These house rules are subject to change, but all changes will include player input and feedback, and no changes will be made mid-session. Highlighted rules are new additions or modifications as of the start of our Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign (April 2021).
Any material from officially published 5e books are allowed, as long as they’re set in the Forgotten Realms, such as the following:
- Player’s Handbook
- Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
- Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
- Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- Tortle Package
As well as any player material from adventure books, such as the Archeologist background from Tomb of Annihilation. Official material from outside the Forgotten Realms, such as Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, may be allowed on a case-by-base basis.
To generate stats, roll 4d6, and drop the lowest die roll. Do this six times. If the sum total of the rolls results in less than 72, the player can opt to use the Standard Array for their stats (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8).
Additionally, every player can choose one feat at character creation, regardless of their chosen race. For this reason, Variant Human is no longer an option.
Beginning at Level 2 a PC can sustain a lingering injury when their health drops to 0 (or lower).
PC must make a DC 15 CON saving throw. Failure results in a Lingering Injury, which should be denoted on the character sheet until healed. (DMG 272).
If the PC falls to 0 HP in the same battle (or ongoing environmental hazard or trap), and previously succeeded, they automatically fail the save.
If a PC hits their negative maximum (-17 if you have 17HP), you don’t automatically die. Instead you gain one Failed Death Save, and must roll immediately for a Lingering Injury (no CON saving throw).
To determine which Lingering Injury, roll a d20:
- 1 Damaged Eye – Disadvantage on ranged attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. Advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. If you lose both eyes you are Blinded.
- 2-5 Crippled Limb – Player chooses which limb.
- Arm – Can’t hold two different objects or wield two-handed weapons. Disadvantage to some STR saving throws/checks.
- Leg – Speed is halved, can’t use the Dash Action, Disadvantage to most DEX ability checks and saving throws.
- Crippling both arms means you cannot wield anything, crippling both legs means you cannot move without assistance.
- 6-9 Internal Injury – Disadvantage on CON saving throws/checks. Roll again if already suffering from this.
- 10-13 Concussion/Head Trauma – Disadvantage on INT saving throws/checks. Roll again if already suffering from this.
- 14-17 Post-traumatic Stress – Disadvantage on WIS saving throws/checks. Roll again if already suffering from this.
- 18-19 Nasty Scar – Disadvantage on CHA saving throws/checks, except Advantage on Intimidation checks. Can choose where the scar is, but must be visible.
- 20 Minor Scar – Not immediately visible. Confers no advantages or disadvantages. Builds character.
A PC can have more than one Lingering Injury, though some do not stack or have obvious limits (only unlimited one are the scars).
All injuries can be healed via Greater Restoration (or better) healing spell or service. Healing spells can remove multiple Lingering Injuries at a time.
If proficient in the Medicine skill, can attempt a DC 20 Medicine check (requires Healer’s Kit and expends one use regardless of success) once per day to heal a PC’s Lingering Injury (PC can not heal their own injury). Medicine check can only work for one Lingering Injury at a time.
All player characters possess a magical soul stone that can never be traded, lost, stolen, or destroyed. When a player cannot make a session (or leaves early), their character is magically sealed within their soul stone, and can be carried by another player. Their character is protected from harm, though they do not gain the benefits of resting.
HIT POINT LEVEL UPS
Upon reaching a new level, players roll their hit dice to gain new maximum hit points. If it’s less than the average + 1, they can take the average + 1 (d10 is 6, D8 is 5, etc). Then also add their CON modifier.
Use DEX modifier as a decimal point with Initiative rolls to help mitigate ties. If still tied, players always go before enemies (ties between players choose amongst themselves, ties between enemies is DM choice).
EXAMINE A CREATURE (Free Action)
Skill check depends on the creature type (DM will tell you).
- Aberration – Arcana/Nature
- Beast – Nature
- Celestial – Religion
- Construct – Arcana
- Dragon – History/Nature
- Elemental – Arcana
- Fey – History/Nature
- Fiend – Religion
- Giant – History/Nature
- Humanoid – History/Nature
- Monstrosity – Nature
- Ooze – Nature
- Plant – Nature
- Undead – Religion/Arcana
Skill check result:
- <10 = You know nothing, Jon Snow.
- 10+ = A bit of background info, general strength vs party.
- 15+ = Unique attacks and traits
- 20+ = Any resistances and weaknesses
GAINING NEW BEAST SHAPES (Druid)
Upon reaching level 2, all druids will get to start with 3 beast shapes that are relevant to their backgrounds (forest, underdark, hills, etc).
There are two methods for gaining additional beast shapes:
Observation: Spend at least 1 hour observing a beast from a vantage point of no more than 150 feet away. Then make an Intelligence (Nature) check, with the DC equal to 10 + the Beast’s CR.
Interaction: Directly and peacefully interact with a non-hostile beast for at least 10 minutes, remaining within at least 15 feet. Then make a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check with a DC equal to 10 + the beast’s CR.
RESTING & TRAVELING
Player characters do not automatically gain the benefits of a Long Rest while traveling or resting in non-safe areas. Safe areas are towns, cities, and Inns, as well as certain areas designated by the DM.
Whenever a player or an enemy hits with a critical hit, the target must also make a CON saving throw. The DC is 10 or half the damage, whichever is greater (Note that Legendary Resistance can be used to succeed on this save).
Failing the save results in the target suffering Massive Damage. The Player rolls a d10 and consults the table below (whether they scored the hit or are receiving it):
- 1 The target is STUNNED until the end of their next turn, and the attacker gains 1d8 temporary hit points.
- 2-4 The target is STUNNED until the end of their next turn.
- 5-7 The target can’t take reactions, and is FRIGHTENED until the end of their next turn.
- 8-10 The target can’t take reactions until the end of their next turn.
Spell scroll requirements have been changed. Anyone can use a spell scroll as long as they’re proficient in either Arcana (Wiz, Sorc, Bard, War), Nature (Druid, Rang), or Religion (Pal, Cle), depending on which classes normally have access to the spell.
However, if the spell is one you cannot normally cast, you must succeed on a skill check using the above skill, with the DC = 10 + spell level. If you fail, the spell still succeeds and the scroll is consumed, however you must then roll on the Wild Magic Surge table.
Stealth during combat will always be contested by every opponents’ Passive Perception. Advantage or disadvantage can be granted under certain circumstances, and the stealther must always break line of sight in a reasonable way. “Reasonable” is ultimately determined by the DM.
Picking a lock requires Thieves Tools and proficiency in the kit. The skill check modifier is DEX + PB. You will not know the Difficulty Challenge for any given lock, but the DM can tell you if it looks ‘Easy’, ‘Medium,’ or ‘Hard.’
Picking a lock takes approximately 10 minutes. Locks cannot be picked in combat (unless you have the Fast Hands ability from the Thief subclass).
- Rolling a natural 20, or succeeding the check by 5 or more lets you almost instantly picking the lock, taking only 1 minute instead of 10.
- Failing the check by 5 or more damages your tool kit, conferring Disadvantage on future uses until the kit is repaired. A damaged kit can be repaired by any skilled artisan in cities and most towns for 10gp, or via the Mending Spell.
- Failing the check by 10 or more jams the lock, preventing any further attempts (including with a key).
Note that many doors and chests could be bashed open, but this generates a lot of noise, and in the case of containers, could damage or destroy whatever’s inside.
Stealing from an NPC is normally a Sleight of Hand check contested by their Passive Perception, though it may be impossible to steal obvious things (the shirt off someone’s back).
- Success = steal the item without detection
- Failure by 5 or less = fail to steal the item, but the attempt was undetected.
- Failure by 6+ = fail to steal the item, and your attempt was detected.
SPELLS WITH MATERIAL COMPONENTS
As per PHB 203, a spellcasting focus can take the place of material components EXCEPT for those that have a monetary value, such as a 50gp Diamond for Chromatic Orb or a 500gp Diamond for Raise Dead. Such materials will need to be purchased, logged, and deducted in the spellcaster’s inventory.
Note that some components are NOT consumed upon casting. Read the spell descriptions!
OFFICIAL RULING ON FOG CLOUD
Fog Cloud renders the affected area as Heavily Obscured. Anyone inside the Fog Cloud has Total Cover and cannot be targeted by those outside the Fog Cloud (AOE spells and effects can still hit them), nor targeted by anyone inside the Fog Cloud who are more than 5 feet away from them.
Targets within the Fog Cloud can be targeted if within 5 feet of an opponent, but attack rolls and skill checks that rely on sight have Disadvantage. Flanking Advantage does not apply in the Fog Cloud.
Note that Darkvision does not see through magical darkness such as Fog Cloud, but Blindsense or Tremorsense would since they don’t rely on sight.
Moving through the Fog Cloud counts as Difficult Terrain.
OFFICIAL RULING ON MINOR ILLUSION
Minor Illusion can only create sounds or static images of objects, no bigger than a 5ft cube (PHB 260).
Any physical interaction with the illusion reveals it as such, like an arrow going through it.
Plunking down an illusion in front of non-mindless creatures will grant them advantage on their Investigation check. The illusion still works for other creatures until it’s physically interacted with.
IDENTIFYING A SPELL (Counterspell Rule)
When an NPC casts a spell that a PC can see, the DM shall first explain that a spell is being cast, and describe any material and/or unique somatic components or visualizations.
The PC that wishes to use Counterspell must make an Arcana check as a Free Action.
The PC has Advantage on the check if the spell is on the same class list as the PC (If a spell is part of a monster’s Innate Spellcasting trait, no advantage is conferred).
The DC is 15+ the spell’s level.
Once a spell is cast through Roll20, Counterspell cannot be used. DM must provide time for the PC to make appropriate checks.
As per Xanather’s pg 85, identifying a spell is an Arcana check regardless if the PC uses WIS or CHA for spellcasting – “Being able to cast spells doesn’t by itself make you adept at deducing exactly what others are doing why they cast their spells.”
ADDITIONAL COMBAT ACTIONS
Climb Onto Larger Creatures – Make a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check vs the target’s Dexterity (Acrobatics). Climbing onto a larger creature this way grants advantage to the grappler/climber. The larger creature can attempt a Strength (Athletics) check vs the climber’s skill check to shake them off.
Disarm – Make a normal attack roll, but vs foe’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) rather than AC. Does no damage if successful but causes the foe to drop their weapon/item.
Tumble – As an action or bonus action, make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check vs target’s Dexterity (Acrobatics). If successful, you can move through the target’s space and adjacent spaces without incurring an opportunity attack.
Flanking – Removed and replaced by Cinematic Advantage.
Cinematic Advantage: As part of your movement or attack action (or spell that involves an attack roll), you can attempt to gain Cinematic Advantage by using the environment and making an appropriate skill check. The Player describes what they want to do, and the DM determines the relevant skill and DC, on a scale from 10-20. The DM will inform the player what the DC is before they attempt the feat. Cinematic Advantage can only be attempted once per turn, regardless of the number of attacks.
On a success, the player will perform the feat and gain advantage on their next attack that turn. On a failure, the player will suffer a penalty as determined by the DM, such as landing prone, taking damage, or attacking with disadvantage.
Examples: Swing from a chandelier or rope (Acrobatics), climb crates to gain the high ground (Athletics), distract an enemy with broken bottles (Sleight of Hand/Deception), draw faith from a religious statue (Religion).
Fastball Special: As an action, you can throw one willing creature that is at least one size smaller than you. You throw the creature—the “fastball”— up to a distance in feet equal to twice your Strength score. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.
As a reaction, the fastball can make one melee attack against a creature within its reach during or after this movement. On a hit, the attack deals an extra 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
At the end of this movement, the fastball must succeed on an Acrobatics check (DC 10 + the number of 5-foot increments thrown) or fall prone. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the fastball also takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
(copied from PHB)
When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a Special melee Attack, a grapple. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this Attack replaces one of them.
The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you and must be within your reach. Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check instead of an Attack roll: a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you succeed, you subject the target to the Grappled condition (see Conditions ). The condition specifies the things that end it, and you can release the target whenever you like (no action required).
Escaping a Grapple: A Grappled creature can use its action to escape. To do so, it must succeed on a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check.
Moving a Grappled Creature: When you move, you can drag or carry the Grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.
MOVING THROUGH ALLIES
You may move through (but not land on) the same space an ally occupies at the cost of double the movement for that space (shoving them aside without injuring them). Assuming a small/medium ally, it would take 10ft of movement to cross that ally’s 5ft square.
If a PC has time and is not under duress when performing a task, normal Suffocating rules apply – You can hold your breath for a number of minutes equal to 1+CON modifier.
However if you’re under duress, such as the middle of combat, or have something happen to you (such as a saving throw) then you are considered out of breath and choking. At that point you can survive a number of ROUNDS equal to your CON modifier (minimum 1 round).
At the start of the turn after your rounds are up, you drop to 0 hit points and can’t be stabilized or regain hit points until you can breathe again.
A town’s local priest or temple can provide healing and information spells, for a price, up to 3 times per day. Those with Acolyte background can get the first spell for free (50gp or less), once per day.
- Cure Wounds 10gp
- Identify 10gp
- Lesser Restoration 40gp
- Prayer of Healing 40gp
- Remove Curse 50gp
- Speak with Dead 90gp
- Divination 210gp
- Greater Restoration 450gp
- Raise Dead 1000gp
Winner(s) of the MVPC Poll at the end of each session rolls a 1d20:
- 1-10 Gain a Potion of Healing
- 11-14 Gain a 10gp Gemstone (Roll for type)
- 15-17 Gain a 1st level spell scroll (Roll for spell)
- 18-19 Grant another player of your choice Inspiration
- 20 Roll twice and take both prizes! (Ignore subsequent 20s)