Here’s seven somewhat unique homebrew rules for your next Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition game.
One of the cool things about Dungeons & Dragons is that the rules are easy to modify and change, which means you can create your own rules for cool new features. Some people even make full games. As a LitRPG author, I’ve had my share of time fleshing out game mechanics. In D&D, though, it can be easy to add homebrew rules without a lot of hassle. These are are five of the D&D homebrew rules I have made.
D&D Homebrew Rules
Here’s my list of seven unique homebrew rules for D&D 5e!
1. Easier Magic Item Creation
There’s a system for creating magic items in D&D, but I like to make it even easier. To do this, I use the Crafting skill. This is a skill that everyone can use to make items. You don’t have to be a wizard or a sorceress to make your own magic items. I find that this makes it easier for a player to craft an item and it also makes it easier for me as a DM to say, “sure you can craft that.” While you want to make sure you don’t allow players to create something too powerful that will upset the balance in the game, giving more characters a chance to create unique magic items makes it easier for me to reward players.
2. The Fast Travel Rules
The D&D fast travel rules aren’t bad. It’s a good system that fits D&D really well. But I’ve come up with a simpler system that works for me. While traveling on foot, you move at normal speed. If you’re riding a horse, you move at twice your normal speed. If you’re riding a carriage, you move three times your normal speed. If you’re flying, you move at quadruple your normal speed. If you’re using teleportation magic, you move instantaneously. What I do is make sure that it’s progressively more expensive to travel faster. By leaving teleportation out of their reach, I can have them slow down and not miss any important plot points.
3. Ancestor Skill Point System
This system is a lot like the skill point system in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but it works in D&D. I don’t like the binary skill system in D&D 5e that much, so I came up with a system where you can spend your skill points in any skill you want. It helps with character specialization. For example, if you want to stray from the traditional rogue, you can pick up skills like alchemy that aren’t traditionally available to rogue characters. Again, you have to be wary about balance when doing this, but it can go beyond feats and kits to offer an even greater chance to personalize a character. The story is that a character’s ancestors have enabled them to learn a skill that might not normally have been available to them.
4. One Free Resurrection
Because I like to make death a real thing that happens in my campaigns, I sometimes will offer characters one free resurrection after they screw up and die. I will try to work this into the story of the campaign and make it relevant to the character’s backstory. Additionally, I only offer this to characters that have died in battle. I don’t want a character to buy their way out of death when they make mistakes in a non-combat situation. This might seem like I’m being too easy, but by offering the characters one chance to mess up, it makes the deaths I inflict later on in the campaign easier to deal with for most people. That’s not to say I’m out to kill the players all the time! Far from it. In fact, I tend to be very easy on the players. But I think death makes the campaign more interesting and makes it feel like there are more stakes.
5. The 2d6 + 3 Method
This is a system I use for creating monsters. Basically, you add 2d6+3 to a monster’s hit points to make them more challenging. I don’t bump the experience or treasure given by the monster, and I don’t do this with every monster, however. Doing so occasionally can keep the players on their toes, especially if they’re fighting blah mobs like goblins or kobolds or something. By just making one or a few of them super by giving them more hit points, you can really shake up the combat sessions. I try to be sure to describe the creatures with more health though so the players don’t think I’m throwing it at them unfairly. Some of the players like knowing that this one enemy is special in some way.
6. The Halfling Proposition
I like to use halflings as a staple race in my games, but by default, they are a bit weak. What I do is give them a racial bonus to both Dexterity and a second stat. This makes them more powerful overall, and it also makes them more versatile. I choose a second stat that makes sense for their background and their personality. For example, if a halfling was raised by elves, their second stat would be a Charisma bonus. If they were raised by humans, I would give them an Intelligence bonus. This addition tends to make sure all groups I run have at least one halfling character which makes it easier to hook them into my world.
7. The Half-Orc Advantage
This is a modified version of a rule my uncle taught me many years ago. Basically, I give half-orcs a bonus to combat-related skills. It fits the setting and adds more value to a racial option that I feel is otherwise underpowered. Using this rule, half-orcs will have a bit more of an edge in the game. If you’re playing in a world where orcs aren’t the bad guys, this rule can help make them a bit more useful and fun to play. This also comes into play for half-orc NPCs, however. In my world, they tend to be a bit more powerful (moreso when I add homebrew rule #5), but overall they’re not OP and are balanced by the fact that they have a hard time fitting in with society.
I’m sure there are a lot of great homebrew rules out there. What are your favorite homebrew rules for Dungeons & Dragons? If you want to talk about your favorite D&D homebrew rules, leave a comment below. Thank you for reading and we hope you have a wonderful day!