D&D House Rules

Character Creation

Ability Scores

We will be using the card method1 to generate ability scores. This method is generally fair, creating characters that are neither too strong nor too weak.

Aspects

Aspects describe something about your character. They are what sets you apart from everyone else. They take the place of backgrounds. Every character has six aspects:

  • A high concept that describes who your character is or what he or she does.
  • A trouble that complicates your character’s existence.
  • Three aspects that relate to your first adventure and your relationships to other members of the party.
  • An aspect indicating your character’s personal take on his or her alignment.

Inspiration

You begin each session with at least a number of points of inspiration equal to your character’s proficiency bonus. Your points of inspiration carry over between sessions. If you have more than you would start with normally, then you start at that amount. Your points of inspiration are reset to a number equal to your character’s proficiency bonus when he or she levels up.

You may spend a point of inspiration to invoke one of your aspects to make an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw with advantage. When you invoke an aspect, you must explain how the aspect is relevant to your situation.

You gain additional points of inspiration by accepting a compel. A compel is a complication or dramatic twist related to your character’s aspects. You must pay a point of inspiration to decline a compel, preventing the complication from happening. Normally, the DM proposes compels, but other players may as well at the cost of a point of inspiration per compel.

Leveling Up & Experience Points

Characters receive 1 XP per session provided that something interesting has happened to them. They may spend one month of downtime and a number of XP equal to half of their proficiency bonus (rounded up) to gain a level.

Starting Wealth

Characters begin play with 150 gp, an appropriate set of clothes, and one trinket. They may spend their gold on any of the items in the equipment chapter of the Player’s Handbook.

Actions in Combat

Delay

When you take the Delay action, you wait until later in the round to act. Your initiative changes to reflect your new place in the initiative order. You may not move or take bonus actions on the same turn that you delay. Until you take your next turn, ongoing effects are resolved at your previous place in the initiative order.

Combat

Flanking

When both you and an ally situated on opposite sides of a creature can both make melee attacks against it, you can roll 1d4 and add the result to your melee attack rolls targeting that creature.

Monster Knowledge

Succeeding on an Intelligence check allows you to identify the type and name of a monster or recall the answer to one question related to its type.

Supplemental Reading

Old school D&D purports to encourage a certain style of play, but it provides very little system support to actually facilitate that. The following games have been influential in my trying to correct that deficiency.

1 Shuffle together two sets of cards numbered in ascending order from four to nine. Deal the resulting deck of cards into six piles of two cards each. Total each pile individually and record the results. These numbers are your ability scores. Assign them as you see fit.

D&D House Rules

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