Dungeons & Dragons is at its best when the game flows and adapts to the style of the table. As a game that encourages creativity and flexibility, one of the best ways to improve a game is through implementing house rules that address or fix the table’s biggest peeves. Today, we will dive into some of the best and most popular house rules that offer exciting twists and enhancements to the core ruleset.
Flanking and Tactical Combat
One popular house rule is the introduction of flanking rules, which grants advantage to attacks against an enemy if they are engaged in melee combat with allies on opposite sides. This is an optional rule first discussed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and provides players with advantage if they and another ally are on opposite sides or corners of an adjacent enemy. This rule is fantastic in adding a layer of strategy to combat encounters. The rule, or an adaptation of it, encourages tactical positioning, teamwork. With this rule in play, players are encouraged to strategise and coordinate their attacks, making battles more engaging and dynamic.
For any player seeking an interesting or unique build that embodies their vision for their character, feats are often a must. However, the rules around acquiring them often feel restrictive, requiring players to choose between effectiveness or self-expression. A common house rule is to allow characters to gain a feat at character creation, during a specific milestone, or during character creation without sacrificing an Ability Score Improvement. This rule provides more options for character customisation and allows players to explore unique builds and play styles that are otherwise difficult to access.
Spell Points System
The traditional spell slot system in DnD can sometimes limit the versatility of spellcasting classes. The spell points system from the Dungeon’s Master’s Guide is a popular house rule that replaces spell slots with a point-based resource. This system allows spellcasters to have more flexibility in casting spells, granting them the freedom to choose the level and number of spells they cast per day. It offers a more intuitive and dynamic approach to spellcasting, empowering magic-wielding characters.
Short Rest Recharge
The standard rules for short rests in DnD require characters to spend an hour to regain hit points and abilities. However, a house rule that has gained popularity is the modified short rest recharge. This rule allows characters to recover hit points and regain some class features after a shorter duration, such as 10 or 15 minutes. It keeps the game pace flowing and allows characters to maintain their momentum during dungeon crawls or encounters.
Critical Hit Variants
Critical hits are usually an exciting moment in combat, but some players feel that the standard rules don't always reflect the impact of a critical hit. There is often nothing more disappointing than rolling near minimum on damage when you have just landed a critical hit. An effective house rule for critical hits is to maximise the base dice damage and to roll only once more on top. Other variants for critical hits can introduce additional effects, such as increased damage, temporary status effects, or narrative bonuses. This adds more excitement and unpredictability to critical hits, making them more memorable and rewarding for players when they see that natural 20 on their die.
House rules in DnD have the power to transform and enhance your gaming experience, allowing for greater customization and creativity. The best and most popular house rules mentioned above have been embraced by the DnD community for their ability to add depth, strategy, and excitement to the game. When introducing house rules, it's crucial to discuss and agree upon them as a group, ensuring everyone's enjoyment and maintaining game balance. So, embrace the spirit of innovation, explore these popular house rules, and let them help you and your party embark on unforgettable adventures!