House Rules For 5th Edition

Red-Haired Female Elf Casting A Spell

These are the house rules that have been instituted in our campaign here so far while playing 5th Edition. I can personally attest to the helpfulness of the hit points house rule…it kept the game session going when the characters battled the Goblins in the Cragmaw Hideout.

1st Level Character Hit Points

Characters add their Constitution score to their starting hit points.

Example: A Wizard with a 1d6 hit die, no Constitution modifier, and a Constitution of 10 would start out with a hit point total of 16.

Characters gain new hit points in the normal fashion once they reach level 2 and onward.

Weapons Limitations & Exceptions For Clerics

01.) Clerics may only use non-sharpened and/or non-bladed weapons (as per the original BECMI and AD&D rule sets). The weapons available to use in 5th Edition are: Club, Flail, Great Club, Heavy Mace, Light Hammer, Mace, Maul, Quarterstaff, Sling, and War Hammer.

02.) Clerics have access to three Martial Weapons level items (two official and one home-brew):

  • Heavy Mace, 10 GP, 1d8 bludgeoning, 8 pounds, Heavy + Versatile (1d10) (Home-brewed Weapon)
  • Maul, 10 GP, 2d6 bludgeoning, 10 pounds, Heavy + Two-Handed
  • War Hammer, 15 GP, 1d8 bludgeoning, 2 pounds, Versatile (1d10)

Starting Money For Characters

All characters start out with a flat maximum of 200 GP regardless of class or race chosen. This provides ‘equal footing’ for all characters as they are starting out.


The magical items attunement rule is being completely ignored as unnecessary “fluff”.

Intelligence & Learning*

Intelligence affects the amount of time and money it takes to learn a tool proficiency or language. Each point of Intelligence over 10 decreases the days/gold required by 10. Each point of Intelligence under 10 adds to the days/gold required by 10.

A DM may limit the number of tool proficiencies that a character can learn. Even with a limit, the character’s high Intelligence score would still reflect ‘realism’ by helping them learn quicker, but without overdoing it with a far too long list of tool proficiencies.

Alternative Work-Around For Character Death*

The death is so sudden and traumatic that on the character’s next turn, they find themselves standing at the Black Gates of Death’s Kingdom.

The DM and player describe what the afterlife is like for the character. Death or an appropriate deity shows up and tells the character that it is not quite her or his time and seeks to make a deal with them. They will receive an offer to perform a quest of some sort within a set amount of time in exchange for another shot at life.

Failure to live up to the promise made within the given time frame means that Death or the appropriate deity comes back for the character. If the character agrees to it, she or he wakes up right at the moment their friends were just beginning to mourn them and say nice things. They will have 1 hit point and a possible uphill climb of convincing their comrades that their current adventure may have to wait.

Alternative Work-Around For Party Wipe-Out*

If the party gets wiped out (all down to 0 hit points) while adventuring, they could awaken as slaves, sacrificial victims to a horrific monster, or similar rather than experiencing total party death. Let the defeat sting, but avoid ruining the game session’s fun.

*The last three rules were inspired by dialogue in the D&D 5th Edition forums.


About Akeisha Leighanne Roberts

I am a role player who loves the classic BECMI, AD&D 1st Edition, D&D 3rd Edition, and D&D 5th Edition rule sets. I am also quite fond of Pathfinder and Star Frontiers. My Moonhaven Forest blog is a place for me to share my ideas, thoughts, and maps for these lovely games. You can visit me on Twitter as well. :)
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