OnlineDM’s house rules – Part 1

Every DM has some house rules that they like to use at their table, so I thought I’d share some of mine here on the blog.

If a creature is force-moved into hazardous terrain (fire, off a cliff, etc.) they get a saving throw to fall prone instead of going into the hazard. This is a standard rule. However, it’s annoying when a character has a power that force-moves the creature multiple squares, but a single saving throw negates those extra squares entirely.

  • House Rule: If a forced movement power would move a creature extra squares into hazardous terrain, the extra squares of movement can be applied as a penalty to the creature’s saving throw. Thus, if a creature is at the edge of a cliff and you push it three squares, you can push it one square (off the cliff) and give the creature a -2 penalty to the saving throw to avoid going over the edge (so it needs a 12 or better to save itself).
A related issue comes up with diseases from creatures like rats and lycanthropes. If you are hit by one of these creatures’ diseased attacks, you make a saving throw at the end of the encounter to avoid contracting the disease. It doesn’t matter how many times you were exposed to the disease; a single saving throw will save you.
  • House Rule: If a creature is exposed to a disease multiple times in an encounter, each exposure beyond the first imposes a -1 penalty to the creature’s saving throw against contracting the disease at the end of the encounter. Thus, if a creature is bitten four times by Dire Rats in a combat, the creature will make a saving throw with a -3 penalty at the end of the encounter to avoid contracting Dire Rat Filth Fever (needing a 13 or better to avoid the disease).
Lots of people have complained about action-denying conditions like Dazed, Stunned and Dominated. I have my own way of running the Dominated condition:
  • House Rule: If an effect would dominate a creature, instead that creature takes a free action to move up to its speed (provoking no opportunity attacks along the way) and then use any at-will ability of the dominator’s choice against a target of the dominator’s choice. Any attacks made in this way have a +2 bonus to hit and +5 bonus per tier to any damage (+5 at heroic tier, +10 at paragon, +15 at epic). If the dominated condition is “save ends”, then the creature still makes a saving throw at the end of its turn to end the condition. If it fails the saving throw, it takes another free action at that point to move and use an at-will ability of the dominator’s choice with the appropriate bonuses. It can still take opportunity attacks and flank and does not grant combat advantage (basically, the domination only applies while it is taking its dominated action).
I’m always looking for other suggestions for cool house rules to make the game more fun, so if you have any that you like, please share them in the comments!