How I like to DM Dungeons & Dragons

I started playing Dungeons & Dragons again in beginning of 2018 after 20 years break using 5th edition. Over the course of the last 3 yers, I have introduced a few modifications to the rules, most inspired by various YouTube videos.

But some rule changes are too big to introduce into an existing campaign with players having specific expectation of the game by now, so when I get a chance to start again from scratch, I would introduce these rules to begin with.

A quick word on Old School Essentials – If I have to completely honest, I would like to try Old School Essentials. I am craving the simplicity of the older versions of D&D but as Runehammer ponders on, OSE should really not be confused with old rules. The rules are a modern interpretation of the old rules.

The house rules I plan to play with

  • No Paladin, no Monk and if you want to play Druid, you bring the right miniatures.
  • No +CON to Hit points.
  • No Darkvision.  Ruins any fun options with torches.
  • No Death Saves. HP = 0 you’re dead! Death Saves really gets in the way of epic deaths and also causes the infamous yoyo of death. This video explains the problem with Death Saves perfectly!
  • Inspiration x 3. Each player can hold up to three inspiration points.
  • Cinematic Advantage. Player describes what they want to do to get advantage in a current situation. DM decides stat and DC to roll to gain Advantage successfully.
  • Drink (or feed) a potion is a Bonus Action.
  • No needless bookkeeping. No counting arrows, no spell ingredients, no multipole languages, no need to track payment of lodging, food, drinks etc.
  • No currency. Players can buy what would reasonably be within the scope of their purse combined with what is available in town.
  • I use the Skills Challenge and Minions (and sometimes the Bloodied) rules from 4th edition. I never played 4e, but these kept being suggested on YouTube and they are all great.
  • I am also considering limiting actions to 1 per character / monster as I feel it is unbalanced some players have 2/3 actions while others only have 1. It doesn’t give balanced playtime.

Thoughts on playstyle

  • Casual and friendly atmosphere. This is not a game for disruptive players nor is this a world for overly sensitive and hyper politically correct players.
  • Tv series over movie trilogy. I like sandbox style play, which means that it is the players that at the end of each session decided what they want to do next time and I create a game around it. This feels more like a running TV series than a planned out epic movie trilogy.
  • Miniatures and Terrain used for combat and tactical encounters.
  • Story first, Rules second. This goes for both players and myself. If it is cool, it can be done. Act like the characters would.
  • Play rich, but not perfect characters. Personality flaws is the stuff of great roleplay. Don’t let the game be the main character, make your party the centre of the game.
  • Keep the game moving.  The only wrong choice is not to make one. Don’t linger on choices, don’t wait until you have all the details. Leap before you look.
  • The DM calls it. I will call it, if there’s disagreement. Nothing ruins a game more that arguing about rules and minute details.