Jim's 5E Games

I am finally retiring my AD&D rules and using D&D 5E. I have some new players and it seems insane to teach them 1st edition when they will probably never meet another 1st ed. DM. But, if I'm going to run 5E, there are a lot of changes and house rules I will implement.


"Cult of Madness"
"Kanmorhan Vane"
Beginners' Game
"Depths of Evil"
Beginners' Game 2
Campaign 4

Jim's 5E House Rules

1. Roll initiative every round.
2. Additional spells from earlier editions. Some spells are eliminated or restricted. Sending and Resurrection are out. Raise Dead I'm considering.
3. And some spell changes. Lots of changes. Too many spells require concentration, so I'm eliminating almost all concentration spells. Here's a list that still require concentration. Material components with a cost over 1 gp are divided by 10 (100gp = 10gp).
4. Limitations on class and races. Tieflings and Dragonborn are not preferred and would require a huge justification and be unique, with lots of social interaction issues. Subclasses will be limited; see the list on the link. Arcane Archers, Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights would be limited to races with starting spell casting ability (just drow, high and wood elves) or a multiclass, unless you have a good backstory. Wild Mages would be Sorcerers, not Wizards. The Draconic Bloodline for Sorcerers is out, unless it's a Dragonborn Sorcerer or again you have a great backstory. In the Aarenis setting, no monks, Oriental or Arabic characters as starting characters unless you can come up with a great background story to explain why you're so far from home at 1st level. You can introduce Oriental characters as replacements for retired or dead characters after 3rd level. For the Midkemia or Forgotten Realms settings, Oriental/Arabic characters are more common and allowed at first level.
5. 1st edition magic item creation rules and more reasonable prices. The only Alchemy is using Herbalism to make potions, mainly Potions of Healing. Arcana might cover some of it and replaces the Spellcraft proficiency from 1st edition.
6. Magic items would be more available as treasure than what we've seen in modules and non-magical superior weapons (Items of Quality) would be available.
7. Feats will be available except for Spell Sniper. Approved Feats List
8. Evil means evil. Good means good. So Protection from Evil/Good and Detect Evil/Good go by ALIGNMENT, not monster type.
9. All magic weapons and armor will have bonuses (to hit/damage or AC as appropriate) unless specifically noted. I will probably decide on a case by case basis using 1st ed. as a guideline (ie, 1st ed. +1 or +2 = 5E +1, +3 or +4 = +2, +5 = +3).
10. Cost of NPCs casting spells (guideline) = square of the spell level, then multiply by 10, add double of the consumed material cost, add 10% of non-consumed material cost. There may be surcharges for rarer spells (assuming you can find a wizard with it), discounts might be available if PCs provide materials or other compensation (Sidequest!). Churches may provide discounts to members of their faith, or may even provide free if it is inline with the church's goals.
11. We've done a lot with character back stories in other games, and in Serenity it's easy to reward starting characters with good back stories by giving them extra character creation points. So for 5E, here's a list of rewards you can gain with a good back story.
12. My elves are more like Tolkien elves: taller than human average and slender. I don't know why D&D has always made them short; I don't know anyone who thinks of elves as short. Except for Santa's elves and Keebler elves.
13. After Brittany played the first ranger player character in one of my games, I realized rangers really got the short stick on the spellcasting rules. So I have new Rules for Ranger Spellcasting.
14. Fighting Styles should be more available to Fighter classes. Why shouldn't an elven paladin have Archery? Defense seems lame, Blindfighting should be based on hearing. The three UA options are out.
15. The DMG gives some additional Combat actions: Climb Onto Larger Creature, Disarm, Mark, Overrun, Shove Aside, Tumble. I don't like Mark, I see no justification for it. But I am adding a new Reaction: Pivot. When attacked by a flanking enemy, you can use your Reaction to turn to face them and nullify their advantage from flanking. You don't move out of your square, so it doesn't prompt an Opportunity Attack from your original foe. But, if your original foe beats you on initiative, you either have to use your new Reaction to Pivot back, leaving you open to a flank from the second attacker, or accept flanking from the original attacker. If you beat them on initiative, you could use your movement to turn back to face the first Attacker, then React to the second Attacker. You have to declare a Pivot before the attack roll. For example; the DM says "Orc #2 is going to flank you and attack with Advantage", you have to declare a Pivot before the roll so you cancel out the Advantage. A flanking Attacker may be able to make a Stealth roll to keep the Defender from realizing they're attacking and responding with a Pivot.
16. And coming back to Rangers, I think we will used the Revised Rangers rules, plus my spellcasting rules.
17. I've never been happy with most of the natural healing rules in most RPGs and some of the 5E rules particularly bother me. So Let's see: Rest and Healing.
18. Warlock Nerfs. There are some overpowered things in 5E and warlocks have a few. So…

White and Blue Chips
Converted Monsters
Fey Creatures
Druid Wild Shape
5E Equipment Tables
Types of Horses
Paper Mini Lists
Writing a scroll
Making Potions
Items of Quality
Spell casting costs
Potions of Healing
5E Equipment Tables
Spell Research
Clerics of Lesser Powers
Crafting in 5E
Calculating Encounters

Campaign Setting 1 "Aarenis"

The campaign world I have used for many years, Aarenis, is "home-written". In other words, it's a plagiarized patchwork with bits stolen from:
Elizabeth Moon's "Deeds of Paksenarrion" series (primary source of name, deities, culture and geography)
Glen Cook's "The Black Company" series and "The Tower of Fear" novel
Brian Daley's "Coramonde" series
Lois McMaster Bujold's "The Curse of Chalion"
Michael Moorcock's "Fortress of the Pearl" novel
The AD&D 2nd edition Al-Qadim Arabian Adventures Sourcebook
AD&D 1st edition and 3rd edition Oriental Adventures Sourcebooks
D&D d20/Legend of the Five Rings "Rokugan" books
Gods of Aarenis
Cleric Domains by Deity
Map of Aarenis
Geography of Aarenis
Aarenis Months and Holidays
Assassin and Thieves Guilds
Wizard Guilds

Campaign Setting 2 "Midkemia"

Gods of Midkemia
Mage Guilds
Midkemian Assassin and Thieves Guilds
Midkemia Wiki

New Player Notes