumbles during combat (which was basically "lose a turn as you retrieve your weapon"). Critical fumbles were in my early days and the worst houserule I can remember implementing.

That's it, really. Even the weapon balance issue on this forum is all conceptual, no houserules regarding it will make it into my game.
I hear that. In the games I've run, my houserules were always limited to making the game run faster and more smoothly. Which typically meant nerfing Grapples so that the PCs weren't hosed by Huge and bigger monsters who tried to grab them (and dramatically cutting down the amount of opposed rolls needed).
yeah.. prone people aren't helpless, nor denied dex to ac, so no sneak attack.

they cna still make AOOs too albeit at a penalty.
Hmmm bad House Rules... man where do we start. Let's see *takes out old 3e notes* My Druid fix... Cleric Fixes, caster fixes... yeah, ya'll see where this is going don't you?

I had a casting system I'd made which really didn't solve any of 3es caster problems. (Mostly due to spells themselves being yeah.. you know) Just added in a useless mechanic that other than giving spellcraft somewhat of a use and slightly slowing down the flow of damage did nothing to add to the game in a good way.
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this is something that I normally wouldn't do but the player was being kind of a douche so I gave him a taste of his own medicine. he invisibled himself and looted all the boss loot before the rest of the party could divvy it up. when they couldnt find it they began rolling perception checks to try and find it. the player who stole it says "i also roll to try and find it", obviously he is lying but what am I miss cleo? I told the ****er he finds it in his backpack, neatly tucked between his bedroll and his rations
Worst house rules....well, not technically a house rule...Anything the DM says goes (Micha probably remembers Chris from our high school days). "The vampire got a super mega-wtf-crit, and kills you, oh, and he could only be hurt by +3 weapons, which he happens to have the only +3 weapon in existence, since this is a non-magical campaign".....yeah....


House rules I've made, eh, tough to say...well conceptually there are some pretty bad ones, but they never made it to the game table. I tried working on a new attack bonus system to even out high level play a bit, but only got to play test it once, and that actually didn't go terribly, just never got around to finishing it, so who knows what impact that would've had.

I used some variants, but few of my own creation (generic classes, prestigious classes, weapon groups, 'the wound system', and spell points). I altered the # of spell points, and lowered the wound save bonus (forts made it almost impossible to hurt high level players and monsters).

I altered the generic classes somewhat too, but nothing major....Hmmm...think that covers it, though probably missing something..
In my 3E Dark Sun conversion, I had a rule that made blood loss from combat lead to dehydration.

That didn't turn out well.
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