House Rules Poll

I started reading some of the Castle Keepers Guide for Castles and Crusades this weekend. Right up front there is a one page section on not being bound by the rules. If the rules are impeding your fun, amend it, change it, but do not let a rule get in the way of your fun.

This got me thinking a bit and is the reason behind today’s poll. How many folks out there house rule their game? A little? A lot? Absolutely not? Does the type of system have an influence on whether you house rule your game or not?

Feel free to use the comment section to clarify your use of house rules. I am sure the poll won’t completely capture people’s use of house rules.

Here is the poll:

We’ll let the poll sit out there for a few days and then I will comment on the poll results and my thoughts on house rules.

15 thoughts on “House Rules Poll

  1. Hmmm… what about the option for “All House Rules … You created your own rules system”? That would be me, and most of the GMs I’ve played with since 1978.

      • Perhaps this one was not so obvious, as few GMs after OD&D wish to go through the trouble to create their own rules. Only us real old timers would bother with it. I will forgive you, …this time. 🙂 Now where did I put my warm milk and cookies?

  2. As an example, I like the CP2020 system, but find combat bogs things down, so I’ve ditched a big part of it, and put in a mechanic to speed up hit resolution.

    • Sounds like a couple of page house rule doc! I assume the changes have been working well for your group? Player buy-in?

  3. We use surprisingly few house rules in our Pathfinder game. I do do things different with game assumptions but the core rule mechanics are kept the same. I do know that if I ever run DCC there will be loads of house rules.

    • Yeah – our Pathfinder games have seemed minimally house ruled, more of the ‘table clarifications’ type of things. Nothing like, you know – a feat every level!

  4. I also tend to streamline the rules and fix anything that doesn’t fit the flavor of the game I’m trying to run. However, once a campaign starts, those house rules are printed and given to the players. It’s no fun to play a game where rules are determined on a GM’s whim. If something has to be changed later on, it is discussed first, play tested, then incorporated.

    • I think that is an important point to consider, making sure the house rules are clearly known and delivered to the players in some tangible format.

      • This is on the assumption, of course, that you want the players to know the rules. Back in the day, as I (barely) recall, we Gamesmasters created our own rules in order to KEEP the players FROM KNOWING the rules. Why? Because we felt at that time that the game was primarily about Role Playing, and not Gaming, and we felt that our Players had a tendency to want to ‘Game’ the system through the rules (later known as Rules Lawyering or Munchkineering) and we wanted to help them avoid that tendency by obscuring the rules. For years I did not even allow the Players to know their Character’s exact stats, but instead would say “Broknar is Strong Like Bull”, or “Elenwee is as wise as the Owl of winter”, or “Blarblok is as nimble as a bat stuck in the mud”, and such things to give impressions of their capabilities, without numbers. It was a very deliberate strategy that had its good side, and it’s bad side. Eventually, I decided to give the Players the rules, and show them their Character Stats, and lately (at least during the current play tests of my new rules system) everything including NPC stats are kept above board (so we can evaluate the mathematics with an eye toward game balance). Naturally you can play RPGs with a focus on the Gaming aspect, but lets not forget that it need not necessarily be so, and for some GMs there is strong perference toward obscuring the rules to keep the Players minds on their Characters motives and personalities, rather than on the numbers and the odds. Both ways of playing are fun, of course, depending on your group’s preferences.

      • An interesting way to keep the focus on the character and motivations and less on the rules themselves. I think this is what I am after in my games, though I am taking the path of moving to systems with fewer rules to give broader, undefined areas to play in. We will see how that works out.

    • That would definitely increase the page count for house rules. Out of curiosity, what system do you use?

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