My 5E Houserules

Hey all. I want to share my 5E houserules here. While I’ve tweaked them over the years, I pretty much wrote the XP portion—lifted largely from Dungeon World—right out of the gate when the edition was released in 2014. I added in the resting portion sometime in 2016.

I’ve had enormous success with these houserules as a 5E DM. They’ve helped my games incorporate elements of real character drama and moral growth alongside all the dungeoneering and monster fighting. When things are going well, Inspiration is flowing back and forth rapidly, and characters are making sub-optimal choices in a way that’s nevertheless fun for everyone.

I wrapped up an absolutely great Tomb of Annihilation campaign this past winter. Since then, I’ve actually sworn off 5E, thanks to WotC’s horrible behavior over the past year, and their equally horrible design decisions going into 2024, the hobby’s 50th anniversary, and the new-but-not-new quasi-edition they’re preparing, OneDnD. But given the realities of the hobby, I thought this might be useful for some folks here.

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Nice! We used to call this “The Deliverator Way”. I remember these House Rules from Story Games, and our discussions. I’ve never used them myself (due to my own 5e allergies!), but I know that Matt used them extensively, so they’re really thoroughly playtested. I like the clarity here.

(Oh: one question - did you ever settle on a way to handle the game if you don’t have a consistent number of players from session to session?)

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No. I wouldn’t run 5E for a group with an inconsistent number of players; it’s not built for it—at least, The Deliverator Way isn’t. When we were down one player in a group of 5, we’d still play, and they would just stay at the same XP total as everyone else.

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Also potentially of interest on this topic was an earlier discussion of these rules where we got into some questions and details. Matt talks about how he ended up with some of these rules and how they come into play. From the Story Games archives:

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I had completely forgotten that thread! A fun re-read. I made some changes to the house-rules after that discussion, and had a less-than-stellar experience the next two times I ran 5E, largely for reasons of group composition.

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