Houserules, clarifications, etc. For now I'll simply add them here, might add more structure later.
I might well use other rules (particularly from the MM, the DMG, the adventures I use, and of course my own fevered brain), you'll notice. :)
Rules can be found here:
Player's Handbook you can buy from Andreas. :)
The Reddit DnD Faq is also a good source for rulings.
Assorted other stuff, collected in one place. (Basically a link collection, contains many of the other links in this section.)
Pdfs I have bought. See the Character creation page.
If something is stated in a faq/one of the previous links that disagrees with my rulings below, go with my rulings (though, if the faq is recent, do ask. I might not have read it.)
Combat Variant rules
- Action Options (dmg271) Climb onto a Bigger Creature, Overrun, Shove Aside
- Hitting Cover (dmg272) If you miss by the amount the cover supplies to the target, you may have hit the cover instead, compare your attack roll to the cover's AC to see if you hit it.
- Injuries variant (dmg272) Injuries are sustained when you've been reduced to 0 hp and there was damage remaining, but not enough to send you to Instant Death (see below), or when you receieve further damage while at 0 hp.
- Roll a DC 15 Constitution saving throw to see if you actually are Injured.
- The Injury remains until you succeed in a DC 15 Constitution saving throw after a Long Rest during which you had all your hitpoints and was not suffering from Exhaustion. Whether the Injury is fully healed or simply fully mitigated is up to you (i.e. feel free to run around with a peg leg if it amuses you. :) Either way, it has no game effect once the Constitution saving throw has succeeded.
- Playing On A Grid (ph192) We'll use a grid
- Using Miniatures (dmg250) and miniatures... (Note that neither the Flanking, Diagonals nor Facing variant rules are used.)
Various Variant rules
- Encumberance (ph176) 5xstr=encumbered, 10xstr=heavily encumbered
- Healer's Kit Dependency (dmg266) If someone does not spend a use of a healer's kit on a wounded character it can't regain hit points during a short rest.
- Loyalty (dmg 97)
- Mixing Potions (dmg140) i.e. Potion Miscibility, don't drink two potions at once...
- Morale (dmg273) for monsters, and npcs with Loyalty less than 10.
- More Difficult Identification (dmg136) Focusing on an item during a short rest gets you no knowledge of it.
- More Downtime Activities (dmg128+)
- Building a Stronghold
- Carousing (variant of Wealthy Living Expense)
- Crafting Magical Items (but, see Magic Items)
- Performing Sacred Rites
- Running a Business
- Selling Magical Items (but, see Magic Items)
- Sowing Rumors
- Training to Gain Levels (gain level after at least one long rest, remaining days can be converted to gold at 2 times current Character Level gp/day)
- Scroll Mishaps (dmg 140) Roll if you fail to use a scroll.
- Skills with Different Abilities (ph175) Basically, I might decide to use another ability for a skill check. (e.g. Strength(Intimidation) rather than Charisma(Intimidation))
Running Away/Escaping Combat/Brave, Brave Sir Robin (houserule)
In most cases you can escape the current combat without us having to run a detailed fighting retreat by:
1) Say that you want to escape
2) Move in whatever direction you want to flee towards for one round of normal combat
After this you have a choice. Either we run the escape using the Chase rules, OR, you simply add three levels of Exhaustion each and explain to me how you managed to escape. (Note the 'add', if you already have three levels of exhaustion, automatically running away is, um, contraindicated...)
Many intelligent creatures will surrender or run away if given the option, even if I do tend to forget about it. Feel free to remind me.
Note that moving stealthily is at 2/3rd speed, round down, which means speed 4 in combat for most creatures. (or 'Slow' speed on PH182 for travel, which is 200 feet/minute, 2 miles/hour, 18 miles/day.) If you're not moving stealthily, your opponents won't be surprised. Use passive Stealth (i.e. 'taking 10'), with disadvantage if not moving stealthily, effectively 5+your bonus. In a prepared nonmoving ambush you are likely to get advantage on Stealth.
Saves/Saving throws (clarification)
Note that you cannot generally choose to 'fail a save'. (See http://www.sageadvice.eu/2016/12/01/can-you-cast-banishment-on-yourself/)
Just-In-Time Saves and Ability Checks (houserule)
Generally, roll saves/ability checks when they matter not when they happen. I.e. if you sneak into a house, don't roll when you enter the house, but when you encounter the guard. If someone casts a charm spell on you, don't roll the save until you are given an order. But, of course, if someone casts Disintegrate on you, it matters immediately, so save right away...
Does not cause actual death (ph197), but does make you Unconscious and adds both one failed death save and an Injury (see above). (houserule)
- You regain a minimum of 1 Hit Dice (clarification, https://twitter.com/mikemearls/status/490631458718244864)
- Losing hit points is mostly just bruising and getting tired, until you get to half your hp. At 0 hp you've received an actual serious wound. Instant death is a potentially lethal wound. (clarification/houserule)
- A Long Rest restores only half your missing hitpoints, but at least one. (houserule)
- If interrupted after an hour it can be considered to be a Short Rest (see PHB186, "A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long" and "A long rest is a period o f extended downtime, at least 8 hours long"). I.e. just tell me how long you want to rest, if you're interrupted before an hour has passed it has no game effect (though your character may well appreciate the chance to take it easy for a bit :), if after between one and up to eight hours it's considered a Short Rest, if eight hours or more it's considered a Long Rest. Note that this means that you can't stack several short rests after one another, it just turns into an attempt at a Long Rest, i.e. to get two short rests before a long rest you need to actually have done something between the first and the second. Gaining xp, or taking wounds for some reason definitely qualifies, travelling probably does, while just sitting around for an extra hour doesn't. (houserule/clarification)
There are two sleep states. Deep Sleep during which you are Unconscious, this is the normal sleep you have when in a reasonably safe place. Light Sleep, during which you are Stunned, this is the sleep you have when in a dangerous place. Trance is considered to be Light Sleep.
Sleep/trance deprivation: For each night without at least Light Sleep/trance after the first roll a (dc 10 + 5*current exhaustion level) Constitution ability check to not gain a level of Exhaustion. Exhaustion caused by lack of sleep/trance can’t be removed until the character sleeps/trances for the full required amount (normal sleep/trance time + 1 hour per missed sleep.)
Long periods of mostly Light Sleep will eventually cause mental and physical problems (unless you're an Elf or Half-Elf). (I.e. count on exhaustion checks coming your way if you claim to always be in light sleep when resting at an inn between adventures. Again, unless you're an Elf.)
Sleep, Trance and Waking Up
When the character wakes up it is considered to be Incapacitated until it's iniative comes along, unless it's a surprise round, in which case it is considered to be Incapacitated until it's initiative on the NEXT round.
Sources of Magic Sleep include the spells Eyebite, Sleep, Symbol. Imprisonment is a special case as no event on the table above can be used to waken someone under the effect of Imprisonment (Slumber).
Elves and Half-Elves are immune to Magic Sleep.
Count as both melee and ranged. (clarification, https://twitter.com/mikemearls/status/487277082884329472)
A helper can only grant advantage on something it could itself do alone and a helper would actually be useful (see Working Together on ph175)
See Sneak Attack and Grappling below for a couple of specific cases.
A common enemy within 5 feet of the target only grants advantage if the target is aware of the enemy and it's location and the enemy can credibly attack. (e.g. a toad is probably not a threat, an imp probably is.)
Flying and Falling
Unless you have Hover, becoming Prone while flying will make you fall instantly. (clarification, http://www.sageadvice.eu/2016/05/28/difference-between-hover-and-flying/)
The first round you fall you fall 150 feet, all following rounds you fall 300 feet. (houserule, taken from 3.5 tactical aerial movement.)
Ending your movement
You cannot end your movement (even if forced) or perform any action in a square occupied by another creature. If you involuntarily end your movement (or forced movement) in an occupied square you are evicted to the previous square you occupied, if that also is occupied you end up in a randomly selected square of the ones closest to you. (clarification/houserule, see https://mobile.twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/636294197226528769?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw)
- Flying/Climbing/Jumping while grappling. For a flier (or climber/jumper) to lift someone the target must be the same size or smaller size than the flier, the flier must not be be encumbered after lifting the target, the flier must (unless the target is willing) succeed in a grapple against the target. To drop someone that has been lifted the flier must succeed in a grapple check, unless the victim wats to be dropped. (houserule)
- Help Action. Someone who couldn't grapple the target (e.g. due to being more than one size category smaller than the target) can't help in a grapple. (houserule/clarification)
- Grappling several targets. If you grapple more than one target, all the targets must be of your size category or smaller. If you run out of free hands you can no longer grapple another target. (houserule/clarification)
- You cannot shove a target you have grappled. (I.e. you must instead release the target, shove, possibly move, then grapple again.)(houserule/clarification)
- If you have the Grappler feat you can pin as one of your attacks. (clarification)
Moving a dead/helpless/unconscious/incapacitated/nonresisting target
See Grappling... I.e. it takes an action to grab the target, you move it at your half move, letting go is a free action. If you want to move at full speed you must spend another action picking it up more comfortably and/or securing it to you, after which you move at the speed indicated by your current encumbrance including the target and all it carries.
Moving a willing, conscious, non-incapacitated target
- Grabbing on to an ally passing by is not an action, it means that the moving ally is effectively dragging the nonmoving one. (See Lifting and carrying, PH176).
- Climbing onto/carrying an ally takes half the move of either participant (i.e. the one that currently has an action.) Hanging on/not falling off if either participant is moved against it's will or knocked prone takes a DC10 Dexterity saving throw. (Mounting and Dismounting, PH198.) The carrier then moves at half speed until it or the one being carried has spent an action to secure itself, after which the carrier moves at the speed indicated by your current encumbrance including the target and all it carries.
After having read way too many forum posts, this is how I interpret things.
- In all cases except the following, your reach is 5'. (In 4e terms, you threaten the square adjacent to you.)
- If wielding a Reach weapon your reach is considered to be 10' when you attack with it. (In 4e terms, you don't have Threatening Reach, unless you have Polearm Master.)
- If you have Polearm Master your 'Threatening Reach' (to use the 4e term) doesn't change the fact that moving within someone's reach does not provoke an opportunity attack.
- If you have a natural Reach attack it is whatever the attack states.
- You can have several different Reaches, so, you can choose which of them triggers an Opportunity Attack as a target moves away from you. (Clarification. Source: http://www.sageadvice.eu/2016/12/06/can-a-character-have-two-opportunity-attack-provoking-reaches/, http://www.sageadvice.eu/2016/11/25/how-does-the-second-feature-of-the-sentinel-feat-work-with-weapons-that-have-reach/)
Deliberately Lower Damage
I've decided to disallow doing less damage with an attack. Just do Nonlethal Damage if you don't want to risk killing your target.
Spells, Magic and Crafting
Area of Effect Spells
Normally one can only suffer the effects of entering an area of effect once per turn. (E.g. if you have a 5' damaging aura, running back and forth won't make an adjacent creature take damage more than once.) (clarification)
Multiclassing and Spells
Note that spells that scale do so on Class Level, not Character Level. (clarification)
Not intended to work with cantrips (clarification, https://twitter.com/mikemearls/status/486185606540587011)
If you cast a spell as an action, and have the opportunity to take another action, you may not use the second action to cast any spell other than a cantrip. (clarification)
Unless explicitly stated in the spell or ability, spellcasting is visible/audible as per the spell's Component line, and casting a spell is a clearly magical activity (i.e. swirling lights, weird colors, strange sound effects while speaking the spell's verbal components, etc.) While Concentrating, the same activity continues, albeit at a slight reduction in intensity. Many - perhaps most - spells also leave visible effects on the spells' targets. (E.g. when hasted 'speedlines' appear when the creature moves, etc.) I.e. the conditions seen in maptools are generally obvious, just to keep things easier... I'll try to remember to indicate when something is not visible. (houserule/clarification)
Note however that if you do not witness the spell being cast, you do not neccessarily know what caused the effect.
Use Int (Arcane or Religion, possibly Nature for Druids and Rangers) to recognize a spell.
Pick the first of these that fit your situation:
Automatic if you know the spell
Very Easy (0+spell level) if it's on one of your classes' spell lists but you don't know it.
Easy (5+spell level) if it's in the PHB or another common rulebook.
Medium (10+spell level) if it's from some obscure book you aren't allowed to take things from.
Hard (15+spell level) if it's from the adventure/the DM made it up.
Very Hard (20+spell level) if it's a unique spell.
Disadvantage if you only see it's effects, or after the caster has started Concentrating on it.
At +0 you get the spell's name, school and general effects. 'Fireball, level 3, sorcerer and wizard, Evocation, big and powerful fiery explosion'
At +5 you get the spell's rules and important description. 'Shoots from finger, 1 action to cast, range 150 feet, V, S, M components, instantaneous duration, 20-foot radius sphere, dex save, 8d6. Can be buffed with higer level slots.'
At +10 you get to look up the spell freely. 'See PHB page 241.'
Crafting Potions of Healing
Crafting a potion of healing requires proficiency in a herbalism kit, 25 gp worth of raw materials, and 10 man-days of work. The 'raw materials' can either be gathered in the wilds by people with the same proficiency in 10 man-days of work or, with some luck, be bought from a well-stocked apothecary/druid/woodland fey/hermit. (houserule/clarification)
Monster Knowledge (houserule/clarification)
For the appropriate skill to recognize a monster, see the following table:
The DC is CR+10, with Disadvantage if it's a secretive monster (vampires, shapechangers, etc).
All characters get to choose one monster type that they have Advantage recognizing. Additionally Rangers with the appropriate Favored Enemy have Advantage on recognizing those. There are probably other ways to gain advantage.
-5 The DM will lie to you: I.e. most likely inaccurate name, type and any special non-combat facts and fluff. :)
+0 Name, type and any special non-combat facts and fluff: Magmin are summoned pyromaniacal elementals that enjoy fiery destruction, they have darkvision.
+5 Their vulnerabilities, resistances and immunities: Magmin are resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons and immune to fire.
+10 Their special traits and actions: Magmin have a Death Burst when dying and can use Ignited Illumination to set themself ablaze to shed bright light, they can ignite creatures with their touch.
+15 The whole danged stat block: See MM page 212.)
Poison on a weapon is potent until the first of a hit with the weapon or 10 rounds have passed since application. (http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/02/24/poison-bug/)
EXCEPT for Basic Poison which is potent until 10 rounds have passed since application regardless of the number of hits (http://www.sageadvice.eu/2016/05/29/if-i-have-extra-attack-does-injury-poison-work-for-only-one-hit/)
Poison mixed in food/drink is potent until 1 hour has passed. (clarification, https://twitter.com/mikemearls/status/557960587565494272)
Poison damage based on a save is not doubled on a crit. (clarification, http://www.sageadvice.eu/2014/11/24/critical-poison/)
Group skill checks
- If the entire group has to succeed, use the worst score. (e.g. Stealth)
- If only one person needs to succeed, use the best score. (e.g. Perception)
- If only one person needs to succeed and several have proficiency and can cooperate effectively, use the best score with advantage. (e.g. Perception for a 'Loot everything' situation where there is no time pressure, or perhaps Insight for analysing a politician's speech when the group can talk about it without being overheard.)
This applies for both passive and active skill use.
Other things can still give advantage/disadvantage, as usual. (E.g. some armors give disadvantage on Stealth.)
I'll hand out Inspiration for these reasons:
- Roleplaying (drive the story, do something character-appropriate in a less than optimal and/or interesting way, make everyone laugh)
- Heroism (do really risky but character-appropriate things, succeed at a Deadly encounter)
- Special Events (blessed by gods/great spirits)
I may offer Inspiration beforehand, or after the fact. (If I offer Inspiration if you do something I *never* have an ulterior motive. Honest. ;-)
Inspiration are usually represented by physical tokens that you hand in to me when spending (usually my poker chips.) This is mostly to remind me that if I have a stack of them, I should be more vigilant in handing them out... (The dmg says that I should probably hand out one point per character per session or so, not neccessarily evenly distributed.)
Selling Loot (houserule/clarification)
Gems, jewelry, old or foreign gold coins and other small valuables, can normally be disposed of at 75%-100% value. (The lower value if in a hurry/in a buyer's market.) If the gems (etc) are well-known/clearly marked, halve the price. ('No questions asked!')
Tradegoods, working animals, etc, can generally be sold at half value if unmarked, or with clear provenance. Marked goods can generally only be sold to less than law-abiding buyers, at quarter value or less.
Household goods, furniture, etc, can either be sold at auction, generally bringing about quarter value, but taking severals weeks or more to sell, or quickly disposed of at 10% of list price.
Weapons, armor, etc, are normally worth only scrap value, maybe 10% of list price on a good day. (If kept for use, they last that session, then break down.)
Well-cared for and unmarked weapons, armor, etc can often be sold for half list value. These are mostly found on adventurers and leaders... (Chaotic creatures don't tend to take care of their gear, lawful ones generally mark theirs permanently, and items from Evil sources are often defaced and/or tainted by dark magics.) (If kept for use, they last indefinitely.)
Summoned and Conjured Creatures (houserule)
Summoned creatures that are spellcasters use the summoner/conjurer's slots, not their own. (I.e. if you summon a Planetar using your last spell slot, it won't be Raising anyone for you...) If a creature is summoned by an item, the item supplies a single spell slot of the level of the spell used to summon the creature.
In towns and larger settlements the following spells are often available, though usually not more than two or three castings can be bought per day. Minimum costs are given below, they are most likely more expensive unless the group is known to and well liked by the caster. Other spells may be available.
Cure wounds (1st level) 10 gp, Identify 20 gp, Lesser restoration 40 gp, Prayer of healing (2nd level) 40 gp, Remove curse 90 gp, Speak with dead 90 gp, Divination 210 gp, Greater restoration 450 gp, Raise dead 1,250 gp
(It seems like the formula might be level*level*10+2*material component cost.)
Mercenaries/hirelings/henchmen normally demand a share of loot and xp. They don't use them to gain levels or buy equipment however, instead they use what gear they have (or have been given by the party, they won't use loaner gear) and level up when they are the lowest level in the group. Normally the only options available to them are the ones in the Player's Basic Rules.
If npcs lose gear/use consumables for the party they want to be recompensed, or their loyalty lowers by 1d4.
They don't normally have, buy or want magic items, but happily accept them as gifts and use them.
If adding an npc would make the party too large (generally if the npc would become the sixth member of the party, they charge double in both xp and loot. (Guild rules. :) (Or, actually, a lazy dm that doesn't want to change encounters...)
Table rules (i.e. some variant of these apply in all games I dm)
Five Second Rule. Please prepare for your turn. After you've had a short time to think about what to do/look things up, I'll start to slowly count to five. Once I reach five, your character just chose to Dodge.
Plan and Combine Dice Rolls. Unless it's an epic, once-in-a-lifetime, fate-of-the-world-deciding roll, roll all attacks (including advantage and disavantage) at once (we all have lots of dice...), preferably rolling your damage at the same time too (all dice of the same color help.)
Nerf You Later. If I decide something is bad for the game (overpowered, underpowered, whatever) I may change the rules for it (most likely by simply disallowing it.) If your character has taken that option, you may replace it. (If your entire character hinges upon that option I'll probably allow a complete rebuild.)
No Hordeing (sic). No more than one 'combat pet' per character in any given fight, no more than one currently active summoning spell per character. Also, you can only use 'combat pets' and summon creatures for which you have a concise, printed stat block easily available.
See also Character Creation.