RIDICULOUS House Rules - A Place to Vent About Your Crazy DM

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Yeah... I know... I think my DM was scared of trying it, (he was a bit of a novice) and this lead him to forbid it.... still, it sucked! If he thought the XP penalty was unfair, why didn't he say so?

A DM should never be afraid to try new things, or test things out. All it takes is a sunset clause. "You can have this, and if it turns out to be unbalancing, we'll figure something else out." A blanket ban on something you don't understand is always a bad idea.
This thread makes me laugh (and cry).... I'll freely admit that I houserule the game very often, and usually play w/ others that do the same... and I've NEVER seen stuff like this (well, saying druids can only summon animals they know doesn't sound bad, but the other druid rules were silly).

Most HRs I know are small tweeks, clarifications, or flavor changes on the most part...

and yes, any dm who tells a player what their character does is just... bad...
A blanket ban on something you don't understand is always a bad idea.

I disagree. I've heard lots of stories from people whose games were ruined by psionics, incarnum, pact magic, or martial adepts because the system was being used improperly. I think it's better to ban something you don't understand (until you learn about it) than to allow something you don't understand, and then ban it later (and tell other people it's bad) because you misunderstand it.
What exactly is being done is abstract. That it takes a full round action (std to start, standard to finish when started in surprise round) is clear. I do understand the point of view you provide; I anticipated it in the last paragraph of my post. It is possible, but not necessary.

What is clear is that you have the start of something that results in the PC's death if not interrupted. To arbitrarily rule that it is outside of sensory perception is something that I wouldn't do; I think it is abusive. What chance the PC has of knowing...that's certainly subject to variance. But seriously, what point is served by a TPK to start the story? The DM had a PoV that didn't necessitate CdG, and the player then objecting, asking for CdG. It isn't a houserule issue, as I see it.

Too true. The PCs should have been allowed a listen check at least. Even though they would most likely have failed, they still get a chance. If I remember this one correctly, they also should have been allowed to set up a watch. That was some BS there. It was the proper way to rule their deaths after two improper decisions. Telling players what they do or do not do is pretty much the worst crime to commit against them. You are also correct stating that this was not an example of a houserule. This was just a DM behaving badly.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I disagree. I've heard lots of stories from people whose games were ruined by psionics, incarnum, pact magic, or martial adepts because the system was being used improperly. I think it's better to ban something you don't understand (until you learn about it) than to allow something you don't understand, and then ban it later (and tell other people it's bad) because you misunderstand it.

See, I am of the opinion that a DM should read and understand what is being asked for before making a decision, rather than "ban first, ask questions later". See also the sunset clause, aka the retcon. If psionics is too powerful for the game, then you back up and change things, and ask your players (who hopefully understand that this is a team effort) to just roll with it. As long as the DM isn't a dick and actually talks to the player(s) before making a change, there shouldn't be any problems.
See, I am of the opinion that a DM should read and understand what is being asked for before making a decision, rather than "ban first, ask questions later".

Do you think it's fair to the other players to postpone the game while the DM familiarizes himself with the new system? What I was talking about was more along the lines of "Not right now, I don't really understand the system. Maybe next week after I've had a chance to read up on it."

If psionics is too powerful for the game

...then arcane and divine magic are far too powerful for the game.
Do you think it's fair to the other players to postpone the game while the DM familiarizes himself with the new system? What I was talking about was more along the lines of "Not right now, I don't really understand the system. Maybe next week after I've had a chance to read up on it."

I've never, never ever, ever ever ever, had a game where the first session was "okay, make your characters and let's get going." In my current game, a player wanted to play a shadowcaster (ToM). So I read that third of the book a few times (about 2 hours), looked around for any potentially horrible conflicts (too strong, too weak, too anything else, etc.) and found it fine. Psionics (and let's not go all ****ing rabid over psi being weak or broken or made of lollipops because I don't care; it was an example ffs) has 2 books associated with it, so that took me about a day or so.

So yes, I find it incredibly fair, because it's never been an issue. My players take their time to make characters and write up backstories while I take time to make a few NPCs, flesh out a plot, and answer the other players' questions and handle requests.
First time I wanted to play a psion, my DM objected because he didn't know how it worked. So I cut a deal with him; I'd keep track of all the heavy math and details myself so he wouldn't have to, I explained the fundamental rules for it, such as max point spend on each power, in as simple and concrete manner as possible, and promised to tell what each power I used did and avoided any cheesy tricks. And if, after two sessions, he still thought the class was gamebreaking, I'd retire the character and play something else.

I got to play my psion, and he later agreed that it worked just as well as any other character. Also opened the other players' eyes to the subject of psionics, which has been enrichening to our games since.

On the topic, though:

The only really stupid houserule was suggested to me by a friend who roleplays but dislikes D&D, so he rarely plays. He suggested the following rule: If a character ever receives a negative value on a saving throw, any saving throw, he dies instantly. Brain hemorrage, sudden choking, trips and breaks neck, whatever is appropriate. Sudden, unexpected death. He thought the rule would make the game more interesting if this could happen.

I had to explain very carefully that the only way this could happen was if the character was very low-level, had an abysmal score to mod that save (like con 3), and he'd still have to roll below five or so for this to even happen. Besides being a once in a blue moon occurrence and thus nothing that would happen often enough to affect the game meaningfully, a character with those ability scores has enough problems to deal with to need further complications.
I've never, never ever, ever ever ever, had a game where the first session was "okay, make your characters and let's get going."

I have... And no, I didn't think it was a good idea.

My players take their time to make characters and write up backstories while I take time to make a few NPCs, flesh out a plot, and answer the other players' questions and handle requests.

Which is exactly the way I think the game should be handled. You and I would probably get along just fine.

First time I wanted to play a psion, my DM objected because he didn't know how it worked. So I cut a deal with him; I'd keep track of all the heavy math and details myself so he wouldn't have to, I explained the fundamental rules for it, such as max point spend on each power, in as simple and concrete manner as possible, and promised to tell what each power I used did and avoided any cheesy tricks. And if, after two sessions, he still thought the class was gamebreaking, I'd retire the character and play something else.

I got to play my psion, and he later agreed that it worked just as well as any other character. Also opened the other players' eyes to the subject of psionics, which has been enrichening to our games since.

That's another good way to handle it.

Problems seem to arise mainly when the DM is being excessively obtuse, or when the player is trying to cheat. You two appear to have avoided those problems; others haven't been so lucky and have blamed alternative magic systems instead of identifying the real problem.
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Recently looking for a game I got sent a 13 page "house rules" document that included such gems as


He also required a paladin to play in every game. Yarg.



I stopped browsing quickly and decided to stay far, far away. This is no small document either- we're talking 10,071 words, small font, no margins.

LOL...where can I find a copy of this?
One campaign I played in briefly had the worst set of house rules I ever heard. I swear I am not making any of these up.

1) if you played a ranger, the DM picked your feats for you. I think you could suggest feats, but the DM could overrule you.

2) sorcerer's first two feats had to be martial weapon proficiency: rapier and weapon focus: rapier. This was because sorcerers all were forcibly recruited into a world spanning global organization when they are infants and forced to train in rapiers.

3) 9th level spells are usually banned. Apparently, only one person in the world can know meteor swarm, and until you take that NPC out, you can't have the spell.

4) Barbarians couldn't be played at all unless the campaign started in the one part of the campaign world where barbarians came from.

5) on an attack roll of 1, you roll again. If this attack misses, you drop your weapon. I tried to explain that this meant a high level warrior was more likely to drop his weapon than a low level one, but to no avail.

6) If you talk out of turn too often, your character takes damage. I understand the guy needs to keep control of his game, but this is a game played among friends, isn't it? Having my character go unconscious and near death because I talked to the guy next to me ranks as one my worst gaming experiences ever.

7) many classes came with a very inflexible background built in. Besides the aformentioned sorcerer, all wizards were all librarians from an island nation (but wizards aren't supposed to be players in this campaign), all rangers work for the elves, druids are elven royalty, etc.
Maybe not quite a house rule, but I played with a DM who told us his world was newly created and that monsters didn't exist, therefore our 1st level characters would not know to set up watches or be alert for danger.

Yeah, cos lord knows it's only monsters that present a threat. No human has ever been a danger to any other human. Why, our own real world is an idyllic Shangri-La free of fear and violence in the absence of orcs and trolls.
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Thank you.

Do I get to keep my cookie?
Problems seem to arise mainly when the DM is being excessively obtuse, or when the player is trying to cheat. You two appear to have avoided those problems; others haven't been so lucky and have blamed alternative magic systems instead of identifying the real problem.

I've been privy to both, many times. It gets tiresome and usually tears a group apart faster than a staved wolf on a steak.

Also, <3 Chaos.
Years ago I played with a guy who had created a hit location table that could increase or decrease damage. I lost two characters in one session to weapons in the throat. We didn't do that again.

On the plus side I have seen some very good house rules. Way back in 2nd edition I played a wizard under a DM that let you pick one school of magic that you could cast the spells of you choice from. You knew all the spells and could choose at will, ala sorcerer. You still had limited spells per day, however. Very forward thinking DM.

One house rule (also back in the days of 2nd ed) that was very broken, but in my favor ;) , was a misunderstanding about some references to "rate of fire", or some such nonsense, in weapon tables. Basically I was able to bluff my way into the DM letting my character make multiple attacks per round with thrown weapons. Take the basic dart, add an a high strength and weapon specialization, and I was making something like 4 attacks per round at 1d4+6 dammage. It was a fairly low level campaign, and when you are fighting orcs and goblins and such stuff DIES, and dies horribly, when you start chucking that kind of damage around. No sword, just two bandoleers and a backpack FULL of darts.
Lostdwarf, the rate of fire thing wasn't a houserule. In 2E, Darts do indeed have a ROF of 3, with +1 attack for specialization. Dart fighters: the way to break 2E. Edit: and Bladesingers. And high-STR Fighters dual-classed into Thief after level 1. And...
I've always made the houserule that criticals=auto hits. Like a bastard sword's 19-20, if you roll a 19 or 20 on attack, it hits, the end..

Inorder to score a multiplyer hit, you roll an independent d20. I called this the conformation roll, and it allowed me more oppurtunities to diversify the weapons. Here's an example.

Bastard Sword
Damage: 1d10
Critical: 19-20
Confirmation: 20
Multiplyer: x3


Not too shabby, but kindof underpowerd, so I also ruled a bastard sword was automatically considerd a martial weapon and could be used one handed. It's balanced to the longsword cause it's heavier and costs about twenty more gold..


Some weapons also did extra die in damage like for example..

Crossbow
Damage: 1d10+1d4
Critical: 19-20
Confirmation: 19-20
Multiplyer: x3


Much more powerful weapon, that extra d4 can mean a world of difference on a confirmation roll. Luckiely ranged weapons (besides composite bows) can't apply stat modifiers to damage.




Another houserule I made improved weapon finnease that allowed you to apply dex mod to melee/throwing damage rolls as well as attack rolls. Two feats seems worth making a stat (strength) completely useless...
It's not the request for the backstory it's the length requirement and formatting. The only thing it's missing is "Assignments must be turned in written in ink."

I just finished a two page backstory on my current character, complete with drop caps and father son dialog. It doesn't fit this guy's formatting requirements. That would make me chafe.

Anyway, on to your questionnaire... can I get a copy? I'd like to see how it works with my character. My email is my gleemax id @ my gleemax id .com

In a Warhammer FRP game I wrote a six or seven page backstory as an interview. (The PC was being interviewed by an imperial investigator.) The GM refused to give me any points for it (he had promised xp for a backstory), since in his world the investigator would have just telpathically extracted any information he needed.

The worst house rules I've seen:
1. No dex bonus while mounted. This after I'd been running a character who practiced mounted combat for months.
2. No xp in the session in which you died.
3. Characters who die can still be saved if you heal them the round they die. Also, divine casters can cast all spells spontaneously. The GM didn't tell me these rules until after a session in which a PC was killed in front of my character. (Someone said "why didn't you heal her", and I said "cause the DM said she was clearly dead.)
4. If someone says they are taking 20, then no other PC can interrupt them. (Or something like that.) A character fell unconcious in battle. After the battle was over, someone took 20 on a heal check to see if she was still alive. "Well, she isn't now since you took 2 minutes to find out."
First let me say my current DM has been running a really good game and has been accommodating to my out of the box thinking. With that said, some of his house rules:

1. In the first adventure, each PC had to get involved with a guild type organization in order to have someone to train with, for him to hand out quests that they were obligated to eventually complete, and so the PC got a badge that allowed him/her to attend the baron's banquet to receive the first quest.
(My self trained dwarven dungeon delver (a not a thief, thief) bluffed his way in as the fighter's manager so I wouldn't have to join the thieves guild)

2. You have to role play your shopping experience, and most cases their wasn't a benefit to it.
(After 5 sessions with my dwarf just hording gold he finally realized I wasn't into it and allowed me to just buy what I wanted.)

3. If the rogue finds a trap that is triggered by a trip wire, points it out to everyone, and marks it out with sticks, each player has to make a balance check DC10 to step over it. (Which of course means the trap is going to be triggered by some unlucky person)
It's balanced to the longsword cause it's heavier and costs about twenty more gold..

LOL :D
More like "it's roughly balanced to the longsword because it does one point more of average damage, geez, do you really think that's worth a freakin' feat?"
This is kinda a shout out to those people who think special Fumble/Crit rules are stupid.
I want to share my crazy experiences here, although it's not exactly venting.

Anyway, I just started DnD, and my DM uses special crit rules and a fumble chart...
It's been cool so far, with our level 1 characters. Some really great things have happened...

Early on, I got sneak attacked by a were-rat while on watch.
The DM made the attack roll, and a 1 came up!
The Were-rat's hand slips, and it FLINGS its rapier past my Ranger's ear.
I turn around, fletch the thing with my longbow, then it tries to bite me...
And another 1 comes up.
Apparently the Were-rat's pulled a muscle in its jaw.
I shoot it again, it dies, we're all happy. I retrieve the fallen rapier and use it as a backup weapon for my character.

Later on, me and my rogue friend are starting to attack a cockatrice. He makes the first attack... and it misses. The cockatrice ignores it, but my shot hits. It comes towards us, and the rogue tries to shoot it again...

And he fumbles! Instead, he ends up shooting me in the back with his crossbow. I'm left at 1 hp, and the cockatrice is dangerously close now. We roll our attacks again, convinced we're going to die or be petrified eternally...

The rogue goes first, and thank the heavens, he rolls a crit! (x2)
Then he rolls to confirm and gets another 20. Under our rules, this means he can roll again for MORE damage. (x3)
Then rolls again for that one and gets a 19, good enough for crit with a crossbow still! (x4)
The next roll is a five, a miss negating the last one... but the damage is still a
x3, into the 20s!

Then I roll... and it's a 20! Again!
The next roll is a 19... unfortunately, I'm using a longbow. As it is, it's still another huge hit for 20 something damage, and the Cockatrice falls over, dead, with twin arrows protruding from its eye sockets.

Everyone was shocked, but you especially should have seen the look on our DM's face... :evillaugh

Afterward, I figured out the probabilities...
First crit from Crossbow: 1/10 (20)
Second: 1/100 (20)
Third: 1/1,000 (19)
Fourth, my Longbow:1/20,000 (20)
One in TWENTY THOUSAND.
I think I somehow ended up with the DM's loaded dice...
When I run a historical Celts game, I make my players roll off for starting equipment. Sometimes no one gets a sword.

Also, in my Celts games, wizards automatically suffer a negative alignment shift every five levels unless they have levels of fighter or ranger.
When I run a historical Celts game, I make my players roll off for starting equipment. Sometimes no one gets a sword.

Also, in my Celts games, wizards automatically suffer a negative alignment shift every five levels unless they have levels of fighter or ranger.

Care to explain?
Care to explain?

I assume:

1. Because armor and swords are rare artifacts left behind by the romans when they left.

2. Because magic in his setting is EEEEEEVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!1 and corrupts you kinda like it does in Warhammer.
I assume:

1. Because armor and swords are rare artifacts left behind by the romans when they left.

2. Because magic in his setting is EEEEEEVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!1 and corrupts you kinda like it does in Mage: The Awakening.

WFRP's magic has a chance of backfiring or otherwise screwing you over. It rarely corrupts you from the inside (3 of the possible rolls on the basic table caused you to become corrupted slightly. On the expanded on it is incredibly less-likely). Mage, however, does have the corruption added into it.
2. You have to role play your shopping experience, and most cases their wasn't a benefit to it.
(After 5 sessions with my dwarf just hording gold he finally realized I wasn't into it and allowed me to just buy what I wanted.)

I did this in my early games. I also put up dominoes to make the shops (I use dominoes on the long end to make dungeons) every time the PC's went into one. Of course, at the time I was also offering food as a suitable reward (food which included a bowl of green soup and a loaf of garlic bread.)
Care to explain?

In my Celts game, the players usually start off as level 1 characters that have just had their coming of age ceremony. The more fit and well spoken the character is, and the better job he has done showing off for the community, the more powerful of a noble will give him his weapons.

So I have them all roll off three times against a group of mostly weaker NPCs.

A DEX roll, for sports, for a ranged weapon. A STR roll, for status, which is for the armor. Finally, a CHA roll, for friendship, which gives you the melee weapon.

I only played with it once or twice, and I'd make a better chart, having weapon and armor packages based on the characters final and total standing in the community instead of the way I was doing it, but the idea would be the same.

Some characters would get a spear and a sling. Whoever wins out gets a longsword.

As far as the evil thing for wizards - Celts believed that anyone with a gift for magic should become a druid. Anyone that didn't, and just delved into the magical arts would be corrupted by the power it offered and become evil unless they had a warrior's discipline.
Cranewings, I have a might yearn to play in one of your celtic games now. Thats some intresting house rule fun.
So how do vampires work?

They whack the characters and give them negative levels.
Cranewings, I have a might yearn to play in one of your celtic games now. Thats some intresting house rule fun.

You are the only one then. I promised I wouldn't anymore. I was such a jerk / bad dm for it last time. It was all different players, but it was BAD and it is mildly famous.

I killed 6 player characters from 4 people over 4 weeks and only 1 person leveled the whole time... seriously... it was bad.

Fighting gnolls, cattle raiding, talking to frightening pointy teeth 7' tall elves...

It was a kinda harsh world.

Seriously, it had potential, but wasn't in a game mastering mood back then (:
chuckles, well one of your more modern and up beat celtic games.

the idea of a dealt your hand style game would give some intresting potential roleplay
I agree. Next game I run I want everyone to make the character they want, but then I'm going to make charts a let everyone roll for their starting social possition and equipment.

Off note, I just thought of my next dnd character. I'm going to play a bard. When he learns a new spell for leveling, he is going to think of it while sitting in a tavern, and write it on a napkin...
I agree. Next game I run I want everyone to make the character they want, but then I'm going to make charts a let everyone roll for their starting social possition and equipment.

I was in an AD&D game where we did that.

It doesn't usually work out too well.
I was in an AD&D game where we did that.

It doesn't usually work out too well.

I've done it a couple of times. It worked fine for me, it just doesn't work for very long. Usually within a month the players have enough gold and respect to do what they want in town, reguardless of their original social standing.
First, an experience from a game I played in a few years back. Our DM didn't like 3.5 as a whole but liked parts of it. So he hands us a big ass rules packet for his modified FR campaign, complete with quotes from important NPC's on the front. I can't remember most of the HRs, just that some how gods like Cyric and Bhaal existed at the same time, despite the obvious problems there. In the end the game became a problem more because of the railroading than the HRs, but it ended with this classic line, after our ranger tried to disarm the strange woman following us WITH HIS BOW:
DM: You just killed (insert random noble sounding name here)
JP: Was she important?
Jack: Dude, she's quoted on the front of the rules packet!

On to our own house rules:
Roll 4d6, drop the lowest, roll four sets and pick one, arrange as you like. After this you get to replace one stat with a free 18 before racial mods because your the ****ING HEROES!

We let Druids cast spontaneously. Only for one player though. She's ADD and spacey and just plays the druid to be a healer with a nature flare. Though once she went to the bathroom and told her fiance to play her character. Her fiance has been playing for over a decade and has played every edition. Her quote upon returning: "So what did I miss?... Why is there a T-Rex? Where'd all the bad guys go?"
Well it isn't a house rule, but I had a DM who's town was named "Generic", the town inn was named "Generic" and the towns inn keep name was "Generic". He said,"Everything is called Generic? Now you don't have to ask me such stupid questions."
You need a 13 strength to wield a dwarven war axe was one of our gaming groups silly house rules. This came out early on after 3rd edition came out and as a Dm I was still unsure about the game rules. I had a hobgoblin weilding dual dwarvern war axes, and a sorcerer cast enfeeble on the hobgoblin. Then he said, "You need a 13 to wield dwarven war axe. I'm sure I read that in the PHB. That's why I cast enfeeble on him." So we played it out that way. After finding out that I was had, I just kept the rule. Later as others started to DM our games the rule stuck.

Any how thanx for sharing found this thread entertaining.
On to our own house rules:
Roll 4d6, drop the lowest, roll four sets and pick one, arrange as you like. After this you get to replace one stat with a free 18 before racial mods because your the ****ING HEROES!

That is what we do in our D20 based games, sans the 18 thing and we re-roll ones and twos. It sometimes results in some crazy stats, but honestly it rarely feels like one character is stronger than others. It only results in noticibly stronger character at early levels, after that things seem to even out.