This working document will capture the house rules used by the Poly PCs D&D group.
Rules as Written (RAW):
The rules will operate from a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition baseline. All hardcover published materials are considered legal rules references (as are official rules publications from Wizards of the Coast staff).
Ad-hoc House Rules:
If there “old school” rules (previous editions, etc), playtest rules (Unearthed Arcana, etc), or 3rd party product rules (Kobold Press, etc) that you would like to see in the game, please propose them to the DM before the next game session. The DM may also implement an Ad-hoc House Rule in the middle of a session either because it is the first instance needing that rule (a surprise in the plot, potentially) or to make a ruling on a question of rules.
Rules in Play (RIP):
The DM has final say over the way the rules will be implemented. This may contradict the RAW sometimes. If you strongly object to a particular rule, speak up and we can discuss it as a group. In the end, however, the DM’s decision stands.
The whole group will agree on whatever rules govern behavior at gatherings and in communications.
Specific House Rules
- Optional Critical Hit/Fail Rule: When a 1 or 20 are rolled on a d20 roll (ability checks, saving throws, attack rolls), the DM has the option to declare a “critial fail” or “critical hit/success.” A critical fail has a consequence beyond a typical 1 roll (5e typical = automatic miss on attack rolls) and a critical hit/success has a benefit beyond that of a typical 20 roll (5e typical = automatic hit on attack rolls, double damage dice). For clarity, this rule only adds to existing 5e rules, it never makes an actual critical hit non-critical.
- Timing on Inspiration Usage: If a player is “inspired,” they may use their inspiration die in addition to any rolled d20 result, essentially giving them “advantage after the fact.” This must occur before they present the number to the DM and know whether the first result would have been a success/fail. In RAW 5e, inspiration must used BEFORE the first role. This house rule provides a little more leeway to “make that jump that you probably wouldn’t have made otherwise.”
- Handling Thought Crime: If a player knows something in lore that is outside of what their character knows, this kind of dissonance can lead to careless or accidental metagaming. In order to resolve this, the player can “bait the DM” with a skill check.
- Ex. A player knows something about giant lore and the party discovers a giant stone mask.
- Player: “Would I have heard of masks like these before?”
- DM: Dependent on the player’s background and the rarity of the knowledge, the DM makes a call as to whether it is at all reasonable that they could have this info. If they can’t, they may just say, “it seems mysterious to you.” If there is a chance, they will usually ask for a relevant skill check, with difficulty dependent upon circumstances. On a success, “you once heard that cloud giants are known for their affinity for masks, though the details are a mystery.”
Agreed Social Rules:
- Everyone at the table should have a voice. If everyone has something to say at the DM at the same time, the DM can assign order and take questions/actions one at a time. However, the party should talk to itself and THEN the DM. If you decide the next action for the party, you may be cutting someone out of the decision-making process.
- When at all possible, don’t interrupt the DM doing “DM things,” (reading “box text,” roleplaying an NPC, answering a player question). Everyone needs to hear what the DM is saying.
- Be mindful of objectifying people/NPCs. There is a difference between being lured by a sexy nymph and “locker room talk.”