D&D 5E House Rules

The biggest challenge to using D&D 5e is that of converting over a campaign world that I’ve been running for the better part of thirty-five years – that’s before we address the significant power differentials between 1e and 5e. With that in mind, and plenty more to come as it is needed (and noted where easy to insert), here is a list of the current additions to the rules set:

Advancement is achievement-based not by XP, and Feats are available as additional role-play rewards at roughly the same rate as Characteristic Advancements if the characters seek them out..

Characteristic Rolls

Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma

Baseline Humans (The Common Men) get to roll 4d6, in order, dropping the lowest die, and may flip two statistics. People playing Non-humans roll 3d6, in order, and are allowed to flip two statistics. Both groups get one crash roll. This means that if you have one roll which you don’t like you can re-roll it, but you have to take the new result even if it is worse.

Maximum Hit Points at first level, all levels after that are rolled. If you want average HP rolls I’ll consider it if you decide to start with average statistics…

You pick a race (see below), a background (see below), a social class, and a character class (also, see below).

I’m currently revising how to use Honor and Sanity from the DMG. I really like having both available as a DM, but they are way, way too vague and the guidelines for use are less than helpful.


In this campaign this does not limit the number of spells that can be cast (ok, if you want a limit, Class Casting Stat Mod + Prof Mod). That said, being struck or distracted in combat still requires a check for each spell being maintained that requires Concentration.


There is no limit on the number of items that can be attuned, there may be penalties for the loss or damage to items that the character is attuned to however.


Generally as normal, but if a character does not have the skill they automatically have Disadvantage in stressful situations (i.e. most adventuring contexts). There are two additional skills, Letters (formal education in mathematics, reading, writing, etc) and Etiquette (knowledge of manners and customs, formal and informal)

  • Etiquette: Bard Class. Courtier,  Idle Noble, Noble, & Skald Backgrounds
  • Letters: Monk and Wizard Classes. Cloistered Scholar, Guild Merchant, & Sage Backgrounds

The Dungeon Master generally rolls on “unclear success” tests – Perception, Insight, Investigation, etc.

Riding animals is a tool (the saddle, reins, etc.) not a subset of the Animal Handling skill.


While possible, this is far from common and is only allowed via strong storyline reasoning, often involving mystical, magical, and divine providence. It is a role-playing opportunity not a mechanic to min-max characters. The time involved to learn a new character class is often measured in months or even years, not days or weeks, and represents a fundamental shift in a character’s attitude and nature.

Certain combinations are not allowed because they represent opposed philosophies or approaches to magical power. A short but not exhaustive list of generally forbidden combinations is as follows:

  • Cleric and Druid
  • Warlock and Cleric, Druid, or Paladin
  • Sorcerer and Mage
  • Mage and Bard
  • Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin and Ranger
  • Barbarian and Mage

Revised Character Races:

  • Humans
  • Elves
    • High Elves – The Noblest and Rarest of the Fae
    • Wood Elves – The Reclusive and Rustic of the Fae
    • Grey Elves – The Worldly and Common of the Fae
    • Snow Elves – The Most Feared of the Fae
  • Dwarves
    • Mountain Dwarves – The Dwarves of the Mountain Kingdoms
    • Hill Dwarves – The Dwarves of the Lost Kingdoms
    • Dwimmervolk – The Dwarves of the City
  • The Forest Folk
    • Gnomes – The Children of the Golden Hills
    • Half-Dryads
    • Half-Satyrs
  • Shadowfolk
    • Sh’dai – The folk of the Shadowlands
    • Sha’achtar (Elves)
    • Lilim (Shapechangers)
    • Daemons (Four-Armed and Winged)
    • Erinyes (Winged Humanoids)
    • Dwarrow (Mystical Dwarves)
    • Daeshin Vorre (Cannibalistic Gnomes)
  • Darkbloods
    • Khazann – Sorcerous Crossbreeds Between Humans and Goblins, born out of the horrors of the Wars of Binding.
    • Half-Ogres
    • Half-Trolls
    • Goliath
    • Ratfolk
  • Exotics
    • Dragonborn – A Rare and Ancient People
    • Warforged – Survivors of the Great Fleet
    • Minotaur
    • Rakshasa
    • Fenrir

Touched by the Divine, both Blessed and Cursed

Additional Class Archtypes:

  • Barbarian
    • Barbarian Paths
      • Path of the Berserker
      • Path of the Totem Warrior
      • Path of the Ancestral Guardian (Xanathar’s Guide – Wood Elven)
      • Path of the Battlerager (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide – Dwarves)
      • Path of the Demon Hunter
      • Path of the Storm Herald (Xanathar’s Guide – Elves)
      • Path of the Zealot (Xanathar’s Guide)
  • Bards
    • Bardic Colleges
      • College of Lore
      • College of Valor
      • The Delian Academy
      • The College of Tantra
      • College of Swords (Xanathar’s Guide – Elven)
      • College of Glamour (Xanathar’s Guide – Elves and Half-Elves)
      • College of Whispers (Xanathar’s Guide – Shadowlands)
      • The Black Choir (Shadowlands Homebrew)
      • The Urkhai (Goblin/Khazann Homebrew)
    • Dwarven-specific Spell List
  • Clerics
  • Druids
    • Druid Circles
      • Circle of the Land
        • NOTE: Gnomes use a Circle of the Land (Golden Hills)
      • Circle of the Moon
      • Circle of Dreams (Xanathar’s Guide – Elves and Half-Elves)
      • Circle of the Shepard (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • The Circle of the Well
      • The Black Circle
    • Druidic Foci and Tools
    • Wild Shape
      • Wild Shape Forms (Unearthed Arcana, plus Tweaks)
      • Only Attuned items transform with the Druid.
    • Spells
  • Fighters
    • Fighting Styles
      • Mariner (Unearthed Arcana)
      • Tunnel Fighter (Unearthed Arcana)
      • Close Quarters Shooter (Unearthed Arcana)
      • Shootist
    • Fighter Archtypes
      • Champion
      • Battle Master
      • Eldritch Knight
      • Arcane Archer (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Banneret Knight Archtype (aka Purple Dragon Knight from Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
      • Crusader Archtype (a Divine Magic semi-caster)
      • Knight Archtype (Unearthed Arcana – Meh)
      • Long Rider Archtype (aka the Cavalier from Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Bladedancer Archtype (Eleven, aka the Samurai from Xanathar’s Guide)
  • Monks
    • Monk Traditions
      • Way of the Open Hand
      • Way of Shadow
      • Way of the Four Elements
      • Way of the Kensai (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Way of Long Death (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
      • Way of the Sun Soul (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
      • Way of the Wardancer (Ithians, Caporeira & Escrima-like)
      • The Way of the Blood Moon & The Way of Laughing Murder
      • Way of the Drunken Master (Xanathar’s Guide)
    • NOTE: Instead of AC being calculated as (10 + Dex Mod + Wis Mod) it is calculated as (10 + Dex Mod + Prof Mod).
  • Paladins
    • Sacred Oaths
      • Oath of Devotion
      • Oath of the Ancients
      • Oath of Conquest (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Oath of the Crown (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
      • Oath of the Kenza (for the En Khoda Theos Kirk)
      • Oath of the Sh’elin (Shadowlands)
      • Transitional Oaths
        • Oath of Vengeance
        • Oathbreaker Archtype (Dungeon Master’s Guide)
        • Oath of Redemption (Xanathar’s Guide)
        • NOTE: It is possible for Paladin’s to temporarily switch Oath’s given both sufficient cause and the allowance of their Deity.
  • Rangers
    • Ranger Archtypes
      • The Hunter
      • The Beast Master
        • NOTE: Animal Companions level (with HD, PB, & Feats) alongside the Ranger, and that they also act independently of the Ranger.
      • The Huntsman (Homebrew)
      • The Ranger Knight (Homebrew)
      • The Gloom Stalker (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • The Horizon Walker (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Monster Slayer (Xanathar’s Guide)
  • Rogues
    • Rogue Archtypes
      • The Thief
      • The Assassin
      • Arcane Trickster
      • The Scout – A homebrew version that predated the Official Archtype
      • The Bravo – A more martially focused rogue
      • Holy Slayer (Homebrew – A Divine Magic semi-caster)
      • Inquisitive (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Mastermind (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
      • Scout (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Swashbuckler (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Sorcerers
    • Sorcerous Bloodlines
      • Draconic Bloodline
      • Wild Magic
      • Dwarven Truesmiths (Homebrew)
      • Elvish Scions (Homebrew)
      • Divine Soul Lineage (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Oracles (Homebrew)
      • Storm Sorcery Lineage (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
      • Shadow Magic Lineage (Xanathar’s Guide)
      • Sorcerer Kings of the Beastmen (Homebrew)
  • Warlocks
  • Wizards

Additional Classes:

  • Alchemist – If it is class based, it deserves it’s own class.
  • Artificer (Unearthed Arcana) – Currently on hold, I think it needs work.
  • Blood Hunter (Critical Role / Geek & Sundry) – Very workable, we’d need to talk to fill it in.
  • Gunslinger – Someone really focused on Firearms and Darters is going to be different from a basic Fighter, and pretty rare.
  • Mystic (Psychic – Unearthed Arcana) – Currently under Review, but it looks good.

Prestige Classes:

  • The Luminous Order
  • Rune Scribe (Unearthed Arcana) (Flavor is Problematic, On Probation)
  • The Sapper
  • Elven High Mage

Additional Spells:

  • Spells from “That Old Black Magic” (Unearthed Arcana)
  • Spells from Princes of the Apocalypse & Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
  • Spells from the Book of Lost Spells (Necromancer Games)
  • Spells from “Starter Spells” (Unearthed Arcana)

Additional Feats:

Backgrounds and Social Class:

It’s worth noting that I’m currently reworking this system a bit for some verisimilitude and to better match my campaign world. I also happen to hate how 5e handles starting equipment and money.

  • Social Class as an additional piece of Background
  • Acolyte (Player’s Handbook)
  • Beggar
  • Charlatan (Player’s Handbook)
  • Chirurgeon
  • City Watch (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Clan Crafter (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Cloistered Scholar (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Country Squire (Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque)
  • Courtier (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Criminal (Player’s Handbook)
  • Cut-Wife (Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque)
  • Dandy (Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque)
  • Entertainer (Player’s Handbook)
  • Faction Agent (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide) Not Generally Suitable as a Background
  • Far Traveler (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Forrester
  • Guild Artisan (Player’s Handbook)
  • Guild Merchant (Player’s Handbook)
  • Harlot
  • Hermit (Player’s Handbook)
  • Idle Noble (aka the Waterdhavian Noble from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Inheritor (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Knight of the Order (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Noble (Player’s Handbook)
  • Mercenary Veteran (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Outcast
  • Outlander (Player’s Handbook)
  • Pirate (Player’s Handbook)
  • Urban Bounty Hunter (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)
  • Sage (Player’s Handbook)
  • Sailor/Skylar (Player’s Handbook)
  • Skald
  • Soldier (Player’s Handbook)
  • Tribe Member (aka the Uthgardt Tribe Member from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide could be adapted to a variety of peoples – Tawil Plains Nomad, Ice Waste Wanderers, Ossian Clanfolk)
  • Urchin (Player’s Handbook)
  • Witch-Kin (Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque)

I also adapted the Background: Winter Soldier, but would disallow it at this point. It works fine with the one PC who has it, but it’s also more work for me than I would like. The same goes for the Folk Hero background from the Player’s Handbook.

General Gaming Notes:

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