House Rules for D&D

This page specifies the various nonstandard rules that are used in the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition campaigns that I personally referee; I've divided them into three categories. Variants are those options presented and detailed in the official rulebooks and accessories. House Rules are alterations to the game outside of the official rules. Clarifications are issues open to DM interpretation and public comments by various D&D designers.


  1. Ability Scores Generation (Organic Characters): Roll 4d6 in order, re-roll one, then switch two (DMG19).
  2. 1st-Level Multiclass Characters: Characters may be multi-classed at 1st level (DMG40).
  3. Gaining Class Abilities: Advancing a level takes 1/2 week to train and 100 gp per level gained. (DMG42).
  4. Instant Kill: When attacking, rolling two natural 20s followed by a hit causes instant death (DMG64).
  5. Effects of Water: Underwater combat uses rules from a web enhancement published at (p. 5).
  6. Power Components: Special rare ingredients may offset the XP cost when creating magic items (DMG96).
  7. Upkeep: Characters must pay monthly upkeep costs based on lifestyle level (DMG142).

House Rules

  1. Clerics are not proficient with heavy armor. They must all choose a patron deity (alters PHB31).
  2. Lance sizes increase by one category when they are not used from a mount (see PHB98).
  3. Massive damage saving throw requirements are not used (PHB129; however, see below).
  4. Falling and environmental damage is increased in a cumulative fashion (see
  5. Partial actions are removed (e.g., partial charge). Charge & run share a -2 AC penalty (alters PHB 122, 126).
  6. Withdrawing from a threatened space is a full-round action, allowing only a single move (alters PHB122, 126).
  7. Pre-measuring distances is prohibited, such as for moves, charges, ranged attacks, spell effects, etc. (DMG67).
  8. Drowning takes rounds equal to Con (with MEAs), half for standard/full actions, double for no actions (DMG85).
  9. Haste gives an extra attack and +30 ft. speed. Heal and harm do level x10 hp, Will save for half (alters PHB212).
  10. Stone to flesh, polymorph other, and raise dead effects require a Fort save DC 10 to survive (alters PHB257).
  11. The raise dead save allows no magic bonuses. If made, XP loss is pro-rated. If failed, dead forever (PHB153).
  12. Magic item creation always includes a 1-in-20 chance that an error causes it to be cursed (see DMG231).


  1. Two diagonal squares equals 15 ft. of movement (5 ft. for the first, 10 ft. for the second, per 3ecombat.htm).
  2. Attacks-of-opportunity are not allowed when blinded, in darkness, or against invisible foes (per 3ecombat.htm).
  3. Magic item caster level is a minimum on the creator's level (DMG178; see
  4. New magic item invention follows the same rules as researching original spells (DMG178, and see DMG42).