Is this house-rule for initiative game-breaking?

The rules for initiative in PHB read (emphasis mine):

Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order. The DM makes one roll for an entire group of identical creatures, so each member of the group acts at the same time.

The DMG offers several alternative options to the above ruling: Initiative Score (i.e. a passive DEX check), Side Initiative (each group rolls a d20, without modifiers), Speed Factor (more uncertainty, less speed). For large groups of enemies, some DMs decide to split them into subgroups (see this answer). I find the ruling about initiative in PHB asymmetric$ ^1$ and none of the listed alternatives really satisfies me.

Would a house rule that allows rolling initiative for each$ ^2$ enemy (even of the same type) be a game-breaking one? Or would there be just minor problems at most?


$ ^1$ I wonder why the PCs can have all different initiative rolls while monsters (even of the same type) should share the same one. They are still different creatures which may react with different speed.

$ ^2$ Do not consider here the issue of rolling a lot of d20s for the initiative (if you consider it a problem).

Would it be game-breaking to allow a Warcaster to cast spells with material components while wielding a shield and spear?

The general consensus on this site is that the Warcaster feat does not grant the ability to cast spells with material components when wielding two pieces of equipment because the caster needs a free hand to interact with their arcane focus or pouch.

Assuming the spellcaster is using an arcane focus, would there be significant balance ramifications to lifting this limitation?

This would essentially amount to saying that the Warcaster feat grants the spellcaster the dexterity to interact with their arcane focus when wielding two pieces of equipment.

In my experience, I’ve found that material components are functionally equivalent to somatic components in every case except those where GP-equivalent components are consumed. So right now I can’t see any immediate negative effects of lifting this limitation. Am I missing anything?


For additional context, the spellcaster in question is a Warlock in my campaign that’s using a combination of the Warcaster and Polearm Master feats while wielding a shield and spear.

Additionally, my group tends to be very flexible and lax with components, typically treating them as little more than “flavored” somatic components, except in the case where the components are consumed.

Would it be game-breaking to allow casting spells at a higher level to increase the save DC for that spell instead of increasing damage?

There are a number of spells that include a section on “At Higher Levels.” The actual effect varies from spell to spell; longer duration, more targets, summon better creatures, etc. I am specifically asking about spells that satisfy the following conditions:

  • The spell deals damage and when cast at a higher level than their base it causes additional damage.
  • The spell deals more than damage. There is also a rider/sub-effect as part of the spell.
  • The spell involves a saving throw. This saving throw may or may not be related to the damage the spell does. It is directly related to the rider effect.

For instance, Ray of Sickness:

A ray of sickening greenish energy lashes out toward a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 2d8 poison damage and must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it is also poisoned until the end of your next turn.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

Another example would be Thunderwave:

A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-foot cube originating from you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t pushed.

In addition, unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10 feet away from you by the spell’s effect, and the spell emits a thunderous boom audible out to 300 feet.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

No matter what level the spell is cast at, the Con save DC is a constant based on the caster’s spellcasting ability modifier and proficiency bonus.

My question is, would it be overpowered to say that instead of causing more damage, the caster can opt to make the rider effect harder to resist?

For the sake of discussion, consider the rule to be for every slot level above base it increases the DC by 1. And it’s completely either/or per casting. A caster could cast once to grant a better DC, and a second time to grant more damage. But they cannot cast a spell two levels higher and boost the DC by one and an additional damage dice.

So a 20th level wizard could cast a 1st-level spell using a 9th-level slot would have a final DC of (barring magic items): 8 (base) + 6 (proficiency bonus) + 5 (20 Int bonus) + 8 (higher spell slot) for a max of DC 27. That seems pretty high, but consider that a Androsphinx, a CR17 monstrosity, has the following bonuses to saving throws…

Dex +6, Con +11, Int +9, Wis +10

Most saves are still within the realm of possibility on a good roll.

So in the case of Ray of Sickness, instead of doing on average 45hp damage and a slim chance of poisoning, the spell would average 9hp damage, but a very good chance of poisoning. Thunderwave would generally be saved at higher levels so would average 5hp damage and that’s it. But with the increased DC, it would do about 9hp damage and most likely shove.

Would giving this option to casters be a fair house rule?


Since it was brought up in the comments and the top answer; here is the why:

Because I am but a squishy wizard. And a number of times I have found myself cornered by a brute. Now I know that I can upcast my spells to do more damage, but I also know that it would never be enough to take the brute down. HOWEVER, I know that some of my spells do more than damage, but something that will help me escape. Ray of Sickness would give them disadvantage when I run and they get an Opportunity Attack. Shocking Grasp would also stop that Opportunity Attack. Or Thunderwave would push them 10 feet away to give me an even better chance to escape. So I would rather focus less on damage and more on secondary effects that would keep me alive.

How game-breaking would a house-rule letting spellcasters prepare new spells at any time be?

Spellcasters that prepare spells have nearly identical rulings when and how they can do so (emphasis mine):

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of class spells requires time spent studying/meditating: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

To give my players more flexibility, I want to drop the bold part and allow them to prepare new spells any time they want. They would still need the time to study/meditate, i.e. it would not be an option in the middle of a fight.

Also, RAW it seems that you would always have to spent time for each spell on the list. To speed this up, I would only require study/meditation time for spells that they did not have prepared before, so e.g. replacing a single spell just takes a few minutes.

In general, this would allow to prepare more combat spells and being able to utilize more utility spells at the same time.

Of course, this would step on the toes of wizard with their superior ritual casting, because clerics and druids now only need a few more minutes to prepare the ritual spells just when needed. However, this is not a problem in my group, because we do not have a wizard.

Apart from that, how game-breaking would this rule be? In particular, would it make the preparing spellcaster classes overpowered rather than giving them just more utility?

Would letting a multiclass character “single” class be game-breaking?

One of my players is a Warlock 3/Fighter 2 multiclass Half-Elf. We haven’t played for a while as we have all been either busy or away on vacation and so she decided to take the opportunity to reconsider her “in-game” life choices. She asked be if I could let her “drop” the two fighter levels and add them to the Warlock instead because she decided she doesn’t want to be much of a fighter.

The question is; Should I let her do it? Should I not? and why. From a rules stand-point I already know that it isn’t possible but would it be unfair to do it?

By unfair I mean for the rest of the players and their decisions. For example, if I was to do that and then another player did something stupid he could justifiably say “I undo it just like she undid her levels”. This would end up becoming game-breaking and that’s what I am ultimately worried about.

Note: It’s my first time DMing.

Is the artificer gamebreaking?

I was thinking of having my next PC take levels in the third-party standard class artificer. My friend said that the class is gamebreaking: it’s too good at what it does because it gets too many feats and as such it will break the game by giving everyone magic items far above their level.

Is my friend correct?