House rules you can use at your game table

We love the official rules, but we have a few of our own.

Games like D&D and Pathfinder wouldn’t work without the rules, which were painstakingly crafted by quite a few individuals, then playtested, edited and further refined into what we have in our hands.

But we like to spice things up by adding extra effects to critical rolls, giving bonuses for creative actions and generally messing with players.

Feel free to use these house rules at your table.

Inaccurate dice don’t count. Dice that roll off the table aren’t counted unless you call it first. (No looking down to see a 19 and saying, “I’m keeping it.”) Dice that bounce off something on the table are counted. Dice that landed cocked must be rerolled.

Plan your turn. While everyone else is having their turns in combat, that’s your opportunity to plan your next turn. I like to reward players with at +1 to their roll if they announce what they’re doing as soon as I call on them.

New characters. If your character dies and you replace her with a new character, you can’t choose the same race and class. You have to do something new.

Respect the ruling. Sitting at the table is not the time to argue your case like you’re in front of the supreme court. You get one objection if you think something wasn’t right, but we move on and accept the GM’s ruling after that. After the game, it’s fine to bring it up and work out the nuances of the rules, but let’s not interrupt the flow of the game to argue rules.

Explain what you’re doing. If you have a complicated attack or movement to make, explain exactly what your character is going to do and why they think they’ll succeed at it. If it’s plausible, get a bonus to your roll. This spices up combat and gives incentive to do something different. Say your rogue thinks they can run across the table at a feast, do a flip over the orc at the end of the table and attack the shaman at the other end of the room because they saw someone do it once and their Acrobatics skill is high. You’ll have to make all your rolls, but you’d have a +2 to each of them.

Critical failures and critical hits. I love consequences to critical rolls such as causing bleeding damage on a crit hit or hitting yourself in the foot on a crit fail. You can come up with a table if you’d like, but I have some card decks from Nord Games. It adds a fun element to the game.

Weapon fumble. An alternate to the critical fail rule above, if you roll a 1 on an attack, you drop your weapon and must use a move action to pick it up.

Put down the phone. If you want to check your phone, you have to roll a stealth check. The DC is at the GM’s discretion.

Failing stealth checks. If you fail a stealth check by 10 or more, your character screws it up so badly that you become a distraction. You’re in plain sight, but everyone else is hidden as a result.

Friendly fire. If your dice roll hits a friendly miniature on the table, they take a d8 of damage.

Re-roll bad hit dice. When it’s time to roll hit dice to determine hit points, re-roll any roll of 1 or 2.

Crit ability checks. If you roll a 20, it’s not an automatic success, but you do double your skill bonus. (With an Athletics of +8, a roll of 20 would equal 36.) It gives a bonus to critting an ability check without turning characters into superheroes. (Scaling a sheer cliff with a 50 climb DC.)

Anyone can use any weapon. If you’re not proficient in a weapon, you have to roll a check to see if you can use it properly. 1 is a complete failure, 2 to 10 is a -5 ¬†on your attack and damage rolls, 11 to 18 loses your proficiency bonus, 19 to 20 gives you a +3.

High initiative. If you roll a 20 on initiative, you have advantage on your first attack in your first turn.


What rules do you have at the table?

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