Is this houserule for upcasting Haste balanced?

Haste is a great spell. I want to make it better at the cost of higher spell slots. Additions to the spell description will be added in italics (except 3rd-level transmutation since the book puts that part in italics).

3rd-level transmutation

Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 30 ft
Components: V, S, M (a twizzler)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Choose a willing creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, the target’s speed is doubled, it gains a +2 bonus to AC, it has advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and it gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.

When the spell ends, the target can’t move or take actions until after its next turn, as a wave of lethargy sweeps over it.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you can choose one of these additional effects for each slot level above 3rd (each option can be chosen only once):

  • The target’s speed is tripled, instead of doubled, for the duration.
  • The target gains a +3 bonus to AC, instead of +2, for the duration.
  • If the target has a feature, such as Extra Attack, that allows it to make more than one weapon attack with a single Attack action, it may make up to two weapon attacks, instead of the usual one weapon attack, with the additional action granted by this spell.

For each additional effect chosen, the target cannot move or take actions for an additional turn after the spell ends.

Obviously this makes haste better. But I’m not sure how much better. The +3 to AC could start to push bounded accuracy off the table when combo’d with spells like shield of faith or a build that already optimizes for AC. Basically, there are obvious combos where upcasting in this way can amplify the already brokenness of those combos, but I don’t think it should be much of an issue for most normal use. But just in case, I added the clause at the end to increase the risk of upcasting this. For each additional effect chosen, the wave of lethargy effect increases by a turn. So casting this at 6th level and choosing all three effects means the target is out for four turns when the spell ends.

Some other options to consider for balancing would be to require two extra levels of spell slot for each effect, so getting an extra effect at 5th, 7th, and 9th levels, or having the extra effects kick in when cast at 5th level or higher and requiring 1 extra level per effect, so getting an extra effect at 5th, 6th, and 7th levels. Reviewers that deem this unbalanced as written should consider these changes to slot level for balancing.

Is this addition balanced?

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).

Do any serious balance issues result from this houserule: Floating Ability Score at Character Creation?

I’ve recently been considering the phenomenon that "unusual" race-class combinations are often 1 modifier behind on their primary ability score – i.e. that they would start, using point buy or standard array, with a 15(+2) in their primary score, rather than 16 or 17 (+3). To my mind, this is a very significant mechanical effect that undesirably discourages such unusual combinations, while each race’s other qualities act as much more of a nudge than a hard barrier.

I recently came across a house-rule that would address this issue, allowing any race to achieve a 16 (assuming point buy or standard array) in their classes primary ability score at character creation, and have slightly modified it to the below.

Floating Ability Score at Character Creation

During character creation, you may remove 1 point from any racial ability score bonus you gain from your base race (but not your subrace), and add it to any other ability score which does not already gain a bonus from your race or subrace.

The original rule allowed this movement from any racial ability score, including from subraces. I have changed that because:

  1. It avoids breaking the balance of the Mountain Dwarf subrace, whose traits are designed to work against each other, and they do so much less if you can swap a point of STR for another stat
  2. Subraces are already thematically sparser than base races; the ASI is often 1 of only 2 defining traits – and you already get to pick between several subrace options anyway

I think even with that change this rule still achieves the desired goal of letting less traditional race/class combos not fall behind in their primary stat.

Are there any serious foreseeable balance issues that would arise from using this house-rule?

Would this hit/miss houserule be balanced with bounded accuracy?

Would this houserule be balanced with the bounded accuracy system?

If an attack roll is made and “misses” by one, the defender takes a glancing blow. This glancing blow does not count as a successful hit. This glancing blow deals half damage of the attack to a maximum of 3. This damage cannot be augmented in any way. (ex. Sneak Attack, Divine Smite or GWM) This damage does not set off a spells damage. (ex. Wrathful smite) This does not count for reactionary damage. (ex. Hellish Rebuke) This does not count as a successful hit for things such as maintaining a barbarian’s rage.

This houserule is for players, enemies and NPC’s alike. Whats good for the players is good for the DM and vice versa.

The goal of this is to make battles feel more realistic. In D&D 5e you either “hit” or “miss” but in reality you could hit the person and do very minimal damage while glancing off armor.

Is this houserule about hit points balanced?

As a D&D5 DM, I always feel that HP in D&D are somehow unrealistic. Either it’s “there is no difference between 1HP and 100% of my HP” or “I took too much damage in one hit, so I’m dead”.

So I tried to make a houserule somehow inspired by the Vampire: the masquerade HP system.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Each time your character take 50% or more of it’s current HP, you take a penalty, which becomes stronger each time you take one (reset on long rest)

First time is you have disadvantage on your roll until your HP are restored to 100% (or you are taking a long rest)

Second time is something broke in you (your arm, your leg, etc.) which will give you disadvantage on roll using this limb.

Third time you take a permanent wound (aka you have this disadvantage until you got a regeneration spell or equivalent)

Fourth time you are dead

Is this houserule balanced? If not, what could I do to improve it?

Would it be alright to house-rule in my game that Paladins can use Divine Smite on attacks with ranged weapons?

Right now I’m DMing for an entire party of level 9 Paladins. We have the Paladin that is the Spank (rerolls 1 & 2), the Tank Paladin (has a AC of 19), and the Paladin Controller (uses mainly Buffs and Debuffs while attacking at other parts of the map). During our 1st session during Character creation our Spank was wanting to make a Ranged Paladin. I told him he could but would not be able to use Divine Smites.

What my players and I want to know is: would it be alright to allow Divine Smites in the normal range of a Bow, Crossbow, etc. or should it be Magical Weapon that allows a Paladin to Smite at range?

How do we deal with my DM’s house-rule about critical damage?

How do we deal with my DM’s house-rule about critical damage?

In the campaign I’m playing in, our DM has set a house-rule for critical damage. So, we do maximum damage for one set of dice, roll the second set and add modifiers at the end – instead of the typical twice-the-dice and modifiers-at-the-end rule (PHB p. 196).

Example with a L1 Guiding Bolt spell:

  • regular crit = 4d6 + 4d6, average of 28
  • house-rule crit = 4X6 + 4d6, average of 38

It is great when you land a crit on creature and it’s fun and exciting. But, when a creature lands a crit with a special attack or spell on one of us. It can easily wipe one of us out in one blow. Let alone area-of-effect damage! It is exciting and nerve-wracking. I really enjoy it, but I am the main healer. (lol) So, I’m regularly thinking: “Who will be the next one to pop their clogs?!” On one occasion I had an inkling that the boss we were facing was going to have a final deadly move before dying – it did. There was a massive explosion of energy and anyone close to it got killed. I had luckily had run into a corner of the room in my turn and was just out of range. The whole party was wiped but muggins.

What I’m looking for is a way of thwarting critical damage against our party, if it exists.

I am not looking for the obvious! We are already working on increasing our HP pools, using temporary HPs, reducing overall damage, increasing AC/saves, and having emergency supplies, spells and scrolls. We are also working together better, more tactically, doing things like spreading out and not putting ourselves in a line where possible(lol).

Is there a way to prevent a creature from causing critical damage on a natural 20? Or, is there a class feature or feat that prevents critical damage specifically?

Magic Weapon Critical Hit Houserule

My DM runs his game without allowing players access to homebrew options – including Unearthed Arcana – but something came up last season that gave me pause for thought.

A player’s character – a 4th level Way of the Sun Soul Monk – critically hit an enemy with a +1 hand-axe.
I was expecting the damage dice to be rolled at 2d6 plus some static damage as the enemy has no discernible weaknesses, but the DM called for 3d6.

I curiously asked him why it was 3, and he said:

A magic weapon with a + bonus adds that many of the weapons damage die to critical hits.

My question is; is this a house rule? It hasn’t come up before (somehow) and I can’t find any mention of this in the rulebooks I have access to.

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?

Is a house-rule to increase crit range via the Bless spell balanced?

Here’s the situation. In the campaign that I am DMing, I have ruled that if a blessed creature (via the Bless spell) gets a total of 20 (or more) on the sum of the d20 and the d4 on an attack roll, that counts as a critical hit. My question is essentially, does this house-rule allow bless to remain balanced against other spells of a similar level?

I did the math and this increases your odds of critting from 5% to 17.5% and from 9.75% to 31.625%(!) with 5e’s advantage. This rule would also mean that a blessed creature cannot crit fail.

Things to consider: (note, none of these have come up yet in the campaign but I would rule this way if/when they do)

  • Bardic Inspiration: Bardic inspiration would also increase your chance of critting

  • Bane: Bane would make it impossible to crit (unless also blessed, or inspired)

  • Any other ability that lets you add dice to an attack roll that I am forgetting.

Is this balanced? Are their any consequences of this that I am not seeing?