Original D&D Houserules

Last Updated April 5, 2017

Abilities and Bonuses. Roll 3d6 six times in order and swap any two if desired. Ignore bonuses as written and use the following instead:

  • Strength ≥13: +1 to melee hit and damage.
  • Intelligence ≥13: +1 language (see options below).
  • Wisdom ≥13: +1 to all saving throws.
  • Dexterity ≥13: +1 to hit with missiles and to AC.
  • Constitution ≥13: +1 hp/HD.
  • Charisma ≥13: +1 to reactions and henchman morale.

Hit Points. Roll your starting hp and add a bonus of 6 hp (fighters) or 3 hp (all others) to it. Any time you roll for hp, 1's are re-rolled. Re-roll all HD when you level up and use the new result if it's better than your old hp.

Classes and Races. Humans can be any single class (max. level 10). Dwarves can be fighters or clerics (max. level 6), elves can be fighter/magic-users or fighter/clerics (max. level 4/8), and halflings can be fighters or magic-users (max. level 4). Elves can wear any armor and cast spells, and they can distribute their XP however they see fit when they are awarded. Level limits are "soft" in that characters can advance beyond them but get no benefit other than +2 hp per level gained beyond the limit.

Languages. All characters know common. There are no race or alignment languages. Possible bonus languages are "Felltongue" (intelligent monsters), "Shadowcant" (ancient "Felltongue" still spoken by some) and "Oldspeake" (ancient common).

Starting Magic-User Spell Books. Magic-Users start the game with a spell book containing all level-1 spells. This includes the Magic Missile spell (below). All additional spells must be purchased, stolen, found on scrolls, etc.

Magic Missile (Level-1 Magic-User Spell).  Conjures a missile with a 15" range that automatically hits the target for 2–7 points of damage. For every four experience levels, the caster may add an additional two missiles, casting 3 missiles at 5th level, and 5 missiles at 9th level.

Equipment Weight and Movement. You can carry a total of 15 items. Any "line item" – e.g. "Torches (6)" – from the equipment list counts as one item. In addition you can carry 1000 coins. Gems and jewelry aren't counted. Worn items (including armor and backpacks, but excluding shields) are not counted either. Exceeding the limits is not permitted. Everyone moves 120'. When it matters ("who gets there first?") priority is by AC, high to low, with two-handed weapons and off-hand weapons counted as "shields" for this purpose.
Money. 1 gp = 10 sp = 100 cp.

Rations, Light Sources, Ammunition. Buy them once; replenishment is hand-waved, unless it matters for some reason and the DM informs you up front (exception: oil flasks used as weapons, see below).

Initiative & Surprise. No dice are rolled. These are determined by the situation.

Weapon Attack & Damage Bonuses. Attackers get +1 to hit with bows or when wielding two one-handed melee weapons, and +1 to damage with two-handed melee weapons or with crossbows.

Weapon Ranges. Thrown 3", Sling 9", Shortbow 15", Longbow 21", Composite Bow 24", Light Crossbow 18", Heavy Crossbow 24".

Grappling. Opponents each throw their HD (including "plusses"). High roll wins (pinning, holding, tripping, etc. if attacker, "throwing off" if defender).

Oil Flasks. Each oil flask (except one in a lantern, which is handwaved as above) counts as one item carried. Replenishing such oil flasks is not handwaved. When used as a weapon (e.g. molotov cocktail) the target's armor is ignored. Burning oil does 1d6 damage per round for two rounds.

Binding Wounds. After combat (and many trap effects) you can bind wounds to recover 1d3+1 hp.

Magic Items. Magic items are always recognizable as magical. Common items are identified automatically. Rare items are recognized as magical, but require testing or study for identification. All magic weapon "plusses" apply as die roll modifiers to hit and damage. Magic armor and shields provide a bonus to AC equal to the item's "plus;" magic armor and magic shields stack.


  1. hey!
    I'm applying similar modifiers to my upcoming White Box RPG campaign, even If I'll probably tend to wider bonuses (thinkin' about something in between B/X and Old, like in the -2/+2 range).

    For the bigger weapons (two handed and longbows/heavy crossbows) I'm opting for the "roll 2d6, keep highest", which is reminiscent of the 5e advantage/disadvantage, a mechanic that is easy to include as an old school mechanic and (why not) class design option. :)

    I like your style anyway. :)

    1. Hi Artemis, that sounds interesting. I've considered the "2d6 keep highest" too -- it's not a bad option to use at all. Thanks for visiting!