House Rules: What kind do you use and how do you feel they enhance your game?


Homebrew and House Rules

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Been trying to type up some of the houserules I have used & am planning to use in a homebrew campaign I am designing.

1. D20 rolls are open ended. A natural 20 is rolled again and +20 added. A natural 1 is rerolled and -20 subtracted. Critical success is any roll that succeeds by 20 or more. Critical failures fail by 20 or more. There are no automatic hits on a natural 20.
2. A weapon’s threat range is converted to a +1 to +3, depending on threat range. This is added to any open ended d20 roll after the first natural 20. Keen and Improved critical add +2 to this and they stack.
3. A successful critical hit does max damage for the first set of dice in the damage multiplier. Example: Longsword does x2 critical damage. That is 8 + (Str Bonus x 2) + 1d8
4. Initiative rolls are Reflex saves.
5. Weapon damage is added to the BAB for total damage.
6. Dexterity is added to range combat damage.
7. Finesse weapons are automatically finessed. No need for the Weapons Finesse feat. That is because to truly know how to fight with these weapons, you have to use Dex rather than Str. That is just the proper training for that weapon. Some weapons are now finessable through choice. Scimitars can go either way.

My list more as I solidify my guidelines.


xorial wrote:

Been trying to type up some of the houserules I have used & am planning to use in a homebrew campaign I am designing.

1. D20 rolls are open ended. A natural 20 is rolled again and +20 added. A natural 1 is rerolled and -20 subtracted. Critical success is any roll that succeeds by 20 or more. Critical failures fail by 20 or more. There are no automatic hits on a natural 20.
2. A weapon’s threat range is converted to a +1 to +3, depending on threat range. This is added to any open ended d20 roll after the first natural 20. Keen and Improved critical add +2 to this and they stack.
3. A successful critical hit does max damage for the first set of dice in the damage multiplier. Example: Longsword does x2 critical damage. That is 8 + (Str Bonus x 2) + 1d8
4. Initiative rolls are Reflex saves.
5. Weapon damage is added to the BAB for total damage.
6. Dexterity is added to range combat damage.
7. Finesse weapons are automatically finessed. No need for the Weapons Finesse feat. That is because to truly know how to fight with these weapons, you have to use Dex rather than Str. That is just the proper training for that weapon. Some weapons are now finessable through choice. Scimitars can go either way.

My list more as I solidify my guidelines.

1. Odd, but fine.

2. Same.
3. Cool, stops flat criticals
4. Interesting.
5. Whuh? Why do even mention Str for damage above? Or is this in addition to Str damage. Because that makes combat way deadlier for the PCs and monsters, and makes it far harder for BAB 3/4 classes to keep competitive.
6. Fair enough, makes combat deadlier but not to the same extent as above.
7. I agree with this.


For my new game in the New Year I am adding some rule ideas from Trailblazer (which I cannot say enough good things about)...

The Ten Minute Rest Period – with the following revision: Hit Point recovery after a rest AND an Action Point is equal to ½ the character's Hit Dice from Class plus their Constitution Bonus (i.e. a 3th level Fighter/ 2nd level Wizard with a 15 constitution would regain 3d5 + 2d3 +2 hit points after a short rest).
Spell Casting - including Spells arrays, metamagic and recovery of uses per day.
Iterative Attacks – with the following addition: At a +16 character can take Two Attacks at -0 or Three Attacks at -2 each.
Action Points and Action Point Enhancements

I am setting the game in the IRON KINGDOM setting and allowing all the Base Core Classes from base book, the Alchemist, Cavaliers, Inquisitor and Oracles from the APHB (maybe the Witch as an NPC class). I will allow some of the Archetypes but want them to fit the feel of the game.

From Iron Kingdom I am converting the Gun Mage over to a Base Class (1-20) but I am not going to be using the Arcane Mechanika or Bodger as base classes, mostly just adding Feats or Archetype for the flavor. And the Fell Caller is going to be an Archetype of a Bard.

I will not be using all the new Skills and Feats from the IKCG book, just the ones for flavor. Guns of course are there. Magic creation for non-Scrolls and Potions will only be my own version of the Mechanika rules (which are WAY too complex for the flavor they are going for).

Hmm that’s all I can think of right now… BUT reading over some of the above I might consider these also...


vagrant-poet wrote:
5. Whuh? Why do even mention Str for damage above? Or is this in addition to Str damage. Because that makes combat way deadlier for the PCs and monsters, and makes it far harder for BAB 3/4 classes to keep competitive.

I guess I should have stated a couple of things. First BAB is added in addition to standard damage, which includes Str. Second, this damage is NOT multiplied in a Crit.


A few of my own house rules:

3.5 specific (but could be used in Pathfinder):

* Double feats :: For each feat gained at 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level gain 2 feats instead.

Reason: With hundreds of feats available it was fun to be able to have more feats to use. (also, my NPCs got bonus feats as well).

* All equipment in the "equipment" chapter as well as mechanical traps, poisons, and alchemical items has its prices set to 10% listed (except weapons, armor, and a few complex items (i.e "Water clock")

Reason: The prices on most mundane equipment was far outside the wealth of the common man. Seriously is a ditch-digger making 1sp a day going to be able to afford 1sp poor meals a day and let his family starve? Are you willing to spend 1gp on a match (tindertwig) that could feed a common man for a week (Sort of like using a $100 bill to light a cigerette)?

It also didn't work in reverse as a pair of lumber-jacks with a wagon could easily cut and deliver enough wood to make 2gp / day (at a price of 1cp/20 lb firewood).

* Remove all feat requirements for prestige classes, and change the ranks required to end skill bonus including attributes (but do set a minumum level for taking the class)

Reason: In general I found all feat requiments for prestige classes to be either inappropriate or just silly.(Why require the "Alterness" feat when it does nothing but raise skill bonus?). Also why allow a stupid rogue with 10 ranks in the skill be allowed but a brilliant sage with 5 ranks in the skill but the same end bonus is not allowed?

In the end in my campaigns, prestige classes are earned through quests and research.

* Remove the Leadership feat. Followers and cohorts are earned through role-playing

Reason: Never liked how this feat worked, I would rather make it a role-playing system. You save the life of a young sorcerer and she wishes to follow you and aid in your quests as repayment.. etc.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Master Manipulator wrote:

* Double feats :: For each feat gained at 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level gain 2 feats instead.

Reason: With hundreds of feats available it was fun to be able to have more feats to use. (also, my NPCs got bonus feats as well).

Interesting. Kind of devalues the Fighter class unless they get actual class features as well.

Master Manipulator wrote:

* Remove all feat requirements for prestige classes, and change the ranks required to end skill bonus including attributes (but do set a minumum level for taking the class)

Reason: In general I found all feat requiments for prestige classes to be either inappropriate or just silly.(Why require the "Alterness" feat when it does nothing but raise skill bonus?). Also why allow a stupid rogue with 10 ranks in the skill be allowed but a brilliant sage with 5 ranks in the skill but the same end bonus is not allowed?

In the end in my campaigns, prestige classes are earned through quests and research.

I'm a fan of removing feat prereqs, but making it skill bonus instead of ranks, then saying you must be X level is counterintuitive.

Setting a skill rank, BAB, or caster level minimum will make sure no one can get into the class until the level you want them to. Saying 'you must have a +6 Acrobatics bonus but cannot take the class until 6th level' begs the questions of 'why can't my Dex 22 catfolk take the class at 2nd level?'

Master Manipulator wrote:

* Remove the Leadership feat. Followers and cohorts are earned through role-playing

Reason: Never liked how this feat worked, I would rather make it a role-playing system. You save the life of a young sorcerer and she wishes to follow you and aid in your quests as repayment.. etc.

I agree, Leadership was too much of a headache for me to ever bother with.


I use a 25pt stat purchase as 3.5 rules, a reduced feat list cutting out most of the critical and combat maneuver feats, vital strike feats as normal play, none of the specialist wizard or sorcerer bloodline powers and (ducks to avoid the rotting veg) the skill system from version 4 of the world's most popular blah blah blah with the addition of Perform and Use Magical Device. A bit simplistic perhaps but as I have several novices in the group it works really well.
If all of that is a bit much I also only use NPC classes at level 1 and higher level NPC's use PC classes (a bit of a throwback to version 2's monstrous manual). Favoured classes also reflect an old-school backround although players can still be whatever they choose.
Oh yeah, and I also don't have any additional animal companions, warhorses or the leadership feat. They're on their own out there...


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Master Manipulator wrote:

* Remove all feat requirements for prestige classes, and change the ranks required to end skill bonus including attributes (but do set a minimum level for taking the class)

Reason: In general I found all feat requirements for prestige classes to be either inappropriate or just silly.(Why require the "Alertness" feat when it does nothing but raise skill bonus?). Also why allow a stupid rogue with 10 ranks in the skill be allowed but a brilliant sage with 5 ranks in the skill but the same end bonus is not allowed?

In the end in my campaigns, prestige classes are earned through quests and research.

I'm a fan of removing feat prereqs, but making it skill bonus instead of ranks, then saying you must be X level is counter-intuitive.

Setting a skill rank, BAB, or caster level minimum will make sure no one can get into the class until the level you want them to. Saying 'you must have a +6 Acrobatics bonus but cannot take the class until 6th level' begs the questions of 'why can't my Dex 22 catfolk take the class at 2nd level?'

I agree. What I was referring to was that I do keep requirements like a BAB score or a "must be able to cast arcane spells of 4th level."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ah, so 'BAB +4, +6 Acrobatics bonus'? That makes sense then.


In the kingmaker game I play (not DM) we play with these house rules

  • You can play a gestalt character, with two classes at -1 level, or a gestalt character, with three classes at -2 levels. At first level you have in effect a negative level or two for the 3 class characters. This gives more options to the players that wish for them.
  • Feat at every level (DM be crazy). As another poster pointed out, there are a lot of feats, and it sucks not being able to play with them.
  • We (me) are play testing a mana sorcerer the dm wrote up (spell points instead of spells per level, very much like the psionic stuff from 3.5). It's going good so far, only real problem being I'm a rogue/sorcerer so I can do a lot of damage with touch attacks if I work it right.
  • For hp the dm rolls and the player rolls, take the highest. We've been doing this for so long I'm not even sure how it would feel to do it differently
  • 5d4 for stats (any rolls over 18 require a background story). I don't like it, for one, the over 18 thing didn't work out, with one jerk of a player (me) pointedly refusing to turn in a back story that was written up because he didn't roll over an 18.
  • No teamwork help for passive rolls (We where hitting huge numbers on perception checks with one player rolling and the four others giving a +2 each). We team work everything into submission, our diplomacy/intimidate checks get even worse with a paladin, bard and inquisitor in the party.

That's all I can think of for now

Our normal stat rolling system is based out of the old 1st edition, you assign 9d6 to one stat, 8d6 to another, ect, on down to 4d6 to the last stat. Then you roll the dice, this can result in some wacky characters, including wizards with higher strength than intelligence. The dm changed to 5d4, in this game, cuz he had been reading some 2nd edition darksun books and reminiscing.


One thing I can think of off the top of my head was an interesting stat generation I used for a one shot...

Take two suits of playing cards, #s 4-9. Shuffle and have the player draw two for each stat. This gives a pretty nice array of stats.

I'd like to use it again, but my current campaign is still going strong... After rolling and using point buy for stats for so long, using cards feels a bit refreshing


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Not nearly as many as I did when I ran 3.5.

Here are a few :

1) Rewrote Summoner (hated the APG version). Mostly just cleaned up the stupidity of the 'life long companion' going bamph if you go to sleep, and rewrote the class so you either specialize in summoning via SLA, or you have an Eidelon. Also set it up so the Eidelon has 1/2 Level item slots alloted for equipment whenever it's form is changed, rather than the shared slots.
2) All magical traps are assumed to have Magic Aura on them.
3) Use a modified weapon groups setup, from Unearthed Arcana.
4) Rather than taking the attribute boost you get every four levels, you can trade in the boost for two feats. However, you can't do this twice in a row (so you could trade in the level 4 boost, but not the level 8 for example).
5) I roll initiative every round, instead of once per combat. So, any effect that let's you reroll initiative, or roll two dice and take highest, operates for an entire combat.

Other than that, that's about it. I'm toying with redoing the elemental system for magic (acid as earth and electricity as air annoys me to no end) but it's only partially done, and not play tested at all.


mdt wrote:
Other than that, that's about it. I'm toying with redoing the elemental system for magic (acid as earth and electricity as air annoys me to no end) but it's only partially done, and not play tested at all.

I would be very interested if you posted this when complete. I always hated that as well.

Sovereign Court

I like it when DMs let my Summoner/Eidolon use one initiative roll. It is always awkward and slows things down otherwise. Also I think encumbrance especially coin weight isn't fun (a certain level of realism isn't fun, such as tracking when your character goes to the bathroom)


jlord wrote:
Take two suits of playing cards, #s 4-9. Shuffle and have the player draw two for each stat. This gives a pretty nice array of stats.

Or roll 2d6+6 for each stat, which is in essence exactly what you're doing there -- the cards might "feel" different, but if both methods are fair, the probability spread is indifferent to the method (dice vs. cards).


Not if drawn cards do not go back into the stack. ;)


JrK wrote:
Not if drawn cards do not go back into the stack. ;)

Ooh! Nice catch!

Scarab Sages Silver Crescent Publishing

I don't have alot of house rules but I do have a few.

1) If a creature (player or monster) gets a critical hit, and the confirmation roll is a nat 20, a third roll resulting in a hit can instantly kill a creature (as long as the weapon used can affect the creature).

2) In a desperate situation, I will allow a player to roll a "parry-check" to deflect a deadly blow. Basically it is a to-hit roll that must exceed the attackers roll. It does take up their standard action for the round. (Yes this is generally accounted for in fighting defensively or total-defense, but for dramatic situations I find this works well).

3) Character creation for me is 3d6 re-roll 1's and 2's. This end up leading to relatively high stats, but my games tend to require tougher (or smarter) players/characters to accel.

I think there may be a few others but none come to mind at the moment.


Here is a link to the house rules I use. They mostly cover what I consider to be weaknesses of existing rules.

Lord Twig's Pathfinder House Rules


Kirth Gersen wrote:
JrK wrote:
Not if drawn cards do not go back into the stack. ;)
Ooh! Nice catch!

Just tested this with a few draws, ends up with very VERY balanced rows of scores, and guarantees you have at least one good stat and at most two bad.

I'm so going to use this in my house rules! Thanks jlord!


I'm sure someone else has already posted this, but one of the most beloved house rules my group uses is the Luck stat.
Not sure how others use it but here is ours...

Each player determines their Luck score at the beginning of the game by rolling a d20.
There is no +/- given and unlike the convention that 3rd edit. made of of high; rolls = good, we require a roll on a d20 of equal to or less than the score for a success.

A Luck score can only be changed by extraordinary circumstances (interaction with a deity, artifact, cursed or holy location, etc...), items or events that are considered "lucky/unlucky" (ie. four leaf clover, seeing a shooting star) or over time. (Basically after a large amount of passed time.)

NPC's do not have a Luck score.

Player's have one Luck check per session that they may choose to use at anytime. If successful they can in some way effect or change events that just happened. Most often an immediate reroll, but sometimes DM discretion allows other options. A Luck check can be made to help another player only if it would be "lucky" for the player using the check.

As a DM, I have replaced rolling for chance of encounter by having the leading player make a Luck check. (Failure = encounter.) I also call for them when I'm on the fence about whether or not to allow something.
When player's have overlooked something, lost a trail or are hoping to find a healing potion in the stash. (These DM checks don't use the players single roll.)

Other than the basic reroll option I find that it uses a lot of DM discretion. But it helps to give players a sense of fairness to more ambiguous choices made behind the screen. Because sometimes lady luck just isn't looking your way.

Liberty's Edge

This is a mix of my own old house rules and the table/house rules that the group I joined was using when I came.
1) Ability scores are based on point assignment. Characters get enough points to have a 14 in all scores before racial bonuses. They can reassign those points as they choose (for my games they cannot go above 18 or below 8 at first level, without set racial modifiers.)
2) Max HP at each level (of course the monsters get this also.)

The purpose behind the first two is that we usually play with less than 4 characters, and it is nice to be able to have durable characters that can stand up to enemies.

3) Max starting gold.

Because I hate the gold roll--can't afford armor and weapon, pick one. Too much exact gold accounting on a bad roll.

4) Fumble rolls 1d4
1- Slip and fall (ref save or acrobatics check DC 15)
2- drop weapon (CMB check vs DC 15 disarm)
3- Damage weapon (roll damage for attack, apply to weapon as a sunder atempt)
4- Ally attack (Roll attack with same bonuses on ally within range)
5) fumbles create attacks of opportunity.

These two create a lot of excitement when they come up, and can really turn the tide of a battle.


When pc's level both Dm and player rolls hit points openly and the player gets to keep the highest result.

Critical hit and fumble decks (Available here at the Paizo shop).

Players not allowed to take feats to craft permanent items (Due to abuse and Christmas tree effect).

Craft skills made right from a pdf I bought at the Paizo store.

All official errata and faq's as well as the unofficial ones compiled from the boards over at PFSRD.com.

That's about it I think

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